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Firearm (Alec Swan) (Ultraverse Malibu comics)

Firearm

(Alec Swan)


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

Context

Firearm was among the early roster of comic books set in Malibu’s Ultraverse, a new super-hero setting. The 1993 launch is remembered for a strange, costly marketing gimmick wherein the first issue came with a VHS tape with a live action short movie.

But the book was actually interesting, and written by a pre-Starman James Robinson. The protagonist, formerly code-named Firearm, was a noir private detective and ex-military man. He did not have powers, and did not like super-heroes much. What he did have, though, was charisma and fortitude.


Background

  • Real Name: Alec Swan.
  • Marital Status: Divorced, later remarried.
  • Known Relatives: Doris Swan (first wife, estranged), Ellen Swan (second wife).
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Lodge.
  • Base Of Operations: Pasadena, CA.
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 210 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Dark blond to light brown.


Powers and Abilities

Swan was one of the top three soldiers in the Special Boat Service. As the British equivalent of the Navy SEALs, the SBS has a reputation for producing some of the best. Then Swan became one of the best agents of the Lodge, an elite dirty tricks outfit.

He’s thus a highly competent commando and special agent. Swan is able to take on multiple ultra-powered  adversaries and large numbers of armed foes. He once killed eight ultras who were after him, as well as about the same number of goons, during one long, tense chase. 

Swan is exceptionally resilient to pain, stress and wounds, and often able to survive extreme situations. His amazing fitness and constitution allow him to heal well and quickly.

He’s also reputed for his skill with firearms – hence his old codename. When using handguns, his fighting style evokes Chow Yun Fat in his best-known “gun opera” movies. He’s always jumping, sliding and taking cover as he unleashes a huge volume of extremely accurate fire with both guns blazing.


Video

The 1993 promotional short movie. I don’t actually have time to watch it — it’s 35mn long — so heh, you guys tell me how bad/good it is.


History

Alec Swan joined the SBS as a simple squaddie. Yet his military career was spectacular ; his SBS record an artwork in shades of red. He once married a girl named Doris, for no special reason. That marriage died two years later, in good part because Swan was always working.

From the SBS, he joined the Lodge, one of the Ministry of Defence’s dirty tricks squad. He was one of the “squires”, or field agents, of the Lodge. He became famed in those circles for his overall efficiency, and especially his skill with guns. The latter earned him his codename “Firearm”.

For some reason, Swan was then sacrificed. Two ultrahuman agents (one Lodge operative and one Aladdin agent) had turned rogue, and a setup was designed. Agents from both sides were sent in to make the snare look realistic, Swan among them. All but him died. Swan’s skill and toughness barely allowed him to walk away from the fire shower.

Learning the truth, he resigned by the month’s end.

Loving the old American noir literature, he moved to the West Coast to become a P.I.. He came to Pasadena.

California dreaming

At first Swan had an office with his name on the door and everything. But that was too visible and that provoked attacks from ultra enemies. He changed his mode of operation, using a secretary that takes his message from a remote place then calls him.

His cases kept on being weird, violent and involving ultras, psychos, weird stuff and deadly violence. But he did forge a good relationship with the Pasadena police department when he saved Detective Ben Travers’ daughter from becoming one of the undead. Travers is now one of his best friends, and many cases start with Swan asking Travers for police information.

Among his numerous cases was the case of an abducted boy named Kevin, apparently taken by the US government. Firearm did save Kevin from the mad General Samuels, and learned Kevin’s alternate identity as Prime.

Swan’s skill and coolness under fire deeply impressed Prime. It thus heralded a new look for Prime, looking much tougher and more violent – and with the same facial scar as Firearm. But it did help Kevin on his way toward maturity.

Alec then met an ultra named Ellen. She had no actual power and a small pair of stunted, non-functional wings. Seeing herself as a freak, she attempted to commit suicide – but Swan talked her out of it. They later started a romantic relationship, and married. As Swan had hypothesized, her wings eventually grew to become fully functional angelic wings.

The Rafferty nightmare

When the maniac ultra-killer called Rafferty started his crusade, he chose Alec Swan to be the witness of his killing. He was playing a sick game with him, giving him advance warning of whom he would hit and where. He also gave Swan a small, often rigged chance of saving his designated victim.

Swan crisscrossed the United States trying to save lives, and did save some. His goal became to kill Rafferty.

During that bad period, he encountered many of the US’ most prominent ultras. He also lost his special gun, which Rafferty destroyed in an attempt to kill Swan. Rafferty’s murders and Swan’s pursuit of the killer of ultras made nationwide news. That was especially true after Rafferty started to target high-profile ultras. He even appeared to have taken out Prime at one point.

While Rafferty was laying low after his first successful wave of ultra murders, his backer ordered him to kill one more ultra. It was a baby girl named Penny. Penny was gifted with incredible healing powers.

She had been taken in by a somewhat crooked priest. He was making tons of money out of her powers, and claimed she was the second coming of Christ. To his credit, Penny’s power did have strikingly Christ-like aspects.

The duel

Rafferty’s assault on the cathedral housing Penny broke bad, and the place was quickly besieged by the police. Rafferty’s backer falsely promised support, and the killer thus bought time by demanding for Alec Swan to be delivered to him. Swan didn’t hold much interest for him, as he had outsmarted and outmaneuvered him from day one, but it looked credible to the authorities.

