chain-seekers-spdmfe2CHAIN LIGHTING

Real Name: Thomas Bannion

Identity/Class: Human; advanced technology/exo-skeleton user

Occupation: Mercenary
    at least formerly a technician;
    his membership in
A.I.M. would make him, on some level, a terrorist

Group Membership: The Seekers (Fireball, Laserworks, Sonic (Daniel Bannion); two unidentified; formerly Grasp/Herb Bannion)
    formerly A.I.M.

Affiliations: Louis Cale, Leonard Carlson, Lynn Church, Kearson DeWitt, Hunters (armored mercenary team), Midnight (Jeffrey Wilde), Professor Power (Anthony Power), Raiders, Scratch, Secret Empire, Thunderball (Eliot Franklin)

Enemies: Avengers (Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Living Lightning/Miguel Santos, Wonder Man/Simon Williams), Rusty Collins, Darkhawk (Chris Powell),  Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Iron Man (Tony Stark), Moon Knight (Marc Spector), New York Police Department Special Weapons And Tactics (S.W.A.T.), Metahumes (Assault/Edward Wong, Blazeye/Barbara DeGioia, Diamond Hammer/Carl Hollister, Hardnose/Alexander Patel, Hyperia/Denise Havens, Makina/Fiona Rivera), Night Thrasher (Dwayne Taylor), Nova (Richard Rider), Punisher (Frank Castle), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Stark Enterprises security, Venom (Eddie Brock/Klyntar symbiote)

Known Relatives: Daniel Bannion (Sonic, brother), Herb Bannion (Grasp, brother);
    Theodore Bannion (nephew, deceased), Lois Bannion (niece);

Aliases: Formerly Chain

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    at least formerly a hidden lab outside Denver, Colorado

First Appearance: Iron Man I#214 (January, 1987)

chain-seekers-amzsp358-nthrPowers/Abilities: Chain wore an armored suit, which granted him superhuman strength (lifting roughly 10 tons) and durability due to the armor's metal (presumably steel) composition.

    The armor had limited resistance to extreme cold, which could both render it immobile and brittle (easily shattered by blunt forces; specifically, this occurred with Sonic's armor, but the properties are likely similar).

    The armor also had limited heat resistance, as the inexperienced young mutant pyrokinetic Rusty Collins could generate sufficient heat to force each of the Seekers to surrender and yield their armor. A blast from Iron Man's chest concussion beam proved incapacitating to Sonic, while the Class 10 strength Spider-Woman incapacitated Chain in his original armor with a single punch to his chest.chain-seekers-im215-face-profile

     Like his brothers/teammates, Chain's armor included simple onboard computers with radar and contained jet boots that enabled flight at 150 mph.

    Chain wielded an electrified chain (“power-shackle”) that could restrain and stun opponents unconscious.

    As Chain Lightning, he didn't use a chain anymore but rather fired energy blasts.

    Each of the Seekers also initially wielded a handgun which fired concussive force blasts.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 6'2")
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 200 lbs.)
Eyes: Unrevealed (there are not images that show his face clearly)

Hair: Orange     


(Iron Man I#214 (fb) - BTS) - The Bannion brothers were former technicians for AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) who had encountered Iron Man at least once, earning a grudge against him.

(Iron Man I#214 (fb) - BTS / Iron Manual Mark 3: Seekers) - The Bannions left AIM and went freelance, eventually designing the identities of the armored mercenary Seekers.chain-seekers-im215-ohotmu

(Iron Man I#214 (fb) - BTS) - The Seekers learned of the bounty on Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter).

(Iron Man I#214 (fb) - BTS) - At a hidden lab somewhere outside Denver, Colorado, the Seekers completed inspection of their secondary weapons.

(Iron Man I#214) - Chain ordered commencing inspection of the primary weaponry; for his part, Chain noted his power-shackle to be at max function. The Seekers then prepared to go catch Spider-Woman.chain-seekers-im214-closeup

(Iron Man I#214 - BTS) - After Julia used her powers to save people from falling girders, a man known as Scratch contacted Chain to inform him of her whereabouts in exchange for a payment.

(Iron Man I#214) - The Seekers soon confronted Spider-Woman, and Grasp's gauntlet caught her ankle, painfully crushing it. As Chain prepared to bind her, his and Sonic's armors picked up the cloaked Iron Man approaching.

    After Chain and Sonic fired on and hit Iron Man, he decloaked and engaged them, although they dodged his initial pulse bolts. Tearing off the gauntlet, Spider-Woman fled into the woods.

