Relocating the Marvel Universe — Part 19 — Illinois

With Chicago being one of the biggest cities in the country, you know some one big is going to lead off the great state of …


CHICAGO (Thor, Sif, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Battlestar)

Chicago is a place of weather extremes, which has always made Thor feel at home in the Windy City. In fact, the city vaguely reminds him of the Viking lands of his original worshippers. But besides that, he likes the people of Chicago — boisterous, cheery and proud, just like he is, and that makes him more than happy to stick around, battling supervillians, thwarting disasters and even helping mariners in the choppy waters of Lake Michigan and the other nearby Great Lakes.  For some, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why Thor even bothers hanging out on Earth. But to others, it’s obvious — he thinks its fun, and he picked Chicago as his playground.
Notes: For a short time in the 1980s, Chicago was Thor’s home base. Obviously, that’s something I kind of like. I don’t know if it ever was established why Thor picked Chicago, but I think my reasoning seems pretty logical. At the very least, it would be kind of neat to see some combat action on the “high seas” of the Great Lakes. If they can wreck the Edmond Fitzgerald, they might be able to throw Thor for a loop. Of course, Thor doesn’t just stick around Chicago, he pretty much covers the entire northern hemisphere in his travels.

With Thor a fixture in the Chicago area, his on-again-off-again warrior girlfriend, Sif, is often seen in Greater Chicagoland as well. Most of the time, she isn’t even hanging out with Thor. Instead, she’s determined that it’s her duty to “keep the house clean” when Thor is distracted on his own adventures. And that explains Sif’s activities in Chicago — she comes in when he’s off doing other things. She’s essentially his back up.
Notes: I’ve always been amazed that Sif isn’t a more significant character in the Marvel Universe. Of all of Marvel’s female heroes, she’s the one I’d most peg for a “Xena: Warrior Princess” type of life. Always attracting men, sometimes being attracted to them but ultimately only pining for one guy. Along the way, she bashes heads at a startling rate.

Luke Cage and Iron Fist use Chicago as the base of their international detective/security/mercenary business. While the duo often has work with the Avengers or their own solo efforts, they gather in their Chicago office once a week to discuss Heroes for Hire cases, and both maintain primary residences in the city. Additionally, the Rand Corp. is headquartered in the city. Seperately and together, the two also aggressively work to keep Chicago residents, particularly disadvantaged residents, safe from all manner of threats, including crime, supervillain crime, disasters and whatever else might surface. And though they’re mercenaries by trade, they figure keeping their hometown safe is good for public relations.
Notes: Man, if ever there was a pair who screamed “Chicago” more than Power Man & Iron Fist, I don’t know who does. Beyond that, their unique business certainly would suffer in hero-rich NYC. Still, I don’t think they should be a primary hero team in any city. Putting them under the nose of high-and-mighty Thor puts them in just the right place: Accessible to the people, where Thor just isn’t

Born and raised in Chicago, Battlestar has always stuck close to home. When he gained his powers, he adopted a costumed identity that resonated with his is hometown, and has since served as a street-level protector for the city. At the same time, his fame has led him throughout the state in the pursuit of justice and, thanks to his reliability (as far more predictable than Heroes for Hire and Thor), he’s often recruited by the governor, state police and national guard for assistance across the state.
Notes: Of course, even with Power Man and Iron Fist running around town, some people just won’t accept the idea of heroing for money. One of those is Battlestar. A true defender of the downtrodden, I can’t see how Battlestar wouldn’t be popular with the average folk. His appeal has led him to be the state-sanctioned champion of all of Illinois, and he frequently travels to hotspots at the governor’s request.

ROCKFORD (Nightwatch)

Though he was first encounted by Spider-Man in New York City, Nightwatch is actually based in Rockford, Ill., where he quietly serves as the city’s vigilante. Though his media coverage is slim, the armored guardian maintains a regular patrol within the city, though he rarely ventures past its boundaries. 
Notes: You guys remember Nightwatch, dontcha? He had his own series, believe it or not! Well, it’s not too surprising that you did. According to the various sources online, he’s actually dead now, but that’s not too big of a deal in comic book worlds, right? Anyway, I see this guy as a lone sentry in a mostly quiet city. If he’s lucky, he might stumble on a supervillain once every few months. The rest of the time, he’s just busting drug dealers and stopping convience store robberies.

What’s “Relocating the Marvel Universe,” anyway? Well, check out the series hub, which includes a complete list of states, here.


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