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Flying Boots (War that Time Forgot DC Comics)

Flying Boots


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

Background

  • Real Name: Henny, Steve and Tommy Frank
  • Other Aliases: The Flying Franks
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: US Army
  • Base Of Operations: Southern Pacific


Powers and Abilities

The Flying Boots appear to be special operations WWII American soldiers – probably US Army Rangers from the Sixth Battalion (see below). In any case they are extensively trained, can operate deep behind enemy line without support, and are well-armed shock troops with submachineguns (M1 Thompson or M3 “Grease gun”) and plenty of grenades.

These grenades (or “TNT eggs”, as they are fond of calling them) are depicted as being very powerful – with some luck they can kill dinosaurs.

The Flying Boots evacuated from Dinosaur Island

The most distinctive skill set of the Franks is that they are circus acrobats specialising in trapeze work. They are highly coordinated with each other, and three-man acrobatics such as forming a human pendulum or a swiftly-reconfiguring human pyramid or column are trivial for them.

Their designated catcher is Steve – the strength of his grip, and the ability to support weights while hanging from a trapeze-like structure, are incredible. Somehow, the Flying Boots always manage to perform impeccable three-man acrobatics using conveniently-placed bits of their environment.

They are also superior parachutists, being unafraid of heights and used to manoeuvre in the air. Lastly, the Flying Boots have been able to land and roll after falling from heights that would have killed anybody else.


One reptile, one ranger

The stories in which the Flying Boots appear have no continuity whatsoever, and are probably not meant to take place in the DCU. However, they are part of thematically-related stories dubbed The war that time forgot and several elements were gradually stated to have been part of the DCU. The best known examples are the successive models of G.I. Robots, the Creature Commando and the Suicide Squadron.

Assuming that the Flying Boots existed in the DCU is thus no big deal. However it implies that they should have some sense of context and history rather than being featured in contradictory short stories existing in a vacuum.

If we grab everything that looks like a clue, savagely extrapolate from there, and keep in mind the post-Crisis background material for the Suicide Squad, a possible scenario is that :

  • The brothers are with the US Army (they state that they are “joining the army” when drafted, and one adventure where they rescue a Marine Raiders patrol all but states that they’re not Marines).
  • They are presumably part of some special unit, since they are always together and sent as a unit of three men, which wasn’t normal practice outside of very atypical units such as Carlson’s Marine Raiders. They are also extensively parachute- and SCUBA-trained, and state that they have received the best training.
  • Various War that time forgot stories depicted US Army Rangers conducting several special operations on Dinosaur Island (“Mission X” operations), where the adventures of the Flying Boots also take place. Given the previous facts, assuming that the brothers are US Army Rangers is reasonable.
  • Historically this likely means that the Flying Boots were members of the 6th Rangers Battalion, which was fully activated in the summer 1944. Given the amount of material that happens there, it is reasonable to assume that the Frank brothers were sent in the field before that, as the rest of their unit was still being trained.
    With their terrific fitness, reflexes, prowess, etc. this seems reasonable for them to hit the Island in early 1944. This adjustment is not necessary, though. While the adventures of the Flying Boots were published early in the War That Time Forgot publication and having them operating in early ’44 conserves that order, there’s no reason why their adventures couldn’t have occurred later.
  • All these assumptions are directly worked into the History section below.

History

The three Frank brothers were born in the 1920s – apparently Steve is the oldest, followed by Henny then Tommy.

While their biography remains unrevealed, it is reasonable to assume that they had some experience with firearms and wilderness survival in their youth, as they seem to have aced Army Ranger training very quickly. That they were hunting enthusiasts with superior marksmanship is the simplest hypothesis.

The three brothers worked as circus acrobats, the Flying Franks, mostly known for their trapeze work. During the second World War, the Frank brothers were all drafted at once, and joined the Army after one last death-defying circus performance.

Somehow, they came to form a unique three-man unit often tasked with special operations such as high-risk reconnaissance. It seems likely that all three men were from the Sixth Rangers Battalion – perhaps their exceptional fitness and reflexes drew the attention of a senior officer looking for elite troopers. They changed their name as “performers” and became the Flying Boots for the duration of the war.

The Flying Boots fighting in a tree

The Flying Boots were often tapped, presumably by the USO, to perform shows for soldiers across the South Pacific front. Their schtick was to perform trapeze work in full battle kit – including backpack, combat boots and loaded weapons. On one occasion, these proved more than a schtick as it allowed the Flying Boots to shoot down a marauding Zero strafing the USO show (!).

The Flying Boots were also deployed in some of the roughest battlefields of the war in the Pacific. In particular, they regularly volunteered for Rangers Mission X detail. Mission X was the code-name for deployment in the strange area around the isle originally code- named X Island and soon renamed Dinosaur Island.

The gigantic dinosaurs infesting the island were particularly deadly and stretched the military and athletic skills of the Flying Boots to their utmost – though they always managed to narrowly survive.

