Exiles #18 – Speed Bump

This one was inspired by an old comic that I only had one issue of. It was the first issue, though and it was amazing. It was called Animax and I now realize it was awesome because it was written by Walt Simonson. In what was a pretty gutsy turn at the time, he killed the main character in the first issue. Of course, the character was brought back to life (sort of) before the end of the issue, but seeing such a character die in the first issue blew my young mind.

It was all the more impressive because it was embedded in a world and story that could have been incredibly cheesy. A little research has told me that it was originally meant to be a toyline that would be expanded into a cartoon and comic book series like so many other toylines from the 80’s. The toyline and cartoon died on the vine but Marvel let the comic series run for 4 issues.

The basic concept is that, in the far future, the Earth has suffered ecological catastrophe and stopped spinning so that one side is constantly in daylight and one is constantly in darkness. The only animals that still exist have become mechanical hybrids (mostly, maybe all vehicles.) Regular people live on the daylight side and mutants live on the night side. And, of course, the mutants want what the regular people have. A simple enough concept, simple enough for kids toys, but also kind of cool, if given the right treatment.

Since I’ve decided my Exiles don’t time travel, I figured I’d rewind the clock of the Animax story to the beginning and introduce a character from that time.

Speed Bump

Dylan Bowie

Fighting:     EX

Agility:      GD

Strength:     GD

Endurance: EX

Reason:       RM

Intuition:     EX

Psyche:       RM

Health:        60

Karma:       80

Resources:   EX

Popularity: 10

Powers:

Animal Communication and Control: Dylan has the Remarkable ability to communicate telepathically with any animal. This ability is boosted to Incredible rank with Armored Dillo.

Equipment:

Pistol: Dylan carries a blaster pistol as a side arm. It does either Remarkable Force or Energy Damage.

Roadgear: Dylan’s suit provides Good protection and includes an air filter and supply that allows him to breath in toxic environments for up to an hour.

Armored Dillo: Dylan’s companion and partner, Armored Dillo is a biomechanical armadillo halftrack.

F          A         S          E          R         I           P

GD      TY       IN        AM      PR       TY       EX

Health: 106     Karma: 30

Armor: Armored Dillo’s body is covered with a thick hide and armored plates, providing Remarkable (30) protection from physical and energy attacks, and Poor (4) protection from heat, fire, acid and cold-based attacks.

Claws: Armored Dillo’s paws end in long, non-retractable claws which are capable of rending up to Remarkable (30) strength materials. In combat, Armored Dillo inflicts Incredible (40) Edged Attack Damage.

Tunneling: Using his powerful claws, Armored Dillo can burrow through soil and rock of up to Excellent (20) material strength. He may move in this fashion underground at a rate of 1 area per round (Feeble (2) speed).

Lightning Speed: Armored Dillo can reach speeds of 60MPH or 4 areas per round (Good (10)) speed.

Vehicle: Armored Dillo provides EX Protection to passengers inside him. He also has a Control of GD.

Talents: Dylan has the Guns talent. In the realm of Bio-Mechanics his reason is considered Incredible.

Contacts: Dylan can call upon his fellow members of Animax when in need.

Background: Dylan was born on an Earth that had suffered decades of ecological disaster and conflict that ended in a nuclear war. The combination of factors slowed the rotation of the Earth so that it took the equivalent of a month to turn a single time. To avoid the scorching sun, man was forced to take to enormous caravans that constantly traveled west.

The animals of the world were not so lucky. Many species went extinct while others managed to adapt, somewhat to their changed environment. It was widely believed that all animals would go extinct unless mankind did something to save them from the disaster they had wrought. A group of scientists banded together in the hopes of saving as many species as possible.

Unfortunately, the environmental pollution, radiation from the nuclear war and the increased UV rays from the sun had corrupted the DNA of almost every specimen found. Not willing to give up, they decided to utilize biomechanics to keep them alive and propagate the species until technology advanced far enough to cleanse and rebuild their damaged DNA. Given their nomadic lifestyle and limited resources, it was decided to enhance their subjects into vehicles.

These modified creatures soon came to be called Maximized Animals by the common public, but the people who actually dealt with the creatures revered and abbreviated the term, calling both the animals and themselves “Animax.”

There was some debate about whether all animals found should be saved. Dylan was on the side who argued that they should and, when an armadillo was discovered, he used the machinery to alter the creature without permission. They were both almost kicked out of the program and exiled until they discovered a rival group and warned of an impending attack.

Not every human had escaped the genetic pollution that afflicted the animals of the world and many had mutated, often into strange animal/human hybrids. Some of these mutants had managed to steal one of the Animax’s research vehicles and created their own biomechanical vehicles. Calling themselves Motor Mutants and their animal vehicles Car-nivores, they survived by raiding other caravans.

Thanks to Dylan’s warning and the actions of Animax, this attack was stymied. But a larger horde was approaching. Only the arrival and assistance of the Exiles turned the tide of battle. When they departed, Dylan chose to go with them in the hopes of finding and bringing back the technology needed to save his world.

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