Tag: 30in30

G. Brett Williams #16 – Finn MacCool (and more Donnybrooke)

| November 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

– Finn MacCool –  Brooke’s uncle Colin Dunne had been living in NYC for years, watching her and her family very closely and doing everything he could to disrupt the Fitzpatrick’s stranglehold on the city. He fought crime as the costumed hero Finn MacCool, choosing to focus most of his effort on cleaning up the corruption caused by his family. Colin is the brother of Brooke’s mother. In an attempt to avoid a life of crime, when he was sixteen Colin ran away to Ireland. Once there he found a charitable priest that was willing to take him in and give him work. The priest, who was more of a drunk philosopher than a man of god, convinced Colin that he should turn his youthful vigor and angst to the pursuit of the martial arts. The priest introduced Colin to a man who taught him everything he could about the martial arts. Colin was a natural student and he soon began to thirst for even more knowledge of the fighting arts of the world. He spent a few years traveling, coming to terms with his past, learning who he was spiritually and developing the skills he’d need to some day go back to NY and fight his evil relatives. It was Colin, as Finn MacCool, that helped the FBI finally take down the Fitzpatrick family. Once the damage had been done, Colin stepped in to take Brooke into his care.

It didn’t take long for Brooke to realize that her uncle was actually the hero Finn MacCool. Once she knew for certain, she insisted that her uncle train her to be a crimefighter just like him. He couldn’t very well tell her no when he himself had once felt that pull, that desire to do right and to help people, so he began training her. Brooke’s intelligence and athleticism made her a natural for the crimefighting trade. She fought crime for a time as Colin’s sidekick, then eventually struck out on her own as Colin’s age began to work against him in the field. Brooke, as the hero Donnybrooke, became a crusader for the poor, using her notoriety as a hero to combat the corruption and mistreatment that was rife in the city’s poorer neighborhoods. To Brooke, it’s those conditions that lead to families like the Fitzpatricks going so wrong in the first place.

G. Brett Williams #15 – Donnybrooke

| November 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

Donnybrooke – Brooke Fitzpatrick was the only good apple in a whole family of bad ones. Her family was heavily involved in NYC’s Irish mob. Brooke was a good student and a natural athlete, a gifted achiever. She did very well in high school, took martial arts and boxing, got along really well with her classmates. She worked very hard to stay positive and to not get tangled up in the family business. When she was seventeen, the Summer between her junior and senior year of high school, the FBI made a major move against her family. The ones who didn’t end up behind bars ended up dead. When the smoke cleared the entire Fitzpatrick crime family was broken and Brooke Fitzpatrick was left without a family. With no relative coming forward to take her into their care, it looked like Brooke might be remanded to foster care for her final year of high school. But she had a family member she didn’t know anything about.

G. Brett Williams #13 – Atticus Spade, the Ace of Spades

| November 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Atticus Spade – A member of the all-black 369th Infantry, the group known by the nicknames “Harlem’s Hellfighters” and “Black Rattlers,” Henry “Hank” Needham was the first African American to earn the French Croix de Guerre. During a battle in WWI, Needham and his fellow infrantryman William Roberts were attacked by a German raiding party. Roberts was injured in the battle and was being dragged off by German soldiers when Needham, out of ammo, attacked his friend’s captors and beat them savagely with the butt of his rifle. The Germans were cowed by Needham’s savagery and abandoned their plans. The two men had driven off an entire German raiding party. Needham came home to a country still divided on the issue of race. Weary of war and death, he did everything he could to distance himself from the military and his legacy, not that many people cared much for his legacy anyway. He bounced around the country, always finding odd jobs where he could and supplementing his income with a little gambling here and there. Eventually he ended up out West where he found work on the Boulder (eventually Hoover) Dam project. The project’s proximity to Las Vegas, which legalized gambling in 1931, made it the perfect place for Needham to find some extra cash. At that point in his life he was a very accomplished con man and card sharp and he put those skills to good use in the fertile ground of a young Sin City. He was enjoying life on the grift, as much as anyone can, when the government came calling. While Needham had abandoned the US military as soon as his service was up, his friend Will Roberts had continued to serve. Roberts had been trained as a spy and sent to Africa in an attempt to gather intelligence on strange occurrences on the African continent that led back to the rising socialist movement in Germany. Roberts lost contact and was presumed compromised. Rather than risk losing those secrets to a mounting German threat, the Americans went after the one man they thought best capable of finding and rescuing (or eliminating) his former partner. This is how Hank Needham became Atticus Spade, the Ace of Spades. It is the retrieval of Roberts that serves as the first team mission for the Aces.

