Monday, September 16, 2013

The Mystery Man: Overview of a Comic Book that Never Was

Circa 1995-1996, I had plans for creating a stable of Victorian-era superheroes.  I’ve posted before about what would have been my flagship character, The Century Man before here.  The following is fleshed out slightly from a one-page synopsis I had written back then.

The next biggest character I had planned out was The Mystery Man (also known as The Hood).  His story would begin in April 1888, when a young (maybe just 17) man named John would wake up with huge gaps in his memory, including how he came to be wrapped from head to toe in bandages and, beneath that, heavy scarring.  He would have fighting ability and enhanced (though not superhuman) strength he did not remember having, with the implication being it was somehow surgically given to him.

In May 1888, John would charge into a burning building to rescue people, discovering that his bandages were also fire resistant.  The bandages also allowed him to act anonymously, being dubbed by the press as The Mystery Man.
In June 1888, the Mystery Man – now combining his mummy look with a ragged hooded cape to give him a frightening mystique -- would begin patrolling London in a one-man campaign on keeping it safer.  After rescuing an architect from street toughs, the architect would repay him by taking John on as a draftsman apprentice.  Following the serious injury of the street toughs, however, Scotland Yard would take an active interest in discovering the Mystery Man’s true name and whereabouts.

In August 1888, John would have to return to his childhood home of Gravesend, which was being terrorized by a fairy Jack-in-Irons.  As the Mystery Man, John would confront it and win.
In September 1888, Sherlock Holmes would track down John, having surmised his true identity.  After a lengthy interview, Holmes would decide not to share what he knew with the police.  Around this same time, Jack the Ripper would be killed by a fairy Redcap, which would begin copying his crimes.

In October 1888, the Mystery Man would corner the Redcap – thanks to a clue from Holmes – and defeat it.

In November 1888, the Mystery Man would come to the attention of a man called The Enchanter, a magician using charm magic to move up through London’s social circles.  Ensorcelled, the Mystery Man would briefly serve as The Enchanter’s bodyguard and enforcer.

In December 1888, the Mystery Man would throw off the spell on him.  He would then work to discredit The Enchanter and ultimately confront him in a battle that would leave The Enchanter presumed dead and the Mystery Man badly injured.

In January 1889, John would be convalescing in the care of the niece of his architect boss.  His boss would not be pleased with this, however, and both fired John and forbad him seeing her.
In February 1889, John would receive a visit from The Invisible Man, who would suggest some shared points of origin for them, while refusing to do more than drop clues.  The Invisible Man would, of course, elude John, but he would run into H.G. Wells, hot on the trail of the Invisible Man as the subject for a book he was researching.

In March 1889, bounty hunters would lure the Mystery Man into a trap and attack him.  The bounty hunters worked for a wealthy socialite named Liam Mansfield, though the Mystery Man does not know this yet.
In April 1889, the Mystery Man would encounter the Jumping Man.  John would also, inspired by Wells, become a writer.

In May 1889, the Mystery Man is ambushed by gunmen working for Mansfield.  The Mystery Man would escape, injured, but this time with the name of their employer.  The Mystery Man would go to Sherlock Holmes for help and information to use against Liam Mansfield.
In July 1889, the British government would contact Mansfield and give him carte blanche to hunt down the Mystery Man and bring him in alive.  The government clearly knows the Mystery Man’s origin, but not his whereabouts.

In August 1889, the Mystery Man would be captured by Mansfield’s agents.  Liam would explain what little he had been told of the Mystery Man’s origin before MM escaped.
In October 1889, MM would capture Mansfield, confront him with evidence of criminal activity, and force a confession out of him that would end hostilities in a stalemate.

In November 1889, MM would investigate the Seelie Court – fairies welcome in Victorian society – and disappearances of some of their leading members.
In December 1889, agents of the Seelie Court, from the other side of the Fairy Veil, would contact MM and ask an alliance with him.

In January 1890, MM and the Seelie Court would thwart an Unseelie plot to replace Parliament with doppelgangers.
In February 1890, MM would cross the Fairy Veil to help take the battle straight to the Unseelie Court.

In March 1890, MM would find himself in pitched battle with the Dark King of the Fairies, and win.
In April 1890, Robar the Conqueror would bomb London from his super-plane, The Albatross.  MM would give chase. 

In June 1890, MM would finally catch up with Robar, the self-styled Master of the World, and defeat him.
In July 1890, MM would be captured by a now-dying Invisible Man, along with government men responsible for both MM’s origin and behind-the-scenes in the Invisible Man’s.  MM would free them all, but only after extracting a promise that the government would not try to have anything else to do with him from that moment on.

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