Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Mercenary

Group Membership: Air Force

Affiliations: Air Force (Cardinal, Killer Shrike, Sparrow, Tanager), Air Command, Gloria Hancock

Enemies: Night Thrasher (Dwayne Taylor), Protocol, Soldiers of Misfortune (Cut, Dark, Dry, Light, Right,
   Wrong), Undertow

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile aboard Air Command's aerial headquarters

First Appearance: Night Thrasher II#4 (November, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Oriole wore an armored suit of unknown origin. It had mechanical wings and allowed him to fly, though the methods of lift and propulsion are unknown. The suit was controlled by voice commands through the helmet. His primary weapons were forearm-mounted three-pronged blades which can be fired pneumatically. Oriole himself was an efficient tactical fighter.

   Oriole's armor was susceptible to damage to the backpack, which stored the main power-housing link.

History: (Night Thrasher II#4) - When Gloria Hancock of Hancock Transport Airlines hired Air Command to get revenge on Dwayne Taylor and the Taylor FOundation, who had refused HTA access to their airfields in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Oriole was attached to the Air Force team sent on the mission. Cardinal led the team, which also included Sparrow and Tanager.

(Night Thrasher II#5) - Air Force deployed from Air Command's aerial headquarters after it had intercepted the Taylor Foundation's Learjet. When Cardinal fell under fire from the Lear's pilot, Sprocket, Oriole took her out, pinning her to the wall with one of his blades. The team fanned out to discover that all of the Taylor Foundation's directors were present except for one. The missing man was Taylor himself, who was secretly the vigilante Night Thrasher. Taylor could not use his own armor without revealing his identity to everyone onboard, so he instead prepared to attack Air Force from hiding. First he disabled Tanager, then he knocked out Oriole by damaged his suit's power supply, correctly guessing that it was located roughly in the same place as in his own armor. Tying Tanager's headgear into Oriole's suit, he found that he could control all of the Air Force flight exoskeletons through it. He therefore immobilized Sparrow and Cardinal, and forced the team to take on humanitarian missions or else be pushed out of the plane in nonfunctional battlesuits.

(New Warriors I#54) - During one of Air Force's humanitarian missions to a Rwandan refugee camp in Goma, Zaire, Cardinal, Oriole, Sparrow and Tanager were ambushed by the Soldiers of Misfortune, a group of mind-controlled, superpowered shock troops utilized by the terrorist group Undertow. Despite their best efforts to repel the attack on the camp, Air Force were destroyed, with only Cardinal escaping. Oriole died alongside Tanager, and Sparrow was taken prisoner.

Comments: Created by Fabian Nicieza, David Boller, Keith Aiken and Jim Amash.

Oriole isn't given a lot to do in either of his appearances, but he does come across as quite collected and professional as Air Force boards the Taylor Lear. Much more so than, for example, Cardinal, who sticks his head up yapping about how much fun he's having and promptly gets a handgun emptied into him.

The New Warriors story is pretty confusing: in issue 54, where Air Force actually appear, the four members shown are Cardinal, Killer Shrike, Sparrow and Tanager, and Killer Shrike is shown as one of the two dead bodies. However, an editor's note in #56 says the two Air Force members who died were Oriole and Tanager. Given that Killer Shrike/Oriole has no lines in the story to work from, and that Oriole has no further appearances whereas Killer Shrike does, it seems logical to assume that Oriole was the Air Forcer present and deceased in Rwanda, and that the art showing Killer Shrike was an error.

It's not clear if Air Force is operating under Air Command's supervision after they take to humanitarian aid. Regardless, with Oriole and Tanager dead, Sparrow under the control of Undertow, and Cardinal having renounced his criminal past, Air Command would seem to be pretty short of operatives at this point. Of course, they might still have Killer Shrike, and it's hard to believe an organization as huge as Air Command seems to be would have a grand total of five superpowered agents to send on missions. There's no shortage of bird-themed criminals, after all. Possible Air Force operatives might include Peregrine (Alain Racine), Raptor (Paul Hazlett) (but probably not at the same time as Killer Shrike), Vulture (Toomes, Drago or Shallot), Bluebird (Zora Loftus) (but probably not at the same time as Toomes), a new Bird-Man, or even Flying Tiger or Blackwing of Heavy Mettle.

Profile by LV!

Clarifications: Oriole of Air Force has no known connection to

Full shot - Night Thrasher II#5, p11 (including ads)
Upper body shot - Night Thrasher II#5, p14

Night Thrasher II#4 (November, 1993) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), David Boller (pencils), Keith Aiken & Jim Amash (inks), Rob Tokar (editor)
Night Thrasher II#5 (December, 1993) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Javier Saltares (artist), Rob Tokar (editor)
New Warriors I#54 (December, 1994) - Evan Skolnick (writer), Richard Pace (pencils), Bruce Patterson (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)

Last updated: 02/07/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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