G. Brett Williams #11 – Johnny Diamond, The Ace of Diamonds

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Johnny Diamond – Johnny is your typical clean cut, blond-haired, blue-eyed, apple pie-eating, All American boy. He’s also something of a technological genius. Engineering ran in Johnny’s family. Going back to the days of the Civil War, his family had been responsible for supplying arms and armor to the American military. Some call it patriotism, some war profiteering, but to Johnny it was just the family business. He never gave it much mind. Johnny spent his youth building things, taking things apart, drawing up plans and schematics, working with his father in his lab. Anything the boy could do to learn more about the science of engineering, he did it. Johnny was a very advanced student and by the age of 19 he’d already completed a bachelor’s degree in science. At age 22, he was completing his masters in engineering. That same year, his parents were murdered and Johnny’s childhood home was burned to the ground. The word had leaked into the criminal community that Johnny’s father was developing a top secret weapon for the military, the kind of weapon that could hold the country hostage with fear if it ever fell into the wrong hands. The secret criminal organization known only as the Order of Osiris attacked Johnny’s family in their home, where his father kept a secret underground laboratory for his most dangerous projects. Somehow the Order found out about this lab and launched an assault on the mansion. Johnny was away at school at the time, so he managed to avoid his family’s gruesome fate. His mother and father were both killed, the plans for the weapon were stolen and the house was burned to the ground. This meant that the time for Johnny to inherit the family business had come. There was a certain unease at the prospect though. To Johnny, the pursuit of newer and more potent weapons was the thing that had ultimately killed his mother and father. Could he justify continuing in his father’s footsteps knowing what he knew about the dangers of munitions manufacturing? Could he put the word in jeopardy as his father had through his carelessness? The thought weighed on him. Johnny knew that he couldn’t simply dismantle the entire company. Regardless of what he had grown to believe about his father’s pursuits, he wasn’t so naive as to think that America would never need weapons again. So instead of completely suspending the company’s production of munitions, Johnny retasked a portion of the company’s assets toward the exploration of non-violent weaponry and fringe science. He appointed himself as the head of this new division and left the running of his father’s company to more qualified men. During his time as the head of this new division of his family’s company, Johnny made new discoveries and created new technologies that drew the attention of scientists and military leaders from around the country and America’s allies in the world. It was a very exciting time for the young savant, but there was always something missing. Johnny never forgot what had happened to his parents, never forgot what the Order of Osiris had done to his family, so when the government came to offer him a chance to fight back against people like the Order and their ilk, Johnny was happy to oblige them.

