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TURBOCHARGE

Real Name: Michael Hardaway

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Earth-93060/Ultraverse) human mutate

Occupation: Adventurer, high school student

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Elven, "Gross Babies" (Culebra, Dragonfly, Gunk, Wicca), Phade, Prime (Kevin Green), Zip Zap (friendly rivalry)

Enemies: Joe Blades (loose), Dr. Gross, Homebringer, Manhattan Project, Rush (loose, rivalry)

Known Relatives: Dr. Philip Hardaway (father), mother (name unrevealed)

Aliases: Turbo (abbreviated nickname)

Base of Operations: Washington, DC, USA (Earth-93060)

First Appearance: Prime I#16 (November, 1994)

Powers/Abilities: Michael Hardaway's diabetic condition has been treated with experimental medication that increases his metabolism to an incredible rate; he focuses this on his legs so that he can run at supersonic speeds, even using it to propel himself into the air as a giant leap or running up vertical surfaces. His brain likewise processes at an incredibly fast rate so that he can quickly dodge immediate obstructions while he is in motion. His kinetic energy while running deflects impacts and he can stop instantly without any effect of inertia. However, Michael is reliant on his genetically engineered medication; this is packed into his highly durable TurboCharge suit which incorporates a direct injection system that regulates and monitors his synthetic insulin levels. He displays little fighting skills and relies on his speed. Confident in himself and secure in his sexuality, he confides in close friends that he is a gay 16-year-old teenager.

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

History:

(Prime I#18 (fb) - BTS) - Michael Hardaway's diabetic condition led his father, a Washington, DC-based medical surgeon and researcher, to develop a synthetic insulin injection system that unintentionally enhanced his son's metabolism and gave him superhuman running speed. Aged 16 and inspired by the superhero Prime, he chose to occasionally use his injection suit as the adventurer TurboCharge, much to his father's displeasure, and he ultimately hoped to team up with Prime.

(Prime I#16) - Having zoomed to New York to gain Prime's attention, TurboCharge saw Kelly Cantrell (not realizing she was the love interest of Prime's secret alter ego Kevin Green), hoping to use her to gain Prime's attention, grabbing her in front of Prime as he sped past. Prime gave futile chase, but Cantrell slapped TurboCharge while being carried and he let her go. Prime caught up with them and readied to impact TurboCharge, but Prime was deflected by TurboCharge's speed. The speedster announced he would be Prime's partner because he believed in Prime's mission, but Prime dismissed TurboCharge and threw him over his shoulder far away.

(Prime I#17) - Much later, reporter Joe Blades publicly confronted Prime at New York's Statue of Liberty about the odd knapsacks containing teenager clothing near Prime appearances (secretly Kevin Green's clothing). TurboCharge appeared and lied to cover for Prime by claiming the clothes were his own and that he was Prime's new superhero partner.

(Prime I#18) - The assembled crowd accepted TurboCharge's claim and Prime quickly flew off clutching TurboCharge, although Blades was intrigued by the young new superhero. Prime told TurboCharge that he would not accept a sidekick and left him disappointed. TurboCharge sped home to Washington, DC, hoping his parents wouldn't notice his absence, but his father greeted him. Dr. Hardaway surprised his son by not being angry at his public superheroics using the TurboCharge suit as he felt Prime would be a good role model. Consequently, when Dr. Hardaway later heard that Prime was battling a new ultra (the powers-absorbing Manhattan Project), he relayed that information to his son. TurboCharge raced to the midair fight. Almost overwhelmed, Prime was saved by TurboCharge's leaping speed-kick; Manhattan Project unwittingly absorbed his speed power and was flung into the sky. Momentarily depowered, TurboCharge was caught by Prime. After an awkward thanks and farewell, Prime reconsidered, caught up with TurboCharge and agreed to work together.

(Prime I#19) - Watching a rerun of the Prime float from the Macy's Parade on TV, TurboCharge suggested that Prime could use his powers to make money, but Prime angrily refused and flew off. TurboCharge then went speed-Christmas-shopping and raced home. He asked his rich father if he could help Prime's mother get a job.

(Prime I#21) - TurboCharge was extremely upset when he heard of Prime's seeming murder from an explosive arrow (fired by ultra killer Rafferty) and ran off in disbelief and grieving anger before his injector suit could be properly recalibrated. He chanced upon a group of pro-gun and homophobic protesters outside the White House, and he bitterly smashed their placards. Continuing his run through the streets, he came across police at a domestic hostage situation. Ignoring the police, he charged in, disarmed the criminal and dropped him for arrest before the police. But then TurboCharge fell unconscious due to insulin reaction and the police called paramedics.

