The second Blizzard is a minor Marvel super-criminal. He first appeared in 1987.
He started as an incompetent costumed hitman, but his character development then took him in unexpected directions.
Given his storied biography, we’ll present Gill’s profile in successive, small articles :
- Blizzard II (1987-2004). Incompetent costumed operative.
- You can read the Thunderbolts “base camp” team profile at this point, if you lack familiarity with that team.
- Blizzard II (2005-2007). The New Thunderbolts era.
- Blizzard II (the 2010s). Inhuman after all.
During the 1987-2004 span, Blizzard is just a stock loser villain. There’s a bit of character development early on, but it’s then left fallow – for nearly 20 years.
- Real Name: Donald Gill.
- Other Aliases: Donny Gill, Donnie Gill.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Operative for Justin Hammer, usually working with the “B-Team”.
- Base of Operations: Mobile.
- Height: 5’9″ (1.75 m). Weight: 170 lbs. (77 Kg.).
- Age: During the late 1980s, he seemed to be 20-ish.
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Brown.
Powers & Abilities
However, he simply doesn’t have the right stuff. Superhuman operations are extremely demanding, and Gill could barely reach a jobberWrestling slang for a wrestler who almost always loses’s level of proficiency. On a good day.
Blizzard suit (part 1)
For more about the Blizzard tech, you can read the Blizzard (Gregor Shapanka) profiles. But essentially, it “generates cold”.
Applications include :
- Encasing people in blocks of ice. Early on, Blizzard II usually did that at melee range since his aim was terrible. But he improved over time.
- Erecting walls of ice. If done in your average corridor, a wall can reach about four metres of thickness. The walls are likely the strongest application, though of course their usefulness can only go so far.
- Firing barrages of ice missiles.
- Doing a low-rise block of ice to trap the feet and ankles of those in the area of effect. It’s a good trick, but Blizzard seldom thinks of using it.
- He once covers himself in some sort of transparent, flexible ice armour. But there’s no other data about that.
It also stands to reason that the suit offers good protection against cold-based attacks.
Blizzard suit (part 2)
Latter applications include :
- By 2000, Gill can lower the temperature around him. It’s sufficient to create a snowstorm blocking a street, but it’s not really an attack. More of a disruption.
- By 2001, he has learned to do the ice slides thing, à la Iceman. He’s adept at it – and the slides allow for remarkably fast movement.
- More tricks come up later, and thus belong to the next writeups.
Mr. Gill seemed to consistently have access to Blizzard costumes, whether he was currently connected with Mr. Hammer or not.
One gets the impression he had means to locate Dr. Gregor Shapanka’s equipment caches. Perhaps he had Shapanka’s handwritten research journals or some such.
Some music from 1987, lessee… heh, that’s the year of Bryan Ferry’s “The right stuff”, which I guess is a good sarcastic fit. From the album Bête Noire – no relation.
(As every other Manc will tell you, this tune also features Johnny Marr on guitar).
History (part 1)
In 1986, Blizzard (Gregor Shapanka) was slain by Iron Man 2020 (Arno Stark).
However, his sponsors at Hammer Industries were by then familiar with his technology. It was therefore possible to build a new Blizzard suit.
The boy out of the street
Originally from Newark, DE, Donny Gill grew up in an impoverished, dead-end area of Los Angeles. He dropped out of school particularly early.
(Since Mr. Gill sounds more middle-class, it is possible he ended in a bad L.A. neighbourhood after one or both of his parents lost their money and status.)
Most of the people he grew up with eventually resorted to crime, and ended up in prison at some point. Such friends included Randy Macklin, Bragger and Junior Lee.
However, Donnie lucked out. He was hired as a “low-level strongarm employee” by Hammer Industries. Perhaps one of the mercenaries in green spandex
From there he was selected to operate the new Blizzard suit. To him, this was a huge opportunity – he and his friends thought he now had it made. He was apparently selected because he seemed too dull to cause trouble.
Lacking experience, the new Blizzard would be deployed along with other Justin Hammer flunkies.
In 1987, the B-Team was sent to murder Hammer operative Force (Clayton Wilson), who had just deserted. They attacked the LAPD precinct where Wilson was held.
The operation narrowly failed, as :
- James Rhodes used an armoured police vehicle to evacuate Wilson.
- Blizzard kept screwing up and getting in the way.
Though Blacklash wanted Blizzard fired, Hammer chose to keep him on roster for the nonce.
Another attempt was made. The B-Team invaded the Stark facility where Wilson was held, but it was a trap. Force saw a bit of himself in Blizzard and tried to reach out to have him reform, but that didn’t work.
In the fray, Blizzard was accidentally electrocuted. He narrowly survived, but his colleagues abandoned him.
Mr. Gill was imprisoned. But it was his first offence, and he seemingly planned to do his time then reform.
However, Mr. Hammer sent the Rhino (Aleksei Sytsevich) to burst him out of the pen. Rhino messed up and was taken down by Iron Man (Tony Stark), but Gill was nevertheless evacuated to Mexico. That consolidated his loyalty toward Hammer.
Hammer needed operatives to take out industrial saboteur the Ghost. Blizzard was again working with Blacklash. Hammer stuck to the theme by hiring Boomerang (Fred Myers) to reinforce them.
The first attempt didn’t work, but the B-Team survived.
Hammer negotiated a temporary alliance with Iron Man, since the Ghost was a threat for the both of them. The B-Team was detailed to help the Avenger, and didn’t perform badly.
However, Hammer had gotten greedy. He ordered his thugs to help whoever was winning, in an attempt to get rid of both the Ghost and Iron Man. The B-Team ended up getting neither.
Though Mr. Gill was still willing to fight, he learned that Mr. Hammer had thrown him under the bus. Mr. Stark thought that Blizzard could be reformed, and Justin Hammer had agreed to let him arrest Gill as part of their brief alliance.
Dejected, Blizzard surrendered.
(Why Hammer was so easy-going with Gill isn’t addressed. I *suspect* that hiring him and treating him with kid gloves was a favour as part of some deal with a third party, but nothing’s ever mentioned.)
Before going to prison, Donny Gill sent his friend Randy Macklin a spare Blizzard costume for safekeeping. It seemed to be an actual Gregor Shapanka Blizzard suit – the dark blue with white piping model.
Circa 1991, Mr. Macklin was hitting a wall. His criminal record after holding up a liquor store meant that he wasn’t getting hired. Frustrated, he donned the Blizzard suit and attempted to take Iron Man out, in a gambit to launch a villainous career.
Though his suit seemed more powerful than any suit Gill ever used, Macklin was soon defeated. But Stark offered him a job rather than arrest him. Randy eagerly seized that opportunity.
(That likely was a good call, since Mr. Macklin seemed more proficient with the Blizzard suit within minutes than Gill would get over decades).
History (part 2)
However, Gill no longer wanted to reform – perhaps he felt humiliated. By 1992, the B-Team (Beetle, Blacklash, Blizzard) was working for Spymaster (Nathan Lemon).
The quartet raided Stark archives during Tony Stark’s funeral. However, the tactics prepared by Spymaster were entirely wrong. James Rhodes was wearing the War Machine armour, and fought differently from Stark.
The intruders were therefore easily taken down.
They recovered while Iron Man was fighting the Avengers West Coast due to a misunderstanding. But once the confusion was cleared, the B-Team didn’t stand a chance.
They were shrunk by Dr. Henry Pym and arrested.
Blizzard continued to work as a mercenary, but mostly off-panelNot directly shown in the comic. Off-screen.. At some point he — and other B-Team alumni — apparently worked with the Trapster (Peter Petruski).
In 1993 he was at Boca Caliente for the 1993 A.I.M. weapons expo – along with throngs of costumed criminals.
During this trade show, he attended a fighting match pitting Crossbones against opponents selected by Georges Batroc. However, “Crossbones” turned out to be a disguised Captain America (Steve Rogers).
Mr. Gill joined the melee to take Mr. Rogers down. But it didn’t work, in no small part since all weapons had been neutralised for those attending the expo.
Blizzard was thrashed once by Cap and once by his ally Shang-Chi. If you’re gonna be beaten up, might as well be beaten up by the planet’s top fighters.
Cut off from Hammer Industries, Blizzard had apparently contracted the Tinkerer to repair and maintain his then-current suit. It resembled the white Blizzard suit that Dr. Shapanka had been wearing when slain. Perhaps it has been salvaged from one of Shapanka’s caches.
But the new suit had glitches, which Gill was indignant about.
The trial degenerated into a fight, but the nearby She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) put a quick end to it. Blizzard and most others were arrested.
Meanwhile, Justin Hammer had hired one Mickey Quaid to be a new Blizzard. He wore one of the Hammer Industries Blizzard suit. But Quaid was eventually fired, in unrevealed circumstances.
In prison, a number of old Justin Hammer operatives resumed working for him, along with corrupt guards. This secret prison gang included Boomerang, Whirlwind (David Cannon) – and Blizzard as a junior member.
On Hammer’s order, they executed on a plan to a/ free Rhino and b/ recruit an imprisoned Mach-One (Abner Jenkins, formerly the Beetle).
But both parts of the plan failed, and Mr. Jenkins took Mr. Gill out before Blizzard knew there was a fight.
By 2000, Gill was back to working directly with Justin Hammer. He had a new, more ominous Blizzard costume – and was among Hammer’s bodyguards when necessary.
However, they didn’t realise how much Jenkins had improved as a Thunderbolts member. Or how powerful his new Beetle armour was. Having thus flat-footed themselves, the bodyguards were easily defeated.
Still, Speed Demon evacuated his principal and colleagues in time.
A few months later, Blizzard (wearing a new variant on his 1980s costume) was working solo. He robbed an armoured truck right in New York City.
It was actually a sentient, hostile armour suit that took out both the New Warriors and Blizzard. Nova tried to fight it off, and held long enough for the armour to change its mind and fly away.
Wounded by the Iron Man suit, Blizzard was arrested.
Are you not amused ?
