The Shining Guardian (Henry Kim)
Power Level: 13; Power Points Spent: 285/285
STR: +15 (16/40), DEX: +1 (12), CON: +3 (16), INT: +5 (20), WIS: +5 (20), CHA: +3 (16)
Tough: +3/+13/+18, Fort: +9, Ref: +9, Will: +15
Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+5), Bluff 7 (+10), Concentration 10 (+15), Craft (artistic) 15 (+20), Craft (mechanical) 15 (+20), Diplomacy 12 (+15), Gather Information 12 (+15), Intimidate 7 (+10), Investigate 5 (+10), Knowledge (arcane Lore) 15 (+20), Knowledge (history) 5 (+10), Knowledge (physical sciences) 5 (+10), Knowledge (theology & philosophy) 10 (+15), Language 3 (+3), Notice 7 (+12), Search 5 (+10), Sense Motive 7 (+12), Stealth 4 (+5)
Feats: Accurate Attack, All-Out Attack, Artificer, Attack Focus (ranged) 3, Attack Specialization (Unarmed Attack), Beginner's Luck, Eidetic Memory, Improved Initiative, Inspire 4 (+4), Interpose, Jack-of-All-Trades, Leadership, Luck 4, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Skill Mastery (Craft (art & mech), Gather Info, KN (arcane lore)), Takedown Attack, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory)
Ferromancer (Array 14) (default power: move object)
. . Magic Camera (ESP 9) (Array; affects: 2 types, inc. visual - visual & auditory; No Conduit; Medium; Custom (Rapid (10x Search speed)), Notes: Medium of Technology)
. . Mystic Magnetic Bindings (Snare 14) (Array; DC 24)
. . Mystic Magnetic Blast (Blast 14) (Array; DC 29)
. . Mystic Magnetic Burst (Blast 9) (Array; DC 24; Burst Area (45-90 ft. radius - General); Progression, Increase Area (area x2))
. . Mystic Magnetic Control (Move Object 14) (Default; Strength: 70, Carry: 68.1 tons / 136.2 tons / 204.8 tons / 409.6 tons; Range (perception); Limited Material (Metal))
Ferromantic Armor (Device 18) (Hard to lose, Only you can use; Indestructible)
. . Armor Plating (Features 5) (Notes: Provides Protection 10 when Ferromatic Force Field is inactive)
. . Gravitic Strength (Enhanced Strength 24) (+24 STR)
. . Helmet Sensors (Super-Senses 7) (awareness: Magic (visual), direction sense, distance sense, radar, time sense)
. . Impervious Toughness 10
. . Life Support Systems (Immunity 9) (life support)
. . Mystic Comms (Communication 8) (sense type: magic)
. .Mystic Magnetic Flight (Flight 12) ([0 active, 0/24 PP, 2/r], Speed: 50000 mph, 440000 ft./rnd)
. . . . Gravitic Might (Super-Strength 12) (Alternate; [0 active, 0/24 PP, 2/r], +60 STR carry capacity, heavy load: 13.1k tons; +12 STR to some checks)
Ferromantic Force Field (Force Field 15) (+15 Toughness)
Longevity (Features 1) (Notes: As a proper wizard, Henry absolutely does not age normally. But he does, in fact, age.)
Attack Bonus: +9 (Ranged: +12, Melee: +9, Grapple: +24)
Attacks: Mystic Magnetic Bindings (Snare 14), +12 (DC Ref/Staged 24), Mystic Magnetic Blast (Blast 14), +12 (DC 29), Mystic Magnetic Burst (Blast 9) (DC 24), Unarmed Attack, +11 (DC 30)
Defense: +8 (Flat-footed: +4), Knockback: -14
Languages: English, Korean Native, Latin, Spanish
Totals: Abilities 40 + Skills 37 (148 ranks) + Feats 27 + Powers 123 + Combat 34 + Saves 24 + Drawbacks 0 = 285
Age (as of Jan 2019): Over 180 (chronological), Over 270 (actual), mid 60s (appearance)
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 210 lbs
Base of Operations: Denver, Colorado
Background: The Kingdom of Joseon, late in its existence. Less than a century before it would be gone. Truthfully, the man known today as Henry Kim isn’t sure when exactly he was born. He used to remember the date, at least, but that was two calendar changes ago. The first king he remembers is Sunjo of Joseon, who started his reign in 1800 at age 10. The first major event he remembers is the “Year Without A Summer” caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in modern day Indonesia. He remembers it specifically because the crops failed, and the village went very hungry that year. People died. One doesn’t simply forget losing their little sister to starvation. He was a commoner (or sangmin, with yangmin being more polite but less accurate), unlikely to see the age of 30 before disease, the heavy labor of pre industrial farming, or army service ended his life. Pyeong-an Province was not a happening place, outside of cities like the very old Pyongyang. Though that was probably true of rural areas all over the world. He wasn’t anyone, and he never expected to be. Well. At least he wasn’t a “vulgar commoner” (cheonmin), “untouchable” (baekjeong), or a serf (nobi). And then his story took a sharp left turn.
