Exiles #6 – Red Raven

I don’t remember if I already posted this…but not too long ago, I published my second supplement for Non-Essential Personnel. Here’s the link and blurb. Take a look if you liked Non-Essential Personnel and/or Adventuring! Company…although I don’t know how you could like Adventuring! Company without Non-Essential Personnel.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/131303/The-Restaurant-at-the-Other-End-of-the-Universe

Henchin; Ain’t Easy!  Especially when the boss wants this space grease trap cleaned out by the end of your space shift.

You always thought that space would be the final frontier of excitement and adventure.  You thought you were going to explore new and exciting worlds and meet strange and interesting members of strange and interesting species.

You were wrong.

At the Restaurant at the Other End of the Univerese, space smells an awful lot like over used grease, stale hamburger buns and B grade meat.  The aliens are strange enough but the only really interesting thing about them is how they all seem to have a different reason and way to stiff you on the tip.  And the excitement comes with a side of unnecessary mortal danger.

Now…on with the show.

If you’re looking for an event in Marvel history that had an amazingly long lasting impact, look no further than one of the first. The Mutant Massacre only pulled in the X-books at the time- Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants and X-Factor – but had repercussions that lasted for years. Forgetting the fact that it pretty much wiped out the Morlocks, it also left Shadowcat and Nightcrawler with a injuries that they would not recover from until well into their membership in Excalibur. It left Colossus with an injury that he would not recover from until the Fall of the Mutants cross over.

But most changed was undoubtedly Warren Worthington. It was during the Mutant Massacre that his wings were ruined and later amputated. This lead directly to him first leaving X-Factor, then being recruited and altered by Apocalypse into Death with his mechanical, blade throwing wings. Worthington was Archangel for years, even after X-Factor disbanded and he became an X-Man again. Even today, he still has the blue skin and blade wings, when necessary, all as repercussions from the Mutant Massacre. Is it any wonder that the story has stuck with me all these years? That’s why I incorporated it into Psypherlocke’s story.

That’s another by the way before the way, sort of. The only relation that story has to this one is that, for a while, I was fascinated by the winged warriors of Marvel and comics in general. Angel was the premier character, of course. But I was always curious about the Savage Land race, the Aerians. I even liked a DC character. One of the Legionnaires, Dawnstar who, though apparently Native American should not be confused with Danielle Moonstar from Marvel who had a winged horse. And finally, there was the inspiration for this Exile.

I won’t admit how long it took me to figure out what the Squadron Supreme was. I’d like to think that it was because I didn’t read much DC or Justice League but it took me an awful long time to realize the Meta Level behind the Squadron Supreme. I can’t be blamed for Hyperion. There are two or three characters in the Marvel Universe, including Hyperion, who have basically the same origin as Superman. Nighthawk is a little more subtle but he’s not the only Marvel character who was inspired by Batman. I suspect that Moon Knight was at least partially inspired by the Dark Knight.

Then again, I didn’t read much of the Squadron Supreme stuff so I was much more interested in the alternate version of Nighthawk that was a Defender in the 616. Or was the one from the Squadron Supreme universe the alternate version? It’s hard to tell in this case since the Squadron Supreme version is obviously the closest to the concept behind the character but you always assume that the 616 version is the core one.

I’m not sure where I saw the Red Raven story, but it is a pulp classic. Is there anything pulpier than a rich adventurer getting lost, almost dying and accidentally discovering a lost city then being taken in and becoming one of them only to eventually leave with abilities considered superhuman by the larger world? Given that Kyle Richmond was a rich adventurer, the connection seemed obvious.

The version below is a combination of both versions of Nighthawk as well as Red Raven.

Oh, and there was a Knight Hawk character created by Neal Adams and published in his own creator owned book who was remarkably similar to the 616 version of Nighthawk.   I really liked the book, just as I liked pretty much all of the books from Continuity. Given Adams’ reputation as a heartbreaker who couldn’t produce comics consistently enough to get up to a double digit run, it’s hard to tell if he got sued into stopping Knight Hawk or if he just got bored with it and stopped.

Red Raven

Kyle Richmond

Fighting:     EX

Agility:      RM

Strength:     RM

Endurance:EX

Reason:       GD

Intuition:     TY

Psyche:       TY

 

Health:        100

Karma:       22

Resources:   IN

Popularity:30

 

Equipment:

 

Jet-Wings:   These enable him to attain Good air speed with the engines in operation or Typical air speed when gliding.

 

Claws: Made of a Remarkable material, these claws allowed him to inflict Edged damage equal to his strength.

 

Talents: Richmond is skilled in Martial Arts (types A, B, C and E), Acrobatics, Business/Finance, Politics, Detective/Espionage, Law Enforcement and Aerial Combat (+1 CS to any and all airborne combat FEATs).

