We finally move on to the state that’s high in middle and round on both ends …
CLEVELAND (Howard the Duck, Beverly, Vagabond)
One of Cleveland’s, and possibly Ohio’s, best known residents is Howard, the duck who walks like a man. With his girlfriend and partner, Beverly, Howard the Duck isn’t exactly a superhero, but he certainly mixes with them — and super villains — on a regular basis. As such, his reputation has grown to such a substantial level that few villains dare tread into Cleveland. That doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t get it’s share of weirdness, it just seems relatively free of superhuman-created trouble.
Notes: Despite being an official Marvel Comics character, Howard has mostly avoided contact with the superhero set. This gives me reason to isolate him in Cleveland. Not that I’m saying anything about Cleveland. Instead, I’m saying that Howard’s presence seems to repel most superhuman activity.
Though Cleveland appears mostly free of superhuman ills, it still has plenty of street crime. As such, city native Vagabond tries to control the streets with her fighting skills. Trained by Nomad and Demolition Man, the young adventurer has rarely garnered much attention since she has no superpowers.
Notes: A regular street-fighter with no powers, Vagabond just tries to keep low-level crime under control. If she needs any big time help, she has the ability to contact a variety of Bigs, including Captain America.
COLUMBUS (Ultragirl, Captain Ultra)
Hailing from Columbus, Ultragirl initially made her first superhero appearances in Los Angeles, but she has since moved back to Ohio, where she serves as the city’s primary protector as she attends college. Though still relatively young,Ultragirl has proven herself to the city again and again. In particular, Columbus seems to serve as a hub for supervillian activity,and in fact, the area has a number of “safe houses” set up by HYDRA,where HYDRA agents, scientists and doctors offer their services to criminals in need of training, healing, augmentation and equipment repair.
Notes: Ultragirl is another character that I was surprised Marvel didn’t push harder. She seems like a natural to bring in female readers. I’ll admit, she does have a kind of dull costume, but recently she was given an OK to wear an old version of Ms. Marvel’s costume. I think that would work great. That all being said, that right was withdrawn in a recent storyline.
Regardless, I wonder if Ultragirl will ever get a chance. My advice would be to have her fill in as a Fantastic Four member or even take on a membership in the Avengers. That, at the very least, would raise her awareness.
Beyond that, Ultragirl is pretty much a clean slate since she’s had very few appearances outside of New Warriors and Avengers: The Initiative.
With Ultra Girl’s popularity in Columbus, Captain Ultra moved from the Chicago area to “team up” with his “namesake.” Though still as inexperienced and clumsy as ever, the good Captain has, again and again, pulled Ultra Girl’s fat out of the fire. In fact, she’s beginning to wonder if he’s actually stalking her.
Notes: Putting these two together seems totally appropriate whether Ultragirl likes it or not. If I were writing an Ultragirl book, you can bet he’d be a supporting character. She wouldn’t like him, but she would eventually appreciate him.
Basing herself at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Kismet (also known as serves as a Ayesha, Paragon and Her) serves the city as its protector, but more importantly she has been recruited by the U.S. Air Force as a part-time agent. While hardly a military person at all, she serves willingly simply because it amuses her. At the same time, she’s become a popular pin-up girl, and her image has been painted on more than a few planes in her short time working with the Air Force.
Notes: I see Kismet as a Wonder Woman-type character for the Marvel Universe. She’s been around for a while. She has super strength (though rarely demonstrates it), flight abilities and has geniunely loving personality, without being a complete dope.
As an agent for the U.S. Air Force, she would fly missions on an as-needed basis, but also be used as a public relations tool. She’d do meet-and-greets with dignitaries, but also serve as a morale booster for the Airmen.
Beyond the Air Force, she would also be available to assist NASA activities and alien monitoring.
Balder has opted to leave Asgard and root himself in Cincinnati where he explores the mortal world, seeks wisdom and ponders his existence at a distance from his more popular brother, Thor. Unfortunately, his troubled spirit has failed to endear the residents of the city, and his appearances there are often met with jeers even as he battles threats to the region. Though he pushes himself into heroic roles, he often finds he second-guesses himself on his actions. In particular, he often finds himself pitted against monsters and enemies of Asgard, which leads him to further wonder whether he should even reside on Earth.
Notes: Balder is the ultimate navel-gazer, and his role here would be one that demonstrates how indecisive heroes can cause their own kind of trouble. Placing him in Cincinnati means he’s reasonably close to Chicago, the hub of Asgardian activity on Midgard.
What’s “Relocating the Marvel Universe,” anyway? Well, check out the series hub, which includes a complete list of states, here.