Exiles #31 – The Coal Tigress

I don’t know what depths of Marveldom I was exploring where I found an alternate version of the Black Panther that was named the Coal Tiger.  I know it joked about there not being any tigers in Africa.  That just made me think that, because it’s an alternate reality, there could be tigers in Africa.  There could even be a subspecies that was all black the way panthers are an all black subspecies of leopards.

I’ve been sitting on that for a while and I’ve been reading Infinity lately.  Needless to say the lady Black Panther has been an interesting character.  Flawed in many of the same ways as her brother, she also seems noticeably younger and wilder.  It was easy enough to make my idea for a Coal Tiger into a Coal Tigress.  And when I found out she’s running around with Black Knight’s Ebony Blade, much of the story fell in place.  So, here you go, the Coal Tigress, from a world where not only are there tigers in Africa, there are all black ones, too.

Coal Tigress

Shuri

Fighting: AM

Agility: IN

Strength: EX

Endurance: RM

Reason: GD

Intuition: RM

Psyche: EX

Health: 140

Karma: 60

Resources: AM(50)

Popularity: 66

Powers:

Infravision: The Coal Tigress has excellent infravision and can see well on moonless nights. However, she cannot see well in absolute darkness.

Tracking: The Coal Tigress’ keenly honed senses give her Amazing Tracking ability. Outdoors, she can follow a trail up to 12 hours after it was made. In a city environment, the time limit is six hours.

Ebony Blade: The Coal Tigress’ is made of Unearthly strength material, and in her hands it inflicts 20 points Edged damage or 26 points Blunt damage with the flat of the blade. The sword’s anti-magical properties allow it to detect spells and energy as if it were a shield of Unearthly strength, as well as cut through mystic barriers and enchantments as if they were normal materials. It can affect normal energies as a power stunt; the sword can cut through energy barriers, and can deflect non-magical energy. It can also absorb energy blasts, which may be flung back at the assailant as an attack of equal rank. The sword has a blood-curse on it; if the wielder takes a life, she becomes bloodthirsty (Psyche FEAT roll to avoid this.)

Through complete concentration (red Psyche FEAT) the Coal Tigress may summon her sword to her or teleport herself to the sword with CL3000 ability, crossing time and dimensions to do so.

Body Armor: The Coal Tigress wears a full suit of polymer armor that includes Wakandan vibranium woven into it, which provides her with Excellent protection against physical attacks and Good protection against energy attacks.

Talents: In combat, the Coal Tigress uses Martial Arts A, B, C, E, as well as Acrobatics and Tumbling Skills. She has Excellent reason in regard to physics and electronics. Shuri is a weapon specialist with the Ebony Blade (+2CS.)

Contacts: In addition to her membership in the Avengers, the Coal Tigress is a close friend of the Fantastic Four and Dr. Strange. In her youth, she befriended Storm, of the X-Men. In addition to this, she has diplomatic immunity in the United States.

Background: Shuri was the daughter and youngest child of T’Chaka, king of the African nation of Wakanda. When her father was slain by Ulysses Klaw, a lawless American ivory hunter who sought to possess Wakanda’s Vibranium mine, the young Shuri and her brother T’Challa swore vengeance. The two of them succeeded in thwarting Klaw’s raid. T’Challa, as the oldest was then sent off to be educated at the finest schools in Europe and America.

While he was gone, Shuri trained for and underwent the two tests required to become the guardian of the Wakandan people, the Coal Tiger. The first test was to triumph against six of Wakanda’s greatest warriors in unarmed combat. The second was to obtain the secret heart-shaped herb that grants great physical strength and heightened senses.

She completed the tests and donned the mantle of the Coal Tigress, just in time. Klaw returned with a band of super powered mercenaries in tow and only the abilities granted to her by the heart-shaped herb allowed her to narrowly overcome them. Many of them were captured, though Klaw escaped.

One of the mercenaries she captured was Nathan Garrett, the Black Knight. She claimed his Ebony Blade as a trophy.

Possession of this blade took her into a new realm of danger and adventure as she came to the attention of the mystical community. Morgan le Fey attempted to possess her body in the hopes of being reborn in modern times, but between the Ebony Blade and the power of Bast, the cat goddess who protects Wakanda and uses the Coal Tigers as her champions, she was able to fight off the sorceress.

Dr. Strange also recruited her into his Defenders, depending on both her skills and her sword to fend off incursions from mystical attackers. This quest kept her away from Wakanda for months and when she returned, T’Challa had taken over the mantle of Coal Tiger and Klaw was attacking once more.

Klaw was able to overcome T’Challa and the Coal Tigress arrived just as Klaw was about to strike the killing blow. She managed to deflect the attack with her blade but was not able to completely stop it. T’Challa lived but was crippled by the assault.

Shuri was infuriated by her failure and Klaw’s audacity and she struck him down, little knowing of the Ebony Blade’s curse. Killing someone with the blade instilled a magical bloodlust in the Coal Tigress.

As queen of Wakanda, she led her nation on a much more aggressive path than they had undertaken in the past. She began to lead her people in conquest of many of the surrounding nations, beginning with those who had threatened or tried to invade Wakanda in the past. Soon, the tiny hidden nation had occupied a significant portion of the African continent.

This brought the Coal Tigress and her nation to the attention of the international community but assistance came from an unexpected source. Two, actually. Victor von Doom and Namor, seeing something of a kindred spirit in the rogue leader of Wakanda offered her alliances. Prideful as she was, Shuri recognized that her nation could not stand alone and accepted.

Dr. Doom provided legions of doombots to bolster Wakanda’s military while Namor provided unquestioned dominance of the oceans and the use of some of the gargantuan creatures of the deep. In return, Shuri exported supplies of her nation’s precious vibranium to both rulers as well as training their organic warriors in Wakanda battle techniques.

With their combined abilities and the power of their nations behind them, Wakanda, Latveria and Atlantis slowly began to literally take over the world. In a surprising display of understanding and putting aside of pride between the three of them, and after a great deal of negotiations, it was decided that Doom would claim Europe, Asia and North America while Shuri would claim Africa, Australia, South America and Antartica, including the Savage Land. This gave her access to an entirely different form of vibranium, one which she quickly set her nation’s scientists to researching and incorporating into their technology. She also used it as a personal safari ground, going there to hunt the dangerous prey there as a form of relaxation.

Namor neither desired, nor requested any surface lands though he garnered an agreement from them both that they would not impinge on his undersea realms and that they would stop the pollution of the oceans by the lands they conquered.

Namor and Shuri also found themselves attracted to each other and began a romantic relationship, though a rocky one, at best.

It was not long until they had conquered the entire world except for North America, which only held them back because of the unusual number of superhumans in residence there. They had massed their forces for an assault on New York, the hub of this superhuman activity.

Before they could start their attack, the Exiles arrived to bolster the defenses. Even this addition would have hardly shifted the balance but, alongside the Exiles, the Sorceress Supreme of Otherworld, Lady le Fey entered the Coal Tigress’ dimension.

She had sensed the corruption of the Ebony Blade in this dimension and sought to cleanse it. She did not go to Shuri, though. Instead, she visited T’Challa, offering him the chance to redeem his sister.

T’Challa, who had always blamed himself for not taking the mantle of the Coal Tiger himself and saving Shuri from a life of strife, agreed. Morgan called upon the power of Bast, the patron of the Coal Tigers and healed T’Challa’s injuries and imbued him with the power of the Coal Tiger.

She then took him to New York to face his sister. T’Challa tried to reason with Shuri but the curse of the Ebony Blade was too powerful and it drove her to attack him. Their battle was heated but T’Challa really had no chance of victory. Shuri had years of experience on him and he was trying not to seriously injure her.

She seriously injured him but when the moment came to finish him off, she found that she couldn’t. Her psychic conflict over killing her brother was enough to break the blood curse and she abruptly came to her senses. She swore then and there never to kill again.

Horrified by the bloodshed she had caused, she immediately called for the withdrawal of the Wakandan forces from the attack. Not a few of them refused, especially as the Latverians continued their assault.

Shuri appealed to Namor, however. The King of Atlantis had begun having second thoughts as well, his fury toward the surface world cooling in the face of the suffering caused by him and his companions.

He, too, ordered his forces to withdraw. Doom, not one to take betrayal lightly and with his usual foresight activated his failsafe. His doombots turned on the Wakandans and Atlanteans and all of the technology that he had provided them self-destructed, often killing its users.

Coal Tigress, Namor the Sea Scourge and the Exiles struck straight at the heart of Doom, assaulting him in his Latverian stronghold. Doom was able to subdue Namor quickly, having prepared for just such an occurrence and setting up a number of traps that would dehydrate the monarch of the seas.

He had much more trouble with Coal Tigress and the Exiles. After breaking her curse, Shuri’s fighting style became much more controlled and less savage and the traps Doom had set up depended on her weakness and desire for blood. The Exiles were, of course, complete wild cards.

Again, the Coal Tigress found an opponent at her mercy and, though Doom deserved her revenge as much as anyone, she remembered her vow and spared him. Namor was revived but in the confusion involved, Doom escaped.

Though Shuri felt an obligation to remain and undo the wrongs she’d done, she was also extremely ashamed of her actions and felt a duty to repay Lady le Fay for freeing her from the curse. T’Challa, who had been healed by the powers of the Heart Shaped Herb, reassured Shuri that he would lead Wakanda in her absence and Namor promised her that he would ally with her brother to stop Doom’s advance on the world.

Believing that she could better atone for her sins with the Exiles, she left her home dimension with them, joining their ranks. She serves particularly as an agent for Lady le Fey when she needs tasks done in the mystical realms.

Exiles #30 – Battleaxe

Pay no mind to the redundancy of equipment between this Exile and another one that may have the same Asgardian artifact or any obsession with said Asgardian artifact that might suggest.

