Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Character Spotlight: Cardiac

It's another new weekly feature outside of standard reviews, as I introduce and spotlight a lesser known character that is inexorably linked to the 90's. Then, with a very complicated series of equations, I determine exactly how "90's" the character is.

First up, it's CARDIAC! Created by David Michelinie and Erik Larsen!

Spider-Man 377 Cardiac

Cardiac, the heart that beats for justice! After Dr. Elias Wirtham's brother died of a rare disease, Elias devoted his life to medicine and became hugely successful, when he discovered that a corporation had a cure for his brother's disease, but chose not to release it because of profit. After a heart transplant left Elias with an electric pacemaker, he created a staff to focus the power created by the heart, and a battlesuit to go with it. He then went on to fight for justice as Cardiac!

First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #342, Cover Date December 1990

Cardiac character profile

Connection to the 90's: Cardiac pops up for the first time in 1990, and is pushed somewhat heavily until the comic book bubble burst, and then disappeared for years, outside of a couple of guest appearances. His last appearance in the 90's was a Wolverine comic written and drawn by his creator, Erik Larsen, in 1999. Because of his status as a new character created by a high profile artist, Cardiac was showcased in numerous trading card sets, even earning a "famous battle" card with Spidey. Unfortunately, he wasn't showcased in the Spider-Man animated series, as he was already on the wane by the time the series premiered.

Cardiac character profile

Costume: Cardiac rocks a blue and white outfit with a "heartbeat" line down each side of his body. He uses a special staff to harness his electrical powers that looks a bit like the staff used by the American Gladiators. He also has tremendous shoulder pads for reasons that aren't clear. Cardiac also has plenty of pouches: it's not always clear whether the row of material just past his gloves and boots are pouches or armor (some artists draw them as one or the other), but he also has a row of pouches wrapped around the middle of each thigh rather than just wear a belt like a chump. He also has a hang glider that's powered by his staff that he uses to get around.

Cardiac character profile
The problem with every Cardiac story: he makes Spider-Man look like a jerk.

Character: Cardiac is really more of a Punisher-style vigilante (although with super powers and a weird fashion sense) than an out and out villain. In several of his Spider-Man appearances, he was fighting against evil corporations, which forced Spider-Man into defending the letter of the law on behalf of faceless corporate entities. It didn't exactly make Spidey look great. Cardiac largely disappeared during the clone saga, maybe because writers couldn't come up with uses for him as a villain, maybe because his costume was just too great.   He also fought corporations with irresponsible ethics, a 90's hall-mark. It should be noted that he's an intelligent, successful black man who never turns into a stereotype and whose race isn't visible at all when he's in costume.

They really didn't bother getting his stats right, did they?

Nostalgia Factor: While there hasn't been a ton of nostalgia for Cardiac, Dan Slott might be aiming to change that, as he re-introduced Cardiac this past year.

Overall 90's rubric: 88.7: inexorably linked to the 90's.

1 comment:

  1. I think Cardiac has one of the coolest costume designs to come out of the 90s. Plus the energy effect on his staff is really neat. I have a soft spot for this guy. Which probably means Slott is going to kill him.