Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Supervillainy A-To-Z: G is for Gamma Burst

Believe it or not I actually find creating villains a lot harder than creating heroes.

Heroes are easier for me for several reasons. Foremost among these reasons is that I never read comic books for the villains. That is to say, I never said, "Cool! This issue of Superman has Brainiac" or "Awesome! A Dr. Doom story". I always liked heroes and reading about how they defeated their evil opponents.

Another major factor is it's difficult for me (without time and effort) to get into the villainous mindset. Being a hero makes sense to me. Being a's often tricky to wrap my head around.

To overcome this weakness I have found it helpful to create heroes first and than make them bad. The idea being take a character I intended to be a hero and see what could go wrong that would result in a super bad guy. This next villain, like the one before it actually, is inspired by some of my favorite B-List and C-List comic book superhero characters.

Fake Out, while ending up resembling a female Ultron in some ways, was largely influenced by Platinum of the Metal Men (DC Comics) and Jocasta and the LMDs of SHIELD, from Marvel.

This next one is based on an idea that touched upon Captain Atom and the Human Bomb. It also has elements of my own iconic hero Excelsior.




True Identity: Gavin Humphrey

Description/Appearance: Once an average looking Caucasian male in his mid-to-late 30's, Gavin Humphrey is now a glowing, green human-shaped being of gamma radiation. Within the armored containment suit that keeps him from exploding or irradiating his surroundings, it is very possible his height and weight are similar to that of his original form but we are more concerned with his Gamma Burst identity.

As Gamma Burst, Humphrey stands 6' 3" tall and weighs 330 lbs. All of this is, of course, thanks to his armored suit. The suit is a heavily modified variation of similar suits used by various scientific government and corporate entities worldwide, although the design originates in the US. Gamma Burst's armor was rebuilt and customized by Humphrey himself. The armor is primarily white with bright green trim and the Greek letter 'Gamma' on the upper chest.

Origin and Background: Doctor Gavin Humphrey was one of the top scientists and researchers in the field of astrophysics and stellar radiation when the funding for his operations was diverted to support other projects.

Suspicious that his resources had been channeled into a super soldier project because of rumors he had been hearing around the labs, Humphrey reorganized his staff and equipment to create a similar project of his own. Dr. Humphrey felt that if he could prove his scientific worth by creating the template for a gamma-ray powered superhuman, funding (not to mention prestige and admiration) would come flooding his way.

Word of Humphrey's project spread and he was contact by one General Hitchcock Bryce, who offered to support the endeavor and provide additional funding from his division, a top secret weapons development group.

After months of testing and simulations, all seemed ready to go. The military contractors and top brass, along with Humphrey's peers in the science departments, were all on hand to see history made. Unfortunately, it was. One of the largest and most spectacular blunders in the history of scientific errors was made when the controlled, micro-Gamma Burst reacted very poorly with the nano-technology capacitors in the test subject, causing the young man to explode and take out a quarter of the facility, killing six technicians, four scientists, three security personnel and General Bryce's assistant (not to mention the test subject).

Dr. Humphrey was fired on the spot and all of his data, notes and equipment confiscated. Pending an investigation, Humphrey could be facing prison.

Certain that his calculations and equipment had been correct, Humphrey did some investigating and discovered the project had been sabotaged by Bryce! The general wanted the data to create, not a superhuman soldier but a gamma-ray energy weapon or bomb for his division.

Enraged, Humphrey stole and modified an armored radiation suit, broke into one of the still functioning labs and worked overnight to recreate his experiment. Military police and security tried to stop him before it was too late but they failed. Humphrey, using himself as the test subject had been transformed into a living gamma-ray burst and set out to exact his revenge on Bryce, the US military and the scientific world!

Powers and Abilities: Coursing with radiation and regulated by his armor, Gamma Burst can perform a number of superhuman and high tech feats.

He can emit powerful gamma ray bolts as well as redirect his energy into the suit to provide power for Jump Jets and a sensor suite that sees various wavelengths of radiation.

Perhaps his most powerful ability (outside of his technological and scientific genius) is a massive gamma burst wave attack. This wide angle, cone shaped beam, fired from a hidden cannon in the armor's chest, can not only cause considerable damage but also results in nausea and nerve paralysis.

Gamma Burst's modified containment armor has been upgraded several times and at this point is pretty invulnerable. That's a good thing too, since a rupture in the suit would expose Humphrey's radioactive body, poisoning everyone within a fifty yards in minutes. If without the suits containment for more than a few minutes, Humphrey's, like the original test subject, will explode like a nuclear bomb.

(While I did not write it on the sheet below, Gamma Burst should probably also have Life Support or something similar because of his armored suit).

Personality and Motivations: Humphrey's is a bitter man who blames Bryce and his kind for the failure of his project and hates the control the military has over science (although he did not originally feel that way). He is made all the more hateful by the fact that he is forever trapped inside his huge armored suit, as it protects the world from him as much as it protects him from attack.

Humphrey is always trying to improve the suits tech and capabilities. He is also looking for a cure for his 'condition' but will refuse to use it before he has made General Hitchcock Bryce pay dearly.


Gamma Burst was originally created for Villains & Vigilantes. He has been appeared in one form or another in practically every Superhero RPG I'm ever run. He has been called Gamma Bomb, Ground Zero (when his powers were more traditionally 'Atomic/Nuclear') and Bomb Burst (slightly alternate powers closer to the DC Comics character The Human Bomb). I used a variant of him in an Aberrant game run by a friend of mine as a hero/PC.

Gamma Burst for ICONS:


Catching up...

Barking Alien

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