The Establishment (comics)
The Establishment #1
|Group publication information|
|First appearance||The Authority #24 (July 2001)|
|Created by||Ian Edginton|
|Type of organization||Team|
|Agent(s)||Jon Drake, Mister Pharmacist, Equus, Scarlet, George Bulman, Christopher Truelove, The Golden|
The Baron (KIA)
|Series publication information|
|Publication date||November 2001 – November 2002|
|Number of issues||13|
The Establishment is a super hero group that was operated by the British government within the Wildstorm Universe. The comic of the same name was published by American company WildStorm Productions, and ran from 2001 to 2002. It was created by Ian Edginton and Charlie Adlard, who were also sole creative team throughout its entire 13 issue run.
The series focused on the exploits of the current incarnation of the group while defending Britain and the world from various threats including Daemonite attacks, invasion from little green Venusians, plagues of zombies, and an attempt at recreating the universe.
While the majority of the series was self-contained and had little connection with the rest of the Wildstorm Universe, several minor characters, concepts and hanging plot threads were incorporated into its run. It also was heavily influenced by British Pop Culture and incorporated various cameos and nods to the various TV series and novels that inspired it.
The title ran from November 2001 to November 2002.
- Jon Drake: Not much is known about Jon Drake or his past. He apparently has been a member of The Establishment for many years prior to the start of the series, and serves as its current leader. Drake also has an alternate superpowered form known as The Templar, accessed by saying the word "Abraxas" (a nod to Miracleman, who in turn was based on Captain Marvel). The Templar was a British hero who was rumored to have died in China during the 1960s. Information regarding this form is sketchy, but it seems that something happened that has driven The Templar insane. In his Jon Drake form he displayed no powers and seems completely human. The full extant of his powers in The Templar form are unknown, but he has displayed high-level super strength. Jon Drake seems to be based on the character of the same name from the television show Danger Man and its possible sequel, the seminal work The Prisoner.
- Mister Pharmacist: Real name, Stephen Chandra. A brilliant and gifted mind from an early age, Stephen Chandra excelled in just about every academic endeavour he attempted. He aced his A-levels while a mere child and entered college about ten years later. In 1992 he had deduced the "snowflake" shape of the multiverse and had begun to create a biological version of the computer created by Axel Brass within his own brain. Unfortunately the effects of the experiment caused him neurological damage and left him at death's door a mere three years later. It was then that the sentient universe known as "Aleph" contacted him. A deal was struck in which Chandra's body would be repaired and improved upon and in return Aleph would reside in his mind, experiencing life through Chandra. His fingers all end in syringes, which have been shown to have a variety of effects including diagnostic and healing abilities. He can also create small singularities and emit enormous amounts of energy, but usually does not use these powers because of the massive damage they inflict on his surroundings and danger they pose to his teammates. Mister Pharmacist seems to be based on the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, the protagonist of the British SF series Doctor Who, as well as the world renown British scientist; Dr. Stephen Hawking, a cosmologist who was also crippled by Motor Neuron Disease.
- Equus: Real name, Raphe Equus. Equus is the result of 400 years of selective breeding, an attempt to create gifted individuals that was started by Dr. John Dee and the man known as "Mother" during the creation of the first incarnation of Establishment. His powers are unknown, but based upon certain events within the series it is fair to say that he probably has some levels of super strength, endurance, and intelligence. Equus is loosely based on John Steed from the television show The Avengers.
- Scarlet: Real name, Scarlet Fantastic. Twenty years ago Scarlet washed ashore on an isolated British beach with no memory of who she was or where she came from, and speaking Sanskrit. Initially the villagers believed her to be a selkie, but the local priest took her in when he recognized the language she was speaking and nursed her back to health. When she was in college, she worked as a stripper to pay for her tuition. She was hired to dance at a birthday party, where she fell in love with Equus. Eventually she was brought into The Establishment and married him, but her origins still remain a mystery. Her powers seem to include superhuman strength, endurance, limited superhuman speed and a genius-level IQ. Scarlet is loosely based on the character Emma Peel from The Avengers and the long-running super-strong comic strip character Garth from the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper, whose origin also involved being washed ashore with no memory of his past.
- George Bulman: Not much is known about Bulman. He is shown to be a bit of a drunk and generally just an average person. His life prior to the series is not disclosed, nor is it really known how he got involved in the incident involving pygmies that resulted in him sharing his body with Truelove, though it seems that Jenny Sparks had a part in it. He has displayed no powers outside of his ability to channel the deceased Truelove. He appears to be a nod to Jeffrey Randall of Randall and Hopkirk.
- Christopher Truelove: A gay cop who, through a bizarre incident involving pygmies living in the sewers of London, died and ended up with his soul sharing a body with the man responsible for his death, George Bulman. While dead he could enter into a realm known as "The Dead Space" which acted as a passage for deceased souls on their way to their final resting place. He could also manifest himself in our world as an incorporeal ghost. He appears to be a nod to Marty Hopkirk of Randall and Hopkirk.
- The Golden: Real names, Alex, Stuart and Will. Three children who were the sole survivors of a plane crash in the Himalayas. They were found by a race of sentient, furry humanoids who then took the trio to a chamber and placed them before "The Great Metavac" who then imbued them with their superpowers. These powers seem to include flight and energy projection from their eyes. The Golden seem to be loosely based on the children from the book The Midwich Cuckoos and the characters Craig Sterling, Sharon Macready and Richard Barrett from the 1960s ITC television show The Champions (played by Alex Bastedo, Stuart Damon and William Gaunt) – a trio of secret agents who were granted superhuman mental and physical abilities by a lost civilisation in Tibet, following a plane crash.
