NE in FC older issues

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Original "Band Of Steel" Mini-Series, published by Savage Worlds Comics


[Cover Image]
In this story arc (1) ...

  • Issue # 1:1 : "JAILBREAK" , January 30th, 2006.
    • RECAP: In the first episode, the overbearing Dr. Destruction organized a jail break-out from Blackstone, the super-prison where they were kept. Dr. D made it pretty clear that BONEYARD, CARNIVORE, DR. STEEL, MADAME SHADE, NOISE and WARCRY were crunchies but gave them the task of freeing an important villain from the back cells. In their fetching prison suits, the improvised Band of Steel managed to free the V.I.P. ("Alive is all we need, he didn't say unharmed!") Many were wounded, but thanks to Madame Shade and Doctor Steel, they were healed — except for Boneyard, who of course was undead.

  • Issue # 2:1 : "TRAITOR TO THE GODS, part I" , February 6th, 2006.
    • RECAP: A few days passed. The overbearing Dr. Destruction had provided a lair of sorts in Star City, and even Boneyard was back to, um, normal. Doctor Steel had been experimenting in the makeshift lab, complaining about the facilities. The overbearing Dr. Destruction made an appearance, demanding that the Band of Steel go to the mainland and free a super-scientist from a V'sori base. He would supply a small boat and arrange for the communications at the base to be jammed for a two-hour window. The base was situated overlooking a bluff above the sea, and used to be a super-villain's lair before the alien invaders took over. Dr. Destruction gave crude schematics and left the Band of Steel to plot.

      The resourceful villains soon came up with a plan that they hoped would give them the advantage of surprise. Doctor Steel would build a submarine equipped with a giant drill that would not only take them unnoticed from the island of Star City to the mainland, but allow them to tunnel in through the cliff side to the underground laboratory. Madame Shade would use her magic powers to weaken the concrete foundations, making it possible to break through, and Noise would use his sonic powers to keep the operation silent. Carnivore would accompany the brave submarinodrillonauts to provide fighting abilities; rounding the submarine crew was Madame Shade's zombi, Joe. Meanwhile, Boneyard would use his powers to move through the earth and Warcry her flight abilities to attack the above-ground installations and create a diversion, thus drawing some of the enemy forces out and away from the real operation. Madame Shade used her voodoo magic to keep a mental link with Warcry and coordinate the attack with the break-through to the underground lair.

      Above-ground, Boneyard and Warcry were met by a dozen guards armed with machine guns (which they soon switched to Herokiller rounds), a handful of wiredogs — super-dogs wrapped in barbed wire — a warsphere, and a drone. Boneyard, being the stalwart good ol' dead Reb that he is, did a good deal of damage and, just as importantly, absorbed everything thrown at him without damage. Warcry gave an entertaining sight in the night sky, receiving the complete and undivided attention of the drone and the warsphere despite have caused naught but cosmetic damage to the compound.

      Underground, the tunnelers broke in. After a rapid exploration of the initial contact area and some moderate resistance from the guards, they came face to face with another posse of guards, another wiredog, another warsphere, a jack-in-the-box/stretchy super called Longarm, and a super armed with an energy weapon called Glaive.

  • Issue # 3:1 : "TRAITOR TO THE GODS, part II" , February 13th, 2006.
    • RECAP: Knowing that this was their all-or-nothing only chance, Carnivore and Doctor Steel, who were facing Glaive, quickly agreed on tactics but alas, Glaive was faster and wounded both of them in a single action. Noise and Joe the zombi were the second line, and Madame Shade the third — a fragile line.

      Up top, Warcry managed to dispatch the warsphere, but was hit in the same round by the drone, crippling her. A V'sori officer made his appearance, as Boneyard started to grab rocks and throw them at the guards.

      Two battles raged in parallel courses. Boneyard and Warcry gradually overcame the guards, the drone and their V'sori commander, while deep underground Doctor Steel, Noise, Carnivore, Madame Shade and Joe the zombi battled Glaive, Longarm and their henchmen. As Carnivore and Joe locked Glaive into a melee, Noise slipped past to engage Longarm while Doctor Steel grabbed the V'sori scientist and dragged him back toward the drilling submarine. Madame Shade used her voodoo sorcery in contest of wills to control Glaive's mind. She had just succeeded, immobilizing him in a trance, when Carnivore managed to get past Glaive's defence and putting him down for the count.

