List of City of Heroes characters

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This is a list of central characters from the massively multiplayer online role-playing game City of Heroes.

Freedom Phalanx[edit]

The Freedom Phalanx is a coalition led by the Statesman that protects Paragon City. They fight the evil group Arachnos led by the Statesman's once good friend and ally, Stefan Richter, also known as Lord Recluse.

The Freedom Phalanx was founded in the wake of World War I and the Great Depression to fight the Arachnos organization and the villain known as Nemesis, the Prussian Prince of Automatons. The original group consisted of the superhuman Marcus Cole (the Statesman), his superpowered wife Monica Richter (Maiden Justice), magically empowered young Devon Wilcox (the Dark Watcher), weather manipulator Raymond George Washington (Elementar), and the high-tech-suit-wearing Brandon Warfield and wheelchair-bound suit controller James St. John-Smythe (collectively known as Vambrace). This group gathered to defeat Nemesis on July 11, 1932, a day known as "Brass Monday".

Sometime before the 1980s, the Freedom Phalanx disbanded, later coming back together with the Statesman, Dr. Raymond Keyes (Positron), Justin Sinclair (Manticore), Steven Berry (Synapse), and Shalice Tilman (Sister Psyche) to battle evil in Paragon City once again. With the Rikti War, their numbers dwindled until the current line up, known as the Surviving Eight, formed. They are assisted by the Vindicators, a group led by Statesman's granddaughter and sidekick Jessica Cole (Ms. Liberty), and comprising the sidekicks of the Freedom Phalanx: Lena Elliot (Swan), Valerie Kellum (Valkyrie), Aurora Scott (Aurora Borealis), Jean-Pierre Lourdin (Malaise), K'Varr D'Shall (Infernal), Katherine Stevens (Mynx), and the second Luminary.

The Statesman[edit]

Statesman
Statesman.png
First appearance City of Heroes
Created by Jack Emmert
Information
Nickname(s) Zeus, James Lancaster, Marcus Cole

Statesman is the signature hero of the City of Heroes backstory and was the actual character played by Jack Emmert, Cryptic Studios co-founder/Lead Designer. The Statesman is the leader of the game's most famous supergroup, the Freedom Phalanx.

Publication history[edit]

He made his comic debut in the promotional comic printed online, which was more of an overview of the game itself. Statesman first appeared in the official City of Heroes comic with the first issue of the second volume beginning in 2005.[1] He has been featured prominently since then, being the leader of the Freedom Phalanx superhero team that the comic focuses on.

The first City of Heroes novel, Web of Arachnos,[2] released in late 2005, delved deeper into the character's history by showing his origins, how he came by his powers and how he came to be a hero and found the Freedom Phalanx. The sequel, The Freedom Phalanx,[3] released in May 2006, focuses on Statesman's dealing with his wife's imminent death, and by extension, the consequences of his own immortality. Statesman is arguably the most memorable hero in the "City of Heroes" franchise.

The status of the third City of Heroes novel, which was to focus on the Rikti War of the game's lore, is currently unknown, but would have featured Statesman and the Freedom Phalanx prominently, and covered the actual events of the Rikti War, which is referred to in the official City of Heroes fictional timeline on the game's website.[4] It was originally slated for release in August 2006. As of the present time, NC Soft has made no further information about the book available.

History[edit]

Statesman served in City of Heroes version of World War I under his real name, Marcus Cole,[5] alongside his then friend Stefan Richter (who would go on to become Statesman's primary arch-rival Lord Recluse). They traveled together after the war in an attempt to find a cure for Marcus' potentially fatal exposure to mustard gas. To accomplish this Cole led a double life as a criminal and as James Lancaster, the police officer sworn to take him in. The double life came to an end when he finally stole a scroll that revealed the location of the Fountain of Zeus, which he believed would cure him. Cole and Richter discovered the Fountain of Zeus on an island in Greece and drank from it. As a result, they gained superhuman powers and near-immortality.[5] While at the fountain, they threw open the lid to Pandora's Box (holder of the golden light of Creation) which caused a dramatic increase in the number of superhumans worldwide and is directly responsible for their proliferation in the City of Heroes universe. Marcus went on to sell many of the island's treasures and built up a small fortune in Europe before Stefan, now calling himself Lord Recluse, lured him back to the United States and Paragon City (a fictional city which is located somewhere on the eastern seaborn side of Rhode Island).[6] In order to avenge the deaths of his brother and stepfather, Marcus became the first costumed crimefighter in Paragon's history, The Statesman, going on to found the Freedom Phalanx and saving the city from an attack by the mechanical overlord Nemesis. He continued on as Statesman even after he defeated Recluse following the events of "Brass Monday".[7] Statesman fought in the second World War after fighting crime on his native soil in Paragon City.