- The Baron: Deceased. Real name, Ian Hotspur. Almost no information exists regarding Ian. He was killed in action during the first issue during a battle with a horde of Daemonites. His powers, history, and more are all unknown, but he was able to summon a protective armour made out of hard light including two batons of the same material.
Other notable characters
- Charlie Arrows: During the 1960s Arrows served within the British military and was stationed in the South Pacific. He spent several months doing manual labor, preparing fortifications and buildings for an experiment headed up by the British Rocket Group. The experiment failed and wiped out nearly everyone present, and most of the survivors died shortly after due to various cancers. For some reason Arrows survived and came out of the mishap with a limited form of precognition. He used this to help him as a career criminal throughout the 70's and 80's. Eventually he too was diagnosed with cancer and returned to his old home just as it was being overrun by a horde of Daemonites. During this incident he died due to the cancer, but was brought back through the combined efforts of Truelove and Mister Pharmacist, who also removed the cancer from his brain. With the cancer gone his powers underwent a radical change and he suddenly found himself capable of changing the form of any kind of substance he came into contact with (for example, he turned an opponent into several rolls of toilet paper, and transformed matter from a table into a physical body for Truelove, even warping an old associate into a different dimension). Not long after he went in search of missing granddaughter, which led him into the clutches of Dr. Orwell, who used his newfound powers in an attempt to rewrite reality. His powers were originally a result of a quantum singularity that was formed in his head after being exposed to the fallout of the British Rocket Groups experiment. His body attempted to reject this singularity by forming a cancer around it, the combination seemed to grant him the limited ability to see into the near future. After the Pharmacist removed the cancer his powers were greatly increased to the point where he could transform any matter he came into contact with.
- Mother: Brother of Orwell, the human later known as 'Mother' and his brother were the children of a time traveler (based on the protagonist in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine) and a woman from the future. The two children were inspired by their father's tales and built their own time machine. They traveled to the end of time and witnessed the robotic intelligence that evolved from Spartan and Mister Majestic creating a new universe after the death of the current one. Orwell became inspired, believing that if he could reprogram Spartan he could control the form of the new universe and become its God. His brother tried to stop him, but Orwell tried to kill him. The resulting struggle crashed their timeship and 'Mother' landed in 16th century England, where Mother was found by Dr. John Dee, who thought he was a fallen angel (the timecrash had put parts of Mother outside of time: his right leg and his left upper torso, arm and side of his face were invisible and intangible). Mother and Dee gathered metahumans and founded the first Establishment. They also started genetic experiments which would result in Equus 400 years later. Mother planned on using these warriors against Orwell when he would reappear. Mother was immortal (a side-effect of him being partly outside of time) and had an artificial left hand constructed with hidden weaponry inside it.
- Lucy Arrows: The missing Grand Daughter of Charlie Arrows, her grandpa's old lady had kids whom he'd not known of as Charlie walked out on her at the time. Alienating him from the latter and said family she'd raised, Lucy was born only moments after her mother passed away giving birth to her eventually ending up in the care of her Grandmother Rose. But having grown tired of her sheltered family life and the tightfisted ways of her surrogate parent, she eventually ran away from home. Learning to grow and survive while out on the streets of London Lucy would inherit her own set of superpowers passed down from her grandpa Charlie Arrows; her ability enables her superhuman speed and a deep red energy stream which trails behind her whenever she's in motion that cuts like a monofilament edge. Her time as an orphan had hardened her outlook on life eventually applying her talents for petty theft whilst surviving on the streets of London. After a time the young Arrow's girl would run into Dr. Orwell who would come to take her in and train her as his personal attendant/enforcer while out on their jaunts, when news turned up that her other grandparent had gone about sniffing around for his only remaining family; she and Orwell set out to find and recruit him to his cause. Lucy's relation to her mentor was one of mutually beneficial respect, one where she'd be paid handsomely for her services to the latter and the good bad doctor admired her enough to not outright dominate her will like he did with many of his other associates. But this quickly changed when she grew disgusted with how Orwell had been manipulating her pop's considerable gifts for personal gain and without his consent, eventually causing the two to turn on him.
- Dr. Orwell: Brother of 'Mother', Orwell and his brother were the children of a time traveler (based on the protagonist in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine) and a woman from the future. The two children were inspired by their father's tales and built their own time machine. They traveled to the end of time and witnessed the robotic intelligence that evolved from Spartan and Mister Majestic creating a new universe after the death of the current one. Orwell became inspired, believing that if he could reprogram Spartan he could control the form of the new universe and become its God. His brother tried to stop him, but Orwell tried to kill him. The resulting struggle crashed their timeship and Orwell landed in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908. Unlike his brother, Orwell was unharmed. During the 20th century he gathered resources and influence so he could return to the future to reprogram Spartan. The Establishment and Charlie Arrows unwittingly foiled his first attempt, but Orwell recruited Arrows later to help him.
- Maggie Sun: First appeared in The Establishment #11 and would go on to appear in her own limited series Black Sun.