Lt. Colonel Michael Pola
Portrayed By Liam Neeson
Gender Male
Date of Birth May 15, 1965
Age 45
Zodiac Sign ??
Aliases ??
Place of Birth Ft. Collins, Colorado
Current Location New York
Occupation U.S. Military Attache to S.H.I.E.L.D. (SHIELD Agent)
Known Relatives Elaine Pola (Wife, Deceased), Eleanor Pola (Daughter, 14)
Significant Other None (Widower)
Identity Public
Known Abilities Peak human aiming and dexterity
First Appearance ???

Lt. Colonel Michael Pola, USMC and Military Attache to S.H.I.E.L.D. and associated groups.


I was once told that I had been born in the wrong century. That the one I was born in to didn’t have a place for warriors of faith and courage. I grew up looking at the generation that fought in the Great War, and World War II. And I grew up looking back at a time when men, moved by faith, volunteered to travel around the world to fight for land they felt would lead them to salvation. I wondered, for a time, what greatness God had left for me.

The two constants in my life growing up were my faith and my chosen profession. We were Catholic, very Catholic as a matter of fact. No meat on Fridays because the Pope said so to drive up the Italian economy, give up more than one thing for lent Church every Sunday without fail Catholic. Dad, who had been in the Navy during WWII, was a Deacon at Church. Mom had considered being a nun before she went to school and met Dad.

And I always knew that I would grow up to defend my country. I believed in all my heart that the greatest thing I could do was to protect the United States. I dreamed of Knights and Chivalry and the men who went to one knee and swore to defend their land with their life. Even later, knowing the horrible things that happened because of often misguided belief, I still knew that I would be like the Knights of old. Steadfast in my faith and in my protection of the Constitution and all of the rights therein.

My family owned a ranch outside of Fort Collins, and so I grew up riding horses and learning how to shoot a rifle. By the time I joined JROTC in High School I was already a good shot, and I became one of the best in my relative units as I went through JROTC and on to ROTC in College. I don’t know why, and I can’t remember when it started, but any time you hand me something that requires aiming, I can shoot a bullseye with it. Some people have a photographic memory; some people are naturally talented at piano. For whatever reason my natural talent runs to putting a bullet in to things.

I got a double bachelor’s from the University of Colorado at Boulder in History and Military Science, courtesy of the United States Government, during which time I also studied Arabic and Farsi. I graduated in 1986, and needless to say my affiliation with the ROTC and my subsequent commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps was not popular in the People’s Republic of Boulder. The injustices of the Vietnam war were still fresh on the minds of many in the country and Iran Contra later in the year wouldn’t endear the military to many.

After 3 years as a Marine I passed qualification and was assigned to the Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, a part of the elite Marine Force Recon. Owing to my natural abilities I was placed in a combat unit, and designated as a sniper. This was just in time for things to once again heat up in the Middle East. And so newly made a Captain I was sent to Saudi Arabia to participate first in the ‘wholly defensive’ action in Saudi Arabia, and then to be a part of the action to liberate Kuwait.

I saw combat at Khafji in Saudi Arabia, where Iraq tried to mount a counter-offensive and seize strategic oil reserves. Recon was deployed in defensive positions to hold against attacks while close air support pounded away at them. We lost 25 men to their almost 300, a smaller percentage than we like. We were given a Saudi Arabian military award at the end of the war for our service.

It was immediately after the Gulf War, when I was shipped back to the States that I met the woman I would marry. She was a history professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, and teaching History was what I had always thought I would like to do after I retired from the service. We met as I was registering for online classes at the Metropolitan State College of Denver, with an eye of getting a Master’s in History and certified as a teacher. After all, if the military is going to pay for classes why not take them.

She was fascinating, and intelligent, and staunchly opposed to military intervention in any way shape or form. She wanted U.S. troops out of other countries, she wanted the police out of her house, and wanted everybody to leave everybody else alone except if they were coming to help in an emergency. Or for a soccer game, because she loved soccer. She was a study in contradiction. She never wanted to be a Marine wife, but she became one. She had always said she wouldn’t put off a career for having a child, but when our daughter was born in 1996 she happily did so.