Statesman has a keen interest in organizing the hero community as the founder of the Freedom Phalanx and a member of the Vanguard Elite (another supergroup from the City of heroes lore). Statesman is one of the few survivors of the devastating Rikti War[4](an alien-like invasion in the City of Heroes universe) and now spends much of his time aiding and training the new heroes of Paragon City. Though he actively fights crime on his own and with the Phalanx, he is also depicted in the comics as training up-and-coming heroes, a necessity in the days following the Rikti War which killed more than two-thirds of the entire population of heroes.

The novel The Web of Arachnos revealed that the Statesman married Stefan's sister Monica Richter, who had become Maiden Justice. In the second novel, The Freedom Phalanx, it is also revealed she died of cancer in 1976. Official discussion on the City of Heroes message boards revealed that Statesman is the father of retired hero Miss Liberty and grandfather to the current hero Ms. Liberty, whom many players will immediately recognize as one of the two initial trainers new heroes meet in the game.

In the June 2005 Top Cow's issue of City of Heroes, it was revealed that Marcus Cole discovered the fabled "Fountain of Zeus." By drinking from this fountain, he obtained the strength, power, and spirit of the Greek god Zeus. Statesman's seemingly unmatched powers are apparently derived from his status as a near-god. When referring to Zeus, he changes between first and third-person usage. While this seems to contradict the previous origin, there have been some hints that he has not been fully open with his own origin. These events were discussed in detail in The Web of Arachnos.[8]

The Statesman has the reputation of being a bit of a humorless hard-nose when it comes to Hero duties. When being praised/questioned/admired by the younger heroes of the city, he is often stoic in response. In the 10th issue of the City of Heroes comics by Top Cow, he suspended Manticore for use of "excessive force" against the villain Protean, despite the fact that it was the only way to stop him from killing the coming-out-of-retirement Back Alley Brawler.[9] It is believed that Statesman is this way because of how he's had to bid farewell to friends long gone while he remains young and invincible because of the power of Zeus. In recent issues (namely #13), however, it is shown that he is still capable of being friendly and cordial, as indicated by his enthusiastic hug and conversion with the Korean hero Foreshadow (who is also another long-lived entity).[10] The name "Marcus Cole" may be a reference to the character of the same name from Babylon 5.

In September 2011, City of Heroes launched a new story arc called Who Will Die. It was advertised that one of the Freedom Phalanx would perish during the storyline and a new part of the arc would be released each month until its conclusion in part 7. Part 5 was where the major death occurred and it was Statesman that was killed. The villain named Darrin Wade was conducting a scheme of his that involved using mystical artifacts that could transfer power from one person to another. As part of his plan, in part three of the arc, he had the daughter of Statesman, the retired super heroine known as Miss Liberty abducted and killed. In part 5, Statesman was pursuing Wade and walked into a trap that Wade had prepared especially for an incarnate of Zeus which Statesman was. Statesman was trapped and the player would watch a cutscene of Statesman as his powers were siphoned into Darrin Wade while Statesman's life and friends flash before his eyes. Statesman's final vision was that of his wife telling him that it was time for him to move on. Statesman was killed and the player gets to battle Darrin Wade who then leaves to pursue his agenda further. In interviews, Matt Miller a.k.a. Positron has stated that Statesman will remain as the poster hero of the game, and that the upcoming issue 23 update to the game will remove Statesman from the active game that the player experiences. He has also stated that Statesman is indeed deceased and that there are no plans at this time for him to return.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Statesman's more commonly seen abilities are super strength and invulnerability to an incredible degree. The history of Paragon City on the official City of Heroes website details an event during the Cold War in which Statesman was attempting a rescue in Soviet controlled territory. The Soviet military, desperate to prevent the rescue, launched a nuclear missile at the hero. While it killed his charges, Statesman himself ultimately survived, displaying the lengths of his invulnerability.[11] In the game itself, this seems to correspond to the Tanker archetype class and the primary and secondary powers of Invulnerability and Super Strength, respectively. In actuality, however, official statements on the boards have indicated that Statesman and Lord Recluse both belong to an archetype not yet in the game - Incarnate. He can fly under his own power, as seen in both the comics, the novels, and opening video.[12]