This one sprang out at me while I was working on another project.  Kind of a no-brainer, really.  I guess I could have given her Terrax’s axe…dang it!  Now I’ll have to try to think about what would happen if she was a herald of Galactus…

Here, look at this, I’ve got mulling to do…

Battleaxe

Anita Ehren

Fighting: AM

Agility: EX

Strength: IN

Endurance: MN

Reason: TY

Intuition: TY

Psyche: GD

Health: 185

Karma: 22

Resources: GD(10)

Popularity: -15

Powers:

Invulnerability: Battleaxe has Excellent resistance to physical attacks, heat, cold, corrosives, fire, radiation, toxins, aging, and disease. Typical resistance to energy attacks.

Equipment:

Blood Axe (Unique Weapon): Battleaxe wields a double-bladed weapon made of Shift X material which inflicts Amazing Edge Damage. She can throw it up to 10 areas away, by holding onto the chain attached to the hilt, she can pull it back to her the round after it is thrown. It is enchanted with the following abilities:

Dimensional Aperture: The axe can cut through the barriers between dimensions, allowing travel between them. It can also cut through space.

The axe can disrupt magical illusions of up to Shift Z rank, revealing the true identity beneath.

Battleaxe can use the chain attached to the hilt to grapple foes up to 10 areas away. These attacks use her normal grappling values. Each round she gets as “Partial” result on her grappling check, she can pull her target one area closer to her. If she gets a “Hold” result, she can immediately pull the target adjacent to her. The chain can also be used in a similar manner to make grabbing attacks.

Talents: Battleaxe is trained in Wrestling and Martial Arts C and is a Weapons Specialist with her axe, giving her a +2CS to attacks (including Grapples and Grabs) and a +1 to Initiative.

Contacts: Battleaxe still has contact with the Grapplers and is partners with the Enchantress. She has also partnered with Titania (MacPherson) in the past.

Background: Battleaxe’s origin and activities before becoming a member of the Grapplers, the female division of the UCWF, are virtually unknown. Like the other Grapplers, she received her enhanced strength and durability by subjecting herself to the Power Broker’s strength boosting treatments.

Soon after joining the group, Battleaxe challenged, Titania, to a bout for her title as leader of the group. Ehren won but soon after Titania was killed by a Scourge of the Underworld who was disguised as a female wrestler. Ehren believed UCWF member the Thing had performed the killing and convinced several of her fellow wrestlers to attack him. They were only stopped when Sharon Ventura, another Grappler convinced them of his innocence.

Battleaxe nevertheless held a grudge against the Thing and this carried over into the ring with Ehren ambushing him, aiding his opponents and the assorted other professional wrestling shenanigans a Heel Wrestler gets up to against a Face.

This culminated in an exhibition match involving the Thing single handedly taking on Battleaxe and several of her fellow Grapplers by himself. Unfortunately for all involved, it happened to take place during Loki’s “Acts of Vengeance” and Amora the Enchantress and Skurge the Executioner were tasked with slaying the Thing.

They attacked as the match was reaching its climax. Between Amora’s magic and Skurge’s axe, the pair came very close to succeeding at their task but the Grapplers leapt to the Thing’s aid.

They managed to take down the Executioner and, as Amora’s most powerful magics did not work on them, due to their gender, forced her to retreat.

This defeat by a “pack of simple mortals” finally pushed Amora’s disgust for her partner over the edge. Using her enchantments on Skurge, she stripped him of his axe and left him abandoned back in Jotunheim.

Deciding that Men were too foolish to depend upon, Amora returned to the stadium where the UCWF competed. She chose the most impressive member of the Grapplers and offered her power in return for her service.

Battleaxe did not appreciate the term “servant” but jumped at the chance to become more powerful. She agreed to Amora’s offer and the Enchantress wove further magic into the Blood Axe

She did require one thing before leaving with Amora, though. She challenged the Thing, who was still recovering from his fight with the Executioner to another match. The Thing did not realize she had increased abilities and she was able to beat him before he was able to adjust.

Battleaxe’s success as a replacement for the Executioner proved to be somewhat questionable. She fought at the side of the Enchantress against such opponents as Thor and the Avengers and held her own, though she was not noticeably more successful in defeating them than her predecessor.

In fact, from time to time, the Enchantress grew frustrated with her new partner as well, and abandoned her back on Midgard. Battleaxe hardly cared, teaming up with the Grapplers, Femizons, Wrecking Crew and Masters of Evil during these times of exile.

Again and again, she was defeated and her list of rivals grew over the years. Finally, she came to face the Executioner, who, rather than wallow in self-pity and doubt after losing the favor of the Enchantress, had become a hero, fighting with the forces of Asgard then coming to Midgard to join the Defenders and Avengers.

Even with her having his axe, Skurge managed to defeat her. Deciding that the life of a villain simply was not for her after this loss, she decided to turn over a new leaf.

Though clumsy at first, and uncertain of the process, Battleaxe became a solo vigilante. She fought many of her former allies, including the Grapplers and Piledriver from the Wrecking Crew as well as villains she’d never met. Amazingly, she was almost universally successful.

She went on to team up with the Executioner and a reluctant She-Hulk before joining with a group of Heroes Four Hire made up largely of former members of the Serpent Society.

The stigma of her past life still followed her, though and many heroes distrusted her and her motives. It seemed that she had converted back to the other side when she let herself be recruited by the Enchantress to face off against the Exiles as they attempted to stop her plans to start Ragnarok.

Her supposed loyalty to Amora proved to be a ruse, however and, at the critical moment, she betrayed her former partner, disrupting her plans.

She was eager for a fresh start and accepted their invitation to join them on their omniversal quest.

Exiles #28 The Ringer

Another original character that I only knew through the old Marvel Universe write ups.  I did, however, read the stories with the actual Ringer below…or the person I made the Ringer.

I find Leila’s story strangely compelling.  Even if her characterization in Lethal Foes of Spider-Man was a little thin.  In fact, I was inspired to write this up because I just read a TPB with Deadly Foes and Lethal Foes combined so I had her story arc all together.  The first story is far superior.  It’s dense and almost Shakesperean in it’s complexity and level of betrayal.  The second one is…very 90’s.  As you can see below, I took the cyborg out of the story because…well, very 90’s.

As devious as she was, I feel like a slightly different direction and she could be inspired to be a hero instead of a villain.  So, without further ado, here’s the all new all not lame, Ringer –

Ringer

Leila Davis

Fighting: GD

Agility: EX

Strength: GD

Endurance: GD

Reason: EX

Intuition: GD

Psyche: EX

Health: 50

Karma: 50

Resources: GD(10)

Popularity: 4

Powers:

Rings: The Ringer employs wrist projectors which throw rings of Incredible explosive damage, Incredible freezing cold, and Amazing strength constriction. She can simply fire a constant steam of metal rings which inflict Remarkable Blunt or Edged damage. She normally carries enough rings to do five attackes of each of the special types listed above. She uses “particulate-matter condensors” which give her an unlimited series of projectile blasts. She can fire any ring up to 2 areas away.

The Ringer also uses assorted rings on her costume to form an Amazing strength Lasso (range of 1 area), a ladder (up to 2 stories high), or a whip (Remarkable Blunt damage or an Amazing Strength Grapple attack.)

Body Armor: Excellent protection from physical attacks. Good protection against energy attacks.

Talents: Davis has the Leadership and Repair/Tinkering talents.

Contacts: None

Background: Nothing is known about the history of the original Ringer before he publicly committed his first crime in his costumed identity. He burglarized a safe in a building owned by Kyle Richmond, only to be opposed and defeated by Richmond himself in the latter’s identity of Nighthawk. In the course of their battle, half of the Ringer’s teeth were severely damaged. The Ringer was sent to jail where it took months for a prison dentist to rebuild his teeth.

This disastrous encounter with Nighthawk convinced the Ringer that he was not meant for a life of crime and that he definitely never wanted to clash with a costumed crimefighter ever again. Therefore, after leaving prison, the Ringer hired the criminal inventor called the Tinkerer to construct him a new costume with improvements that the Ringer himself had designed. But the Ringer did not intend to use the new battlesuit himself to commit crimes, mas as he felt the temptation to do so. Rather, he intended to sell it to “business contacts” of his.

Before the Ringer could get his hands on the suit, the New York City Police learned the location of the Tinkerer’s shop and posted guards around it. The Ringer secretly broke into the workshop, found his suit and started testing it. While this was happening, the Beetle broke into the workshop as well to find his own new battlesuit constructed by the Tinkerer. He easily knocked the Ringer out and abducted him.

When the Ringer revived, he found that he was the Beetle’s prisoner. The Beetle demanded that the Ringer battle Spider-Man on his behalf. The Ringer was afraid of fighting another super hero but the Beetle had placed a large ring around the Ringer’s midsection. The Beetle claimed this ring was made of a powerful explosive material and that he would detonate it if the Ringer refused to do his bidding. The Ringer reluctantly complied.

The Ringer proved no match for Spider-Man, who soundly defeated him. As a cruel joke, the Beetle, who had been monitoring the battle from afar, pressed a detonator, which caused a small explosive charge in the ring to go off that did not harm the Ringer in the least. The Beetle had tricked the Ringer: the ring about his midsection actually had contained devices that relayed information about Spider-Man and his battle techniques to the Beetle’s computers. Spider-Man delivered the Ringer to the police, and the Ringer was imprisoned once more.

After next leaving prison, the Ringer avoided New York City and its superheroes and operated as a costumed criminal, primarily in the Midwest. On a visit to the “Bar with No Name” in Medina County, Ohio, one of a number of similar secret meeting places for costumed criminals the Ringer was contacted by Gary Gilbert, who was formerly the costumed terrorist called Firebrand. Gilbert invited the Ringer to attend a meeting at the bar to discuss strategies for dealing with Scourge, the mysterious vigilante who had murdered a large number of costumed criminals. The Ringer came to the meeting, but, unfortunately for him, so did Scourge, disguised as the bartender. Scourge slaughtered the Ringer and all the other criminals who were present.

Unbeknownst to Scourge, Beetle, Spider-Man or Nighthawk, Anthony Davis had a wife. The newly widowed Leila Davis was wracked by grief and guilt over the fate of her husband. Grief both at his loss and because of the sad path of his life and guilt over the fact that she had helped him design the Ringer equipment that set him on that path.

