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Ugly Ghost Squad #28 recap [Mar. 16th, 2017|10:28 pm]
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Ugly Ghost Squad #28A
"American Carnage"
Played 3/11/2017

Roll Call:
Black Panther
Captain America
Martian Manhunter

Experience Level: 11

Enemies Fought:
Red Skull
The Fifth Sleeper
Baron Blood
Grey Gargoyle

Other NPCs:
President Donald Trump (actually the Red Skull in disguise)
Mourners at Captain America's funeral

Adventure Modules Used:

The Ugly Ghost Squad, along with politicians and dignitaries from around the world, gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for the funeral of Captain America. President Trump took the podium to deliver the eulogy, but instead tore off his face-mask to reveal that he was really Cap's arch-enemy, the Red Skull.

The Skull unleashed his minions on the crowd: The vampiric Baron Blood, stony Grey Gargoyle, and the fire-blasting Solarr. Suddenly, an unearthly moaning was heard, and the ghost of Captain America emerged from the grave! Cap's powers had been altered, but he nonetheless joined his teammates in battle against the Skull's team.

As the last of the flunkies went down, the Skull emerged again, this time piloting a giant Sleeper robot. A series of savage blows from the Black Panther knocked the robot's head off, and the Skull faced the team single-handedly, wielding a blaster pistol and his enervating "dust of death". Despite his diabolical weaponry, the heroes triumphed, and the world cheered the return of Captain America.

Memorable Quotes:
"Nobody told me Cap's funeral was today. I blame the media. Sad!" - the real President Trump, tweeting from Mar-a-Lago.

Sources and References:

The Red Skull and The Sleeper:
You battled the Skull, and three of his "Sleeper" robots, back in issue #16. There was a fourth Sleeper that appeared in the comics, but you haven't met that one yet...

Baron Blood:
Lord John Falsworth was a British aristocrat in the early 20th century. He ran afoul of Count Dracula, and became a vampire. Ambitious and power-hungry, he allied with the Germans in both World War I and World War II, and fought Captain America and the Invaders on several occasions. He keeps getting staked in the heart, but like his mentor Dracula, always manages to come back.

Grey Gargoyle:
Chemist Paul Duval accidentally discovered a formula that gave him the power to turn himself and others into solid stone. He began using his powers for personal gain and became the Grey Gargoyle. At one point, he tried to steal Thor's hammer, thinking that it would make him immortal. You can guess how well that turned out. Since then, he's battled Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and other heroes.

Silas King was a small-time drug smuggler who's van broke down in the Mojave Desert. As he wandered the desert in a daze, the unrelenting heat (and possibly the psychotropic cacti he ate) somehow unlocked the power to shoot devastating blasts of fire. Once he returned to civilization, he returned to crime as Solarr, battling Captain America, the Avengers, and the Defenders.

Ugly Ghost Squad #28B
"Dominion Day"
Played 3/11/2017

Roll Call:
Black Panther
Captain America
Martian Manhunter

Experience Level: 11

Enemies Fought:
Professor Malevolence and his Dominion Deviants:
Mark I and Mark II Robots
Yukon Jack


Other NPCs:
Senator H. Warren Craddock (mentioned but not seen)
Professor Charles Melvinson
Mr. Mind
Ruby Ryder

Adventure Modules Used:
Villains and Vigilantes: "Alone Into the Night" by Ken Cliffe and Kent Paling
Villains and Vigilantes: "From the Deeps of Space" by Stefan Jones

In the wake of the attempted Capellan invasion, and the revelation that super-powers were the result of alien tampering in pre-historic times (see issue #27B), there has been increasing tensions over the presence of aliens and superheroes on Earth. Senator H. Warren Craddock has been vocal about his distrust of such beings, which has earned him many enemies, both in Congress and among the public. An attempt was made to blow up his limousine, but luckily the bomb went off prematurely when no one was inside.

The Ugly Ghost Squad's patron, Ruby Ryder, was not happy about the anti-hero sentiment growing across the country, since she does a lot of business with the super community. She suggested that the Squad track down Craddock's would-be assassin, in order to "prove" that heroes can be trusted.

The cellphone used to trigger the bomb in Craddock's car was traced to Charles Melvinson, a notoriously radical left-wing college professor. Entering Melvinson's house, they found a makeshift laboratory in the cellar, where Melvinson was holed up with a small army of robots dubbed "Mark I". The team managed to defeat the robots, and Melvinson immediately surrendered, though he refused to talk.

Searching Melvinson's computer revealed that most of the files were heavily encrypted, but they did find references to something called "Project: Dominion Day", a list of "Dominion Deviants": Trillium, Yukon Jack, and Powerhouse, as well as a "Team A" who's employment was to be terminated. The computer was turned over to one of Ruby Ryder's hacker friends for further examination.

The next day, the team got word that Melvinson had been broken out of prison by two superhumans, identified as known mercenaries Brimsone and Psi-Lancer. Not long after, they heard that Melvinson's computer was broadcasting an "intruder alert" signal, originating from an old abandoned radio station outside of town.

Arriving at the station, the heroes found a hovercraft parked outside, which they quickly trashed. Inside the building were none other than Brimstone and Psi-Lancer, fuming over the fact that Professor Melvinson had ditched them without paying for their services. They decided to take their anger out on the Squad, but despite Brimstone's ability to grow in size by consuming objects in his fire, and Psi-Lancer's powerful mental blasts, they were no match for the heroes.

Searching the station, the heroes found a teleporter chamber linked to a much larger facility hidden deep underground. They were immediately set upon by a more powerful group of robots, the Mark II. Despite the upgrade, the team managed to forcibly disassemble them.

Further into the complex, they found Professor Melvinson, now wearing high-tech armor and calling himself Professor Malevolence, along with his "Dominion Deviants": The massive Powerhouse, telekinetic Trillium, and rubber-limbed Yukon Jack. The villains' would-be political revolution was nipped in the bud as the Ghost Squad pummeled them into submission.

As the Malevolence and his crew slumped unconscious, they began to change, their bodies morphing into the familiar forms of alien Capellans. Further examination revealed that they were not just out cold, but dead, apparently the victims of poison capsules embedded in their bodies and triggered remotely.

While the team pondered the implications, another change occurred: Captain America's unstable DNA began mutating once again. What would his new form look like...?

Memorable Quotes:
"I'm all in favor of fascism." - Black Panther, describing politics in Wakanda.

Sources and References:

The photo I used for Professor Melvinson was Timothy Leary, a psychologist and college professor who became a counter-culture hero in the 1960s by advocating the use of LSD, and encouraging young people to "Turn on, tune in, and drop out". Richard Nixon once called him "the most dangerous man in America".

Senator H. Warren Craddock is a character from Marvel Comics, but telling you anything more would be a spoiler. ;-) More about him in future issues.

Mr. Mind was Ruby Ryder's hacker friend who cracked Professor Malevolence's computer. I don't think I mentioned him by name, but yeah, same guy. He also helped you break into A.I.M.'s mainframe back in issue #16.

The Capellans continue to poke their hairy snouts into the affairs of Earth. But wait -- didn't Major Rall tell you just last issue that Capellans were incapable of changing form or gaining super-powers, due to their hyper-stable genetic structure? Hmmm...