"BIG BEN" DONOVAN

Real Name: Benjamin Donovan

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Lawyer, professional criminal

Group Membership: No named teams

Affiliations: Black Maria (Serbian mob), Bullet, Bengal, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Hypno-Hustler, Dakota North, Rocket Racer (Farrell), Shades, Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln), unidentified friend who managed a discotheque, unidentified sniper
    formerly Luke Cage, Mimi Jenks

Enemies: Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Luke Cage, Caesar Cicero, Lonnie Carver, Cloak (Tyrone Johnson), Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Floyd, Kangaroo (Brian Hibbs), Maggia, Man Mountain Marko, "Marvel Knights", Moon Knight (Marc Spector), Agent Dwight Purcell, Shang-Chi, Eric Slaughter, Thunderbolt (William Carver)

Known RelativesBenjamin "Little Ben" Donovan, Jr. (son), Paul Donovan (brother, deceased), Shaniqua Donovan (ex-wife)

Aliases: Big Ben

Base of Operations: New York City;
    formerly Ossining State Penitentiary;
    formerly the Cage prison
    formerly Weehawken, New Jersey
    formerly Harlem, New York

First Appearance: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14 (October, 1973)

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Big Ben does not appear to have any superhuman powers, but he is exceptionally large and strong. He is perhaps 8' tall, probably 450 pounds, and he can take a lot of punishment. He presumably has close to peak strength (@ 800 lbs.).
    Back in the day he wore some really big platform shoes, the tips and heels of which were filled with steel.

Height: 7'5"
Weight: 398 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

History:
(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14 (fb) - BTS) - Mrs. Jenks hired Ben Donovan to settle the last of her late husband's affairs. Afterwards, the two went to dinner, followed by a play, and then they went to a discotheque a friend of his managed. They had a good time until Ben started putting the moves on Mrs. Jenks, who walked out on him. Drunken and angered that he would get no payoff for money, Ben started following her. Seeking sanctuary, Mrs. Jenks ran to Luke Cage's office.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14) - Ben burst into Luke's office and assumed that she was "jivin' him for another dude" He attacked Cage, holding his own and even managing to floor him a few times before Cage started handing down a beatdown. Knowing when he was outmatched--though he claimed it had never happened before, Ben admitted defeat, and told Cage that he would help Cage out whenever he needed anything.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#16 (fb) - BTS) - Ben witnessed Mrs. Jenks' confession to the murder of reporter Phil Fox; she had not actually killed Fox (it was "Billy Bob" Rackham), but she confessed to exonerate Cage's then girlfriend Claire Temple from the murder for which she had been framed. Mrs. Jenks then died.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#16) - Ben informed Cage of Jenk's confession, telling him that she was "a lot more woman than either of us ever gave her credit for."

(Power Man / Iron Fist#61 (fb)) - Ben acted as Claire Temple's lawyer, clearing her of the murder charge.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#61 (fb)) - Ben continued to work as Cage's lawyer until Cage began working with Jeryn Hogarth.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#62 (fb) - BTS) - Ben's brother, Paul, became head of the Thunderbolts gang (presumably following Black Panther I#15). Paul made the mistake of trying to fight the Maggia for control of their turf. Assistant District Attorney Bill Carver (himself formerly associated with the Thunderbolts gang) caught up with Paul and put him in prison; there the Maggia were easily able to reach Paul, who didn't live long enough to stand trial.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#42 (fb) - BTS / #62 (fb) - BTS) - His sanity damaged by his brother's death, Ben sought vengeance on everyone who had ever wronged him. Starting with Carver, Ben hired a sniper to kill Bill's brother Lonnie right in front of him.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#42(fb) / #61 (fb) - BTS) - Ben's sniper attempted to kill Bill Carver at Lonnie's funeral, but his first shot missed and Bill struggled with him. Lightning struck the two, killing the sniper, and initiating the process that led to Carver becoming Thunderbolt.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#51) - Cage asked Ben for information of R.U. Rozum and Nightshade, but came up empty.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#62 (fb) - BTS) - Seeking vengeance against the Maggia, Ben hijacked a large Maggia drug shipment under the supervision of Caesar Cicero.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#61) - Ben had his men hide the stolen Maggia shipment in Resthaven Cemetary, burying it in a coffin in a grave marked for Luke Cage (whom Donovan now considered an enemy, due to their past minor altercation)

