To truly know Nuklo, you can’t start with the super-strong radioactive man who wasn’t radioactive man. You have to start with his parents, the Whizzer, and Miss America.
The Whizzer was a World War II Era Hero who got his power from a mongoose blood transfusion. If you have some mongoose blood on hand - and who doesn’t, really? - go and give it a shot. I should also mention that by listening to this podcast release us from all liability regarding mongoose and mongoose blood related incidents. Also, seriously, don’t go do that. The Whizzer, though, found that in addition to not dying via cobra bite in Africa, he had super speed. He also had a yellow suit. Yes, the Whizzer had a yellow suit. Someone was in on that joke and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the Whizzer.
He was recruited by Bucky Barnes - the...small child friend of Captain America Bucky Barnes, not the cool Sebastian Stan grown up version. They joined up with Cap, Bucky, and others to form the Invaders during the War because they would invade Europe and fight Nazis. After the war, with the loss of Cap, Bucky, and I guess their branding guy, the group renamed itself to the not-at-all cringy and self-aggrandizing All-Winners Squad.
The All-Winners Squad won so much that they got sick of winning and their readers were like, please, you’re winning so much. Seriously. Stop.
And they did. When their book was cancelled after two issues.
Well, what do superheroes do after they hang up the spandex? Have a normal life. They get married, settle down, pick up extra shifts as bodyguards at a secret nuclear plant, get exposed to massive amounts of deadly radiation, and have a child. Probably not great to do that in that particular order...or any order, really, but that is what happened to Miss America and the Whizzer. And, by the way, we’ve already talked about the Whizzer, but Miss America was a teenager that was fiddling with a device that gave people superpowers when it was struck by lightning, which, yes, gave her superpowers. In her case it was super-strength and flight.
I'm becoming RADIOACTIVE!
That at least somehow suggests how she survived the radiation exposure. The Whizzer had his super mongoose blood to fall back on (why aren't we studying that, by the way?), but their child, Robert Frank Jr., wasn’t so lucky.
Eight months later, Nuklo was born, a glowing, misshapen lump that emitted dangerous levels of radiation.
There’s no, what to expect when you’re expecting a dangerous radioactive mutant child, so the couple turned to their employer, the US government, who came up with a solution that was as traumatizing as it was ineffective.
They presented a radiation-proof capsule for the child to live in. For twenty-five years, until his radiation emissions were at an acceptable level. Now, growing up is hard for anyone. Growing up in a capsule in the middle of a government base surrounded by armed soldiers who will execute you the moment you look like you’ll lose control of your superpowers? That’s...a little more difficult.
He stayed in the facility for a couple of decades until the place was destroyed in an accident. Stark enterprises took over the cleanup and discovered the chrono-capsule that housed the being and, not knowing what it was, took it for safe keeping in the Avengers tower. You know, the one in the heart of New York City. The most populated city in the United States.
Take two capsules and call me in 50 years
The Whizzer learned of his son's transportation a bit too late, but donned his costume and went after the boy, nearly defeating the Avengers in the process. He was older, but he was good father...a good father who left his son to be quarantined alone for decades. Like, for real, if that were my kid and I had to keep him there, I would live next to that thing. The Whizzer's reaction feels like just that, with him taking out his anger at himself for not being there for his child on the Avengers. I'm probably going too deep into the psychology of The Whizzer, so we'll move on. The Vision stopped him without incapacitating him, but time and cholesterol did that for him when, after using his power for the first time in 25 years, The Whizzer had a heart attack after telling the Avengers the story.
At that same moment, the chrono-capsule broke open, revealing Nuklo.
The nine-foot-tall child with the power of a nuclear bomb quickly brushed aside Earth's mightiest heroes, blew a hole in the wall, and escaped out into one of the most populated cities in the world.
After a series of events worthy of any Marvel movie, the Avengers: Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Mantis, and the Scarlett Witch battle Nuklo and destroy buildings, trains, and more, but it is Wanda Maximoff's hex power that saves the day. She contains the monster to take him back to the Avenger's tower, help him come to terms with his power, teach him, and help him live a life outside the horrible chrono-capsule that he had just lived in for 25 years.
Just kidding. They put him right back in for another 25 years because who needs that headache?
As a bit of an epilogue, Nuklo had a tough life after he was released again, this time by villains. He was stopped by the avengers, again, and instead of kicking the can down the road, they took him to Project Pegasus, of Captain Marvel fame, where they figured out how to reduce his radiation levels and sent him to a hospital in New York City where his doctor was one of his dad's old enemies. She drained Nuklo's radiation to use against his dad, and while both the doctor and the Whizzer died, Nuklo was cured of his radiation and powers and able to rejoin society. As a forty-something who had only experienced life inside a metal capsule. And who just had his curse used against his dad to murder him.
Alone in the world, Nuklo was recruited to join a secret, SHIELD-like organization. I hope they don't require shirts, though, because, even not radioactive, the guy's deltoids are literally bigger than his head.
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