The Collector: A Revenger Mission Update!

marvel-superheroesWelcome back, Revengers! Our mission to crack the code and uncover the mystery of famed artist, thief and treasure hunter Mike Tyrene continues. The following is a transcript from Team 3, which was tasked with procuring one of the Tyrene paintings from Mrs. Lydia Morris. A private collector, and an elderly soul, this mission was entrusted to of our most tactful and gentle souls – Panacea and Styka. Their team has reported success, and a possible clue to the larger mystery…

“Mrs. Morris is gray haired and wrinkled, but she has bright blue eyes and moves with the ease of a dancer. She was home when Styka and I arrived and seemed like such a nice lady. Styka thought we should talk to her first. At first she was kind enough, but as we explained what we wanted, her eyes darkened and her body stiffened. We tried to explain that we were trying to out smart some bad guys.

“Why would I want to give my painting to two skinny vigilante girls in tights? My husband gave that painting to me on our 50th wedding anniversary.”

That’s when I began to understand the problem. I looked around at the pictures on the wall and on the cabinet. There were no photos of children or grandchildren. There were plenty of photographs of two people enjoying life as they grew old together. I’m the goddess of healing so I took her hand and felt her heartbreak. Her husband had recently died and she was having trouble grieving. The bright eyes and ease of walk was a cover up. She was ignoring the pain of loneliness.

I gently gave her enough healing so she could properly grieve. As the needed tears came, she told us she wanted to be alone. She also told us to take the painting. We promised to safely return it when we were finished with it.

As we were looking at the painting, Styka noticed something that might be important…”

The report ends there. However, things became more clear when the team arrived back at base with the painting in their possession. Ostensibly, its a landscape painting, featuring a realistically rendered picture of the old ruins overlooking the city. Lauded for its merger of traditional and modern, making the statement about the crassness of consumerism and progress, the painting also contains a strange figure in the lower corner.

It’s a man dressed in a dark suit with dark glasses overlooking the city, apparently holding his finger to his ear. It’s an especially strange touch since most of the people in the painting are indigents who look like they’ve made the ruins home. Could this be the first clue, or just a case of artistic license?

The Revengers Take The Field!

So… now that we’ve got a justice league ready and in place, we need a mission. Some suggestions have been made, some preliminary ideas spit-balled, but we should have some kind of consensus before we move! So to break things succinctly, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling our possible super-hero missions into the following list:

  1. Fight Crime: It has been suggested, largely by me, Captain Smackdown, that we address the growing concern of crime and violence in the inner city. People are crying out for help, wanting an end to the cycles of gang violence, drug dealing, prostitution, and intimidation. The police are largely ineffective, due to indifference, disillusionment and the vagaries of the law which prevent them from doing what needs to be done. Witnesses do not testify, and those who agree to soon wind up dead. What’s more, efforts to gain the people’s trust are hampered by incidents of police brutality and corruption that make them turn a blind eye. But we, the Revengers, are a force apart. We can go where the law cannot, find the evil-doers and bring them to justice! What’s more, we are incorruptible and cannot be bought! So we shall find the pimps, pushers, crime bosses and dirty cops, and make them all pay!
  2. Fight Criminal-Networks: This plan is a little more grandiose than taking down the scum in the inner city. For alas, all criminals and crime bosses are able to do what they do because of a large network that supports, funds and equips their activities. Drugs are being shipping in from around the country and abroad, drug labs operate all around town, and guns and explosives are brought in with the help of arms smugglers. At the top of these networks lie the worst kinds of criminal, the well-dressed, well-spoken sociopaths who make millions off of the suffering and deaths of others. They think themselves untouchable, but we will show them just how vulnerable they truly are!
  3. Fight Corruption: City Hall is a morass of decay and abuse of power. The Mayor is largely impotent, the Police Commissioner struggles to do his job, and much the elected representatives and appointees are on the take. We need to send a message and to do it now! Take down the bastards who have been getting richer off of a city in peril and make sure that all know that the people’s representatives are not for sale! What’s more, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that those in power are there because of voter fraud, smear campaigns, graft, cronyism and campaigns of intimidation. Ferreting out the individuals responsible and busting up their network of influence is paramount to straightening this city out!
  4. Fight Villains: As Police Commissions Jim Gordon once said: “What about escalation?” The presence of superheroes in the city prompts criminals to reach out to private “specialists” who, like us, are in the habit of concealing their identities and not playing but the usual rules. Their methods are unorthodox, and their aims rather grandiose, but they are very dangerous nonetheless! And unlike the criminal scum that hire them, they are not concerned with things like money. For them, it’s all about power, fear, and watching the world they so richly hate burn! And therefore, they must be stopped before they can make their maniacal visions a reality.