 

Contacts: Defenders

 

Weakness: When forced to do battle during the day, his Fighting, Agility, Strength and Endurance drop to Good Rank.

Background: Kyle Richmond was the son of Arthur and Penelope Richmond, a wealthy industrialist and her husband. Upon his father’s death when he was still a child, Richmond was sent to a private school to be raised. By his teens, Richmond was known as a spoiled, irresponsible troublemaker. Despite his poor academic record, he was accepted into a private college, Grayburn University, entirely due to his mother’s generous endowment to the school. Kyle Richmond still largely ignored his studies, and spent most of his time with his girlfriend Mindy Williams. One night, while driving his car under the influence of alcohol, Richmond lost control and drove off the road. The accident left Mindy almost dead, but he walked away unscathed. Richmond was expelled from college.

Shaken by the tragic consequences of his irresponsibility, Richmond turned to a spiritual quest to find a purpose for his life. Within a week, however, his mother died in a plane crash and Kyle found himself in charge of Richmond Enterprises. Wisely believing himself to be incapable of handling the business, Richmond turned over the management of the firm to the company’s chairman of the board, J. C. Pennyworth.

He then threw himself into his search for a spiritual solution to his moral wanderings. This brought him into contact with well know mystic Dr. Stephen Strange. The Sorcerer Supreme would later claim that he saw something special in the young Richmond, though it was entirely possible that he was just trying to get rid of him. Richmond certainly did not know Strange was anything more than a mystic.

In any case, Strange told Richmond of a mysterious flying island where he could find purpose and peace. Richmond took his private plane and crisscrossed the Pacific Ocean for weeks seeking out the island. An odd feeling attracted Richmond to a mysterious cloud bank and he piloted toward it. Much to his surprise, the island was within and he crashed into it.

This island turned out to belong to a splinter group of Inhumans called the Bird-People. Unlike the main branch of Inhumans, who each develop a different ability, all of the Bird-People had large, feathered wings that allowed them to fly.

Richmond was seriously injured in the crash and was saved by the Bird-People. Though he was saved from death, he was still seriously injured and lost the use of his legs. He fell into a bitter depression though the spiritual guidance of the Bird-People over the next several months did aid him in finding some peace. Still, he hoped to fully recover and decided that the Terrigen Mist that each Bird-Person was subjected to would heal him.

It took a great deal of effort and not a little deception but Richmond managed to sneak into the Chamber of Transformation and subject himself to the Mist. He was healed and even found his physical abilities enhanced with his strength even reaching superhuman levels. The Bird-People discovered him immediately and were offended and horrified that he undertook what they considered a holy rite without their permission.

A great debate took place with many calling for Richmond to be executed for his crime while others argued that he should simply be exiled. In the end, these cooler heads prevailed and the Bird-People simply marooned their uninvited guest on a deserted island. It was there that Richmond discovered that his abilities were only enhanced at night. Nonetheless, he was able to survive, thanks in no small part to these abilities, for several months before he was rescued.

Both obsessed with the Bird-People and guilt ridden over the way he felt he’d betrayed them, for the months that he’d been alone on the island, Richmond decided to emulate his saviors once he got back to civilization. Feeling that he owed it to them to do good in their name and with the abilities that he’d developed thanks to the Terrigen Mists, Richmond used his intellect and resources to invent a cutting edge set of jet powered wings. Calling himself Red Raven as an homage to the title of the high priest of the Bird-People, he became a costumed vigilante, operating usually at night as that was when he was at his best.

Red Raven made enough of a reputation for himself that Dr. Strange sought him out again and invited him to become a member of his Defenders. Red Raven became one of the cornerstone members of the team as its roster was in a constant state of fluctuation but he remained at the core. In fact, he was such a stable member of the team that he became the leader and the group used his private riding academy as their headquarters.

Red Raven discovered that Mindy Williams had developed psionic powers after the accident that he caused when she turned them on him and tried to gain revenge by killing him. Though she failed, thanks in no small part to the intervention of Spider-Man, Red Raven and the Defenders soon discovered that she was only part of a larger plot.

The Secret Empire intended to use Mindy and a handful of other latent psychics that they had augmented and awakened through artificial means to begin a psychic assault on the Soviet Union in the hopes of either wiping that nation out or inciting it into mistakenly attacking the United States in retaliation for the attack.

Red Raven very nearly had to sacrifice himself to save the day, his guilt driving him to offer up his body as a host for the six psychics. Only the timely arrival of the Exiles and the power they added to the Defenders’ arsenal allowed the combined groups to defeat the Secret Empire without massive loss of life.

The Defenders took custody of the psychics to help them deal with the changes that the processes the Secret Empire put them through created. Richmond, riddled with guilt over what his irresponsibility had done to Mindy even after all those years, could not face her over the long term. He volunteered to join the Exiles both as a way to get away from the reminder of his failure and as a way to attempt to atone for it in the wider Multiverse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *