Friday, November 04, 2005

Crisis on Earth-K!

Remember a while back when I talked about Dr. G'ovich having some interesting ideas for CoIM? Well, one of them was to take my trusty Cast of Characters, expose them to some cosmic rays, radioactive spiders, toxic waste, and magic brownies, and then chronicle their super-powered adventures. When he first suggested it, I immediately thought "Brilliant!" and then promptly forgot about it as the other aspects of CoIM overwhelmed my feeble mind; it would soon be taken out of my hands, however. Due to a cosmic alignment of immense proportions, I suddenly found myself inundated with visions of a neighboring reality as viewed through the eyes of a slightly different Cap’n Neurotic; a reality where good and evil do ceaseless battle while wearing gaudy costumes and spouting catchphrases like "It's Clobberin' Time!" or "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggath!" or "Get That Out Of Your Mouth, You Don't Know Where It's Been!"

Yes, let us now turn our attention from our own Earth-M (the m is for monkey) to the splendiferous reality of Earth-K. The K? It's for Kickass!

To begin our chronicles of Earth-K, we shall focus on three of its more prominent super-beings, whose super-powered origins are more closely intertwined than they realize: the Earth-K equivalents of Cap'n Neurotic, Flunky, and Dr. G'ovich.

Cap'n Neurotic: Beaned on the head at a young age by a crate of radioactive comic books and suffering millions of paper cuts from their irradiated pages, the young man who would become Cap'n Neurotic began to notice his mind slowly beginning to fragment; fearful that he was going insane, he did his best to disguise the growing inconsistencies in his mental processes. He was able to minimize the effects for many years, until he was accidentally subjected to the stresses generated by the cosmic calamity known to the residents of Earth-K as The Crisis of Infinite Monkeys; in a flash of psychic power which caused him to witness the truth behind the Crisis first hand, the young man's mind was blown, for real: he suddenly realized that the fragmentation was due to his psychic abilities breaking through the borders of reality; ever since the accident his mind had been accessing several different alternate reality versions of himself. But due to The Crisis, he was suddenly connected to all possible versions of himself from across the multiverse simultaneously; countless numbers of alternate Cap’n Neurotic’s found themselves torn from their own bodies, and trapped in the mind of the Earth-K Cap’n, making him, if not the first Multiple Personality super-hero (that would be Moon Knight), or the creepiest (that would be Legion), or even the coolest (that would be Crazy Jane), at least the most recent. Armed with his knowledge of the truth behind The Crisis, Cap'n Neurotic has appointed himself as guardian of the balance, attempting to maintain the stability of the multiverse, even as he struggles to maintain the stability within his own mind . . . and the two are not necessarily unconnected . . .

The Cap'n's powers shift depending on which personality rises to the surface; not even he is sure what abilities he will be able to wield in any given situation; he most frequently calls upon the power of The Electric Toad, the least traumatized of the many personalities. Most of his powers are psychic in nature, although they run the full gamut of super-normal abilities.

Dr. G'ovich, a.k.a. Snake-oil: A promising student of the human mind, Dr. Gregorovich G'ovich was obsessed with exploring the secrets of the potential locked with the part of the human brain known as the "reptile mind." When faced with the loss of funding and confiscation of his research, the good doctor did what any self-respecting mad scientist would do: injected himself with his experimental formula based on radioactive snake DNA. And, like all self-respecting mad scientists, after the formula had wreaked its terrible changes on him and driven him even more insane than before, he swore revenge on the forces which he believed had conspired against him. He clashed with many heroes, including Cap'n Neurotic in his Electric Toad guise, and the idealistic Nature Boy, before exposure to a chunk of infinitmonkium changed him further; now, his insanity was back down to pre-serum levels, but his power and purpose were multiplied. The Doctor now views himself as an agent of chaos, and uses his astounding mental abilities to sow discord and disharmony throughout the cosmos. So twisted and Machiavellian are Snake-oil's plots that his opponents are never sure what his true motives are; what the hero might view as a win may be just what Snake-oil wanted to happen. While he claims to be Eeeeeeeeevil, Snake-oil's true motives are much more complex; he is just as likely to be at cross-purposes with Cap'n Neurotic as he is to aid him; Snake-oil's random nature is both one of his greatest strengths, and greatest weaknesses.