      Longarm puts up a last defence for a while, but is eventually overrun. The alien scientist is shoved into the submarine and Doctor Steel's team makes it escape just after launching a signal flare to let Boneyard and Warcry know they can break off the engagement. The team delivers the V'sori scientist to the overbearing Dr. Destruction.

  • MISSING issue # 4:1 : "ATLANTIS RISING" : The extremely rare Issue 4 is, to all intents and purposes, impossible to find on the open market. It has been suggested by some collectors that the issue may in fact never have been released on the general market. There is currently some talk of publishing an adaptation in the current line published by M&M Comics.

The All NEW "Band Of Steel" Series, published by Mutants & Masterminds Comics


[Cover Image] In this story arc ...

Issue # 0:2 : Campaign Summit Part 1, February 24, 2006.

Group gathers to build characters and discuss new campaign.

Issue # 1:2 : "A Heist" , March 10th, 2006.

  • RECAP: March 2006. An acquaintance of Madame Shade, or rather or Graciella Barlow's assistant DA days, contacted hed her to hire the Band of Steel in helping him plan and execute a heist. A 17-year-old villain styling himself "Darwin's Stepson", he wanted to rob the vault of the Freedom City Diamond Exchange. The Band decided to commit the robbery right before closure time. Darwin's Stepson said he could transform into any animal and produce a multitude of duplicates of himself, so he was assigned to come as a fly, multiply so he could position his duplicates discreetly, and await Doctor Steel's signal (a squeeky toy) to transform into apes that would immobilize everyone in the Exchange. Doctor Steel and Madame Shade would go in, and Madame Shade would use her mental powers to compell the manager to open the vault. Warcry would stay outside and act as lookout and backup.

    The first part of the plan worked well. Darwin's Stepson flew in, multiplied as if someone had left week-old bananas on the window sill, and got in position. After two minutes, Madame Shade and Doctor Steel strolled in, arm in arm; Doctor Steel announced the robbery, and the flies turned to orangutans, successfully immobilizing the customer and personnel who weren't in enclosed offices. Madame Shade immediately spotted the manager in a glass-walled back office and took control of his mind. Several stories above, Warcry watched the surroundings for any unusual activity. All was clear on the streets, but she spotted two small-time thugs mugging an old lady in the alley just east of the Diamond Exchange. She interrupted the mugging, but attracted attention to herself — particularly after one of the petty thugs fired a gun and Warcry blasted him all the way across the street.

    Inside, things were also deteriorating. Doctor Steel was becoming sonewhat distracted, trying to reassure a couple of small children who were frightened of the apes. One of the guards managed to sneak past the orangutans and ambushed Madame Shade on her way to the vault. Although she avoided his attack, he managed to disrupt Darwin's Stepson's concentration; the prisoners started to break free, and all the apes vanished. Close to panic, Darwin's Stepson turned into a tyranosaur, managing in extremis to stop the fleeing hostages from reaching the front door.

    In the distance, Warcry had just noticed a motorcade for a VIP (a large bald man whose limo carried the license plate "MRDR-MN"), when she heard sirens and spotted incoming emergency response vehicles, immediately followed by an imminent STAR squad deployment; the plan was coming apart at the seams. Doctor Steel decided to abort the plan, solidly supported by Warcry and more grudgingly by Madame Shade (who was already missing her solo days.) Darwin's Stepson, horrified, returned to human form to argue for breaking into the vault first. Madame Shade helped him question the manager. Meanwhile, Warcry warned Doctor Steel that the STAR squad's arrival was imminent and that she would blast in an exit through the back of the Diamond Exchange or the team would be cornered. The manager nearly managed to get away from Madame Shade, but was stopped by Doctor Steel.

