JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Black Adam! More Birds, but not in Hand

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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Mera! Tempest! Dolphin! Aqualad!

Post by Ken »

JDRook wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:34 pm {POP!} There you go! Was that so hard? Nothing wrong with a little fan-service in the name of fun, right?
Bug, you sounded like you were very hard when you interrupted poor JD. Then again, so was Arthur. And Garth.
W: Professor Plum, you were once a professor of psychiatry specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur.

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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Mera! Tempest! Dolphin! Aqualad!

Post by JDRook »

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Aqualad - PL 9

Strength 9, Stamina 7, Agility 2, Dexterity 3, Fighting 4, Intellect 1, Awareness 2, Presence 0

Advantages
Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll, Ranged Attack

Skills
Athletics 4 (+13), Perception 6 (+8), Ranged Combat: Xebelian Powers 2 (+5)

Powers
Aquatic
. . Immunity 3 (Environmental Condition: Cold, Environmental Condition: High Pressure, Suffocation: Drowning)

Swimming 10 (Speed: 500 miles/hour, 1 mile/round)

Dimensional Key: Feature 1
Travel to Xebel: Burst Area Movement 1 (Dimensional: Xebel 1: one dimension, 50 lbs.; Affects Others, Burst Area 5: 500 feet radius sphere, DC 11; Custom 2: Limited to at the Bermuda Triangle)


Xebelian Powers
. . Control Water: Move Object 7 (3 tons, DC 22; Damaging; Limited Material: Water)
. . Electrical Blast: Damage 10 (DC 25; Accurate: +2, Increased Range: ranged)
. . Shape Water: Create 7 (Volume: 125 cft., DC 17; Movable)
. . Water Bearers: Strength-based Damage 1 (DC 25; Penetrating 4, Reach (melee) 4: 20 ft., Split: 2 targets)

Offense
Initiative +2
Control Water: Move Object 7, +6 (DC 22)
Electrical Blast: Damage 10, +8 (DC 25)
Grab, +8 (DC Spec 19)
Throw, +4 (DC 24)
Unarmed, +8 (DC 24)
Water Bearers: Strength-based Damage 1, +8 (DC 25)

Complications
Enemy: Black Manta has sworn revenge on Aqualad and the Xebelians certainly have plans for him.
Responsibility: Aqualad didn’t ask for his powers, but he’s accepted his fate.
The Key: Aqualad is a living key, capable of opening or closing the Bermuda Triangle’s portal to the extradimensional Xebel.

Defense
Dodge 10, Parry 10, Fortitude 8, Toughness 8/7, Will 8

Power Points
Abilities 56 + Powers 44 + Advantages 6 + Skills 6 (12 ranks) + Defenses 21 = 133

This Aqualad seems to tie in a lot of the elements mentioned in the other Aquafriends entries. Jackson Hyde is a landlubber, raised in New Mexico by adopted loving parents but with Atlantean powers inherited from his biological mother, and his father turns out to be Aquaman's arch, Black Manta. He's also from Xebel, the extradimensional penal colony that Mera is from, plus he was experimented on (like Dolphin, but by Xebelians, not aliens) to become a key to enter or escape Xebel. This gets him pulled into the political aqua-antics of Atlantis, learning to control his powers along the way and eventually taking on the mantle of Aqualad. The DCA bio makes no mention of Jackson being called Kaldur'ahm or the Teen Titans or Young Justice or that he's openly gay, so I'm not sure if all that is post-52 or just didn't make the cut.

Mechanically, he's similar of course but possibly missing a few pieces. His Aquatic package doesn't include EnviroAdapt or Low-Light Vision like all the other Atlanteans, but it's not clear if this is because he's only half-Atlantean, he was raised on land most of his life, or they just forgot to add it, but he still swims the same speed as Aquaman. The Dimensional Key effects costs him 7p altogether, which seems like a lot for a plot device that only works in the Bermuda Triangle; it could just as easily be treated as a Feature that lets him power stunt a group dimensional teleport off his Xebel powers.

The Xebelian Powerset has a few little details that tickle my brain. Control Water is an MO Limited to Water, but the trick with that is that should mean it only moves that amount of water, whereas if you don't limit it and just use water as the Descriptor, you can use it to move or grab or trip anything you want at full rank without needing literally tons of water. (Thought experiment: do the same thing with Air.) In this particular case you don't even need the Flaw to save points; just use Insufficient Water as a Complication and you're covered. Also, it should be noted the Water-bearers are not built as Devices, which is fine, but it's not clear if they can be disarmed or taken, which could again be a Complication. They could also easily be built with more Reach and full Penetration for Damage for no additionaly cost, but presumably they were building to concept.

