|The original trading card art.|
All art owned by Marvel.
Her name was Wildstreak.
Tamika Bowden was a promising gymnast with a huge future ahead of her. But her engineer father refused to work for New York mobster Big John Buscelli. The crime boss arranged for an "accident" that would cost Tamika the use of her legs. Dennis Bowden would throw himself into helping his injured daughter. He created an exoskeleton that when activated increased her strength, speed and agility beyond human levels. Coupled with the skills she learned before her injury, she took to helping others as the vigilante Wildstreak.
|Herb Trimpe wasn't afraid to go maximum Liefeld.|
She would make one other appearance, nearly a year later, in the pages of DeFalco's Thunderstrike (another criminally under-rated title.) She teamed with the title hero to face down a gunrunner that was also her former classmate. Her exoskeleton's batteries ran low as the gunrunner recognized her. Only the appearance of the murderous Sangre saved her identity from being exposed.
|Keith Pollard's Wildstreak in action!|
After her escape, Tamika disappeared from comics forever. Or at least for over another ten years.
Like so many creations of the 90s, it feels like Wildstreak gets shorted because of her origins in an insanely drawn special event annual complete with trading card. But at her core, she's a solid character with an interesting background and a power set designed for high energy comic stories.
I was taken enough to throw her into a Hawkeye series pitch I designed many years ago. Though most of the story is lost to the sands of time, it revolved around Hawkeye coming to terms with his independence from various super-teams, even as he started a new relationship with Wildstreak as crime-fighting partners.
|Wildstreak by Mike McKone. The FF issue|
was a mess, but he drew the heck out of her costume.
Look, even now, Marvel has a severe lack of strong female and strong black characters (though it does better than DC at the second at least.) Wildstreak fits both those bills and has a fun simple design as well. She's a character waiting for someone to dust off and bring to the forefront.
But until then, she'll just be that obscure character with appearances I can count on one hand.