The Black Tiger
Prince Sumankan of Malaysia
7; Power Points:
141; Hero Points:
(14), DEX: +3
(16), CON: +2
(14), INT: +3
(16), WIS: +2
(14), CHA: +5
Deception 3 (+8
), Expertise (military officier, CHA) 3 (+8
), Insight 4 (+6
), Intimidation 5 (+10
/+12 with the mask), Language 4 (French, English, Spanish, at least 3 Chinese dialects; native: Malaysian), Perception 4 (+6
), Persuasion 3 (+8
), Sleight of Hand 2 (+5
), Stealth 4 (+7
), Technology 2 (+5
), Vehicles 2 (+5
Attack Focus 2 (melee), Benefit (common sense), Benefit 3 (Wealth), Connected, Dedication (to himself), Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 3, Dodge Focus 4, Equipment 3, Fascinate (Intimidate), Fearsome Presence 2 (4 with mask), Improved Block, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative 1, Inspire 3, Leadership, Master Plan, Minions 10 (fanatical), Power Attack, Startle, Task Focus 1 (boats, Vehicles), Weapon Bind
Mask of the Black tiger (+2 Intimidate, +2 Fearsome Presence, 3ep)
- Revolver (+4 ballistc damage [lethal, full power]; crit 20; 40')
- Scimitar (+3 slashing damage [mighty]; crit 18)
- Dagger (+1 piercing damage; crit 19; conceable)
Headquaters: Hidden Fortress (Size: Huge; Toughness: +15; Features: Concealed 1, Defensive System, Isolated, Library, Living Space, Security System 1)
Attack +7 (+9 melee, grapple: +11); Defense +9 (+3 Flat-footed); Initiative +7
Toughness +5 (+2 Flat-footed), Fortitude +5, Reflex +7, Will +6/+10 [Dedication]
Abilities 34 + Skills 18 (36 ranks) + Feats 54 + Powers 0 + Combat 24 + Saves 11 + Drawbacks 0 = 141
- Obsession (revenge against Europeans): Due to European colonialists, the Balck Tiger lost his kingdom in Malaysia and now he want to get revenge.
- Overconfident: Despite being a man of vast culture and great military experience, the Black Tiger tend to underestimate his opponents.
- Racist: The Black Tiger is utterly convinced of the innate superiority of the people of Asia over any other, although he seem to held black peopl in higher regard than Europeans.
- Responsibility (the Black Tiger sect): Although he often consider his followers as mere means to an end, the Black Tiger won't allow anyone to endanger his organization.
One of the few recurring enemies of Tex not created by Bonelli Senior (he was the brainchild of Claudio Nizzi) the Black Tiger was introduces in #381 (which I own) and he's the epitome of the "exotic asian" opponents that every now and then graced the pages of the series.
Over the years Bonelli senior introduced a number of opponents of Asian origin (mostly Chinese) in his stories. Many of these characters were, of course, inspired by Doctor Fu Machu and they were often portrayed as leaders of sects comprised only by Chinese. Padma, the Tibetan monk that saved Mephisto, was one of them (although he wasn't evil, but rather neutral). True to his anti-racist vein, Bonelli often pointed out how most the affiliates were, in fact, just common people trying to survive in a society that didn't help them. One of the most memorable was Wang, a fat-ass Chinese that controlled the port of Galverstone with the help of a Mexican crimelord, dealing in opium and gambling. In the same story the chief ally of the pards was Mei Ling, a Chinese girl that pretty much lead the pards straight to Wang after she discovred that he was using her.
The Black Tiger was born Prince Sumankan, heir apparent to a small kingdom in the Malaysian peninsula. Dethroned by colonialist of an unspecified European nation, he put his considerable military expertise into becoming a rather successful pirate. After a fated confrontation with the East India Company his flagship was sunk and the Prince barely escaped hanging to some wreckage. He was saved by a collier that was carrying Chinese immigrants to the U.S.A. west coast. Once there, Sumankan was forced to pay his passage by working at the construction of the transcontinetal railway, but the slave-like working condition were simply too much for his pride. In time he rose to a leadership position among the workers and masterminded a mass escape from the camp, after stealing a lot of money, weapons and dynamite.