A power that was not shown in the game or the spin-off media for years was a limited control over lightning. This was first confirmed by the developers on the message boards as Statesman's signature power and appears on both the Statesman Hero Clix piece and in the COH Trading Card game. Statesman's appearance in the end of the beta event for City of Villains allowed players to read over an extensive list of his powers. In addition to his Tanker primaries and secondaries, Statesman also possesses the flight, fitness, and leadership power pools, as well as his own personal power pool, named simply "Statesman." This pool contained several Electric powers, including the "nuke" Thunderous Blast, which he occasionally used in lieu of Super Strength attacks. Starting with Issue 7, a "Hero" version of Statesman randomly spawns as a reinforcement against villains in Recluse's Victory. This version has been confirmed through testing on the Training Room to use Thunderous Blast in his attack chains. Currently, Statesman within the game uses a new signature power with unique animation which replaces Thunderous Blast, called Zeus' Lightning Bolt.

Officially, Statesman is an Incarnate, one of City of Heroes' Epic Archetypes. This Archetype has not been yet been implemented in the game, and when heroes encounter the NPC version of Statesman on a late game mission, his powers are still based around the Tanker power sets. However, in spite of this, gamers who have encountered Emmert at game events and exhibitions have noted that he has three signature powers unique to his character as well as "Resistance" which is unique to signature character. Whether this is simply reflective of special perks available to Statesman as a "signature character" or if the Incarnate archetype is simply reflected by access to an additional pool of powers remains unknown.

Statesman's superhuman speed, strength, invulnerability and power of flight are reminiscent of DC Comics' most recognizable hero, Superman. However his control over lightning is similar to heroes such as Captain Marvel and Black Adam, among others. His backstory, history, appearance and over-the-top patriotism also bear a striking resemblance to Marvel Comics' Captain America.

In chapter eleven of the first City of Heroes novel The Web of Arachnos, Statesman's transformation from ordinary human to superhuman is described as being accompanied with an amazing increase in the acuity of his senses, particularly vision, smell and hearing. He also appeared to have some form of control over it as well, again in a similar fashion to Superman. It also hints at an increased sense of touch, but this has never been directly stated, while the increase in sight, hearing and smell has been directly stated as having occurred after drinking from the fountain of Zeus.

Alternate versions[edit]

Two evil counterparts of Statesman exist. One is The Reichsman, a version of Statesman who serves as the greatest 'hero' in a world in which the Axis had won World War II and served to keep America under Nazi rule. This particular evil version of the Statesman was ultimately defeated after a battle between his Amerika Corps and Statesman's Freedom Phalanx. The Reichsman remains in cryogenically suspended animation in the primary headquarters of the Freedom Phalanx.[13]

The second evil counterpart to Statesman is yet another alternate dimension version called Tyrant, who leads a group known as the Praetorians. This version of the Freedom Phalanx is every bit the equal of the primary versions of the characters seen within the game, unlike the Amerika Corps, whose training was kept lax by Reichsman to avoid potential rivals to his power. According to Ms. Liberty (Statesman's granddaughter) in issue #16 of the Top Cow comic book based on the game, the Praetorians very nearly beat Statesman to death and tortured him. This version of Statesman remains free and can be found in the City of Heroes game, though how appears to be unknown. The comic insinuates that Tyrant's relationship with Dominatrix, his granddaughter (and the counterpart therefore of Ms. Liberty) may have been incestuous.[14]

Both of these evil versions of the character are stated to be Statesman's equal and possess all of his powers. However, while little is known about Reichsman's personality, Tyrant is depicted in the comic book as overbearingly arrogant and overconfident in his power, believing Statesman to be the weaker of the two of them.

Sean Michael Fish, known to the playerbase as Manticore, who is one of the developers of the City of Heroes game and backstory has stated that the Reichsman will return, leading the return of the Fifth Column, a group of neo-Nazi villains who were replaced by the Council. How this will occur is unknown as this has not yet happened in game, though the statement said that this would occur sometime in 2007. As no information yet released by the official website makes mention of it, this means that Reichsman will likely make his return (and thus his 'on-screen' debut in the game) sometime in the future. This has not been implemented as of March 2009, but the upcoming "Issue 15: Anniversary" will bring it about in the two 5th Column Task Forces.[15]

Marvel litigation[edit]

In a 2004 lawsuit, affiliates of Marvel Comics, among other claims, accused the creators and publishers of City of Heroes of trademark and copyright infringement, calling Statesman "a blatant rip-off of Marvel's Captain America."[16] In 2005, some of Marvel's claims were dismissed,[17] and the remainder of Marvel's claims were settled under undisclosed terms.[18]

Manticore[edit]

Manticore (Justin Sinclair) is the name of two Image Comics superheroes, father and son. The latter is one of the lead heroes in the City of Heroes backstory and the accompanying MMORPG. Created by Sean Michael Fish, he first appeared in City of Heroes Issue #1, Vol. 2. Combining high technology with an anachronistic weapon, Manticore shares similarities with the DC Comics hero Green Arrow and the Marvel Comics hero Hawkeye, and shares similarities to DC's Batman both in his backstory and his no-nonsense approach to crime fighting.

