SMOKESCREEN

Real Name: Unrevealed (Phillip Morris?  Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Identity/Class: Human criminal, source of powers is uncertain (See Powers/Abilities)

Occupation: Head of an illegal gambling den , corrupter of innocent youth

Affiliations: Jake, Nick, and - - Winston?  At least three other thugs aside from the third unnamed one.

Enemies:  Power Man (Cage), Spider Man, Storm, Bret Jackson (former victim/patsy), and his worst enemy... the American Cancer Society!

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None known, his thugs called him "the Boss"

Base of Operations: Casino hidden in the basement of the South Side Social Club

First Appearance: Spider Man/Power Man/Storm public service announcement anti-smoking comic (1982)

Powers/Abilities: It is unclear if Smokescreen got his powers from his costume or if they were innate abilities.  Maybe he smoked a radioactive cigarette?  

Whatever is the case Smokescreen was able to generate clouds of a gray smoke-like gas capable of blinding or asphyxiating his opponents.  Storm heard his voice but didn’t see where it came from shortly before being engulfed in a cloud of smoke, struck from behind by  Smokescreen.  Nor could Smokescreen’s own henchman see him in the dark basement.  Based on this evidence Smokescreen could possibly be able to turn invisible and assume gaseous form OR he could just have a grip on ventriloquism, use of special effects, and misdirection like any good stage performer.  Spider Man implied Smokescreen wore an oxygen filter under his mask to keep from choking on his own smoke but that think must have been shoved up his nose or something because I didn’t see any oxygen filter.

History: (Spider Man/Power Man/Storm- [fb]) - When he started working with the track team last autumn Bret was a young athlete with a dream of the Olympics, but he met Carol and started to change!  He began hanging out with some strange friends of hers, keeping late hours, skipping practice - - and he started smoking!

(Spider Man/Power Man/Storm) - On assignment as Peter Parker for the Daily Bugle, Spider Man snaps some pics of the "special city wide track team" as they train under the auspices of voluntary good Samaritan Power Man for a big final race before school lets out for summer vacation "that brings together youths from all neighborhoods"! Doesn’t it all sound swell!?  

Unfortunately, evil rears its ugly head.  Brett Jackson, star of the team, folds at the last second and is beaten by that evil bastard kid in the number 10 jersey!  Power Man asks why Brett seems so winded and Carol, Bret’s girlfriend, jumps to his defense.  Peter says Bret seems kind of edgy and Power Man says Bret has some problems, but Parker shouldn’t leak any of this vital info to the Bugle!  He’ll handle it
his way.

Spying on the kids after school, Power Man sees Bret, Carol, Danny, and others go into the South Side Social Club.  Inside, the kids are smoking up a storm and playing pool with some older hoods.  Power Man talks to himself as he hangs from the roof looking in a window, thus providing a snappy opening line for our friendly neighborhood Spider Man.  Power Man quickly fills Spidey in about the situation.  Spider Man’s spider-sense goes off, and the two heroes hide just in time before Jake and Nick, two henchmen they could easily beat up individually--blindfolded, emerge on the rooftop with guns drawn.  Thinking the noise Jake heard was a cat, the henchmen go back downstairs.  Power Man realizes it is worse than he thought, but Spider Man stops him saying he has a friend that can keep tabs on Bret that isn’t as recognizable or well known.  Later in the park, Power Man meets Storm of the X-Men and mentions he isn’t so sure about sending her in since the crooks they are investigating look pretty tough.  Storm slams him into a tree with a gust of wind, and he says he’s convinced.

The next day, while the science class is getting a nice lecture about not smoking, Bret starts to nod off, and after the teacher scolds him he says he stayed out a little late last night and that he doesn’t feel too well. The teacher, with profound sympathy and understanding, tells him his grades have been slipping and that Bret should think about his decisions and how they affect his life!  

Meanwhile in the Principal’s Office, the Principal lets Power Man go through Bret and Carol’s private academic records.  Both student’s grades are going down.  

Later, Bret tells his fellow track team members that his winning is in the bag and they are losers for getting on his case about bragging.  Carol and he go to the South Side Social Club right as Jake and his two cronies are leaving.  Jake tells him to go on in and they’ll see him later.  Nick mentions the boss will be real happy, as they go in the basement entrance around back.  Storm, gliding above unseen. follows them in and discovers the arcade is just a front.  The crooks inform their unnamed boss that there is no way the kid can win the race.  An unseen speaker says he is glad but they have been careless and that they have company.  Suddenly, a cloud of smoke surrounds Storm, choking her.  Before she can blow it away with a gust of wind, she is struck form behind and knocked out.  At this time the mysterious speaker is not ready to have the world know of his existence, but soon enough the world will hear of the man called--Smokescreen!