Rafferty also booby-trapped the cathedral, set ultra-detectors linked to bombs, and took hostages. However, Swan was more competent than Rafferty thought. He actually managed to shear through the killer’s small army despite the odds, rescue and evacuate the hostages, and take Penny from her crib.

Rafferty caught Swan, but the British man surprised and fatally shot him. Rafferty nevertheless managed to blow the cathedral up.

Swan died while taking Rafferty’s last blow, intended for Penny. But the infant resurrected Alec a few seconds later.


Description

While he’s only 34, Swan looks like he’s 40, due to his rough life. He has many obvious scars, and is quite often wearing bandages from a recent fight or accident.

Firearm has a strong presence, and it is obvious he’s an exceptionally strong, competent and dangerous man.

Firearm’s look was based on Bruce Willis in The last boy scout, with a lot of Robert Mitchum in his 50s films noirs. His style also has bits of Caroll John Daly and Peter Cheyney’s stories.


Personality

Firearm is the king of sarcastic tough guys, but with more depth than most. The main things to keep in mind in terms of characterisation are:

Toughness

Firearm is always professional, always in control, and always react in an efficient way. Think of Swan as a cross between John Wayne, Chow Yun Fat and Bruce Willis, for instance.

Britishness

Swan speaks English, not American English – and he’s not from one of the better social circles. He enjoys chocolate Hob Nob with them. He says thinks like “Strewth”, “Cheerio”, “Hell’s bells”, “Pouf” and has a distinctive London accent.

His first reflex in a bad, tense situation is to make himself a cuppa – where there’s a cup of tea, there’s civilisation.

Culturedness

Swan is an avid reader, book collector and book lover. He also enjoys Japanese food and painting as well as classical music. This is mostly a private thing and hobby, and he does not flout it by using literary quotes in his speech, for instance.

He appreciate the West Coast’s climate and energy – a sharp contrast from rainy, old, tired Britain. Yet he’s not a fan of contemporary American things. For instance, he prefers his cars to be from before 1969.

Bad luck

Whenever Swan is on a case, it *always* turn out weird. Generally, it involves ultras, crazies, or both.

Sarcasm

Firearm never looses his nerve, and apparently cannot resist the urge to do snide remarks. Especially when the situation seems desperate.

Warmth and caring

Although his life has been hard and he’s always dragged into weird, violent stuff, Swan is a nice, caring guy with charisma, wit and empathy. He knows how to say and do the right things.

Swan detests being called “Firearm”. To him it symbolises his old life in the Lodge, which he hated/ He also does not see himself solely as a gunman.


DC Universe History

No major problem here. Technically, he’s just a P.I. and is thus easy to fit in.


Quotes

“Blimey !”

“I’m a Touchstone  guy in a Walt Disney world.”

“Last night them and I had a… vigorous discussion on the matter.”

(To Hardcase) “The name is Swan, you tart ! And I don’t care a whole lot if you like me or not. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a second-rate van Damme with a gimmick.”

(Surrounded by Spandex-clad superhumans) “What’s there to be afraid of ? You all look like you stepped out of a regional production of Chorus Line.”

“Strewth, what a mess. A no winner, and no mistake. Bleedin typical. God forbid things ran smooth for once.”

“You nancies are going to kill me ? I don’t think so.”

“All right you toe rags, hands high !”

“No way. Not in a million maiden aunts am I doing this.”

“He’s got men and backup. I’ve got sweet Fanny Adams.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Firearm

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 07 Occupation: Private detective
Inf: 08 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 023 HP: 065

Powers:
Regeneration: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:
Regeneration is Form Function.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Detective: 05, Detective (legwork): 06, Evasion (Ranged only): 08, Martial artist: 06, Medicine (First aid): 04, Military science: 06, Thief (Escape artist, security systems, stealth): 07, Vehicles (Land, sea): 06, Weaponry (Melee, heavy, missile)*: 07, Weaponry (Firearms): 10

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Leadership, Expertise (Western literature), Schticks (underwater combat (allows for ignoring 1CS of penalty)), Paired firearms, Double-tapping), Misc.: As a perk from his intelligence days, Swan has a permit from the ATF to openly carry any form of firearm, as well as concealed weapons permits (5 pts).

Connections:
Street (Low), the Lodge (Low), Prime (Low), Detective Ben Travers, Pasadena PD (High).

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Ellen), MPR (farsighted ; Swan wears glasses to read), Unluck.

Equipment:
Swan normally carries three guns on his person.

  • The small of back piece is a Browning High-Power Mk3 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 13, R#02].
  • The ankle piece is a Glock 19 in 9mm [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 15, R#02].
  • His main weapon is his unique pistol [BODY 06, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 10, R#02. Also at least two extra clips of ammo]. The last of those is usually obvious in a holster over Swan’s left pec, as it cannot be concealed short of a trenchcoat. Firearm generally uses two of his guns at once, the Browning or Glock boosting the EV of the special firearm with his Schtick (paired firearms).
  • Swan has explosive charges for his gun – custom 22mm rifle-propelled grenades. Explosive charges (x2) [BODY 02, EV 09 (Area of Effect), Range: 03, R#2. Can also be used as a timed demolition charge or hand grenade, with an EV of 08 (Area of Effect)].
  • If he does not have access to his special firearm, Swan will generally uses a .44 magnum Desert Eagle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 09, R#02].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Ultraverse.

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