JOHNNY SATURN I
DESCRIPTION: Johnny Saturn, aka John Underhall, is many things–a mystery man, a boxer, a grim avenger, a painkiller addict–but, above all else, he’s unstoppable. Life is not easy for a middle-aged mystery man whose body is breaking down, but Johnny does not let that stop him. His wife is Persephone Helios Synn-Underhall, and his father-in-law is Dr. Horatio Synn. Johnny has no superpowers, although his determination and will to succeed at any cost is practically superhuman. Johnny now serves as King of the Mole People, but his primary residence is his wife’s villa in Monaco. Throughout his career John Underhall has broken every bone in his body, and his skin is a mass of scars, burns, and old gunshot wounds. He was addicted to pain killers during his waning years as a mystery man, but, after he retired, John kicked his drug habit with the help of a masseuse and an acupuncturist. He has been a full-time mystery man, a Spire City detective, and a U.S. Army Ranger. Underhall elevates the art of being dour and grim to the level of arrogance, gaining him the reputation as a hard-ass, and the “mystery man who never smiles or laughs.” He has numerous black belts, including Judo and Karate, but he relies on boxing as his preferred combat mode. His gear is mostly off-the-shelf from used sporting goods and army surplus stores; he wears a standard, police issue bullet-proof vest; and he has integrated brass-knuckles into his gauntlets. He collects classic motorcycles and uses them for transport.
TIMELINE: John Underhall was born into a police family, but he opted for a military career instead. He spent twelve years in the United States Army Special Forces as a Ranger, from age 18 to 30, where he worked on his bachelor’s degree and became the heavy weight champion in the military’s boxing league. From age 30 to 40, John Underhall became a detective in the Spire City Police Department, while concurrently (at age 35) taking up the vigilante identity of Johnny Saturn. At age 40, he married Persephone Synn-Underhall, the wealthy daughter of Johnny Saturn’s arch enemy, Dr. Synn. In 2011 John Underhall is 45 and retired from active mystery man work. For the past years he has spent most of his time with his wife Persephone at her home in Monaco.
JOHNNY SATURN II
DESCRIPTION: Gregory Harold Buchanan, sometimes called “Pretty Boy Buchanan” by jealous police detectives behind his back, is a Spire City Police homicide detective working out of the 23rd Precinct. Later in the series, he adopted the vigilante identity of Johnny Saturn II. Greg Buchanan is essentially untouchable within the police force–his dad died a local hero many years ago; one of his uncles is the Judge of Superior Court 5; and another uncle is Archbishop of the Diocese of Spire City. Greg Buchanan suffered for years from long-term clinical depression, but since becoming Johnny Saturn II his mental illness has morphed into manic depression, and he often becomes manic when in costume, smiling, laughing, and frightening people with his intensity. Greg wrestled in high school, boxed a little in the SCPD boxing league, and learned a little judo, but he has black-belted in Krav Maga many times over, and he won numerous regional Krav Maga championships in college. As Greg Buchanan, he draws upon his family’s trust fund and his detective’s pay in the Spire City Police Department. As Johnny Saturn II, he has access to all the money he needs, funded by Persephone Synn-Underhall. His arch-enemy is Dr. Wissenschaft.
EQUIPMENT: Johnny Saturn II’s armor is made by the Tailor, and it is composed of an unusually durable mix of a par-aramid synthetic fibers that are impregnated with shear thickening fluid, packed with impact absorbing gel, and lined with super hard composite carbon/ceramic trauma plates. It is efficient against small and medium caliber weapons, highly resistant to puncture attacks, and it is relatively fireproof. He wears shock boots, also built by the Tailor, which allow him to jump off two or three story buildings comfortably, or step on a land mine with a much reduced likelihood of serious injury. Greg’s helmet has night vision lenses, a voice activated telephone, a police scanner, and a dedicated channel to his home base. Greg’s gauntlets are each fitted with heavy metal knuckles, much like Roman cestuses, that make his powerful punches many times more devastating. He has tasers incorporated into the palms of each of his gauntlets. He often employs a collapsible quarter staff made of virtually unbreakable carbon nano tubes, and he uses it in combat, as a pole vault, a pry bar, a wedge, etc. Johnny Saturn II gets around town under the city on his private rail car, or by motorcycle at street level, and occasionally by para-plane for airborne insertions. As the story has progressed, Johnny Saturn II has come into possession of Warmonger’s perspective bending meteoric knife, as well as Captain Barometer’s power bracers. Whether Greg incorporates these into his arsenal is not yet known.
