"I'M A GODDAMNED CARRION BIRD, AND I'M HERE TO PICK CLEAN THE ROTTING CORPSE OF JUSTICE IN THIS STINKIN' JACKHOLE OF A CITY! I'M THE GODDAMN CROWTALON!"
Image is © Grant and used with permission.
Nevermore, Ravenclaw, Blackbird, Brother Raven
Free Universe Forums (2010)
Crowtalon was the ruthless vigilante alter-ego of deranged business tycoon Wyatt Brenner, who ran a multi-billion dollar global corporation by day and patrolled the dark alleys of Los Angeles looking for criminals to arrest or punish by night. The public image of Crowtalon varied between that of a particularly scary urban horror story and the more accurate assessment of him as a dangerous madman thanks to his brutal methods of attack and suppression of criminals, and his wildly unpredictable assessment of who should be classified as a criminal at any given moment. Despite being mostly held in poor regard by more merciful or conscientious superheros, Crowtalon's methods of cleaning up the streets proved to be quite effective. Crowtalon continues to be a divisive character within the city's masses even to this day.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Wyatt Brenner was the heir to an empire of vices, his parents having a market share of the vast alcohol and tobacco industries that would be worth billions of dollars in the modern day, as well as very profitable military and scientific research, development and manufacturing ventures across the globe. Wyatt lived in great comfort throughout his life, in a mansion on the outskirts of the gothic Blackthorne City, and it seemed he was on a path to inherit the role of CEO of Brenner Incorporated when he was old enough to handle the family business. However, life was not to be perfect for the tycoon-to-be, as he had inherited a genetic tendency towards mental illness from somewhere back in the family line. Throughout his formative years, Wyatt was unruly and bad-tempered with everybody and it was only his parents’ extreme wealth that kept him in the elite schools and supplementary activities he was enrolled in.
However, like many people with tendencies towards psychotic or sociopathic behaviour, Wyatt developed a keen sense of intelligence and logic, excelling in his exploits from a young age, when he wasn’t engaged in anti-social behaviour. He read ferociously, and was learning at an accelerated rate, with his mental capacity established at just below the threshold of genius, a not entirely uncommon circumstance with children afflicted by the mental illnesses he possessed. His extracurricular activities were also quite successful when they were directed in the same vein as his personality, such as martial arts, kendo, boxing, archery and hunting. In any case, though somewhat disturbed, Wyatt grew up to be an intelligent and fit young man. Unfortunately, due to his family’s empires, Wyatt quickly became both alcoholic and a heavy smoker, first smoking the best cigarettes before moving to cigars at the age of ten. Worse, he rebelled against his parents in small ways, by bribing guards to sneak out at night and by dabbling in notorious cocktails of drugs, mostly of the illicit variety.
Unfortunately, the combination of cigars, alcohol and illicit drugs only deepened Wyatt’s propensity towards mental instability, and he became a petty criminal during his early teen years, until a fateful moment during his thirteenth year on earth. Involved in a small way with a criminal organization in Blackthorne, fencing drugs and performing deliveries, Wyatt's lineage earned him the interest of the criminal ringleader, Big Shot. Big Shot began to show real interest in Wyatt, and Wyatt even heard about a particular pig farm that Big Shot owned on the outskirts of town. Having a fondness for killing and torturing animals in the forest as he 'hunted', Wyatt decided that the pigs would make good amusement for him, and one night killed them all, just for the sake of it. This didn’t go down well with the crime ring, and things became worse when it turned out Wyatt had set one of the pigs loose, and it had been caught and examined by another farmer. This was a blow for Big Shot, because the farmer had happened to discover body parts within the pig that definitely didn't belong there. This was traced back to Big Shot and it cost him a lot to keep it quiet, setting him back quite a bit. Because of this, a public assassination of Wyatt’s parents was arranged. Luckily, the assassination was prevented by the disgraced hero of the US, Ultravox, and Wyatt and his parents fell under government protection.
