There will be spoilers here for Jessica Jones, Season Two. If you have not watched that yet, be warned.
Jessica’s second season opens with a variety of screwball clients, including one who claims to have powers, but only when scared. She understandably dismisses this claim, leaving Robert “Whizzer” Coleman to his fate, sending him on his way in his yellow hoodie. Later, feeling bad about his sudden death and after learning he did actually have powers, Jessica goes to his apartment where she finds some clues pointing her to IGH, the shadowy company that gave her powers, as well as a pet mongoose. So what’s that all about?
Well, Coleman isn’t the first Marvel character to have speed powers and go by Whizzer. In fact, there have been three in the comics, although the first one will probably sound the most familiar.
Whizzer I- Robert L Frank was in Africa with his father when he was bitten by a cobra. To save him, his father gave him a transfusion of mongoose blood (I know, I know, it was the Golden Age, origins didn’t make a lot of sense). Frank developed powers, and used his super speed as a hero for the Allies in World War II, serving with the Liberty Legion, the All Winners Squad, and the Invaders, alongside legends like Namor the Sub-Mariner and the originals of Captain America and the Human Torch. After the war, he fell on rough times for a while, battling alcoholism and depression, later securing work as a nuclear technician. Later, he married fellow World War II hero Miss America. They had a son, Nuklo, with uncontrollable nuclear powers. Frank briefly worked with the Avengers, and was mistakenly believed to be the father of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Frank eventually had a heart attack and died trying to help the Avengers, but managed to find a cure for his son’s powers just before that. Versions of him have been in various Marvel cartoons.
Whizzer II- The Grandmaster, an Elder of the Universe, likes his games and has become fascinated with Earth’s champions. During one conflict with the time traveling tyrant Kang, the Grandmaster made a group of supers to oppose the Avengers. One of his new creations was giving James Sanders superhuman speed. Sanders fought as one of the Squadron Sinister before going on to be a mid-level villain in his own right, changing his name to Speed Demon. He has clashed with various heroes over the years. He has a Masters in Chemistry, occasionally using that knowledge to further his villainous career. Speed Demon has been on a few of the Marvel cartoons.
Whizzer III- In one of those “I can’t believe they got away with this” deals, Marvel created the Squadron Supreme, a knockoff of DC Comics’ Justice League. Stanley Stewart is their version of the Flash. The Squadron is particularly vulnerable to mind control, and has been forced to fight the Avengers several times. Back on their own Earth, the Squadron has had many adventures. Despite one of the highest body counts of any team in comics, Whizzer managed to survive, at least until the events of “Battleworld” when many alternate Earths were destroyed, including the Squadron’s home. The Whizzer and his wife and kids were among the many who died. There have been several versions of the Squadron on various Earths.