. . The local government run elementary school (hyanggo) was, of course, a bad joke. Neglected and barely functional. Basically useless. Except as a method for finding students of exceptional potential, for those who knew how to look. Henry (obviously he has changed his name since then) was brilliant. An exceptional mind, wasting away in commoner-hood. A patron sponsored him into a local privately run elementary school (a seodang), which was in much better condition. As schools go, it was…unusual. It taught the Chinese classics as all of them did, to be sure, however there were other lessons carefully layered in as well. Adult Henry recognizes them easily as functionally a subtle test of a child’s capability for magic. While technically anyone can learn how to use magic (even if they already have spellcasting ability naturally) with enough study and effort, having the aptitude for it was and is preferable for any teachers.
. . As you, Dear Reader, may be expecting at this point, Henry excelled here, too. He was taken in by a Wizard of the White Court (the Merlin of the era, in fact) as an apprentice, and began his training in spellcasting and arcane lore. Never again would he dig in the dirt or break his back pulling rocks out of the ground. He was, technically, downgraded in social status to a “vulgar commoner” in the process. Joseon, perhaps wisely, distrusted spellcasters of all varieties. His training went well and he was accorded a full Wizard of the White Court by the time he reached adulthood. This, of course, was not the end of his training. Still, he gained greater and greater fame and respect as a combat wizard. He was a critical part of the Battle of Krakatoa in 1883, and in fact was the one who personally set the volcano off. Killed one hell of a dragon doing that. He wasn’t literally at ground zero at the time of the explosion. He’d already fled through a portal from an allied Wizard. Over thirty six thousand died as a result, and he does regret that. However, that particular monster would have brought mass death to the entirety of Southeast Asia. And the White Court’s mightiest combat wizards simply couldn’t kill it. So, plan K. No, he wasn’t responsible for Santa Maria in 1902. He’s a ferromancer, not a volcano-mancer. And he was in China anyway, dammit. Literally on the other side of the Pacific. He did pat that Wizard on the back, though. Nice win, kid. Novarupta in 1912 wasn’t…exactly his fault. It was going to erupt sometime in the next month anyway, and well…it turns out the local mana fields were…volatile and reacted unexpectedly to magnetic spells. It really wasn’t the plan, but he’ll never complain about a deceased…you know, he never got the type of that monster. Bah, it doesn’t matter. It was throwing Hellfire and about to murder a bunch of defenseless Alaska Natives. Good enough. For the record, Pinatubo in 1991 was entirely natural, as far as he knows.
. . He was in Alaska that day because he’d was planning to move. Joseon was basically dead, and honestly he’d never had an excess of loyalty to it or Asia anyway. Henry Kim officially immigrated to the United States a year later after recovering from some injuries and wrapping up a few loose ends. He has never left, unless one counts serving in World War II. He settled in Denver, and he has never left there either. His early years were spent getting settled and making a little money through independent mining work. And being confused for Chinese. A lot. However, rising racial tensions in response to World War 1 made him think. The Mystery Men Era had been underway for about 20 years. He’d read the stories in the Denver Times, Denver Post, and Rocky Mountain News. He knew the Council would not approve, but screw them. He took up the mask that hid his ethnicity and strapped on his armor and gauntlets. The Shining Guardian debuted in 1921. His earliest adversaries (aside from the usual organized crime figures of the period) were mainly the Ku Klux Klan, who actually rode the tide of nativist sentiment into public office, including Mayor of Denver and Governor of Colorado. By the time the Great Depression was firmly gripping the nation, however, nativist sentiment had largely faded and the Klan was voted out of office.
. . Henry…doesn’t like to talk about the Depression. At one point one in four Denver citizens were out of work. The Dust Bowl devastated farms. It was ugly, and as a mere Korean he was no exception to the misery. However, newspaper records detail the Shining Guardian protecting the Civilian Conservation Corps as they built trails and campgrounds in Denver’s Mountain Parks, and openly aiding the Works Progress Administration with his powers as the built roads and fixed schools. A few paintings by the mysterious artist H.K. were even purchased to decorate government buildings. Meanwhile, Denver was becoming a transportation hub for both rail and air, with the Moffat Tunnel and Denver Municipal Airport being built in ’28 and ’29 respectively. The economy, however, did not recover until the onset of World War II. Europe needed stuff. America had a large industrial base. And Denver benefitted. The city was growing. They had a resident veteran “mystery man”. (The term “superhero” was just beginning to be applied to such individuals east of the Mississippi, and thus hadn’t yet reached Denver yet.) All was well.
