For Missing Friends: Glenda Sandoval

Content Warning: references to sexual assault

Even superheroes need friends! And like friendships in real life, some of these relationships last a lifetime and others fade away as you pursue your own destinies. In this series, I will be highlighting some of the side characters who were left by the wayside. Today we’re talking about Marvel’s Glenda Sandoval.

Glenda Sandoval and James “War Machine” Rhodes met when they were children. She is half black and half Puerto Rican, which makes her the target of school bullying and causes her relatives on both sides to treat her as less than. So I guess it’s no surprise that she finds some way to vent her frustration. In one flashback, we saw her ants fry with a magnifying glass in retaliation for killing a caterpillar.

From War Machine #4. Young Glenda Sandoval hands a magnifying glass to a reluctant Rudy, encouraging him to burn the ants.

As an adult, she became a doctor and married a divorcée as Parnell Jacobs, a (former) friend of Rudy who sells guns to very bad people. We don’t see their romance, so how they ended up together is a mystery, but if Glenda’s childhood was as neglectful and unpleasant as it sounds, I think she would never have learned how to spot red flags in potential romantic partners.

In Glenda’s debut, in Iron Man #15, She was a very passive character, serving only to shelter Rudy after he was beaten up near her home in England…

Rudy crawls to the door of his old girlfriend Glinda who is surprised to see him.

…then she tries to convince her bad husband to stop being a super villain – he’s playing a fake war machine for an Iron Man business rival – and work on their marriage comes as he promised. Things did not go well.

It wasn’t until 2008 war machine That Glinda’s got some real development as a character. Here, we learn that she has volunteered to put her medical skills to work in the war-torn country of Uqayriyah, where she is soon to be kidnapped. Rudy Parnell, under threat of death, is forced to help him save her.

Despite suffering head injury and sexual assault, Glenda has proven to be milder – and arguably more principled – than men with brawls, gunshots, and willing to kill as many people as possible without asking any questions.

Glenda tells the War Machine not to kill the men who attacked her because she will do so

ButLike I said, Glenda has/she has a real evil streak. Making matters worse is the fact that her captors infected her with killer robot technology and, along with a group of other captives, released her in the capital of Uqairiya to infect the entire population. She ends up shooting the man responsible for torturing her in cold blood before Rudy can stop her.

I really thought they were going to go somewhere with this – like, how many of Glinda’s actions when she was a zombie robot were the result of infection versus her inner nature? Will you continue down the immoral or immoral path even after recovery?

Unfortunately, after recovery, the role of Glinda in the series receded. She joins Team War Machine as a paramedic, which means she is often seen in the background, tending to the wounds suffered by those with powers and/or armor loaded with guns. She’s clearly still a badass — holding a pistol and shooting Norman Osborne’s men when they try to attack the team — but these moments are few and far between.

From War Machine #12. Glenda Sandoval shoots an armored figure that has crashed into her plane in mid-air.

I don’t say she should They were given powers or a suit of armor. Given how she acted when she had powers, she probably didn’t want them anyway. However, there’s no reason why we can’t have a quiet moment between her, Rudy, her husband, and/or the rest of the team.

There is really a lot about Glenda and her past that no one else has discovered. for example:

It seems Rudy’s mother does not like Glenda. Is it just because of the genocide of ants or is there something else?

Rudy and Glinda often have to protect each other, perhaps because they had very few other people they could count on throughout their childhood. How far is everyone willing to go when it comes to ignoring the less sweet traits of others?

It’s clear that Glenda wants to help people with her medical skills. Has her more altruistic nature overcome her childhood bitterness, or does it still slither beneath the surface, waiting for a way out like a robot virus to be released?

Or perhaps it grew out of her inclination to kill ants and is now a well-adapted adult. She seemed really horrified by her actions once the infection was cured. We don’t know the answer to this because Glenda has never had the chance to be a character in her own right. It’s always a tool that someone else uses to get what they want, and then once their turn is over, it’s gone. This is very frustrating, as there is a lot of material left for me here if Marvel wants it. I personally would be very interested!

Come meet our former absent friends: Eddie “Iron Man” MarchAnd the Terry BergAnd the Harris HobbsAnd the Bridget ClancyAnd the Willie LincolnAnd the Ed IndelicatoAnd the Roger WillisAnd the Chanda Madan!

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