She turned these feelings to anger and a desire for revenge on all those she blamed for her husband’s misfortunes and death. She felt that the Beetle was the most responsible as he had forced Anthony back into a life of crime when he’d decided to go on the straight and narrow.

Leila enacted a complex scheme using her feminine wiles to turn Beetle’s latest incarnation of the Sinister Syndicate against him. She found the task relatively easy as the petty men with power who made up the team were full of grudges and greed that could be used to her advantage.

Still, some of the Syndicate remained loyal to him and he caught wind of his danger before she was able to fully spring her trap. Between that and the intervention of Spider-Man, her ploy failed and Leila found herself under arrest. Worse, before her plans fell apart she was forced to use the Ringer weapons that she had come to hate in her attempts to kill the Beetle.

After being released from prison, Leila attempted to enact her revenge on the Beetle, again, this time with her own suit of armor. Calling herself “Hardshell” she gathered together others who had a grudge against the Beetle or who were simply greedy enough to kill him for the right reward.

Hardshell succeeded this time, despite the interference of Spider-Man and a rival group of villains. Having killed the man that she blamed for getting her husband killed, she surrendered and was put in jail, once more.

Leila found that her grief was not soothed by her actions, and, in fact, sank into a depression. She likely would have spent the rest of her days in prison, abandoning her quest to kill Scourge as well had the Exiles not happened along. They were breaking another prisoner out and she was freed in the chaos.

It took little effort for her to play the role of damsel in distress and one of the male Exiles “rescued” her, taking her back to Otherworld with them. Leila fostered her relationship with the Exiles and used her cunning and wiles to sneak and steal bits and pieces of the advanced technology on Otherworld.

Having decided that the only way to honor her lost husband was to redeem his name, she rebuilt his battle suit even better. Once it was completed, she then snuck into a mission with the Exiles. They were unable to send her back once they were in their new dimension but the new Ringer quickly proved her skill and capabilities.

As an added bonus for Leila, that first mission involved stopping a monstrous version of Spider-Man and defeating and capturing him helped her finally end her guilt and anger over her husband’s death.

Exiles #27 – The Four Gun Kid

For some unknown reason, I’ve been into Cowboys & Dinosaurs, lately.  Not cowboys and dinosaurs as in each one separately but Cowboys & Dinosaurs as in, six shooter packing pardners riding prehistoric beasts.

I’ve added a Cowboys & Dinosaurs prestige class to the next d20 product I plan to publish and I happened to come across the base for this guy while in the mood.  He seemed like an obvious choice.

I’ve also always like the idea of 4 armed people as superhumans.  It doesn’t take a very deep look at my homebrew to see that quite a few of the optional races have four arms.  Actually…I need to add an Edge with that option to account for all the individuals descended from races that have four arms, as well…

So, of all the Savage Land Mutates, this guy was going to be the obvious choice.  I also noticed that they were once called the Beast Brood and that has a better flow to me than “the Savage Land Mutates” so I decided that, in the dimension he’s from, that’s what they were always called.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Barbarus, the Four Gun Kid –

Four-Gun Kid

Barbarus

Fighting: EX

Agility: GD

Strength: AM

Endurance: RM

Reason: TY

Intuition: EX

Psyche: GD

Health: 110

Karma: 36

Resources: PR (4)

Popularity: 10

Powers:

Multi-Arms: Barbarus possesses four arms, giving him a +2CS in Grappling combat. He can make multiple attacks at Incredible rank instead of his Fighting rank. He can use these attacks to make ranged attacks using his pistols, as well.

Pistols: The Four-Gun Kid carries four Colt.45 caliber revolvers. The Colts hit for 8 points of Shooting damage, hold six shots each, and are made from Excellent strength material.

Talents: Four-Gun Kid is an expert with handguns. He is one of the fastest guns in the Savage Land and can easily draw all four pistols and fire in the same turn. Four Gun Kid is also an expert rider and has the Law talent. He also has the Blunt Weapons skill.

Contacts: Four-Gun kid was a former agent of Magneto and a member of the Savage Land Mutates. He has worked with Hawkeye, Moondragon and Thor.

Background: Barbarus was a member of a Swamp People tribe in the Savage Land who was originally, artificially mutated through technological means by Magneto so as to give them superhuman powers.

Magneto gave the so-called Beast Brood their superhuman powers during a period he spent living in the Savage Land. The Mutates battled the X-Men and Ka-Zar on Magneto’s behalf, but after Magneto’s own defeat in the Savage Land by the X-Man Marvel Girl, the Mutates returned to their original non-superhuman state for unknown reasons.

Subsequently, the Beast Brood regained their superhuman powers and unusual forms for reasons that remain unclear. This time the powers of the Brood had allegedly increased. The Brood captured 3 scientists and tried to force them to mutate other Savage Land natives into superhuman beings. The Avengers and the Asgardian goddess Sif came searching for the scientists and defeated the Brood. The Avengers rescued the scientists and delivered the Brood to legal authorities in Chile, the nearest nation to the Savage Land.

Somehow, the Beast Brood returned to the Savage Land from Chile. Brainchild, originally given the name because he had superhuman intelligence and childlike emotions, achieved greater emotional maturity and became the Brood’s leader. Brainchild and the Brood joined forces with the high priestess Zaladane to take control of the Savage Land. Under Brainchild’s leadership, the Beast Brood battled the Angel, Ka-Zar and Spider-Man in the Savage Land. Working for the monstrous Sauron, Brainchild and his Brood subsequently fought Ka-Zar, the Angle and his fellow X-Men. Ka-zar and the X-Men defeated the Brood, who were returned by Ka-Zar, using one of Brainchild’s devices, to their original states.

But it appears that the effect of the mutation-inducing technology that gave the Beast Brood their powers causes them eventually to regain their superhuman abilities and unusual forms should they lose them.

During an encounter between three of the Avengers and Kang the Conqueror, the Wild West Hero known as the Two Gun Kid and the entire town he was in at the time was transported through time and space to the modern period and the Savage Land. The Avengers were powerless to return the town to its original location and time and Kang had no desire to.

Many of the citizens did accept the Avengers offer to relocate them to more civilized locations but most of them refused to give up their homes, even if those homes were no longer in the place and time they were used to. The Two Gun Kid remained with those who refused to leave, taking on the role of their defender.

He managed to fend off attacks by dinosaurs and primitive tribes, and even began to set up friendly relations with some of the latter. But, when the Beast Brood attacked, he was completely outmatched. Only the timely intervention of the unlikely team of Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Storm and Shanna the She-Devil prevented the town from being destroyed by the Beast Brood.

But, while they were rampaging, Barbarus was smitten by the local schoolmarm, a petite, demure woman who nevertheless had a fiery spirit and endless courage when her charges were threatened.

Barbarus began to sneak back to the village periodically to spy on her. One night when he was doing so, the town was attacked by a number of natives riding pterodactyls. One of them snatched up the schoolmarm and Barbarus leapt to her rescue.

Whether because he had saved her or because she saw something good under his brutish, violent exterior, the schoolmarm returned Barbarus’ romantic interests once things quieted down. Matt Hawk, the Two Gun Kid also saw potential in him.

Matt was well aware that, even with his gunslinging skills, he was no match for many of the dangers of the Savage Land. Facing down outlaws and bandits was one thing, facing down a tyrannosaurus rex was another.

Barbarus was a native of the Savage Land, though and one enhanced with superhuman strength and abilities. As the Brood member began making himself more publically known around the town, the Two Gun Kid began to subtly bring him under his wing, teaching him both his gun slinging skills and his own particular code of honor.

As much to impress the schoolmarm, who had very 19th century sensibilities about courtship, as anything else, Barbarus took to Hawk’s lessons. It was not long before Hawk had the town’s gunsmith make this four armed protégé his own customer set of guns.

The Beast Brood was not aware of the time Barbarus was spending in the town or the fact that his loyalties were shifting. Brainchild decided it would make a good base of operations and would be easy to take with no outlander heroes around. He launched another attack on the town.

Barbarus was torn between his teammates and the woman he’d come to love and the man he’d come to respect. He half-heartedly joined the Brood in their attack but, when Lupus was going to ambush the Two Gun Kid, he turned on his former team, saving the man.

Between the Two Gun Kid, Barbarus and some of the braver townsfolk, they were able to turn away the invaders. Barbarus remained with the town and, eventually, married the schoolmarm, taking on the moniker of the Four Gun Kid.

The Exiles came to his dimension to stop an attempt by the High Evolutionary to use the Savage Land as Ground Zero for a genetic bomb that would reset all life to the point where dinosaurs went extinct. During the course of their mission, the Exiles came across the Two and Four Gun Kids’ town and those heroes joined them in their quest.

Again, Barbarus found himself facing his former compatriots as they served the High Evolutionary. The combined heroes managed to foil the High Evolutionary’s scheme though the Two Gun Kid was mortally wounded in the encounter.

Knowing that the town could not survive long in the Savage Land and that it had been luck and the determination of its protector that kept it safe this long, Her Royal Whyness gave sanctuary to its citizens. Though time travel is beyond her resources, a parallel dimension where society and technology had not advanced beyond the wild west was found and transferred them there.

Barbarus’ wife had become fascinated by the advanced technology on Otherworld and asked to stay. Given the code of honor that Hawks had invested in him and feeling he owed it to his mentor’s memory, the Four Gun Kid joined the Exiles in their ongoing mission.

Exiles #26 The Silver Shadow

This Exile is definitely Marvel but is sourced from material that’s not in the usual Marvel Universe.  Back in the day, Marvel put out a lot of Graphic Novels that made no reference to the 616 and existed in what, I assume, are considered alternate realities.

Dave Cockrum’s Futurians was one such Graphic Novel.  It’s pretty entertaining, too, if you can find it.  The basic premise – that people from a future so far out that the world is literally ending are time traveling back to our time to change that future is pretty epic.  Of course, the people are still people, which always rankles me a little.  It’s sort of like how the dinosaurs in the Savage Land are still recognizable species…and from lots of different eras.  I believe a T-Rex is as close to us in time (and thus evolution) as it is to a stegosaurus.  So, even if they were saved from the asteroid, they would be extinct because they would have evolved into something else.  The same should be true of our descendants in the distant future.  They would be all but unrecognizable as human to us and, in fact, would not be humans any more but a new species…

Ok…that was a serious digression…anyway, the story is still pretty interesting and it gives a nice unifying theme to everyone’s super powers.  It’s not a super complex story but there’s enough Machiavellian machinations in it to provide some tension and make you wonder what happens once the story is done.

