C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T P R O P O S A LS O L D I E R S O F V I C T O R YG R E G S A U N D E R S ♦ C L A R K S A U N D E R SC H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T:"What ever happened to the Seven Soldiers of Victory...?"The Seven Soldiers of Victory!
The Law's Legionnaires!
The leanest, meanest crime-fighting troupe ever put together!
Unstoppable! Unbreakable! Invincible!
So where did it all go wrong?
Greg Saunders isn't sure how he came to the life. This life, that is, the one full of characters in kooky costumes and mortal men that can bend lightning with their hands. Those memories are lost to him, hidden behind thick panes of glass frosted over from the passage of too many years to count. What he does remember is the Soldiers, and the burning steel of his revolvers against his flesh as he tried to jam in more rounds.
The team was formed more by accident than anything else. Well, call it accident if you like. Fate. Divine providence. The words of it don't mean much. The black mark of The Hand couldn't be ignored. Five fingers of the hand, each more terrible than the last, tore through the nation's underworld. The Dummy. The Needle. Big Caesar. Professor Merlin. The Red Dragon. Their names are gone from the public consciousness, banished to the dregs of decaying books and filled-in bullet holes. To the Soldiers, they were scum and villainy, the worst that humanity had to offer. Defeated, all the same. It wasn't long then before they began contacting each other. The 'capes' were few in those days, an oddity, a sideshow attraction. There was no flash and spectacle, no throwing cars and no slinging webs. There was the work, the soul of it, something that called out to each of the seven. To make their mark. And there was the Iron Hand. Roman Solomano's dark hand had wrapped itself around the beating heart of New York City. It was a sheer glass tower that dared to stab through to the heavens, a monolith with the sole purpose of dragging God to earth. It didn't matter much to the Soldiers, another enemy, a villain determined to stifle the soul of this country. They fought like hell, cutting through every manner of goon and baddie until the showdown with the man himself. He fell, The Soldiers rejoiced -- they had won.
In the mop-up, they found themselves sobered by the magnitude of the threat they had dealt with. A massive crime boss, eliminated only through the effort of the seven, not one could have done it alone? What if something like it should happen again? Should the world need heroes? The Soldiers would find themselves called together again and again as the situations presented themselves. Hostage takers and terrorists, metahumans, even honest to goodness aliens once or twice.
The death that claimed them, in the end, wasn't a bang, but a drawn-out whimper. The kind that happens to any group of friends or allies, Greg supposed. That gradual distancing, the feeling of looking in someone's eyes and realizing you don't quite remember their color. The kind of quiet remembrance and holding the phone off the hook, unsure whether to dial. The kind where you only see each other for weddings and funerals. Not that there were many of either among The Soldiers. Well, except for one.
It hit Pat Dugan the hardest, Greg supposed. He'd known The Star-Spangled Kid longer than any of them. Greg isn't much given to remembering the little details, but he does remember Pat standing stiff as a board beside the casket, holding Sylvester's hand in his. It was small and white and fragile. Greg had never seen Pat cry. It was quicker, after that. Ollie, then Roy. None of them had heard much from Pat since the funeral. Sir Justin went next, looking for his destiny in some place neither Greg nor Lee could pronounce. Then it was Lee, set to settle down somewhere by the suburbs of Chicago, try to live a little. Greg thought he could try some of that.
Greg had been from Texas, a little town called Warpath, but he'd grown too much for it since those days, and the town along with him. It was a different place, given to teenagers and shopping malls. They'd closed down old Derdrie Yarmuth's movie theater where she showed Clint Eastwood movies every weekend and put in a Regal. He tried most of the country that he cared to visit. Montana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Louisiana, even a little stint in Alabama. But it was in Kansas he learned he could never put the life behind him, not really. It was a little town called Smallville. They'd taken kinder to him than most, but few places are really ready to accept an outsider, an alien. He caught their furtive glances, whispered rumors. He tilled his fields and payed them no mind, spending his nights dreaming of where he'd go next. Maybe change it up and call Lee -- see what Chicago's like. Then, the crash.
Somehow fighting a dark magician at the throat of the world didn't seem to odd anymore. An alien baby boy. It looked like any human kid, but Greg didn't think that anything human was given to crash landing in an alien pod. Vig knew, at some level, that they wouldn't take him in here, either. Another alien, a transplant. Maybe he could make something of the kid... Or at least take him to someone who could. He was called Clark, after Clark Gable, and Vigilante packed up his truck the next day. They were city-bound.
