Thursday, December 8, 2016
Marvel Comics #1
The Human Torch story that starts this issue is the inspiration for the android race. The special abilities of the android race emulate the ability to burst into flame, shoot flame, and take off into the air on a fiery jet -- though all these can be disguised through flavor text (like turning "Fiery Jet" into spring-loaded feet). Androids are H&H's verion of dwarves.
That The Human Torch is of the superhero class is evident by how much wrecking he does in this story (as if wrecking trucks, if not tanks). He's encased in a 10' cube of cement and busts out, he melts bars (as if wrecking doors). He sets a warehouse and a regular house on fire (automatic, if around combustibles). He melts three doors, a truck, and the roof of a building (treat as a car). The amount of wrecking suggests to me that The Torch has three brevet ranks right here, despite being first level.
Other than wrecking, The Torch seems to demonstrate Fly I and possibly Nigh-Invulnerable Skin. At one point he badly scalds the mobsters who fled from him into a swimming pool by boiling the water -- I don't have a power yet for that one. Heat Water?
Sardo (that's an Italian name, apparently, though it always seemed science fiction-y to me), the villain in this piece, has a wealth of trophy items at his disposal -- he has a diving suit, a glass tube large enough to contain full-grown man, a gas mask, a gas bomb, a tank of liquid nitrogen, a tube of nitro gas, and a tank of sulfuric acid.
Likewise, The Sub-Mariner is the first merman hero in comics, and the inspiration for the merman race. Being able to breathe underwater was a given. We may or may not see faster swimming in this story. Later stories establish that mermen are weaker out of water, hence the wrecking things penalty out of water. And as for the magic resistance...it doesn't really emulate Namor at all, but mermen are H&H's version of elves, and I figured it helped round out the race and maybe would make it a more appealing choice to play.
Speaking of swimming faster, at one point Namor and Dorma travel from Antarctica to New York City in two days. That means they were traveling at, at least, 190 MPH -- way faster than I let mermen swim. That means they were either boosting their speed with a power, like Outrun Train, or -- even more likely, were using some sort of underwater vehicle we didn't see.
Wrecking wise, Namor crushes a diving helmet (wrecks as machine?), and he jams a rudder on a huge ship (maybe treat as a generator?). Curiously, Namor uses an axe to break glass at another time -- perhaps the only so far we've seen any kind of a limitation to how often a superhero can wreck.
Power-wise, he uses a leap power (probably Leap II) to catch a plane and Extend Missile Range (at least I, possibly II) to throw a man out to sea. Not a lot, so even though Namor surprises wrecks very little, he probably also has three brevet ranks even at first level.
Lastly, it is worth noting that Namor is actually only a half-merman. H&H works under the assumption that all half-mermen have the abilities of full-blooded mermen, though in actual comic books a half-merman is apparently more powerful than a full-blooded merman (this discrepancy could just be from Namor being higher in level too).
Both The Torch and The Sub-Mariner are also killers, or at least we know for sure that Namor is and The Torch very probably killed some people. They are Chaotic in Alignment.
The Angel also debuts in this issue. In many ways The Angel is typical of the Mysteryman tropes, particularly with how criminals fear him by reputation. For the most part, The Angel could even just be a Fighter, as he solves almost every problem with fists. But there is one instance where he leaps from the roof of a courthouse and lands safely. We never actually see the courthouse; we're just told this. So, maybe this courthouse has a really low roof, keeping The Angel from taking falling damage. Or maybe The Angel has unusually high hit points for a low-level Hero (high Constitution score?) and just absorbed the damage. Or maybe The Angel has a leap power and is actually a superhero? I'll watch for more evidence in future installments.
In the one-shot "Jungle Terror", the story's macguffin is a lost diamond in the Amazon and the apparently false rumor that the diamond can "enslave people". Rumors are good -- they get Heroes to go do things, and you only have to pay out on the rumors half the time! The twist in this story is that, instead of one diamond with special powers, our heroes find lots of ordinary diamonds. However, the Editor wisely doesn't give them time to collect them all, throwing endless waves of natives at them so they'll just snatch a few and run.
Lastly, I reviewed this issue on one of my Scottenkainenland blog.
(Issue read in Marvel Masterworks: Marvel Comics v. 1.)