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ARGENTO

Real Name: Michele "Mike" Alex Argento 

Identity/Class: Human magic user (Italian citizen) (see Comments) 

Occupation: Adventurer;
former soldier 

Group Membership: Euroforce (Danger/Dolph Dongen, Deep Sight/Jane Melville, Key/Geyr Kluge, Nuage/Silvie Rouge, Picaro/Antonio Rey, Tiger/Hughes Aït-Kaci);
    formerly Task Force (Blue Condor/Emilie Scholz, Dragonfly/Cornelia van der Valk, Ice Boy/Hamish Carlyle, Tiger), S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division) 

Affiliations: Director François Borillon, EuroLab (Danger, Deep Sight, Key, Nuage, Picaro), EuroMind, European Union

Enemies: A.I.M., Lords of War (Sakuragi, Kaneda, Oda, others), S.H.A.P.E. (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Commission 

Known Relatives: None 

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly EuroMind base, Spain  

First Appearance: Europa#0 (April 1996) 

Powers/Abilities: Argento initially had no special powers, other than being an exceptional athlete, skilled in acrobatics and unarmed combat, as well as with swords, knives and firearms. In peak physical condition (he's got an eight pack) he favored using two specialized pistols simultaneously, and was lethally accurate with them, even while in the middle of somersaults. He also had an unmatched knowledge of military tactics. His outfit would change depending on the mission - he wore an all black full bodysuit with what looked like an infra-red eyepiece for a subterranean mission, camouflage colors with bare arms for the Malaysian jungle, and a partially armored outfit for attacking the Nadir Inc. base, with twin gun holsters and a sheathed sword on his back, positioned for swift drawing. 

    He somehow began to tap into mystical energies, learning to instinctively teleport, open teleportational portals to transport others, generate energy shields that could block heavy weapon attacks, or fry an opponent's head. He also sensed an attempted surprise attack from behind; whether this was telepathy (sensing the opponent's intent), precognition (seeing the attack moments before it happened), or a more general "danger sense," is unclear. 

Height: 6'1" (by approximation)
Weight: 210 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Gray
Hair: White

History: (Europa#1/text (fb) - BTS) - Born in Rome, Mike Argento was an exceptional soldier.  

(Europa#0/text (fb) - BTS) - S.H.I.E.L.D. created Task Force, a team of "intervention-ready" combat specialists led by Dragonfly, recruited mostly from Europe's elite special forces; Argento was one of said recruits. They were loaned to a European section of the agency called EuroMind, assigned to provide security and acting in emergencies as a rapid-response unit. EuroMind (and Task Force) were based in a secret location in Spain. Task Force was sometimes instructed to protect EuroMind's scientific research group, EuroLab.

(Europa#0/2 (fb) - BTS) - While there was respect for each others' abilities, EuroLab's leader Key viewed Task Force as heavy-handed barbarians with no sense of scientific values, while Dragonfly in return resented her unit having to "baby-sit a Boy Scout troop."    

(Europa#0/2) - EuroLab were sent to an archeological site in Spain to investigate alleged monster sightings, though team leader Key was less than impressed to learn that Task Force were present to monitor their mission. Via a natural gorge, EuroLab descended into the cavern system below, where they were attacked both by Moloid Subterraneans and by unidentified monsters. Though EuroLab put up a good fight, numbers were against them. Despite this, and Dragonfly's urgings, Key was determined not to call Task Force into the caverns, fearing the archeological damage they might do. 

    Despite Key's preferences, EuroMind's Director Borillon deployed Task Force, who dropped down into the caverns and into the fray. Task Force ignored the protestations of EuroLab's Danger about their use of lethal force, gunning down the monsters, but Nuage, EuroLab's telepath, shouted to them that the Subterraneans were not hostile, merely frightened and disoriented. Accepting this, and with more monsters than they could handle anyway, Task Force began defending the Subterraneans too, gunning down the monsters attacking them. Reaching out telepathically, Nuage convinced the Subterraneans that the monsters were a common enemy. 

