Monday, July 7, 2014

Superheroes of Note: Mack Atlas

Since I talked about several supervillains of note, some of you wrote in to ask about the heroic side of the equation - in other words, what heroes are out there, and what's "the best of the best"? I know what you really want to know - "is my hero a world-beater or a wimp" - but I'll answer anyway, if only because some of these guys deserve a shout-out.

Mack Atlas

This guy is not a hero in the conventional sense - he doesn't fight villains (or anyone else) and he doesn't really stop crimes in progress. That said, he's one of the world's best and most renowned superhumans on the side of law.

Let's just say this right now: Mack is probably the world's strongest man. There is no weight he has been unable to lift so far. Everything he's ever failed at lifting failed because it broke under its own weight, not because he was unable to provide leverage. When properly reinforced, he's been capable of lifting battleships and moving (small) mountains.

Mack works with California's Metahuman Task Force (MTF). The state of California has been a model for superhuman relations, and I wish their program would go nationwide. Basically, the MTF hires supers, then does everything it can to let them focus their powers and ignore the small stuff. MTF members don't pay taxes, get preferred parking, a million other little benefits that basically let them show up and do their stuff.

Past

The MTF worked with Federal and state agencies to bury their employees' pasts, for privacy. So what little is known about Mack is what the man himself has said. He was apparently born and raised in California. He's about 42 chronological years old (based on some savvy analysis of musical tastes and cultural touchstones, done by our late lamented Professor Pulsar) and looks about 20.

Mack is one of the charter members of the MTF. There are no reports of his activities prior to the formation of that group, which is surprising because he's a freakishly built guy and couldn't really hide if he wanted to.

Position

Mack is the MTF's go-to guy for construction, repair, and rescue work. He has decades of experience in lifting heavy stuff and avoiding the secondary effects of doing so, like triggering cave-ins. He's not a combat type by any means and avoids fighting.

When coordinating rescue efforts, Mack usually likes someone else to give the orders, but he'll advise and make suggestions as needed. He wants to be up close to where things need doing, and says that a director of operations should have some distance to be able to see the whole scene.

Personality

He's an outgoing, likable guy who enjoys talking. He's one of the most respected supers on the planet because of his workmanlike attitude and refusal to get sucked into hero-vs-villain struggles, politics, or other similar bullshit.

Mack apparently has a girlfriend, but doesn't talk about her. That said, I am pretty sure that any villain who found her and hurt her would be lucky to be caught by a hero. If that guy got caught by the rest of us, we'd see to it that he deeply regretted doing that shit. Nobody wants Mack to come looking for a fight.

Powers

Mack Atlas is classified by the Transhuman Capability Catalog as TCC Q3. His body has some unknown substance bonded to the cells in a symbiotic relationship. He has incredible amounts of energy and frankly terrifying levels of physical strength and durability. If he's not Stage 5, then he's definitely at the very high end of Stage 4.

He has been known to tank 120mm howitzer shells to the face, and survived a bombardment from an American battleship unscathed (no, they weren't aiming at him deliberately). He's fallen from orbit, had a mountain collapse on him, and derailed a freight train by punching it. Most villains are grateful that he just loves to lift and fix things, because if he got a hold of one of us, that would be the end of that.

Problems

Mack is a very nice guy, and hates to see people get hurt. Villains have threatened civilians to get him to let them escape, and thankfully for them nobody got hurt. He can definitely be manipulated by threatening innocent bystanders.

He's also nearsighted, which is very weird. The super-mutation normally fixes problems like that, but not in his case. His regenerative powers keep trying to grow cells over any contact lenses, so he has to resort to glasses to see clearly. This is by far the most hilarious thing a lot of villains have seen in a long time.