Andresen, Molly: Molly was a teenaged runaway and a Mole Person before she was captured by Dr. Wissenschaft. Her meta-power is the ability to survive and recover from major traumas, but this made it easy for Dr. Wissenschaft to use her as a test subject and convert her into a cyborg. Her survival metapower is slowly erasing her scars and grafting her remaining flesh to her prosthetics. Also, she has a high pain threshold, and is quick healing. Molly is strong and fast compared to a fit human, and her wireless connections allow her to surf the web or work on computers from within her own mind (she can integrate herself seamlessly into any system without detection). She is not armored or armed, and was not designed for combat. Molly is under the protection of Greg Buchanan (a big brother figure to her), is friends with the Tailor, and she was used as the template upon which Dr. Wissenschaft built Tara 5.0. Molly is very serious because all the frivolity was been cut out of her long ago.
Brezneski, Bruce, Lt. (Homicide, 23rd Precinct): The “Brez” is Detective Buchanan’s kind-hearted boss and sometime mentor, and he lets Greg get away with a lot because Greg makes the department (and thus Brez himself) look good. Brez appears sloppy, disheveled, run-down, and he is a chain smoker.
Calabria, Ramirez (Manny): Manny is a rakishly handsome fellow. During the day he’s the head bellhop at the Northanger Arms, a posh Spire City hotel. At night, Manny runs the Charlie Blockers, a group of criminals who first met in prison’s C Block. The C Blockers often work for Dr. Synn, so Manny has run afoul of Johnny Saturn too many times for his own tastes.
Corky: Ronald “Corky” Cork is a retired police officer and the owner/operator of Corky’s Bar, a “cop” bar. He is known for his good humor and wisdom.
Hillock, Matilda: Matilda is one of the leaders Elysium City’s Mole People, and she’s in pretty good shape for a woman in her late, middle-aged years. She often works with Doc in running their ramshackle town.
Jennings, Lewis: A prominent stage actor in Spire City’s theatrical community, Lewis Jennings is the long-time significant other of Brian Faraday, aka the Utopian. They share a penthouse in downtown Spire City.
Ledmun, Charles (Doc): Doc, as he is now called, was once a surgical nurse. Since he fell on hard times, Doc has become one of the leaders of the Mole People community of Elysium City, as well as their resident healthcare provider. As with other so-called ‘street doctors,’ the local clinics keep him well supplied with basic but out-of-date medical supplies. Doc is known for his gentle wisdom.
Torres, Harvey (The Tailor): Harvey Torres is a virtual shut-in, a 38 year-old who is morbidly obese. He is a freelance costume and armor maker for heroes and villains alike, and he has access to the best materials and technology available (plus some custom technology of his own invention). He is gruff, caustic, and cynical. The Tailor and Greg Buchanan throw insults at each other all the time, but this masks genuine friendship between them. (Neither man would admit to this, of course).
Captain Barometer: Gary Redman has been active as a hero since the 1970’s, and he is a long-standing member of the Squadron Premiere. He retired following his nephew Hyperspace’s apparent death during the Siege, after which Captain Barometer gave his power bracers to Johnny Saturn II. Gary has no metapowers, but instead invented a set of power bracers that allow for flight (limited maneuverability, low altitude), energy projection, personal force fields (limited), and augmented punching/striking. He is obese and a regular cigar smoker, as well as gruff, curmudgeonly, and very opinionated.