    Despite this, the heroes and Subterraneans risked being overwhelmed as more and more creatures arrived. Detecting thirty more creatures inbound, but also fresh air that hinted at an exit to the surface, they fled to another part of the caverns. The creatures pursued, and Dragonfly ordered Ice Boy to join her in targeting a rock arch they had passed through, though he responded that the arch seemed too solid for gunshots to bring down. Key protested that doing so might destroy the entire cavern they had just left, and shouted that they could use Bengal lights (flares) to buy time. Seeing the creatures already clambering into the new cave, Dragonfly thanked Key for giving her an idea, switched her gun to explosive rounds, and blew up the arch in an impressive pyrotechnic display, much to Key's annoyance.

    Afterwards, EuroLab and Task Force discovered inscriptions explaining that the "monsters" were descendants of Inhumans who had been captured by the Spanish Inquisition, and thrown into the gorge to die. A few survived the fall, and, unable to escape the caves, scraped a living, eating whatever they could find. Then the Inquisition dropped another group of "demons" into the precipice; the remains of a crashed Skrull ship and its crew. Eating the dead Skrulls caused a mutagenic change in the remaining Inhumans, driving them insane, and they had degenerated into a colony of predators.

(Europa#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - For several days, Task Force's Argento felt he was suffering from an unidentified malaise, and he asked his employers for a check up. However, routine scans showed nothing, so he soldiered on. Meanwhile, across Europe, there were several reported incidents of individuals undergoing spontaneous mutations, but the mutations always vanished before EuroMind could find them. A report came in of a similar mutation incident taking place in Kuantan, the capital of the Pahang district of peninsular Malaysia, EuroMind tapped into local sources, including radar. A U.F.O. appeared on said radar, just as reports from the market announced the mutate's abrupt disappearance, but vanished near Mount Mulu, Sarawak (a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo). Task Force were swiftly deployed to investigate.

(Europa#1/2) - On the Malacan peninsula near Mount Mulu, Task Force found plane wreckage with the insignia of French multinational Nadir, Inc. Insisting that "big fish" like that didn't leave traces, Tiger warned Dragonfly that he suspected a trap. She reported their discovery to EuroMind via the radio, then, heeding Tiger's advice, instructed Ice Boy and Blue Condor to patrol the perimeter, warning them that the team was in a "hot zone." Up in a nearby tree, Argent announced he had found a corpse, too normal to be the mutate but wearing a uniform with the Nadir logo. Dragonfly told him to procure a DNA sample anyway, feeling it was too big a coincidence for Nadir to be unconnected to the mutate sighting. Moments later, in the jungle nearby, Ice Boy and Blue Condor were suddenly attacked by a figure in red armor, who declared himself a Lord of War before gunning down Condor. Ice Boy opened fire, and hearing the sounds of battle, the remaining members of Task Force raced to their friends' aid, but the malaise that had been affecting Argento recently suddenly flared up.

    Crunching up in pain, Argento dropped his guns as energy began to crackle around his hands and eyes. Unwilling to leave his allies in the lurch, he forced himself to catch up as the others reached the battle site to find a trio of armored Asian figures looming over their fallen comrades, with steam still rising from Ice Boy's back and Blue Condor's head where they had been blasted. One of the assailants wryly told his compatriots that it seemed their job wasn't finished yet, and another, a female, cockily replied it should only take them a few seconds. The first speaker, apparently the commander, opened fire on Tiger, inflicting pain but minimal damage on the nigh-indestructible soldier. The armored leader reminded his fellow Lords of War that they were professionals, not "supergaijin," that this was intended to be a hit-and-run mission, and so they should be fast and expeditious, and not play with their foes.