Well, that’s my list of ideas. Got any more, feel free to add them. But then again, after grouping the possibilities like this, we might consider tackling the problems of our beloved city and our world in this precise order. Let’s start small, work our way up to the big fish, take out the enemies within, and then be forced to confront the arch-nemeses that will make us question the very nature of what we do. Perhaps I’ve internalized all these superhero movies and comic books and outlined our group’s ongoing agenda without even knowing it 😉

The Revengers Are Complete!

Alright! At long last, the Revengers are complete. All thirteen members are registered and accounted for, and so we area ready to start battling crime and corruption in the big city! Yes, I know… twelve isn’t exactly a round number, but unless the makers of Craps have lied to me, its lucky! So without further delay, here is the remainder of the Revengers starting lineup. Behold!

Dark Angel:
Alter Ego: Nina Dee – Publisher, attempting to claw her way to the top. (plus part-time barista at the local Cuppa’ coffee house)
Abilities: Mad Fighting Skills; Ability to Fly; Regeneration
Appearance: Black wings, bustier, skin-tight pants, elbow-long gloves, long blonde hair, clawed fingers and feet, and a bamboo staff
Backstory: Nina was living abroad in Tokyo when she became involved with a Yakuza arms dealer. Unaware of the deeds committed by this man, she was blinded to the wrong doing taking place around her. Until one day, when she realized a mass killing had been carried out using weapons he was shipping. When she confronted him about it, he shot her and left her in a shallow grave. While lying there, she experienced an overwhelming sense of rage, and the souls of the children reaching out to her. A horrific metamorphosis took place that not only saved her life, but transformed her mind, her body, and her soul for a single purpose – Revenge. Rising from her grave a new and malformed creature, Nina vowed to never allow the innocent to suffer at the hands of the greedy and uncaring again, and to never touch a weapon forged by the hand of man.
Catchphrase: “You’ll pray to this Angel, but the only thing I’ll save you from is your next breath!”

Freedom Fighter:
Alter ego:
Carolyn Page, lover of man, beast and the epic discovery of joy.
Appearance:
Blue, red and gunmetal grey ensemble with a hint of feathers, ribbons, brooch insignia, powder gray ankle flight controls, fiery sword.
Abilities: Ability to Fly, Mad Fighting Skills, Super Strength
Backstory:
Page emerged from the wilderness back in June 1765 and has remained a force for joy and justice ever since. Her immortality is as mysterious as she is, as is the origin of her signature move, the high kick. To those seeking to know her past and why she fights injustice and hate with as much verve and dedication as she does, there remains only her bright smile and her enduring motto…
Catchphrase: “Freedom Fighter Flies for Freedom..!”

Pax:
Alter Ego:
Lance Schubert, non-violent activist, writer
Appearance: High-tech suit, form fitting and temperature sensitive. In extreme heat, turns white, in cold, black.
Abilities: Teleportation, Healing, Elasticity
Backstory: Lance woke up one day in the hospital, the sole survivor of a collapsed California high-rise. Everyone he knew or cared for died in the fall, but his new abilities gave him a sense of purpose. And so he headed east and things started happening to his body. In addition to being able to go from one place to the next without moving, he could bend his body in ways that no human body could, and heal instantly when hurt. With his newfound abilities, his non-violent activism found new expression, as a means of stopping evil-doers without inflicting harm.
Catchphrase: “I will ease the pain.”

The Revengers Starting Lineup!

