- Hornet (Hobie Brown)
The Golden Age hero, Black Marvel, made a deal with Mephisto and was given replicas of costumes formerly used by Spider-Man. Black Marvel was tasked with findingt four would-be heroes and giving them the chance to do some good. He would choose four college students, who gladly accepted the costumes. The team generally used a billboard promoting New York City's heroes as their meeting spot and training grounds.
As a spin-off from Spider-Man: Identity Crisis, which involved Spidey creating new identities with new costumes (and seemingly new powers), those identities were passed to four new characters who debuted in Slingers #0 by writer Joe Harris and Adam Pollina.
The new owners of the identities were:
Eddie McDonough, a shy freshman at Empire State University, who gained the enhanced strength and cybernetic exoskeleton of the Hornet
Ritchie Gilmore, an egotistic college student with dreams of glory, was soon encased within the bulletproof costume of Prodigy.
Johnny Gallo was a mutant who possessed his own hyperactive agility and assumed the mantle of Ricochet.
Cassie St. Commons, a poor little rich girl from Connecticut, took on the guise of Dusk.
After a long hiatus and the death of Eddie, the team would go on individual adventures before briefly coming back together to investigate the new Hornet, secretly the resurrected supervillain, Cyber. They would briefly work with him and the demon posing as Black Marvel, until their true natures were exposed.
The Slingers would disappear yet again until Dusk and Ricochet were hired by the Beyond Corporation for one of their superhero projects. Hobie Brown, who originally designed the Hornet armor for his friend, Spider-Man, had taken up the mantle and assigned to lead the other two Slingers by Beyond.
Major Story Arcs
Grand Royale Hotel
Black Marvel’s deal with Mephisto was to get a second chance saving the Grand Royale Hotel. Back in his prime, he failed to save people from a fire at the hotel, which was generally buried in the media. The guilt drove him away from the superhero profession for decades. Now, he needed the Slingers to go in and chase off The Maggia, who were using the hotel as a front for radioactive waste storage, for his new plan to work.
Their raid was unsuccessful, being attacked by mutated rats. This prompted Prodigy to abandon the team for their unprofessionalism. Hornet and Ricochet continued looking into the hotel, only to learn of Black Marvel’s connection to it. When they brought the info to the other two team members, Black Marvel had already set off bombs in an attempt to repeat the fire and actually save people, unlike the last time. Unfortunately, the Black Marvel was injured and eventually passed away from his injuries at the hospital.
Shortly after, The Slingers were kidnapped by Mephisto. He wanted their souls in addition to Black Marvel’s, which he had already imprisoned. Fortunately, the deal had a loophole. In exchange for Black Marvel’s freedom, the Slingers gave up their identities.
Post Slingers life
After the team was disbanded, the Slingers went their separate ways and had individual adventures:
- Ricochet was one of the few mutants to keep his powers after M-Day, but he was involved with a superhero support group, The Loners, determining vigilantism to be too dangerous.
- Prodigy would be conscripted to The Initiative after an incident of public intoxication and be assigned as leader of Nevada's super-hero team the Heavy Hitters. He would later openly denounce the Initiative after Norman Osborn took over.
- Hornet would design and build a copy of his costume to continue acting as a hero but met a tragic fate when a Hand-brainwashed Wolverine murdered him.
- After the Slingers disbanded, Dusk only appeared once before their reunion in a cameo appearance. There were hints in the Loners series that she would return (such as Mattie Franklin being hired to find her, and a mysterious shadow resembling her appearing on a wall at one point), but these plot points were never followed through on.
Return of the Slingers
After Las Vegas took a good amount of damage during Hydra's attempt at taking over the country, superhumans have been flocking to the city to take advantage. One such hero was a new Hornet. He would target casino manager, Cassandra Mercury, who he believed was running a criminal network. His behavior got the attention of Ben Reilly, active in the city as Scarlet Spider, and Ricochet, former Slinger who came to Vegas to see who was impersonating his dead friend.
To protect himself, this new Hornet used a magical talisman to open a dimensional rift and release an angry tentacled monster. The monster put Ricochet in so much danger that his former teammate Dusk sensed it and immediately teleported to his location to rescue him. Hornet II explained that the monster would only attack something truly evil. As it was only attacking Ben Reilly, Ricochet and Dusk reluctantly defected to Hornet's side. Eventually, Prodigy showed up revealing that the Black Marvel was back from the dead. He gave the Hornet suit to this new guy and gave Prodigy a lead on Scarlet Spider. To get Reilly out in the open, they kidnap Cassandra Mercury, but this only gets the ire of Kaine, who had followed Ben to Vegas to keep an eye on him.
While The Slingers fight the two Scarlet Spiders over Cassandra, Black Marvel shows up. Dusk recognizes him as a demon impersonating Black Marvel. The demon had resurrected the cyborg super soldier, Cyber, to be his new Hornet. Now knowing who they are working for, the three living Slingers defected (yet again), teaming up with the two Scarlet Spiders to take out this new Black Marvel and Cyber.
Ricochet was offered a job at Beyond Corporation's Hero Division, but his old teammate, Dusk, thought he was being held against his will. When she caught Hobie Brown using the Hornet armor investigating Beyond, she asked for his help to find Ricochet. They found him just in time to shut down a portal and defeat the creatures escaping from it. They impressed Beyond enough to get their own job offers to work alongside Ricochet.
Unfortunately, their first mission is to protect Beyond executive offices from Ben Reilly, who is lashing out after realizing that he is being taken advantage of. When the Slingers fail to stop Ben, Beyond pulls the plug on their current business ventures.
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