    As Task Force's remaining members opened fire, Argento noted the Lords of War had enough artillery to destroy an army. Agreeing, Dragonfly instructed Task Force to open fire with everything they had, and to aim for joints and exposed flesh. Leaping up, she vaulted over the lead Lord of War, her right hand briefly touching his back as she used him to complete her jump. As she landed alongside Tiger and Argento, the latter suggested they deploy an E.M.P. to take out their opponents' armor, but Dragonfly told him it was too risky, as it would also disable their weapons too. Smiling, she pulled out a remote control trigger and noted she had another solution, then pressed her thumb down. An explosion engulfed the Lord of War she had touched, as the bomb she had stuck to his back detonated. However, the smoke cleared to reveal her target unscathed but angry. Now identified by his fellows as Oda, he ordered the other Lords to stop wasting time and switch to "armor B." Shocked at Oda's survival, Dragonfly noted her charge could have taken out a building, and she and Tiger watched as the Lords' armor bulked up, covering them more fully and extruding even more weapon ports.

    Then Dragonfly noticed that Argento was crouched, ignoring this new turn of events as energy poured from his hands and eyes. He responded to her cry of concern to confirm he wasn't hurt, but that whatever had been afflicting him recently had now exploded inside him. Just then Tiger leapt forward, telling his distracted teammates to stay behind him as he blocked an energy blast from their temporarily forgotten foes. Oda reminded the other Lords that he wanted the fight ended with the next shot, and Tiger warned his fellows that he didn't think they would survive another blast like the last one. As the Lords flew towards them, Dragonfly told Tiger to keep his composure, adding that they needed to figure out a way to make a run for it. Fighting against the pain inflicting him, Argento found a way to relieve the pressure building up inside him, unleashing it as an energy shield that blocked the Lords and their assault, while simultaneously ripping up the ground between them, opening a portal elsewhere. Slamming into the momentary barrier, the Lords were knocked to the ground, and Tiger seized the opportunity to pick up the now unconscious Argento and grab Dragonfly's arm, urging her to jump into the portal. Dragonfly hesitated, pausing to glance back at their opponents and shouting she thought she had identified something on their armors, but before she could complete her thought, an energy blast ripped through her midriff. Emerging from the other side of the portal a few feet up in the air, Tiger plumetted to the ground, his weight and strong grip on Dragonfly's arm pulling her through after him. The portal closed as soon as they were through. Leaving the unconscious Argento to sleep, Tiger cradled the fatally wounded Dragonfly as she died.

(Europa#2/2) - The surviving members of Task Force returned to Euromind's Research Center near Spain's Mediterranean coast, and informed their superiors of the results of their mission. Afterwards Argento ran some tests in hopes of understanding the nature of the mystic energies he seemed to have accessed, then returned to his quarters to rest. He swiftly fell into a nightmarish dream, then woke to find the ground beside him ripping open to reveal a fiery abyss. Logic told him to consider the possibility he was still sleeping, but the heat, shaking ground and reek of sulfur forced him to push that idea aside, and as he felt death's cold breath on his neck, fear and desperation seized his soul, causing him to instinctively draw on mystic energies. His entire body was surrounded in a blinding corona of light for a few seconds, which then slowly faded, leaving him kneeling on the floor of his room, all trace of the abyss gone except for the terrifying memories in Argento's tortured mind.

    Elsewhere in the base, Tiger and Key were told by their superior Borillon that S.H.A.P.E.'s executive commission had closed the mutate case, and they were supposed to forget about both the mystery and their lost comrade. Meanwhile, a Euromind agent came to Argento's quarters to tell him it was time for his check-up. Turning his back to grab a jacket and put it on, Argento told the agent he was glad the check-up had been brought forward, as he had just suffered another attack, but then his eyes glowed as he sensed that the agent was unholstering a blaster. Ducking and rolling, Argento evaded the would-be assassin's shots, and kicked his assailant under the chin, chastising him for his bad manners. However, as the man fell back, his next shot struck a glancing blow off Argento's temple. Though the injury was minor, it stunned Argento, who fell backwards, leaving him vulnerable. Just before the assassin could fire a final fatal shot, the prone Argento's eyes flared red, and his attacker's head was engulfed in energy. 