Positron[edit]

Positron (Dr. Raymond Keyes) is a fictional superhero from the City of Heroes backstory. He was created by Matthew Miller, and first appeared in the first issue of the City of Heroes comic. His true name is used only once by Justin Sinclair, and only in the form of "Dr. Keyes". However, in the preview of the second City of Heroes novel City of Heroes: The Freedom Phalanx found at the end of the first novel City of Heroes: Web of Arachnos, his first name is revealed as Raymond. This name is also seen on Positron's card in the now discontinued City of Heroes Collectible Card Game by Alderac Entertainment Group. Despite Positron's use of a suit of high-tech armor, similar to Marvel's Iron Man, it was revealed that due to a minor lab accident, Positron is actually able to control atomic energy, while using his suit as a means to focus that energy. It is revealed that during the Rikti War, he was badly injured and that he had to keep himself locked inside his armor to prevent his now out-of-control radioactive powers from harming others. Later, he was cured and was able to leave his armor.

Sister Psyche[edit]

Sister Psyche is one of the more powerful psychics in Paragon City. After the onslaught of the Rikti War, Shalice Tilman's body was damaged to the extent that Sister Psyche was forced to put her mind into the body of another superheroine, Aurora Borealis. Eventually, Numina attempted to return Sister Psyche's mind to her original body, but this left Aurora Borealis weak, and her husband sought out the assistance of other heroes to help. When the ritual was complete, Sister Psyche returned to her original body.

When Arachnos attacked Paragon City in City of Heroes #1, Sister Psyche's mind was split, again, between herself, and the mind of her former host. Upon being exposed to the Flame of Prometheus, her mind was eventually restored to its original state as well as her powers.

Later on in the series, Sister Psyche is abducted by Arachnos' agents to power a new giant spider-like robot. However, Lord Recluse's plans failed when it was revealed Manticore was a double agent, successfully saving her from a grim fate; unlike the other members of the Freedom Phalanx, Shalice was in on Manticore's plans. This arc in the series lays hints at a relationship between Sister Psyche and Manticore, though she initially states that what Manticore feels for her can't be accurately described as love. Oddly, the final arc of the series culminates in Sister Psyche's acceptance of Manticore's marriage proposal.

On February 14, 2008 in an in game event on the Training Room Server, Manticore and Sister Psyche tied the knot, though immediately after the ceremony, they were attacked by Lord Recluse and his minions, but fended off the attack.

Sister Psyche can control the minds of others and protect herself and her teammates with force fields. Within the comics, she has also displayed the ability to read the minds of others, making her quite the accomplished telepath. This has allowed her to inform her teammates on their enemies' weaknesses as well as their identities. However, she is known to be incapable or less effective at probing other telepaths. Her telepathy also allows her to communicate with others, even across large distances, as seen multiple times in the comics. She also has a special "Mindriding" ability that allows her to go from mind to mind freely. However, her own body is inert while in this process, and it is vital for her to escape a person's mind upon their death or she will suffer their same fate.

Sadly, during the Story Arc "Who Will Die?", due the manipulations of the villain Darrin Wade who had already killed Statesman, Manticore was forced to kill her as her powers went out of control, causing her to inflict mental pain on everyone in Paragon City. When she was killed, Wade was able to absorb her powers.

Synapse[edit]

Synapse, also known as Steve Barry, is one of the fastest heroes in Paragon City. He used to work as an accountant at Crey Industries, one of the various villainous groups in the games, until he one day discovered an accounting discrepancy on a project that his friend Dr. Raymond Keyes (the future Positron), and another Crey scientist Dr. Rudy Bein were working on. He searched for the discrepancy, and when he was told by his supervisors that it was simply an error, he had his friend and co-worker Diego Alvarez search the database for the discrepancy which he showed to his employers. They thanked him for the help that he and Alvarez had done for them. That night, Barry was abducted at gunpoint from his desk and taken down to Dr. Bein's secret laboratory where they performed DNA manipulation. Diego was killed instantly by Bein, but Steve was subjected to high doses of electricity for several days, while Dr. Bein questioned him about Dr. Keyes as he felt he could not match the other superior scientist. On one day, Steve Barry managed to release a powerful blast of electricity, sending Bein across the room and freeing him from his restraints. He made his way to Ray's lab where he collapsed and was saved by Bein and his thugs when Ray put on the suit they had been working on. When Steve finally healed, he now had electrical and super speed powers. However, Crey Industries refuses to acknowledge what had happened to Steve, now known as Synapse, as they still have to show that they are not using the government funding for evil.