Oh, and I always call him “Terrayne, the Earth Mover” in the history below because that was how he was ALWAYS referenced in the book.  It was never just “Terrayne,” it was always “Terrayne, the Earth Mover.”  That wasn’t true of any of the other Futurians, even though they all had titles like that.  I don’t know if there was some weird copyright thing going on, or what, but it struck me so I kept it.

Silver Shadow

Johnathan Darknyt

Fighting:     RM

Agility:       EX

Strength:     GD

Endurance: EX

Reason:       GD

Intuition:     IN

Psyche:       EX

Health:        80

Karma:       70

Resources:   GD

Popularity: 10

Powers:

 Darkforce Control:  Silver Shadow can tap into the Darkforce dimension and generate areas of darkness, darkening one area per round, to a maximum of five areas.  This negates all light sources of less than Amazing intensity and causes all of Silver Shroud’s opponents to perform all combat and FEAT rolls at -3CS.  He can manipulate the Darkforce into shadows and shapes to serve as decoys and to frighten his foes.

 Dark Sight:  Silver Shadow can see normally even in areas of absolute darkness.

Shadow Gateway:  Silver Shadow is able to “teleport” himself from one point to another on Earth’s surface by entering the Darkforce dimension through a shadow, traversing a distance and emerging back into Earth’s dimension through another shadow.  Distances within the dimension of darkness differ from those on Earth: a mile on Earth might only be a matter of feet in the other dimension.  Hence, Silver Shadow could “teleport” himself through the dimension of darkness from one point on Earth to a point a quarter-mile away in the time it would take to walk a far shorter distance if he remained on Earth the whole time.  Silver Shadow is able to perceive the Earth dimension in some manner while he is in the dimension of darkness, as he suffers no disorientation upon re-emergence, even if he has “teleported” himself a great distance.  As yet, Silver Shadow has not used the dimension of darkness to teleport himself more than half a mile.

 Talents:  Silver Shadow is knowledgeable in Detective/Espionage Talents.  In combat, he uses Acrobatics, Martial Arts B and C and is a Marksman.

Contacts:  Silver Shadow is a member of the Futurians and likely still has contacts with his former colleagues in S.H.I.E.L.D.

Background:  Though Johnathan Darknyt, as an albino, had a rather distinctive appearance, he learned, even as a child that he had a knack for infiltration and subterfuge.  This trait was noted by others as well and he was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. right out of college.

He worked for the organization for more than a decade and was integral in foiling plots by HYDRA, A.I.M. and several supervillains, though he always remained in the background, letting others take the spotlight.

Little did Darknyt know that his abilities weren’t entirely natural.  In the far future, after the rise and fall of Earth as a galactic Empire, two factions remained warring over the planet.  One group, known as the Inheritors, set a cataclysm in motion to garner enough power to send their city state back into the past while simultaneously destroying their enemies, the city of Terminus.

Unable to draw upon enough energy to do the same for their own city, the citizens of Terminus instead seeded the past with the genetic materials needed to create superhuman agents in the same time period that their enemies fled to.  They also sent back the consciousness of one of their leaders, a man who would be known as Vandervecken in the past.

Vandervecken’s consciousness ended up in the body of a vagabond, but he retained a number of superhuman powers.  He used these abilities to amass a fortune and create Future Dynamics corporation.

All of Vandervecken’s actions were focused only on battling the Inheritors.  Darknyt and 6 other humans who had the genetic seeds sent back from the future were gathered at Future Dynamics by Vandervecken.  Through a process including solar energy, these seeds were activated, giving all 7 humans superhuman abilities that were related to their already impressive talents and abilities.  Unknown to all but one of them, Andrew Pendragon, aka Avatar, these genetic seeds also include a compulsion to obey Vandervecken’s commands.

The human operatives are joined by Sunswift, a being who lives in the sun and who survives until the future time Vandervecken comes from.  In fact, her future self notified her current self about the plan so that she could aid Vandervecken.

The newly superhuman beings had little time to adjust to their new conditions as the Inheritors were already beginning their attack on the present to ensure they would win the future.  With 4 attacks going on at the same time, the team split into groups of 2 with Silver Shadow teaming up with Sunswift.

Their foe proved to be a 3 legged armored walker with a powerful cannon and the ability to exist out of phase with the earthly plane.  In fact, it only manifested on the material plane for the brief moment necessary to fire its cannon.  However, in bright enough light, it cast a shadow even when out of phase.

Sunswift created bright bursts of light and Silver Shadow melded with the shadows generated, using them as a gateway into the out of phase walker.  Once inside, he wreaked havoc on the crew with his shadow manifestations, causing them to panic and fire their hand weapons destroying their own machine from the inside out.

Though the Futurians were largely successful in foiling the attacks by the Inheritors, their enemies did gain enough success to threaten the world with their plans.  The 8 superhumans travelled to the Inheritor’s base to face them head on and stop them once and for all.

Silver Shadow again used his infiltration abilities, both superhuman and natural to gain access to the enemy base and perform acts of sabotage.  It wasn’t until Terrayne, the Earth Mover seemingly sacrificed himself by sinking the Inheritors base to the center of the earth that the Futurians proved victorious, though.

With the immediate threat ended, Sunswift returned to her home in the sun.  The remaining 6 Futurians remained at Future Dynamics to serve as a peacekeeping force.

With his primary rivals out of the way, Vandervecken proceeded to the next stage of his plan, namely ensuring that a future that benefited Terminus was created by manipulating things in the present.

In the beginning, the Futurians willingly aided him in these actions.  They served as his personal taskforce to right wrongs and bring order to the chaos of the world.  As time went on, however, their tasks became less and less obviously beneficial and more and more beneficial only to Vandervecken and his plans.  The world was rapidly approaching a state where Vandervecken would be an iron fisted global tyrant with the Futurians as his super powered enforcers.

The genetic requirement to obey the man from the future remained in most of the Futurians, however and not only were they not able to rebel but also he was able to change their memories and mentalities so that they did not even realize that they wanted to rebel.

Only Avatar was immune to this mental control.  He fled the Futurians, starting a guerilla war against them to combat Vandervecken and his minions.

As the only super powered being on the planet not directly under Vandervecken’s control Avatar became public enemy number one.  Stopping or killing him became the most important task for the Futurians and they began hunting him.

Silver Shadow, with his powers and his history as an infiltrator and spy was particularly suited to the task.  Avatar remained one step ahead of them for quite some time but Silver Shadow finally tracked him down.

In the meantime, Avatar had tracked down Terrayne, the Earth Mover, who had returned from his trip to the center of the Earth.  Terrayne, the Earth Mover had always been suspicious and distrustful of Vandervecken and without being in his immediate presence, Avatar was able to turn him to his side.

Having found Avatar and Terrayne, the Earth Mover, Silver Shadow quickly summoned his fellow Futurians and a savage battle broke out between the two forces.  Avatar and Terrayne, the Earth Mover were powerful but no match for the other five human Futurians.  Only the arrival of Sunswift kept them from being overwhelmed.  Avatar, Terrayne, the Earth Mover and Sunswift were the most powerful of the Futurians but, outnumbered as they were, their victory was far from assured.

In fact, before the Exiles arrived, Terrayne, the Earth Mover had been slain as had Blackmane and Silkie from the other side.  The Exiles managed to neutralize Vandervecken, immune as they were to his mind control powers.

Without Vandervecken dominating them, the remaining Futurians realized that they had been nothing more than pawns for the man.  Furious with the way they’d been manipulated, Mosquito attacked Vandervecken and killed him with her ultrasonic powers.

Most of the remaining Futurians vowed to dedicate themselves to undoing the damage they’d done under the dominion of Vandervecken.  Silver Shadow felt that they would just be exchanging one tyrant for several and that his fellow superhumans would simply end up making the same mistakes as their predecessor.

While that also seemed a danger with the Exiles, and perhaps even worse because they would be manipulating numerous realities rather than just one.  It was only the fact that the Exiles never remain in one dimension for long that convinced him that they would not be able to do any long term harm to any place.  He also felt that he could not ignore the responsibility that came with his powers and had to use them to help people.  Knowing that it was very likely that he would end up opposing his friends if he remained in the Futurians dimension and not wanting to face that possibility, he gladly joined the Exiles on their mission.

Exiles #25 – Warpath

You thought I was dead, didn’t you!?  No, I was just working a lot of hours while the capitalist pigs who run my country had a lover’s spat with the lazy communist workers on the East coast.

Anyway, this character is something of a hybrid.  I’ve never ready a story directly involving him (partially because he had such a short career) but I knew of him before coming across him in the Marvel Universe listing.  I was a big X-Men fan for most of my comic reading time and Thunderbird was referenced pretty often, especially in the early days of my reading.

Then, of course, I read X-Force during the X-plosion of the 90’s and Warpath was an important part of that team.  So, I’m pretty familiar with the character of the name and less familiar with the character adopting the name.

It’s kind of hard to tell how interesting Thunderbird and Warpath would have been if the former had lived and the latter been in a decent comic.  On one level, they’re fairly generic strong guy characters.  On another, they, like most Native American characters, are little more than stereotypes.  It would be interesting to see their superhuman abilities better explored and differentiated from, say, Colossus, and their personalities go beyond “I’m an Apache warrior!  You can tell because I wear feathers and fringe.”

Warpath

John Proudstar

Fighting: RM

Agility: EX

Strength: IN

Endurance: RM

Reason: GD

Intuition: RM

Psyche: RM

Health: 120

Karma: 70

Resources: PR (4)

Popularity: 13

Powers:

Invulnerability: Good resistance to physical and energy attacks.

