5718 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Ashe (Cinder & Ashe) (DC Comics)

Ashe

(Jacob Ashe)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • Cinder and Ashe operate in a normal-looking world, but there’s no reason to assume that they’re not in the DC Universe. Having them in the DCU also makes it easy to freeze their ageing in 1988 to keep the characters intact, so for WORG purposes I’ve listed them there.
  • There are no S P O I L E R S for the main story in the LS, but half of the story is made up of flashbacks about Cinder and Ashe, the content of which are covered in those writeups. So… so there are S P O I L E R S. It was a pretty cool characters piece, overall.

Background

  • Marital Status: Unrevealed, presumed single
  • Known Relatives: Cabot Ashe (father, deceased), Peter Dubois (adoptive father, deceased), Mrs. Ashe (mother, deceased), Jean-Marc Dubois (cousin)
  • Group Affiliation: Former USMC, former US Army, partner of Cinder
  • Base Of Operations: New Orleans
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 148 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Mixed white, black and grey


Mood indigo

Cinder and Ashe operate in a fairly specific small-g genre, which was fairly common in American fiction in the second half of the 1970s, the 1980s and beyond. It was chiefly heralded by movies such as Dirty Harry and Death Wish, and TV Series such as Baretta.

It could be called the “urban wasteland genre” or the “new gangland genre”, being a subgenre of the more general crime thriller.

Other examples of characters set in this genre with a writeups.org entry include Sachs & Violens, Mark Hazzard, Marion Cobretti and of course the Punisher.

Cinder and Ashe cover detail

This genre takes a number of trends, among those –

  • the surging crime rate caused by the downturn of the 1970s
  • the appearance of subcultures that cultivated a nihilistic, violent reputation (punks, one-percenter bikers, or new-school street gangs such as the Warriors in Coney Island)
  • the appearance of a cheap, potent form of cocaine (crack cocaine) in the early 1980s, which considerably changed the world of street-level narcotics
  • the mythologisation of inner cities as White flight had made many such areas less diverse

These trends were considerably exaggerated and dramatised in many forms of media. Thus, in the world described by that genre, tropes include:

  • Urban violence is common, can easily involve automatic firepower, and the cops will always be late in responding to it
  • The police are inefficient and/or stretched thin, and large swathes of it are corrupt. The only good cops are tough-guy mavericks in street clothes who make their own rules and kill people
  • Fairly large areas are practically lawless and effectively barbaric “gangland”
  • Soldiers of Fortune is full of job offers ; international mercenary or even urban mercenary are a viable career choices
  • Many characters are Việt Nam veterans, and the heroin smuggling rings in the military and CIA are a recurrent feature
  • The police are not protecting citizens, some of whom courageously defend themselves by shooting clearly worthless “bad guys” who had it coming. Armed vigilantes are heroes to be supported against police corruption and payback attempts
  • The judicial system is ineffective, corrupt and lax ; government is corrupt and uninterested in its constituents

In the specific case of Cinder & Ashe, the tropes of this genre are heightened since the action is based in New Orleans. A this point the NOPD (jokingly rendered as “Not Our Problem, D’ahlin” by the population) has a terrible track record (and reputation for) not only of failing to pay attention to criminal activities, but of having a number of officers pretty much acting like a syndicate themselves. This will change, but nearly a decade after the Cinder & Ashe LS.

Though it long reigned over TV serials, during the 2000s the sub-genre was displaced by new, more socially-conscious takes, such as The Wire.

The profile for Mark Hazzard includes further considerations about the “new gangland genre”.


Powers and Abilities

Ashe is a hardened, competent mercenary with twenty years of experience, and a former NCO in the US military. Though he’s more or less supposed to be a private detective (and does have some investigative experience, plus the necessary smarts), he looks closer to being a mercenary.

In particular, he will deploy automatic weaponry. If feasible and he expects problems, he will go in with a big, old-fashioned .308 assault rifle. He’s a fine example of Military Science (Danger recognition) – once he knows he’s on a battlefield of sorts he can sense to some extent when somebody is targeting him, even a sniper.

Ashe fights like a professional, and seems to have gotten training in the martial arts. He does not use any fancy moves, but obviously knows his way with pain holds, finger and wrist locks and the like – perhaps he was taught some aikijutsu with a strong self-defense slant.