G. Brett Williams #10 – Gunzi, The Ace of Clubs

| November 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

Gunzi – A quiet and reserved warrior, Gunzi is by far the group’s most formidable fighter. Deadly with a weapon or unarmed, he has mastered many aspects of China’s various martial arts, creating a hybrid fighting style all his own. He is a quiet, introspective man with a great knowledge of history as well as combat. Gunzi was a soldier in the Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist army. Though he followed Chiang Kai-shek, Gunzi more firmly believed in the policies of Chiang’s forbear, Sun Yat-sen. Sun Yat-sen, more versed in Western culture than his successor, espoused an ideology based on three principles; nationalism, democracy and the livelihood of the people. Gunzi was a young man filled with national pride and the willingness to defend his rapidly growing home country when Chiang took over control of the Kuomintang. Allying himself with the Soviet communist party to further his own nationalist ideals, Kai-shek took control of a large portion of China, including Shanghai. His overthrow of Shanghai led to the Shanghai Massacre of 1927 which saw the politically motivated murder of many communists in the city. While he feared the communist ideology, Gunzi certainly didn’t advocate the wholesale slaughter of his neighbors simply because they chose to believe in it. The Shanghai massacre turned his stomach so that he decided to escape the army and flee to England. In England, he took up with various institutions and learned as much as he could about Western culture, making his assimilation into that culture quite easy. Gunzi was an excellent student of history and politics. When he wasn’t practicing his martial skill, you could always find him devouring texts by the leading philosophers of the past and the present. He eventually found a job in the British armed forces, teaching code breaking and Chinese translation to communications officers and hand to hand combat to anyone who would listen. He found that, despite the problems he had with certain aspects of the West, he liked the culture as a whole. He felt comfortable with the relative freedom that Western ideology afforded its people, but part of him yearned for home, yearned to once again get his hands dirty in the fight against tyranny. So when the British government came to him with a proposition about the Aces program, he was more than willing to listen. Gunzi is the group’s oldest and wisest member, the one they always turn to for counsel when things are at their darkest.

G. Brett Williams #8 – The Wilde Card

| November 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

The world after the first World War was a strange place full of political upheaval, vast social change and major technological advancement. It was an Earth reshuffled, a brave new world full of wealth, opportunity, progression. And that was just what people could see happening. Only a handful of the world’s most powerful and influential people were aware of the secrets that lay beneath the surface. For every advancement in technology, there were twenty advancements in fringe and super-science, things that were deeply classified or highly sought after. For every change in the social or political landscape, there were dark, smoke-filled rooms where men pulled strings and made puppets of those we thought most powerful. It was a dangerous and unknown future and many governments decided that they needed new ways of thinking, new methods of dealing with the problems that would blossom from the world’s great leap forward. Deep within the halls of British government, one such program was created and the world’s first “hero” was born.

The program, cleverly referred to as the Wilde Card Program was enacted by the British government as a means of defending their empire from the threats that they so desperately tried to keep out of the Sunday papers. They culled all the various branches of their armed forces until they found the soldier with the perfect combination of intelligence, physicality, individuality and patriotic zeal, then they turned him into a living weapon. That soldier was Samuel Wilde, but he became more commonly known by his codename, The Wilde Card. Samuel Wilde became Britain’s greatest champion, but it was something of a thankless job. He was always expected to do as he was told, to follow orders without question, and sometimes those orders weren’t very heroic. His handlers were always quick to remind him how important he was to the cause, but they never let him forget that he was basically a commodity, not a person. The life of secrecy began to take its toll on Samuel, though he never let it show to the people responsible for sending him on his missions.

The only person in Samuel’s life that he truly cared for was Madeline Greene. Greene was a female spy, a codebreaker in the employ of the British government. Samuel had liaised with her on various missions and the two had developed an attraction. Their love wasn’t necessarily forbidden, simply because the government didn’t think that Samuel was capable of something as deep and committed as love. To his handlers, Samuel ever finding something that he found more valuable than his service to the Empire was unlikely. They didn’t calculate that he would fall in love. Did they think he would be entirely asexual? Not at all. But they didn’t expect that he’d ever become interested enough in a woman to put his service to the military in jeopardy. They were wrong.

While Samuel battled many foes throughout his time as the Wilde Card, none was more terrifying than Master Midnight. Midnight was a particularly gruesome foe who combined the powers of conjuring and dark magic with his knowledge of science. His goals were never entirely clear but his results were impossible to ignore. He cut a swathe across the world, collecting artifacts, merging science and magic, and sowing the seeds of terror. Samuel pursued him all over the globe and their battles were titanic, to say the least. Despite the horror he faced though, Samuel could always come back to Madeline. Until Midnight found out about her. He kidnapped and used Madeline to finally gain the leverage he needed to defeat Samuel once and for all.

The government informed Samuel that Madeline Greene wasn’t worth the potential risk to their investment. The mission was deemed too dangerous to undertake so Samuel was ordered to cut her loose. For the first time in his life, he didn’t follow orders. Instead, he snuck away from his handlers and went rogue, deciding that Madeline was more important to him than anything else in the world. Of course, that’s exactly what Midnight wanted. Still, even with him expecting Samuel to come, Midnight was caught off guard by the man. The two battled back and forth with neither being able to gain the advantage. When Midnight saw that things were lost, saw that Samuel would not quit, even if it meant both of them would die, he decided to cut his losses. He cast a spell against Madeline, whom he still had restrained, that killed her in an instant. Then he used Samuel’s rage and his grief as distraction enough to escape. In his retreat, he lit the building they were in on fire, insuring that Samuel would be too preoccupied to follow him. His plan worked better than he’d expected. Samuel Wilde perished in that fire.

At least, that’s what the official report said. Samuel Wilde and Madeline Greene were listed as Killed In Action and Master Midnight was considered at large. He never surfaced again after that day, so the threat was considered handled. The Wilde Carde Program was shut down and Samuel Wilde was buried as a soldier of the empire. But rumour circulated throughout the government that the official report was anything but accurate. There were certain people who believed that Samuel Wilde faked his own death, that perhaps he and Madeline Greene had both escaped a fiery death. Some people took it even further, theorizing that the body found burned to death in the remains of the building was actually Master Midnight’s, not Samuel Wilde’s.  Regardless of the truth, the government’s official position was that Samuel Wilde was dead. They wouldn’t revisit the idea of a super spy program for a few years and once they did, the program, and the world, would have changed significantly.

G. Brett Williams # 7 – The Black Synonym

| November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

Here’s a quick departure.  The story behind this is pretty funny, actually.  When trying to come up with an appropriately dark and mysterious name for Caliginous without using something that had previously been used in comics (eventually I gave up and went with Caliginous), I found that almost all synonyms for the words “black” and “darkness” have been used to name comic book characters.  I posted my frustration over this to my Facebook wall and sparked a hilarious discussion with friends wherein they kept suggesting things and I kept informing them that I’d already exhausted their suggested options.  In response to this, my friend made a comment about the vocabulary avenger, The Black Synonym.  The Black Synonym gave birth to other characters such as Antonym Ray and Thaddeus T. Saurus, the dinosaur linguist.

I’m really not sure what to say about the Black Synonym.  I envision him being right at home in a superhero lampoon such as The Tick.  A sort of jovial Batman analogue who gets fed up with the complete lack of spooky things to call himself with out infringing copywright and decides to refer to himself as The Black Synonym.  He is joined by a crusading bunch of word enthusiasts who take to the streets in an attempt to stamp out the poor education that leads so many to a life of crime.  The Black Synonym is of course annoyed by this, as his name is meant to be a joke, not a linguistic call to arms.  Nevertheless, he fights crime alongside the tenured professor of English and anthropology at the local university, who happens to be a half man/half dinosaur, Thaddeus T. Saurus and the scientist and entomologist Ray Antz, who through a freak accident of Kafka-like proportions is transformed into the educationally crusading ant scientist, Antonym Ray.  Antonym Ray has a raygun that turns people into their exact opposite for a few hours, the effects of which can be quite hilarious.

G. Brett Williams #6 – Caliginous

| November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

Caliginous is the shadowy leader of the rebellion forces that rise up in opposition of Cyclone and his regime in the years after the Faceless War. While very little is known about Caliginous, even among his own followers, the truth is he is was a masked hero operating in the years before the Faceless War. Choosing to conceal himself and to work from the shadows, Caliginous, as he prefers to be called, was referred to by many different names; The Eclipse, The Twilight King, Springheel Jack, Tenebrous, and others.

Caliginous operated in the five boroughs of New York City. He rarely made his presence known and was never one for the “team-ups” popularized by many Evo heroes in the years before the Faceless War. Caliginous was concerned with helping the helpless, defending the underprivileged, and he didn’t care for the notoriety that accompanied that for most Evos.

When the United States began registering known Evos and pressured the UN security council to institute the practice in every major country, Caliginous went completely off the radar. Despite pleas for his return from many of the poorer neighborhoods of New York, Caliginous never operated in the city again. He was gone, completely off the grid.