    Catching up with Spider-Woman, Chain taunted her with recapturing her, but she caught him off-guard, tearing off his helmet and then knocking out with a crushing blow to the chest.

    After Iron Man flattened Sonic, Grasp surrendered. Presumably because the Seekers had been hired by this US government, Iron Man and Spider-Woman confiscated or destroyed their armors but let them go.

(Fantastic Four I#342 (fb) - BTS) - Herb Bannion's son, Ted, committed suicide by self-immolation in imitation of his idol, the Human Torch (Johnny Storm).

(Fantastic Four I#342) - Thomas and Daniel agreed to help Herb gain vengeance on the Torch.

    The Seekers confronted the Torch as he was speaking to pyrokinetic mutant Rusty Collins, and Sonic knocked down the pair. Chain then bound Storm to a tree, and Grasp sent his gauntlet to choke him, ignoring Storm's explanation that he had vowed not to use his powers again after learn of Ted's death. After Rusty melted Grasp's gauntlet, Storm slipped free of Chain's shackle and fled with Rusty. As Collins' flames caused them to become stuck in tar, the Seekers mistakenly assumed the Torch to be the source of the flames despite his vow.

    Unclogging their jets, the Seekers took to the air, and Chain -- whose energy shackle recognized and could follow Storm's energies -- tracked Storm as Rusty fled with him to Queens via a stolen taxicab. Chain nailed both men with fire-retardant foam, and they narrowly escaped the taxi as Sonic destroyed it with his sound-cannon. The Seekers nailed Storm with another flame-retardant foam grenade as the pair rushed into a furniture store.

(Fantastic Four I#342) - After the pair fled into the basement and destroyed the fusebox, plunging it into darkness, the Seekers followed via search beams. Storm guided Rusty to douse the Seekers in flames. Ultimately, all three Seekers agreed to remove their armor in exchange for the flame barrage ceasing.

chain-seekers-merc-amzsp355-2nd-armor(Iron Manual Mark 3: Seekers) - The Seekers were released from prison.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#355 (fb) - BTS) - The Seekers received new and improved armor, the expense of which made them eager to accept jobs.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#355 (fb) - BTS) - The Secret Empire hired the Seekers.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#355 (fb) - BTS) - Empire agents sent the Seekers to aid Midnight and a number of Secret Empire agents as they battled Moon Knight, Night Thrasher, Punisher, and Spider-Man atop a Manhattan rooftop.
    Midnight was informed that reinforcements were on the way.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#355) - As the Seekers joined the fight, Midnight informed them that he could have taken them without help, but Chain noted that they had to pay for their new armor.

    As Sonic and Chain both targeted Spider-Man with sonic cannon blasts that shattered concrete and an energy chain, the Punisher peppered Sonic with his automatic weapons. Spider-Man dodged Chain's energy chain, although he left himself open for a convention gauntlet to the head launched by Grasp.

    However, as Midnight prepared to escape with his captive, Nova, Grasp noted they had fulfilled their contract by stalling the heroes sufficiently. The Seekers flew off.

chains-seekers-merc-amzsp358-chain(Amazing Spider-Man I#358 (fb) - BTS) - After Nova was freed and joined Darkhawk, Moon Knight, Night Thrasher, Punisher, and Spider-Man against the Secret Empire's forces (including Lynn Church, Midnight, Thunderball), the Empire again paid the Seekers to engage (and this time take out) the heroes at the Empire's warehouse base.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#358) - Chain's energy chain initially knocked the heroes off their feet, after which Chain strangled Night Thrasher with his energy chain, taunting that an "ordinary twerp" had no chance against his armor. However, Moon Knight located Sonic's energy leech from the wreckage of his armor (shattered by the Punisher) and placed it on the back of Chain's armor, weakening and paining him. Chain initially resisted Moon Knight's striking him repeatedly with his truncheon, but shortly after Midnight attacked Moon Knight, Chain collapsed from the energy leech's drain.

    When subsequent damage to the building's structure caused it collapse, Night Thrasher carried out Sonic, while Nova flew Chain and Grasp outside to safety.

(Iron Man I Annual#13 (fb) - BTS / Iron Manual Mark 3#1) - The Seekers apparently received upgrades via an alliance between Kearson DeWitt and Professor Anthony Power.