(Power Man / Iron Fist#61 (fb) - BTS) - Maggia agents confronted Ben, beating him. He narrowly escaped and fled from them.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#61) - Ben arrived in Cage's Gem Theatre office, where he sought protection from Cage (and if Cage were killed in the process, all the better). Cage defeated the Maggia men pursuing Ben, but he then fell to Man Mountain Marko, who delivered them both to Cicero, who questioned Ben regarding the missing drugs.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#62 (fb) - BTS) - Fearing death at Cicero's hands, Ben revealed the Resthaven location of the drugs.

(Power Man / Iron Fist#62) - Cicero's men took Ben and Cage to Resthaven, where they dug up the grave containing the drugs and buried Cage in its place. Cicero then planned to kill Ben, but Iron Fist and Thunderbolt arrived in time to save him. After the Maggia men were defeated, Ben pulled a gun and tried to kill his saviors so they couldn't turn him in to the cops or turn in his drugs. After Ben revealed his motives and past activities, Thunderbolt realized he had had his brother killed. Thunderbolt pulled off his mask and advanced on Ben, who was mortified--a feeling magnified dramatically when Cage emerged from the grave at his feet and grabbed him. Thunderbolt then tackled Donovan, cutting him before the mutagenic process caught up with Thunderbolt, aging him to death; Carver died happy knowing he had found his brother's killer.

(Marvel Knights I#11 (fb) - BTS) - Big Ben came under the employ of Tombstone, who was working with the Serbian Black Maria gang.

(Marvel Knights I#11) - When the "Marvel Knights" investigated Black Maria, Tombstone sent Bengal, Big Ben, and Bullet to stop them.

(Marvel Knights I#12) - In the ensuing struggle, Ben battled Daredevil, who eventually managed to take him down with the aid of a few "widow's bites" from the Black Widow. Ben and the rest of Tombstone's agents were subsequently swallowed up into the dimension within Cloak.

 

(Spider-Man's Tangled Web#16 (fb) - BTS) - Ben ended up in the Cage prison, where he turned into a big, fat, fatty (or it was just artistic license).

(Spider-Man's Tangled Web#16) - Shortly after Tombstone was sent to the Cage, he recruited a trio of allies, consisting of Big Ben, Hypno-Hustler, and Rocket Racer, to help him against the Kangaroo. Ben and the others used a Vaseline-slicked floor to knock down the Kangaroo, at which point they all piled on top of him, holding him so that Tombstone could kill him with a pair of scissors. However, the guards arrived and stopped Tombstone before he could do anything.

(Spider-Man's Tangled Web#17) - The Kangaroo badly beat his attackers before being taken back to his cell. Ben and the others were taken to the prison medic.

(Daredevil II#109 (fb) - BTS) - Donovan had a son, called Little Ben Donovan. Donovan left his kid, making Little Ben think his dad was garbage. For years, Donovan put money into a trust fund for Ben, allowing him to go to Columbia University after high school. At 21, Little Ben was to receive the full trust fund.

(Daredevil II#109 (fb) - BTS) - After 9/11, crime on the docks slowed way down. Slaughter took over the dock business, forming an agreement with the feds to keep things under control.

(Daredevil II#110 (fb) - BTS) - The feds overlooked Slaughter's crimes, focusing on looking at terrorism. When one of Slaughter's men, Floyd, violently murdered a dock worker and three children, the feds felt they needed to cover things up or risk exposure. Agent Purcell, part of a rogue task force, found Big Ben Donovan in jail on an assault charge and ordered him to take the rap for the crimes and be sentenced to death or they would potentially put his son, Little Ben Donovan, at risk.

(Daredevil II#107) - Donovan, five days away from execution, was shocked to have a visit from private investigator Dakota North. She recorded their conversation, hearing his confession and discussing his conversion to Islam. He claimed that his new religion had made him want to take responsibility for his crimes. The next day, he got a visit from Matt Murdock, who wanted to be Ben's lawyer.

