Exiles #15 Unicorn

Here’s the other half of one of the power (powered?) couples of the Exiles, though, they’re not a couple at the time that I’m leaving them at.  After all, you can’t have a Hawkeye without a Mockingbird.  If I’m honest, she’s probably the draw for me.  And, in a lot of ways, she seems a lot more competent that her husband.  She a master martial artist scientist spy.  He’s a guy who’s a really good shot.

And I was always entertained by their relationship.  It seemed a lot realer than most of the other marriages in the Marvel Universe.  They clearly loved each other and were infatuated with each other from the beginning but they had some severe differences of ideology and that lead to some serious conflicts in their relationship.  It was brought to a head by a crisis but it wasn’t the sort of super villain took over someone’s mind or someone got killed and came back as an avatar of destruction crisis that happens a lot in comics.  It was something most real life couples would never have to face but not one completely unlikely.

Speaking of that relationship, seeing Adrian Palicki play Mockingbird makes me even more baffled that DC couldn’t get a Wonder Woman show going with her in the title role.  In fact, my only quibble is that it’s a shame she’s playing Mockingbird.  Given her height, build and those legs, she would have made a killer She-Hulk.  I’m really hoping she either shows up in Age of Ultron or Hawkeye shows up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the episodes that follow.

And I was always fascinated by the Unicorn, though I never read a comic with him.  It was all from his profile in the Marvel Super Hero game.  His story seemed really tragic, the power horn seemed pretty cool.  But Unicorn always seemed like a girl’s persona to me.  I figured this was a good way to give Bobbi Morse some amped up abilities and give the Unicorn the gender I thought was correct.

Unicorn

Barbara “Bobbi” Morse-Barton

Fighting:     RM

Agility:      EX

Strength:     IN

Endurance: IN

Reason:       EX

Intuition:     GD

Psyche:       TY

Health:        80

Karma:       36

Resources:   TY

Popularity: 50

Powers:

 Body Armor: Unicorn’s skin and soft tissues are many times tougher than a normal human’s and provide her with Remarkable protection against physical damage.

 Equipment:

 Battle Staves: Unicorn employs a pair of special battle staves in combat that allow her to do the following things:

Used as javelins they can do Remarkable damage to any target up to 4

areas away.

Spring-loaded holsters fire the staves up to 3 areas to do Excellent

damage. She can catch them when they rebound by making an agiilty

Feat.

When joined together they form an 8-foot-long vaulting pole.

Power Horn: Unicorn’s main armament consists of an energy projector with variable settings. The power horn can inflict up to Monstrous damage.

Talents: Unicorn has trained extensively for combat. As such, she gains a +1 CS with her staves and a +1 CS to her Agility when Dodging. She also has Remarkable Reason in the fields of Biology, Law Enforcement, Detection and Espionage.

Contacts: Unicorn has worked with SHIELD, the Avengers, and especially Hawkeye. In fact, her Popularity is considered Monstrous when dealing with SHIELD, Interpol, and government security agencies.

Background: Barbara Morse graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Ph. D. in biology and passed her Civil Service examination so she could work with her biology professor, Dr. Wilma Calvin on the government-sponsored project to rediscover the Super-Soldier formula that created Captain America.

While in the government’s employ, Morse’s exemplary record came to the attention of SHIELD and she was invited to undertake training in her spare time. A champion gymnast in high school, Morse excelled at both the physical regiment and arts of espionage taught to all field agents.

When Dr. Theodore Sallis, a maverick scientist also working on the Super-Soldier project, disappeared, Morse was given her first field assignment; to accompany SHIELD agent Paul Allen, suspected of being a traitor, to the Savage Land in order to enlist the services of Ka-Zar to find Sallis. Allen and Morse Succeeded in contacting Ka-Zar and took him to the Florida Everglades.

Although Sallis was never found, Ka-Zar and Morse flushed out a splinter group of AIM agents who were attempting to steal the Super-Soldier formula and revealed Allen to be a member. At one point, Morse and Ka-Zar were trapped with little a sample of the serum. Unwilling to destroy a promising batch and uncertain of what would happen if they were captured, Morse injected herself with the formula.

It worked, though not in the same way the original serum did. Morse’s fighting ability and physical prowess were not enhanced, but her strength, stamina and durability were increased to superhuman levels. With Ka-Zar’s assistance, she was able to fight the AIM agents off.

The formula did not come without a price, though and Morse soon found herself subject to violent fits of rage. Fury was unwilling to allow her to endanger herself and others and sent her someplace where her outbursts would be little threat – back to the Savage Land.

Ka-Zar helped her deal with her savage emotions and the two became romantically involved. Even the seclusion of the Savage Land was not enough to escape the reach of civilization, however, and the couple found their land invaded and exploited by the Nth Command, a group of interdimensional raiders backed by several alternate Universe versions of the Roxxon Corporation. This group of Nth Commandos was lead by a former South American subversive known as el Tigre. It required the assistance of the Thing to stop the interdimensional depredations of the Nth Command in the Savage Land.