In close combat, Ashe’s most common tactic is to grab and break the wrist of the most dangerous-looking guy, keep him in a pain hold and tell the others to bugger off.

Ashe loading a .45 Colt

Jacob Ashe seems to be independently well-off and have invested his foreign earnings. He owns a townhouse in the Big Easy and can meet the common expenses. How Cinder and Ashe earn their income is unclear – Cinder has stated they never charge the victims and take their cut off the victimisers.

Overall, Cinder & Ashe seem to be about as competent at their job as top-tier police detectives, though they do not quite employ the same means or rely on the same experiences.


History

Jacob Ashe was born around 1948 in Lafayette Parish, on the Vermilion river — in the bayou. His father, Cabot Ashe, was an USMC sergeant who died in Korea in 1950. His widow remarried with a local named Peter Dubois, who adopted Jacob and raised him like his son.

Though he dearly loved Peter, Jacob knew his destiny was to walk in the footsteps of his other father. In 1967, he enlisted in the Marines.

After basic, Ashe was shipped to Việt Nam, and his combat experience started In Saigon, with the famous Tết offensive of 1968. This is where he caught a first glimpse of Cinder, then aged five.

The image of the bloodied little girl watching her dead mother silently and expressionlessly imprinted itself on Ashe’s brain as he went through his first live experience of war.

Ashe finished his year in Việt Nam, and got out alive. It was a close call, though – on one occasion, there were but three survivors among their patrol after it got into an ambush. In 1973 Ashe reenlisted, but in the Army this time and as a sergeant. Why he made the somewhat unusual switch from the Corps to the Army was not explained.

He mostly served in West Germany, but went back to Việt Nam at the very end of that conflict. Ashe was at the Saigon embassy evacuation in 1975. As everything fell apart Ashe, still haunted by his previous tour in ’Nam, suddenly decided he had to find the kid he had seen during the Tết of 1968.

Cinder-and-Ashe-DC-Comics-h4

Alone in the chaos, he finally spotted her and ran after her. When he caught with her in the street she was in a fight with an American – a CIA agent named Lacey – who was about to gun her down. Ashe reflexively headshot Lacey, grabbed the wounded Vietnamese teenager and told her they were going home.

When they got back to Lousiana, Ashe handed Cinder over his cousin Jean-Marc and his wife Angélique, a childless couple very close to him who could adopt and raise her. Ashe spent most of his team overseas, fighting in distant wars such as Angola as a mercenary. He would usually spend six months to a year without seeing Cinder, Jean-Marc and Angélique.

In 1984, after her college graduation ceremony, Cinder approached Ashe during the big barbecue thrown by the Dubois for all their friends. Knowing nobody ever gave anything for free, and having grown up in Saigon’s brothels frequented by GIs, Cinder had always assumed on some level that Ashe wanted to sleep with her. She had previously asked but his denial sounded weird, and to further complicate the situation she actually wanted him to.

The ambiguity and tension wearing her down, Cinder grabbed and kissed Ashe. He initially reacted with a passion matching hers, but Ashe soon realised he had really come to think of Cinder as a daughter of sorts and was unable to go further.

Though the experience was embarrassing, they emerged from it with a much comfortable understanding of their relationship, being somewhere between best friends and father and daughter.

Cinder and Ashe rescue an abuse victim

In 1986, Ashe decided he couldn’t be a soldier and merc anymore, as it all just blurred into a meaningless haze of pointless death and gratuitous suffering. For the first time in years he just stayed in the Big Easy without looking for a contract, spending time with Cinder.

The young woman suggested a partnership – to work as something akin to private detectives to help the people around there deal with predators, misery and wrecked lives. Cinder called this “damage control” (and that’s what’s on the business cards), but Ashe chiefly considered it a way to fight the good fight for once and to save more young lives like he had more or less salvaged Cinder’s.

As “damage control” experts, Cinder & Ashe have been involved in a number of cases, often rather serious (such as kidnappings, murders, political cases and the like), and have a very successful track record.


