Publication Date: 5th Apr 2019
Written By: Gremlin and Monolith.
Image Work: Gremlin.


Born in Rhinebeck, New York, to as yet unnamed parents, Guido Carosella was an only child raised in a small town. His parents were extremely tight-fisted, never spending any money on luxuries; according to one off-hand remark Guido made, they may also have been verbally abusive to him throughout his childhood. By the time he reached middle school, Guido was a self-confessed "nerd." Though he was highly intelligent and scored well in all his subjects, young Mr. Carosella had difficulty relating to his classmates. To compensate for his insecurities, Guido became the class clown, frequently playing practical jokes on both his teachers and his fellow students. The closest thing he had to a friend was Charlie Ronalds, another troubled outsider who wasn't fitting in with the crowd.

One day after school, Guido awkwardly tried to flirt with his "big crush," Sheila McCann, and ended up lying flat on the sidewalk thanks to her boyfriend. All the abuse up to this point finally made Carosella snap, and he lunged at his tormenter. This only led to a mob of the tougher boys ganging up on him, and at this exact moment his mutant power decided to kick in. All the kinetic energy from the beating was processed into sheer power to increase his musculature, expanding his right arm into a grotesquely large shape. In a panic, Guido stumbled out in front of a school bus, absorbing even greater amounts of energy, which warped his body even further. Even worse, Charlie (potentially Guido's only friend) witnessed these events and realized Guido was a mutant, just like the man who killed his parents a few years earlier.

Charlie snapped and began beating Guido with a rock, screaming about how all his kind was "evil." Half-blind with pain, Guido lashed out without realizing it and left Charlie with a limp for the rest of his life. All this kinetic activity flowing through his system overloaded Carosella's mutant ability -- his power was designed to only hold on to kinetic energy for brief periods before releasing it, and the fact that he hadn’t done so left Guido horribly disfigured. He would be in constant pain for the rest of his life, and his upper body muscle structure was abnormally and permanently "supersized." [X-Factor (1st series) #87, X-Factor Annual #8]

While being treated at the hospital, Guido struck up a friendship with Mary Bradley, a candy-striper volunteering in his recovery ward. He developed a schoolboy crush on Mary and she was fond of him too, but they felt out of touch with each other when he was transferred to another hospital for additional observation and treatment. At some point, his parents were killed in an accident when a satellite fell out of the sky, and Guido acquired a small fortune for himself in settling with the manufacturers. When exactly this happened is unclear, but presumably he was still a minor at the time, since apparently he lived with his aunt and uncle in Rhinebeck for quite some time as a youth. [X-Factor (1st series) #72, 103-104]

After moving out on his own, Guido bought a fancy house in or around the Washington D.C. area and lived the high life for a few years until some "bad investments" left him unable to pay his bills. In order to  keep the money flowing in, Guido took a job as hired muscle for Lila Cheney and her rock band. Working for Lila, Carosella lived out of her place in Malibu, California and traveled all over the galaxy while she was touring. It was during this time that he first came in contact with some of Professor Xavier’s students, as Cannonball of the New Mutants was a part-time boyfriend for Lila at the time. [New Mutants (1st series) #29]

Guido was also introduced to Dazzler, who was briefly a member of Lila’s band. Some weeks later, while patrolling Lila‘s estate in Malibu, Guido was quite surprised when he found Dazzler on the beach, naked and amnesiac, washed ashore after emerging from the Siege Perilous. He brought her inside Lila’s villa, and helped her to reclaim her old life. [Uncanny X-Men #259, 270]

When Lila shuttled the X-Men off into deep space to deal with a problem in the Shi'Ar Empire, Guido found himself at loose ends. With nothing else to do until his boss came back, Guido felt an irresistible desire to travel to the mutant research facility on Muir Island. Moira MacTaggert, the island's proprietor, had recently established her own set of arena games for the isle's occupants to test themselves against each other in physical combat, and Guido enjoyed being a part-time gladiator. Unfortunately, the behavior patterns of Guido, Moira, and everyone else on the island was being influenced by the powerful telepath known as the Shadow King. The malevolent telepath was using his powers to bring out the more violent and primal urges of his targets, corrupting them until they were "willing" servants against his arch-nemesis, Charles Xavier, and the X-Men when they returned. A strike force consisting of X-Factor and many other past and present X-Men finally managed to defeat the Shadow King and free Guido and the rest of his pawns from telepathic control. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #278, 280]

With X-Factor making the decision to disband and rejoin the X-Men, Val Cooper decided to recruit an all-new, all-different X-Factor team to replace Freedom Force as operatives for the United States government, and she invited  Guido to become one of the charter members. Along with two other former residents of Muir Island, Polaris and Multiple Man, Guido relocated to his old mansion in Washington D.C. To quote their press release, X-Factor was designed to be "a special task force required to deal with assignments needing mutant expertise." Before X-Factor held their first press conference to publicly announce their formation to the media, it was suggested that Guido adopt a codename for himself to fit in with the crowd. Fitting with his sense of humor, Mr. Carosella decided to call himself "Strong Guy." He even managed to coin a new politically correct term for mutants -- genetically challenged, or "geecees" for short. [X-Factor (1st series) #70-73]

X-Factor was under siege as an organization before they even truly formed, with the alliance of Mister Sinister and his Nasty Boys taking an interest in unbalancing the group. In particular, Sinister was employing the skills of Senator Steven Shaffran, alias Ricochet, who had a unique event manipulation power which he was using to upset X-Factor individually in different ways. After turning Quicksilver's powers against him and setting Madrox up against one of his own rogue duplicates, it was Guido's turn. One of Sinister's Nasty Boys was named Slab, roughly Strong Guy's equal in terms of strength and power.  He took hostages at the Washington Monument and challenged Guido to meet him in combat. Far from trying to beat Guido, Slab's actual intent was to force the battle into causing massive property damage to discredit Strong Guy and X-Factor, which it did when the monument collapsed. In his role as a senator, Shaffran tried to use this to turn public opinion against all mutants, and ride that hatred into the White House. Luckily for X-Factor, Madrox was able to overwhelm his renegade dupe and they also received unlikely aid from Mr. Sinister himself. It seemed that Sinister was only giving Shaffran enough rope to hang himself, as he could have been a threat to Essex's own machinations for the house of X. After Sinister discredited Senator Shaffran as a megalomanical psychopath on national television and then arranged his death as well, the matter simply resolved itself and Guido was cleared of any major charges for the destruction of the Washington Monument. [X-Factor (1st series) #74-75]