The escapees took refuge in the mining town of Leadville and founded the Black Tiger sect, their aim was to take control of the town through intimidation and them expand to others. Sumankan took the identity of notary Madison to gain financial support from a few rich, but not very bright, merchants. With a clever use of legal loopholes, "Madison" became the tutor of many properties around the city and organized the murder of several affluent citizens.
Called by their old friend MacParland (Pinkerton's right hand man), Tex and Carson arrived at Leadville. Before they could even being their investigations the major is killed at the local theater right under their noses. The brutal efficiency of the sect prompt the rangers to act quickly, but with very little result, the network of spies in town result too well organized. In the end it's a failed ambush at Cubero Pass that provide the first solid lead: unnerved by the situation, of the the "supporters" of the sect, Paul Morel decide to betray the sect. Unfortunately he reveals his intention to Madison and is brutally murdered, another supporter, Johnny Rickers, witness the scene and Sumankan decide to dispose of him as well, but the man manage to whisper the name of Madison to the rangers before dying. The pards find the property of an empty mine away from the town among the notary paperwork and go there to investigate, but they get captured thanks to rather complex trap. At this point Sumankan, now very sure of his victory face them in person and, after a furious Tex is beaten to submission by his bodyguards -- two gigantic Malaysians -- invite the rangers to dinner and tell them about his backstory and his ambition to create a new kingdom in the United States. With a ton of ingenuity Tex and Carson were able to free themselves of the guards and pass the traps, getting to a stockpile of dynamite that they use to demolish the Black Tiger's hideout, but Sumankan himself escapes.
A few years later, the Black Tiger resurfaced in New Orleans, allied with some of those voodoo cultist that served Mephisto in the past, and aiming to control all the boat traffic along the Mississipi River. Called by the local Marshall, Nat McKennet, the pards (all 4 of them) start going through the various levels of the ring until they get their hands on Levasseur, a ship owner and Sumankan's right hand man. They follow him to the swamps, but the voodoo cultist ambush them. Tex and Carson are captured and tied to a tree, after mocking them, Sumankan left them to the alligators. Kit and Tiger save their pards just in time, but Omoro, the voodoo priest, summon a horde of zombies covering the prince's escape.
The final (so far) appearence of Sumankan is in San Francisco where he takes control of opium trade. Informed by the chief of police, Tom Delvin, Tex and Carson arrive at San Francisco, but this time Sumankan is ready for them. Playing on his opponents psychology, Sumankan manage to separate the pards and trap them in his new lair. While Carson is imprisoned, Tex is forced to choose between dying to save his old pard or escaping. After taking an almost suicidal jump into a lake, Tex -- without weapons or backup -- returns to the castle and goes straight for Sumankan. This lead to spectacular sword duel (a rarity), which echoed the famous shirtless fight between Batman and Ras al'Ghul. Despite his strength, Tex is cornered by the superior sowrdmanship of his opponent and is about to die, when Tom Delvin arrives and shot the prince, who fall from a cliff.
This is the last of the Black Tiger, although Mauro Boselli already hinted that he would return within 2020, but it's unknown if someone else would don the mask this time.
Sumankan is a really impressive opponents, he's one of the few who can fight Tex on almost equal ground, but this is not his main strength. The prince is incredibly charismatic and intelligent, whereas Mephisto and Yama need to trick their followers, he wins their loyalty by the sheer power of his personality. As far as personality goes, he's very much a Bond villain with hints of Ras al'Ghul: freakshily intelligent, cunning, charming and completly psychotic. Also, as personal note, look at that mask! It takes real scenographic presence to make that work!
Sumankan usually have a vast organization under his command, which lead to countless problems for the pards, who usually act alone. Most of it is composed on PL3-4 at best minions, but there are usually a couple of high-end hencemen close at hand.