    While his fallen foe's roasted head quietly sizzled away, the groggy Argento clambered to his feet. Slipping out of his quarters, Argento spotted two more armed agents reporting his demise over the radio to an unseen superior, and heard them mention that Tiger and EuroLab were headed to the base's hanger, intent on ignoring their orders to leave Ice Boy to his fate. Sneaking up on the two men, Argento overpowered them (apparently fatally) and took their blasters. Reaching the hanger, he witnessed his comrades under fire from further assassins, and attacked from behind, taking down a sniper who was about to kill Tiger. He then gunned his way through the hit squad, and raced to join his friends, but they had already activated blast doors to stop their pursuers prior to Argento's arrival, and those doors now crashed closed just before he made it through. For a moment Argento's friends thought him lost, but a second later Argento appeared in an burst of energy, having instinctively dived forward and then teleported through the doors, an expenditure that left him unconscious as the group made their escape in a stolen jet.





(Europa#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - En route to Western Malaya, EuroLab and the two survivors of Task Force decided to unite as a new team, choosing the name Euroforce. Meanwhile, back at Euromind, faked video footage was used to frame the group for murdering fellow agents, making them fugitives.  

(Europa#3/2) - Aware from their investigations that Nadir had an expensive lab on an isolated private island in Western Malaya, the team snuck in, overpowering and hiding the guards. Deep Sight accessed the base's map, and the group split into two teams. Argento joined the larger group, designated Euroforce Red, who headed for the lab's main computer to get into the archives, while Tiger and Key (Euroforce Blue) set out to retrieve Ice Boy. Unfortunately, the guards were soon discovered, and seconds before the Red squad reached their target the alert was sounded. Informing his teammates that if it wasn't for the fact that their raid was unauthorized and illegal, forcing them to show more restraint, he would have already unloaded his guns into the A.I.M. guards they now faced, Argento proceeded to smash his way through those guards with brutal martial arts precision. He then stood guard alongside Danger while Picaro and Deep Sight worked to access the database, copy it and then destroy it. However, they were interrupted by the Lords of War, who announced their arrival by blasting Danger from behind. Recognizing Argento as one of the opponents who had escaped them a few days earlier, the Lords' leader, Kaneda, called dibs on him.  

(Europa#4/2) - But the Lords of War had underestimated their new adversaries. An energy blast from Picaro sent Kaneda flying backwards, and a telepathic assault by Nuage instantly knocked out Sakuragi. Complaining that these tactics were dishonorable, Kaneda and Oda switched their armors up to higher power levels and charged back into the fray. As they re-entered the room, Argento dropped on Kaneda from above, informing him they had a score to settle. Caught off guard, Oda wondered aloud where Argento had been hiding, just before Danger suddenly appeared and struck him, emerging from the same psychic camouflage Nuage had been providing his teammate. Announcing that she had finished downloading the files and had destroyed the database, Deep Sight added that she didn't foresee any great difficulty taking down the Lords. Hearing this, Argento leapt over Kaneda, shot him in the face with both guns, and stated that the mercenary was all their's. Nuage drew the Lords attention towards her, enabling Deep Sight to step up behind them and electrocute them into unconsciousness. 

    Checking the corridor outside, Argento confirmed it was all clear, and suggested they leave before he succumbed to the temptation to decapitate the Lords. They radioed the other squad to let them know they had achieved their objective, and Key responded that they should return to their jet, stating that he and Tiger needed no support. Unwilling to leave their friends behind, the Red squad ignored this order, and reached Key's location just in time for Nuage to knock out a guard who was about to shoot a distracted Key in the back. Then Argento saw why Tiger and Key's attentions had been elsewhere; Ice Boy's horribly mutated corpse lay on the floor nearby. Tiger informed the distressed Argento that they couldn't save their fallen comrade, and the group reluctantly accepted it was time to depart before A.I.M. reinforcements or the revived Lords caught up with them. Euroforce fled back to their stolen jet, but as they flew away, a trio of armored figures breached the vehicle. Argento and the others prepared to fight, but moments later the jet exploded (see comments). 

