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Blackwing (Charley Bullock) over a white background

Blackwing

(Charley Bullock)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This DC Comics character appeared in 1981, and was seen but briefly. He existed on Earth-2. This means that in his world, Batman had been a Golden Age  hero who had since grown old and retired. His daughter the Huntress (Helena Wayne) had succeeded Bruce as a vigilante.

This continuity ceased to exist with the Crisis on Infinite Earths. But it could be intriguing to have another version of Blackwing exist somewhere in the multiverse.


Background

  • Real Name: Charles “Charley” Bullock.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Gotham City.
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 24
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Beyond the typical “action hero skills,” and his obvious law background, not much apparent, though he presumably made the glider-wings on his own, making him fairly bright and handy, as well.


History

(Borrowed and edited from the defunct meltingpot.fortunecity.com/egypt/235/index.html, “Huntress Unofficial Webpage”):
Charley Bullock grew up as a kid on the streets of Gotham City. He was searching for a direction in life in a city where the Batman was seemingly everywhere. During his teenage years, he met Ted “Wildcat” Grant, and the two subdued some local troublemakers.

Ted, as is usual for him, invited Charley to join him at his new gym, and became his unofficial mentor. This, along with growing up watching the exploits of Gotham’s premier crime fighter in his early years, greatly impressed young Charley.

These influences gave Charley’s life a purpose : helping the less fortunate. The clincher came when Charley defended a local store owner from some extorting thugs. When the owner asked Charley what could be done, particularly without Batman, it all clicked for the young man.

Vigilante

Attending law school (Brooklyn Law ), he was soon accepted as a junior partner (and top-notch researcher) to the law firm of Cranston, Grayson and Wayne. Here, he met Helena Wayne and, soon, would come into contact with the Huntress.

When the criminal named Karnage broke into the office, looking for Charley’s boss Arthur Cranston, this motivated him to pursue even loftier goals. When a shop keeper that Charley knew was attacked by gang members of the crime boss named the Boa, Charley proceeded to make a costume and a whole new life as the costumed crusader known as Blackwing.

Unfortunately, his first (and only recorded) case proved unsuccessful. One thug ripped his glider harness with his belt !. Bullock was taken captive by the Boa’s gang. However, he later freed the Huntress from the deadly embrace of one of Boa’s snakes, and had the presence of mind to record evidence that could be used against the Boa and his men.


Description

Blackwing’s costume was an interesting riff on Batman’s . It was a grey body suit with navy blue briefs that climb the hips, blue boots and gloves, trimmed with gold, a huge, golden belt that narrows at the buckle, and a stylized bat-shape (specifically, a pair of bat-wings that connect at the tail, but have no head) spanning his entire upper chest (no yellow oval, since this is Earth-2).

In lieu of a cape, Charley wore bat-shaped glider-wings. He also had a cowl very similar to Batman’s, though the bat-ears and brow were a separate, white (or gold, depending on the colorist’s whims) piece added above the eyes.

Unfortunately, Staton apparently didn’t care much for Charley, so the costume sort of mutates from issue to issue, but this is the most unique version. Later versions look much closer to the Batman standard.

Out of costume, Charley is a well-built, handsome Black man with a close-kept afro, usually wearing a good-quality suit, appropriate for a member of Gotham’s top law firm.


Personality

Charley is the typical young hero of the ’70s/‘80s: Trying to make a difference, using his skills to more than the fullest, and apologetic when he screws up.

Out of costume, Charley still tries to make a difference, but from the courtroom floor, rather than the streets. He’s a top-notch, but still-caring lawyer (OK, OK, Earth-2 wasn’t very realistic…).


Quotes

“There was a time when The Batman symbolized everything that was good about Gotham – and when he died this town’s sense of pride, of fair play, of what’s right seemed to die with him ! Maybe it was stupid, but I became Blackwing to be that symbol for people again – to restore their pride in Gotham – and spur them to take charge of this city once more !”


DC Universe History

In the baseline DCU, a lawyer-to-be named Bullock in Gotham City ? No problem ! Charley could still have been trained by Ted – after all, who wasn’t ? And he might still work for an Arthur Cranston in Gotham, though minus Grayson and Wayne, since they don’t exist in this universe, and Cranston would be just another lawyer.