Happy Halloween everybody! In honor of this momentous occasion, I have decided to release the starting lineup of the Revengers! And here they are, a new superhero team to save the day, and with none of that sissy Avenger stuff neither! No, these are the Revengers! A dark justice league for the new era, taking on the scum and villainy of the world, and doing it Revenger-style!

Atrum Auditor:
Alter ego:
Kevin Roussy, beer advocate
Appearance: Black slacks, black button down long sleeve shirt, combat boots, utility belt.
Abilities: Telepathy, Teleportation, Precognition
Backstory: Atrum Auditor was the product of a corporate warlord’s mistress and genetic manipulation. He was raised in secret to be a master at corporate espionage, but defied his father to go rogue and began using his powers for justice instead of peersonal gain. Now, he seeks the world secrets, releasing government and trade information to the public in order to manipulate public perceptions. To what ends, no one really knows for sure… All they know is, if it’s a secret, it won’t be for long!
Catchphrase: “No More Secrets”

Bonfire:
Alter ego: 
Victor, movie critic
Appearance: Black and grey skin-tight top, red pants, grey and balck mask. Nuclear emblem on the chest, golden cuffs and flaming hands.
Abilities:
Fire control, Telekineses, Healing
Backstory: As a teenager, Victor I was identified by a Corporation as a Level 5 mutant. They sent men to his home to abduct him, and during the course of the abduction a Superhero came to interrupt their plan. In the ensuing battle, Victors home was destroyed and his brother paralyzed. The Superhero’s code of conduct prevented him from killing the principle leader of the group before he injured Victor’s brother, and then as the police were taking him away he was able to escape and killed my mother. From that moment on I vowed revenge against that man and the Corporation, but knew I could never be entirely on the side of the angels. Because in the end, I planned to murder the man who destroyed my family.
Catchphrase: “It’s your time to burn!”

Captain Smackdown:
Alter ego:
Matt Williams, mild mannered educator/writer
Appearance: Molded armor suit, dark gunmetal grey, fist logo on the chest, utility belt with tons of guns, smoke grenades, incendiaries, and assorted gadgets. Cigar in mouth, eye patch over one eye. Expressions range from shit-eating grin to a scowl
Abilities: Mad Fighting Skills, Gadgets, Guns
Backstory: Once an educator with inner city youths and part-time writer, Matt was traumatized when a student of his was murdered in front of him and he was left mortally wounded. Saddened, angry and broken, he joined a private security firm and learned the art of weapons and tactics, but soon became disillusioned with their methods. Realizing that the world was full of evil and that the line between right and wrong was something one could easily find themselves on the wrong side of, he began trekking across the world, learning martial arts and philosophy in East Asia before returning home to fight crime on his own. After many years of battling scum and criminals in the streets, he rose to become head of a new order for fighting evil wherever it reared its ugly head. The Revengers!
Catchphrase: “Here comes the Smackdown!”

Erotica Girl:
Alter ego:
Casey Sheridan, bookish, shy librarian
Appearance: Black and purple skintight suit, zipper in the front leading up to partially exposed cleavage. Mask, half black and half purple, thigh-high black leather boots.
Abilities: Invisibility, Mad fighting skills, Super strength
Backstory: Casey was given a formula by a Crime Kingpin, a man who, before becoming a Crime Kingpin, worked in a lab for a company that developed organic weapons for the government. After his lab partner caused an accident and left him for dead, Mr. Kingpin declared vendetta against him and developed a formula to change his lab partner’s girlfriend (Casey) into a super villain. Since she was super hot and erotic, he gave her the name Erotica Girl
Catchphrase: “Feel the love!”

Judgement:
Alter ego:
Rami Ungar, student and freelance writer
Appearance: Long white hair, black skin with gold designs, yellow-orange eyes, super-sharp teeth. A pair of pants that somehow survive the transformation
Abilities: Absorb Energy, Energy Blasts, Telekinesis
Backstory: One day, he fell in love with a girl whose father was a police investigator. Her father got too close to something that involved an unknown corporation working with a terrorist group. He was murdered for his troubles and his daughter left disabled. He took her in and tends to her as his alter ego. But as Judgement, he fights corruption within the corporations, government, and anywhere else he sees it going unchecked.
Catchphrase: “Feel my wrath!”