Caliginous saw the forced registration of all Evos as the first step toward a civil rights crisis that couldn’t possibly be controlled, a crisis he expected to spill over and annihilate the fabric of government throughout the world. At that time, he went into hiding and set himself up as a rebel leader of sorts, organizing various Evos who wanted to escape registration and helping them to avoid discovery by international forces. What he didn’t plan for was the Faceless invasion.

Recognizing the Faceless as a dominant threat to all life on Earth, Caliginous organized his Evos throughout the world and did his best to fight the invasion. Seeing that he and his people were genuinely outmatched, he counseled those who followed him to join forces with Cyclone and his resistance where they could and to go back into hiding if they couldn’t. Then he fell silent again, falling out of radio contact with his whole network. But he didn’t completely disappear. In fact, quite the opposite.

Caliginous is the most powerful Evo on the whole planet, and the only Evo who developed the abilities which he possessed. Caliginous was able to shapeshift into any humanoid with whom he came into contact. His ability, essentially, copied the DNA code of the person he was impersonating and laid it over his own. Therefore, when Caliginous copied another Evo, he copied that Evo’s power as well. He spent the Faceless War operating under various codenames of his own design, moving in and out of various pockets of the resistance and doing what he could to aid Cyclone’s forces without ever revealing his identity or coming into direct contact with Cyclone.

After the war, Caliginous reached out again to his network of allies, wanting to let them know that he was alive and that he would aid in the rebuilding process as best he could. Over the years, as Cyclone’s reach and power grew out of control, Caliginous amped up his recruitment of Evos. He saw Cyclone as particularly dangerous and was very uncomfortable with his continued use of the Dragon Soldiers in militaristic roles. When Cyclone re-implemented the policy of Evo registration, Caliginous saw it for what it really was; a way to find and weed out psychics, the Evos Cyclone perceived as such a great threat. As registration increased and the disappearance of pyshcically gifted Evos increased, Calignious began rallying many Evos to his banner.

In the current timeline, Caliginous has a vast network of Evos working for him, though he only appears in person to a very select few of them. He even has people inside of some of Cyclone’s closest circles, which allows him to rescue many of the psychics Cyclone has targeted for elimination. While he has no way of locating Calignious, the whispers that he is the one behind this organized opposition reach Cyclone’s ears and his inability to capture Caliginous dogs the ruler.

While he is content for the time being to rescue the Evos Cyclone has targeted and give them safe haven in some of his many holdings, he nevertheless recognizes Cyclone as a threat that must be eliminated and slowly develops a plan with which to remove him from power.

Caliginous travels constantly, though his main base of power is located in Siberia, where he operates under the silent protection of Mars and the Red Hand.

G. Brett Williams #5 – Cyclone’s Human Commandos

| November 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

After the Faceless War, Cyclone believed it important to maintain human morale. Despite their diminished numbers, human beings were still the most populace race on the planet. Cyclone, unlike many Evos, still saw himself as human. Many human survivors revered Cyclone in a near-messianic way and he reveled in it. Recognizing that any remaining humans who weren’t evolving would be dealing with increasing stress and depression in a post-war world, he decided to create “human only” police units to protect his provinces. These civilian soldiers are fiercely loyal to Cyclone and his regime.

G. Brett Williams #4 – The Faceless

| November 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Faceless are the alien race that invade Earth and are eventually repelled by Cyclone and his armies. It is revealed through study of the Faceless dead that they actually share much of the same DNA as humans and appear to be an evolved race of humans that left the planet and colonized space millenia before, thus making the Earth much older than previously believed. The Faceless have the most in common with Evos possessed of telekinetic or telepathic abilities and it is this fact that gives rise to widespread human distrust and Cyclone’s campaign of hate against psychics in the wake of the Faceless war.

The Faceless have staggeringly strong psychic abilities and it is theorized that they eventually evolved their complete lack of eyes or mouths because they no longer needed them to communicate or perceive their environment. The true extent of the Faceless’ abilities isn’t known, but their ability to completely dominate weaker, less-evolved minds is quite strong.