(Iron Man I Annual#13 (fb) - BTS / West Coast Avengers Annual#7) - DeWitt and/or his allies/agents sent the Seekers to assault Stark Enterprises' Silicon Valley facility.

(West Coast Avengers Annual#7) - Alongside the Raiders and Hunters, the Seekers assaulted Stark Enterprises' Silicon Valley facility, confronting the Avengers present, Hawkeye, Living Lightning, and Wonder Man; one of the armored warriors blasted Stark Enterprises Mr. Tedder (incapacitating and possibly slaying him).

Iron Man I Annual#13) - The Seekers attacked Hawkeye, Living Lightning, and Wonder Man as well as Stark Enterprises' security forces, causing significant property damage before being defeated.chain-seekers-iron_manual

(Darkhawk I#35 / Iron Manual Mark 3: Seekers) - The Seekers not only renovated their armors, but also reassessed their membership. Grasp left, with new members Fireball and Laserworks  joining in his stead. Chain changed his alias to Chain Lightning and added projectile electrical blasts to his repertoire.

(Darkhawk I#36 (fb) - BTS) - The Seekers were hired by corrupt ex-policeman Louis Cale (who had also captured Darkhawk's father) to capture Venom (Eddie Brock), in hopes that Cale could synthesize Venom's symbiote.

Darkhawk I#35) - In California, the Seekers (Chain Lightning, Fireball, Laserworks, Sonic) ambushed Venom as he fought Darkhawk; Sonic blasted both combatants to the ground.

(Darkhawk I#36) - Darkhawk shielded himself and Venom from the collective assaults and then leapt to the attack, snaring Chain Lightning's wrist with his cable-claw and swinging him into his teammates; feedback from the Seekers' combined energies traveled back along the claw to Darkhawk, who flew away. Venom spread his symbiote over Darkhawk, making them both black and camouflaged at night, allowing them to escape the Seekers' detection.

(Darkhawk I#36) - However, once they were free and clear, Darkhawk again attempted to subdue Venom to bring him in.

(Darkhawk I#36 (fb) - BTS) - The Seekers detected the fighting Darkhawk and Venom.

(Darkhawk I#36) - After Venom stunned Darkhawk and took off, the Seekers attacked en masse. Sonic incapacitated the symbiote, and Chain Lightning caught the falling Brock.

    Darkhawk recovered and went after the Seekers, but when he tried to ambush them, their sensors warned them of his approach, and Chain Lightning blasted him. A subsequent blast by Laserworks stunned Darkhawk, who fell into the water below.

    While Laserworks contained Venom in a laser cage, Chain Lightning and the other Seekers blasted at the mostly submerged Darkhawk; however, Darkhawk unleashed a wide-angle force blast from his amulet, stunning them. Meanwhile, Venom extended a tendril through the laser cage.

(Darkhawk I#36 (fb) - BTS) - Venom caused Laserworks to drop him into the water as well.

(Darkhawk I#36 - BTS) - Darkhawk and Venom swam underwater escaping to nearby shore.

(Darkhawk I#37) - The Seekers ambushed Darkhawk as he approached the Fisherman's Wharf building in which his father was being held by Louis Cale; the distraction allowed Venom to sneak into the building undetected. As Darkhawk's force field held off blasts from Chain Lightning and Fireball, Laserworks again nailed him in the back. Enraged with his father's fate and the Seekers' involvement, Darkhawk turned his shield to block blasts from all four Seekers then savagely confronted and took down Sonic and Fireball. Blasting at Darkhawk, Chain Lightning noted that the two fallen Seekers had never had too much spunk anyway; however, Darkhawk dodged and then led Chain Lighting and Laserworks into position so that when they blasted at him, he dodged, and their blasts struck and incapacitated each other. As the last two Seekers fell into the water, Darkhawk entered the building and helped his father get free.

    The police fished the Seekers out of the bay.

(Iron Manual 3#1) - The Seekers were again arrested, but soon regained their liberty.

Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies#2 (fb) - BTS) - The Seekers recruited two other unidentified members (see comments).

(Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies#2 (fb) - BTS) - The Seekers were hired by gangster Leonard Carlson (backed by unidentified west coast power brokers) to capture a new team of superhumans known as the Metahumes.

(Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies#2) - At Carlson's command, the Seekers confronted the Metahumes.

    However, the novice Metahumes took out the Seekers in rapid succession, with Diamond Hammer punching out Chain Lightning.

Comments: Created by Danny Fingeroth and Tom Morgan.

