Thursday, July 10, 2014

Superheroes of Note: Asiri

Due to requests from international readers, I'm going to call attention to the leader of the Lagos Guard, a Nigerian super-team, and their leader.

Asiri

The superheroes and supervillains in Africa operate on a very different dynamic than those in America and Canada. According to my African contacts, they act more like Feudal lords and knights, patrolling a given area of turf and protecting the people who live there. The "hero" and "villain" distinction is a little looser, but mainly comes down to whether you're benevolent or not.

The Lagos Guard are the only heroic super-team operating in the city of Lagos. The city has between 17 and 20 million people and is located on the southwestern coast of Nigeria. It's a port city and is significant to the economy of the entire country. The Lagos Guard was formed to act as the city's super-protectors, and they deal a beat-down to anyone who tries to muscle in.

Asiri is the leader of the Guard. He (or she, nobody's sure, but I'll stick with "he" unless corrected) is a shapeshifter and a pretty powerful Stage 4 Child of Eve. He's an infiltration specialist and apparently has some military and command experience.

Past

According to statements made by Asiri and others, he is a member of the Yoruba people, found in the southwestern Nigerian region. His accented English suggests he was educated in America at some point, and returned to his native home later. His combat doctrine suggests that he spent some time in the Israeli armed forces.

Asiri claims that his "spiritual self" was empowered by his god and that is responsible for the source of his powers. My Lagos contact tells me that his origin story is a variation of Yoruba religious beliefs and essentially the same as several other local supers, so whether he sincerely believes it, or just claims what he does to hold the support of the people in the region, is unknown.

Position

Aside from being the team leader, Asiri is apparently also the team ninja. His shapeshifting powers let him adopt the form of anyone his enemy trusts, or at least will overlook.

In combat, Asiri will either use his powers to emulate an enemy's trusted subordinates and sow confusion, or transform into a monstrous form and fight on the front lines.

Personality

Asiri is a tough, no-nonsense sort of super. His military training, personal life, and education all point to a guy on a mission. His teammates, and commentators who have seen the Guard on action, report that he doesn't really have an "off" switch - he's always doing the job, and always serious.

Powers

Asiri can shift any or all of his body into any reasonably biological form. He can copy anything he's personally familiar with, or invent a shape on the fly. Since his strength, speed, and other physical traits are based on his body's composition, he can adjust his physical abilities as well as his form.

He can gain or lose significant amounts of mass. This isn't a super big deal for Stage 4 - find anyone with a serious enough healing factor, cut off their finger, then ask yourself just how it grew back. Asiri just does it a lot faster than many supers.

It's said that he's a student of psychology, theology, and mythology, and uses his education to construct forms designed to terrify specific targets, or to manipulate them. Specific information is scarce on the ground, for obvious reasons, but it seems plausible.

Problems

Asiri's biggest problem at this point is his disconnect from humanity, especially mundanes. If he has a home life, friends, lovers, or anything else, he's never given any evidence of it. To some villains, this sounds like an advantage - no attachments means no vulnerabilities. In a hero's case, though, it means he's got to come up with his own motives for fighting, and he's unlikely to feel any compassion for people he can't connect to.

As the leader of the Lagos Guard, he has a level of visibility and accountability that makes it possible to track him down, or at least find a date and time where you know he'll have to be.