Copperhead (Marvel Comics)

Copperhead is the name of three different fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first Copperhead was Lawrence Chesney, who made his debut in Daredevil #124 (Aug 1975) and was created by writers Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, and artist Gene Colan. The second Copperhead, Arthur Reynolds, was a coworker of Chesney and stole his costume after Chesney was killed. Reynolds first appeared in Human Fly #8 (Apr 1978) by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Frank Robbins. The third person to use the name Copperhead is totally unrelated to the first two characters, Davis Lawfers, who took the name from the snake of the same name. Lawfers first appeared in Captain America #337 (1988) created by writers Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio and artist Tom Morgan.

Chesney's mental illness caused him to think he was Copperhead, a pulp fiction hero he grew up reading. Chesney would leave copper pennies on the eyes of his murder victims. When he began to target the writer and publisher of the original Copperhead stories he was stopped by Daredevil. During the fight Chesney was struck by lightning and killed. Reynolds worked with Chesney as a museum guard and later discovered Chesney's secret identity. Using the costume he planned to rob the museum where he worked as a guard, but was stopped by White Tiger and the Human Fly.

The third Copperhead, was originally a henchman of Viper, given a suit with built in powers based on the Copperhead. Teamed up with Fer-de-lance, Black Racer, and Puff Adder they formed the Serpent Squad, a ploy to get them accepted into the Serpent Society. The group is accepted by Sidewinder and the Serpent Society, enabling them to help push Sidewider out of power, allowing Viper to take control of the group. When Viper is deposed later on Copperhead leaves the Serpent Society. He later returned to the Serpent Society and became part of Serpent Solutions when the group was reorganized in 2015.

Publication historyEdit

The Lawrence Chesney version of Copperhead first appeared in Daredevil #124-125 (August–September 1975), and was created by Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Gene Colan. The character subsequently appears in Human Fly #9 (May 1978), Daredevil #1/2 (1998), and Daredevil/Spider-Man #1-4 (January–April 2001). Copperhead received an entry in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #3 (2006).

The second Copperhead appeared in Human Fly #8-9 (Apr-May 1978), and was created by Bill Mantlo and Frank Robbins.

The third Copperhead appeared in Captain America #337 (1988), and was created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio and Tom Morgan

Fictional character biographyEdit

Lawrence ChesneyEdit

Copperhead
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDaredevil #124 (Aug 1975)
Created byLen Wein
Marv Wolfman
Gene Colan
In-story information
Alter egoLawrence Chesney
Team affiliationsGang of Four
PartnershipsAgent of unnamed demon
AbilitiesWears a suit of copper armor
Use of a gun that shoots paralyzing or lethal darts

Lawrence Chesney grew up hearing the tales of a pulp fiction hero named Copperhead from his father, who was the model for the covers of the Copperhead pulps and came to believe he himself was Copperhead. Chesney, warped by his father's madness, assumes the Copperhead guise, and leaves his calling card of copper pennies on the eyes of his victims. His murders of the writer and the publisher of the Copperhead pulps brings him the attention of Daredevil. As he fights Daredevil, Copperhead is struck by lightning and killed by electrocution.[1]

After death, Copperhead becomes the agent of a demon. He is sent back to Earth to retrieve Spider-Man’s soul, but fails after battling Spider-Man and Daredevil.[2]

Arthur ReynoldsEdit

Copperhead
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceHuman Fly #8 (Apr 1978)
Created byBill Mantlo
Frank Robbins
In-story information
Alter egoArthur Reynolds
AbilitiesWears a suit of copper armor
Use of a gun that shoots paralyzing or lethal darts

Arthur Reynolds discovered that his former co-worker at the museum, Lawrence Chesney, had been Copperhead, and had been killed. Reynolds broke into Chesney's apartment and stole a spare Copperhead costume, assuming the identity. His plan to rob the museum were defeated by White Tiger and the Human Fly.

Davis LawfersEdit

Copperhead
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceCaptain America #337 (1988)
Created byMark Gruenwald
Ralph Macchio
Tom Morgan
In-story information
Alter egoDavid Lawfers
Team affiliationsSerpent Society
AbilitiesWears copper suit
Possesses arsenal of gadgets
Gauntlets that shoot poisonous energy blasts

Davis Lawfers was born in Rochester, New York. He was a civil servant before becoming an agent of the Viper and a professional criminal. Copperhead was the leader of the fourth Serpent Squad, consisting also of Fer-de-lance, Black Racer, and Puff Adder. The quartet robbed a Las Vegas casino and battled Captain America, Falcon, Nomad, and D-Man in order to attract the attention of Sidewinder, then the leader of the Serpent Society.[3] The Serpent Squad was freed from jail by the Sidewinder,[4] and were inducted into the Serpent Society. In truth, they were sent by the Viper so she could infiltrate the organization and take over as its new leader.[5] After the coup was staged, Copperhead was assigned by the Viper, along with the Cobra and Boomslang to put a mutagenic agent into the water supply of Washington D.C. During that mission, he and Cobra had personality conflicts and did not get along, and battled Captain America and Diamondback.[6] After the Viper's plot was foiled, the Society re-organized with Cobra as the new leader. Copperhead did not stay long and quietly disappeared from the ranks of the Society.

During the Secret Invasion storyline, Lawfers rejoined the Society. The Society held a number of civilians hostage in a compound in the American Midwest claiming they were protecting themselves from the Skrulls. However, they were easily defeated by Nova and his new Nova Corps.[7]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Copperhead appears as a member of Viper's Serpent Society under its new name of Serpent Solutions. He assisted Black Racer and Cottonmouth into attacking Captain America and Diamondback where Captain America learned too late that Diamondback is in league with the Serpent Solutions where she knocks him out and they bring him to Serpent Solutions' headquarters. They were later defeated by Captain America and his friends.[8]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Copperhead has no superhuman powers. He has moderate experience in hand-to-hand combat and street fighting techniques, but mainly relies on his weaponry.

He wears finger-shooters on his gauntlets which project electrical discharges ("poison-blasts"); a spring-loaded, telescoping, rapid-retracting, wrist-mounted, titanium steel alloy grappling hook ("shooting fang"), with 30-foot (9.1 m) cable line; exploding magnesium flare-bombs stored in his snake-head helmet compartment ("copper-bursts"); micro-suction cups in gloves and boots, enabling adhesion to walls and ceilings. His equipment was designed by technicians hired by the Viper. His gauntlets need to be recharged regularly using the spare poison-blast cartridges in his belt.

For protection, Copperhead wears a copper suit of scale mail, which functions as light body armor made of micro-mesh chain-mail covered with reinforced synthetic chain-mail tunic.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Daredevil #124-125
  2. ^ Daredevil/Spider-Man #1-4 (January–April 2001)
  3. ^ Captain America #337
  4. ^ Captain America #338
  5. ^ Captain America #341-342
  6. ^ Captain America #343-344
  7. ^ Nova vol. 4 #19
  8. ^ Captain America: Sam Wilson #4-6

External linksEdit