(Prime I#22) - TurboCharge was hospitalized and his father rushed to help, insisting that his son return to regular insulin. Michael refused, believing his speed made him a hero, but collapsed again. His father had him prepped for surgery.

(Prime I#23) - Dr. Hardaway removed the artificial pump from Michael during surgery, but his son's body went into seizure and only returning the experimental insulin stabilized him.

(Prime I#24) - Michael dreamt of superhero team-ups with Prime as he slowly woke recovering in hospital. His father was there and apologized for making his son's life difficult instead of "normal." Michael comforted him but also came out then and revealed he was gay, and that his father's expectations of his heterosexuality were never going to be realized.

(Prime I#25) - Back at home, Dr. Hardaway dismissed his son's homosexuality, suggesting it was just a phase. Frustrated and angry at rejection, Michael ran off as TurboCharge to the welcoming stage for Prime at the US Capitol Building, where he also met new ultra hero Phade (who had initially been created under government sanction to seduce Prime so that Congress could control Prime), allocated to be Prime's new partner. Confused and overwhelmed at the new attention, Prime flew off with TurboCharge, who wanted to also come out to his superhero friend, but there were too many distractions. Phade caught up with the duo, and they followed a lead into Prime's origins to Doc Gross' abandoned and derelict lab.

(Power of Prime#1) - Duey, one of Doc Gross' creations, watched Prime, TurboCharge and Phade enter the lab.

(Prime I#25) - Prime was suddenly attacked by Duey, but before any could respond, Duey was sucked into a portal to the enormous otherworldly Godwheel by Homebringer.

(Prime I#26) - Homebringer also tried to pull in Prime, but TurboCharge and Phade managed to pull him back. Realizing that Doc Gross' creations were being targeted, the trio separated to find other such beings. In the lab, TurboCharge scanned information with his faster senses. He reacted negatively to Phade, thinking her a fake, and passed on a list of addresses for her to check. Now joined by Elven, similarly powered like Prime, the trio met up and decided to tackle Homebringer directly. Elven caught the villain's attention and was drawn in through a portal; the other three quickly followed in pursuit. TurboCharge was no match for Homebringer, but Phade stopped him. They then encountered Primogenitor, who asked for their help.

(Power of Prime#2/1) - The Primogenitor revealed the history and fate of the Prime race, with their Prime bodies unstable and dissolving, but that Prime himself carried the genetic code that could be used to save the Prime race. TurboCharge was quietly dubious about Primogenitor's story and went to find their infirmary. Hypoglycemia forced him to pause and eat local fruit when he saw several Prime natives preparing to dispose of a failing member via fire, and he also found several other human "Gross Babies" (Culebra, Dragonfly, Gunk and Wicca) who were trapped in containment units and set to be destroyed. TurboCharge freed them and brought them back to Prime, revealing the Primogenitor's less-than-completely-benevolent nature, but the Primogenitor announced that his offer to Prime to remain perpetually in his form had to decided on immediately or lost forever.

(Power of Prime#3/1) - TurboCharge emphasized the brutal nature of the Primogenitor in killing those he deemed imperfect, but Primogenitor agreed to stabilize all of the Gross Babies, leaving them in their "Prime" forms permanently, if Prime helped. Turbo joined the confusing chorus of opinions, beseeching Prime not to go along with the murderers, but Prime dismissed him, breaking TurboCharge's trust in him. Prime agreed to help Primogenitor as long as the abilities of the Gross Babies' were stabilized in the form they chose. Duey was enraged at Prime's efforts to dictate terms, and revealed his alliance with the Homebringer, who then re-formed. Duey and many of the other Prime race natives assaulted Prime, the other Gross Babies, TurboCharge, and Phade. Turbo speed-punched through Homebringer, but was still knocked down by his quickly recoagulating foe. Prime was captured; Duey extruded Gross' head from his own body and tore Prime's heart from his chest.

(Power of Prime#4) - Prime's allies continued to fight while Wicca blasted Duey and magically restored Prime's heart to his body. Realizing their way had become corrupted, Primogenitor also convinced the rest of the Prime race to join their power to incapacitate Homebringer. Having learned a lesson from the humans, the Primogenitor sent the humans all back to Earth. As they traveled through the swirling portal, TurboCharge questioned his place in Prime's life compared to the others with links to the Godwheel.