Description

Ashe is a middle-aged, prematurely greying, not very tall, chain-smoking Cajun country guy. His everyday clothes are a green baseball cap, green sleeveless hunting jacket, green jeans and grey flannel shirt.

Though his hair is that of an older man, his face remains that of a man in his thirties, and he’s quite handsome. When he has to dress up, he does so dashingly.


Personality

Ashe comes across as a relaxed, friendly bayou man, and he’s proud of his roots. He does not speak English or French — he speaks Cajun. For those unfamiliar with Louisiana it’s English with variant grammar (note the subject and/or pronoun generally ending at the end of the sentence and the double negations) mixed with old French spoken with a rural accent (“je suis furioux, je n’y paux rien”) and a jumbled grammar.

When dealing with people who do not understand French, Ashe will usually add, as an afterthought, what he just said in English if there was too much Cajun French in it.

Ashe is a chain smoker. When there’s talking to be done he will let Cinder do most of it, since she’s better at it and it allows him to smoke in peace. His unassuming, reserved and honest manner makes him popular with other rural and middle-aged types, though.

He often has a faint smile and a frank gaze.

Cinder and Ashe in Saigon in 1975

Ashe is very calm and experienced, even in situations about to explode in violence and firefights. He’s been there, he’s done that, and he’s like a rock. Though he has Iron Nerves, he’s not unemotional, though.

In particular, dead and badly wounded children and teenagers make him very angry and sad. Ashe considers he threw his youth away by ending up fighting a war before he was twenty, and would like the youths around him to enjoy their childhood and youth without being mangled by the world.

Ashe is never heard talking about his mercenary life — he prefers to just say he’s a back country Cajun hick who likes fishing and bbq. He’s into country and Cajun music, such as Willie Nelson and of course Zydeco.


Quotes

“Some people just don’t listen, they.”

“Mais non, chérie. After all these years you know I am the beer and pretzel kind of guy. Just the back country Cajun bastard, me.”

“Yuh-huh.” (all-purpose expression of vague, general agreement)

“C‘est vrai. Danny’s a good friend, Danny is. Knew him in the ’Nam. Entrez, m’sieu.”

“M’sieu, we don’t got but two rates, corporate and individual.”

“Merde !”

“A year since I saw her last ; for me another year of war. Where and why no longer matter. Je suis fatigué. But Cinder is strong, bright, alive. Looking at her I feel young. C‘est vrai, she is the woman now.”

(1968) “That petite fille… what for she not cry, that petite fille ? […] What she do now ? […] Maybe somebody take her, ey ? Maybe somebody adopt her, take her home, mais non ?”

“Chère, sleep on the plane. We going be busy tonight, je s’imagine.”

(To Cinder) “C‘est compris, calme toi. I’m here, me. I’ll never leave.”


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Jacob Ashe

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation : Mercenary/Justice
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation : Private detective
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth} : 005
Init: 014 HP: 015

Skills:
Martial artist: 04, Medicine (First aid): 03, Military science: 05, Vehicles (Sea, Land): 04, Thief (Stealth): 03, Weaponry (Firearms, Infantry weapons): 04

Advantages:
Expertise (River fishing, Small units tactics), Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols, Cajun culture and music), Headquarters (a townhouse in New Orleans), Iron Nerves, Language (Cajun French)

Connections:
Mercenary scene (Low), Oliver Lafarge (High, an influential lawyer in New Orleans)

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Cinder, zero points), MIA toward chain-smoking

Genre:
Real

Equipment:
Ashe always pack his Colt, plus another firearm if necessary. Guns he has used:

  • Colt M1911A1 with +1 mag [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#02] plus one extra +1 clip
  • Micro-Uzi [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#03, Advantage : Autofire], with folding stock
  • M14 battle rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 20, Bonus : May use a burst mode increasing Projectile weapons to 07 – each burst costing three Ammo (5pts), R#02, Recommended STR: 02 (03 with bursts)]
  • A revolver – presumably a generic .357 magnum with a 2” barrel [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 06].
  • Generally speaking he seems to have an ample collection of well-maintained, combat-worthy firearms.
  • Ashe also owns an old, big station wagon with a steel body.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Cinder & Ashe LS (1988, DC)

Helpers: RPG.net, Alan Wilkinson, Darci

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.