Maiden Justice[edit]

Maiden Justice, also known as Monica Richter or Monica Cole, first appeared in Web of Arachnos. When Marcus and Ezra Cole's parents died, Monica's father, Rudy Richter, took in the two orphans. The pair grew up alongside the young girl and her older brother, Stefan Richter. As years passed and Stefan and Marcus left to fight in the Great War, Ezra joined the police force and Rudy continued to edit and publish the Paragon Free Press, the only truthful newspaper in the city. Monica kept up correspondence with Marcus, writing him monthly for nearly 15 years. At times she would receive letters back, but when Marcus became a "soldier of fortune" in Europe, those precious letters came less and less frequently.

When she had truly grown up, Monica became the crime reporter for the Free Press. Ezra, one of the few good cops in the city, showed her the corruption of the government. Shortly after he showed her, he foolishly walked into an ambush with no backup and died at the hands of a 19th-century Prussian mastermind known as Nemesis. The only clue was a spot of motor oil beneath the body. Monica sent more letters to her long-time friend, Marcus, entreating him to return to Paragon and avenge his brother, but none of the letters she sent reached him, as they were being intercepted by her own brother, who hoped to turn the city into a technocracy. Soon after this, Rudy Richter was found dead with the same clues. Soon, Marcus returned to Paragon City and began his fight against injustice. Over time, Marcus and Monica realized they loved each other, got married and had at least one daughter, Miss Liberty (not to be confused with her granddaughter, Jessica Cole, who is Ms. Liberty).

In order to defend herself as a reporter, Monica began taking Jiu Jitsu from Masahito Mirimoto. Strangely, many who watched her practice noticed that an inexplicable golden glow seemed to emanate from her as she fought. This glow seemed to make her not only stronger, but faster as well. This power came from the opening of Pandora's Box and the release of the golden light of Creation. It was this light that allowed other heroes to be formed, as well. As time progressed, Monica adopted the super-hero alias "Maiden Justice" and became one of the founding members of the Freedom Phalanx, the group of heroes led by Statesman and sworn to defeat not only Lord Recluse, but also Nemesis.

In the fall of 1986, Monica died from cancer. She was survived by her husband Marcus, daughter Alexis (Miss Liberty), and granddaughter Jessica (Ms. Liberty).

War Witch[edit]

War Witch originally appeared in the promotional issue of the City of Heroes comic book.[19] She then was a primary character in the Blue King Studios-run of the comics, appearing alongside the characters Apex and Horus. She has since appeared in the game as a Trainer (a NPC who players go to in order to level up) in an ethereal form, and then in a physical form in the renovated Pocket D dance club zone. She has also made minor appearances in the Top Cow Productions run of the City of Heroes comic book.

Clarissa Moore is a witch who works alongside and lives with martial artist Hernando Barrera (Apex) in the Steel Canyon region of Paragon City. In the City of Heroes universe, she is a "Blaster", or a hero who relies on long-ranged attacks. Her powers allow her to freeze enemies at a distance as well as wield a fiery sword. She also has access to a coven which assists her, until all of the members are killed by the villain Requiem. She, too, dies at his hand, but not until weakening him enough to allow Horus and Apex to defeat him.[20]

She later appears on the island situated upon the lake in the haunted zone of Salamanca (known in the game as "Croatoa") as a guide for heroes within, although she is only able to appear there because of the region and her own mystical powers.

Another War Witch, identical in appearance to the ghostly version and the version seen in the comics is present in the Pocket D dance club, overlooking the dance floor. While there have been various hints, it is not entirely clear if this War Witch is the original Clarissa Moore, a version from an alternate Earth or if she and the ghost version are the same entity.

Ms. Liberty[edit]

Born as Jessica Cole, Ms. Liberty is the granddaughter of The Statesman (Marcus Cole) and his now-deceased wife, Maiden Justice, and the daughter of Maiden Justice's successor Miss Liberty. She has taken up the fight to protect not just Paragon City but the world, as a figurehead of the Freedom Corps and their paramilitary wing, known as Longbow. She is also heavily involved in the recruitment and training of heroes, and is usually the first stop on a novice hero's journey when they first arrive in Atlas Park.