. . And then Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. A day that will forever live in infamy, or so Henry says. Project Blue Liberty, during its conversion from scientific project to special operations group, went recruiting heroes to join the war effort. As a native Korean, Henry had no love for Japan. He wasn’t…the most enlightened individual, in those days. He went to war to curb Imperial Japanese ambitions, basically because fuck them. Again, Henry was absolutely a hero, but he was not politically correct, woke, or whatever term is in vogue at the time of reading, Dear Reader. He wasn’t as virulently racist and sexist as some of his contemporaries, and homophobia has never been a part of his worldview. But the man who went to war basically to exact his personal vengeance on the Japanese for what they’d done to his homeland was not a good man. What altered his perspective were his allies on the Pacific front. Not so much team leader Human Rocket II, but the ageless samurai Jin and one Betsy Hartwell (now Wilder of the Javier Academy). The Desert (now Pacific) Stranger’s much greater life experience also played a role. Henry was, perhaps, being unfair. And if he was being unfair, then what kind of hero was he, really?
. . It must be said. Project Blue Liberty, be it in Europe or the Pacific, wasn’t a modern superhero company. They were superpowered military operatives. They killed Japanese soldiers. A lot of Japanese soldiers. And 6/7’s of Japan’s superpowered operatives. The Sword of The Rising Sun started 21 members strong in 1942. There were three left after the taking of Okinawa. And one each was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Pacific team was in every major land battle until the bombs were dropped. They were deployed on separate ships during sea battles to do what they could. The Human Rocket was functionally a faster, more maneuverable fighter plane. The Stranger could teleport from plane to plane, blowing heads off with his magic revolvers. Henry had added greaves to his ensemble, allowing him to stick to metals or hover in mid air. Plus a magnetic controller is the last thing mundane naval and aerial vehicles are equipped to deal with. He routinely tore the wings off planes and ripped the rivets out of hulls. Jin’s “sword” can cut through anything he laid eyes on. And even Betsy had indestructible metal bones she could move and control with her mind. So she could kind of fly, too, and amplify the force of her unarmed strikes. As in the real world, the Navy and Marines could have done it without them. The Sword of The Rising Sun would have made it much harder, but after Midway it was all over but the losing. The Japanese soldiers on land, paradoxically, had it a little easier. They resisted fiercely, and the Pacific team’s advantages weren’t as visually dramatic and game changing. But between them and the steady backup of the Marine Corps, they island hopped across the Pacific. Starting with Guadalcanal, they fought their way into possession of the Solomon Islands, on to the Marshall Islands, then Guam, Iwo Jima, retaking the Philippines and storming Okinawa. Then the atomic bombs were dropped, and the war ended. They killed a hell of a lot of Japanese soldiers, sailors, and airmen.
. . For those recoiling in horror at “superheroes” killing their way through a warzone, this was not actually unusual for heroes in the Mystery Men Era and Golden Age. It was a very different time. Before Starman, and before federal and state governments took a big rethink on how much leeway they were giving what were technically illegal vigilantes. Gunning down Mafiosi by the score would still get a supposed “hero” in as much trouble as one would expect. That’s just mass murder. But if a hero had walked up to Al Capone in the street and stabbed him in the heart, the non-corrupt members of the Chicago PD would be more likely to pat the hero on the back than try to arrest them for homicide. If a supervillain or criminal became bad enough or a big enough threat, law enforcement simply looked the other way. If the city saved didn’t give the hero in question a medal. This doesn’t mean every hero back then was a killer. Far from it. But it was basically normal, if not expected behavior. And the entire Pacific team was, of course, from that era and had blood on their hands prior to the war. Even Henry.