(Daredevil II#108) - Murdock expressed interest in helping Donovan get clear from his charges. Donovan adamantly denied he was guilty, but Murdock was persistent. Donovan lost his cool and head-butted Murdock, then kicked him before the guards pulled him off. Donovan ordered Murdock to back off. Donovan tried strangling himself in his cell later, but it didn't work.

(Daredevil II#109) - Murdock went to see Donovan in the prison hospital, and Donovan begged him to back off.

(Daredevil II#110) - Murdock visited Donovan again, bringing Little Ben in with him. Donovan, after ensuring they would keep Little Ben safe, finally told the truth. The true killer, Floyd, was held accountable for his crimes.

(Shadowland: Power Man#2) - Deadly Nightshade met with Donovan at Riker's Island. He told her because Cage and Rand had not stuck around half the members of the Flashmob would be released that day. Cheshire, Commanche and Chemistro had to stay in prison due to warrants or parole violations. After Donovan had a talk with them they agreed to carry the charge. More importantly for Nightshade was that according to Donovan the stories about the new Power Man's powers matched what they previously got from Slingers at Purgatory.

Comments: Created by Steve Englehart and Billy Graham.

    The early Big Ben wasn't as big as he was in Marvel Knights. It may be that he was enhanced somehow, or it might just be artistic license. Initially Cage thought he must "tip in at close to my 300 lbs." However, Cage has been re-evaluated to weigh more like 425 lbs., so I would think Ben is closer to that weight.

Mrs. Jenks received her first name Mimi in Luke Cage's profile in OHotMU A-Z HC#2. Agent Purcell and Ben's ex-wife received their first names in Ben's own profile in OHotMU Update 2010#3.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:


Little Ben Donovan

(Daredevil II#109 (fb) - BTS) - Donovan had a son, called Little Ben Donovan. Donovan left his kid, making Little Ben think his dad was garbage. For years, Donovan put money into a trust fund for Ben, allowing him to go to Columbia University after high school. At 21, Little Ben was to receive the full trust fund.

(Daredevil II#109) - Little Ben opened his door at Columbia and found a private investigator, Dakota North, asking questions about his dad. He was shocked to learn that he was on school through the trust fund, not from a football scholarship as his mom had said. He was determined to talk things over with his mom.

(Daredevil II#110) - Little Ben accompanied Murdock to his father in Sing Sing. Murdock called him in when Big Ben didn't want to tell him the truth. Murdock assured Big Ben that his son would be save and Big Ben told him the truth.

--Daredevil II#109 (Daredevil II#109-110












images:
Marvel Knights I#12, p7, panel 5 (holding Daredevil)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14, p9, panel 5
Power Man/Iron Fist#51, p17, panel 1 (face)
Spider-Man's Tangled Web#17, p4, panel 5 (punched by Kangaroo)
Daredevil II#107, p15, pan4 (Big Ben)
Daredevil II#109, p16, pan5 (Little Ben)


Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14 (October, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Billy Graham (writer/artist), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#16 (December, 1973) - Steve Englehart & Tony Isabella (writers), Billy Graham (plot/pencils), Frank McLaughlin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Power Man / Iron Fist#51 (June, 1978) - Chris Claremont (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Jim Shooter (editor)
Power Man / Iron Fist#61 (February, 1980) - Mary Jo Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (pencils), Bruce D. Patterson (inks), Roger Stern (editor)
Power Man / Iron Fist#62 (April, 1980) - Mary Jo Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (artist), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Marvel Knights I#11-12 (May-June, 2001) - Chuck Dixon (writer), Eduardo Barretta (pencils), Nelson Decastro (inks), Nanci Dakesian & Stuart Moore (editors)
Spider-Man's Tangled Web#16-17 (September-October, 2002) - Daniel Way (writer), Leandro Fernandez (artist), Axel Alonso (editor)
Daredevil II#107-110 (July-October, 2008) - Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka (writers), Michael Lark (penciler), Stefano Gaudiano (inker), Warren Simons (editor)
Shadowland: Power Man#2 (November, 2010) - Fred Van Lente (writer), Mahmud Asrar (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Bill Rosemann (editor)


Last updated: 12/01/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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