Overall he's an RtP PL9, except the math's wrong (again) with a point under in each of Powers and Defense that's impossible to backtrack. He hits his offensive caps with his Blast and Water-bearers, favoring Damage, and caps his physical defenses but only PL8 on his F/W, unlike every other Atlantean except Aquaman (who's PL11 defensively across the board). With the handful of leftover points you could make a few adjustment and/or build up his skills or advantages to specialize him a bit more, but like the others he's a solid Warrior type who gets some added utility from his hydrokinesis.
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Mera! Tempest! Dolphin! Aqualad!

Post by Jabroniville »

Lol, nice. Love the interplay- like when Randall argues on J-Mart :). And a fun history of Dolphin, about whom I knew almost nothing- just that she was the whiny wife of Tempest in Devin Grayson’s Titans run, and that she’d bed-hopped between Aquadudes.
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Mera! Tempest! Dolphin! Aqualad!

Post by JDRook »

Jabroniville wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:21 am . . . a fun history of Dolphin, about whom I knew almost nothing- just that she was the whiny wife of Tempest in Devin Grayson’s Titans run, and that she’d bed-hopped between Aquadudes.
Honestly, there's not a lot out there. I just pieced together what I could find on fansites and wikis. The guy who created her seemed to have no other DC creations, so I presume no one actually used her in many stories until Forgotten Heroes in the 80s and that might have prompted using her as AQ's rebound; the reasons I just made up. I don't have Expertise: DC Comics +18 like Ambush Bug, but I can fake a lot of authority using his voice, like Mel Brooks as the 2000 year old man. It was fun to do and giving it a bit of an arc was a good challenge.
Love the interplay- like when Randall argues on J-Mart :).
I was inspired a bit by that, but I wouldn't want to step on any toes.

And now, coming up in the Gods & Monsters aisle: Ares!
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by JDRook »

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Ares - PL 16

Strength 16, Stamina 16, Agility 5, Dexterity 5, Fighting 16, Intellect 6, Awareness 10, Presence 6

Advantages
Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Assessment, Benefit 5: Status and resources of Olympian god of war, Chokehold, Daze (Intimidation), Defensive Attack, Equipment 5, Fascinate (Deception), Fearless, Improved Critical 4: Archaic Ranged Weapons, Improved Critical 4: Guns, Improved Critical 4: Melee Weapons, Improved Critical 4: Unarmed, Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Power Attack, Precise Attack (Close, Concealment), Ranged Attack 11, Ritualist, Weapon Bind, Weapon Break

Skills
Athletics 4 (+20), Deception 12 (+18), Expertise: Magic 6 (+12), Expertise: Olympus 12 (+18), Expertise: Warfare 20 (+26), Insight 6 (+16), Intimidation 14 (+20), Perception 6 (+16), Persuasion 6 (+12), Stealth 4 (+9)

Powers

Arsenal of Areopagus (Penetrating 16, Precise, Reach (melee): 5 ft.)
Divine Armor: Impervious Toughness 16

Body of a God
. . Enhanced Strength 4 (+4 STR; Limited to Lifting)
. . Immortality 16 (Return after 1 minute; Limited: Non-magical damage)
. . Immunity 30 (Fortitude Effects)
. . Morph 4 (+20 Deception checks to disguise; Any form)

Godly Magic
. . Divine Flames: Damage 16 (DC 31; Increased Range: ranged, Indirect 3: any point in fixed direction or fixed point in any direction)
. . Divine Gifts: Create 11 (Volume: 2000 cft., DC 21; Increased Duration: continuous, Innate, Precise)
. . Divine Images: Illusion 7 (Affects: All Sense Types, Area: 125 cft., DC 17)
. . Divine Inspiration: Perception Area Affliction 16 (1st degree: Dazed, 2nd degree: Compelled, 3rd degree: Controlled, Resisted by: Will, DC 26; Perception Area: DC 26 - Visual or Auditory, Custom: Additional Perception Sense; Limited: Negative Emotions Only)
. . Divine Will: Transform 7 (Affects: Anything, Transforms: 100 lbs., DC 17)

