Armagideon Time

Dazzler may have been Marvel’s most famous roller disco themed character, but she was not the first. That dubious and dated honor goes to the heelie-rockin’ heel known as…

Blue Streak.

A member of SHIELD’s short-lived “Super Agents” initiative, Blue Streak was pure and simple roster fodder built around a harried writer’s asking himself “What if Quicksilver was a lounge lizard redhead who took his style cues from Vegas Era Elvis? And instead of vanilla superspeed powers, he has a pair of rocket-powered rollerskates?”

The concept of jet assisted quads as an effective means of transport is one that falls apart after five seconds of contemplation. (Unlike most other superhero comics tropes, which fall apart after ten seconds or so.) As my wife, who spent half a decade on the roller derby circuit put it, “So he had the power to get knocked back on his ass while his skates dragged him in random directions?”

Even within the world of disbelief-suspending superheroics, Blue Streak’s ill-conceived gimmick served only one effective purpose — hurling his midsection at a breakneck pace into the waiting swashbuckler-booted foot of Captain America.

Twice.

It’s cool, though, because Streak turned out to be a double agent planted by sinister “Corporation” to infiltrate SHIELD and make Cap’s life as difficult as possible. While the plan lacked the direct elegance of their previous effort to send a weaponized VW Beetle to trash the Living Legend’s second floor apartment, it did keep him distracted until the writer returned to the subplot ten issues later.

After his treachery was revealed, Streak suffered an extreme beatdown at the hands of the jodhpur-rocking Vamp (keep watching this space). As a fellow Super Agent and Corporation mole, Vamp hoped to preserve her cover and keep Streak from spilling his guts with a little down home “accidentally died during arrest” brutality.

It’s a scene that has stuck with me over the decades, mainly because it was the first time my younger self had ever seen the effects of a superpowered fist on a human face rendered in such creepy detail. Sure, artists such as Sal Buscema were fond of sending stray teeth a’flying when some bad guy got pasted in the kisser, but those cartoon abstractions paled compared to the contused ruin of Blue Streak’s face in Captain America #229.

Blue Streak dropped from the public eye for a few years before the late Mark Gruenwald dragged him back into the pages of Cap’s ongoing. The half-decade hiatus had been relatively good to the Wheeled Would’ve Been, thanks to the wonders of cosmetic dentistry and advances in costume technology.

No longer was his vulnerable breadbasket projected by a thin veneer of a Presley-ian polyester tracksuit. The mid-1980s streak sported the finest fighting wear to be found in a rejected G.I. Joe character’s concept art.

Streak’s reappearance coincided with the inventory clearing murder spree being conducted at the time by the mysterious Scourge of the Underworld. After turning down an offer to attend a summit of vulnerable z-list villains, Streak had a brief and inconclusive run-in with the Star Spangled Avenger before — oh telegraphed irony of irony — becoming Scourge’s next low-hanging victim.

A tragic fate, but still more dignified than being returned to life by a demonic pact so he could be killed again by a rocket powered skateboard.

Related posts:

  1. Nobody’s Favorites: How low was he?
  2. A high potential and a low resistance point
  3. Nobody’s Favorites: Juggle? No.

8 Responses to “Nobody’s Favorites: Low roller”

  1. damanoid

    It was all worth it for the “PUMSPAK,” man. Yes, by all means let’s gratuitously kill off our back catalog of forgettable one-shot characters to prove Our Comics Are Serious Now– but then undermine it with wacky sound effects! PUMSPAK! What kind of murder weapon makes the noise PUMSPAK? I imagine that Scourge held Blue Streak’s face really close to a defective GM airbag. PUMSPAK!

    No matter how hard they try, superhero comics will never be able to escape the reality that they are a fundamentally juvenile medium about brightly colored fantasies and a simplistic, professional wrestling-level version of justice meted out via flamboyant brawling. And every time they try to prove how “grown-up” they are, every time the refrigerator door slams shut, every time the heroes have “no choice” but to torture and murder, every time the lightweight concepts of yesteryear are revisited and dressed up with the cynical gravitas of rape and brutality, every time the genre shoots itself in the foot, it makes the same sound: PUMSPAK!

  2. damanoid

    Okay, that last post was profoundly ill-conceived and rambling, I am sorry. I hadn’t realized I was in such a cranky mood. Feel free to delete it, and this, if appropriate. I need to find something cheerful to think about, and roller derby Evel Knievel getting his neck broken by a skateboard isn’t it, surprisingly enough. My intent is not to piss all over Andrew Weiss’s humorous site. Sorry again.

  3. bitterandrew

    Hey, I laughed.

    Chalk it up to the magic of PUMSPAK!

  4. TG

    This is one of your Top 5 “Cracked Me Up” posts. I was already chuckling, but “Michelin Man: 2099″ sent me over the edge. I’m in tears, here, man!

    And to top it all off, I thought I knew the punchline, but no– killed again by a skateboard…. Oh shit, here I go again….

  5. Crowded House

    Man, this updated version of the Green Goblin’s death really lacks the subtle tragedy of the original.

  6. Aberration, The

    Nah man, Damanoid, you’re absolutely correct. Just because we love comic books doesn’t mean we can’t point out/mock their myriad dumbasseries. Heck, my own eyerolling moment came *after* PUMSPAK, when all the talk of “resurrected by demonic pact so he could be killed again by rocket powered skateboard” made me blurt out, “What the $%#@ is this–DC?!?” when of course the Big Two rip each other off constantly as they dig ever downward.

  7. Patrick

    A potentially new Blue Streak showed up in the first issue of the current Mighty Avengers. He was quickly trounced by Spectrum (Monica Rambeau). So either he was resurrected again or someone in the Marvel Universe thought this identity was a good one to adopt.

  8. Snark Shark

    PUMSPACK was about what he deserved!

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