Snake-oil's powers are both physical and mental in nature. Physically, he gained increased strength, speed, and serpentine flexibility. Originally, he had the ability to access the fear centers of an opponents' brain in order to cause them to hallucinate and panic; following his upgrade, this has evolved into a form of telepathy; he can now actually read the fears and neuroses of his victims directly, preferring to use his pilfered knowledge to manipulate and intimidate them; the telepathy also grants him a form of enhanced charisma, which he refers to as his "super forked tongue"; many who have allowed Snake-oil to speak his words of mischief in their ears have not survived to hear anything else ever again.

Flunky, a.k.a. Nature Boy : The origin of the young crimefighter who once called himself Nature Boy is shrouded in mystery; one rumor says that he was granted powers when he was entranced by the spirit of the earth which was trapped inside a mystic flower on a soccer field; others say he gained his ecological powers after swallowing a radioactive toothpick which then bent his DNA; others say he’s just a freak. While he had an illustrious career in the world of superheroing, it was cut short when he suffered a lower-case-crisis of conscience following the death of his mentor, Shogun Ally, during the upper-case-Crisis. Incensed over the injustice of a world where a good man like Shogun could die while scum like G'ovich were free, Nature Boy retreated into seclusion, and reappeared years later, having taken the ironic name of “Flunky” as a symbol of his perceived role as a dupe of the system; he announced he would keep this new identity until he fulfilled his goal. And what is this goal? Total world domination, of course, in an effort to insure that all of the evils of the world are eliminated; he envisions himself as a champion of order, and is willing to sacrifice whomever he deems necessary to achieve that order. His obsessive need for absolute control often brings him into conflict with others who view themselves as heroes; many of his former associates fear that his new name might be more apt then he realizes, and that he really is merely a flunky of some other, shadowy figure, pulling his strings.

During his time as Nature Boy, his powers were tied directly into the biosphere, giving him some measure of mental control over the terrain and weather; also much like the mythological Antaeus, he drew strength and speed from the Earth itself; when he was in direct contact with the soil, he was nigh unto unstoppable. During his years of seclusion, he transformed himself into a walking instrument of war; he still retains his earthmoving abilities, but prefers to rely on an array of high-tech weapons, as any overt use of his eco-powers is a reminder of his painful past. As part of his master plan, he is slowly building an army of loyal (albeit brainwashed) subjects; aiding him in this are the shadowy figures known only as Flunky Force Five, only two of whom have been revealed so far: the Shadow Queen and the Spawn of Flunky.

And there you have it, representatives of the three sides of the Earth-K power struggle: Order, Chaos, and Balance; just like an L.E. Modesitt novel or an issue of Dr. Fate; hey, when we here at CoIM rip things off, we rip them off from the best!

So, what’s next in store for the residents of Earth-K? I’m afraid the answer to that is a bit hazy right now; as one of the lucky Cap’n Neurotics who was not absorbed into the Earth-K Cap’n’s mind, I can only wait until the psychic connection is reestablished, giving me a further glance into this brave new world.


G'ov ich said...

I'm REALLY hoping for some hand-drawn character sketches sometime down the road. You have a scanner, right?

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Actually, I don't, although that is on the list of "things to buy when I start making more money." As for hand-drawn sketches; dude, if you don't mind seeing a bunch eerily similar stick-figures, I'm all over it.

Cap'n Cluck said...

*raising hand, jumping up and down* I wanna draw the characters!!!! Can I? Can I?????

CAP'N Disaster said...

I don't know...I think Stick Figures could be pretty funny, although rather amateur looking.