Tracking: Remarkable ability

Talents: Tracking, Hunting and Survival Skills

Contacts: Apache nation

Background: John Proudstar was born on the Apache reservation at Camp Verde, Arizona. During his childhood and adolescence, he proved to be an exceptionally strong and vigorous athlete. Proudstar, however, regarded himself throughout his life as a loner and an outcast. He wished to prove himself to be a warrior in the tradition of his ancestors, and he was dissatisfied with what he regarded as the complacent lives led by his fellow Apaches on their reservation.

Although too young to join the armed forces, Proudstar lied about his age and entered the United States Marines, intending to lead the kind of active life he desired. He became a corporal and earned a number of medals. But Proudstar was still dissatisfied with his life once his term of duty was over and he had returned to the reservation.

Proudstar’s mutant superhuman strength first manifested itself when, at the age of twenty, he wrestled and threw a charging bison bare-handed to save a little girl. This feat earned Proudstar fam among his tribespeople, but the true nature of his abilities remained unknown until Professor Xavier discovered him through the use of Cerebro.

Proudstar accepted Xavier’s invitation to join six other recruits to form the new X-Men. The first mission they undertook was the rescue of the original X-Men from the “living island” of Krakoa. Except for Sunfire, these new recruits, including Proudstar, became the “new” X-Men team. Xavier gave Proudstar the code name “Thunderbird.”

On their next mission, the new X-Men went to Cheyenne Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, the location of a North American Air Defense command center which had been taken over by Count Luchino Nefaria in an international extortion scheme. After the X-Men had ruined his plans, Nefaria attempted to escape in a small aircraft. Thunderbird managed to climb onto the plane as it took off. Defying Xavier’s telepathic warnings to get off the plane, Thunderbird asserted that he was finally going to prove that he was a true Apache warrior. Using his superhuman strength, Thunderbird ripped open the cockpit and began a fierce melee with Nefaria. Their brawl caused extensive damage to the aircraft until it finally exploded. Nefaria managed to teleport to safety and unwillingly took Thunderbird with him.

They resumed their combat on the ground but Nefaria soon got the better of Thunderbird and was prepared to kill him when the remaining X-Men found them and he was forced to retreat.

When Proudstar awoke, he was even more determined to prove himself as a warrior than before. Not having chosen his code name himself, he decided to select a new one that better fit his attitude. Taking the name Warpath, he lived up to it, often competing with teammate Wolverine for savagery when it came to combat.

Eventually, Proudstar left the X-Men, finding their message of peaceful coexistence overly naïve. Though he spent a brief time with Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, he eventually came to work with the Hellfire Club after they recruited his younger brother James Proudstar into their young group of mutants, the Hellions. While they were not close as children, John felt that he needed to watch over and protect his brother.

Warpath clashed with his former teammates on the X-Men several times both with the Brotherhood and the Hellfire Club, though he retained enough loyalty to them that he never did any of them any serious harm.

John actually took a mentoring role with James and the two brothers grew closer. That changed when they were sent to recruit a newly discovered mutant into the Hellions. Danielle Moonstar was a young Cheyenne woman who was capable of projecting images of her opponents’ worst fears.

The two Proudstars arrived at the same time as Scott Summers and Sam Guthrie, representatives of the Xavier school who were there to recruit Moonstar into their school’s newly formed student class. Tempers flared and the two groups briefly clashed but were stopped when Moonstar used her powers on both groups.

Though she was not impressed by either group’s irrational display, she decided that she needed training and preferred the other Native Americans as opposed to the representatives from the Xavier school. She had also developed an instant crush on John Proudstar.

Likewise, James had found himself immediately attracted to Danielle. The two teenagers were soon classmates together and living at the same boarding school while the elder Proudstar returned to his life as a bodyguard and enforcer for the Hellfire Club. He dropped in on the Hellions only periodically to serve as a guest teacher.

Moonstar continued to harbor her crush on the elder Proudstar, though he barely noticed the teenaged girl and his brother continued to pursue her. Things became even more complex when a new Black Queen joined the Hellfire Club. Whether through her mutant powers or simply her natural beauty and charisma, Selene bewitched Warpath.

He became her dedicated bodyguard and her primary tool in advancing her plans and machinations. This included abducting Amara Aquilla, the New Mutant known as Magma, who was a runaway from Selene’s home of Nova Roma. Warpath attempted to do just this several times, going so far as to sneak into his old home but he failed each time, much to his own consternation and his Queen’s disappointment.

Things with Moonstar came to a head on the night of her 18th birthday. Having decided that the object of her crush had not reciprocated only because he thought of her as a kid, she decided to voice her feelings to him now that she was an adult. She actually did manage to get into their New York Headquarters and found Proudstar. Summoning her courage and tamping down her self-consciousness, she told John everything. Or started to. James, having grown suspicious, followed Danielle and interrupted her mid-confession.

A heated conversation followed between the three of them and whether or not John would have eventually reciprocated Danielle’s feelings would never be known. A commotion in the next room attracted John’s attention and he went to check on his charge.

He arrived just in time to catch Wolverine in Selene’s antechamber. A heated battle followed. Warpath’s fury was so great that he actually defeated his former teammate, pummeling him into unconsciousness.

Little did he know that Wolverine had actually come to save the Black Queen from his teammate, Rachel Summers. The battle had given Rachel enough time to slay Selene. Horrified by what she’d done, Rachel was still standing over her victim. Warpath’s arrival snapped her out of her trance and she escaped.

James and Danielle caught up then and John, furious over his loss, blamed the two teenagers for distracting him and keeping him from protecting his Queen. He attacked them, knocking Moonstar unconscious with a single blow. James, now equally enraged because of the attack on the girl he loved attacked his older brother in return.

The two Proudstars fought savagely, both of them surrendering to their festering rages. John eventually proved the victor, his experience and slight advantage in strength giving him the advantage.

In the meantime, Rachel’s psychic turmoil over killing Selene was the catalyst necessary for the Phoenix Force inside her to come to the fore. Only the arrival of the rest of the X-men, the aide of the rest of the Hellfire club and the appearance of the Exiles kept the cosmic entity at bay.

John, emotionally and physically exhausted, almost reluctantly joined the fray, only his vision of himself as an Apache warrior pushing him on. His assistance was what pushed the battle over the edge and her combined enemies were just enough to force the Phoenix force to flee, abandoning Rachel Summers.

Looking at the ruins of his life, the woman he loved dead, the girl who loved him seriously injured at his hands, his brother also mortally wounded because of him, Warpath saw little to live for. The Universal Majestrix in her vast wisdom saw potential in the man and offered him a place in her Exiles. Seeing the potential for a new purpose, and drawn to such a powerful woman, he agreed.

And as usual, if you’ve read this far (or just skipped to the end)…you can buy my novels and games at blackguardpress.com

Exiles # 24 – The Patriot

sots-cover-final-600pxFirst, a very special announcement.  The final book in the Mystical Island series, Sea of Twisted Souls is up for pre-sale.  And the first book is on sale for only $0.99.  Check it out here – www.amazon.com/Megan-Cutler/e/B00KDPQAF6

And here’s a little blurb to whet your appetite –

It’s been sixteen years since Damian departed the island. Sixteen years since he broke his promise to be there when Morulin needed him. Now her father has chosen her brother to rule the island and, to make matters worse, her family doesn’t understand her anger when Damian reappears without warning.

Morulin isn’t interested in making amends. She’d rather spend her time with the enigmatic Pilgrim, a dimensional traveler with plenty of stories to tell. Damian seems to loathe him, which makes his company all the more appealing. But Morulin can’t ignore her stepfather’s strange behavior, especially when strange incidents begin to plague the bathhouse. Could the Pilgrim be responsible, as Damian insists? Or is Damian trying to frame their newest visitor?

One thing seems certain; if Morulin’s family can’t heal their fractures in time to solve the mystery, they might lose their precious dimension-hopping island home all together.

And now, on to our regularly scheduled programming –

I’ve always thought of Steve Rogers as the only Captain America.  By the time I was reading comics he had come back and most of the things that they flashed back to were him in WWII.  Of course, I was there for when he was replaced by USAgent and became the Captain, but that wasn’t a real Captain America.  I knew, like so many other things, from my reading of the Handbook of the Marvel Universe that there were not one but two other men who wore the costume while Rogers was frozen in ice.

Recently, I read the Patriot TPB and got to see a nice, if abbreviated view of one of those men’s career before, during and after he wore the stars and stripes uniform.  The character below caught my interest, especially since she ended up getting powers and then pretty much disappeared.  I started thinking of what might have happened to her after she disappeared off that radar.  I came up with a lot.  She bounced around and switched identities but I like where she came out.  So, without further ado, here’s the Exile version of the Patriot.

Patriot

Mary Morgan/Morgan Mace

Fighting: EX

Agility: EX

Strength: GD

Endurance: EX

Reason: GD

Intuition: AM

Psyche: TY

Health: 70

Karma: 66

Resources: RM

Popularity: 20

Powers:

Heightened Hearing: Mary Morgan, as a result of the experimentation she underwent has a Monstrous sense of hearing that function with superhuman quality on an intuition FEAT roll. She can hear the heartbeats of anyone in the same area with her and has an Amazing ability to detect if someone is lying by changes in his heart rate (unless the subject has a pacemaker, body-control power, or is a pathological liar.) By focusing, she can hear conversations being held up to 10 miles away and whispers as far as 1 mile away.

Radar Sight: Patriot can see three-dimensional objects (including attackers) up to three areas away using a radarlike sixth sense. This sense is omnidirectional and works in light or darkness, but it cannot distinguish fine details. A great number of moving people or objects, or the presence of Remarkable or greater levels of sound reduces her Intuition roll for special uses of this sense to RM.

Reduced Aging: Since undergoing experimentation in World War II, Mary’s aging has been reduced by a factor of 10. Thus, Morgan looks only 7 years older than she did in the 1940’s.

Equipment:

Bullet Proof Cloak: Patriot’s cloak is made of Kevlar armor backed by woven Beta cloth. It provides Excellent protection from physical attacks and Good Resistance to Fire. It automatically protects her from behind but Patriot may not attack or take any other action to protect her front with the cloak.

Pistol: Patriot carries an ordinary revolver as a sidearm. It does Good shooting damage.