Mind of a God
. . Comprehend 3 (???)
. . Immunity 10 (Common Descriptor: Mental Effects; Limited - Half Effect)
. . True Sight: Senses 12 (Awareness: Divine (Mental), Counters Concealment: Vision, Counters Illusion: Vision, Extended: Divine Awareness 3: x1k, Penetrates Concealment: Vision)

Equipment
AREOPAGUS - PL 7

Tou 14, Size Awesome
Features: Deathtraps, Defense System, Dimensional Portal, Holding Cells, Isolated, Living Space, Personnel, Security System 3, Self-repairing 1. Totals: Abilities 6 + Powers 0 + Advantages 0 + Features 11 + Skills 0 (0 ranks) + Defenses 4 + Equipment 0 (0 ep) + Weapons & Armor 0 (0 ep) = 21
Offense
Initiative +5
Divine Flames: Damage 16, +16 (DC 31)
Divine Inspiration: Perception Area Affliction 16 (DC Will 26)
Divine Will: Transform 7, +16 (DC Dog 17)
Grab, +16 (DC Spec 26)
Throw, +16 (DC 31)
Unarmed, +16 (DC 31)

Complications
Godly Nature: Ares is a slave to his nature, even when it is obviously not in his best interest.
Trail of Blood: Ares has had millennia to make powerful enemies, of which he has many.

Defense
Dodge 16, Parry 16, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 16, Will 14

Power Points
Abilities 160 + Powers 166 + Advantages 52 + Skills 45 (90 ranks) + Defenses 15 = 438

The mythological nature of some characters allows for a lot of latitude in storylines, like making the The God of War have a personal hate-on for you. Back when the world was young, Artemis asked Zeus if she could make a race of women all about peace and harmony and honouring the gods and being an example to the little humans. Ares thought this was lame and counter-proposed invasion, conquering and forcing humankind to worship them, which he presumably felt would be faster, more effective and a lot more fun. Zeus was apparently having a good day and sided with Artemis, which started Ares on a millennia-long campaign to fuck her shit up any way he could, and being a god, that's a wide resource base. His endless trolling is one of the main reasons the Amazons live in isolation from the world of men, and this sets up the enmity between Ares and Wonder Woman.

WW actually managed to bring Ares down a notch by explaining (with the help of the Lasso of Truth) that humanity would destroy itself if he kept driving nations to give in to their most violent impulses, and then who would he have to worship him? This got Ares thinking about the future and working at a smaller scale, at one point even diguising himself as a mortal crime lord and having a child with Circe (having lost many other children in various conflicts). Ares has also acquired the mantle of the God of Death, so even though he's been "killed" by Wonder Woman, that's probably not going to stick.

But let's get down into the mechanics of this god, because you know you want to play one. At PL16 and 420p (actually 438p) this is far above and beyond any standard RtP build: 160p on Abilities alone, even more on powers, and more Advantages than most martial artists. And being God of War he hits his caps on all of his offenses and defenses (sort of, see below). For powers, there's some really nice build bits worth stealing, and some stuff that doesn't quite work. Let's start there.

Weapons and Armor: The Arsenal of Areopagus is kind of brilliant in its simplicity. Ares is already PL-capped bare-handed, so he doesn't really need to wield a weapon, but with these Extras applied to his STR he can summon up an armor-piercing weapon with Reach and Precise as a Free Action, letting him carve his name into anyone's chest in the cosmos. As usual I'd want to add Variable Descriptor for different weapon classes (bludgeoning, slashing, piercing) but otherwise I love the concept; Divine Armor works in a similar way adding Impervious to an already capped Toughness. The only annoying thing about it is that Penetrating for the Arsenal is inherently overbought since with 3e Impervious rules it can effectively penetrate up to Impervious 32 and there's nothing in the DC universe that's that tough.

Body of a God: Extra lifting Str, 1 minute Immortality revive vs non-magical damage and unlimited morphing are all good fits for a god of Ares' calibre. The only issue is with Immunity to Fortitude: it's not clear whether they wanted FortImmu for Ares or if they knew exactly how it worked, since they also bought up his Fort save to 18. He is a god so it's not an unreasonable power, but I personally lean toward giving him Life Support and AgingImmu, and that backed by Fort 18 will probably handle most situations just as well.