    A squad of five STAR officers in Super MAX armour deployed from the squad armoured truck and flew straight at Warcry. Her Smoking Mirror blast howled and burst through the wall of the Freedom City Diamond Exchange, sending a shower of rubble inside. Warcry then flew off toward the city centre, drawing the STAR squad after her and engaging them in a dogfight. In the Diamond Exchange, Doctor Steel picked himself up but saw that a woman (who looked a lot like his dead wife) was partly buried under the rubble. He was able to heal while Madame Shade dissolved the debris to dust. Darwin's Stepson was frantically trying to get to the diamonds in the vault. Doctor Steel and Madame Shade rushed through the gaping wall. Behind them, shots were fired. The next moment, everyone was deafened by the sonic boom of Warcry taking off at supersonic speed, the shockwave sending MAX armoured-officers tumbling.

    • "More fun than a barrel of monkeys."Doctor Steel
    • "I can turn into a tyranosaur!"Darwin's Stepson
    • "The monkeys have arrived."Doctor Steel
    • "Doctor Steel? I'm going back to Blackstone."Warcry

Issue # 1.5:2 : "Downtime", March 24th, 2006.

  • RECAP: Having just heard shots and shouting in the main floor of the Diamond Exchange, Doctor Steel and Madame Shade were heading out the breached back wall. They heard a whistling sound like a dropping bomb; an instant later, the building across the alley shuddered under a violent impact, and a thick cloud of dust filled the air. "Get the boy and get out of here!" Doctor Steel shouted to Madame Shade. Without waiting for a response, he activated his jet boots and went in pursuit of Warcry and the MAX team.

    Madame Shade had already whipped out her mystic cloak and turned herself invisible, before heading back to help Darwin's Stepson. The young would-be supervillain laid in a pool of his own blood, while uniformed policemen were trying to surround and subdue a large man dressed in combat fatigues and wielding two semi-autos. Madame Shade dropped a handful of dust, muttered arcane words, and summoned a swarm of flies who filled the room and distracted the officers. She moved past, checked on Darwin's Stepson's condition, then approached the armed man in survivalist gear, and used her magical powers to dominate his mind while the officers were swatting at the cloud of flies. "Pick up the boy – gently – and walk out the back," she whispered in the man's ear. With a vacant stare, he picked up the mortally wounded Darwin's Stepson in a fireman's carry and headed for the breached wall. Madame Shade followed, whispering commands.

    Meanwhile in the skies of Freedom City, Doctor Steel was able to track Warcry without too much trouble. The MAX units had left spiralling contrails as they went tumbling, while Warcry's flight and blasts were clearly audible. Doctor Steel tracked the self-style goddess to the Goodman Building, where she had tracked one of the MAX officers and was trying to disable his armour. The officer had plowed through two floors of office space, sending late-night workers in a panick. Warcry attempted to damage his flight appartus; but her opponent, Bulldog 1, was able to avoid a blast of the Smoking Mirror. Bulldog 1 targetted Warcry with a powerful blast, but the recoil sent him flying through cubicules. He sent a call to the rest of his unit just as Doctor Steel arrived to Warcry's assistance.

    Bulldog 1 managed to lurch to his feet and used a flare effect to distract his opponents. Doctor Steel was left blinking blindly behind his goggles, but his eidetic memory allowed him perfect recall of the entire area. Warcry targetted the water cooler and the stacked refill bottles near Bulldog 1, sending a wave of warer in her opponent's armour and short-circuiting it. But two more members of Bulldog Unit flew in through the gap in the damaged building face. Facing them squarely without letting on his temporary blindness, Doctor Steel exhorted them to join his cause or be destroyed; unsettled by his assurance, they chose to recover their fallen leader and stay out of the Band of Steel's way, as Doctor Steel and Warcry made their escape.

    Back near the Diamond Exchange, once Madame Shade was halfway across the alley, her swarm of flies dispersed and the police officers pursued the man who was running away with a body. When he failed to obey their orders, they shot him but Madame Shade magically intercepted the bullets. As soon as they were around the corner, Madame Shade picked up Darwin's Stepson, hiding him under her cloak of invisibility, and carried him out of the zone of chaos. The member of Bulldog Unit that had landed in the nearby building nearly ran into Madame Shade and her protegee, but she avoided discovery and hid in another alley. She put Darwin's Stepson down and was able to stabilize his condition, but she was now too tired to carry him much further or to heal him entirely. In the nearby She picked up her radio and called Doctor Steel for assistance.

