Exiles #16 – Thunderstrike

I know, I know…it’s been a real long time since I posted.  My own ambition has conspired against me.  The Savage Jammer project blew up much further than I expected it to, though it’s finished now and I’ll post more of it next week.  This week’s post also took longer than I expected.  Plus, I have literally 5 other projects going, including some freelancing work for a Pathfinder publisher and everything takes a long time.

But one of those projects is about to bear fruit.  Be on the look out next week for the cover reveal to the sequel to the book that I co-wrote with Megan Cutler, Island of Lost Forevers.  The second book in the series is called “Crossroads of Frozen Eternity” and will be available as an e-book in a few weeks.

On to this week’s post.

I know it’s not cool to say, these days but I liked the replacement heroes that popped up in the 90’s.  I’m not a huge fan of cycling through heroes just for the sake of doing it, nor am I someone who thinks everything has to be redone and the genre has gotten stale because we’ve had the same characters for 50-60 years.  But, I always liked Jim Rhodes, for example and I just missed his tenure as Iron Man.  And, despite the excessive number of (mostly pointless) guns, I liked the design of the War Machine armor.  And, let’s face it…”War Machine” is a cool name.

I’m also a fan of the Thor Corps.  Sometimes the other hammer wielders more than Thor himself.  I don’t think I’m alone in thinking Beta Ray Bill may be more awesome than Thor and, while the Eric Masterson version of the Thunder God could be whiny and annoying from time to time, his series had a nice, interesting arc.  They did an excellent job of teasing the Blood Axe identity reveal for several years.  Granted, both Thunderstrike and Blood Axe’s costumes are EXCEPTIONALLY 90’s, but still…

I was reminded of all this when I checked out the Thunderstrike Saga TPB from the library recently.  I didn’t want to go the obvious route and just extend Eric’s run, so I thought about what might have happened to his son, Kevin, if Eric had died before ever being bonded with Thor.  Here’s what I came up with:

Thunderstrike

Kevin Masterson

Fighting:     MN

Agility:      EX

Strength:     MN

Endurance: MN

Reason:       EX

Intuition:     EX

Psyche:       EX

Health:        245

Karma:       60

Resources:   GD

Popularity: 20

Powers:

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

 Equipment:

 Thunderstrike (Unique Weapon): Thunderstrike’s mallet is made of Uru, a mystical metal of Shift Z Material. Thunderstrike’s Fighting rank is Shift X while using the mallet. The mallet does Unearthly Blunt damage, and Thunderstrike can throw it up to 10 areas. No one can forcibly take the mallet away from Thunderstrike, unless he wishes it. Thunderstrike can do the following power stunts while using the mallet:

Alter Ego: Striking the mallet on the ground, or a hard surface, transforms Thunderstrike to his mortal form. If Thunderstrike is kept away from his mallet for over one minute, he automatically reverts back to his mortal form. While he is in his mortal form, the mallet looks like a simple wooden cane. Striking the cane against a hard surface reverts Thunderstrike back to his mortal form. The statistics of Thunderstrike’s mortal form are as follows:

Kevin Masterson

F          A         S          E          R         I           P

GD      TY       GD      EX       EX       EX       GD

Automatic Return: When thrown, whether it hits or not, the mallet flies back to the spot

from where it was thrown.

Flight: Amazing air speed. Thunderstrike does this by spinning the mallet around and then throwing it. As it takes off, he grabs hold of the hammer’s leather thong and rides behind the hammer.

Deflection: Remarkable protection against physical, energy, and magical attacks. Thunderstrike does this by spinning the hammer in front of himself.

Weather Control: Unearthly control, including producing Monstrous intensity lightning bolts. Thunderstrike can shoot lightning bolts from the mallet without having to summon a storm.

Air Control: Create winds of up to Monstrous intensity. This air control can be used to provide Monstrous protection from projectiles to everyone within 1 area. The air control ability can also be used o carry others with him in flight with Incredible speed.

Unfettered Might: This special attack does Shift Y damage and surrounds the mallet with a blazing yellow aura. Thunderstrike suffers Incredible damage when he uses this attack. This attack causes Thunderstrike to use one-half his Karma points.

Magic Detection: This detection power senses the use of Asgardian magic with Good intensity.

Blood Axe (Unique Weapon):  Thunderstrike wields a double-bladed weapon made of Shift X material which inflicts Monstrous Edge Damage. He can throw it up to 10 areas away, but it possesses no enchantment to return to his hand. 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.

 Talents: Thunderstrike is skilled in Asgardian lore. In combat, he receives a +1CS when using blunt or edged weapons. He is a weapon specialist with Thunderstrike and the Blood Axe, giving him a +2CS with both weapons.

 Contacts: Thunderstrike can call on Karnilla and the Norns for aid. He also worked with the Enchantress. His status with Asgardians is questionable and they might or might not provide aid to him if he called on it.

