Crusaders and Criminals: Heroes



He is the first principle. The unquestionable truth. The Axiom. The man who would quickly become known as "Earth's Mightiest Hero" first emerged in 1952. It quickly became apparent that he is something extraordinary. Axiom has the apparent ability to acquire the supernatural powers of any meta-human he comes in contact with. it is not known if there are any limits to this ability or what level of mastery he attains. But over his long and prominent career Axiom has displayed a bewildering array of abilities. And he seems to be actively obtaining ever more. More then one hero or villain with an interesting new manifestation has reported a surprise congratulatory visit or "interrogation" from the mighty hero. 

After decades of active service as Earth's premiere defender, Axiom unexpectedly announced his retirement in 1992. Since then, he has made appearances, and his power seems limitless as ever, but sightings of Axiom are increasingly infrequent. There's rampant speculation as to what's happened to him. Perhaps all of his battles, or containing all that power, has ultimately taken its toll. Maybe he's exploring other dimensions or became fixated on some vision of the future. Or he just grew tired of the limitless expectations placed upon the man who can do anything.  Nobody really knows.

Axiom enjoyed immense global popularity during the height of his career. Since fading from the public eye his reputation has diminished considerably. Many heroes recount recent times when the planet has been in incredible peril and its champion was nowhere to be found. Others consider him something of a "leech" and deliberately avoid any contact with him. After after all this time, Axiom still stands apart. Nobody seems to know who or what he really is. Everyone prays that he remains true to his purpose as our planet's most powerful defender.



Villains and Vigilantes 3.0: Mighty Protectors



Carter Manning had it all. Wealth, success, a beautiful wife, and a beautiful yacht. That's why the pirates targeted him. Fearing they would both be caught and held for ransom, Carter decided to fight back. In the struggle, Carter was injured and knocked overboard. His wife was was killed. Carter soon learned that the international pirate ring was outside the reach of conventional law-enforcement and decided to take matters into his own hands. He devoted his considerable intellect and resources to designing his manta-suit that allows him to glide through the water, soar through the air, and project powerful "manta-rays". He used his new powers to apprehend the pirates. He then dedicated himself to bringing justice to anyone who consider themselves beyond the reach of the law.

As Manta-Man, he decided to recruit other like-minded heroes and formed the Crusaders. Together, they have enjoyed  success as one of the world's best known super-groups. Manta-Man leads the team supplementing their natural power with his personal drive, determination, and ingenuity to allow the group to overcome any adversary.



Crisis at Crusader Citadel
Villains and Vigilantes comic mini-series



Donna Weston was just a student volunteer when the deep sleep experiment went awry plunging her consciousness into the dream dimension. She emerged with telekinetic powers and the ability to project soothing or horrific visions into the minds of others as the mighty Dreamweaver.

Donna is proud of her crime-fighting work with the Crusaders but she remains fiercely protective of her normal life and secret identity. She's kept her real name concealed from her fellow team-members and cherishes the friends, colleagues, and relationships from her "real life". With her research and counselling practices, Donna wonders is she isn't doing more good out of her costume. She's considered giving up being a superhero, but inevitably some new crisis arises, Dreamweaver is needed, and she's reminded of the essential work performed by the Crusaders.



Crisis at Crusader Citadel
Villains and Vigilantes comic mini-series



He was toiling in obscurity, a student of ancient history reviewing long-forgotten finds deep in the bowels of the Cairo's Museum of Antiquities when Hashir Najjar began to realize what he had discovered. At the beginning of recorded history, before the construction of the famous pyramids, the ancient Pharaoh's had learned to harness to power of the universe. They could channel the power of the sun into beams of destructive force capable of destroying any army. They enslaved nations, became gods on Earth, and created great civilizations dedicated to their glory. And, to Hashir's surprise, they left behind documents - clues in cuneiform and hieroglyphics that revealed the secrets of harnessing this power.

Hashir realized that if he could make these discoveries, then others could as well. He feared what would happen if this power fell into the wrong hands. He decided to protect these secrets by learning them and unlocking them himself. He assumed the mantle of the Pharoh and pledged himself to protecting the people of Earth from threats from the modern era and from those as ancient as the sands of time.




Laserfire has been a superhero pretty much all his life. He was barely a teenager when he had the strange encounter with  a UFO that left him with power over light, energy, and fire. His parents were terrified of his incendiary abilities and basically handed him over to the Crusaders to train and raise. 

Initially, his role on the team was one of kid-sidekick. But over the years he gained in experience, power, and confidence and became a full and valued member of the team. When other Crusaders preferred to keep a low profile, Laserfire has never been afraid of the spotlight and his role naturally evolved to make him the unofficial spokesman and face of the team.  

Outside of the Crusaders, he's never really had much of a life or secret identity. But that doesn't really bother Laserfire. the life of a superhero-celebrity suits him just fine.



Crisis at Crusader Citadel
Villains and Vigilantes comic mini-series



Once you've been called a freak, that can be a tough label to shake. The early manifestations of Wayne Wilcox's mutant abilities weren't even that dramatic. But as his enhanced senses developed, Wayne couldn't stand bright light and was repulsed by strong smells (like his fellow middle-schoolers). He preferred solitude and dark rooms and was shunned for it. Even when he excelled at athletics, that just confirmed his classmates' suspicions that he was a freak and a weirdo. After graduation, Wayne signed up for the military. He was effective in his Marine reconnaissance unit, but even there he felt like an outsider, and would eventually go AWOL while on leave.

Feeling lost and at loose ends while tramping through Hamburg, Wayne learned that that deadly super-assassin know as Spyder was also in the city. Wayne decided to track him down. He's not sure if he was trying to prove himself, kill himself, or just looking for advice. Fortunately for Wayne, the Crusaders were also the Spyder's trail and that's when he encountered them. The Crusaders took Wayne in for a while, encouraged him to use his abilities for good, and helped him develop his bolas and other custom weaponry.

As the Cougar, Wayne uses his abilities to track down missing persons and escaped fugitives. He's become a formidable crime-fighter, but his primary mission is tracking down young mutants meta-humans. He hopes to find them, help them, and encourage them to use their abilities to help others instead of turning to a life a crime.