Burnout (comics)

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Burnout
Publication information
Publisher Wildstorm Comics
First appearance Deathmate Black (September, 1993)
Created by Jim Lee
Brandon Choi
J. Scott Campbell
In-story information
Alter ego Robert "Bobby" Lane
Team affiliations Gen¹³
International Operations
Notable aliases Burnout, Moetehito
Abilities Pyrokinetic abilities. Can generate plasma. Able to fly by creating thermal updrafts.

Robert "Bobby" Lane is the fictional superhero Burnout from Wildstorm Comics. He is best known as a member of the controversial superhero team Gen¹³.

History[edit]

Bobby Lane is the son of John Lynch, a superpowered special ops member of Team 7. For decades the corrupt I.O. organisation had been carrying out genetic experiments designed to create supersoldiers for the government. Team 7 were among the 12th generation of this experiment (Gen 12), and among the first successes - previous attempts had ended in death for the subjects. When many of the members of Gen 12 became fathers, I.O. became interested in their children: Gen¹³. According to the Gen 12 series, Lynch's wife left John Lynch when their son, Robert, was very small.

The exact circumstances of his mother's death are unknown, but Bobby was put up for adoption under a fake name. (It was later revealed that several Team 7 members who had gone into hiding themselves knew about this and arranged this to protect Robert from I.O.) During his childhood Bobby often changed foster families, because he was unable to fit in with them, though he became good friends with his foster sister Han Tsung during his stay with her family.

Project: Genesis[edit]

When Bobby became a teenager, I.O. decided to restart Project: Genesis which had done the Gen 12 experiments. They performed genetic screenings across the country and recruited all children and teenagers who were gen-positive, usually indicating that they were the children of a Gen 12-member. Bobby was recruited to be part of the Gen¹³ project, unaware of this history. There he began to connect with others such as Grunge, Caitlin, and Roxy. And it was there that he first had his latent powers unlocked. But when he and his friends discovered what the end goal of the project was, and that the plan was to control any successes by numbing their wills using drugs, they planned an escape. The four of them were joined on their escape by two others: Sarah Rainmaker and Threshold. Unknown to the rest of them Threshold was loyal to I.O., and only went along because it was his mission to try to awaken the latent powers of Freefall and Grunge (who hadn't manifested any yet) and create a killer instinct in the group that the government desired in its superpowered operatives. He succeeded, and then betrayed the group. All of them except Fairchild were recaptured. She came back for them, and having made a second, successful escape they allied with John Lynch, who had become a high-ranking member of I.O.

Team[edit]

Lynch took the team to San Diego to hide from I.O. and Bobby began to develop romantic feelings for his team-mate Sarah Rainmaker. Sarah didn't return those feelings though, as she considered herself a lesbian. The two did become good friends though. One of the first villains Bobby helps defeat is Helmut, an old adversary of John Lynch. He would also confront returning I.O. troops, a giant ape rampaging across a college campus and in one case, a trickster spirit who personally manipulates his feelings concerning Sarah. In another instance, the entire team is transformed into animal hybrids. Again and again, Gen13 would confront DV8, who also came from Project: Genesis but were much more violent and amoral.

Some time later Lynch and Bobby figure out they are father and son. After some initial awkwardness the two have come to accept this new dynamic in their relationship.

During his time with Gen¹³, Bobby began to develop powerful psionic abilities, allowing him to read and control the minds of others. He lost these powers when another Gen-Active, a powerful telepath damaged the telepathic part of Bobby's brain. Bobby defeated the telepath and his brothers and became romantically involved with their sister, Leslie, a Gen-Active codenamed Trauma Queen. Their romance was short-lived as Robert and the rest of Gen¹³ apparently died in an explosion.

In fact, Gen¹³ had been displaced to an alternate universe and they returned to their own Earth months later.

Worldstorm[edit]

A new Gen¹³-series, written by Gail Simone and with art by Talent Caldwell began mid-2006 after the Wildstorm 'reboot'. A rebooted Burnout is here described as the aftereffect of a bald-faced attempt at cloning and gene splicing by Tabula Rasa, an off-shot of I.O. Burnout is a former juvenile hall resident turned pacifist, created with fire-manipulation ability and given to a foster family to control his growth. When the first part of the experiment ends, and he's abducted and brought back to Tabula Rasa with the current Gens, now boys and girls experimented upon as he was. He escapes with them.

He later participates in the activities of the group, namely escaping from I.O., facing a group of teenagers from an alternative universe based on the Authority and another batch of I.O. clones sent to apprehend his teammates.

During his adventures, Burnout and his Gen¹³ teammates are revealed to be the recipients of the souls of their original namesakes, collected by the Doctor and restored in their new bodies. However, in this life all the Gens exhibit different tendencies, becoming progressively their own people: Burnout becomes, with time, more trusting and eager to help. According to a Wildstorm sourcebook, Bobby was called Burnout even before he went to Project: Genesis. It was a nickname given to him by his classmates due to his sullen attitude towards school.

During the World's End events, attempting to protect his teammates by a flare brought by a clone of The High, Bobby is blinded and relies on Caitlin's advices to cope with his condition in the postatomic ruins that the world had since become.

Due to Caitlin spending more time with him to guide and help him during his lasting blindess, Rainmaker thinks they may be developing a stronger attraction, due to the Florence Nightingale Effect: Grunge dismisses the idea, and asks him, to distract the team from their miseries, to tell them about his vision of a postatomic future.

Burnout tells of a world in which he, still blind, roams the world with a modified car, devised to bring music to everyone still alive, hoping for someone still alive to hear him and be lifted from his/her worries at least for a while.

Eventually the gang takes refuge in a mall. There they encounter killer rats and a group of people who have survived armageddon. Bobby is still unable to see normally but gains the ability to see heat signatures. Within all the survivors he sees green blotches, which would turn out to be the Warhol Virus. All the people turn into monsters and the gang barely escapes with their lives. After cleaning up and getting new clothes, the team decides to hitchike to the town of Tranquility. Along the way they stop at a post-apocalyptic skate park run by renagde youths. While Bobby begins to rest in a tent, Caitlin grabs him and the two kiss.

Powers[edit]

Burnout generates high-energy plasma that bursts into flame when exposed to oxygen. He can direct his flames into searing thermal energy blasts, or surround himself with an aura of protective flames to deflect physical attacks. He can superheat the air around him to create powerful thermal updrafts that lift him into the air (allowing him to fly).

He formerly possessed telepathic powers that allowed him to read minds, communicate mentally with others, and control minds. He lost these psychic powers after a fight with another telepath.

The Worldstorm version of the character lost his sight after his eyes were singed by one of The High clones exploding in front of him. However, he gained some sort of thermal vision, allowing him to perceive living, or warm things, with some sort of accuracy.

Other versions[edit]

  • In the alternate future of 2015, Burnout has become the chief interrogator for Spawn's demonic rule. Assisting him is Grunge. His female team members are now unwilling participants in Spawn's harem.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spawn/WildC.A.T.S." #1-4 (1996)