Elect: Named George Oswald Peterson, Elect is one of the three founding members of the Collective Of Champions, and he is widely hailed as the first and greatest metahero. Born on January 1, 1900, he claims to have descended from the macroverse on a mission to help elevate the lesser, Spire City universe. Much as tremendous gravity distorts space and time, Elect distorts physics in his proximity, allowing him to exercise powers that defy common sense, science, and physics. In effect, this means that he can do whatever he attempts successfully, like halt time, move solar systems, swing comets by their tails, split planets down the middle, or the like. Elect has an extended lifespan, appearing to be in his 50’s when he is actually over 110 years old, although it is not yet known if he is an immortal. He is Brian Faraday’s (the Utopian) father, and Elect is in denial about his son’s sexual preferences. Elect has a quasi-religious air about him, as shown when all the meta-heroes gather about him, hoping for a touch or kind word. (Some believe that his touch will grant metapowers, or enhance metapowers that one already has.) Elect always wears goggles because his eyes are so bright that no one can look at him without being dazzled, and he has a powerful white halo visible to the naked eye.
Gauge: As Titanium Tom’s lieutenant and currently is second in charge of the Squadron Premiere, Gauge’s background is in the military and the Collective of Champions. She is quite pretty, grew up on a farm in rural upstate New York, and she is much more congenial than Tom. Gauge’s primary power is the ability to identify the weak spot in any structure or enemy, that thing or person’s Achilles’ heel, so to speak. Her secondary power is the ability to detect metapowers in others (but not in gadgets) and correctly gauge their relative strengths form 1 to 10. She is a crack shot and she wields a custom rail-gun built for accuracy.
Hyperspace: Named Seth Steward, Hyperspace is a Squadron Premiere member. His uncle is Captain Barometer, who invented the first generation of technology that would eventually serve as the basis for Hyperspace’s own power bracers. Seth’s bracers grant flight, energy projection, force fields, life support, and space-time bending (thus allowing for interplanetary journeys).
Iron Claw III: Named Obaid Chauwan, Iron Claw III is a Pakistani-American member of the Squadron Premiere. He has the ability to project energy blades from each fist, and telekinesis that he can use for limited flight, triggering locks, etc. This same telekinesis can also be use to seal up his wounds, and comes with a high level of internal body imagery/diagnostics. His arch-enemy is Lacerator.
Staff of Life: Welsh-born Victoria Shelbourne is a founding member of the latest incarnation of the Squadron Premiere and one of Spire City’s most beloved and celebrated heroes, but she was forced off the Squad when the Department of Homeland Security took over. She is a tenured physics and quantum mechanics professor at Spire City University (her degrees are from MIT). She has no metapowers, but she invented a solid-light staff that is transmitted wirelessly from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit over wherever she is located at any given time, and, when activated, the staff materializes in her grasp. Currently, its powers include, but are not limited to personal force fields, force structures/cages, concussive blasts, rudimentary telekinesis, energy reading and analyzing, tracking energy signatures within a 20 mile radius, energy modulation, and flight. Victoria has been married before, and she has no intention of marrying again (although she has become romantically attached to Greg Buchanan). She is Brian Faraday’s mentor, and she cares for him deeply. She was Monica Nagachi’s mentor, and Victoria suffered greatly from her death. She is a natural leader and incredibly brave.
Symphony, nka Dark Requiem: Named Joseph “Joe” Jehennet, a high school band director and music teacher, Symphony was one of the most powerful and respected members of the Squadron Premiere until, during the War in Heaven, he acted out of character and deserted his teammates to death. (He later learned that Thu-Lynn controlled his mind and caused him to desert.) Afterwards, he was struck from the Squadron’s rolls. Thu-Lynn later recast Symphony as Dark Requiem, her instrument of vengeance. His powers include damage resistance (high), toughness (high), flight (highly maneuverable), and harmonize group. Symphony has a music B.A. at SPU, and he and Brian Faraday (the Utopian) grew up together at the same school in upper New York.
