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The Slingers

Richard "Ritchie" Gilmore was the leader of his college wrestling team, but still he felt like something was missing in his life. One day an old vigilante named Black Marvel approached Ritchie and made him an offer that he couldn't refuse. Black Marvel offered him the chance to become a hero, and he accepted almost immediately. Ritchie became the hero Prodigy. Black Marvel also acquired the help of three other youngsters and named them the Slingers. The costumes and aliases that Black Marvel gave to the heroes were once owned by Spider-Man. The Slingers undertook several training exercises, and during one of those exercises Dusk was killed, falling to her death from a roof. Other team members Ricochet and Hornet were devastated, but Ritchie told them to move on and leave her.[3]

Richard Gilmore

Sometime later the Slingers were told to do some scouting in a construction yard that they thought to be a Maggia cover operation. Prodigy told Ricochet and Hornet to go check it out. They discovered that the Maggia was storing nuclear waste under the building. When they were to report this to Prodigy they were attacked by giant mutated rats. Prodigy himself was in the construction yard, trying to remain unseen, when Ricochet contacted him and the guards nearby heard it. They opened fire on him but, thanks to his bulletproof costume, he soon took care of the goons. At that exact moment Ricochet accidentally made the tunnel collapse and Hornet was buried under the rubble. Ricochet tried to contact Prodigy but he decided not to answer and crushed the phone. He then left thinking to himself that they would just bring him down with them. Prodigy went back to Black Marvel and reported that Hornet and Ricochet were dead. Prodigy was told the next job and he and Black Marvel took off.[4]

Prodigy was waiting for Black Marvel's sign to start when Ricochet and Hornet tried to tell him the truth of Black Marvel. Prodigy didn't want to listen and attacked Hornet. Ricochet and Prodigy fought for a while. Prodigy eventually bound Ricochet, but Hornet recovered and attacked him accidentally knocking Ricochet off a balcony. Hornet was going to jump and save him but Prodigy crabbed his leg and threw him through a window. Hornet was severely injured and managed to tell Prodigy that he was in the wrong place and that something was about to happen in the basement. Then some of Maggia goons appeared and opened fire on the heroes. Hornet dove to cover while Prodigy threw a table at them, he then snatched one of them and almost killed him but was stopped by Hornet. Prodigy then went through the floor and headed toward the basement. Soon after Black Marvel pressed a remote control and several explosives detonated in the hotel. After the explosions Prodigy headed to the ballroom and found Black Marvel, Hornet, Ricochet, and Dusk.[5]

The others tried to convince Prodigy that Black Marvel was behind the explosions. Then Dusk informed them that there were still people in the hotel that needed help and teleported Ricochet and Hornet away leaving Prodigy and Black Marvel behind. Prodigy was about to go save the people, but was threatened by Black Marvel. Prodigy tried to take a swing at him but Black Marvel escaped leaving him standing there alone in flaming ballroom. They saved several people from the fire and Ricochet managed to arrest Black Marvel. Meanwhile Hornet was saving a child who was stranded in a burning elevator shaft. The boy was climbing down when a bomb in the elevator exploded hurling him down and hitting Hornet in the chest. Hornet crashed to the bottom of the elevator shaft saving the boy but would have been crushed under the collapsing building if Prodigy had not stopped the debris. He told Hornet to get the boy out of there. Hornet got the kid out but Prodigy got buried under the collapsing building.[5]

The others thought that he was dead but days later he managed to dig himself out. He then fought a gang to save a young girl who was stabbed. Prodigy managed to get her to the hospital. He went to find Ricochet and joined the others once again. After the reunion they were transported to hell by Mephisto, who informed them that they would have to fight for Black Marvel's soul. The others were going to leave but Hornet convinced them that they couldn't leave his soul to him. Mephisto used their biggest fears against them and in a last effort had his armies attack them. Dusk amazed everybody by taking out several minions with just one attack. They fought for a while and managed to free his soul. They were then transported back to Earth to the roof where this all started. Prodigy then apologized for everything he made them go through and left.[6]

Civil War & Secret Invasion

A drunk Prodigy manifesting against the SHRA

Prodigy resurfaced when the Superhuman Registration Act became a law. He was in a drunken state at midnight when the law came to pass, shouting on a rooftop when Iron Man appeared informing him that he was breaking a law and asked him to surrender. In his drunken state Prodigy called Iron Man a traitor and attacked him. In the ensuing fight they wrecked the neighborhood. The fight ended when Iron Man hurled Prodigy into a nearby rooftop knocking him out. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents took Prodigy into custody. Reporter Ben Urich, his colleague Sally Floyd and several other bystanders witnessed this scene. Prodigy was the first victim of the Superhuman Registration Act.[7]

Prodigy was later freed from the Negative Zone's Prison 42 by Captain America and his Secret Avengers. Prodigy fought beside them against Iron Man's forces and both sides wreaked havoc in middle of New York. The battle ended when Captain America surrendered to authorities. Prodigy was among the heroes who vanished after the battle and refused to accept amnesty from the SHRA.[8][2]

