Another original character that I only knew through the old Marvel Universe write ups. I did, however, read the stories with the actual Ringer below…or the person I made the Ringer.
I find Leila’s story strangely compelling. Even if her characterization in Lethal Foes of Spider-Man was a little thin. In fact, I was inspired to write this up because I just read a TPB with Deadly Foes and Lethal Foes combined so I had her story arc all together. The first story is far superior. It’s dense and almost Shakesperean in it’s complexity and level of betrayal. The second one is…very 90’s. As you can see below, I took the cyborg out of the story because…well, very 90’s.
As devious as she was, I feel like a slightly different direction and she could be inspired to be a hero instead of a villain. So, without further ado, here’s the all new all not lame, Ringer –
Rings: The Ringer employs wrist projectors which throw rings of Incredible explosive damage, Incredible freezing cold, and Amazing strength constriction. She can simply fire a constant steam of metal rings which inflict Remarkable Blunt or Edged damage. She normally carries enough rings to do five attackes of each of the special types listed above. She uses “particulate-matter condensors” which give her an unlimited series of projectile blasts. She can fire any ring up to 2 areas away.
The Ringer also uses assorted rings on her costume to form an Amazing strength Lasso (range of 1 area), a ladder (up to 2 stories high), or a whip (Remarkable Blunt damage or an Amazing Strength Grapple attack.)
Talents: Davis has the Leadership and Repair/Tinkering talents.
Background: Nothing is known about the history of the original Ringer before he publicly committed his first crime in his costumed identity. He burglarized a safe in a building owned by Kyle Richmond, only to be opposed and defeated by Richmond himself in the latter’s identity of Nighthawk. In the course of their battle, half of the Ringer’s teeth were severely damaged. The Ringer was sent to jail where it took months for a prison dentist to rebuild his teeth.
This disastrous encounter with Nighthawk convinced the Ringer that he was not meant for a life of crime and that he definitely never wanted to clash with a costumed crimefighter ever again. Therefore, after leaving prison, the Ringer hired the criminal inventor called the Tinkerer to construct him a new costume with improvements that the Ringer himself had designed. But the Ringer did not intend to use the new battlesuit himself to commit crimes, mas as he felt the temptation to do so. Rather, he intended to sell it to “business contacts” of his.
Before the Ringer could get his hands on the suit, the New York City Police learned the location of the Tinkerer’s shop and posted guards around it. The Ringer secretly broke into the workshop, found his suit and started testing it. While this was happening, the Beetle broke into the workshop as well to find his own new battlesuit constructed by the Tinkerer. He easily knocked the Ringer out and abducted him.
When the Ringer revived, he found that he was the Beetle’s prisoner. The Beetle demanded that the Ringer battle Spider-Man on his behalf. The Ringer was afraid of fighting another super hero but the Beetle had placed a large ring around the Ringer’s midsection. The Beetle claimed this ring was made of a powerful explosive material and that he would detonate it if the Ringer refused to do his bidding. The Ringer reluctantly complied.
The Ringer proved no match for Spider-Man, who soundly defeated him. As a cruel joke, the Beetle, who had been monitoring the battle from afar, pressed a detonator, which caused a small explosive charge in the ring to go off that did not harm the Ringer in the least. The Beetle had tricked the Ringer: the ring about his midsection actually had contained devices that relayed information about Spider-Man and his battle techniques to the Beetle’s computers. Spider-Man delivered the Ringer to the police, and the Ringer was imprisoned once more.
After next leaving prison, the Ringer avoided New York City and its superheroes and operated as a costumed criminal, primarily in the Midwest. On a visit to the “Bar with No Name” in Medina County, Ohio, one of a number of similar secret meeting places for costumed criminals the Ringer was contacted by Gary Gilbert, who was formerly the costumed terrorist called Firebrand. Gilbert invited the Ringer to attend a meeting at the bar to discuss strategies for dealing with Scourge, the mysterious vigilante who had murdered a large number of costumed criminals. The Ringer came to the meeting, but, unfortunately for him, so did Scourge, disguised as the bartender. Scourge slaughtered the Ringer and all the other criminals who were present.
Unbeknownst to Scourge, Beetle, Spider-Man or Nighthawk, Anthony Davis had a wife. The newly widowed Leila Davis was wracked by grief and guilt over the fate of her husband. Grief both at his loss and because of the sad path of his life and guilt over the fact that she had helped him design the Ringer equipment that set him on that path.
She turned these feelings to anger and a desire for revenge on all those she blamed for her husband’s misfortunes and death. She felt that the Beetle was the most responsible as he had forced Anthony back into a life of crime when he’d decided to go on the straight and narrow.
Leila enacted a complex scheme using her feminine wiles to turn Beetle’s latest incarnation of the Sinister Syndicate against him. She found the task relatively easy as the petty men with power who made up the team were full of grudges and greed that could be used to her advantage.
Still, some of the Syndicate remained loyal to him and he caught wind of his danger before she was able to fully spring her trap. Between that and the intervention of Spider-Man, her ploy failed and Leila found herself under arrest. Worse, before her plans fell apart she was forced to use the Ringer weapons that she had come to hate in her attempts to kill the Beetle.
After being released from prison, Leila attempted to enact her revenge on the Beetle, again, this time with her own suit of armor. Calling herself “Hardshell” she gathered together others who had a grudge against the Beetle or who were simply greedy enough to kill him for the right reward.
Hardshell succeeded this time, despite the interference of Spider-Man and a rival group of villains. Having killed the man that she blamed for getting her husband killed, she surrendered and was put in jail, once more.
Leila found that her grief was not soothed by her actions, and, in fact, sank into a depression. She likely would have spent the rest of her days in prison, abandoning her quest to kill Scourge as well had the Exiles not happened along. They were breaking another prisoner out and she was freed in the chaos.
It took little effort for her to play the role of damsel in distress and one of the male Exiles “rescued” her, taking her back to Otherworld with them. Leila fostered her relationship with the Exiles and used her cunning and wiles to sneak and steal bits and pieces of the advanced technology on Otherworld.
Having decided that the only way to honor her lost husband was to redeem his name, she rebuilt his battle suit even better. Once it was completed, she then snuck into a mission with the Exiles. They were unable to send her back once they were in their new dimension but the new Ringer quickly proved her skill and capabilities.
As an added bonus for Leila, that first mission involved stopping a monstrous version of Spider-Man and defeating and capturing him helped her finally end her guilt and anger over her husband’s death.