January 19, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #266: Justice

There are all kinds of mutants at Marvel. Not all of them join the X-Men.

Marvel has, for quite some time, used the catch-all of “mutants”to give characters superpowers.  Most of them tend to be associated with one or more of the X-Men teams, and with the recent House of X/Power of X stuff bringing all of Marvel’s mutants into a new status quo, it may be worth noting that there are a few mutants who have, for whatever reason, never been associated with the X-Men.

So, let’s talk about the hero called Justice.

Now, Justice, or Vance Astrovik, didn’t start off as “Justice”.  He originally had a much less interesting superhero name.  Yes, like so many characters that popped up in a Marvel book, someone just slapped the company name on Vance and called him “Marvel Boy”.

And he had a rather generic costume then too.

Vance first appeared in Giant-Sized Defenders #5 in July, 1975.  And, OK, he wasn’t Marvel Boy yet.  Vance’s father was abusive, so he ran away from home and like so many Marvel heroes, opted to become a pro-wrestler.

Seriously, why are there are so many pro-wrestlers in the Marvel Universe?

But, see, the Thing was on his own and he opted to form a pro-wrestling league.  Vance joined up under the name “Mangling John Mahoney”.  He later went home when his dad promised not to hit him again.

That didn’t last, and Vance later, as “Marvel Boy,” tried to join the Avengers, but he was too young.  That didn’t stop him from being recruited as one of the original New Warriors by Night Thrasher himself, where his telekinetic powers made him an potential powerhouse if he could get past the headaches and nosebleeds he got when he pushed himself too far.

And then his dad beat him again, he lashed out, and the nosebleeds and headaches were never a problem again.  Also, his dad was dead, and Vance went to prison for manslaughter.  While there, he changed his name to “Justice” and became an advocate for making sure everything was just and fair.

By the by, he had a relationship for much of his time in the Warriors with another mutant, Firestar.  And she had, more or less, the exact opposite homelife.  Her parents were supportive and loving.  Then again, she also later joined the X-Men, so she has that going on too.

Later, Vance would live his lifelong dream and join the Avengers, bringing Firestar along with him.

He really wanted that.

From there. Vance never really left the Avengers.  After the Civil War storyline, he became a trainer for the Avengers Initiative, even taking a bunch of former New Warriors as a splinter team called Counter Force at one point when he felt the Initiative needed a counterbalance.  Later still he became a teacher at the Avengers Academy.  Most recently, he and Speedball even made up a new New Warriors team.

But now there’s a big thing with mutants going on.  Now, I haven’t read a bit of it, so I could be wrong, but it doesn’t appear as if Vance, a mutant, is involved at all over there.  He may be the only one given how many characters seem to be running around there.

Of course, it should be worth noting that Justice/Vance isn’t the original Vance.  The original Guardians of the Galaxy team, first appearing in 1969 and set in the far distant future, had as a member an astronaut from the present they found in suspended animation.  His name was Major Vance Astro, and yes, he was supposed to be an adult Vance.

Plus, he had Cap’s shield from the looks of things.

Now, the original Guardians line-up could probably be an entry by itself, and…I think I know what I’ll be doing for next week.

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