Styka:
Alter ego:
Kristy Halseth,
Appearance: Jeans, Tank top, Leather jacket, Doc Martins.
Abilities: Flying, Invisibility, Telepathy
Backstory: While browsing a fine jewelry store, Kristy witnessed an armed robbery that went horribly wrong. During the commission of the robbery, the criminals caused an explosion that killed half their crew and the store. Taken as a hostage by the part of the crew that managed to escape, they took out their anger and frustration on Kristy and left for dead. When she woke up in hospital, she realized she could read minds, avoid detection, and even levitate and fly about. In her search for the the people who nearly killed her, Styka discovered that one of the city’s crime bosses had been responsible for the robbery. His orders were to kill the hostages but the robbers were as incompetent at that as they were at following the plan he had ordered. Her vendetta against her attackers became a vendetta against his as well.
Catchphrase: “Justice is on the way!”

Panacea:
Alter ego:
Phyllis Moore, mild-mannered fantasy-fiction writer
Appearance: Indestructible close-fitting fiber suit, toga skirt, and a concealing mask. When Panacea, her air changes from blonde to burgundy
Abilities: Flying, Acrobatics, Healing
Backstory: Phyllis was on vacation in India when a terrorist attack blew up a nearby chemical factory. She wasn’t close enough to be killed, but was exposed to the chemical traces picked up by the winds as she fled. She leapt over obstacles, climbed up walls, and ran across rooftops. It first, she thought her abilities came from years of yoga and marathon races, but as she ran faster, she noticed that she could even fly. After everything had settled, she returned to see the horror of the wounded and dying and became furious. But instead of retaliating against those who committed such acts of terror, she decided to undo their hate by healing the wounded and loving them back to health.
Catchphrase: “Stop the hate!”

The Veiled Tsunami:
Alter ego:
Hawa Ali, mild-mannered nurse
Appearance: Chocolate brown leather duster over Black jeans, black T, and a black hijab. Black combat boots and black shades of well.
Abilities: Alien Technology, Super Smarts, Telepathy
Backstory: Hawa grew up in New Haven Connecticut, two blocks from Yale University. She never knew her mother, but her father was a university professor and scientist named Dr. Eesa Ben Ali. His work in human mutagenics was quite controversial, due in part to the fact that Dr. Ali shared a name with another man on the NSA’s terror watch list. He was on the cusp of creating a substance that would successfully, and without adverse effects, create the first human with super capabilities. Unfortunately, his work was cut short when a disgruntled student – Calvin Cur – broke into his lab and tried to take him prisoner. When his daughter interfered, Cur shot her and sent her falling into some of her father’s lab equipment. The serum spilled on her and ran into her wound, and Cur shot her father shortly thereafter and fled. Hawa was changed, and from that point onward, was known as the Veiled Tsunami, seeking out injustice and looking to avenge her fathers death, all the while trying to unlock the mystery of what she has become. For it is rumored that her father’s serum contained alien blood that was retrieved by the government, and remains kept in some secret facility somewhere…
Catchphrase: “You won’t see me coming but I will blow you down.”

FYI, still waiting on key details from Freedom Fighter, Joaco, Pax and Typos. If you want to join, you gotta file the requisite paperwork. I guess that doesn’t sound too superhero-y. But hey, you wanna play in the big leagues, you gotta pay the big dues! Happy Halloween Everybody!

Calling All Superheroes!

Attention to all those who signed up to become part of the New New Justice League/The Revengers. I am still waiting on some people to complete their bios and their profiles before I can complete our superhero registration form. Yes, they make you fill these out if you want to fight crime or commit them, it’s like a union thing or something. We don’t want to be scabs now do we? If we don’t register soon, they’ll blackball us from all the parties and we won’t be notifications for important seminars, webinars and retreats.

So… please submit your paperwork to HR in a timely manner so I can get out squad up and running.