. . At any rate, the war ended. Project Blue Liberty was disbanded. And everyone moved on. In Henry’s case, the Shining Guardian returned triumphant to Denver, more popular than ever. There was, however, a distant dark cloud on the horizon, growing closer with every passing year. The same year as the end of the war, the House Committee on Un-American Activities was made a permanent part of the House of Representatives. HUAC started getting Hollywood movie industry people blacklisted in 1947. 1949, with the first Soviet test of an atomic bomb, did not help. But the match to the tinder was 1950. Mao gained control of China despite heavy US financial assistance. Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury related to lying at his HUAC interrogation years earlier. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were caught spying for the Soviets. And the Korean War started. This is, of course, where J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy enter the story. Hoover, to his dying day, neither liked nor trusted superheroes. The FBI was the single greatest impediment and danger to Golden Age heroes, and even a hassle to the Silver Agers before Hoover’s death in 1972. The Senate Internal Security Subcommittee was also formed in 1950. Superheroes were on their list. The harassment and federal distrust was so intense that heroes first started permanently retiring in 1951. The older ones, at first, especially after Hoover’s FBI started exposing secret identities and using them as leverage to force testimony. But it was McCarthy who did the most publically. He was headed the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953 and ’54. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? If you have nothing to hide, why not take off that mask and show who you really are? Etcetera. Ad nauseaum. And so forth. The aging Human Rocket called a historic meeting of all veteran heroes left standing. This included the Shining Guardian. A unanimous decision was not reached that day, but the prevailing mood was established. Henry was arguably the most prominent hero who held on the longest. However, he had met a special lady. And when McCarthy used his authority to compel the Shining Guardian’s presence in the Senate chamber, Henry (through Denver’s newspapers) told him to go to hell, and finally retired his heroic identity. The Shining Guardian was gone.
. . Henry Kim, however, was not idle. He married that special lady, and had a few children. The White Court of Wizards made him their designated top enforcer after the death of the previous. He was, all in all, quite busy. It was a return to the type of life he’d been leading before adopting the mask of the Shining Guardian. He generally wasn’t home very often. The Shining Guardian missed almost the entire Silver Age, only reappearing briefly to defend Denver during Kuros’s invasion in ’82. This was naturally surprising as hell to heroic historians, as he’d been gone for 28 years. Kuros’s return in ’92 was over too quickly for him to do more than think about getting his old gear out. His frequent absences did not endear him to his children, who scattered out of Denver. He simply lost track of them. Until he attended a meeting of the White Court, called to discuss a young spellslinger who’d killed both her mother and stepfather. She was twenty years old. Her two older sisters were either dead or missing after she spent a few years with them. This wasn’t an unusual occasion. Mundane authorities, generally speaking, do not have the ability to deal with magicians who go rogue and/or evil. So the White Court of Wizards since time immemorial (well, at least since before the Romans invaded England; earlier records are spotty even if oral tradition isn’t) has taken up the duty of dealing with them. How that has worked has depended on the personality of the person Merlin has reincarnated into this time. The current Merlin is an Anglo-Syrian man named Sayid. He is a practical and pragmatic man, but one who has to deal with certain political realities. And when it comes to such things as murder or mind control using magic, he is as hard as diamond. Magical homicide merits nothing but execution. The year was 1996. His wife, that special lady, had been dead for over a year. Old age. Alas. The name of the young woman was Sagacious Winifred Burke. The woman she had murdered, her mother, Henry recognized the name in horror. He had, after all, written it on her birth certificate himself. The young Miss Burke was his granddaughter. For the first time in one of these hearings, he intervened. He had influence and political capital. He used some of them. Plus Sayid was and is mostly his friend. So instead of an execution, the future Sage went home with Henry. He did not tell her he was her grandfather. An apprentice. Older than normal, but doable. Their relationship got quite rocky at times, because Sage is Sage, but it was ultimately quite a positive five years together. They have quite a lot of love and respect for one another. The White Court vacated her sentence, accorded her a Wizard, and permitted her to move to San Francisco and have her own life. This was June 2001.
. . Three months later, on that terrible day in September, the Shining Guardian returned to stay. He pulled his gear out of literal mothballs to battle the monster Armageddon. Heroic historians were once again shocked out of their shoes. It had been 19 years since he last appearance, and 28 more since his official retirement. A total of 47 years had gone by and not only was the man who spent over 30 years protecting Denver still alive, he was in combat condition. He arguably did better than anyone at stalling Armageddon, even if the monster ultimately smashed him aside on his way to Chicago, the battle with Starman II, and both of their deaths. In the aftermath, Henry took stock. He was not the same man he had been 47 years ago, when he angrily retired in the face of a braying jackass (in his opinion) not entirely dissimilar from the literal Klansmen he’d started his career opposing and a public that was all too keen to turn on those who they once admired. He was certainly not the man who’d debuted 3 decades prior to that. He’d liked both Starmen, and appreciated their work. He’d been to war. Twice, actually. There was a pilot program to send the Blue Liberty Pacific team to Korea. Human Rocket II and Henry had signed on, but the other three couldn’t be found and souring public and government opinion dragged them back to the US a couple of months later after they’d landed in Inchon with General McArthur. He’d raised multiple children. Poorly, even he would admit, as he wasn’t around often enough. But still. He’d seen the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race, the entire run of the Champions of Justice, and many other things. It was time. He’d been gone too long. And so, a legend from the past teamed with another (Fletcher) and four of the current generation (Shadowspirit, Tidal, Tex Austin, and Caviezel) to form the Icons. And then he learned Shadowspirit’s actual age (second only to his own in the group, my goodness) and sighed because it broke the narrative he had in his head. Dammit.