    In their first appearance, the Seekers were a serious challenge to Iron Man (until he turned his pulse bolts on them) and Spider-Woman. It was downhill from there, as Rusty Collins pretty much defeated them with only guidance from the Torch. They briefly challenged Spider-Man and his allies in the Round Robin arc. Even aided by the Raiders and Hunters, they were no match for three Avengers. Grasp was gone when they got a beatdown by Darkhawk and then were easily taken out by the neophyte Metahumes.chain_lightning-seekers-sdmfe2-takeout

    Fantastic Four I#342 had an associate of Lois Bannion comment, "She -- and the rest of her family... they never really understood Teddy the way his real friends did."
To me, since he referenced Teddy, Lois, and "The rest of her family" rather than just saying "her father," it would seem to indicate that there are more family members...presumably at least a mother still around...or maybe it referred to her uncles...but we don't know anything beyond what was said.

    In Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies#2, Sonic noted that they had three new members, but it looks like the same four from the Darkhawk issues, plus two more unidentified. Maybe there was a new person in one of the armors? Fireball doesn't look quite the same...Or maybe there was a seventh Seeker not shown on panel?
    The Iron Manual noted that they had TWO new members at that point.

    Chain's first two armors were solid blue. In Darkhawk#35, his new form as Chain Lightning was red, with a white helmet, shoulder pads and gauntlets. In that same issue, Sonic, who had had solid green armor before, now had solid blue armor. It's confusing. I keep thinking Sonic is Chain (Lightning).

    However, we clearly see Sonic and Laserworks being taken out by Hardnose and Blazeye, respectively.
    We then see Diamondhammer punch out someone who is barely seen as he notes, "Three down!" There is a cable connected to the gauntlet (which both Laserworks, Chain Lightning, and one of the unidentified characters have), and there are large shoulder pads structures. However, we clearly see Laserworks taken out in the previous panel, and then the unidentified character with cables running from/to the gauntlets is clearly active before being taken out in the following page; the shoulder pads fit with Chain Lightning.
    Again, the fourth person taken out cannot be identified at all, but since we see the two unidentified characters still conscious in the next panel before being taken out, it has to be Fire ball by process of elimination.

Profile by Snood.

Chain Lightning
should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Iron Man I#214, pg. 5,  panel 3 (closeup of first armor/mask)
        panel 5 (Seekers, standing, first demonstrated armor); - closeup;
       pg. 18, panel 8 (Chain unmasked; profile, painful look);
Amazing Spider-Man I#355, pg. 10, panel 2 (flying; second demonstrated armor);
pg. 8, panel 2 (chain striking with explosive force);
       pg. 12, panel 1(choking Night Thrasher)
Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies#2, pg. 17, panel 1 (third demonstrated armor, flying toward reader);
          panel 3 (punched out by Diamondhammer);

Iron Manual Mark 3: Seekers entry (full; with Fireball standing in front of him)

Iron Man I#214 (January, 1987) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Tom Morgan (artist), Ralph Macchio (managing editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Fantastic Four I#342 (July, 1990) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Rex Valve (penciler), Chris Ivy (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#355 (Early December, 1991) - Al Milgrom (writer), Mark Bagley (penciler), Randy Emberlin (inker), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#358 (Late January, 1992) - Al Milgrom (writer), Mark Bagley (penciler), Randy Emberlin (inker), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
West Coast Avengers Annual#7 (1992) - Roy Thomas (writer), M.C. Wyman (penciler), Tim Dzon & John Tartaglione (inker), Richard Ashford (assistant editor), Nelson Yomtov (editor)
Iron Man I Annual#13 (1992) - Len Kaminski (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Al Williamson (inker), Richard Ashford (assistant editor), Nelson Yomtov (editor)
Darkhawk I#35-37 (January-March, 1994) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Todd Smith (penciler), Ian Akin (inker), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies#2 (March, 1995) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Ron Lim (penciler), Mick Gray & Mark McKenna (inkers),
Nel Yomtov (editor)
Iron Manual Mark 3 (June, 2010) - Ronald Hugh Byrd Jr., Anthony Flamini, Kevin Garcia, Michael Hoskin, Rob London, Mark Robert O'English, Mike O'Sullivan, Markus Raymond, Peter Sanderson, Gabriel Shechter (writers), Mario Gully (new art), Alex Starbuck (assistant editor), John Denning (associate editor), Jeff Youngquist (editor)

First posted: 01/29/2020
Last updated: 02/19/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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