by Bevan Thomas
The next installment in the Name Game, where I take the name of some DC or Marvel comics character, and construct a totally new entity from it (for either Universe-D or Universe-M, respectively), with the final result illustrated by some talented artist I know.
The Ringmaster in Marvel Comics normally runs a Circus of Crime, but I thought the name would work very well for the leader of some ’60s-style psychedelic spy organization.
Real Name: Unknown
Aliases: The Big Man
Group Affiliation: Commander of Cloak & Dagger
Ringmaster is the leader of global spy organization Cloak & Dagger, overseeing both its investigation division (“Cloak”) and its enforcement division (“Dagger”). He is devoted to hunting down all enemies of freedom, especially the terrorist cult known as Iron Fist. Though he recognizes the great danger of the Spider-Man and his Sinister Six, Ringmaster believes Iron Fist to be by far a greater priority and doesn’t quite approve of the vendetta his top agent, Mystique, has against the crime boss. Ringmaster is, of course, sympathetic towards her feelings, but feels she has bigger problems to deal with.
Ringmaster is a consummate workaholic who doesn’t seem to have much life outside the agency. In fact, his operatives don’t know of any name he possesses besides Ringmaster, though many affectionately call him the “Big Man,” partly because of his importance and partly because of his small size. This is something the boss takes with good humour. He feels that jokes are often a useful tool for relieving tension, and certainly being part of his agency is a high-stress occupation.
Though the Ringmaster often comes off as being stand-offish and cold, he honestly tries to do what’s right and is very protective of his agents, almost thinking of them as his children. That said, he is also aware of the hard necessities of being spies, and knows that if his agents are captured, he must disavow any connection to them. That’s a price of the business. However, if an agent falls, he will always covertly make certain that their families and loved ones are taken care of. The Ringmaster has various “lotteries” developed in order to pay those people without attracting too much attention (“Congratulations, Mr. Reynolds. Because you bought a new television, you were placed into our lottery and have won $50,000”). Most of the agents don’t know about this arrangement. A master of secrets, one of Ringmaster’s biggest ones is that he secretly cares, and sometimes cares so much it hurts.
Ringmaster respects superheroes’ powers and desire to do good, but also feels they are often loose cannons. He has done his best to keep the superheroes ignorant of his organization. Though the Cloak operative USAgent, Ringmaster has created the superhero team the Fantastic Four to both do public good and draw attention away from Cloak & Dagger’s covert missions. The FF think they work for the US government, unaware of their patron’s true identity.
The Ringmaster can access the extensive resources of Cloak & Dagger. He generally carries a dazzler gun that can fire either lasers or a disruptive energy that stuns his opponents.
Ringmaster is closely assisted by Clown (the director of Dagger) and Oddball (director of Cloak). The most decorated of his agents is Susan Storm, better known as Mystique. The Ringmaster has strong feelings for her, almost like she were the daughter he never had. It makes him sending her on dangerous missions especially difficult. As mentioned previously, his operative USAgent directs the Fantastic Four.