. . They just did mundane superhero team up things, honestly. It wasn’t a big deal. Henry had the time to finally make his battlesuit. He’d been toying with the design for longer than Tex had been alive. But now he actually built it. His old gear was…fine? It was fine. But he’d learned much more about magic since he’d first built that armor and gauntlets, and he’d grown a lot as a wizard. He’d only made the greaves for WWII. It was past due time for an upgrade. So, soon enough, the Shining Guardian debuted with a new and upgraded look. A full battlesuit, like he was Valia or something, heh. His old gear went back into the literal mothballs and stayed there. This made him team bus, and honestly he didn’t mind. They were doing fine, but in the back of his mind he always knew the big test was coming. And in 2011, it did. Tidal was a god. Lei Gong, Duke of Thunder. Shock. This was Henry’s shocked face. All good wizards are students of mythology, and the strange man who can make thunder happen by hitting anything with a blunt object is not a mortal human. No. Henry had seen too much to believe in coincidence anymore. And Tidal’s wife, Lei Zi, invaded Seattle to get him to…spend more time with her? Really? All right, then. They fought off her army, Tidal talked her down like he’d done it a thousand times before, and all was well. But seriously, we should talk about how you’re a god and your beloved wife is your arch nemesis, somehow. It’s concerning. We don’t want a repeat of this event.
. . 2013. The whole…Neo-Nazi terrorist cell…thing. Well. The only people who know…oh, right. It’s just Henry now. It was both him and Shadowspirit who knew the truth of that matter. There were Neo-Nazis involved, yes. Most of the conspiracy involved them, actually. But the mastermind was a loose end from World War 2. The surviving member of The Blade of The Rising Sun. Their enforcer was a very old friend who had not been seen since the last retirements in ’54. The ageless samurai. Henry’s best friend on the Pacific team. Jin. Oh, dear. He was heavily brainwashed and not at his best, which was good because Henry remembered him cutting a Japanese cruiser in half once. Things got, uh, very messy. President Obama had to fake his death briefly. There was like, five big fights against Neo-Nazi supervillains embedded in the US Army. Queenie helped a lot. Thanks, Maybelle. Really nice of you. Feel like joining us after this? Everything culminated in a massive battle aboard a modernized Floating Fortress. The brainwashed swordsman who’s sword wasn’t actually a sword but a ray of divine sunlight versus the magnetic wizard who preferred heavy armor over robes. Well. It all worked out in the end. He saved Jin. Shadowspirit killed the last of Japan’s superpowered WW2 operatives with her bare hands. He had become a very evil robot; it’s fine. And a lot of Neo-Nazis criminals and supervilains went to prison for a long, long time.
. . 2014 was the first crack in his otherwise firm friendship with Fletcher. The damn Irishman created a monster. Just completely overreached his own abilities. And the Icons had to clean up the mess. Hell, they needed help in the form of Spike, Candy, and Terrifica. One of them doesn’t show up, they either fail and that damn AI crashes that asteroid into the US, killing the human race. Or the damn thing escapes to bedevil them another day. What the hell were you thinking, Morris? However. He was falling back into old habits. Let’s not. Instead of yelling, he chose understanding. And he did understand. Fletcher was old, too, and he didn’t have the benefits of a wizard’s longevity. He was feeling his mortality, that’s all. It was fine. He’d learned better. It was fine.