Beginnings of a "Hero"
It was during the next two years under government protection that Wyatt really began to delve into the criminal justice system, having already gained a basic understanding of it while working for the crime syndicate. His experiences during this period of the government trying to apprehend the criminals who organized the assassination proved to him one thing. The government was moronic. Pent up with boiling anger at the crime lord for having the pure audacity to try to blackmail him and of the government for screwing it all up royally pushed Wyatt to the breaking point and he set out to take out the crime ring, taking up a vigilante proto-persona he called Nevermore, partially as a reference to his favourite poem by Edgar Alan Poe, and partially because he felt that it sounded like a particularly threatening name. Though he didn’t succeed in killing the crime lord, his actions had a degree of success and Wyatt found that he rather enjoyed the vigilante business. It allowed him to satisfy both his diseased mind and the sense of high moral justice his parents attempted to drill into him all the time.
After gaining too much underworld attention as Nevermore, Wyatt quit the vigilante life, only to return a few months later with primative wings added to his outfit, and a new name: Ravenclaw. However, Blackthorne City was not a good place to be a vigilante. It already had plenty of heroes, and most were metahumans, while he was just a fairly smart, fit, rich teenager with a lack of mental boundaries to keep him constrained. He needed to move to another city, but that posed another problem, two in fact. Disguising his identity as the heir of an empire of earthly pleasures, and not being cut off from said empire of earthly pleasures by his parents. The second problem was solved easily enough, all it took was some intelligence, a set of stairs and a whole-hearted disregard for familial love. By the age of seventeen, Wyatt Brenner owned his whole empire, but the heart of it was located in Blackthorne. He couldn’t simply up and leave, or so he thought. But then he realised he was the richest teenager on Earth, and decided to let someone else run the Board of Directors for a while. This idea proved to be disastrous, with Brenner Incorporated losing the research company Vagrant Arms Development only a few months after his departure.
At the age of eighteen, Wyatt headed out into the world to better learn the ways of other cultures, and to learn new ways to satisfy his increasingly violent tendencies. During his world tour, Wyatt studied various martial arts and disciplines in basic manners, learning just enough to keep him entertained, before leaving to find another teacher and another system of combat. While on the world tour, he also learned a great many other skills and absorbed the local cultures, knowledge he would later apply in his business dealings. However, while he was in Mongolia, Wyatt encountered a man who called himself a Flamefinder, a man who drew him into the shadowy Cult of the Fire, the Shrykar Monks. Here Wyatt learnt new forms of mental discipline and proficiency as well as a blended dagger-based combat technique that quickly became his favored combat form. It was as he reformed his identity within the Flame that Wyatt discarded the alias Ravenclaw, and instead took up the name Brother Raven. However, his mental instabilities prevented him from progressing along the Incendiary Trail, and he left having only really developed the physical basics of the cult's arts. However, after his encounter with the Shrykar, Wyatt decided he was ready to face down street criminals with ease, and made his prodigal return to America in 1984, having discarded his Shrykar identity in favor of a simpler moniker, Blackbird.
With his large sums of money and disregard for the law, Wyatt was able to acquire a two-way teleportation link, formerly constructed by mad genius Nikola Tesla, and set it up to operate between Blackthorne City and a new tower he commissioned on the sly, to be built in the center of Los Angeles, his new roost. Four years after his return, in 1988, Wyatt reaquired Vagrant Arms Development and folded it into Brenner Incorporated once more, utilizing cutting-edge technology from the facility to combat his enemies, both in the sky and on the ground. Ever since taking the mantle of a super hero a constant has been the techno-organic magnesser wings he wears, the true mark of Crowtalon. In 1994, a series of events lead to Wyatt working with a series of other heroes to fight of a regional catastrophe, and the heroes involved in this event decided to form a new super hero taem, the League of Destiny. Though Wyatt was offered a seat on the founders' table for the team, he declined membership at all, but willingly bankrolled the operation, and organised for other rich members of society to be patrons for the League of Destiny as well.
In 1992, Wyatt became romantically involved with another rich business owner, the French powerbroker Lillet du Lac, but despite media rumours to the contrary refused to merge their companies when they became married in 1995. This proved to be a wise decision when it was revealed to Brenner in 1998 that Lillet was working on secretly taking over his corporate empire. This discovery resulted in the second loss of Vagrant Arms Developments, the divorce of Wyatt and Lillet and Brenner's loss of faith in the idea of love. Through his work as Crowtalon, Wyatt had learned that love could be a dangerous thing, and after his divorce he opted for brain surgery that burned away his capacity to feel sexual arousal or true love ever again. Since then Crowtalon has become even more violent and psychopathic, as he has become more and more disconnected from humanity.
