Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Hero Case Files #53: Strong Guy

"Why lift weights when you can bend them?"
“Why lift weights when you can bend them?”

One of the mainstays of the superhero team is that someone is the member with superhuman strength.  There may be more than one, but there is always at least one member of the team that is the team’s muscle, usually physically larger than the rest, and the one sent in when the team just needs someone pounded into dust.

That’s actually how today’s entry got his superhero name.

Guido Carosella was a mutant, first seen in the pages of New Mutants as the body guard of another mutant, rocker Lila Cheney, who had teleportation powers but could only teleport over extremely long distances.  That was why Lila was a rock star…on other planets.  Guido, who for the longest time didn’t give a last name, was there to keep her physically safe.

After a bit of team restructuring, a new X-Factor team came along made up mostly of second-tier (at best) mutants, with Havok in charge.  The rest of the group consisted of Polaris, Wolfbane, Madrox the Multiple Man, Quicksilver, and Guido.  Guido apparently already had a ton of money seeing as how he received a huge settlement after his parents were killed by a falling satellite, so he was there as the team’s muscle and one of the resident jokers.  Writer Peter David has a good sense of humor and made the most of having a team made up of characters largely ignored, forgotten, disregarded, and Quicksilver.  Someone like Guido, who up to that point was mostly there to occasionally get smacked around for one reason or another while guarding Lila Cheney, was someone he had an awful lot of free reign with.474626104b4d3501a104bdbc9b2c21e9

In fact, Guido’s not really being a superhero led to his rather bad superhero name.  X-Factor was going to be the U.S. government’s own mutant superhero team, and the group was being introduced to the press.  Most of the team was present onstage, with Guido not being overly interested in being seen in the ugly team uniforms.  Finally after the others are introduced he steps out, with team government liaison Val Cooper struggling to come up with a code name for the guy on the spot.  One reporter shouts out Guido must be the team’s “strong guy” since every team has a strong guy, which meant Guido simply announced his superhero name actually was Strong Guy.

That said, there were twists to the character.  Shortly after the press conference, Strong Guy got in a fight with another mutant powerhouse when he let slip that his mutant powers weren’t exactly superhuman strength.  In reality, he absorbed kinetic energy from various hits that made him stronger, but he had to release the energy quickly or else something bad would happen.  What was that something bad?  He didn’t say.  Havok guessed later Guido would “explode or something,” but that wasn’t quite it.

Eventually the team all sat down for a session with super-psychiatrist type Doc Samson, and the truth came out.  If Guido did not release the kinetic energy relatively quickly, his body would swell and grow larger, and this swelling was permanent.  That was why he was so large and weirdly proportioned.  It also left him in a state of permanent pain, so his very existence was something of an agony.  He hid this from the world by being the merry jokester that he was.

Considering he was probably the most obscure member of the team when that X-Factor group started, its rather impressive that he became one of the hearts of the team.  During another massive X-Men shake-up, Guido absorbed so much kinetic energy during a battle that he suffered a near-fatal heart attack.  He left the team not long after that, returning only when Peter David came back to the title with another new X-Factor team, this one being set up as private detectives working for Jaime Madrox.

The tone then shifted.  Strong Guy was not as funny as he once was, mostly due to being brainwashed by the story’s ongoing villains.  Later on down the road, Strong Guy died…for real.  But wait, his teammate Layla Miller could resurrect the dead!  He was saved!  But wait, Layla could resurrect the dead physically but not spiritually, so Guido came back without his soul and was now evil!  Then he killed his teammate Wolfbane’s son!  Then he became a Lord of Hell!

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Wow, that got dark really fast.

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