Talents: Patriot is knowledgeable in Reporting and Detective/Espionage Talents. In combat, she uses Acrobatics, Martial Arts B and C and is a Marksman.

Contacts: Patriot has contacts with Silver Sable and the Wildpack and Captain America

Background: Mary Morgan was a young debutante from a wealthy family who craved something more than a vapid life as a trophy wife. To this end, she moved to Manhattan and, through the influence of her family got a job as a reporter at the Daily Bugle.

She was soon teamed up with a reporter named Jeffrey Mace. World War II was sweeping the rest of the world but there was little activity in America. After Pearl Harbor and America’s entrance into the war, there was much more sabotage and espionage activity in the US. Mace began focusing on this particular beat, especially the actions of costumed heroes like the Liberty Legion in opposing enemy actions on domestic soil.

Inevitably, the idealistic man found himself taking on a more active role and took on the costumed identity of the Patriot. Mary, proving she was much more than just a pretty face, quickly deduced Jeffrey’s secret. She was discreet, however, and kept the secret to herself.

Under mysterious circumstances, Mary was kidnapped and subjected to experimentation by a Nazi scientist. The Patriot freed her but not before changes were made to Mary. She gained superhumanly heightened senses and, though she would not realize it for some time, slowed aging.

Mary soon created her own costumed identity based on Mace’s, named Ms. Patriot. Mary had been harboring a crush on the man for years and hoped that they could adventure together and foster their relationship. Jeffrey did not share her attraction and fearful that she would get hurt, spurned her offer to team up.

Mary nonetheless, continued her vigilante activities as Ms. Patriot throughout the war and even afterwards. Mace had joined the Liberty Legion and, after the apparent death of Steve Rogers and the actual death of his successor, took on the mantle of Captain America.

A romance blossomed between Mace and his government handler, a woman named Betsy Ross. Betsy eventually took on the costumed persona of Golden Girl and briefly adventured with Mace. Mary was understandably jealous and began to be jaded by her experiences.

When the young man wearing the Bucky costume as Mace’s partner was gunned down, Jeffrey mistakenly accused Morgan of performing the attack. She directed him to the actual culprit but was so disgusted by the turn of events and being the object of suspicion of a man that she once cared about that she fled to Europe. For years this act would put her under suspicion by American government officials.

Mary wandered through Central and Eastern Europe for a while, both examining the aftermath of the war she’d covered as a Bugle reporter and hiding her trail so that it would be difficult to find her, at best. In the course of her travels, she met the prince of Symkaria, a postage stamp country in Eastern Europe. The prince was smitten with her immediately and, though she had her reservations due to her poor luck in romance previously, he wooed her and finally convinced her to marry him.

They would not live happily ever after, however. The Cold War was at its height and Symkaria was constantly under threat of espionage and sabotage as both sides jockeyed to use the small, but strategically placed nation for their own devices. All too familiar with the effects such activities could have on a country, Mary reluctantly created a new costumed persona, the Sable.

As the Sable, she would spend a decade aggressively defending her adopted nation’s right to neutrality, foiling sabotage, espionage and even invasion attempts by both the US and Russia and their pawns and even once fending off encroachment from Latveria and its new dictator Dr. Victor von Doom. That small country and its powerful ruler would eventually become allies, though both sides recognizing that they could protect themselves from the encroachment of larger countries by banding together.

Mary would give up the Sable persona when she became pregnant and von Doom would prove a valuable ally again as he created a robot double to carry on the identity. Tragically, the robot would not prove up to the task and before the birth of her child, the robot failed to prevent the explosive assassination of Mary’s husband.

Devastated by the loss of the man she’d come to love, guilty that she had not stopped the attack herself and angry with von Doom for his robot’s failure, she remained only long enough to give birth to her son before leaving. Seeking revenge, she snuck into Latveria and attempted to assassinate Dr. Doom but failed. Doom, feeling guilty for his failure, did not kill her but let her go, instead.

Mary wandered aimlessly, eventually ending up in England. She changed her name to Morgan Mace to hide from her former life, taking her surname from the man who provided her so much inspiration when she was younger. For years, she lived a quiet life. That ended when a vampire attacked her. With her training and skills, she was able to fight it off for a time but only the timely arrival of Union Jack kept her from being another victim.

The attack and the intervention of a costumed hero snapped Morgan out of her fugue and gave her purpose again. Repeating a previous strategy, she created a costumed identity based on someone she admired, in this case, Union Jill. The major difference this time was that Union Jack accepted her as a partner and the two of them were able to cure the vampire infestation in London and England in general.

Morgan started to miss her home country, however and, once she and Union Jack had vanquished Baron Blood and his minions, she returned to the United States five decades after leaving. With so much time passed, most of the people who might have recognized her were dead and those who were left could not reconcile that an octogenarian appeared to be in her 30’s.

Morgan wasted no time with this transition. She resumed her crime fighting career, though she once more changed her persona. Going back to her original theme, and now so many years after the end of the original’s career, she took the identity of the Patriot.

With her skill and experience, she quickly proved herself an effective and efficient crime fighter and, after a few encounters with various Avengers, she was invited to join. Morgan was careful to distance herself from Steve Rogers, not wanting to answer the questions that would come up if he happened to recognize her from the few times they interacted in WWII.

It was not long after she joined that the West Coast Avengers were chartered and she volunteered to join that group. The Avengers took her one farther and made her the leader of the group, much to the chagrin of Hawkeye who believed he should have the job.

Patriot proved to be a good choice as the prime threat the West Coast Avengers faced was one familiar to her. The Night Shift, lead by Baroness Blood, a protégé of the vampire who gave her and her partner Union Jacks so much trouble back in England threatened California and the West Coast Avengers numerous times.

The West Coast Avengers finally foiled Baroness Blood’s ultimate plot of creating a vampire mutant army only with the timely aid of the Exiles. With her nemesis eliminated and confident that Hawkeye could take her place as leader of the West Coast Avengers, Morgan decided to make yet another change and join the Exiles. For the first time in her long life, she felt that she was moving toward something instead of fleeing from something.

And as usual, if you’ve read this far (or just skipped to the end)…you can buy my novels and games at blackguardpress.com

Exiles #23 The Grim Reaper

Another pair of characters that I never really read in the comics but became fascinated with from their write ups in the old Marvel Super Heroes game.  Nekra had just the right power set to go toe-to-toe with my favorite character when he was first created so I used fights against her as a benchmark for his progression as he advanced.

She seems like an underused character and one who was very stereotyped.  She was pretty powerful and ended up heading up her own cult but always seemed to play second fiddle to the men in her life.  Men who seemed to be particularly suited to treating her with disdain.

Grim Reaper just had a really cool look and power set.  And I was into West Coast Avengers when the whole thing with the Vision losing his personality came up so Grim Reaper’s connection with Wonder Man and Vision was pretty fascinating to me, too.

Grim Reaper

Nekra Sinclair

Fighting:     RM

Agility:      IN

Strength:     GD

Endurance: RM

Reason:       TY

Intuition:     GD

Psyche:       IN

Health:        110

Karma:       56

Resources:   PR

Popularity: -5

Powers:

Strength Increase: Once every eight hours Grim Reaper can increase her Strength to Incredible for up to one hour. She can trigger this power by extremely violent hatred or a Psyche FEAT.

Armor Skin: As a side effect of her increased strength, she gains Amazing protection from both physical and energy attacks.

Tracking: Grim Reaper has the Excellent ability to follow trails left by others.

Zombie Creation: Grim Reaper has the Remarkable ability to create zombies from the bodies of any person slain by her scythe. The ritual takes 8 minutes. She can control up to 30 Zombies at one time. As a Power Stunt, she can transform a corpse into a lifelike zombie with the original person’s personality and Abilities.

Equipment:

Battle Scythe: The scythe is made of Incredible Strength Steel. The blade inflicts Strength level Edged damage. Other weapons are installed in the haft, as listed below:

Force Blaster – Remarkable damage, range 5 areas.

Knock-Out Gas – Excellent intensity, fills one area.

Talents: The Grim Reaper is a Weapon Specialist with her scythe, giving her a +2CS. She is familiar with Occult Lore and Martial Arts A, B, and E.

Contacts: Nekra has worked with the Mandrill and Black Talon.

Background: Nekra is the daughter of Gemma Sinclair, a scientist at the Los Alamos Atomic Proving Grounds in New Mexico. A year before she was born, her mother and Frederick Beechman, a janitor, were exposed to a massive dose of radiation in an accident. Nekra was born with chalk white skin, though her parents were black and Beechman’s son, Jerome, was born with deep brown skin though his parents were white.

Because of her obvious mutation, Nekra was despised by her parents and taunted by other children. When she was ten, she ran away from home and met Jerome, who had been mistreated in much the same way, in the New Mexico desert. The two began to wander together. For the next six years, they lived on the edge of civilization, surviving by stealth and cunning, and educating themselves by reading stolen books. One night, angry New Mexican townspeople, believing the two children to be “monsters,” attacked them with pitchforks and guns. Nekra responded to their fear and hatred in kind, and as her rage grew within her, her latent mutant powers surfaced. She and young Beechman slew some of their attackers and drove off the rest.

In the years that followed, Nekra developed fangs and grew more vampiric in appearance while Beechman grew to resemble a mandrill. Beechman conceived the ambitious scheme of overthrowing three small West African governments and consolidating the nations under his rule. He tookt he name Mandrill and made Nekra the priestess of his personality cult. That plan was thwarted by the jungle adventurer Shanna O’Hara. In the aftermath of their African fiasco, Mandrill and Nekra regrouped and formed Black Spectre, an organization of black women dedicated to the overthrow of the United States government. Their plot, which culminated in a brief takeover of the White House, was thwarted by Daredevil, Shanna O’Hara and the Black Widow. The Mandrill escaped, but Nekra was taken into custody by SHIELD.

Nekra spent several months confined in a SHIELD holding facility, drugged so that she would be unable to use her powers. But during her incarceration, she saw the television broadcast of a rally held by the Hate-Monger, and responded to the subliminal frequencies designed to stimulate hatred in the viewing audience. This overwhelmed the effects of the drugs given her, and Nekra escaped, vowing revenge on the Mandrill, who had abandoned her.

