Characters : Digger
The right one is missing, and the left one glows red
He's green, and he looks like he's made of patches. Hold on a moment... actually, he is
Nope, not here
The gamma radiation was holding the body pieces from 13 different corpses together, but that was a great strain on him. Digger had to rest regulary, and couldn't keep up fighting constantly, otherwise, he'd crumble apart. That's what happened.
All other physical abilities similarly enhanced
Gamma powered. Not Hulk level (class 100), but at least class 60
Unknown times 13
The Vegas Thirteen
Known to the authorities
High for some of them, low for others...
New York and Nevada
Multiple mob goons back in the days. None now
Unnamed and probably dead
Spider-Man, Morris Forelli, and probably some of himself were enemies of another of himself (if that makes sense)
Some are certainly widowed. Some could be single though. Of course, since they are dead, they have no marital status. Big can of worms, really. When they died, their wifes were widows. Now they are widowers...
Several, all unknown
Freddie Carnevale, Santo Castellani, Jimmy "Little Man" Desanti, Louis Fredone, Tony Mascapone, George Sims, and seven other unnamed mobsters
A hole deep in the Nevada Desert, and now the sewers of New York
Las Vegas, July 3, 1957. The mobsters Freddie Carnevale, Santo Castellani, Jimmy "Little Man" Desanti, Louis Fredone, Tony Mascapone and their six lieutenants, as well as George Sims, lieutenant of another lord, Morris Forelli, got together, unarmed, to work out a peaceful solution to their conflicts. Since Sims was present, and he was known to be Forelli's right arm, none of the other bosses found Forelli's "delay" strange. Except Forelli found out Sims was working to one of the other families, and had helped to arrange a recent hit on one of Forelli's sons. Only when they saw the 4 gunmen show up did they realize they had been betrayed. That story became known as the story of the Vegas Thirteen, 6 mob lords and their lieutenants, plus the lieutenant of the executor, all killed in one night. Their bodies were buried deep into the Nevada Desert, never to be found again.
Sidenote: George Sims - Any relation to Ezekiel Sims? Could be. JMS is known for foreshadowing and dropping little details in his plots that payoff later. See Babylon 5 for multiple examples.
Present day: a gamma-bomb was detonated in the Nevada Desert, near the site where the bodies were buried. A leading scientist in that field of research, Dr. Henry Davis, theorized that gamma rays may have been instrumental in developing life on pre-historic Earth. He might have been on to something, because a green guy climbed out of ground zero, and walked away following some abandoned (and in very poor shape) railroad tracks.
The green guy calls himself Digger (because he dug out of a hole? Because the Thirteen were killed in the Golddigger Hotel and Casino?), and when he reaches New York, the body count starts. He starts attacking Forelli's men and establishments, referring to himself as "we".
He first struggles with Spidey in a night club, which is when Spidey starts wondering that his green skin might mean something more than just being weird - after he easily rips apart two cartridges worth of webbing, Spidey realizes that it's gamma-green, aka Hulk-green. After the fight, Digger flees into the sewers, feeling strangely tired.
Forelli, knowing Digger had come for him, contacts Spidey to protect him, paying him quite a deal of money to do it. He lets Spidey in on part of the story, but always omitting any involvement in it. While Spidey gets acquainted with Digger's background, Digger gets acquainted with all that happened between his death and rebirth. And sinks a boat carrying contraband for Forelli, killing all the crew. Spidey goes to Nevada, and visits the blast site. The haz-mat crews there are puzzled by the lack of several body parts and the marks of something digging it's way to the surface. Spidey finally realizes what Digger really is. He's is not one, not two, but all of the Vegas Thirteen, their bodies puzzled together and their minds inhabiting the end result, a gamma-powered zombie.
Meanwhile, Digger realizes his families (not the mob ones, the conjugal ones) are all long dead. He goes after another of Forelli's operations, and this time his fight with Spidey is crashed in by 4 guys with machine-guns (deja vu), and barely hurt him, until the last shot. He brings the whole place down, and Spidey only manages to save the shooters. He turns them to the cops, collects some green goo Digger shed, and goes to Forelli to give him a couple of words, letting him know about his displeasure on the use of hired guns to stop Digger.