We married in 1992, and shortly afterwards I found out the reason why she had been so staunchly opposed to invasions of privacy was because she was hiding the fact that she was a mutant. Not a very powerful one, but she still had the ability to control the weather in a very limited fashion, which she put to the nefarious task of always making sure the garden looked nice. We had good tomatoes, and that was the extent of her powers. She had never been trained, and had grown up in the same church I did that had little tolerance for mutants. It was the first time I challenged my faith.

After the Gulf War I did a tour in Yugoslavia, a tour in Turkey. I was in Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy, and Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia in 1998. As a part of Force Recon I participated in a number of missions around the world during this time, specific combat actions against enemies. Finally in 2001 I was sent back to Turkey with Force Recon in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. We had been tipped off by the Turkish army that a man named Al-Shabah was gathering personnel and materiel for another attack on U.S. Soil.

A joint task force was sent in to confirm the intelligence and neutralize the threat if necessary; it was made up of 15 Marines and fifteen Army Green Berets, and led by the field commander for the region who was an officer attached to S.H.I.E.L.D. I was the XO for the unit as a Major, reporting to the Colonel from S.H.I.E.L.D. We spent three months in Turkey living in quarters above a souk, tracking down the elusive Al-Shabah; he lived up to his name, which means ‘Ghost’, because it took all of the three months for the combined intelligence of the U.S. Government, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Turkish government to track him down. We finally did, however, when we got word that they were at an abandoned madrasa on the outskirts of the city. We hightailed it over.

We had only just arrived when we were radioed back to base immediately. For as long as we had been hunting him he had been hunting us, and we had managed to find each other at the same time. He was attacking the Souk to try to take us out. By the time we got back he had pretty well taken over the quarter (a souk is a merchant district), holding the people there hostage. Women, children and Turkish soldiers were captive when we went in. We went in a back alley, to take them out and secure the hostages. In the process we found we had been very wrong about key points in this saga; rather, that Turkish intelligence had not exactly been forthcoming.

Al-Shabah wasn’t a Muslim Extremist, at least not the usual kind. He was a Muslim /Mutant/ Extremist. He was going to attack the U.S. to protest the worldwide treatment of Mutants, who he believed to be God’s true chosen children; his followers believed he was in the line of Mohammed, and had been given divine revelation like the Prophet. Needless to say this heresy hadn’t made him popular with the Imams, nor had his terrorist tactics. Had we been informed that the mission was to take out the Magneto of the Middle East we might have been amenable to assisting anyway, but the Turkish government had decided that the best way to do it was to withhold the intel from us.

The same way they had, expecting us to simply air strike him out of their lives, not warned us that he had control over the element of fire in all its’ myriad forms. Have you ever seen what the cartridges to one of those .15 caliber needle guns can do when they explode all at the same time? The S.H.I.E.L.D. Colonel was a fragmentation grenade before he knew what hit him. The rest of his followers were similarly gifted, and the battle was pitched. We lost 15 of 30 men, and the rest of us were caught behind the last bit of cover in the souk that wasn’t on fire or covered in huddled refugees. For fun Al-Shabah had started taking bars of metal, rebar that had fallen, and lighting them on fire to throw at us (since he was immune to being burned).

I came out at the same time he threw the bar. I’d never been stabbed before, least of all stabbed by something on fire, but I have to say that it was more than a little painful. He didn’t have anything else, however, for several seconds after that,
and I still had my pistol. And I don’t miss. I knew at least that I hadn’t missed before I passed out. I didn’t wake up for a week.
When I did I was in a hospital, as one tends to be when one has been stabbed with a flaming piece of metal and bruised and cut from an exploding Colonel. Shortly thereafter I was brought to see the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Secretary of the Navy, who presented me with the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit. They also said that when I was healed and assuming I stayed in the service (as my tour of duty was up that year), there was a project that they thought I was qualified to head.