Synn-Underhall, Persephone Helius: Persephone is a living contradiction—a Nobel Laureate mathematician, and a world-class sorceress. She holds doctorates in theoretical physics and mathematics, and she was awarded the Nobel prize for her work on Dadaistic mathematics, an advanced discipline in which the principals of dada art are translated into seemingly non-sense formulas that have profound quantum effects. She commands awesome magical powers, having combined her Dadaistic mathematic formulas with chaos magic. Dadaistic magic has many unusual properties, such as making perspective go awry, or making machines melt and yet still function, or resolving objects into geometric representations of themselves. Her known powers include short range gates through Forced Perspective Space, levitation, short range flight, force beams, force cages, and teleporting objects to her or away. She also knows innumerable spells, making her prepared for almost any eventuality. Persephone is John Underhall’s wife (Dr. Synn gave her away at the wedding), and the daughter of Dr. Horatio Synn and Circe Helius (the legendary sorceress that appeared in the Odyssey). Persephone lived with her mother in Italy until she was 14, and then she was taken in by her father, Dr. Synn. She is fabulously wealthy from her many patents, and she is the heir apparent to Synn-Tech. She is an in-demand guest speaker, art collector (dada art), worldwide celebrity, and she keeps a private jet set aside for her use. She has Italian citizenship, but she also has Greek and Brazilian citizenship and an extended American visa. Her prime residence is a beech-front estate in Monaco, and she also has a mansion in Malta, and expensive condominiums in Rio, Spire City, and Buenos Aries.
Tilt: Named James Worthing, Tilt is a founding member of the current incarnation of the Squadron Premiere, and he stayed in action until a heart attack sidelined him. Now retired from hero work, he still serves as the head engineer for the Squadron (His degree is from Purdue University). James’s wife is Jeanette Worthing, whom he met in college, and they have no children. Tilt’s “rebound suit,” with its rebound engine that produces and amplifies kinetic energy, allows him to bounce off of solid objects with acrobatic precision and it protects him from the harm of such high speed ricocheting. He is a skilled street fighter and wrestler.
Titanium Tom: Fresh from the Collective of Champions in New York and the marines before that, Titanium Tom was appointed the new leader of the Squadron Premiere by Elect. He is brash, loud, has ultra-conservative values, is a rabid nationalist, he is grim and humorless, and he has little use for ‘civilians.’ His powers are metastrength (high), damage resistance (high), and energy projection. This energy power is a green plasma that he spews from his mouth, although on occasion he has been known to project it from his hands.
Triops: Triops is a humanoid hybrid of an alien Gray and a triops, aka the long-tailed shrimp. His adoptive name is Denny Chandlis, formerly of Nebraska. Once he arrived in Spire City, he was swept up by the Iron Brigade and forced into crime. With the aid of Johnny Saturn II, Triops changed sides and joined the Squadron Premiere. His powers include telepathy (high), opening time/space portals (very fatiguing), precognition (accurate, up to 15 minutes), water breathing (gills on temples), and remote viewing. His telepathy is powerful enough to overwhelm most minds and control their actions, but his ethics (learned from the Chandlis family) makes him unlikely to do so. Triops appears quite frail, although he is tougher than he looks. He has a huge third eye above his two regular eyes, and a long-skulled head.
Utopian: Brian Faraday, the Utopian, is a founding member of the current incarnation of the Squadron Premiere, and he is sanctioned by the International Society of Metahumans. He claims to be empowered by the utopian ideal, granting him an assortment of metahuman abilities; if Brian drifts too far from the utopian ideal, he loses his powers until he sincerely recommits himself to those ideas again. Utopian has metastrength (high), damage resistance (was medium, now high), flight (very maneuverable, up to Mach 1), life support, metaspeed (low), levitate (self) and energy projection. Early in the series, Utopian’s energy projection was limited to his right hand and required a focus bracer; now he can fire simultaneously at will from both hands and he needs no focus. Perhaps Utopian’s greatest power is his multi-spectral vision, allowing him to see the entire electro-magnetic spectrum, including X-Rays, gamma rays, radio waves, infrared, and ultraviolet, although he can’t see through dense materials such as lead, and it is of limited use underground. At the beginning of the series, Utopian is arrogant and patronizing, but as the time progresses he grows up quite a bit. Utopian’s father is Elect, his significant other is Lewis Jennings, his mentor is Staff of Life, and he grew up with Symphony in northern New York. Brian is working on a master’s degree in classical literature at Spire City University.