The following years were slow and fast all at once. He took to being a father easier than he thought he might. Raising the boy on manners, hard work, honesty. He'd have taught the boy to shoot if he weren't liable to crushing the grips with that strength of his. It was a struggle to figure out the alien parts in the early years, but soon enough he and Clark were back on the road. Odd jobs for Greg and training for the boy. It seemed like he had a new little trick every day. Strength, speed, heat vision. And he was liable to start floating away every now and again.
As of now, Greg and Clark find themselves in The Savage Land. Nominally, an island vacation. Really, an excuse for Clark to practice on something that could give him a challenge for once. But now, Greg finds he can't sleep most nights. He hears whispers deep within the woods, rustles that ain't made by anything natural. Something is out there. Watching and waiting. He's heard the tune before, darkness, impending evil.
But he hasn't felt it. A dread deep within his heart. Eyes burning on the back of his neck from the depths of the jungle, and the pits of fear as Clark launches up, silhouetted against the sky. Something is coming.
Maybe he could use a few soldiers.C H A R A C T E R M O T I V A T I O N S & G O A L S:Originally I was thinking about rolling The Variety Hour as my second character, but the stars have aligned too perfectly for me to not run this idea. I suspect we won't see Kid Clark being exactly available for some time, so I found myself driven to start getting the gears turning on this idea. I kind of love Vigilante for reasons I can't quite place, and he's always the most fun when dropped into situations he isn't super equipped to handle, and that's kind of how I first learned of the character: fighting aliens, a giant Hulk-esque monster, and more. I figured having to raise an alien child would fit nicely into that niche. I think its a way to explore Vig's character in a way that hasn't really been done before, and a way for me to feel out the in and outs of Superman and what makes him so... Well, super.
This story is set against the backdrop of the Seven Soldiers falling apart for a couple of reasons. For one thing, that's kind of what's going on in comics right now, the original band hasn't been together in a very long time, and I feel like there's some genuine opportunity there that no one is taking advantage of. Secondly, I feel like that's also what happened to my previous version of the Soldiers. They were all just kind of cardboard cut-outs that got slotted in for the last days of Vig's short-lived adventures, and they deserve better than that. With this, I intend to take a much more character focused approach, showing exactly what each of the soldiers brings to the team, and what it means for them to be together.
Overall, I think The Seven Soldiers are a team with a tremendous amount of potential that precious few writers have really been willing to let them use. The original line-up hasn't had an outing in a damned long time, and I want this run to be a testament to these characters. They can be more than they were in the original stories, and I think they can be damn fine heroes.C H A R A C T E R N O T E S:Vigilante // Greg Saunders: Former cowboy turned globe-trotting Vigilante and father figure to an alien, Greg Saunders finds himself in fear of a threat he cannot rightly understand. He fears for himself and his boy -- and he intends to do something about it.
Superboy // Clark Saunders: Clark hasn't known one home for most of his life -- he's been skipping around the country with his father, training in his abilities and trying to help out the common folk where he can. Recently he's taken to the name 'Superboy', after the Supergirl he's seen so much of on the television and in the papers.
Shining Knight // Sir Justin Arthur: A 6th Century Knight and the toast of Camelot, Sir Justin battled the forces of evil alongside the Round Table for decades, thanks to an enchantment from the wizard Merlin. Through the battles and trials and tribulations, Sir Justin never lost a battle -- until a fateful encounter with an Ogre froze him for over 1300 years before he was awoken by a scientist in the late 1900s. After his stint with the Soldiers, Shining Knight has taken off to parts unknown, searching for his purpose.
Crimson Avenger // Lee Travis: A former newspaper editor turned superhero, Lee Travis used his gas gun to bring justice to the streets of Chicago, and later, fought alongside the Seven Soldiers. Lee would put intense focus into his superhero work to the detriment of everything else, until The Star-Spangled Kid's death, when he realized he may have lost his way -- last Greg heard of him, Lee was reduced to an entry-level position at the paper he used to helm, working his way back up as best as he can.
Stripsey // Pat Dugan: Brilliant mechanic and engineer, Pat Dugan was Sylvester Pemberton's partner, and nominal sidekick. The two All-American heroes made a name for themselves fighting for truth, justice, and the American way with nothing but their fisticuffs. The papers considered the two of them to be the next Captain America. Greg hasn't heard from Pat in the years since the funeral when he dropped off the map. Supposedly he now makes his home somewhere near Metropolis.
NOTE: The cast is abbreviated so I can keep some of my cards up my sleeve. If need be, I can share a full version with the GM team.S A M P L E P O S T:
No Country For Old Men -- Issue #1“The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job – not to be glorious. But I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand.”Antartica --- The Savage Land
POST TEXTP O S T C A T A L O G:A list linking to your IC posts as they're created. This can be used for a reference guide to your character or to summarize completed arcs and stories.
This is a bizarre concept but hey, accepted!