After analyzing the green goo, Spidey finds out that the only thing holding Digger together was the gamma radiation, since the differences between the cells of the Thirteen would naturally reject each other. Then Peter theorizes that when the Hulk turns back to Bruce Banner, it's because he's recharging, because turning into a green behemoth has a big strain on his system, and he needs to build up again until his energy levels are up, and adrenaline triggers another transformation. He thinks it must be the same with Digger, only since he can't turn human, he's constantly losing energy. He can rest, but it's just not the same. So all Spider-Man has to do is wear him out until Digger runs out of juice.
Sidenote: I'll get back to Peter's theory in the end of this profile.
Spidey then goes to his new cop friend, Lamont, to ask for something we don't see and then goes to Forelli's house. He asks Forelli about the truth behind Digger's vengeance quest. Forelli doesn't come clean. Digger arrives, and tries to kill Forelli's daughter. Spidey intervenes, and Forelli tells Digger that his beef is with him: he ordered the execution, he got the approval of the other Families, everything. Digger tells him that his daughter will die anyway, and Spidey orders Forelli to leave.
Peter keeps fighting, and gives Digger no truce, between the green guy's threats of killing just about anyone. At one point, Spidey's grip of Digger's left arm almost tears it apart. Digger is starting to collapse. He runs to the sewers, and Spidey follows. Digger is glad that if he dies, he dies standing. And he indeed dies. Spidey said "you can't kill what's already dead", so he just fought until Digger blew up, body parts all over.
Finally, Spidey was wearing a wire since he last saw Lamont, so Forelli is busted for murder. Later, he used the money to fund the building the upcoming Gwen Stacy Memorial Library. And while speaking to MJ, he tells her it will always hurt. In between that, she asks him about his Hulk theory, and why it seemed Peter's given it some thought before. Peter explains that all heroes think about each other's weaknesses, may it come the day they have to turn on each other. She asks him if he could stop the Hulk, and he says he could, but he'd have to go all the way, he'd have to kill him, and he doesn't want to think about that.
Final notes: I find it perfectly believable that the heroes take mental notes, in case one of them crosses to the Dark Side. It never happened (permanently) to anyone in the Marvel Universe, an established hero turn villain, but it did happen in the DC Universe, back in the time I read it, with my two favorite heroes, nonetheless, Hal Jordan and Hank Hall. In the MU we had lots of heroes briefly go evil, like Prof X, the Defenders, the occasionally brain-washed Spidey, Scarlet Witch, etc... but the only permanent change I can think of was the ex-Avenger Doctor Druid, who became Nebula's flunkie and died, so it was hardly a classic thing.
Anyway, while the first part is totally believable, Peter is lucky if he never has to face the Hulk. First, and any Hulk reader, even a long-distant one-time Hulk reader like me, while his theory was right about Digger, he couldn't be more wrong about the Hulk. Second, while it's funny he entertains the notion that he can kill the Hulk, there's about one chance in a million that it can happen. If Spidey tried to wore off the Hulk, he'd fail. The Hulk's energy wouldn't end. He'd get more angry, thus he'd get more powerful. Spidey's punches would barely scratch him, and each hit that the Hulk would land would certainly break a few bones.
To sum up, he has the wrong methods, and he's too over-confident. Actually, the only chance Spidey could defeat the Hulk would be to calm him down, making him change back to Banner. And then he wouldn't need to kill him. In fact, if indeed Spidey managed to make the Hulk tired (impossible), then by his notion, Hulk would turn back to Banner, so Spidey would not have to kill him. Of course, trying to make the Hulk tired would result in an all-out brawl, and Spidey would be greatly out-classed in every level but speed, and even that wouldn't last forever, since the Hulk would get better as his anger increased, and having a dodging target cracking jokes at him can really make the green guy mad.
While I like the way JMS is portraying Spidey, making him strong and pushing his limits, much like only Roger Stern and Tom DeFalco ever did since Stan Lee, sometimes some of the character's remarks seem either like boasting ("I could kill the Hulk") or like excessive dramatizing ("This is the strongest foe I ever faced" - he didn't say this with Digger, but he said this with Morlun and said something to that effect with Shathra). The story wouldn't lose at all without these references, at least IMHO, but hey, I take the package as a whole, and all things considering, the good stuff far outweighs the bad.
|May 2003||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #51|
|First as both Vegas Thirteen and Digger|
|Jun 2003||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #52|
|Jul 2003||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #53|
|Aug 2003||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #54|
This profile was completed with information used with permission from the Appendix of Marvel Universe website, mantained by Jeff Christiansen (Snood). If you want to find out about that odd-ball character you've only seen once, or even about that character you haven't ever seen, that's the site you're looking for. An impressive amount of obscure characters await you there!