Alaric the Hammer, fka Alaric the Axe: He is a member of the Iron Brigade, part of Tactical’s inner circle, and Tactical and Skorn’s sexual partner. He possesses metahuman strength (very high), stamina (very high), and damage resistance (very high). He lost his left arm at the bicep in the Dirty War, but that was later replaced with a powerful cybernetic arm. He is muscle-bound to the point of being ponderous in combat. He is a citizen of Mongolia, 6’10” tall, 400 lbs., and 32 years old. He has black hair and a bald head, brown eyes, and dusky skin.
Eris: Eris is the Greek goddess of chaos, and she currently is romantically attached to Dr. Synn. She is neither a hero or villain, but an anthropomorphized force of nature. Her powers are virtually limitless, and they include: assume non-corporeal form (at will), size and shape change (at will), teleportation, gaseous form (at will), invisibility to most mortals, agelessness, and most likely many other powers. As a mythological being, she is a citizen of Olympus.
Lacerator: A Member of the Iron Brigade, and part of Tactical’s inner circle, Lacerator is named Alan Gomez, a beech bum from Southern California. His metapower is a double-pointed energy claw that he projects from his right hand. Iron Claw III has long been Alan’s arch enemy, and in their last encounter Iron Claw seriously scarred Lacerator’s face.
Oppression Wave: Built by Dr. Wissenschaft, the Oppression Wave is a robot tuned into the world’s fear, misery, and oppression. It gathers, collects, and rebroadcasts this “oppression wave” in a focused beam, ratcheting up the abuse of power, bad luck, and injustice at the target location. The robot typically does this from its private bunker, called the Oppression Wave’s Womb, and it picks world hotspots from walls of televisions, and uses those televisions as portals through which to remotely project the oppression wave. This robot appears as a fat-bodied, robotic spider beneath a floating eye.
Skorn: A member of the Iron Brigade and part of Tactical’s inner circle, Skorn is a young woman of Amazonian proportions, with stark white hair, and covered sole to crown in occult tattoos. These tattoos grant her metastrength (very high), and damage resistance (very high). She is often paired with Alaric, and she is Alaric’s and Tactical’s sexual partner.
Synn, Dr. Horatio: Dr. Horatio Victor Synn is a businessman and brilliant scientist with a super-genius IQ and doctorates in theoretical physics, mathematics, engineering, and munitions. Dr. Synn’s father, Gerhard Synn, was a Nazi war criminal who fled to Brazil at the end of World War II and established Synn-Tech, now a world conglomerate and super-corporation, which is still privately owned by his son, Horatio. Synn is a world-class smuggler, terrorism financier, black market arms dealer, developer of illegal technologies, money launderer, and the high-level partner of many major North American, South American, and European crime cartels. Dr. Synn is devoted to Chaos, sometimes mixing it with a twisted version of the scientific method, leaving death and destruction in his wake. He may be a killer, but he is proper and polite, even going so far as to leave a tip for the waiter in a restaurant he is about to blow up. He is a true sociopath, charming and urbane, yet without any sympathy, empathy, or remorse. He has estates in Buenos Aries, and homes in Cornwall, Madrid, Hong Kong, Manhattan, Havana, and Mexico City. Mythological goddesses seem to be unusually attracted to him, and he has been romantically attached at different times to Circe Helios (Persephone’s mother), and currently Eris. If forced into combat, Synn is savage, relentless, and he will kill without remorse, hesitation or afterthought. He carries switchblades or knives up his sleeves. Horatio’s pistol is a beautifully restored WWII era 9 MM Lugar, a semi-automatic that is not particularly powerful in its own right, but the custom ammunition Dr. Synn creates for it is quite capable of punching holes in most metahumans. Dr. Synn carries a silver tipped, ebony cane mounted with a silver ball. This screw-off silver ball is a powerful bomb (at a thousand pounds per square inch of overpressure, it is comparable to the U.S. Military’s so called “Daisy Cutter”) with a 10-second time delay fuse. Horatio wears his hair swept back, exposing his widow’s peak. He is slender and handsome in his middle years, and he dresses impeccably in his standard white linen or fine wool suit, black tie, and white fedora with a black hat band.