. . 2015. As it turned out, it was not fine. It was not fine at all. That grinning ghoul McConnell (in Henry’s opinion) in the Senate was older than Fletcher. Starman and the Champions all debuted when he was a grown adult. He was there the whole time. He knew how important independence was to America’s heroes. And he pushed this dammed thing through anyway. Bastard. He was (again, in Henry’s opinion), no different than that braying jackass McCarthy. He tried to be reasonable, he really did. He tried to explain the problem to Morris. His friend. Who ought to understand. And what did Fletcher do in response? Tell him to stop living in the past. One of the most important parts of being a hero was obeying the law and especially the federal government to the best of their abilities. Henry tried to explain that the federal government can do hideous things too, and it was heroes’ very autonomy that prevented them from being involved and left them capable of stopping it if necessary. The hideous things done to Native Americans for their land. Slavery. Jim Crow. The internment o Japanese Americans during WW2. Hell, Henry had even partially agreed with that last one at the time, before returning from the war and learning the full extent of it (My god, even children? And in those conditions? They were supposed to be better than the Axis!) and just how much of their businesses and property now belonged to nice, respectable whites. And again, what did Fletcher say? Stop living in the past, Henry. It’s the 21st Century. We don’t do things like that anymore. The hell we don’t. He tried to be reasonable. He really did. But it was the principle of the matter. The Icons broke in two, just like their leaders. Some followed Henry in violation of the new law. Some stayed with Fletcher and obey it. And others (Sage, Spike, and Terrifica) told both to fuck off (Terrifica was less vulgar, but still) and disappeared. The civil war had begun. Worst of all, Tidal and Tex Austin were away on mission in the Chinese Divine Heavens (or Tian). Well. Henry (ever the tactical leader), recruited Z out of Baltimore, so that his group could use the city as a base.
. . 2017. The Eternity War. The civil war was still going when Kuros The Savior stormed out of Tian and fought his way through Fletcher’s team, the Exiles’ core team, and some other allies. Fletcher, desperate and critically injured, called Henry to warn him Kuros was coming for the last Crystal of Power, and to stop him at all costs. Who had the Time Crystal in Baltimore? Z, of course. And it was his scheme using it that delayed Kuros by a full day as the remaining Icons and Z’s gang fought him in the titular Eternity War. Because while it may have been a day outside of Baltimore, it was a much longer span of time inside the city. It was a battle for the ages. Spike showed up out of nowhere to fight Kuros. Henry took his own run at the intergalactic menace. This, ultimately, could not stop Kuros from claiming the Time Crystal and reverting all the changes that had happened during the War. Then a more powerful Tidal showed up and almost killed him with a single blow. Almost. Half the universe died for that almost. Half of Henry’s team died for that almost. They all turned to dust and blew away. There was nothing else to do.
. . 2018. The Endgame. Nothing else to do, that is, until Terrifica and Marian Soaring Eagle came to the rescue. Kuros had shattered all of the Crystals of Power killing half the universe. Between those two, they knew how to get them all back. This got Henry back on track. His contributions ended up being two fold. Not only did he go on the mission with Fletcher that recreated the Time Crytal, it was his artificing skills (and Marian’s knowledge) that built the enchanted device that drew off Tex Austin’s psionic energy and reformed the Mind Crystal. The loss of Shadowspirit for the Soul Crystal hit him hard, as she was the first death since they’d started the Icons. They were friends. Still. A universe to save. And so they did. Tex all but destroyed his arm, but it was done. And then the enraged Kuros (now The Annihilator) attacked. Henry, Fletcher, and Tidal teamed up to fight him. He beat Fletcher. Again. He beat Tidal. Again. Henry wasn’t beaten yet before Kuros got annoyed and summoned his armada and armies. In this corner, one wizard in a half broken armored battlesuit with a fully broken arm. In the other corner, the infamous intergalactic conqueror and tyrant with what seemed like his entire massive military. Henry knew he would die. Knew it. He splinted his arm with his armor and magic and prepared to fight anyway. And then several dark portals opened, and literally every hero on the planet (summoned by the Exiles) swarmed to his side. Including every Dusted Icon. Thus began the final battle of the Endgame.
