Prizefighter is a member of the Commanders In Crisis which is a twelve part series by creators Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto. At its core the series is about the need for human empathy and its global decline though particularly a United States whose citizens and federal government grow increasingly divided and hostile. This United States is on the verge of dissolving the Union and becoming 52 (yes, 52) separate nation states whose only mutual agreement will be support against foreign threats. Orlando and Tinto’s story incorporates multiple earth ideas as the title suggests. This profile includes some spoilers so stop reading now if you intend to read the series and don’t want to be spoiled.
Prizefighter is the superhero identity of Noah Rowe who was elected as the first openly gay President. Rowe was married to Douglas during his presidency. A catastrophe strikes and wipes out Rowe’s universe. He is the sole survivor of Earth J having been rescued by what at the time seemed to be a mysterious cosmic force and was later learned to be the work of Nina Next AKA Frontier, the leader of the Commanders, in her plan to save her own Earth (Earth Z), the last remaining Earth of all in this multiverse. Being pulled through the dimensional breech gave Rowe and the other three people Frontier rescued from their respective earths new powers. In Rowe’s case it have him the powers of flight and super strength though a line of Prizefighter’s dialog alludes to a connection between the public putting their faith in him in order for his power set to function.
A gay male character being prominent in a team book in much the same way that Superman was once the face of the Justice League throughout much of its publication history makes for an interesting premise. Consider that Clark Kent was raised in a rural town in the Plains state of Kansas and one of the mottos tagged onto Superman is “Truth, Justice, and the American way”. Steve Orlando makes Rowe the first gay President to symbolism the same motto on his birth world and truth, justice, and a better world on his adopted planet since the US and people across the globe are faced with an existential crisis.
Playing the love interest is reporter Chris Cantero, Steve Orlando’s nod to Lois Lane. The mutual attraction is real as is their sexual relationship though Prizefighter keeps it from becoming more emotionally intimate. The death of his husband Douglas is Prizefighter’s reason for walling off his private life in this present day reality. At the same time Prizefighter declines Cantero’s attempts to interview him. This is a twist in dynamics to the Superman/Clark/Lois triangle exploited during the 1960s during Mort Weisinger’s editorship. Prizefighter will work through his doubts about Cantero’s motivation, a typical enough experience in many relationships but amplified in the story line by the Extinction Society’s successful bid to eliminate empathy as a precursor to attain its goals of destroying the planet.
After Prizefighter, Frontier, and the other Commanders defeat the Extinction Society’s efforts and the Cosmic Sepsis is stopped there is a renewed sense of hope in the world. Prizefighter is left to start his life over and the first step is taking Cantero on a vacation to Provincetown.
Prizefighter first appeared in #1 which also showed his attraction to men.
Created by Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto. Art by Tinto from the cover of Commanders In Crisis #3 and interior art from issue #12.
All rights reserved Steve Orlando and Arancia Studios s.n.c.