Background: Kevin Masterson and his father Eric were befriended by the Mighty Thor while the thunder god was experiencing periodic, unexplained bouts of weakness. He was attacked numerous times by the Mongoose, who was attempting to gain a cell sample from Thor. Finally, Mongoose resorted to kidnapping Eric Masterson and left a trail that led Thor to Wundagore, the High Evolutionary’s home. Thor saved Masterson and joined with the High Evolutionary’s New Men in saving Hercules and the High Evolutionary from the mysterious Black Galaxy.

Masterson accompanied Thor and helped him free Hercules and the High Evolutionary from Celestials holding them prisoner. They returned to Earth, while the High Evolutionary turned Wundagore into a spaceship and headed for the Black Galaxy.

Hercules, Thor, and Masterson were then viciously attacked by Mongoose using weapons he had stolen from Wundagore. Mongoose almost killed Thor using a powerful energy beam. Masterson took a killing blow for Thor, giving Thor and Hercules a chance to defeat Mongoose. Unfortunately, Masterson died from his wounds but not before asking Thor to watch over his son, Kevin.

Thor agreed. He knew that he could not care for Kevin and continue defending Midgard as he knew he must so used Mjolnir to transport Kevin to Asgard.

From that point, Kevin was raised as an Asgardian. He received warrior training from Sif and the Warriors Three and arcane wisdom from Odin and Frigga. And he learned Asgardian honor and duty from all those surrounding him.

But, Kevin was not an Asgardian, he was only a mortal. Hard as he worked, hard as he studied and trained, he always lagged behind the Asgardian youths that were his cohorts. He simply was not as big, strong, tough, skilled or agile as the divine beings around him.

This lead Kevin to constantly try to prove himself and he gained a reputation as something of a hothead and a daredevil. Finally deciding that he had to prove himself once and for all, he ran away from home with his sword and horse and sought an adventure that would demonstrate his value to the Asgardians.

Kevin ended up in Nornheim and battled a group of rock trolls who were raiding the realm. He vanquished his foes, but not before suffering a mortal wound. Kevin resigned himself to his imminent death, regretting only that no one would know how he had proved himself in the end.Fate (or the Norns) had something else in mind for Kevin, though. Little happens in Karnilla’s realm without her knowledge of it and she was aware not only of the trolls’ incursion but also Kevin’s successful efforts to fend them off.

The Queen of the Norns appeared before the dying mortal and, not only healed her, but also, utilizing the same spell she used on the Wrecker, empowered Kevin with Asgardian might. Surprising even Karnilla, her spell interacted with Kevin’s noble spirit and empowered him with even more power than the Wrecker received, making him almost the equal of Thor, himself. She bound the spell to an enchanted mallet she had made for the purpose and that held many of the powers of Mjolnir, Thor’s mighty hammer.

A grateful Kevin gladly became Nornheim’s champion, protecting it from incursions by trolls and giants. He also fought alongside Thor in defending the 9 realms from attacks by Surtur and Anihilus. Thunderstrike was soon considered a hero on the same caliber as Sif and the Warriors Three, second only to Thor.

This glory did not only attract the adulation of the noble and just, though. Darker Asgardian elements saw potential in Thunderstrike as well. Amora the Enchantress turned her sights on Kevin and seduced him with her feminine wiles and magic abilities.

She subtly manipulated Thunderstrike, first taking him on a quest to Hel to retrieve the Blood Axe from her former pawn, Skurge, the Executioner. The enchantments on that weapon interacted with those on his mallet, further influencing his mind and making him more violent and bloodthirsty.

Further subtle manipulations by the Enchantress and her ally Loki not only on Thunderstrike but also the dwarf Eitri and the warrior goddess Sif lead to a series of misunderstandings that escalated into a full scale war. This “War of the Nine Realms” spilled over to every dimension attached to Asgard and lead to the almost ruin of Midgard.

Thunderstrike and the Wrecking Crew, who Karnilla had recruited to her cause were the culprits of much of this devastation but that ended one day on Midgard. In a battle with the Warriors Three and Balder, a building was destroyed. Much to his horror, Kevin realized that his mother was caught in the rubble.

The shock was enough to snap him out of both Amora’s enchantments and those of the Blood Axe. He barely managed to save his mother before she was crushed by the rubble and vowed to set right what he had helped start wrong.

With the aid of Thor and other Asgardian warriors as well as the Exiles, who had come to the reality to help stop the War of the Nine Realms, Thunderstrike managed to quell the war. Asgard took dominion over all Nine Realms to aid in the rebuilding process, with Odin lord over them all.

Ashamed of his role in the conflict and seeking a way to find redemption, Thunderstrike joined the Exiles to aid them in their quest to bring peace and order to the multiverse.

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