. . It was a frantic, frenetic battle, as everyone tried to defeat the massive military set against them and stop Kuros from getting his hands on the reformed Crystals of Power and literally end of all life in the universe forever. Because fuck you ungrateful bastards, apparently. There were several very awesome moments, but absolutely none topped Starman III and Starwoman II showing up out of nowhere and dominating Kuros even after he’d got his hands on the Crystals again. They were pushed away by the sheer power the Crystals possessed, and then Henry had to watch Fletcher (even after everything, arguably his best friend), die to save the universe. Kuros and his military were gone. And for the first time in his life, Henry didn’t know what to do next. His thoughts returned to a short while ago, just before everyone had rescued him. And a short while before that, to Terrifica’s time displacer device that had sent him and Fletcher back. And to 2014, to a remark from that dammed AI. He’d really spent nearly two centuries fighting, hadn’t he? Even the Icons, as noble and good as his intentions were. As much as it was an effort to change himself. It had been yet another cause to fight for. Something else to pledge his crusader’s banner to. So he wasn’t idle enough to realize the kind of man he was or feel regret for the things he’d done. Always focusing on what he could do next. Always charging forward. For the first time, he realized he was tired. Old. Regretful. Terrifica’s machine had a charge left. If he stayed here and now, he would inevitably be drawn back into the same life he was currently living. And after today, he had more than earned the right to retire. Terrifica, who was about to take the machine apart, stopped. She let him go. From her perspective and that of all the Icons, he wasn’t gone all that long, really. Just a few minutes. From his, however…
. . Henry Kim returned to 1954. To his special lady. He explained things to her. He remembered when he’d been home in that house, and it wasn’t often. And this is how it went. When the Henry Kim of that period was home (which wasn’t often or for all that long), he went and stayed in a hotel. And when that Henry Kim left on his noble crusade against evil again, the Henry who knew how important the soft things were returned to his wife and children. He still managed to lose track of the one terminally rebellious daughter who ended up giving birth to Sage and her sisters. But everyone else? He knows where they are. An older, wiser Henry Kim stayed out of things. His wife still died in ’94, and he mourned her harder than he did the first time. He wasn’t Dusted, and a year after found his way to the Endgame’s battlefield. He didn’t move quite as well, now. He met with Queenie, Terrifica, and Medic there, shortly after the younger version of himself had departed. He spoke with them for a little while, to confirm his permanent heroic retirement. And then he went home again. The White Court’s Senior Advisory Council took a little more convincing. He’s still their top enforcer, but he doesn’t go out quite as often these days. He’s older now. He values his peace, his quiet and his rest. With that said, he repaired his armor long ago. If another Endgame or invasion of ’82 situation happened again, he’d answer the call. He’s not that retired.
Powers & Tactics: Most people think the Shining Guardian is a tech specialist who uses a battlesuit for his entire powerset. Most of the rest think he’s a mutant with magnetic powers who cross trained as a tech specialist and uses a battlesuit to augment those abilities. All of these people are wrong. Henry Kim is a master wizard, specializing in Ferromancy and Artificing. Ferromancy is a fancy word that means magnetic magic. So they were right about the magnetic powers, very wrong about the source. And everybody’s wrong about the battlesuit. Artificing is…not that different from being a tech inventor, actually. Requires a lot of the same basic skills. Like mechanical engineering. Mathematics. A little chemistry. Or a lot, depending on what you’re doing. Alchemists need quite a bit of chemistry knowledge. But Henry doesn’t brew potions, primarily. He’s a blacksmith. Armor and assorted gear. Of course, if one is going to build anything more complicated than physical machinery, well…here is where Artificing and tech inventing part ways. The techies use electronics, batteries, wires, power generators, things of science and technology. They have to work with things entirely of the physical world, and these things can cost a lot of money. Artificiers do not necessarily have this limitation. Well. Henry doesn’t. Being a Master Ferromancer has perks. The two power sets synergize quite well together.
. . As for Ferromancy, well…the base level of understanding of it is just magnetic magic. That is what the word means, as previously stated. It is not just that. A better term would be technomancy. Though truthfully, ferromancy’s modernization into that is in its infancy. High technology is still so very new compared to the age of human civilization. Henry’s siblings likely lived and died without ever seeing a train, for example. Modern Koreans two centuries later likely can’t imagine life without high speed rail. Though maybe not ones from where he was born. So what Henry does is mostly just tricks of magnetism and electricity. Until it isn’t. What he does with Ferromancy as the Shining Guardian is pretty simply, actually. Damaging blasts of magnetic force in single target and area varieties. Binding a target with sheer magnetic force. Peering through basically any video camera on Earth and even some in orbit. And, of course, the basic thing that comes to mind for someone with magnetic powers, lifting literal tons of metal. Though in Henry’s case the weight limit is in the hundreds of tons. He also uses a powerful force field to protect himself. As a reminder, Ferromancy is a specialty. He is still a master wizard with access to at least half a dozen magical traditions like Pyromancy (Fire Magic), Terramancy (Earth Magic), Graviomancy (Gravity Magic), and Photomancy (Light Magic).
. . As an Artificier his shining (heh) achievement was his Ferromantic Armor. It is a genuine work of art, and one of the few modern battlesuit designs that isn’t taking a lot from either the third Human Rocket or Baroness Valia. It has armor just in case he’s caught with his force field down. Even with it up, it still provides a degree of damage resistance, with him being fully able to ignore artillery fire. It has the requisite life support systems, a communication system, improves his strength, and allows him to fly at hypersonic speeds. The energy involved in powering this last one can be traded for lifting strength instead. The limit here, if he does not have anything allocated to flight, is in the double digit thousands of tons. Quite impressive. Obviously, he doesn’t normally use that much raw might, as it costs him all of his flight speed to do it. But when the need is pressing, he can be truly mighty. The last element is a senor suite in the helmet. It included radar, a magical GPS system, and renders magical effects visible to him.
