8-BALL

 

Real Name: Jeff Hagees

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal;
    formerly propulsion system engineer, pool player

Group Membership: Formerly his gang

Affiliations: Freezer Burn, Hobgoblin (Jason Phillip Macendale), Humbug, Mad Thinker, Whirlwind (David Cannon), his gang (6-Ball, 9-Ball, 11-Ball);
    loosely associated with the other criminals at the Big House, including Absorbing Man, Dragon Man, Electro (Max Dillon), Figment, Grey Gargoyle, Mandrill, Powderkeg, Rhino, Sandman (William Baker), Scorpion (Mac Gargan), Silencer, Southpaw, Tiger Shark, U-Foes (Ironclad, Vapor, Vector, X-Ray), Vermin, Wrecking Crew (Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball, Wrecker)

Enemies: Daughters of the Dragon (Misty Knight, Colleen Wing), Ricadonna, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Sleepwalker (hosted by Rick Sheridan), Wrecker (Dirk Garthwaite), Yellowjacket (Henry Pym)

Known Relatives: Unidentified grandmother

Aliases: The Crook with the Jet-Propelled Cue Stick, Eightball

Place of Birth: Duluth, Minnesota

Base of Operations: Converted warehouse in New York City;
    formerly the Big House

Education: Advanced degree in engineering

First Appearance:
    (shown on television) Sleepwalker#1 (June, 1991)

    (in person) Sleepwalker#2 (July, 1991)

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities: 8-Ball has a gifted intellect and is a skilled engineer and inventor specializing in propulsion systems. He has used this ability to devise numerous weapons and devices for committing crimes. His primary weapon is his specialized pool cue, which can multiply the force applied through it a thousand fold. 8-Ball is an expert pool player, and can make numerous trick shots with this cue: he has used it to send a fire hydrant through the stone supporting column of a bank's facade, and he can even launch people as projectiles without apparent harm to the victim (though doubtless that would change if they hit an obstacle at that velocity). In addition to his cue, 8-Ball has used floating spy cameras shaped like pool balls and two vehicles apparently based on the same hover-technology. The first was the Hover-Rack, a four-man craft in the form of a pool-ball rack, while the second was a large (approximately 8' diameter) 8-ball. The means by which 8-Ball was able to stand on a smooth flying sphere are unrevealed, but it is likely his boots may be magnetized. 8-Ball's gang threw Ball-bombs, small explosives in the form of billard balls; 8-Ball has never been seen to use these, but may carry them nonetheless.

8-Ball is in athletic condition, as well as a skilled gymnast. His helmet is bulletproof

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Red

 

 

 

 

History: (Sleepwalker#2 (fb)) - The man who would become 8-Ball was employed by a defense contractor as a designer of missile propulsion systems. To escape from the pressure of his work, he started playing a lot of pool, and then gambling on it. He ended up in serious financial trouble, and his employers worried that he was selling defense secrets to settle his debts. Even though they were unable to prove it, he was fired. Combining his two areas of expertise, the former engineer created a force-multiplying pool cue and adopted the identity of 8-Ball. He also outfitted and recruited several henchmen to assist him.

(Sleepwalker#1 - BTS) - 8-Ball committed a series of robberies and thefts in the New York area which were reported by various news sources.

(Daughters of the Dragon#2(fb)) - 8-Ball moved his invalid grandmother to a Queens hospital, where he could pay for her treatment with the proceeds from his crimes.

(Sleepwalker#2) - 8-Ball and his gang broke into a bank (through the means of sending a car through the front door) but were observed by Sleepwalker, who had only recently learned about crime, and was curious to learn more. Sleepwalker confronted 8-Ball and demanded an explanation for his actions. 8-Ball began an attempt to fast-talk the alien, but 9-Ball panicked and threw a ball-bomb. Sleepwalker retaliated, warping the sidewalk to knock down 8-Ball's gang, but 8-Ball was able to evade the attack and knock a phone booth into him. 8-Ball asked Sleepwalker who he was, then related his own origin as the gang began to rob the bank. When his story was over, he collapsed the bank's facade onto Sleepwalker and started to move his gang out.

   Sleepwalker, however, regained his strength with his proximity to the ground, and once more challenged 8-Ball, who recovered quickly from his shock. He and his gang renewed their attack, but Sleepwalker seemed to have the upper hand until the police arrived. 8-Ball was able to attack the police as a diversion, forcing Sleepwalker to go to their aid while he and his men escaped. They made it to the Hover-Rack, but were seized by Sleepwalker, whose strength was sufficient to prevent the craft from moving. Just then, Sleepwalker's human host Rick Sheridan awoke, and the alien was drawn back into his mind, allowing 8-Ball and his men to make their getaway.

(Sleepwalker#2 - BTS) - Sometime shortly after these events, 8-Ball disbanded his gang in favor of working solo.

(Captain America I#395) - During one of Crossbones (Brock Rumlow)'s visits to the Bar With No Name in Manhattan, 8-Ball played (and probably won) a game of pool against Oddball (Elton Healy).