Although she does not have the godlike power of her grandfather, Ms. Liberty's lineage gives her fearsome strength and resistance to damage. Her powers are amplified by the magical Liberty Belt passed down through her mother's side of the family, and she is expert in several forms of martial arts.

Ms. Liberty's "head cheerleader" stereotype is reinforced in the comics, depicting her as having a slightly humorless and superior attitude, as well as an ambitious thirst to prove herself and step out of the shadow of her forebears. She resents being referred to as "Statesman's Sidechick".

Ms. Liberty's "evil twin" on the Praetorian mirror world is Dominatrix, whose minions dress in fetishwear and carry energy whips. Their presence in-game is a frequent source of surprise to players encountering them for the first time, as well as debate and humor amongst the community. When depicted in the comic book City of Heroes #18, Dominatrix was as wild and untamed as Ms. Liberty was strait-laced, leading to much confusion.

Ms. Liberty has made several guest appearances at comic book fan conventions in Europe, often alongside regular nemesis Ghost Widow.

Arachnos[edit]

Arachnos is a criminal group formed in the early part of the 20th century in Italy by a man known as The Weaver. Later, a villain called Lord Recluse took over the global network of Arachnos though betrayal; murder surely played a role. After taking over, Recluse subtly shifted Arachnos' priorities and interests to better suit his own ideological goals.[21]

Lord Recluse went underground before emerging as the "legitimate" leader of the Rogue Isles, the nation shown in City of Villains. Arachnos controls the Isles and Lord Recluse is considered a political figure, though he privately relishes the rare times he's able to get blood on his hands. Ruling a nation has allowed Lord Recluse to create armed forces, purchase military hardware, and research alien technology, increasing Arachnos' power. Now Arachnos fights to capture Paragon City.

Lord Recluse[edit]

Lord Recluse
Rndr Lord Recluse 02.png
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
First appearance City of Heroes
Created by Sean Michael Fish
In-story information
Alter ego Stefan Richter
Team affiliations Arachnos
Abilities Invulnerability, Super-strength, Heightened intellect, Proto-steel coated "legs" affixed to his back

Lord Recluse is a fictional super-villain and archnemesis of the super-hero Statesman, from the PC videogames City of Heroes and City of Villains, created by Sean Michael Fish.

Biography[edit]

Lord Recluse began his life as the technocrat named Stefan Richter, an American of Austrian descent. His father, an Austrian immigrant named Rudy Richter, took it upon himself to care for Marcus Cole, whose mother had died in childbirth while his father drank himself to death. Stefan and Marcus soon became best friends, and served together during the Great War.

During the war, Marcus was exposed to the deadly German mustard gas, and his lungs became chronically ill. In hopes of finding a cure, Marcus and Stefan became thieves in search of the fabled Fountain of Zeus. After stealing an ancient Greek scroll, an early version of the Herodotus' "Histories", from a London museum, the two set out to locate a long-lost Greek island called Praxidae, which was said to house the mythical Well of Furies, beneath which the Fountain of Zeus resided. After locating the island and drinking from the fountain, both Marcus and Stefan were endowed with god-like powers that rivaled those of the demigods from myth and legend, curing Marcus' deadly ailment. Before leaving the island, however, the two uncovered an artifact thought to be Pandora's Box. Upon opening the box, which stored all of the creativity of humankind for the last millennium, its power was released unto the world, effectively starting another Golden Age of super-powered heroes.

After the collapse of the cave in which the fountain and the box were housed, Stefan was washed into the open ocean. A friend named Billy had come to search for Stefan in a lifeboat. Billy attempted to pull Stefan from the frigid waters but, Stefan realized he did not need to be rescued from his new destiny; instead, he decided to embrace it. Stefan reached up, to take Billy by the throat, easily snapping his friend's neck and dumping his body into the ocean depths. Stefan then climbed into the lifeboat and headed towards his new future, and his descent into evil. By then, Stefan came upon a revelation in which he would use his newfound power to pave the way to a new age of science for mankind, officially marking his descent to evil. After the events that took place on the island of Praxidae, Stefan joined a shady Italian-based organization named Arachnos, then led by the mysterious figure only known as the Weaver, and was put in charge of the group's American branch based in Paragon City, Rhode Island. During his time within Arachnos, Stefan quickly climbed ranks and became known as the man called Recluse.