. . Tactically, the Shining Guardian has a lot of options. He prefers to act, well, like a wizard. Flying around and using ranged attacks. Thuggery can’t hurt him even with his force field down, as long as he has his armor on. So he can either take his time and bind them all with magnetic force, or turn off Gravitic Strength and pummel his way through them with Takedown Attack. The former approach works reasonably well for ordinary supervillains, too, though he turns his force field on for those. But if they can get free, well. That kind of power always comes with enough durability that his damaging effects won’t cause lethal damage by accident. Even a full Gravity Strength punch isn’t totally out of the question in these cases. And that’s…kind of…it. He’s not really any good at feinting or demoralizing. Accurate and All out Attack aid in hitting. Power Attack jacks up damage when necessary. The interesting bit is that between Inspire, Leadership, and Luck 4, he can turn the tide of a battle in a flash. His power stunts are legion, actually. Magnetic control tricks. Technology control tricks. Fire control tricks. Earth control tricks. Gravity control tricks. Light control tricks. The list goes on and on. He’s a master wizard who can pull basically any type of spell out of his ass. If I started listing individual ones, we’d be here all day. And this entry is long enough, don’t you think?
. . A note. Prior to 2002, he was PL 10 and basically using a different build as the Shining Guardian. Henry Kim, White Court enforcer, is another different build. He doesn’t use the armor for that, and all 75 points are redistributed to spells he doesn’t regularly use as a superhero. He was never exactly sandbagging his capabilities, just making his life easier while operating on his own time while casually disguising his wizardry. Official White Court business isn’t done quite so publically as superhero work, and there’s rules attached besides. So the Shining Guardian and Henry Kim throughout their careers would probably be at least 3 different builds other than this one. Maybe a 4th for Krakatoa era Henry. This is, however, the build that he would use if the world was in such danger that he needed to come back for one more fight.
Personality: Saying that Henry Kim was an angry man isn’t quite right. How someone does magic is dependent on who they are. Kind, nurturing people become kind, nurturing wizards. There are plenty of healers. Gardeners. Researchers. No two wizards are quite alike, after all. Henry Kim learned how to fight. How to inflict harm on other beings and avoid harm being inflicted on him. He may have directed it in a useful and productive direction, but for most of his life Henry was the type of man who preferred to solve problems with violence. He was not a mean or cruel man by any means, but his mentality was very…Old Testament. He was not a kind or compassionate man, either. He protected the weak and vulnerable and helped those who needed it out of principle. Some things one does, and others one does not allow. End of discussion. Paradoxically enough for a wizard, he was a warrior. Honorable in his way, but ultimately a man who preferred to throw a closed fist instead of extend an open hand. This was who he was as a Mystery Man. This was largely who he was as a husband and a father. An immovable hardass. One with the right principles, to be sure, but that didn’t make him any easier to like or get along with if one was too different from him.
. . This was not who he was as an Icon. Much of that man was there, but he’d changed. His children abandoned him. Fled his presence as soon as they were legally allowed to. No money. No job. No prospects. Just to get away from him. And like everyone else in the Silver Age, he followed the exploits of the Champions of Justice. He read the newspapers and watched the news. A different man would have gotten into his pride. Been angry. Insisted he was the right one, and everyone else was the ones who were wrong. But even when he was an immovable hardass, this was not who Henry Kim was. He could be a perfectly reasonable man about many things, and he never thought he was perfect or unable to make mistakes. So he thought about everything, and came to a realization. He may have been very good at safeguarding people’s lives and livelihoods, but he was pretty goddamn awful at doing the same for their hearts. Though in fairness, that was something the little commoner boy turned wizard apprentice turned evil battler had never been taught. His teachers and his life had taught him nothing except how to be cold and hard. Like his armor. And his attempts to be warm and soft were at best fumbling and pathetic. Upon this realization, in his house newly empty with his beloved wife freshly buried, Henry Kim sobbed inconsolably.
. . It was with Sage where h started finally learning how to properly be warm and soft. He still had to be a hardass fairly often, because Sage is goddamn Sage, but the two fumbled their way into an actual warm relationship for arguably the first time in each of their lives. He helped found the Icons to help make up, at least to himself, for his mistakes in life. His days of killing anything other than Acceptable Targets had come to an end. He did a lot more fighting with the Icons, and it was good and right and he saved a lot of lives, but…that AI had a point. He’d spent his entire life either fighting or preparing for the next fight. He literally didn’t know who he was without either an enemy to oppose or a cause to fight for. So he went to find out, and is mellower than ever in his retirement.