Wyatt now lives an incredibly full life, working in Blackthorne to run his empire from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon. From then until seven thirty, Wyatt engages in training, before teleporting to LA to start his shift at eight pm, on the dot. He works an eight hour shift on the street, returning to Blackthorne City by teleporter at 4:15am, then rests for around two hours in a sensory isolation tank, obtaining a far more restful state than normal sleep. At 6am he wakes up and engages in some more training, before repeating. His life is one of repetition, but of glorious, stalking, violent, justice-delivering repetition. It’s a good thing he only uses the teleporters twice a day, as they draw so much power from the city grids of both Blackthorne and Los Angeles that both cities experience momentary city-wide blackouts while he teleports.
Powers and Abilities
Crowtalon is a normal human, with near peak-level endurance, strength and speed, and has honed his reflexes through dedicated training and genetic treatments. He’s mastered five types of martial arts, a mixture of traditional physical combat styles, spiritual and mental forms and even some with mystical qualities to their techniques. He’s also mastered kendo, classical swordfighting, saber duelling and a few other types of bladed combat, not least of which is the Shrykar equivalent to the Nimaru combat discipline of Steppe Viper, and has of course trained extensively with most common firearm classes, attaining a high level of proficiency in all these aspects. Given his childhood, Crowtalon is also skilled at archery, and is a flexible acrobat too.
Crowtalon has trained his body to be more resistant to disease and toxins. More importantly, he carries a case of cigars and a flask of finest whisky while on patrol, and is almost always smoking fine Grand Mile cigars. In addition, he receives regular illicit genetic therapy treatments in order to infuse his body with government-restricted SOLDIER Serum injections that push his body towards a peakhuman state and mitigate the failings of his middle-aged, run-down and battle-worn body.
Being a regular human, Crowtalon relies as much on his gadgets as his skills to be a good vigilante, and he sports a composite light body armoursuit made with the latest in materials, such as carbon nano-tubes and 1313 paste. While light, it’s also significantly tough, and can handle being beaten up by people with low-level superstrength, up to around three tons. The suit is fairly good at taking projectile impacts, though not as good as brute impacts, and is coated with a molecular laminate of energy-dispersive material, reducing the effectiveness of energy assaults by an amount, generally able to repel low-level energy attacks. It tends not to impede flexibility too much, being made of shifting plates, and is pretty much the best non-powered armour money can buy.
Worn on the forearms are Modular Purpose Gauntlets, which hold cable-launchers, flares, and all variety of other nifty devices inside them, the modules inside regularly being swapped around by Crowtalon for various mission purposes. Worn under the armour and gauntlets is a techno-organic bodysuit that regulates against heat, cold and electricity, as well as being NBC-quality biohazard resistant. Worn on the head, with more of the techno-organic bodysuit as a hood, is a mask containing multiple imaging functions, and which also has a GPS/radar system and a radio transceiver.
Worn over the armour is a chest holster setup to hold Crowtalon’s large custom handgun and his vicious knife, as well as other gadgets in the other pouches. More items are held in pouches on the right thigh, and the boots and gloves both have variable grip systems for greater control. Finally, the wings are installed in the back of the armour, reacting via a brainwave transmitter that is calibrated to Crowtalon’s brainwave pattern, allowing him natural control of the wings, much like any winged creature, though it has taken him training to become a master with the wings. They allow him to fly at good speeds, roughly two hundred kilometres per hour, and due to their techno-organic components allow extreme agility while in the air, and also allow him to hover quite easily. His maximum altitude is about ten kilometres above the ground below him.
On the outskirts of Los Angeles is a large curving tower coated in black stygian composite, named the Ebon Claw. This base of operations that Crowtalon works out of is one of the most high-tech examples of a super-base you’ll find anywhere on Earth, villain or hero. It has all the latest technology and defensive measures, and is rumoured to be packed full of so many features that if any government felt it could safely capture the building without it exploding, they’d probably be able to gain a significant database and technology resource. At the top of the Ebon Claw is a large dilapidated structure where many hundreds of crows, ravens, jackdaws and other similar carrion birds roost overnight, a place of solitude where Wyatt likes to retreat to in order to be alone with his maddened thoughts at times.
