Mentalists, Masterminds, and MarvEls: Heroes
Meta-human historians have long been fascinated by the Laird family - a line of British nobles who have passed down power over the winds and rain for generations. According to legend, the source of their power was an ancient and powerful blade - the Stormbringer. Forged by fairy-folk bound in iron, whoever wielded the enchanted sword could command the heavens. soar through the air on powerful winds, call down lightning strikes to obliterate their enemies, and dissolve into dark mist to avoid sudden blows, or slip into a secure tower. The warlord who held the sword ruled over a vast kingdom, terrorizing his subjects and enemies alike, before disappearing - leaving behind the legend and a powerful legacy.
Jacques Sonhomme was a history student researching the Laird family for his dissertation. His research revealed what he thought was the hidden resting place of the ancient king. When Jacques explored the tomb he found no body. Instead he found the Stormbringer. The sword called to him. He felt compelled to seize the blade and was immediately infused with its power.
Jacques considered what to do with his find. He contemplated returning the sword to the Laird family, but he knew the eldest son, Stanislas had already turned toward super-villainy. Vowing to use the blade's power for good, Jacques decided to keep it for himself and his super-powered identity was born. Stormbringer has enjoyed a long and successful career as a hero. But the blade still calls to Jacques - enticing him to use it for bloody conquest and rule. He knows he needs to constantly prove to himself, use his abilities in the service of others, and avoid being seduced by the power of the Stormbringer.
At first it just seemed like the coolest summer job. The weapons lab Geoffrey Diehl was working for let him test these awesome power-gloves and high-tech goggles. Sure, safety protocols seemed a little lax, but that just made it more fun. When Geoffrey realized he wasn't working for the military, but actually a bunch of crooks, he decided the steal the gear and use it to bust up the gang. He concealed his identity by adopting the code-name Gauntlet. Unfortunately for Geoffrey, these were no ordinary criminals. The weapons' designers had been working for the vast criminal syndicate known as Intercrime, and Gauntlet now had some very powerful enemies.
Pursued by Intercrime, Gauntlet teamed up with other like-minded heroes, and took on the syndicate. As Intercrime threw ever more powerful and sophisticated weapons at the team, the heroes were able to hold them off. Gauntlet found he had to continuously upgrade his equipment to deal with the increasing threats. That's when he realized his true talent. Throughout his long, heroic career Gauntlet has demonstrated a considerable skill for analyzing enemy technology and adapting it to compliment his ever-expanding arsenal. At this point, he packs a potent mixture of alien, extra-dimensional, Intercrime, and far-future technology, along with his own inventions. Whatever the situation calls for, Gauntlet is sure to have the solution built into his super-suit or available at his fingertips.
Even before he became one of the "toughest, most heroic, and all-around best" superheroes in the business, William Billingham wanted to be on top. The best athlete, best climber, best adventure. And he was. But he still felt he lacked purpose. He was driven to excel, but didn't have a good sense of what it was all for. He grappled with a feeling of pointlessness. Until he found the bird. Or rather, until the bird found him.
William was in the midst of an unassisted solo ascent, high on a Himalayan peak, when the bird settled down beside him. They locked eyes and, in a moment, William learned of his purpose and was infused with the legacy of the Raven. For generations, the immortal bird has chosen a champion. The Raven was chosen to stand against evil and represent the best of humanity. William was chosen to carry on in this tradition. The sprint and knowledge of his predecessors flowed through him.
Raven and the bird, Nevermore, began their journey together. They travel the globe seeking seeking its finest instructors. Raven seeks perfection in body, mind, and spirit. He is the ultimate combination of focus, conditioning, and technique. He is sworn to use his abilities to right wrongs and confront threats to the natural order.
For someone who does so much meditation, Raven is remarkably ill-tempered and arrogant. Apparently, modesty and compassion are not really Raven requirements. Some wonder if William was really the best choice for this noble and venerated tradition. But he's undeniably effective. And at least the physical perfection part is coming along well.