Smokescreen says they can’t take chances now that they have been discovered by one super-type; there will be others.  This means changing plans.  Bret has to throw the race.  Jake and the boys try to get Bret to see things their way.  Bret refuses because gambling is illegal, and he’s making the right decision!  

As the crooks try to kidnap Carol in an effort to blackmail Bret, Spidey and Power Man smash through the wall.  Power Man crushes their guns with his hands, and Spidey webs them down.  They explain to Bret that they came to take a look when they realized Storm hadn’t reported back.  Carol and Bret realize the error of their ways.  Spidey and Power Man rush off to find out what happened to Storm.  

Bret has two days to train and win the race.  Power Man checks back in on Bret and warns him to not over train.  The next day the big track meet starts!

Meanwhile, below the amusement arcade, Smokescreen runs his illegal sports casino and muses to himself about his bright future.  In another room, since Power Man and Spidey couldn’t find her after being knocked out for TWO DAYS (can anyone say concussion?), Storm awakens and blasts her way out.  

At the race Bret is in the home stretch with the one other runner, and he blows it!  Power Man tells him he did his best.  Storm flies up to the other heroes and fills them in.  

Without a moment to lose, the trio rush off to stop Smokescreen before he can "buy" control of the mobs.  Five minutes later Storm and Power Man take out the normal crooks while Spidey stops Smokescreen from escaping.  Able to "see" through the smoke with his spider-sense, Spider Man traps Smokescreen with his webs.  The cops haul Smokescreen and his gang away and assure the heroes all the money will get back to its rightful owners *snicker*.  The rest of the team tells Bret he let the down.  Carol asks if he’s going to let them talk to him like that and Bret says there is no point in arguing.  It’s true!  After some words of wisdom from the three heroes everyone welcomes Bret back to the winning team.

Comments: No writer or artist is listed and, let’s face it, if you wrote or drew this thing would you really want your name on it?  This is the after school special of the comic book world.

This comic has to be one of the most hokey pieces of work ever passed out in Health Class.  A timeless tale of good and evil embracing the weird stereotypes of the early 80s.  Is it in continuity or out?  You be the judge.  It amuses me to think it IS in continuity.

I was under impression that Storm and Power Man first met in the pages of X-Men, introduced to each other by Misty Knight after she and Power Man rescued Storm from some crazed heroin junkies.  Anyone care to verify this?

Now I’m all for suspension of disbelief but let’s look at the facts: Smokescreen had three to six henchmen at the most and less than spectacular powers;  His HQ is a casino in the basement of an arcade;  He was making money by rigging the betting on High School track events hooking kids on smoking;  And he was going to buy control of the mob with the money he made?  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *tears leak from eyes* Hysterical.

As she investigates the hideout under the arcade Storm is knocked out and locked in one of the basement rooms.  Storm doesn’t check in so Spidey and Power Man smash into the arcade and stop some of these thugs from roughing up Bret and Carol.  Then take off directly AWAY form where Storm is captured and can’t find her for TWO DAYS, the entire duration of which she is unconscious!  Boy, look at the size of this plot holes!  Call the Navy, I think we’ve found where the USS Philadelphia disappeared.

On a personal note I have recently quit smoking on my doctor’s orders and can attest to the fact that it is a big vicious monkey you DON’T want on your back.  Hence, this profile is a coping exercise since I figure it keeps me from bouncing off the walls.  However, despite all that this comic is SO out of touch it makes me want to run out and buy a pack of cigarettes.  Anyway Smokescreen seems like a fun character that Kurt or someone should bring out of limbo long enough to get stepped on and ground out under some super hero’s heel like a stale cigarette butt.

Madison Carter provided an image of a completely redesigned Smokescreen (left) from the 1998 and 2000 revised version of the Spider-Man, Storm & Power Man comic.  This edition was called Spider-Man, Storm & Cage; the text was exactly the same but with updated artwork by David Tata.  Given the artistic differences yet the same storyline, Carter suggested that each version may be alternate earths with similar events taking place on both worlds. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man Index confirms that this comic is in continuity.
--David A. Zuckerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profile by Greg O'Driscoll 

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims

Clarifications: Smokescreen should not be confused with...
Smokescreen of the Death Squad, @ Iron Man III #1
Smokescreen, the Autobot Transformer from the alien planet Cybertron.
Smokescream, the gaseous mercenary, @ Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD III #33
Smoke, the the mutant assassin recently working for Coach @ X-Force #119, and apparently killed by Wolverine @X-Force #120


 

 

Bret Jackson was a mild mannered track star at the local High School until he fell victim to the evil lures of smoking!  His contaminated lungs lost his team the big track meet!  Now he’s cleaned up his act and looking for a second chance.  And maybe the Kingpin was out of town that day or Spidey was just being nice or maybe he got hit on the head off-panel, but "the biggest bunch of crooks this city has seen in some time"?  Cut me a break!

 

 

Last updated: 02/16/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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