    Doctor Steel and Warcry had made their cautious way back to the waterfront disctrict by then. Deciding that they needed a new vehicle, Doctor Steel headed for a nearby warehouse where he had noticed, a few days ago, what appeared to be a sleek car under a protective dust cover; Doctor Steel's infaillible eye had already recognized it. Moments later, Doctor Steel and Warcry were breaking in, uncovering a steel-gray Lamborghini (2), with a custom license plate that read "BTCHRBY". They flipped the butterfly doors and jumped in. Warcry drove the bolide through the darkened streets, and they picked up Madame Shade and her unconscious charge, before returning the warehouse.

    After Darwin's Stepson had been taken care of, the small Band of Steel sat down to review the events of the day. Warcry pointed out the Lamborghini's license plate as well as the limousine she had spotted earlier, connecting them to the Mafia master criminal Reginald Carter and his ward Ricky Faust, widely known as "Murder-Man and Butcher-Boy". They went through the contents of the Lamborghini, finding Butcher-Boy's BlackBerry, in addition to a good deal of money. The BlackBerry had been left unlocked and revealed a list of interesting photos, notes, and names. Warcry recognized a Grue name, Eskil, and recognized the alien she had fought a few weeks before. Madame Shade was puzzled; she pointed out that Murder-Man's reputation was that he was strongly pro-human. Butcher-Boy was supposedly in Blackstone, but his car had been carefully stored. They wondered whether the sidekick was betraying his mentor.

    Darwin's Stepson finally came to, and the Band of Steel questioned him. His only concern seemed to be for the prize of the Diamond Exchange theft, a large blue diamond. He muttered that Overshadow would kill him if he had lost it. Although it was not clear why he thought Overshadow would want the diamond, Darwin's Stepson was very proud of his "success" and was convinced that he was now a member of the Band of Steel. Before the members in good standing could disabuse him, a SHADOW transmission blanketed the communications gear. Overshadow appeared on every screen, announcing that the Band of Steel's next task would be to break "necessary asset" out of Blackstone, prisoner Ricky Faust (a.k.a. Butcher Boy). Dr. Steel was also informed that he could supplement the Band of Steel's ranks with a former minion that he had aided in the past — the enigmatic sea being Man O'War, as well as a strong thief familiar with Freedom City called Whiplash. They were going to be transferred in a few days via high-speed maglev train from Blackstone in Freedom City to Lockdown in the Rockies, along with over a hundred other prisoners. Doctor Steel remembered Man O'War, for whom he had built an environmental suit and exoskeleton a few years before.

Issue # 2:2 : "The Transfer", March 31, 2006.

  • RECAP: Doctor Steel, Madame Shade and Warcry do some research and planning for the upcoming train job. Dr. Steel breaks into the Blackstone Penitentiary computer system and obtains the layout, schedule, security codes, etc. He discovers that the train will be escorted by Kiowa warships. He is able to send a message to Whiplash and warn him of the upcoming breakout. He retrofits the drilling submarine into a mole machine, promptly renamed the Steel Gopher One. Meanwhile, Warcry learns from one of her contacts, muckraking journalist Manuelita Thompson, that Ricky "Butcherboy" Faust had deliberately got himself picked up by the authorities and sent to Blackstone in order to make contact with Nächtkrieger, who in turn will go on to Lockdown to get to Remlok, who is kept sedated there.

    Several hours ahead of the train schedule, they load the Steel Gopher 1 onto a truck and drive to the tunnel where they plan to ambush the train without its escort. Madame Shade's mental powers get them past the Grue guards. They burrow the Steel Gopher 1, hide the truck a few miles away and get in position well in advance. An hour ahead of schedule, gunships arrive to check out the tunnel. When the train arrives, Madame Shade and Doctor Steel's combined powers of magic and super-science ensure invisibility of the entire team; Doctor Steel (thanks to his jet boots) and Warcry (carrying Madame Shade) match speed with the train.