Crowtalon is mentally ill, and though he’s learned to somewhat control his psyche, he can become riled up and violent quite easily, and tends to use violence as a first resort rather than a last resort. He’s also quite indiscriminate about what he sees as ‘transgressions of justice’, just as willing to kill a person for attacking in self-defence a mugger as to kill the mugger, depending on his stability that particular night.
He’s also just a human, and thus has all the limits of a regular human. He can’t move as fast as some base humans, given that his equipment all weighs something, even if it isn’t all that much. He’s a heavy smoker and drinker, and thus has wracked lungs and liver, which he, as Wyatt, requires regular bio-therapy for, and is intensely addicted to cigars, suffering withdrawals if deprived of a cigar for too long. The biotherapies that Wyatt receives in the form of blackmarket SOLDIER injections make up for his slightly-past-prime body but if he does not get these injections applied once per month his body will soon begin to lose the peakhuman benefits of the serum, showing his age.
Unfortunately, though his sensory isolation tank provides him with the physical equivalent of roughly eight hours sleep, his mind still only has two hours a night to conserve and reorganize memory along with other mental tasks, which means that after extended periods working as Crowtalon, Wyatt begins to suffer aggravated effects to his mental illnesses, and can begin to hallucinate and the like, as well as gradually developing worse and worse memory until he takes a few days off to recuperate.
Wyatt Brenner is fit, smart and business-savvy, despite having a cool, standoffish and really quite vulgar personality. However, as Wyatt Brenner he is smart enough to suppress the majority of his more unpleasant personality characteristics, as he is a skilled actor. He works hard to distance himself from his vigilante persona, operating on the opposite side of America and going so far as to declare as Crowtalon that he’d ‘never work in Blackthorne City, ever. That jackhole has too many heroic wimps anyway’. He has even staged an assassination attempt by ‘Crowtalon’ against him as Wyatt and currently has a multimillion-dollar-bounty placed on the death of Crowtalon.
As Crowtalon, he’s sadistic and violent, hunting down injustice and then killing the criminal if he deems them to be definitely worth death. In most other cases, he allows the criminal to ask Crowtalon something of his fate, and determines it by replying ‘Nevermore’ to whatever the question is. In many of the cases of capture or death, Crowtalon forces the victim to smoke a Grand Mile cigar before deciding how to deal with him. He enjoys torture, death and eating the carrion of his victims.
Wyatt is one of the richest men on earth. He doesn’t need connections, they just mysteriously appear. His only real rivalries are with Bruce Stark, the new owner of Vagrant Arms Development, with Lillet du Lac, the woman who broke his heart and bought out Vagrant Arms Developments with Stark and finally, with Big Shot, who likes to try to get dirty profits on some of Brenner’s activities. Interestingly enough, Wyatt has developed a number of enemies he's not even aware of in both his public persona and his heroic persona, mainly due to his less-than-discriminate asshole nature and brutal vigilantism.
Crowtalon is as much a full-time job as being Wyatt Brenner, and as such there are a handful of personal assistants and trusted associates who are aware of his alter-ego, and while they tend to disapprove of the idea, have learned it's best to leave him be and sometimes help him out. Given his hyper-violent methods though, it's just as common that associates who discover his secret quit in disgust, resulting in him having to commission expensive memory alterations to remove that information from them.
Crowtalon also has a disturbing fondness for orphans of any sort, and the more wretched and helpless they are, the greater an urge he feels to protect them and take them under his wing. Being under the wing of Crowtalon is not good.
There are additional rumors regarding a connection between Wyatt and either of the heroes going by the name off Raven. The rumors vary wildly, from them being related by blood, to having formed a team known as the Blackbirds, even as far as to suggest that they all operate under the auspices of an ancient deity of vengeance and power known as Oreb the Ravenheart, gaining supernatural powers and skills in return for their loyal servitude.
