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Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) on an ice ramp vs. moonstone (header version)

Blizzard

(Donald Gill) (Part #2)


Context

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.

Sequence

Given his storied biography, we’ll present Gill’s profile in successive, small articles :

  1. . Incompetent costumed operative. Start there.
  2. You can read the Thunderbolts “base camp” team profile at this point, if you don’t know about them.
  3. Blizzard II (2005-2007). The New Thunderbolts era. This here profile.
  4. Blizzard II (the 2010s). Inhuman after all.

During the 2005-2007 span, Blizzard was in a major Marvel Comics book – and his characterisation arc from 1987 made its return. And then… and then… well, nothing much.

My vague impression was that there were subplots planned for him, but there never was room to actually have them play out.

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Background

  • Real Name: Donald “Donnie” Gill.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: New Thunderbolts, Thunderbolts, Thunderbolts Army.
  • Base of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’9″ (1.75 m). Weight: 170 lbs. (77 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown.

Powers & Abilities

Gill is now more adept with Iceman-style tricks involving ice objects. Such as forming a pole to safely slide down if an ice slide is blasted out from under his feet.

Applications include :

  • Ice slides for mobility.
  • Simple ice structures such as columns and walls. Very early on, the walls are markedly less tough than the ones he did in the 1980s – it could just slow down Piledriver (Brian Calusky). But in all later appearances he produces much thicker walls, especially when underwater.
  • Forming protective, thick ice domes. These are large enough to shelter at least a dozen persons.
  • Extinguishing fires by shooting ice at them.
  • Freezing the innards of certain electronic devices, bricking them.
  • Freezing a wound as crude cauterisation, and to prevent further bleeding.
  • Shooting ice projectiles – blunt or piercing.
  • Freezing solid opponents made of granulates – or gas, like Vapor (Ann Darnell).

Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) shooting a blast of cold

Uncertainty Drawback

However, Gill remains unimaginative and lacking in initiative. The more clever uses of his ice were almost never his idea. He did it on order from his more resourceful colleagues.

Over the decades, he became a better superhuman combatant. But as it turns out :

  • Heroes fight using different rules and priorities, and Blizzard isn’t a natural with those at all. Most of the time, he doesn’t know what to do.
  • Working with the Thunderbolts involves a lot more teamwork, which Blizzard always was bad at. He’s just not bright enough.
  • He’s a bit of a coward. Which is yet another factor working a cross-purpose with super-heroic tactics and making him hesitate.

Costume limitations

Furthermore, the costume has limited freon reserves. That never mattered before, but as a Thunderbolt Blizzard is often called to generate huge, sustained volumes of ice.

This will overtax his costume, inflicting freeze burns on Gill as freon hoses rupture (presumably from ice build-up from pumps freezing). Then he’ll run out of freon.

However, the hoses and freon are easy to replace. Hitting a Home Depot or similar is sufficient to get parts and supplies.

And Mr. Gill knows how to do these basic repairs. Secondary sources  mention that he has qualifications in air con/refrigerator systems maintenance.

This costume doesn’t seem to double as body armour. A thrown knife could penetrate it.

Fixer improvements

In 2006, the Fixer (Norbert Ebersol) made needed improvements to the Blizzard suit, which was running ragged. He :

  • Made it less prone to self-damage from being overtaxed.
  • Increased peak output by 60%. This sort of statement in comics is hardly reliable, but the suit did seem to have a higher power level.
  • Added goggles, which may have had protective properties.
  • Added some minor voice distortion technology. Presumably to help Gill feel cool.

During that span, Blizzard also seemed more competent. He got good results when the team fought Quicksand, the three students who had stolen old Beetle armours, and the U-Foes. Though the tactics he was using weren’t too heroic.

Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) vs. Piledriver ice barrier

History

Mr. Gill had kept in touch with Mr. Jenkins after they did time in the same prison. And during the early 2000s, Jenkins secured funding to launch a new Thunderbolts initiative.

Donnie joined MACH-4’s new Thunderbolts to turn his life around. He earned parole as part of the team.

New Thunderbolts

Blizzard was the second recruit. The first had been Erik Josten – hired as an aide since he had supposedly lost his powers. But Erik unexpectedly recovered his ionic abilities, and rejoined as Atlas.

From there Jenkins picked :

For most events, see our Thunderbolts team profile. Specifically, the New Thunderbolts chapters.

Though he was out of his depth, Blizzard *did* help in preventing major catastrophes. Such as evacuating a collapsing U.N. Building, or freezing Hydra nuclear explosives hidden in Manhattan.

Speed kills

Blizzard also formed an attachment to the macho, swaggering Speed Demon (James Sanders). He seemed to adopt him as a big brother figure.

When he learned that Sanders was considering pulling a job with the Shocker (Herman Schultz), Donnie tried talking him out of it. Sanders pulled the job anyway, using his old Whizzer suit, unaware that Donnie had planted a tracker on him.

Donnie tried to stop him during the heist. But Sanders beat him, leaving him tied to the Throg’s Neck bridge, half-naked, with a note thanking him for trying.

For a song

Following the Thunderbolts freeing Manhattan from the Purple Man’s control, Songbird took over the team. She then fired Donnie. Ms. Gold hoped that it would force Mr. Gill to build himself a life, rather than just follow the leader.

It didn’t work. The depressed Gill was recruited by MACH-4, who had also been thrown off the team. Jenkins was now working with the Fixer (Norbert Ebersol), who improved the Blizzard suit.

Mr. Jenkins was working for Baron Helmut Zemo, who was attempting to prevent Photon (Genis Vell) from destroying the universe. Zemo also recruited Man-Killer (Katrina van Horn). Plus the then-disabled Blackout (Marcus Daniel) and Moonstone (Karla Sofen).

Once the Photon threat was dealt with, the two groups merged into a new Thunderbolts. Gold also explained to Gill why she had fired him, comparing it to her own growth after the Thunderbolts left for Counter-EarthAn artificial double of the Earth that was originally on the same orbit but on the other side of the Sun. without her.

Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) sliding on an ice ramp

You’re in the Army now

When the Superhuman Registration Act came into effect, the Thunderbolts rounded up all the costumed criminals they could on behalf of the authorities. They then offered them the option of joining the growing Thunderbolts Army.

The T-Bolts also were in the field with Iron Man (Tony Stark) during the 2006 heroic civil war.

However, the force of captured costumed criminals was actually amassed by Zemo to oppose the Grandmaster’s machinations. Donnie was part of the group that faced him and his Squadron Sinister.

The Grandmaster was defeated. But the final battle completely wrecked Donnie’s Blizzard suit as he protected the team with a thick ice dome.

Delicate sound of Thunderbolts

Mr. Gill was fully pardoned for his crimes. But there was no likelihood of the Blizzard suit being rebuilt.

Aimless, Donnie reconciled to having to make a life for himself without it. But he felt that he hadn’t fully had the chance to do things right, to be the hero he could have been.

Will Donnie Gill turn his life around ? Ha ha ha no.

Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) in his civvies

Personality

As always, Donny Gill looks up to smarter and more successful people to provide guidance. By this point these are the Thunderbolts alumni and their impressive villain-to-hero turnaround.

But the dynamic behind this is that he’s influenceable, especially by confident-looking persons whose goals do not align with his. As often, self-esteem issues create a risk of being groomed by toxic individuals.

Gill wants to prove that he can be competent – that he’s not a loser. Like Jenkins or Gold did. But he’s too much of a flunkie to see a path toward that, and he lacks the resolve and clarity that allowed Songbird or Mach to unmire themselves from their most self-destructive habits.

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DC Heroes RPG

Blizzard II

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03
Init: 010 HP: 020

Skills:

Vehicles (Land): 03

Advantages:

Familiarity (Blizzard suit maintenance).

Connections:

New Thunderbolts (Low).

Drawbacks:

Uncertainty.

Motivation:

Mercenary.

Occupation:

Mercenary.

Wealth:

004.

Equipment:

  • BLIZZARD COSTUME [BODY 04, Force wall: 16, Glue: 08, Ice production: 10, Medicine (First Aid): 02, Weather control: 10, R#4, Limitations :
  • All Powers are Contingent Upon Ice Production.
  • Force Wall normally operates at 12 APs in mild weather. This is a Partial Loss Vulnerability based on available humidity. 16 APs are available when underwater, and 14 under heavy, pouring rain.
  • Force Wall is opaque to sight, sound, gas.
  • Glue is Minimal Marginal.
  • 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 ten].
Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) by RonnieThunderbolts 1/2

Art by RonnieThunderbolts.


Worsening R#

Every Phase where Blizzard produces ice structures with maximum BODY and/or Volume raises the suit’s R# by one, with no upper limit.

The suit can be brought back to its baseline R# with :

  • Simple maintenance. Gill’s Familiarity is sufficient to do this without a Dice Action.
  • A 02/02 Wealth Roll to get parts. Which was handled by the T-Bolt’s expense account, so no Dice Action there either.

Design Notes

When fighting Piledriver, Blizzard didn’t have the Force Wall Power yet – he did ice walls with his Ice Production APs instead.

Glue and Weather Control have been ported over from the previous writeup, but aren’t demonstrated during this era. But it would be odd if he lost them.

Force Wall handled as a separate entity from Ice Production is a simple way to model that he’s better at walls/domes than with the rest of the Ice Production kit. It would of course be cost-ineffective for a Player Character, but here that doesn’t matter.

The Partial Loss Vulnerability thing is almost entirely to model Blizzard delaying Namor with an ice wall while in Atlantis.


More design notes

As with the previous era, Gill doesn’t take a lot of Dice Actions on-panel. So some numbers have to be approximations.

Medicine (First Aid) represents freezing/ice-bandaging wounds.

Applications such as extinguishing fires, freezing gaseous persons, etc. are considered to be stock Ice Production use. In a more effects-based system such as M&M or Champions I’d specifically write them up, but DCH is looser in that regard.

Blizzard (Donny Gill) (Marvel Comics) by RonnieThunderbolts 2/2

Art by RonnieThunderbolts.


Fixt

In 2006, as part of the reunified-under-Zemo Thunderbolts, Gill was more competent :

  • He peaked at 035 Hero Points.
  • He increased his DEX to 05. That also raised his Initiative by one, of course.
  • He increased his SPI to 04.
  • He even got some Team Attacks in !

He also wore the FIXER-IMPROVED BLIZZARD COSTUME [BODY 05, Force wall: 16, Glue: 08, Ice production: 11, Medicine (First Aid): 02, Shade: 01, Weather control: 11, R#3, same B&L as before].

By Gareth Lewis and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Comics and chill.

Helper(s): Chris Cottingham.

Writeup completed on the 16th of February, 2022.