In the current theater of pop-culture, it’s a simple fact that certain characters hit that center stage spotlight more often than others.
This is not to say they don’t deserve it, as these characters, like Batman and Spider-Man have earned that position through great storytelling and audience relatability. Everyone has a favorite character after all, and once we know who we like, we return back to that same well again and again.
But there is so much more beyond that, including a wealth of characters out there that are equally charismatic, with excellent stories and origins just waiting for you to discover. In this series, we will shift the spotlight ever so slightly to these unsung heroes and villains that don’t receive quite the same amount of exposure as the big dogs.
This week’s Unsung Hero is the X-Men’s queen of good karma, Domino!
Who Is She?
Domino (real name Neena Thurman) was born in a secret government program called Project Armageddon. This top-secret program sought to create the perfect weapon by breeding and genetically engineering mutants. Domino was the only survivor of this program, though she was ultimately deemed a failure. This was before she escaped and her powers were awakened.
A mercenary by trade, Domino has allied herself with many different teams and factions over the years – most notably X-Force and the X-Men, where her fighting skills and fortunate abilities quickly made her an asset to the mutant cause. Her most well-known team-ups are with the time-traveling mutant, Cable, and the two seem to have built a special bond of trust and mutual respect with just a dash of romance.
Domino’s mutant ability alters the probability around her so that things fall in her favor. In simple terms, she is really, really lucky. Good things tend to happen for her, and bad things tend to happen to her adversaries. However, it is a subconscious act, and Domino really has no control over it. The only trigger is she needs to be actively participating in an action where a degree of luck can be the deciding factor between winning and losing.
For example, her powers can cause an enemy’s gun to jam at an opportune time, her physical strike might land in the exact spot that will knock an opponent unconscious, or she may be conveniently caught by Spider-Man after falling off a building… in San Francisco. Guess he just happened to be in the neighborhood.
Top this off with her already outstanding athletic abilities, combat prowess, and marksmanship and Domino’s skills as a mercenary are second to none, making her an asset to any team she happens to be a part of. One might say, they’re lucky to have her. Just make sure the price is right, or you’re fighting for a worthy cause. A girl has scruples after all, and unfortunately, luck doesn’t pay the rent.
Domino was created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, and first appeared in New Mutants issue #98 (1991). Well, sort of. Domino has a unique distinction in comics of being one of the only characters not technically present in her debut issue. Why? Because she was being impersonated by the shapeshifter, Copycat. The real Domino made her true first appearance almost a full year later in X-Force issue #8 (1992).
You can read up on Domino’s adventures in four current ongoing Marvel Comics – most notably, her own self-titled series, written by the amazing Gail Simone and with stellar art by David Baldeon and Jesus Aburtov. Additionally, a new trade paperback was recently released, also aptly titled Domino. This book collects and chronicles many of Neena’s early stories, as well as all of her previous comic mini-series. You should definitely check them out if you have an interest in learning more about the X-Men’s resident Lucky Lady.
Oh, and there is this little film being released soon in which she has a featured role. Maybe you’ve seen the ads for it? It’s called Deadpool 2, and in it, Domino will make her big-screen debut, portrayed by the phenomenal Zazie Beetz.
So with these recent strokes of good luck, it seems Domino may not be an unsung hero much longer. Lookout mainstream, here she comes!
Do you have an unsung hero or villain you’d like to see spotlighted? Leave a comment below with a lesser-known character you love, and you might just see them pop up in a future article!