Godly Magic: All of these are pretty good and thematically sound, but each one is at least a little problematic in its own way:
-- Divine Flames: Fire is simple enough, but I feel like I've read Indirect a thousand times and never quite get it, and the names of powers are almost never evocative enough to describe how they might work. My best guess for this one is making flames roar up at the target's feet (any point, fixed upward).
-- Divine Gifts: I'm not a fan of using Create to make potentially anything, but having Ares use it to pull AK-47s out of thin air and give them to people is completely on-brand. As a GM-NPC, this is no big deal, but in the hands of a player I like to houserule something like it can't make anything worth more than rank in equipment points. On the other hand, I tend to let Continuous allow Created objects to exist even when the array slot is off, so the object's existence is independent but can be altered by the caster as long as he has that slot active and free actions.
-- Divine Images: also known as the Holodeck Fakeout. A GM using this needs to play it completely straight as a scene to get full buy-in from the players, and only reveal that it's an illusion when (or if) the caster's goal is achieved. Be careful to use it sparingly, or be ready to put PCs in real danger and try not to laugh as they "fail" their Insight checks.
-- Divine Inspiration: I actually really like Perception Area attacks, especially for something like this, but in the DCA books they rarely remember to define the sense that it affects. Generally it's going to be Visual or Auditory, and while I lean toward the latter in this case I can see an argument for both. Since the power was small in the slot thanks to that Negative Emotion Flaw, I customed an Extra to add another sense so he can affect anyone who sees or hears him.
-- Divine Will: good ol' Transform. Obviously this has a million uses, but turning harmless objects into weapons, or vice versa, would probably be the most thematic use.

Mind of a God: this one is fine except for the undefined Comprehend 3. The wording is a bit cumbersome in the books, but there's basically 2 ranks of speaking: Speak any Language (self-explanatory) or Always be Understood, effectively skipping language and communicating intentions directly to the listener, allowing for the same message to be communicated to a group who all speak different languages. It's logical for a god to have either of these, and most likely the 2 rank version, but then you need a rank for understanding all spoken languages and another for written language. So with Comprehend 3, does Ares not have the "gift of tongues", or is he illiterate?

The rest of the issues are mostly math or typos. Ares HQ ends up costing 21ep which bumps up Equipment cost. Persuasion 6 (+14) with only PRE 6 means at least one of these number is wrong, probably the 14. And someone didn't notice his ranged attacks suck unless you give him Ranged Attack 11 to get everything up to PL.

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There's also a sidebar discussing how as God of War his power grows with large-scale conflict, so being in an active warzone gives him +2 to everything and a World War pushes that to +5. And as God of Death he gets an AE: Summon Undead left to the GM to flesh out.

As a villain, it might be tempting to have him as a Final Boss type, but he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and is more interested in generating conflict than fighting individuals. This is beyond the fact that he is a beast to fight, and would have no trouble cheating. Also, if any PC individual or group stood a chance of surviving an actual fight with him, he'd probably be more interested in directing their focus towards his own goals, tricking them into doing his dirty work. He could be something like a crime lord or other power behind the scenes; a possible hook might be after the PCs take out a crime boss, he somehow comes back or is replaced by Ares in disguise, or he might have been him all along. Conversely, Ares could take the form of a benefactor who seems to want the PCs to do good in the world but is really making them part of his larger schemes, potentially long cons that have been going on for centuries. Ares is a schemer who is ready to be direct if it comes to it.

So can I make an RtP out of him? Short answer: no. There are just too many elements to Ares that are hard to remove as you scale him down, so you need to prioritize what you want to focus on: his combat prowess? his mastery of all forms of attack? his deceptive elements? his magic? I tried to trim him down to PL10 and can't get him under 200p without losing major details. On the other hand, you could make Children of Ares like Phobos and Deimos or your own variants that take various aspects from their father and specialize in them. These could be NPC "lieutenants" to Ares or independent of him, or even PCs who may not be aware of their heritage.
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Ken »

Expertise: Message Board Management ?
W: Professor Plum, you were once a professor of psychiatry specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur.

PP: Yes, but now I work for the United Nations.