Physical changes also started appearing, with Stefan's eyes progressively beginning to have almost allergic reactions to bright light, and steadily growing red and burning with malevolence, a sign of his status as the evil god, Tartarus (also sometimes called Hades); his back, through Stefan's focused manipulation of his dark power, began developing a hump which later was used to house eight massive arachnid-like arms. Upon further enhancement, the arms were outfitted with super-strong steel claws, made from a fictional alloy called proto-steel. Completing his transformation, he became known as Lord Recluse, and Stefan Richter was no more.

After Recluse's battle with Statesman, Marcus Cole's alter-ego, the evil mastermind went into hiding. During this unspecified time-period, through an assassination of the Weaver, Lord Recluse usurped power, becoming the unquestioned leader of Arachnos. The assassination was carried out by a woman only known as Red Widow. Lord Recluse established his base of operations on the Estoile Islands, nicknamed the Rogue Isles, a fictional archipelago off of the American east coast.

Powers[edit]

Lord Recluse possesses super-human levels of strength, speed, and stamina. He also has four pairs (or eight arms) of arachnid-like claws that appear to be sheathed in proto-metal armor. While Lord Recluse isn't as strong as his archnemesis, the Statesman, his intellect, amplified by the powers of the Well of the Furies, is considered the most powerful on the planet. Like Statesman's exposure to the Well of the Furies, it has made also made Lord Recluse virtually immortal. While he can be killed, he may live many millennia, though not even the ancient Furies are sure how long Statesman's and Recluse's lives will last. The official website lists him as the Mastermind archetype, who can summon henchmen to aide him in fights. While the player-controlled Mastermind can only control and summon up to six henchmen, Recluse's status as the leader of Arachnos obviously allows him to control many more. It is worth noting that, due to the fact that the source of his power is the same as Statesman's, that he may be an Incarnate as well, despite being listed as a Mastermind Archetype. Both characters appear primarily as NPCs, and Statesman's NPC incarnation uses a Tanker powerset, so it is not impossible that Lord Recluse is an Incarnate, and simply listed as a Mastermind archetype because of the Incarnate Archetype not having been implemented yet.

Ghost Widow[edit]

Ghost Widow was originally a Night Widow agent for Arachnos named Belladonna Veterano. She was an expert spy and a master of stealth, infiltration and disguise. When she was killed on a mission, she re-manifested as a spirit. She is often accompanied by the Wretch, an Arachnos soldier who was hideously scarred and mutated in his attempt to prevent Ghost Widow's death.

In her ghostly form, she can phase through walls and becomes solid only to interact with the everyday world. She can drain and transfer life force from victims as well as summon spirits to attack her enemies. She is the leader of the Fortunatas, the psychic footsoldiers of Arachnos, as well as the Night Widows.

A model dressed as Ghost Widow has made several promotional appearances since the launch of City of Villains, and is a popular attraction at comic book conventions.[citation needed]

Captain Mako[edit]

Born as Gideon Ray, Captain Mako has shark-like features due to genetic mutation. Abandoned by his parents, he ended up in an orphanage. After several mysterious deaths, Ray fled to the sea where he continued to mutate. He eventually joined a pirate gang and took the name "Mako". Mako and his pirates set up base on Sharkhead Island and came into conflict with Lord Recluse when Arachnos came to take over the island base. The pirates were defeated, but Mako switched sides, ending up as Lord Recluse's bodyguard. He has since teamed up with villainess Barracuda and the magic race known as the Coralax. Captain Mako also leads the Crab Spider soldiers of Arachnos. He is a truly feral killer, and by far the most bloodthirsty of the Arachnos Patrons.

Scirocco[edit]

Scirocco was the name given to a great hero who controlled the powers of the storm and the winds, similar to the sirocco he was named after. A hero in Paragon City in the 1980s also held the name of "Scirocco" in honor of the long dead hero of the Middle East. His powers came from a group of monks who kept the Temple of the Four Winds. The current Scirocco, a man named Imad Malak, found the tomb of the hero, including all of the former heroes' greatest magics, the bottle of a d'jinn named Serafina, and a magical scimitar named after the d'jinn. He, too, was later chosen to take up the mantle of the Scirocco of the Four Winds by the monks, until he turned on them and eventually became one of the higher-ranked officials in the Arachnos organization under Lord Recluse. During his time in Arachnos, he has brought the villainess Irena Rudenko, also known as Ice Mistral, under his wing as she too holds the power of the Temple of the Four Winds and has gone mad with its power.

Today, Scirocco leads the legions of Mu Mystics that are used as Arachnos' magical soldiers. For Villains in City of Villains that prove themselves to him, he grants them some of the powers of the Mu, including the ability to conjure lightning and lead a small squadron of Mu Mystics for their own uses.