In 2001, Blizzard attempted to rob a Coney Island amusement park. He was wearing *another* variant costume, this time with more purple to it.
When Iron Man (Tony Stark) responded, Blizzard attempted to flee. However, he then realised that Stark was wearing a 1960s, early generation Golden Avenger suit. Suddenly overconfident, he endangered tourists to gain an advantage over shellhead (and have him blow his Hero Points on rescuing bystanders — Ed.).
That didn’t work, and he was beaten. But Stark’s popularity was at that point terrible, and Gill attempted to sue. He claimed to have been attacked by Stark and in fear for his life. At that point — with the sentient armour’s rampage still fresh in memory — that seemed workable.
Only For Killing
In 2004, Blizzard was the key to a plan by MODOK to put the Earth on ice. Apparently, A.I.M. had found a way to amplify the Shapanka technology. Their cryo-cannon could allow Mr. Gill to freeze much of the Earth from orbit.
Blizzard was terribly hyped. All that mattered to him was that he would be the guy who froze the Earth.
The Avengers intervened, fighting A.I.M. forces in orbit. But the protective bubble around the cryo-cannon was too durable. However, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) pounded on it hard enough that her punches eventually broke through. She wrecked the cannon.
Green and blue
MODOK, Blizzard and AIM retreated in time. Though the Blizzard costume was badly damaged.
Distraught over losing his “big opportunity”, Gill tracked Walters down and attacked her in a bar. But after a few seconds, he realised how stupid that was.
However, Jennifer was trying to drown her sorrows. Rather than beat him up, she invited Donnie to join her.
Unsurprisingly, Gill drunkenly passed out way before Walters would.
Blizzard is an awkward young man. That he keeps screwing up makes him furious, and thus prone to reckless tactics. Though these don’t necessarily backfire, they’re unlikely to help either.
He manages to be both clueless and overeager. He also wanted to impress Hammer with his loyalty, completely misreading his employer and making everyone else cringe. Repeatedly.
He tried to “become somebody”, but that just got him used in schemes that were obviously going to end badly.
Blizzard sometimes tries to make cold-based puns, but they’re obvious and terrible.
He seems to be middle-class-ish, and doesn’t sound uneducated. Colleagues who had led a harsher and more destitute life from the get-go therefore considered him soft. And they weren’t wrong.
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
Perhaps Blizzard (Gregor Shapanka) existed in the DC Universe, but was slain by Major Force. Gill would have found a spare costume in a cache, but fared poorly and ended up on the Suicide Squad.
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 04||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 03||Wil: 02||Min: 03|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 02||Spi: 02|
|Init: 010||HP: 015|
Vehicles (Land): 03
Hammer Industries (Low), Underworld (Low).
Early on, Blizzard has a SIA toward making rookie mistakes and a – 1 CS AV to his ranged attacks from lack of practice. This was gone by the time of the Ghost affair.
He also has Uncertainty, and a SIA toward chasing stupid ideas that look like they could allow him to make the big time.
BLIZZARD COSTUME [BODY 05, Blunting: 03, Cold immunity*: 05, Glue: 08, Ice production: 10, Skin armour: 01, Weather control: 10, Limitations :
- Blunting only vs. Ballistic Descriptors.
- Glue is Contingent Upon Ice Production, and is Minimal Marginal.
- As usual on writeups.org, Ice production isn’t its own AV – Gill uses DEX.
- Ice Production’s ice slide wasn’t demonstrated before 2001.
- Ice Production’s solid constructs have a special +2 Volume and BODY bonus. So this specific application can deploy 12 APs.
- Skin armour only vs. Ballistic Descriptors.
- Weather Control can only make the weather colder, windier and wetter. But it cannot bring precipitation above 4, temperature under 2 and wind above 4.
- Weather Control doesn’t affect “local” weather but a Volume equal to its APs plus 10.
- Weather Control is Contingent Upon Ice Production].
The Mental and Mystical Attributes are low indeed. The running theme during those years is that even thick-as-a-plank jobbers consider him soft and incompetent. And they were right, too.
10 APs in his main Power isn’t bad, though. It’s not the suit that’s the problem.
I didn’t maintain stats continuity with the Shapanka costume. It seems to be the same *general* technology, not a “real” Blizzard suit. And Shapanka was far more skilled than Gill.
The ability to create snowstorms seemed cosmetic. It had no quantifiable effect on anyone. So I used this odd, mini-Weather-Control approach. It allows him to create a blizzard, but without it having “real” effects such as Friction Control, Temperature Control, Fog or whatever.
More design notes
Glue is Minimal Marginal because he doesn’t think to use it, even when that would be good tactics.
The movement speed in the rulesbook for Ice Production’s ice slides is extraordinary. Something like 300 mph at 8+ APs of Power, which is normally the case for Ice Production characters. But when we see him using it, he seems to keep pace with an antiquated Iron Man suit.
It’s not conclusive due to circumstances, but it’s enough to avoid an arbitrary lowering of ice slide mobility APs.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics and chill.
Helper(s): Gareth Lewis.
Writeup completed on the 13th of February, 2022.