Monday, March 28, 2016

The origins of #DarkAvenger...amalgam of Captain America and Batman


     Bruce Rogers father, a brilliant biochemist was kidnapped by the Legion of Hydra and forced to create the Dark Knight Serum, a genetic enhancement that turns ordinary men into nearly indestructible super soldiers.  But the leader of Hydra was too greedy and power hunger to wait for completed experiments and administered the serum to himself.  The effects were immediate, providing him amplified strength, senses, speed, endurance, and healing.  However, there were some nasty side effects.  The serum's toxicity sheered the dermis away from his face exposing tightened warped muscle while bleaching it snow white; leaving him with a twisted expression of horrid delight.   The accident drove him insane, and he was committed to a Nazi Asylum.

     Bruce's father escaped with the help of a secret American elite squadron called the Agents of Justice led by Agent Martha Carter.  Thomas Rogers then perfected the formula for the Americans, but it was stored until appropriate candidates could be selected for trials.  Thomas and Martha married soon after.  Five years later the former and disavowed leader of the Legion of Hydra escaped from his captivity and fled to the United States to exact his revenge on the Roger's family.  Taking on the mantra of a childhood fear, he died his lips blood red and colored his face to mimic the same clowns that tormented his young dreams.  Permanently affixing an emerald green wig to his head, he donned the name the Laughing Skull and, using his mastery of chemistry and engineering, created terrifyingly maniacal weaponry to ensure the death of his enemies.

     He went to the Rogers home where Bruce, his young wife, and newborn child were visiting.  Bruce had already left for the evening to, again, secretly attempt to join the military in their fight against the Nazi's and their tyranny.  Cursed with a fragile form and a myriad of health problems he had been rejected too many times to remember.  But with the help of his friend Bucky Wilson, he was able to attempt enlistment.  During his latest try, he was spotted by a scientist named  Jonathan Banner, who was one of two others who had worked with Bruce's father to perfect the serum.  Rounding out their triad was the arrogant but brilliant billionaire engineer and entrepreneur Howard "Hal" Jordan.   Johnathan saw something in Bruce and believed he could be the answer they were looking for in selecting the right person to undergo the trials but knew Thomas would never approve.    After rejecting Bruce's application, he sent him away, notifying him that if he tried again, he would have to involve the authorities.

     Discouraged, defeated, Bruce made it home only to find the devastation the Laughing Skull had left behind.  The Roger's residence was in flames, and neither Bruce or his friend Bucky were able to traverse the flames to save his family.   The lunatic left his calling card, the Joker's playing card, behind so that the surviving member of the family would know who had murdered them so brutally with the full confidence that their meek son would never be able to stop him.  Afterward, the Laughing Skull began a terror spree to bring down the nation from the inside.

     With no one able to stop him, because of an intelligence equaled only by his insanity, Banner and Jordan made a drastic decision.  They pushed forward the Dark Knight serum trials and chose young Bruce as the first test subject.  He unrelentingly agreed, and the experiment began.  It was a complete success as Bruce became the perfect specimen of a man, 10x's stronger than the strongest human on the planet, able to run at remarkable speeds, heal at an impossible rate, and endure indescribable pain.

     But after the experiment, he fled, fearing his rage would consume him and make him a threat instead of a hero.  He did not stop until he found the most remote place on earth.  Hiding in a the distant land of Nanda Parbat he was discovered by the ancient blind leader of the League of the Chaste.  Known only as Stick, the wise and skilled sensei took pity on the young man and agreed to train him to focus his anger and new-found abilities with the promise that he would someday assist him in stopping Hive's Hand; an evil organization bent on world domination.  Bruce agreed, and Stick trained him for two years; training that would have taken even an extraordinary man a lifetime to achieve.

     Stick's final words to Bruce was to become the greatest weapon that the universe possessed; fear.  That the man who could bring fear to fear itself would be unstoppable.  Bruce remembered as a child he was bitten by a bat and because of his weakly state, it became infected, nearly taking his life from its spread.  Learning about the Laughing Skull from Stick and files from the Agents of Justice, he discovered the cause of the monster's sinister secret.  Deciding to use the Skulls own tactics against him; he faced his own fears and built a persona around them.   The thing that nearly killed him would become his greatest strength.

     So, he became the #DarkAvenger and him, Bucky, and their team expeditiously, relentlessly dismantled the Skull's burgeoning syndicate, eventually capturing and locking him away in the Phoenix Complex; a mega prison for the most horrendous of villains.  However, the Laughing Skull did not go quietly, first killing Bucky and then leaving one last "joke" for Bruce to find.

     He had placed a bomb on a nuclear-powered test place flying over the Antarctic.  The guidance systems had been sabotaged to ensure the flight plan would take it right over Gotham and crash, detonating and killing millions.  Bruce was able to get on board the plane and commandeer its controls, ensuring it would never leave the icy tundra. He disarmed the nuclear reactor, but the bomb went off disabling the aircraft, sending it hurdling into the frozen waters below.  Bruce could not escape in time.

     His body was discovered 70 years later by the newest leader of the Agents of Justice, Nick Gordon.   Because of the serum, he survived in the ice and never aged.  By the same token, the Laughing Skull remained as youthful as their last encounter and had escaped with the help of the newly refounded Legion of Hydra.  Gordon revived Bruce and after an uncomfortable acclimation; explained all that had happened.  He then told Bruce about a new team he was forming, one he wanted him to lead; the League of Avengers.

     Bruce knew what had to be done.  The Laughing Skull had to be stopped a final time, and Bucky and his family's death avenged.  And so the #DarkAvenger returned to lead the most incredible and powerful individuals on the planet to ensure Truth, Justice, and Freedom reigns!    

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