Lord Nemesis[edit]

Little is known about the enigmatic Lord Nemesis. He is the self-anointed "Prussian Prince of Automatons". His true face has not been seen in over a century; in an attempt to preserve himself, he has purposefully sealed himself inside one of his many suits of armor, supposedly fashioned into his likeness.

Lord Nemesis is a very charismatic individual and a brilliant mind, able to rival the scientific minds of the time, such as Lord Recluse, Vandal of the Council, and Weaver One of the Arachnos Orb Weavers. With his undying charisma, and several unknown methods, he has raised a deadly army of 19th century styled soldiers.

Some of his greatest achievements stand upon the threshold of changing the very scope of humanity. At the conclusion of World War II, Lord Nemesis overthrew the United States, and crowned himself the Emperor of the Americas, implementing several fail-safe measures to make sure no one tried to question him. His reign was short, and he was dethroned by the heroes that fought in Europe. His other large achievement, or perhaps his greatest blunder, was the instigation of the Rikti War. Utilizing advanced Automaton replicas he had designed and built himself of the Freedom Phalanx, Lord Nemesis used Portal Technology, also designed and built himself, to send the automatons to attack the Rikti Homeworld. Having been provoked like this, the Rikti began a war that nearly brought the Earth to its knees, taking with it thousands of human and Rikti casualties, and the destruction of most of the world's heroes, including the British signature hero, Hero 1.

Lord Nemesis' other achievements lie in his indirect approach to Paragon City. He is responsible for many villain groups in the game, including the Family, a criminal organization much like the mafia, and the Sky Raiders, a band of mercenaries that utilize cutting edge technology. He is the financial backer of these groups, and many others, giving subtle orders and ideas from the shadows.

Lord Nemesis is an extremely adept tinkerer and engineer, and uses his genius intellect to build many weapons, devices and other pieces of technology for use by his army. While his steam and clockwork creations may appear old fashioned, they are some of the most advanced pieces of technology on the planet, outperforming almost all of the world's militaries, and even rivaling the technologies of alien species, including the Rikti.

Issue 19 reveals that Lord Nemesis will survive many thousands of years into the future and will eventually become the last surviving member of the human race, causing him to travel back in time to the present as Mender Silos, leader of the time altering group known as Ouroboros.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ftp://ftp.coh.com/comics/promotional/coh_promo_issue.pdf
  2. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=xy_fAAAACAAJ&dq=Web+of+Arachnos&ei=TjcISpKZJZTOkwTKrYiaDw&client=firefox-a
  3. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=kpCSlyhagsoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Freedom+Phalanx&ei=ezcIStDGLIGulATumqTABA&client=firefox-a#PPA1,M1
  4. ^ a b http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_info/history/paragon_city_alien_invasion.html
  5. ^ a b http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_info/history/paragon_city_founding_and_the.html
  6. ^ http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_info/know_your_adversary/the_family.html"...the New England mafia, ruling from Paragon, Rhode Island"
  7. ^ http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_info/geography/the_zones_of_paragon_city_stee.html
  8. ^ http://www.cityofheroes.com/media_and_downloads/official_comic_archive/comic_archive.html
  9. ^ ftp://ftp.coh.com/comics/topcow/comic_10.pdf
  10. ^ ftp://ftp.coh.com/comics/topcow/comic_13.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_info/history/paragon_city_the_cold_war.html
  12. ^ ftp://ftp.coh.com/movies/coh_cinematic_720.mov
  13. ^ http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_info/history/paragon_city_other_worlds_disc.html
  14. ^ ftp://ftp.coh.com/comics/topcow/comic_16.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_15/issue_15_overview.html
  16. ^ Carole E. Handler (21 January 2005). "Second amended complaint" (PDF). Marvel Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. NCSoft Corporation, et al. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  17. ^ Judge R. Gary Klausner (9 March 2005). "Order striking and dismissing the complaint in part" (PDF). Marvel Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. NCSoft Corporation, et al. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Marvel Entertainment, Inc., NCsoft Corporation, NC Interactive, Inc., Cryptic Studios, Inc. Settle All Litigation". NCsoft. 14 December 2005. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  19. ^ Richard Dakan (w), Rick Zombo (a). City of Heroes 1 (2002), Dark Horse Comics
  20. ^ Neil Hendrick (w), Brandon McKinney (a). City of Heroes 12 (May 2005), Blue King Studios
  21. ^ "City of Villains Game Info: Enemies - Arachnos". www.cityofvillains.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2007-09-26.