Okay, seriously though, this is actually been pretty cool! People have come forward to create superhero identities which I think might actually work, and I wouldn’t mind putting them all together and seeing if we can’t create a serial from this or something. Sure, many of our characters are all slightly comedic and satirical, but that’s okay. People like a good comedic rip-off of their old favorites! So to commit to this enterprise which I started as a sort of goof, I am hoping people can finish their characters by making sure they’ve taken the Superhero Challenge parts two and three. If not, I shall be forced to pencil in your details, and I will not be gentle! I will be cliched, humorous, and even a bit tongue-in-cheek.

And I should also mention that in the spirit of things, I have created my own character. Captain Smacdown is his name! Here are his specs, as they will appear in the final installment of our Superhero Challenge, once all characters are registered and complete:

Captain Smackdown

Alter ego: Matt Williams, mild mannered educator/writer/blogger
Appearance: Molded armor suit, dark gunmetal grey, fist logo on the chest, utility belt with tons of guns, smoke grenades, incendiaries, and assorted cool gadgets. Cigar in mouth, scarred cheek, eye patch over one eye. Expressions range from shit-eating grin to a scowl.
Abilities: Mad Fighting Skills, Guns, Gadgets
Backstory: Once an educator with inner city youths and part-time writer, Matt was traumatized when a student of his was murdered in front of him and he was left mortally wounded. Saddened, angry and broken, he joined a private security firm and learned the art of weapons and tactics, but soon became disillusioned with their methods. Realizing that the world was full of evil and that the line between right and wrong was something one could easily find themselves on the wrong side of, he began trekking across the world, learning martial arts and philosophy in East Asia before returning home to fight crime on his own. After many years of battling scum and criminals in the streets, he rose to become head of a new order for fighting evil wherever it reared its ugly head. The New New Justice League/Revengers!
Catchphrase: “Here comes the Smackdown!”

The Superhero Challenge Part II: Backstory!

I got to say, I was impressed with the response my “Superhero Challenge” got. I knew that the topic was a fertile one, hence why my wife and I started talking about it. But I wasn’t sure how much thought other people were likely to put it into it. I’m so happy there are plenty of geeks like me out there! For those of you who came in and selected your powers and a name for your character, kudos! Now we just need to get to work on your backstory.

Every superhero and villain has one. They give them depth, motivation, and an origin story that makes their actions and purpose seem relatable. After all, a hero who does heroic things just because is no hero at all! He’s just a cardboard stand in whom no one can relate to. But a hero who helps others because of personal tragedy or to bring meaning to their own life is something we can all get behind.

Heck, the same is true for a super villain isn’t it? No one believes that a bad guy could kill, maim and plot the destruction of the world simply because he’s Evil the Cat. He too needs a history to explain how he became the way he was. It’s simply the way people work. We desire explanations and love a good origin story!

So I’ve prepared the following list of motivation/creation factors. I’d say pick one, but since there are some obvious places where overlap occurs, feel free to pick a second if it’s appropriate. And just to be creative, I’ll include a list of possible factions/forces that could have been involved. Circumstances are one thing, but going from that to the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) is a different matter. Read on and select:

  1. Tragedy – this can be the death of one’s parents, a wife, a husband, a sibling, or even a child. The loss effected you deeply, and led you to resolve that you would never let that happen to anyone else. Or maybe you just want some payback on the bastards who did it! Either way, the tragedy has become your weapon, and those who would harm innocents fear you now!
  2. Vendetta – a slight variation on Tragedy, this involves a purposeful attack on you which left you scarred, angry, and motivated to seek vengeance on the ones who did it. Whereas the loss of family is a tragedy that would have hurt you deeply, this is a wound that has left you pissed and determined to see the people who did it suffer horribly!
  3. Accident – maybe you fell into a vat of chemicals, got bombarded by some high-energy gamma rays, survived an atomic blast, had a brush with near death, or just stumbled onto something you weren’t supposed to. However it happened, the experience left you scarred and forever changed. Fighting crime or doing evil is now your outlet over the pain of the life you lost, and a means to put your freaky new abilities to work!
  4. Mutation – similar to option two, this could be your mother having been bitten by a vampire (a la Blade), the result of evolution (a la X-Men), or again exposure to some process that isn’t exactly scientifically possible. But it’s left you with powers and there must be a reason for it, or at least a positive (or selfish) way to use them.
  5. Alien Influence – alien technology came to Earth and picked you as its beneficiary. Or maybe you just accidentally found it and decided it was mighty cool and useful. Hell, maybe you ARE an alien who fell to Earth (i.e. Superman), and being one gives you strange and awesome powers that no one else has access to. How will you use it though is up to you. Will you be a savior, or a terrible force to be reckoned with?