Prodigy eventually reluctantly joined the Initiative. There, he joined his fellow trainees in several missions, eventually leading to the trainees being sent to Times Square to battle the invading Skrull army. Rescued by Nick Fury's Secret Warriors, the trainees were part of a large, final battle with the Skrulls in Central Park.[9]

Dark Reign

Following the Skrulls' defeat and Norman Osborn's rise to power, Prodigy was offered the chance to lead an Initiative team, in the hopes that Prodigy would follow Osborn's orders. Accepting the offer, he was placed on the Heavy Hitters, Nevada's team, replacing Gravity.[10]

Eventually saddled with Outback (a "new" super-hero, actually long-time criminal Boomerang), this led to conflict in the team was constantly using his new identity to cover his ongoing thefts. Forced to deal with the situation, Prodigy and fellow heroic Heavy Hitters members Nonstop and Telemetry revealed Outback to be Boomerang and announced their secession from the Initiative on live television. Finding this intolerable, Osborn sent in Freedom Force, Force of Nature, the U-Foes (Montana, Oregon, and Delaware's Initiative teams, respectively), and a number of "former" criminals headquartered at Camp H.A.M.M.E.R., current training grounds for the Initiative trainees, to destroy the Heavy Hitters. Assisted by the arriving Avengers Resistance, the two groups were quickly overwhelmed by the villains, and Prodigy stayed behind to give the Resistance and his fellow Heavy Hitters a chance to escape. Pummeled relentlessly by the villains, he was imprisoned back.[11]

After the Siege, Osborn's fall and the Superhuman Registration Act repealed, Prodigy was released from prison, decorated for his resistance. He animated for some time motivation seminaries, intending to reassemble the Slingers.[12] He was eventually given an administrative job into the Department of Justice, dealing with SHRA-related files.[13]

Fear Itself

At the DoJ, Richard met Lt. General Stokes who gave him a message from the Commander Rogers who ask him to reassemble a new Initiative on a voluntary-basis.[13] He monitored the heroes across the country, as well as he run the Public Relations. During this period, he had to deal with the tensions between the numerous heroes, the conflict with two government agents (who had Tarene tortured, seeing her as one of the Worthy), he had even the heroes chasing the Asgardian heroine,[14] and had to fight against his alcoholism.[15]

Facing the lack of interest of his fellow heroes in his leadership, he was close to succumb to the Demon in a Bottle but resisted.[15] Richard participated in the brawl against Tarene, who became the Designate, stated humanity unworthy and left Earth. Prodigy was then able to led the rest of the heroes, pursuing their actions in Las Vegas. Because of his good work and his insubordination to the two agents (depending on the point of view), he was "promoted" to a similar government job, working into a massive archive room, back to the beginning.[16]

Prodigy among the Briggs Chemical LLC

Briggs Foundation

Prodigy later considered himself to be responsible for Las Vegas disaster, and that his new job was only a way to hide him from the public. Having gotten tired of it, he joined Jeremy Briggs' Briggs Chemical LLC, seeing in it a chance to use his powers for real good and atone. He was among the squad sent to the Avengers Academy to convince their students to join Briggs' side, but he was strongly reproached to be selfish and self-centred by his former Slinger-teammate Ricochet.[17]

The former Initiative members later talked about the S.P.I.N. (Super-Power Inhibiting Nanobots), able to de-power beings, and Jeremy used that information to design a solution for Hazmat (Jennifer Takeda) and Mettle (Ken Mack) and proposed it to them at the time of the Avengers/X-Men conflict. There he revealed that he designed it to purge the world of superpowers.[18]

Slingers Reunion

After being liberated from Hell, a demon that had become fixated with the Black Marvel decided to impersonate him and fulfill his desire to continue teaching the Slingers. After outfitting the former supervillain Cyber with the equipment of the late Hornet, the Black Mask contacted Prodigy. Richard decided to work with him, choosing to blindly believe that his former mentor was miraculously returned.[19] The Slingers finished reuniting when they decided to bring Las Vegas vigilante Scarlet Spider to justice after he brutally assaulted millionaire Silas Thorne.[20]

After kidnapping the Scarlet Spider's ally Cassandra Mercury to force him to turn himself over to the authorities, the Slingers were confronted by him and his namesake Kaine at the Thorne Theater. During the fight, Dusk turned against the Black Marvel, since her powers allowed her to detect his demonic nature.[21] After learning the truth behind his mentor's supposed return and the identity of the new Hornet, Prodigy also turned against the Black Marvel. Hornet and the Black Marvel were driven off, and the demon was subsequently killed by the Scarlet Spiders. The three remaining Slingers tried to capture Hornet but lost him. In light of the recent revelations, the Slingers decided to make peace with the Scarlet Spider, but hold him to his promise that he would give up on extreme levels of violence.[19]


Power Grid[24]
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He is an experienced freestyle wrestler.[2]

Additional Attributes

Ritchie is an alcoholic.[15]



Prodigy's Suit: Mystically enhanced to give him super-strength and agility. His costume is also bulletproof and he can use his cape to glide on the air currents.


His armor is bulletproof and its retrofitted to give him superhuman strength, durability and ability to fly limited distances. Formerly he got his powers from Mephisto's cloak.


  • While imprisoned in Prison 42 his prisoner number was 'NG071754'.[22]


See Also

Links and References


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