Nekra soon happened upon a den of fanatics in an abandoned subway tunnel in New York City and, sensing opportunity, offered herself as a sacrifice to their death-goddess, Kali, knowing that her power would make it impossible for them to kill her. When she “miraculously” survived the sacrifice, she told the cultists that she was their goddess incarnate, and demanded that the current priestesses of the cult, Shaya and Ushas, submit themselves to sacrifice as she had done. Those priestesses failed to survive, and with their deaths Nekra became the High Priestess of the Cult of Kali.

Later, Nekra established a base of operations on the West Coast by murdering Adrienne Hatos, the reclusive widow of the founder of a clinic for emotional research, and taking her place, hoped to use the clinic’s resources to learn why her powers depended on violent emotion, and why softer emotions made her vulnerable. Nekra’s connection to the clinic was discovered by Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman. She defeated Spider-Woman but abandoned her scheme as she knew that her cover was ruined.

Later, she made contact with the voodoo-master known as the Black Talon and combined her Cult of Kali with his voodoo cult. It was through her partnership with Black Talon that she met the Grim Reaper. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, they found themselves attracted to each other because of their shared love of hatred. Nekra joined the Grim Reaper’s Lethal Legion and assisted the Black Talon in capturing the Grim Reaper’s enemy, the Vision. They also created a zombie that resembled the Grim Reaper’s brother, Simon Williams, the Avenger known as Wonder Man. The Grim Reaper planned to give the zombie those brain patterns which the Vision and Wonder Man shared to create a Simon Williams closer to what he remembered his brother to be than were either Wonder Man or the Vision. The plan failed, however, and while fleeing the two in a cave, the Grim Reaper fell off a ledge and was impaled on a stalagmite.

Distraught over the loss of her lover and unwilling to bring him back into a false life as a zombie, Nekra instead took on the mantle of the Grim Reaper as well as his signature weapon and plotted her revenge. Finding out that one of the targets of her vengeance, Wonder Man, was now part of the West Coast Avengers, she returned to that area.

While there, she joined the Shroud’s Night Watch, believing, as most of the members did, the group to be a gathering of criminals seeking power. It did not take long for her to understand the Shroud’s ulterior motive though the group and the West Coast branch of the Avengers clashed several times in the meanwhile.

Nekra confronted the Shroud about his duplicity but, rather than reveal his secret or try to oust him, she offered to aid him. Recently, she’d come to realize that she was attracted to Simon much as she had been to his brother. Hoping to prove herself heroic to Wonder Man, she decided to turn over a new leaf.

In the meantime, Simon had recently voiced his long held attraction to the Scarlet Witch, an attraction she found hard to put off as her husband, the Vision had recently become cold and emotionless and had previously shared much of Simon’s personality. Eventually, Scarlet Witch spurned him and, stung, he left the Avengers, wandering aimlessly.

Nekra saw her opportunity and approached him. During a short fight, she convinced him she was not his enemy and the two became traveling companions and eventually romantically involved. Their happiness was not meant to last, however and those Nekra had left behind soon came seeking retribution. Black Talon and her former Kali Cult along with the remnants of the Lethal Legion and the Mandrill came for her.

With the aid of the Exiles, the pair was able to fight off their assailants but not before Simon was seriously wounded. Henry Pym was able to use ionic nature of his metabolism to save him, but in the process he was turned into a being of pure energy. A side effect of this change was that he became colder and less emotional.

Unable to reconcile herself with the change in Simon, and too exhausted by previous attempts to begin on a new quest for revenge, a resigned Grim Reaper asked and was granted permission to join the Exiles.

And as usual, if you’ve read this far (or just skipped to the end)…you can buy my novels and games at blackguardpress.com

Exiles #22 The Fearsome Porcupine

This is another character that I never really read in any comics.  In fact, I think the only time I’ve seen him in a book was in a recent reprint of part of the Korvac Saga where he made an extremely tertiary appearance.

I did see him in my Marvel Super Hero game and in the Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  I was fascinated by him and always felt like he seemed to get the short end of the stick.  So, here’s my chance to give him a redemption.

Porcupine

Alexander Gentry/Quincy McIver

Fighting:     EX/EX

Agility:      GD/EX

Strength:     EX/RM

Endurance: RM/EX

Reason:       GD/GD

Intuition:     GD/GD

Psyche:       TY/TY

Health:        80/90

Karma:       26/26

Resources:   EX(20)/GD(10)

Popularity: -5/0

Powers:

 Body Armor: Incredible protection from physical attacks. Remarkable protection against energy attacks. McIver employed his robotics expertise to add an exoskeleton to the suit to boost his strength and endurance. Without the armor, his physical abilities are as follows:

F: EX              A: EX              S: EX              E: GD

Helmet: Remarkable protection, including a 6-hour air supply. Night vision lenses give him perfect vision in the dark.

Spikes: When striking, the quills did Excellent Edged damage for Gentry and do Remarkable Edged damage due to the strength enhancement performed on the armor by McIver.

Concussion Bombs: Fires three per turn with Remarkable Agility at a range of 3 areas. Incredible Damage against a single target.

Knock-Out Gas-Bombs: Fires three per turn with Remarkable Agility at a range of 3 areas. Gas has Amazing potency.

Electricity: Incredible damage to a single target up to 3 areas away.

Rocket: Boot-jets allow Poor air-speed (3 areas per turn) for 10 minutes.

Talents: Remarkable Reason in the fields of armor and weapons design. McIver also has Excellent Reason in the field of robotics.

Contacts: Gentry was a former ally of Eel, Plantman, Scarecrow, and Unicorn; a former employee of Cowled Commander and Justin Hammer. McIver is a member of the Exiles.

Background: Alexander Gentry, a weapons designer for the United States Army, spent months working overtime to create his porcupine battlesuit. He was enormously proud of his achievement when the suit was finished, and believed his invention was worth a fortune. Yet Gentry also believed that the government would pay him, one of its employees, firtually nothing for his creation. Angrily, Gentry decided to keep the porcupine battlesuit and to use it to make himself wealthy through crime. Thus Gentry became the Porcupine, one of the first costumed criminals of his generation.

The Porcupine was soon defeated by Henry Pym, who was then the original Ant-Man and his partner, Janet van Dyne, the Wasp. A second defeat by Pym as Giant-Man came when the Porcupine took an overdose of Pym’s shrinking capsules, and shrank out of sight.

Eventually, however, the effect wore off, and the Porcupine, again at his normal size, was among the many costumed menaces assembled by Doctor Doom to disrupt the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm.

His self-confidence still shaken by his failure in battling Giant-Man and the Wasp, the Porcupine eagerly accepted the invitation of Count Luchino Nefaria, a powerful figure in the criminal Maggia, to join his group of costumed agents. However, Nefaria and his agents were thwarted by the original X-Men. Once again, the Porcupine escaped being taken prisoner, and he blamed the failure of the blackmail scheme on Nefaria and the other agents. But Gentry suspected that, in fact, he himself was inadequate for the role of being a “super-Villain” battling superhuman opponents.

During coming months, the Porcupine enlisted as a member of Batroc’s Brigade and also worked with his allies the original Eel, the Plantman, and the Scarecrow, for the masked criminal mastermind who called himself the Cowled Commander. Again, the Porcupine clashed with Captain America but was defeated.

Convinced they were failures, Gentry and Leopold Stryke, who was the original Eel, sought guidance from the Celestial Mind Control movement, which was secretly masterminded by the alien Nebulon. Nebulon pitted the Porcupine and the Eel against his foes, the costumed adventurers called the Defenders, who defeated them both.

Later, the Porcupine and a small group of confederates invaded a major Manhattan hotel to steal the valuables in its safe. This time the Porcupine erred by deciding to rob the wealthy audience at a fashion show in one of the hotel’s ballrooms. The Wasp, Yellowjacket and Nighthawk quickly defeated the criminals, and the Porcupine left, humiliated at being overpowered by the Wasp and Yellojacket when they were both the size of insects.

Perhaps believing there was safety in number, the Porcupine next turned up as one of a large assemblage of costumed criminals organized by the original versions of Libra and Sagittarius of the android Zodiac. This time the Porcupine was defeated by the Hellcat during a battle between a number of the criminals and a group of adventurers operating under the auspices of the Defenders.

The Porcupine went to prison but was soon released by minions of billionaire Justin Hammer. Than venture didn’t last long either because the Porcupine and his allies failed to defeat Iron Man for Hammer.

Tired of his long string of defeats, Gentry decided to give up his career as a costumed criminal and live off the millions of dollars he expected to receive by selling his battlesuit. Gentry totatlly redesigned his porcupine battlesuit, making it far deadlier than before. He entered into negotiations with the subversive organization called the Secret Empire. But Captain America and his ally Nomad defeated the Porcupine, and Gentry was returned to jail.

In prison, Gentry vowed never to put on the Porcupine battlesuit again. He was soon released from prison, apparently legally, and he set about once more to try to sell the battlesuit. But by now Porcupine was universally regarded as a laughable failure.

In despair, Gentry came upon the idea of selling the battlesuit to the Avengers to prevent it from falling into the hands of their enemies. Captain America agreed to have the Avengers buy the battlesuit if Gentry helped get him to members of the Serpent Society. Gentry accepted Captain America’s terms.

Captain America’s plan was for Gentry to pretend to have captured him and to offer the Serpent Society the opportunity to kill him. Gentry contacted the Society’s leader and arranged to have some of the Society members meet him at a Lower Manhattan construction site. Gentry, having reluctantly donned his Porcupine costume once more as part of the plan, pretended to guard Captain America, who was seemingly bound in chains. Four Society members soon appeared but Captain America took them by surprise.

In the ensuing battle, the Porcupine aided Captain America, at one point, narrowly avoiding being impaled on one o his own quills. The pair defeated all four members of the Society. This started a war of retribution with the other members of the Society that eventually included all the Avengers. In the end, all the members of the Society were captured and Porcupine took a position as part of the West Coast Avengers.