- Arachnid: Choi Bon-hwa is a North Korean mercenary and assassin who was driven mad by torturous experiences he experienced under the government regime of North Korea. He has an extensive healing factor and is considered to be one of the most deadly assassins in the world, despite his insanity. He's been given contracts to eliminate both Wyatt Brenner and Crowtalon on seperate occasions, and loathes that he has been unable to complete the jobs.
- Bellona: An experimental clone test subject created by Vagrant Arms Development, unknowingly using the DNA of Wyatt Brenner as the paternal contribution to the clone's genome. Subject to excessive biotherapy, vivisected and reassembled, spliced with various weaponised biological implants and with her growth cycle halted, Bellona was considered a failure and stuck into a virtual reality accelerated hell for years, before she was able to escape and learn the dark combat arts from Shrykar monks. Now a teenager who has no idea how to function as a human and can barely even speak but who is so biologically rewired that she can literally fight while unconscious, Bellona is a little ball of superhuman fury who is a freak in every sense of the way. She seeks to destroy Wyatt Brenner due to his ownership of Vagrant Arms Development at the time she was created, but the relationship has become more complex now that they know they are father and daughter.
- Chainsaw Charlie: A chainsaw-juggling mime who is completely silent under all circumstances, his painted white face and black lips never giving away a hint of his maniacal plans.
- Ghost Moth: Jennifer Kane was a street teen and petty thief who fashioned for herself a shoddy criminal costume in the style of a moth, complete with silk wings that allowed her to glide on air currents. After she was murdered by Crowtalon when he caught her in the middle of a theft, and now her ghostly form appears in places where Crowtalon has caused great violence or misery, feeding on the psychic imprints of the sorrowful dead and dying to temporarily recorporealise and attempt to kill the man who murdered her.
- High Noon: A self-styled modern day gunslinger with no name and no weapons save for his own metahuman talent. By pointing his fingers like a gun and saying "BANG!" the location he is pointing act is hit as if by a high-caliber revolver bullet. By saying "BOOM!" instead he creates a shotgun-like spray of damage. His ability to always have a gun on him at all times even when he has no gun makes him a skilled hitman.
- Injustice: Former High Court judge Moira Jude, a stone-cold ace lawyer and self described "queen bitch", who was sternly against all vigilantism because she swore to uphold the strictest tenets of the law and hated vigilante heroes even more than the criminals she convicted. Her career was ruined by her husband, who was caught in a brothel, and after she snapped and murdered him she was then hunted down and disfigured by Crowtalon, the vigilante she had always hated most in her role as a district attorney and judge. She now cruises the streets on a suped-up armored quadbike that is fitted with high-powered firearms, taking down low-grade street scum as a chainsword-wielding vigilante herself and gradually working to eliminate Crowtalon's underworld connections and support network. She seeks to destroy Crowtalon at any cost to herself, now that she lives in the sewer undercity.
- Peacock Mantis: Chloe Maxfield was a former CIA agent-turned-contractor for Vagrant Arms Development, as a black-project weapons consultant. When Wyatt Brenner lost the company to Lillet du lac the streamlining that followed cost Chloe her job, and with no legitimate options available to her she utilised stolen blueprints from Vagrant Arms Development to create a technicolor shrimp-like powered armor exoskeleton with bladed appendages. Using this amphibious exosuit, Chloe became a highly skilled corporate mercenary, versed in both land-based and aquatic combat missions. Although she has no strong hatred towards Wyatt Brenner specifically she still blames his poor business sense for costing her a good job, and so she happily takes jobs against Brenner Incorporated targets regularly.
- Lionheart: Leon Hartley is a hulking brute of a thug, a street-level criminal enforcer for Big Shot with an enormous ginger mane of hair and a beard as well as low-grade superstrength and heightened durability. He wields twin hammers as his weapons of choice and cares little for collateral damage.
- Reptilio: A Haitian drug cartel enforcer who killed the reptilian guardian beast of a remote jungle tribe during an off-map drug operation, Emmanuel Ricardo was captured by the tribe and forced through a ritual to become their next lizard guardian. However, after instead slaughtering the tribe he resumed his activities as a cartel enforcer, except now he's a deadly lizard man. He wears a slightly uncanny mask of a human face in normal company, but when he is alone with his prey he will tear it off to reveal that he is a LIZARD!
- "The character of Crowtalon is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Crowtalon, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed."