I do not plan on posting anything substantial tonight (still tinkering with my mental image of The Diabolical Dozen), but Grey Crusader I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the core concepts that have occurred to me regarding those members of the fiendish fellowship that are as yet names with no particular concept behind them.
I won't go into detail here, but I will say that my mental image of the Diabolical Dozen is as those villains who refused to join up with The Octagon during The War of the Masks (for a number of reasons, each unique to the individual member, but primarily because The Diabolical Dozen represent the Ancien Regime of villainy that objected to the fact that those short-sighted youths were kicking over the board in the middle of a match just because they couldn't cope with even the IDEA of losing): on the whole they preferred to sit back in secure locations and chew popcorn, with one eye on the Main Chance all the while, waiting to take advantage in the aftermath.
Their plan succeeded brilliantly and quite bluntly The Diabolical Dozen made a killing cleaning up after the competition and the opposition finished tearing one another to pieces - they were, however, obliged to live with the consequences of their actions and with the New World Order that gradually took shape.
With the Heroes in an unassailable position for the present, The Diabolic Dozen were obliged to exercise every slippery ounce of their traditional knack for presenting themselves in a form pleasing to the eye - retiring to enjoy their twilight years, claiming pardons after helping clean up relics of The Octagon, a few even going legit in a variety of peculiar professions (businessman, financial planner, expatriate, snake-oil salesman, tourist attraction, vigilante) even while some of their fellows just went underground or kept running fast and far.
For all their diverse transformations, however, The Diabolical Dozen continue to keep in touch (product of as much family-feeling as an extended crime family/Villain Underground can afford) and play the long game against superheroes in a way The Octagon and their fellows were too proud or principled to even try - after all, the Heroes can't stay on top FOREVER ...
Also, quite frankly, no matter how long the game they plan to play, The Diabolical Dozen just can't help but be true to their namesake natures when Real Life gets TOO pedestrian.
The Gun-Wizard - An alchemist who got sick of wands at around the same time as firearms started becoming more useful as projectile weapons than a slightly more complicated form of club; he's been trying to combine the best of bullet-blasters with a broad variety of occult nastiness ever since and even field-testing his devices on occasion.
In the present day he's currently working away on his semi-technological terrors and selling them to the discerning customer as quietly as ever - until his latest patch of hell-powder blows up in his face.
Captain Fusion: An individual able to command both Fire AND Ice (an unusual achievement to say the least) - also a double agent, although no-one is quite sure if he's working for his home-government amongst the Diabolical or a plant in the DoD working on behalf of his infernal colleagues.
Whatever the case, he's currently looking to climb the ladder of promotion by hook or by crook, whichever side he plans to betray in the end.
The Deceiver (Miss Trix's mother): Something of an odd duck, she lacked her own formerly-Imperial mother's megalomaniacal sense of grandeur and her own tricky daughter's desperate hunger for something BETTER but compensated for that with a manipulative streak that marked her career and a less-than-rudimentary conscience that rather handicapped her chances of sticking with a career as a villain for life.
Quite frankly she was raised to know better, but didn't appreciate those who raised her until much later in life - if only because The Diabolical Dozen had been turning her head from a fairly young age (somewhat amazing because they actually felt a mildy-compassionate desire to keep an eye on this member of their extended 'family' rather than purely out of a desire to manipulate her).
What this means is that while she was fully able and willing to enjoy the perks of a super-villain lifestyle, the harsh realities of the whole business still gave her nightmares (hence her focus on subterfuge and subversion, even stronger than usual for the Diabolical, who generally favoured subterfuge over savagery - their motto might as well be 'Out of Sight, out of the jailhouse').
Astonishingly fully-reformed and fully intent on remaining so, something even her old colleagues are prepared to respect ... to a point.
Karma Chameleon: A small, sly reptilian alien that looks like the love-child of Giger's alien with a chameleon and which remains generally a reprobate despite serving as a sort of moral weathervane - the nicer he acts, the nicer the planet seems to be the rule.
While a devious little wretch (he's currently serving as a lifestyle coach ... in DC and I don't mean the comics), his most useful single ability allows him to shield himself from superhuman and supernatural investigation into his morality - something he superstitiously attributes to his habit of doing some small good right before he commits some very naughty bit of villainy.
It's a system based on his comprehensive misunderstanding of Karma, as explained to him at great length by the Golden Naga, but Karma Chameleon hasn't let a little thing like that stop him: "Te seestem works, amigo indio" was his only recorded reply.
The Golden Naga: Sometimes human, sometimes cobra and entirely ascetic, The Golden Naga is something of an incarnate force of nature and prone to find his attempts to attain enlightenment handicapped by his instincts to act as persecutor of all other beings - for the present he is content to work mischief as part of the Diabolical Dozen in-between incidents designed to make life in India very difficult for the Commonwealth-friendly congress set in power once the British 'left'.
Ironically his efforts to ensure Indian self-determination come so close to being selfless that The Golden Naga is closer to enlightenment than he has been in many a year.
Mockman: An artificial life-form whose pleas for self-determination to the appropriate authorities received a somewhat less than friendly reception after his debut was marked by mayhem triggered by the programmed commands of his dying creator - the cops felt that if he COULD potentially be reprogrammed to commit unspeakable crimes, it would do better to submit to being protected as public property rather than be left to live it's own existence.
Mockman, seeing their logic, reluctantly complied with their request and eventually came to LOATHE that logic and the Lawmen who used it to keep this robot as property, rather than permitting it to become a person eventually decided to strike out against what it saw as its Oppressors; since it HAD been programmed with the Three Laws, it as obliged to seek to overthrow "so-called" agents of Law, Justice and Order by 'harmless' methods such as making a mockery of the Justice system via satire, slander and sharp legal practice.
There's a reason The Diabolic Dozen love this guy and the fact that he's a robot willing to dress up as a clown to punk policemen is just one of them - he's also a highly useful database of Law and Legal precedent, not to mention better at public relations than any rude mechanical should be!
The Nevermind-Man: Once a counter-culture ideologue so ferociously determined to 'stick it to the man' that he found himself becoming a super-villain, Nevermind-Man has spent pretty much the entire store of his idealism over the course of a career that seems almost entirely comprised of moments where that idealism was knocked out of him one scruple at a time.
At present he's a dejected, grungy recovering ex-villain who remains one of the more functionally-dextrous psionic minds on the planet (although his speciality remains keeping large numbers of bystander quiescent in the middle of the most outrageous crimes - and therefore mostly unharmed).
Mr. Caprice: An individual who possesses the ability (either simply remarkable human or quite possibly superhuman) to think several dozen steps ahead of any given room-full of individuals, whether contemplating strategy, tactics, engineering or architectural design to the point where it's a rare peer of his that doesn't consult him when putting together a plot.
The problem is that he's a arrogant, mischievous fellow and not above deliberately throwing a mis-step into his latest scheme just to keep things interesting - equally he's entirely capable of coming up with a perfect plan and fouling the execution because he's only human.
Still, he remains as admired for his distinctly free-form scheming and lively personality as he is deplored for his arrogance and tendency to be too theatrical even by the standards of those hammy prima-divas The Diabolical Dozen.
Inkmaster: Somewhat-unsurprisingly connected in some way to the PEN currently in the custody of one J.J. Jackson who might well have handed that particular tool over if it weren't for this shadowy entities' horrible determination to eliminate all it's creations in a manner that quite as horrifying as Judge Doom's intent in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' - and never a jot of attention to the good those creations have done and continue to do.
The problem is, he's good enough at this job that he's already finished off a number of heroes AND stubbornly prone to return from practically-certain death.
Currently still active, still a blatant super-villain who worries other villains so much that they can't quite afford to leave him off the team.
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!
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