(Sleepwalker#19) - 8-Ball attacked a pool tournament in order to steal the solid gold trophy, worth over one hundred thousand dollars, that was to be awarded to the winner. He made short work of the tournament's security, but was once more opposed by Sleepwalker as he tried to make his escape. Taking advantage of his enemy's concern for human life, 8-Ball used his cue to knock a steady stream of bystanders at Sleepwalker. Sleepwalker was preoccupied with catching the humans before they were injured, and was unable to protect himself from the pool table that sent him crashing through the window and into an alley. He was then further weakened by Rick Sheridan stirring in his sleep, and this allowed 8-Ball to knock him unconscious with a Dumpster.

   Taking Sleepwalker back to his waterfront lair, 8-Ball clamped his enemy to a gigantic hovering 8-ball, which was one of a series he planned to detonate over the river to celebrate his successful theft of the pool trophy. However, Sleepwalker was able to escape by cutting through his manacles with a shard of wreckage from one of the earlier balls to explode. Watching from a distance, 8-Ball failed to see the escape, and assumed the alien had died.

(Sleepwalker#20) - Hanging out at the Bar With No Name to gloat about his recent successes, 8-Ball attempted to goad the other customers into a "friendly" thousand-dollars-a-ball pool game. He had no luck convincing Speed Demon to leave his card game with the Beetle and Mad Thinker, but found himself having been sought out by the criminal mercenary Hobgoblin.

(Sleepwalker#21) - 8-Ball and Hobgoblin kidnapped the bartender from the Bar and flew him to 8-Ball's headquarters, where he was given the pool trophy and $100,000 as the stakes in the criminals' wager: whichever one of them killed Sleepwalker, whom Hobgoblin was convinced had not died so easily, in the following twenty-four hours would be declared the winner. 8-Ball began his search for Sleepwalker by deploying a fleet of flying pool-ball cameras to search the city.

   However, what neither criminal realized was that Sleepwalker and Sheridan had switched minds from a botched attempt at freeing Sleepwalker. In addition, Sleepwalker's nemesis Cobweb was using the Chain Gang to control Sheridan's girlfriend Alyssa Conover's mind. Seeking to kill Sheridan and thus Sleepwalker, the Chain Gang had Conover knock him unconscious, which released Sleepwalker's body with Sheridan's mind.

   It was this entity which 8-Ball encountered in a junkyard shortly thereafter. Sheridan was no match for 8-Ball, and was quickly overwhelmed. Before the criminal could kill his target, though, the Hobgoblin arrived, having secretly followed 8-Ball. A pitched battle ensued, with both 8-Ball and Hobgoblin doing their best to defeat Sheridan, who was quickly learning how to best use Sleepwalker's abilities. He was eventually brought down when Hobgoblin caused a large electromagnet to fall on him. However, 8-Ball had become convinced by Sheridan's claims to not be Sleepwalker, and tried to stay Hobgoblin's hand, to no avail. Hobgoblin savagely slashed out Sheridan's throat.

(Sleepwalker#22) - Hobgoblin accused 8-Ball of trying to get out of his bet, and attacked him. 8-Ball fought back, and when he managed to knock Hobgoblin from his goblin-glider with a tire, he explained that he just wanted to play a fair game, but he realized that Hobgoblin would have no way of seeing that Sleepwalker was behaving strangely. 8-Ball then conceded the bet. Hobgoblin then asked the dying Sheridan who he was, and when Sheridan told him, he agreed that it was not Sleepwalker, because "a man on his deathbed never lies". The bet was called off, and Hobgoblin left. 8-Ball told Sheridan that it was too bad he had to get mixed up in this and walked off.

(She-Hulk I#5 - BTS) - At some point, 8-Ball was apprehended and incarcerated in Pym Experimental Penitentiary Number One, also known as the "Big House", where the inmates were kept at a reduced size of roughly a foot.

(She-Hulk I#5) - 8-Ball was one of the inmates of the Big House who was recruited by the Mad Thinker (actually a robot simulacrum thereof) in his breakout plan. As such, he made noise to cover the Thinker's solicitation of the newly-arrived Southpaw. Along with the rest of the group, he escaped from the mess hall disguised by the Sandman as a brick while an illusion of the group created by Figment returned to their cells. The group proceeded, the sound of their passage masked by Silencer, until they were able to secure temporary reducing gas from the prison stores. They then stowed away on a guard who was mentally controlled by the Mandrill, and passed from the guard to She-Hulk, who was retrieving Southpaw as part of a legal injunction against the Big House.