I would have been very qualified to head the project they wanted me for, which was a joint task force for monitoring mutant extremism in the world. It seems that in the aftermath of our action in Turkey the governments involved were focusing on al-Shahbah being a mutant rather than a terrorist, and were creating additional programs for mutant monitoring. I took the honorable discharge instead, and retired to pursue my Doctorate in History; I wouldn’t participate in their mutant hunt.

I wish I could say that things were simple for the rest of my life, however. I finished my doctorate in History in 2004, and began working at the Community College of Denver. In 2005 Elaine, my wife, found a large lump on one of her breasts. It had developed quickly, and we both knew it couldn’t be anything good. It was confirmed as breast cancer, and by the end of 2006 she had passed away, leaving me alone with our daughter Eleanor.

For the second time in my life I questioned my faith, and God’s plan in taking Elaine away from me. This was the lowest point in my life. But, slowly, we began to heal. Eleanor and I grew closer in the wake of the tragedy, I continued to teach, and we just crept along. But I think the both of us felt very lost, like we didn’t have a purpose. We were waiting for something, which we would both find in 2009.

In January of 2009 Eleanor showed her first instance of mutant ability, which we had sort of suspected would happen. I think we were both hoping it would be weather control, which is fairly easy to hide and lends itself strongly to tomatoes, and indeed she can control the weather…but currently it is linked to her emotions. And the emotions she is picking up from other people, which means from somewhere she seems to have gained a mild form of empathy. Which is…disconcerting, but apparently not unmanageable. As she began to develop her power we found a school that could help her, or rather the school found us once we began to quietly inquire. The Xavier Institute.

And in July of 2009 I received a job offer. S.H.I.E.L.D., whom I had so briefly and explosively worked with, needed a new U.S. Military Attache. My job would be to coordinate S.H.I.E.L.D. activities that requires U.S. Military attention, as well as serving as the head of the U.S. detachment operating within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself; additionally, working in whatever capacities S.H.I.E.L.D. needed me to. I had to ask them why, of all of the people in the world who they could have picked for this, they chose a man who had been retired for five years (2 years having been in my reserve commitment). My file had been reviewed at Colonel Fury’s request, having first crossed his desk after Turkey. Apparently I had been his first choice then, but I retired, and the job was open again.

I didn’t know at first if I wanted to take it, but I slowly came to realize that just like Eleanor needed her purpose, I needed mine too. And so after five years I put on the uniform of a Marine again, and reported for duty. Having someone with pro-mutant sympathies as the top U.S. military man in S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t hurt the cause, and maybe God is giving me the way once more.




Skills, Abilities and Powers

Like Bullseye, Michael’s power is his aiming. His aiming ability is at the absolute maximum human level, making him one of the most deadly shooters in the world. He has exceptional physical conditioning with the agility, speed, strength, reflexes and endurance of an almost Olympic athlete in his prime, despite his age. Similar to Bullseye his near super-human hand-eye coordination also grants him reflexes at the top of the human spectrum, making him a very dangerous combatant both at range and in person.

In addition to this natural proclivity he has been in the Marines for 18 years, a branch of the military in which not keeping to PT standards can (in extreme cases) be cause for discharge. In addition to being a sniper, Michael is a 2nd degree black belt instructor in MCMAP, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, which is a combination of boxing, judo, knife fighting and jujitsu (and bayonet fighting). He has extensive experience in mission planning and execution, field operations, leadership and personnel management. As a member of Force Recon he was also trained in stealth and advanced camouflage, rapid entry, rappelling, and qualified as a parachutist.

He is fluent in Arabic and Farsi in addition to English, and during his service earned a Master’s Degree in History, with an emphasis on Medieval History. During the 7 years he wasn’t active duty, he finished a Doctorate in History with an emphasis on the Crusades. He can, amusingly enough, play the blues harmonica, for no other reason than he thought it would be fun to learn, and practices card throwing because he can (and used it to win drinks in college).

He has no mutant or superhuman abilities; just peak human ones, and will not scan as a mutant or superhuman (because he isn't one).


  • Michael is very Catholic; he regularly attends Mass, receives communion, and goes to confession.
  • This is not known by anyone outside of that institute, but his daughter attends Xavier's.


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