Charley is probably related to Harvey Bullock, of course, since it’s not all that common a name. Charley could be Harvey’s son from an old marriage to a Black woman when he was young.

Or he could be Harvey’s never-talked-about-until-now adopted son (hey, how many years was it before we found out that Commissioner Gordon had a daughter ?) who’s been away at law school, or even a nephew (through one of the same means) if you don’t want Harvey to have any kids.

In modern continuity, Blackwing most probably appeared during the Rogue-Batman/Azrael fiasco. It could, in theory, be the basis for a “Reign of the Batmen” storyline until Bruce reclaims his position, since there are some basic parallels between Azrael (or Hugo Strange) and the Cyborg, Superboy and Nightwing, and so on.

Such a plot could even be an excuse, through the magic of Zero Hour  and/or Hypertime , to bring back the Earth-2 Huntress and Robin, if one wanted (and I do).

I picture Dick maybe changing his last name to Greyson, getting a U.N. job, taking something like the “Red Robin” costume from Kingdom Come, and calling himself “Redwing,” and maybe even helping Nightwing out on occasion – but that’s another writeup altogether).

Vinnie had the good idea that, since Batman isn’t really superpowered, and is much more of a legend, he would probably draw many more “pretenders to the throne,” so don’t bother to limit yourself to only four Batmen.

Or, more simply, maybe Blackwing and Flamebird can work together and/or have a romantic relationship.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Blackwing

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 06 Wil: 07 Min: 05 Occupation: Junior Law Partner
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 018 HP: 025

Skills:
Charisma: 06, Detective: 07, Gadgetry: 03, Martial Artist: 07

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Gotham City), Scholar (Law, Earth-2’s Batman Family).

Connections:
Cranston, Grayson, and Wayne Legal (High), Ted Grant (High), Huntress (High).

Drawbacks:
Secret ID, Uncertainty, Unluck.

Equipment:

  • COSTUME [BODY 02, Flight: 0, Gliding: 05. This costume is a fairly typical ’70s Batman Family costume, but the cape is replaced with large glider-wings that appear to let him fly to a certain extent (it seemed to be slightly more than just gliding)].
  • UTILITY BELT [BODY 06. Charley seems to have stocked this with an assortment of retail-market items which he thought would come in handy. Since he doesn’t use much of it (except for a tape recorder), it hardly seems worth stating the contents. It looks pretty neat, though. Think in terms of your average hardware/electronics store. He probably has rope, a penlight, a pocket knife, binoculars, a camera, and so on].

Design notes

  • I left the 0APs of Flight in the costume, because DCH Gliding isn’t much more than an AD&D “Feather Fall” spell, and doesn’t allow for playing with updrafts and other neat maneuvers.
  • I still didn’t bother to list and stat the contents of Charley’s utility belt. Since most (if not all) of it seems to be retail equipment, it’s probably best to just walk through your local shopping mall, and assume that Charley has the best of what’s available at the time.


Equipment for a New Earth version of Blackwing

If he’s closely connected to Harvey Bullock in the post-Crisis DCU, then Charley’s costume probably contains elements from the old Checkmate uniforms, as well as the glider. Something like :

  • COSTUME [BODY 02, Flame Resistance: 03, Flight: 0, Gliding: 05, Skin Armor: 01].
  • RIGHT GAUNTLET [BODY 04, Claws: 04, Projectile Weapons: 04, Snare: 04, Range: 02, Ammo: 03, R#3].
  • LEFT GAUNTLET [STR 03, BODY 04, Cling: 03, Damage Absorption: 05, Skin Armor: 02, R#2. Damage Absorption only feeds Skin Armor, and must be interposed to absorb any hits. Acquired Skin Armor APs last for 10APs of time (one hour)].
  • Combat Baton [BODY 06, EV: 04, Stretching: 0, Stretching has No Manipulation (-2), R#2].

By John Colagioia with help from Vincent P. Bartilucci.

Source of Character: Wonder Woman vol. 1 #297-9 (Huntress Backup).

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