Know Your Foes!
The New Avengers: Luke Cage #2 (2010) featured a reappearance of a pretty obscure villain-- Lionfang!
I have to admit, I was pretty surprised but also excited. Everyone has one or two favorite minor characters, and this was one of mine, based off of nothing but his first and only appearance, Luke Cage, Power Man #13 (1973), also reprinted in the Essential Luke Cage Power Man, vol. 1. In it, Lionfang uses his invention, one that no one would acknowledge, for revenge—his device can transfer information/talents from one to another, and if that one or the other are big jungle cats, that includes enhanced strength and fighting talents and mental control over lions, etc. He ran afoul of Cage, of course, who was hired to investigate. At the end of the battle, Lionfang fell from a circus trapeze, and died.
Or at least, we thought he did. Turns out, he survived, but used his inventions to become a drug gang enforcer, despite being confined to a wheelchair due to his injuries.
Here's my alternative take on his previous costume:
There’s some potential for some interesting social commentary by way of this villain. The guy was formerly a teacher, but he felt no benefit from it—no recognition, no compensation. Does society truly value its teachers, or is the education system ultimately a set up for failure? As Lionfang states, “education isn:t valued. Power is valued.” Perhaps there is some metaphor that can be extended to his choice of modus operandi (jungle cats – concrete jungle) and technology (hive mentality, leeching talents from others, etc.) Ultimately, Lionfang serves as a dark reflection of many heroes—he represents the results poor choices and desperation. If he had an opposite reaction to the difficulties life gave him, he would end up like Power Man or Spider-Man or any Marvel hero. Let’s hope we get to see more of Lionfang soon!