Bobbi and Ka-Zar tried to return to their relatively simple life together but AIM hatched a plot to abduct Bobbi in order to extract the Super Soldier Serum from her blood. Bobbi and Ka-Zar managed to foil the plot and vanquish the mercenary Klaw, who was leading the attempt. But, despite Ka-Zar’s protests, Bobbi realized that she would never be able to lead a peaceful life and that the civilized world would only continue to encroach on the Savage Land unless someone served as its protector outside.

Having largely come to grips with her occasional bouts of rage, she contacted Fury. Unsure if he could trust her, Fury offered to put her on a probationary return. Unsatisfied with this option, she instead went to work directly for the U.S. Government, with the job of rooting out subversives within SHIELD’s ranks. The U.S. Government believed SHIELD had been infiltrated due to a recent assassination of a star witness that seemed to be an inside job.

Taking on the costumed identity of the Huntress, she travelled to SHIELD’s Mexico City office and managed to expose corruption of local division chief Rico Santana. Form there, she continued her investigation, looting data-banks and compiling evidence of corruption in other divisional operations.

She renamed herself Mockingbird, based on an operation for the C.I.A. that involved Nick Fury before his recruitment by SHIELD. She planned on taking the evidence to Fury once she’d compiled enough.

While she was working in SHIELD’s Manhattan branch, the corrupt local director, Carl Delandan used the unwitting Spider-Man in an attempt to stop her. Delandan managed to destroy the flash drive she carried, but Mockingbird revealed his treachery to Nick Fury before she was shot by agents acting under Delandan’s orders. While she was recovering in a private hospital, and because of her investigation, Fury conducted a massive “housekeeping” sweep through SHIELD’s many divisions, exposing dozens of subversives within the ranks.

When Mockingbird was released from the hospital, she was decorated for her meritorious service and assigned to the European branch of SHIELD, where Fury suspected there was still some corruption. She was partnered with another agent, Milos Masrayk, a defector from Czechoslovakia and the costumed adventurer known as the Unicorn,. The two proved a good pair and were quite successful.

On several occasions, they saved each other’s lives and foiled plots by everyone from Russia’s Winter Guard to her old foes AIM. Though Milos was attracted to Bobbi, she did not share his feelings and their relationship remained purely professional.

Unfortunately, Masaryk was actually a double agent who had been working for the Von Strucker branch of HYDRA in return for the promise of a cure for the debilitating cellular degeneration that came as a side effect of the process that gave him his enhanced abilities. This only became evident to Bobbi when he betrayed and captured her.

Again, the Super Soldier Serum flowing through her veins was the target of her captors’ attention. In fact, the Von Strucker twins plan was to drain her blood entirely and transfuse it into themselves in the hopes of gaining her abilities.

Masaryk found himself on the edge of death, his cellular degeneration having reached a point almost of debilitation. He could not stand to watch Morse die and found evidence that HYDRA had been lying to him all along and that no one had been researching a cure for him.

Milos sacrificed himself both to save Bobbi and to bring down the Von Strucker branch of HYDRA. Mockingbird was left nearly dead herself but was rescued by SHIELD and found herself back in the hospital.

Shaken by her partner’s betrayal and uncertain of who to trust, she quit SHIELD and became a freelance adventurer. Bobbi was unable to deny the bond she had with Milos or the sacrifice he made for her at the end and took up his equipment and the mantle of the Unicorn as a way to honor him, nonetheless.

While investigating Cross Technological Enterprises for an unnamed client, she came into conflict with Hawkeye, who was working as CTE’s security director. The two soon learned that CTE was knowingly manufacturing the components for a machine designed to brainwash superhuman beings with ultrasonics. The two put aside their antagonism to join forces to thwart the machine’s contractor, Crossfire and his hirelings, Oddball and Bombshell.

Feeling a romantic attraction to Hawkeye, Unicorn proposed to him at the successful conclusion of the case and the two of them eloped. When Hawkeye was appointed leader of the new West Coast branch of the Avengers, Unicorn agreed to join him on the team.

When Hawekeye began seeking a way to increase his usefulness to the team, Bobbi suggested using Pym’s growth serum again. Barton agreed to the idea but did not discard his bow, though continuing to use it even in his increased size. Taking on the name “Ballista,” he continued as leader of the West Coast Avengers.

Continued exposure to Pym Particles made it ever more difficult for Ballista to return to his normal size and, eventually, the smallest he could become was 10’ tall. This put a strain on his relationship with Bobbi, not least of which because he blamed her for making the suggestion, in the first place.

Eventually, the friction between the pair became so great that they separated and Morse quit the team. Unicorn continued to adventure and Ballista continued to go on solo adventures and the paths of the two intersected when Judge, Jury and X-cutioner attempted to alter the timeline.

The Exiles were also involved, desperately trying to stop the villains from accidentally destabilizing their reality and destroying it. Between the Exiles and the reunited Ballista and Unicorn, they were able to stop Judge, Jury and X-cutioner but the two heroes native to the dimension were left in an unstable state. They were forced to join the Exiles on Otherworld to avoid their altered dimensional resonances from rippling out and finishing the work the villains began.

Relations between the two are still strained, not least because in the course of their fight with Judge, Jury and X-cutioner, Unicorn let Judge plunge to his death as revenge for his attempt to molest her. However, neither can deny the call of adventure and both have joined the Exiles.

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