(She-Hulk I#6) - She-Hulk, her boss Holden Holliway (Southpaw's grandfather), and Southpaw returned to their office building to meet with Yellowjacket, the owner of the prison, and force him to close it down if he did not release Southpaw. 8-Ball and the other escapees were able to transfer from She-Hulk to Southpaw before she was re-enlarged, and the re-enlarging gas restored them to their "normal" imprisoned size. The villains scattered in an attempt to make good their escape. She-Hulk hunted down 8-Ball along with several others in one of the offices, and when she commented that she was never into playing with dolls, 8-Ball defiantly proclaimed them to be "action figures". The temporary gas began wearing off, and he, Dragon Man, Powderkeg, and Rhino prepared to gang up on She-Hulk. Before they attained full size, however, She-Hulk seized 8-Ball and hurled him at Dragon Man, at which point he rebounded around the room and struck all three of the other criminals, knocking him senseless.

(Daughters of the Dragon#1) - 8-Ball, along with Freezer Burn, Humbug and Whirlwind, broke into the home of publishing magnate and crimelord Ricadonna to steal her jewelry. Unbeknownst to the criminals, they also stole a valuable computer chip. Despite having disabled the alarm system, the four were observed by a surveillance camera hidden in a plush bear.

(Daughters of the Dragon#2) - Ricadonna put out contracts on the heads of all four criminals, and one of the criminals known as Razor-Fist tracked down Freezer Burn at his son's mother's apartment. The other three, unaware of this, met with their fence to try to sell the jewelry. The fence, Hugo, took one look at Ricadonna's jewels and told them it was impossible to sell, and that they were probably as good as dead. Later that day, 8-Ball was picked up by his bondswomen, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, when he went to visit his grandmother in the hospital. They told him about Freezer Burn's death, but before he could give them any information, the car was destroyed by a grenade fired by the Wrecker, killing 8-Ball.

Comments: Created by Bob Budiansky and Bret Blevins, presumably from an original design by Budiansky.

8-Ball seems to be the only villain from the Sleepwalker series to show up anywhere else, and I can only assume it's his great old '60s-style costume. I can really see Lee and Ditko having designed this guy for Spider-Man to fight. That being said, he apparently wasn't transferred to the Raft like several of the other Big House escapees, such as the U-Foes or Vermin.

If 8-Ball is the best pool player on the east coast, you have to wonder how he lost all that money gambling. I'm inclined to think he lost it betting on other people's games, not his own. That or he practiced a lot after deciding on a pool theme for his supervillainous career.

8-Ball also appears in a nightmarish hallucination Sleepwalker has during his light addiction in Sleepwalker#13.

Powderkeg calls 8-Ball "Eightball" in She-Hulk III#6; he is "8-Ball" throughout the Sleepwalker appearances.

Finally, I really like that 8-Ball put forth the effort to correspond his henchmen's costumes with their names. 9- and 11-Ball even have stripes on their outfits that 6-Ball's lacks.

In Daughters of the Dragon#1, 8-Ball claims to have a gastrointestinal problem when Freezer Burn harasses him about needing to urinate. Of course, gastrointestinal ailments affect the gastrointestinal tract, not the urinary tract, and so this explanation is nonsense. Presumably 8-Ball fabricated his medical problem to excuse his need to go.

I am otherwise taking the sage advice of Thumper's mom with regard to the DotD series, both with respect to 8-Ball and otherwise.

8-Ball's real name was revealed in Daughters of the Dragon#1.

8-Ball has a profile in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition.

Profile by LV!

Clarifications: 8-Ball, enemy of Sleepwalker, has no known connection to


8-Ball's gang

8-Ball originally employed a group of three henchmen in costumes similar to his. Of them, only 9-Ball spoke or was addressed by name, and he was a rather stupid and cowardly thug. The others seem much the same; their names are presumed based on the numerals on their chests. 8-Ball appears to have abandoned his gang. A letters page theorized that they were so incompetent in their outing against Sleepwalker that he dropped them immediately thereafter.

From left to right, the image shows 11-Ball (red), 8-Ball, 9-Ball (yellow) and 6-Ball (green).

--Sleepwalker#1 - BTS, Sleepwalker#2









Images:
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition - full body
Perched on flying 8-ball - Sleepwalker#21, p24 (including ads)
Head shot (unmasked) - Sleepwalker#2, p20
Head shot (masked) - She-Hulk III#5, p16
Action shot - Sleepwalker#2, p17
Gang - Sleepwalker#2, p23


Sleepwalker#1 - BTS (June, 1991) - Bob Budiansky (writer), Bret Blevins (artist), Don Daley (editor)
Sleepwalker#2 (July, 1991) - Bob Budiansky (writer), Bret Blevins (artist), Don Daley (editor)
Captain America I#395 (December, 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Sleepwalker#19-22 (December, 1992 - March, 1993) - Bob Budiansky (writer), Kelly Krantz (pencils), Denis Rodier (#19) & John Lowe (inks), Don Daley (editor)
She-Hulk I#5-6 (September-October, 2004) - Dan Slott (writer), Paul Pelletier (pencils), Tom Simmons (#5), Don Hillsman (#5) & Roland Paris (#6) (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Daughters of the Dragon#1-2 (March-April, 2006) - Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (writers), Khari Evans (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)


Last updated: 01/31/05

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