    Doctor Steel unlocks the door and finds himself facing a human technician, a Khan Warlord and a Khan Solo! However, the pressure differential sucks the Warlord out of the train. Madame Shade and the Solo trade attacks, but only Madame Shade is successful! Warcry flies in, drops Madame Shade, and blasts the Solo out of the head car, then catches the human technician as he flies out in turn. Doctor Steel shuts down the damping field throughout most of the train – except the prisoner cars containing known homicidal psychopaths – and addresses the prisoners on the P.A. system: "Attention Assorted Criminals... REDEEM YOURSELF!"

    •  ???
    • "Maybe instead of a containment suit you can have containment slacks." — Karl, about Man O'War
    • "So you're hardened rubber." — Sophie, about Whiplash's long stay in prison

Issue # 3:2 : "The Train Job", April 14, 2006

  • RECAP: The prisoners, realizing the situation, start breaking out of their pens and tanks, and overpowering the guards. Meanwhile, Doctor Steel hacks into the train's electronic security, pausing only long enough for a cyberspace fight with Doc Otaku for control of the system – a fight he wins with ease. Warcry blasts open the double set of doors to the Paladin units car separating the locomotive from Butcherboy and Whiplash's car; she and Madame Shade engage Paladin troops.

    In their car, Whiplash, Butcherboy and the monstrous Man O'War fight Grue guards – the first snack Man O'War has had in a long while. They start moving forward, blasting through the aft end of the Paladin unit car. Meanwhile, Madame Shade notices the Warlord making his way back, then the Solo. She turns invisible and uses her voodoo magic to play havoc with the minds of several opponents. Warcry blasts away at Grue guards, and with Doctor Steel's tactical expertise to help, battles the Paladin MT.

    Butcherboy finds himself a weapon by shortening a Grue glaive, and proceeds to cut a bloody swath. After disentangling himself from Whiplash's limbs and bursting throught the doorframe, Man O'War encounters Madame Shade and falls under her control. Under her direction, he starts fighting Paladins. Whiplash bungie-punches Paladins, trying to join up with the Band of Steel, then severs the connection between the first two cars and the rest of the train... with Buthcerboy still behind.

    Snaking his way out to get Butcherboy from the receding aft portion of the train, Whiplash instead encounters the Solo. He manages to snatch Butcherboy and stick him on top of the front car with a group of Paladins, then taunts the Solo before snapping back inside the car. The victorious villains finish disposing of the opposition, but the Solo manages to escape after an exchange of blows. Butcherboy climbs down into the car, in a chipper mood.

    The Band of Steel and the prisoners they rescued set up the rest of the train, approaching at reduced speed, to crash into the locomotive, then they return to the Steel Gopher 1. But they find the mechanical mole filled with insects; Madame Shade declares it to be the work of Baron Samedi. A Steed gunship hovers above the far end of the tunnel and a booming P.A. system calls out: "Join me if you with to live!" They recognize Warden, the famed creator of Lockdown.

    • Wayne: "Shhh! That's the 'Shut the fuck up' sound!"

Collectors' Notes

(1) The rare Savage Worlds Comics mini-series was never meant to be an on-going concern, but in light of its success, it was picked up by Mutants & Masterminds Comics as a regular series. The roster was altered; Boneyard, Carnivore and Noise became occasional guest stars, while Man'O War and Whiplash were added to the regular line-up. This gave Stahl Toys a chance to expand the merchandising line. The aliens were also changed somewhat, the V'sori becoming the Star-Khan's Stellar Khanate and the Fins becoming the Grue. Dr. Destruction became the Overshadow in later comics, tying in with one of Mutants & Masterminds' staple villains.

(2) The Lamborghini stolen by the Band of Steel is most likely a Murciélago. (1) Among the models produced by Lamborghini in the last several years, it is the only one with "butterfly" doors rather than "scissor" doors. (2) Production only started in 2001, making it one of the most recent models and therefore most likely to appeal to Butcher Boy — only the Lamborghini Gallardo is most recent, but it is a less expensive model and does not have the butterfly doors. (3) Like most Lamborghini models it is named for a champion bull but the name also means "bat", and the model was briefly featured in the movie "Batman Begins".