W: So your work has not changed.
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Thorpocalypse »

Ken wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:35 am Expertise: Message Board Management ?
And Expertise: Captain Marvel Lore? ;)
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Ares »

Ken wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:35 am Expertise: Message Board Management ?
Expertise might be too strong a word here.
Thorpocalypse wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:45 am
And Expertise: Captain Marvel Lore? ;)
Heh, along with Create: 20, Limited to rant posts about Marvel Family, Permanent
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Scots Dragon »

Ares wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:07 am
Ken wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:35 am Expertise: Message Board Management ?
Expertise might be too strong a word here.
I mean. One rank or so. But it's Stamina-based rather than Intellect-based.
Thorpocalypse wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:45 am
And Expertise: Captain Marvel Lore? ;)
Heh, along with Create: 20, Limited to rant posts about Marvel Family, Permanent
Uncontrolled so that it activates at random.
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Ares »

Oh it's not random. More like its Triggered.
"My heart is as light as a child's, a feeling I'd nearly forgotten. And by helping those in need, I will be able to keep that feeling alive."
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Scots Dragon »

Reaction then?
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by greycrusader »

I just looked up Jay Scott Pike, the creator of Dolphin; he actually had a long career as a Silver Age/early Bronze Age comic book artist, mostly for Romance, Western, and Jungle comics. He was known for his "good girl" art, and created Jann of the Jungle for Marvel in the 1950s, in addition to Dolphin. Always found the character interesting for some reason, despite her being so incredibly minor. Maybe just because she's one of those oddities from the late 1960s/early 1970s that is always going to seem like an anachronism in modern stories, but can still be fun element in stories.

All my best.
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by JDRook »

greycrusader wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:08 am I just looked up Jay Scott Pike, the creator of Dolphin; he actually had a long career as a Silver Age/early Bronze Age comic book artist, mostly for Romance, Western, and Jungle comics. He was known for his "good girl" art, and created Jann of the Jungle for Marvel in the 1950s, in addition to Dolphin. Always found the character interesting for some reason, despite her being so incredibly minor. Maybe just because she's one of those oddities from the late 1960s/early 1970s that is always going to seem like an anachronism in modern stories, but can still be fun element in stories.

All my best.
Thanks, grey. I thought about delving further into his stuff but got distracted. I didn't realize "Good Girl Art" was its own genre, but I guess it should have a name. Pike's Jann of the Jungle certainly sounds like fun.

From a quick skim of this fansite
Jann defended the jungle from the Screaming Terror, a remote control robot constructed out of elephant bones under the control of a Communist agent seeking to take control of the [Congo] region.
That makes me interested even before I find out the protagonist is a stunt woman (again like Animal Man) and trapeze artist that looks like this:

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Definitely a cool detour. Thanks again!
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Scots Dragon »

greycrusader wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:08 am I just looked up Jay Scott Pike, the creator of Dolphin; he actually had a long career as a Silver Age/early Bronze Age comic book artist, mostly for Romance, Western, and Jungle comics. He was known for his "good girl" art, and created Jann of the Jungle for Marvel in the 1950s, in addition to Dolphin. Always found the character interesting for some reason, despite her being so incredibly minor. Maybe just because she's one of those oddities from the late 1960s/early 1970s that is always going to seem like an anachronism in modern stories, but can still be fun element in stories.

All my best.
I like what Stjepan Sejic did with the character
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Re: JDRook's Revised DCA Builds - Ares! Arsenal! So! Many! Atoms!!!

Post by Davies »

It's not exactly what I'd call a good story, but I'd say the most important Dolphin story is probably the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which she helped to bring to as happy an ending as we got. How, you ask? Well, as one of Earth-1's superheroes, she goes back to the Dawn of Time with everyone else, and so remembers the infinite Earths when the single Earth is all that exists (for a while, anyway). Accompanying her teammates in the Forgotten Heroes as they explore space, they discover Brainiac's spacecraft and are onboard when he wakes up.

Now Brainiac, being a villain, didn't go back in time and doesn't remember the multiverse. But Dolphin pleads with him, saying that he helped them before -- a very generous interpretation of events -- and Brainiac realizes that she's telling the truth. Uncharacteristically caring about the fact that someone is telling the truth, Brainiac decides to take the Forgotten Heroes with him when he goes to see someone who'll hopefully help him figure out what the heck is going on here. So he takes them to Apokalips, and they meet Darkseid.

And Darkseid also figures out that they're telling the truth, and, uncharacteristically caring about the fact that someone is telling the truth, decides that he should probably do something about this Anti-Monitor fellow, and waits for the right moment and blasts the heck of the Anti-Monitor. Now, this doesn't finish the Anti-Monitor off, the Golden Age Superman does that, but it's possible that he wouldn't have won without Darkseids's intervention, which only happened because Dolphin got all teary-eyed while talking to Brainiac.

Like I said, not a good story.
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