(Ultraforce/Avengers - BTS) - The discorporation of the reality-warping threat Nemesis (a being made up of seven Infinity Gems in the Ultraverse) released phenomenal energies, remaking the Ultraverse. One result of the reality wave's alterations was that Michael's body matured slightly and the injection suit was altered.

(Prime II#1) - Prime (really a Kevin-less Prime body with a darker personality) captured a terrorist pilot and dismissively threw him to TurboCharge to handle, before forcing a kiss on a surprised Phade.

(Prime II#2/1) - After the Kevin-less Prime arrogantly flew off, TurboCharge challenged Phade for not resisting him and it was then that she realized that the speedster had underlying feelings for Prime; however, he said he disliked the new arrogant Prime.

(Prime II#3) - TurboCharge stopped the Kevin-less Prime from killing an armed criminal on a subway train. The Prime body threw the unconscious gunman at Turbo and told him to clean it up. Turbo was confused and upset at being treated so badly by his would-be partner. Later at the airport, a falling plane engulfed by out-of-control gooey Prime-power that passenger Kevin Green had unwittingly unleashed was saved by the sentient Prime body. TurboCharge and Phade helped rescue passengers (including Kevin Green) from the plane, then watched as the Kevin-less Prime went berserk, ripping up the inert goo "monster"; repulsed by Prime's violent behavior, Turbo rushed off upset.

(Prime II#9) - Encouraged by Phade, Prime sought to renew friendship with TurboCharge; however, the speedster again tried to come out to Prime, who was instead too focused on finding the "Gross Babies" from Primogenitor's domain. TurboCharge finally called out to Prime and revealed his sexuality, but the 13-year-old inside Prime had trouble coping with the idea, never having known someone gay. Again feeling rejected, TurboCharge raced off. Later, Kevin realized that he had refused to listen to TurboCharge revealing his secret to him and was ashamed.

(Prime II#10) - TurboCharge was promoted in a widely publicized demonstration for AIDS charity. Prime arrived to apologize but Turbo focused on his fans; instead Prime carried him away and explained his insecurity. TurboCharge remained positive and wanted to chat further after the impending race, but only if Prime agreed to race him. The two were suddenly joined by speedster Zip Zap, who was there to help promote awareness of how AIDS was affecting the African American community, and the superficial Rush, who was there for self-promotion. The real race progressed to an even match between TurboCharge and Zip Zap, while Prime witnessed and stopped Rush's cheating. All four collided at the finish line, leaving the result inconclusive. Later, TurboCharge had a friendly talk with Prime and that he had only viewed Prime respectfully as a friend. Prime revealed his secret identity as young Kevin Green to TurboCharge in trust and friendship.

Comments: Created by Len Strazewski and George Perez.

TurboCharge was sometimes spelled Turbocharge in editorial comments.

TurboCharge wasn't the Ultraverse's first prominent gay superhero; that honor belongs to the Strangers' Spectral, who came out cover-dated October 1993, while TurboCharge came out officially in July 1995 (although it was hinted at earlier) plus a later dramatic headshot panel in Prime II#9 similar to Marvel's Northstar's coming out panel (the first such major coming out at Marvel) in Alpha Flight I#106 (March 1992); "out" gay characters at the 2 major superhero publishers were obscured prior to the 1990s (see 2021's Marvel's Voices: Pride for a more detailed history). However, by comparison, TurboCharge is a gay teenager and the positive visibility of gay characters is an important step for many gay readers, especially in those early days (this is reinforced by a letter from Frank Gembeck, Jr. in Prime II#10, on how important it is to have gay characters for gay readers). Of additional note is the letter from reader Ben Thomas-Morgan in Prime I#17, cautioning the Prime writers about potential homophobia with the writers Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones responding that plans were already afoot to address bigotry and present positive gay characters.

Profile by Grendel Prime.