Who hurt /changed and/or effected you? In short, what was the motivation behind the thing that made you what you are today? The list of possible candidates is potentially long, so I’ll try to break it down to as few possibilities as I can. And off the top of my head, and calling to mind all the examples that I can think of, I have come up with a list of seven different kinds of people/organizations who usually have a hand in the creation of superheroes and villains. Select one and proceed to the end:

  1. Crime Kingpin – every city has its share of crooks and criminal masterminds. Did you, your family, or someone else you care about run afoul of these villains? Did you, they, owe them some money, protection fees, a debt of blood which they exacted, thus leaving you hurt, bitter and angry?
  2. Negligent Superhero – let’s face it. Sometimes superheroes do bad things. Whether its collateral damage from their crime-fighting antics, the result of too much force, or maybe they were just having an off day, sometimes they hurt people without intending to. This is sure to leave some people angry, scarred, and looking for payback. After all, the Joker was either a hapless victim or a petty thug (depending on which back story you believe) before Batman sent him into that vat of toxic chemicals. And you got to figure a lot of victims get caught in the crossfire whenever there’s a big showdown between the good guys and bad. And in some cases, the victims blame the heroes…
  3. The Government – yeah, we all know they’re up to some clandestine stuff, or at least they used to be! And whether they decided to quietly bury the outcomes of their ugly projects and black ops, or simply don’t know about them anymore, you were the end result and now the truth must be brought to light. Expose their crimes, and if the ones who did are still around, make them pay! Otherwise, they might do it to someone else!
  4. The Corporation  – and when it’s not the government doing dirty, crooked things and then trying to cover it up, it’s usually the private sector! We all know there are plenty of corporate magnates out there who love to experiment with weapons, chemicals, radiation, and risky ventures that will leave people dead, mutated, or just plain altered. And you know they won’t be held accountable for it. No sir, not by the courts and not by the law! It’s up to you to bring these bastards to justice, or perhaps they are after you because you are now in possession of something they want. Doesn’t matter, as far as you’re concerned, the initials CEO stand for Chief Enemy Officer!
  5. Aliens – sure, there are plenty of nice aliens out there. ET, Alf, and the Predator people can be pretty stand up if you know how to stay on their good side. But alas, there are plenty of aliens out there that are just like us humans. Cruel, manipulative, and irresponsible when it comes to how they treat other people and dispose of their technology. Maybe you came into something powerful by accident, or maybe it was the result of something they purposefully did to you. Either way, you gotta follow this up and figure out who they are. And while you’re at it, show off whatever it is they gave you!
  6. Vampires/Paranormals far be it from me to discriminate against folks on a count of their background or supernatural affiliations. But when Vampires, Werewolves and other paranormal creatures start hurting people, it’s on! Was it you they hurt, your family, your friends, or do they just have it in their heads that “your kind” needs to be destroyed or pushed out of the way? Doesn’t much matter, because the end result is the same. Death to (fill in the blank)!
  7. International Villains sometimes, its not our own governments or their secretive agents that we need fear. Sometimes, the threat comes from aboard, either in the form of renowned terrorists, spies, or assorted Bond-like villains. And when they crossed you, your family, your friends, etc, they went too far! Now it’s up to you to make them pay for their crimes. This may be a fight you pursue alone, or as part of a team or a government agency. But in the end, you will bring the fight to their doorstep!

Okay! That’s it, that’s all on my end. Once again, the challenge is to make your selection and combine them with your characters powers and name to come up with a profile that is all your own! And please feel free to comment and include a small bio blurb which I will then include in a list of superheroes in my third and final installment. I plan to call it, “The New New Justice League”! Okay, that name is negotiable, but the intent is pretty clear right? Let’s make some new and interesting comic book icons!