Though he performed well at the side of his old foe, Henry Pym, Gentry always felt like he could not overcome his previous failures and feared that he was viewed as a loser and without respect.

During one of their adventures, the West Coast Avengers fought alongside the Exiles. Seeing that interdimensional group as a way of escaping his past, he asked to join them. Impressed by his abilities, they agreed. Gentry proves his worth several times in the following months. During a mission facing an alternate version of the Zodiac Cartel, Gentry sacrificed his life to save the rest of the team and foil the villains’ plot.

His armor, though heavily damaged, was not destroyed and the Exiles took it and Gentry’s body back to their home dimension for proper burial. The armor was put on display in a place of honor for several months with a holovid that told the story of Gentry’s life. During the invasion of Otherworld by an elite squad of Nth Commandoes, most of the Exiles were defeated and Quincy McIver, who had escaped their attentions and was desperate to save his wife and her teammates donned the armor as a last resort.

Taking the Nth Commandoes by surprise, he managed to free the Exiles who had been captured and joined them in defeating the invaders.  As he had long sought to prove himself a hero due to the preponderance of villainous alternate versions of himself throughout the multiverse, he repaired and upgraded the armor after this encounter. Given the story of Gentry’s life, McIver felt that he was only furthering the other man’s redemption while claiming his own as he joined the Exiles as the new Porcupine.

And as usual…you can buy my novels and games at Black Guard Press.

Exiles #21 Hemogoblin

As far as I’m concerned, Ned Leeds IS the original Hobgoblin.  Spider-Man vs. Wolverine is STILL probably the best one shot comic I ever read.  It’s so good, that the revelation of the Hobgoblin’s true identity is almost a throw away scene.  The obvious difference between Spider-Man’s and Wolverine’s outlooks and the way they were displayed and the fact that the only person Spider-Man ever really killed died in this book was just groundbreaking for me.

That being said, I recently read Hobgoblin Lives where the creator of the Hobgoblin finally wrote who he considered to be the real Hobgoblin and I read a book that was the first 18 issues of Amazing Spider-Man.  In both those books, Betty Brant stood out for me.

I’ve been toying with Hemogoblin as a name and as a derivative of the Hobgoblin for a while.  This was another of those confluences of ideas.  So, here it goes.  Morbius just got thrown into the mix because he was a good vampire in Spider-Man.

Hemogoblin

Betty Brant Leeds

Fighting:     EX

Agility:      RM

Strength:     IN

Endurance: AM

Reason:       EX

Intuition:     EX

Psyche:       EX

Health:        140

Karma:       60

Resources:   EX (20)

Popularity: 0

Powers:

 Pseudo-Vampirism: She is required to make a Psyche FEAT once per day or be forced to feed on human blood. Unless she takes steps to avoid it, her victims become pseudo-vampires.

 Gliding: Hemogoblin can fly at up to poor air speed (60 mph.)

 Claws: In melee, Hemogoblin can employ her claws to do Excellent Edged Attack damage.

 Fangs: Hemogoblin’s bite is powerful enough to do Excellent Edged Attack damage.

 Regeneration: As a pseudo-vampire, Hemogoblin has the Amazing ability to rapidly heal physical damage.

 Pseudo-Vampire Antidote: A dose of this serum has the ability to prevent a victim from becoming a pseudo-vampire. Unfortunately, because of the interaction with the Goblin Serum in her system, it doesn’t work on Hemogoblin.

 Equipment:

 Body Armor: Hemogoblin wears a suit of armor which provides him with Excellent protection against physical attacks and Remarkable protection against energy attacks.

 Glove Blasters: Both of the Hemogoblin’s gloves contain devices which can discharge pulses of high frequency electricity. The range of these weapons is 2 areas and they do Remarkable damage.

 Random Fire Mechanism: In order to overcome the advantage which Spider-Man’s Spider Sense gives him in dodging attacks, the Hemogoblin has installed a device in his armor which causes his arm to jerk about randomly while he is firing his glove blasters. In combat, this induces a -1CS on attacks, but makes it almost impossible for Foes to predict exactly where the next shot will be aimed, forcing them to take a -1CS to any attempts they make to dodge.

 Pumpkin Bombs: These explosives to Excellent damage to everything within 20 feet.

 Smoke Grenades: These devices release a cloud of Typical obscuring smoke.

 Knock-out Gas Grenades: Releases a gas of Incredible intensity which causes unconsciousness.

Incendiary: Detonation unleashes a volatile substance which produces flames of Incredible intensity.

 Spider-Sense Negator: This Unearly intensity chemical negates Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense for at least 24 (and possibly as long as 36) hours. At the referee’s option, it may or may not affect other characters with similar abilities.

 Throwing Bats: These bat-shaped throwing blades inflict Good edged weapon damage.

 Goblin Glider: The Hemogoblin employs a turbo-fan powered flying sled which has the following characteristics:

Control: IN (40)          Speed: TY (6) Body: IN (40) Protection: None

 Talents: The Hemogoblin has the Journalism, Criminal, Repair and Tinkering skills

 Contacts: As Brant Leeds, she has free access to the staff of the Daily Bugle.

Background: Betty Brant was a classmate of Peter Parker at Midtown high. She dropped out in her senior year to get a job in order to earn money to help pay off the gambling debts of her brother. She was the secretary for the Daily Bugle’s publisher, J. Jonah Jameson when Peter Parker became a freelance photographer for the paper. A budding romance with Peter was cut short when her brother was killed in a fight in which Spider-Man was a participant. From that point on, she dreaded the idea of Peter exposing himself just to take photographs. Realizing that if Betty couldn’t even accept the dangers associated with photojournalism, she would never consider a life with Spider-Man, Peter cooled his relationship with her. The relationship was ended completely when a rival for Betty’s attentions entered the picture, reporter Ned Leeds.

Betty eventually married Ned and had a somewhat stormy relationship with her husband until his death. Unknown to her, Ned was the costumed villain known as the Hobgoblin, and he was killed as a result of his criminal activities.

After some difficult times getting over Ned’s death, she followed in his footsteps and became an investigative reporter. Though her boss, Kate Cushing tried to give her softball assignments, she wanted a bigger challenge.

She also wanted to honor her former husband so, on her own, she picked up one of his unfinished assignments, namely investigating the Hobgoblin. Betty started by reviewing her husband’s notes and found a list of hidden locations. She only had to explore the first to realize that it was a list of equipment stashes for the Hobgoblin but the first several she found had all been cleaned out.

Finally, she found one that had not been raided. Much to her surprise, in addition to the weapons and equipment of the Hobgoblin, she discovered research notes and a diary written in the unmistakable hand of her husband.

Shocked, Betty at first did not believe what she’d discovered but the deeper her investigation went, the more undeniable the evidence became. Now uncertain about her marriage, Betty withdrew from the world for a time. After weeks of soul searching and questioning she decided to honor the husband she knew and try to redeem him rather than the stranger who was a criminal she didn’t know.

Betty padded one of her husband’s costumes to hide her very different figure and, equipping herself as the Hobgoblin, went out searching for the imposter who had taken over her husband’s former criminal identity and was continuing his life of crime.

Betty was able to track down Jason Phillip Macendale, the man who had taken over the mantle of the Hobgoblin, but was almost killed when she confronted trained killer. Only the intervention of Spider-Man saved her and she managed to retreat.

Seeking a way to get an edge over the other man, she found a supply of Oz, the serum that gave both the Green Goblin and the original Hobgoblin their super strength. Fortunately, she had the formula that Ned refined that did not have the side effect of driving the user insane.

Betty started martial arts training, but did not have the patience to wait to become truly proficient. She continued her quest to stop the Hobgoblin imposter, her obsession growing so great that her personal and professional lives suffered.

Peter Parker noticed and dropped in on her unexpectedly to check up on her. He caught her returning home in her Hobgoblin gear and was about to confront her as Spider-Man when he realized who she really was.

Parker tried to talk Betty out of what she was doing, but she refused to listen and, instead, he was forced to watch her as Spider-Man. This lead to a number of clashes between the two of them, but Spider-Man soon had other problems to deal with. A number of unusual attacks on the ESU campus lead Spider-Man to investigate.

So obsessed with the Hobgoblin that she could not believe that Spider-Man would spend time on anything else, Betty assumed that he had a lead and tracked him down. But, that only made her a target. Morbius, the Living Vampire was stalking the buildings of ESU and, in one of his frenzies, attacked Betty in her Hobgoblin guise. Though it was a close fought battle, Betty was still no match for Morbius and he overpowered and bit her.

Spider-Man arrived on the scene soon after and chased Morbius away. The damage was done, however and when Betty awoke the next day, she was already suffering the first effects of pseudo-vampirism.

The other Hobgoblin was forgotten for a time as Betty came to grips with her new life and she and Spider-Man focused on tracking down Morbius. It took a few weeks but they managed to find him soon after a feeding when he was reasonable and wracked with guilt. Morbius had developed an antidote for his affliction though it did not work on him. He was happy to provide it to Betty as a sort of penance for attacking her, but, much to everyone’s chagrin, the Pseudo-Vampirism affliction had interacted with the Oz Serum in her system and the cure did not work.

Betty further withdrew from her everyday life and revised her alter-ego, changing her name to the Hemogoblin. The interaction between the Oz Serum and Pseudo-vampirism caused a change in her personality, as well, making her wilder and more eager to take risks.

In the course of their investigation of Morbius, Spider-Man’s true identity as Peter Parker was revealed. Now that she also had a secret identity and was able to defend herself, she and Parker began to renew their failed romance.   She was also drawn to Morbius, however and her romantic life became a complex web involving both men.

Still, Betty was focused on her original goal and managed to hunt down the Hobgoblin imposter. The imposter had joined with a new Sinister Six and what followed was an all out battle between he and his allies and Hemogoblin, Spider-Man, and Morbius. In the course of the battle, Betty managed to kill the Hobgoblin but Morbius was also killed in the process.

Betty found herself without purpose now that her quest for revenge was over and full of sorrow after losing another man she loved. When the Exiles came to recruit her, she was happy for the chance to start her life over.

And as usual…you can buy my novels and games at blackguardpress