CLARIFICATIONS :
TurboCharge has no known connections to:


Dr. Philip Hardaway

Dr. Philip Hardaway was Michael's wealthy father and cared deeply for his son's well-being. A qualified medical surgeon, Dr. Hardaway also undertook government research in cellular biology. Concerned about his son's diabetes, he and fellow researchers developed genetically engineered insulin and a unique insulin injection system that unintentionally augmented Michael's metabolism and gave him superhuman running speed. Dr. Hardaway was initially angry when his son used the injection suit for heroic adventuring, but macho male hero Prime's involvement assuaged the father's concern for a male role model for his son. Soon after, senior US military passed notes from Col. Samuels to Dr. Hardaway, thinking they would be of use to him. Later at work, Dr. Hardaway was informed by his assistant Fay that Prime was battling a new ultra and he relayed that information to his son so that Mike could team up with Prime again. Protective of his son, Dr. Hardaway later angrily slammed down a call from hack reporter Joe Blades. TurboCharge asked his father if he could help Prime's mother find a job and later quietly helped, but he was privately concerned about duty to his country and remaining a moral man. It was then that the conniving biotech developer J.D. Hunt approached him, but he was unimpressed with Hunt's dispassionate approach to ultras, including Hunt's sleazy approach to newly crafted ultra Phade, but continued working for Hunt in his secret ultra labs. His son's collapse from irregular artificial insulin input propelled him to remove the pump when Michael was badly injured, but the teenager's body had become too reliant on the synthetic insulin and he reluctantly had to return the injection system into his son's system. He stayed with his son as he recovered in hospital and apologized to him for causing such incredible difficulties. He voiced hope that Michael would eventually leave superheroics and find a woman, marry and have a family, but was then shocked when Michael revealed he was gay and his father's expectations were unrealistic. Dr. Hardaway had trouble coming to terms with his son's revelation, thinking his son was just going through a "phase", and encouraged Michael interact more with Prime as a positive male role model, but this just drove his son away from him. Soon after, he monitored Phade alongside Hunt and pushed for TurboCharge (while keeping his son's identity secret) to be brought in safely away from dangerously pursuing Doc Gross' creations. Later he saw Prime (secretly a Prime body with a darker personality and no Kevin Green inside to morally guide it) be destructive and wondered how this would affect his son's hero-worship of Prime.

 

 

--Prime I#18 (19,21-26, Prime Infinity


images: (without ads)
Prime II#10, p9, pan3 (main image)
Prime I#18, p8, pan3 (headshot, unmasked)
Prime I#16, p17, pan3 (1st costume)
Prime II#9, p11, pan1 (side view, running)
Prime II#9, p13, pan4 ("I'm gay!")
Prime I#22, p6, pan1 (Dr. Philip Hardaway, full body image)
Prime I#23, p20, pan6 (Dr. Philip Hardaway, headshot)


Appearances:
Prime I#16 (November, 1994) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), George Perez (penciler), Dennis Jensen (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#17 (December, 1994) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), John Satema (penciler), Jeff Whitting (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#18 (December, 1994) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Kirk Jarvinen & Keith Conroy (pencilers), Mark Morales & Larry Welch (inkers), Hank Kanalz & Phil Crain (editors)
Prime I#19 (January, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Dave Cockrum & Tim Hamilton (pencilers), Keith Aiken & Rodney Gates (inkers), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#21 (April, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Joe Staton (penciler), Jeff Whitting (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#22 (May, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Joel Thomas (penciler), Larry Welch (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#23 (June, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Pat Broderick (penciler), Bruce Patterson (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#24 (July, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), John Statema (penciler), Keith Aiken (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Power of Prime#1 (July, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Mark Pacella (penciler), Chris Ivey (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#25 (July, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), John Statema (penciler), Bob Smith (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Power of Prime#2/1 (July, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Mark Pacella (penciler), Chris Ivey (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime I#26 (August, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), John Statema (penciler), Bob Smith (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Power of Prime#3/1 (August, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Mark Pacella (penciler), Chris Ivey (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Power of Prime#4 (September, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Mark Pacella (penciler), Chris Ivey (inker), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime II#1 (October, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Kevin West (penciler), John Statema & Philip Moy (inkers), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime II#2/1 (November, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), Kevin J. West & John Statema (artists), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime II#3 (December, 1995) - by Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones (writers), John Royle (penciler), Philip Moy (inkers), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Prime II#9 (June, 1996) - Gerard Jones & Len Strazewksi (writers), Norm Breyfogle (art), Dan Shaheen (editor)
Prime II#10 (July, 1996) - Gerard Jones (writer), Norm Breyfogle (art), Hank Kanalz (editor)


First posted: 06/24/2021 - happy Pride Month!
Last updated: 06/24/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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