    Borillon subsequently informed S.H.A.P.E.'s commission that Euroforce had been slain, then contacted the team, alive and well and staying in a large villa, informing them that he had provided them with fake identities. Until they could prove their innocence and help him uncover just how deep the corruption in Euromind went, they had to stay officially dead.   

Comments: Created by Xavier Marturet and Paco Diaz for Marvel Italia.

    Per information on the back inside cover of Europa#1, Argento was born in 1969; while this date would be considered a topical reference, it does reveal he would be roughly 27 years old at the time of his debut story, which was published in 1996.

    Argento is clearly named as Mike in both the text piece in the back of Europa#1 and in the text boxes in the story in Europa#2, but in Europa#1's story Tiger calls him Alex twice, and Argento responds to this name. So either Alex is a nickname or a middle name I guess.

    I've seen Argento described online as an albino, which initially might seem credible given his white hair, that his skin appears white and colorless in the first issue, and that his eyes looked red in a couple of close-ups. However, his skin is definitely a non-albino pink in later issues, and a close-up of his face in Europa#3 shows gray eyes (the red eye close-ups were all times he was drawing on mystic energies). So unless the colorist messed up later issues, I'd have to say Argento isn't an albino. If you want an in-story explanation for the skin color change, then I'd say that he used body paint to whiten his skin in the first issue, presumably to go along with using his surname, Argento (Silver), as his codename. In that first issue only his head is uncovered, so it wouldn't be a big effort to paint his face and neck. In the second issue, he's in a hot climate with his arms uncovered, so he doesn't bother to paint himself white/silver (or he'd already sweated it off), and in subsequent issues with friends dead or missing he's no longer in the mood to waste time on something so frivolous.

    The mystery of his sudden powers isn't explained in this story. He's a touch old to have mutant powers manifesting for the first time, and there's no mention of any exposure to mutagenic substances. Given his vision of a the ground opening to reveal a fiery pit smelling of sulfur, my guess is that he was being targeted by some demonic entity, and this somehow triggered latent abilities to draw on mystical energies. If Euroforce had returned for subsequent tales under the helm of their original creators, I presume they would have delved into this mystery further.

    It's not overtly stated who attacked the jet after Euroforce fled Malaya. The attackers are drawn wearing armor similar to the known Lords of War, but the man behind them, one of S.H.A.P.E.'s commission, was informed the Lords were unconscious at the time the jet blew up, so it seems the whole attack, not just Euroforce's "demise," was a fake. Euroforce were surprised by the armored trio who breached the jet, clearly thinking they were the Lords, but given the subsequent revelation that Borillon was assisting the team, it seems likely he was behind the "attackers." However, who they were remains unrevealed.  

    Argent does not appear in Euroforce's 21st century appearances, but there's no explanation for this (or even any reference to him).
--Snood

Profile by Wolfhead and Loki, with invaluable aid from comic translator Angelo Mammone.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Argento has no known connections to


images: (without ads)
All images from Europa issues, 2nd (Euroforce) stories:
Europa#2, cover (main image)
Europa#3, p15, pan 1 (headshot)
Europa#2, p11, pan 1 (the only clear full body shot of him standing up)
Europa#2, p3, pan 1 (body engulfed in energy)
Europa#2, p11, pan 2 (sensing an ambush attack)
Europa#3, p12, pan 4 (combat mission outfit, with chest armor, showing off fighting prowess)
Europa#3, p12, pan 1 & 2 (rear shot, showing gun holsters and sword sheathes)
Europa#1, p14, pan 1 (black outfit, with pale white skin)


Other Appearances:
Europa#0-5 (April-October, 1996) - Xavier Marturet (writer), Paco Diaz (art), Enrico Fornaroli; Marco M. Lupoi; Miguel Carrasco (editors) 


First posted: 06/11/2018
Last updated: 06/12/2018

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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