Tara 5.0 aka Tara Wissenschaft: Built by Dr. Wissenschaft, based upon what he learned by experimenting on Molly Andresen, Tara is a self-aware, highly sophisticated android. Built for spying and wetwork, she is a one-of-a-kind prototype who is too expensive to be replicated. Tara serves as bodyguard, care giver, personal assistant, and “granddaughter” to Dr. Wissenschaft. She sometimes is rebellious, and she has been known to hide her actions by rewriting her own programming and logs. Tara changes her appearance often, changing styles and wigs as desired. She has blue eyes and medium toned skin. Her powers include metastrength (enhanced), reflexes (enhanced), speed (enhanced), and damage resistance (enhanced). Her optics grant her access to a wide electro-magnetic spectrum. She can wirelessly access computers in her mind, and surf the internet the same way. She harbors a crush on Greg Buchanan.
Thu-Lynn: Thu-Lynn is originally from beyond the stars, and twelve thousand years ago she was the goddess of Ultima Thule, the Mother of the Aryan race. In the 19th and 20th centuries she was the unseen power behind the German occult movement in World War II (first the Iron Eagle Occult Society, then the Thule Geselleschaft). She is sometimes called “She who is blind but observes all” because her eyes are sightless, and she wears an amulet that serves as her eye on the world by transmitting information to her visual cortex. She has numerous powers, including: teleportation, ritual magic, summoning/banishing supernatural entities, channeling, aquatic life support, water breathing, survive severe physical trauma, agelessness, gaseous form, mind control, scrying, curse via simulacrum, etc. If there is an ability she does not have, then most likely she has a spell that will serve instead. She, and anything she wears, becomes gray and desaturated, monochrome, and colorless. She now lives in a hidden lair beneath a rock in Lake Avernus’s Sorrow Bay. She has access to some terrifying relics, such as the Spear of Destiny or the Noose of Judas Iscariot, both of which she later lost to Dr. Wissenschaft.
Wissenschaft, Karl Heinrich: Sometimes called the Father of Atrocities, this Prussian-born member of the original Nazi party is a brilliant biomechanical engineer specializing in cybernetics and robotics. Dr. Wissenschaft is a true monster, and he pursues his evil work with full knowledge of what he does. He is in his 90’s, and as the series has progressed he has grown increasingly feeble, but no one should mistake how profoundly dangerous this butcher can be. Later in the series, when Dr. Wissenschaft is resuscitated by Thu-Lynn’s energy, his apparent age becomes 38 and his eyes have become milky white (he’s blind). His mentor is Thu-Lynn (who recruited him when he was at college in Hamburg), and his caretaker, bodyguard, and ”granddaughter” is Tara Wissenschaft (aka Tara 5.0). Wissenschaft’s right eye was severely damaged by Johnny Saturn I, so he installed a cybernetic casing that granted him multispectral vision and an hallucination induction device (medium range); later, once restored to youth, he was struck blind by Thu-Lynn’s energy, so he wired cybernetic goggles into his visual cortex, allowing him to see. He was a member of the Iron Eagle Occult Society, and later the Thule Gesesellschaft, and was a ranking member in the SS. After Germany fell to the Allies, Project Paperclip brought Dr. Wissenschaft to America where he worked for the American government for many years. In the 1970’s, Dr. Wissenschaft founded Wissenschaft Inc., funded by his old ally and one-time protégé, Gerhard Synn (a Nazi war criminal who had relocated to Brazil and founded the multinational Synn-Tech). Dr. Wissenschaft has made Spire City his base of operations since the late 1980’s, and he continues his horrific experiments on the city’s ample homeless population and the Mole People. Dr. Wissenschaft is protected by the American government, and he is untouchable by the law. He has worked hand-in-hand with the Star Cabal for many decades.