Even before Shawnda Royce was born, her mother knew she would be extraordinary. People were skeptical of her claims of telepathic communication with her unborn child, until the child arrived and erased their doubts. Shawnda arrived with a seemingly comprehensive understanding of, well, everything. She exhibits a level of intellect that is beyond anything the world's scientists are capable of measuring or understanding.
Shawnda was barely more than a toddler when she created her first cold-fusion reactor, and the press dubbed her the 'Brain-Child'. Since then, her inventive streak has only accelerated. She's able to effortlessly create limitless clean-power sources, powerful vaccines, or high-yield crops. Unfortunately, nobody else seems to be able to replicate, maintain or understand her creations and her many breakthroughs have yielded only limited practical benefit.
In addition to her technical prowess, Shawnda's mental capabilities include being a powerful telekinetic and telepath. Her inventions typically involve a multitude of components and minute manipulations, all of which she accomplishes mentally - often while engaged in telepathic communication with people around the world.
Recently, Shawda's interests seem to be headed towards more direct super-heroics. Her parents wonder if a 12-year old girl should really be going up against villains who can melt steel with a thought or punch through brick walls. But they also figure she's smart enough to figure that out for herself.
The Amazing Psimon is one of the most iconic figures in American superheroic history. He got his start a mysterious masked psychic assisting Boston detectives in the 1920's and 30's. He went on to further fame and prominence fighting alongside Freedom Eagle In World War II, working with Axiom and the other members of the Super Society after the war, and as the founder of a mysterious group of heroes known as PSI.
Despite all of his heroic exploits, and world-saving adventures, Psimon is best known for his role in superhero licensing hearings of 1954. While testifying before congress, speaking against the criminalization of costumed vigilantes, Psimon chose to unmask himself and publicly revealed his true identity. On that day, the world learned that Psimon was really an African-American man named Amos Jackson. Overnight, Psimon went from being a universally beloved American hero, to being considered "divisive" and "controversial". The country wasn't ready for a black man with the power to read minds, privy to their deepest secrets, and able to see into their hidden (and often not-so-hidden) prejudices.
Nonetheless, Psimon continued his heroic career for many more years. Amos was an outspoken leader in the civil rights movement in the 1960's and 70's. And he continued his crime-fighting activities to a very advanced age, making him a hero to many in and out of his costume.
In the modern era, Psimon's identity is once again a source of mystery and controversy. Some say it's still Amos Jackson under that mask noting that he is a man who "just will never quit". Others think that Amos has died, but lives on a pure psychic projection. Some people speculate that, before his death, Amos used his powers to transfer his consciousness into new host body. Or maybe someone else entirely has taken on the iconic identity.
Whatever the fate of Amos Jackson, it is clear that the spirit of the Amazing Psimon lives on.
Ken Throneberry had always enjoyed being around his eccentric uncle Jasper, but he felt like Jasper was hiding something as well. Uncle Jasper was always quick with a joke, had great book recommendations from his extensive personal library, and loved showing off whatever crazy concoction he was working on. But Jasper also disappeared quite often, would go strangely silent sometimes, and claimed to get into a curious number of car accidents.
Upon his passing, uncle Jasper made his favorite nephew his primary beneficiary. He left mysterious instructions for Ken, leading him to a remote (but surprisingly well maintained) manor house deep in the Mississippi woods. it was there that Ken learned his uncle's secret. For years Jasper had been fighting crime as a costumed adventurer know as the "Barn Owl". Within the mansion, Ken found numerous physical devices, implements & weapons. But the key aspect of the Barn Owl's legacy was an elixir that drastically altered Kenneth's physiognomy: his bones became lighter, but stronger; his musculature less bulky, but twenty times more efficient; his agility and equilibrium outclassing any Olympic athlete.
And so it came to pass that after a few modifications, upgrades, and applications of artistic license...the Flying Squirrel was born. Ken is proud to carry on the family tradition. He glides through the air, dropping his amazing acorn bombs on enemies below. He fights crime, saves lives, and has fun doing it.