Mission X

The first known Mission X detail of the Flying Boots was a combat rescue operation on Dinosaur Island. The brothers located the three survivors of a Marine Raiders patrol, and helped them exfiltrate the island so they could all be picked up by a submarine and evacuated.

The Boots were then sent to destroy and locate what was assumed to be an Imperial Japanese ground-to-air missile battery left on Dinosaur Island, which had recently downed five drop planes. Despite constantly running from aggressive dinosaurs, they found the hidden weapons emplacement.

It was indeed a nest of radio-controlled missiles installed by Imperial forces before they were wiped out of Dinosaur Island by the sudden emergence of prehistoric beasts. Using the missiles as vehicles they flew out, blew up the Japanese weapons and were picked up by a reconnaissance plane.

The Flying Reboots

Months after this adventure, the Flying Boots returned to Star-Spangled Stories with unexplained changes. They were now Marine Corps paratroopers, their circus speciality was no longer the trapeze but the high wire, and they were now named Chuck, Al and Bill.

The first post-reboot story is not stated to take place during WWII – in fact the end features what seems to be a Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw, strongly hinting that the story took place per publication date, in 1962. The next story seems to take place in the past, though – possibly during the Korean War, yet the Boots end up on the usual dinosaurs-infested island. And they’re now para-commandos.

For this article’s purposes, we’re going to ignore these reboots. However, you can of course stick with Kanigher and decide that, by an amazing coincidence, *another* trio of acrobats named the Flying Boots had essentially similar adventures on the same island about 17 years after the first Flying Boots.

Another variant approach is to consider that the “correct” version of the Boots is the 1962 one, and that the 1944/45 adventures of the Boots actually happened in 1963/1964.

The Flying Boots volunteered for another Mission X detail. Navy spotters had gone MIA on Fireworks Island. It wasn’t the first time that the Navy had underestimated the dangers of the area, apparently refusing to believe early US Army and US Marine Corps reports about Dinosaur Island and nearby islets such as Fireworks.

As usual given the weather patterns of the Mission X perimeter, the parachute drop went wrong due to the abnormal winds, unpredictable cloud cover and pterosaur attacks. The wind dragged the Boots to Dinosaur Island, where they were again forced to fend off constant dinosaur attacks until they managed to float away in the ocean on a dead tree.

By an extraordinary coincidence they were rescued by “Zig-Zag” Zack. Zack was a circus promoter whom the Frank brothers had repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to impress so they’d work together. The promoter was now apparently a Petty Officer First Class with the US Navy.

Tanking the show

Some time later the Flying Boots were tasked with ferrying a M26 Pershing tank to a landing invasion force – the tanks had been repaired too late, but it was still worth it to rush it to the battle using a landing craft. Why Rangers were detailed to this, and what the invasion was, was unspecified.

Still, we could imagine that the command knew that an isolated landing craft in the Mission X area was too vulnerable and might be attacked by dinosaurs, and asked the Boots to volunteer given their track record of surviving dinosaur attacks.

As to the invasion, it is possible that Imperial Japanese forces managed to retake part of Dinosaur Island — perhaps they wanted to recover their giant robot there, not knowing that it had just been wrecked by the first documented G.I. Robot.

The Flying Boots fleeing a carnosaur

Of course, the barge was attacked by a sea serpent and dragged all the way to Dinosaur Island. The Frank brothers decided to crew the tank, disembark and find a way out. They killed a number of attacking dinosaurs until they lost the Pershing to a flying mega-dinosaur.

As they continued on foot, they found Zig-Zag Zack, who was the sole survivor of a Navy aircraft that was attacked by a pterosaur. The Boots managed to exfiltrate from Dinosaur Island, killing more dinosaurs and keeping Zack alive in the hope that he would be so impressed with them as to hire them for his circus when the war would be over.

While the Boots and Zack managed to float away from the Island by commandeering the nest of a mega-pterosaur, the Navy doctor who rescued them told them that their efforts had been in vain – Zig-Zag Zack had been in shock ever since his aircraft crashed, and didn’t remember the impressive exploits of the Flying Boots to get him off the Island.

That was the last appearance of the Flying Boots that I know of.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

The Flying Boots cheerfully fit one of the clichés about ideal WWII American soldiers – happy-go-lucky, joking, fearless to the point of playfulness, highly resourceful, always bantering – and always winning in the end.

Steve is clearly the leader of the group, taking most (but not all) of the initiatives and giving the orders. The Frank brothers are highly coordinated and used to working with each other.

One of the schticks of the Flying Boots is that they consider everything to be a circus performance, rating it by how crowd-pleasing it would be. Their constant banter and minor jokes is likewise meant to be circus artist slang and turns of phrase.


Quotes

Henny: “Look ! A flying monster ! A pterodactyl !”
Steve: “Free-fall as long as you can ! If we’re going to be targets — let’s be fast-moving ones !”

“We can’t stay on here ! That’s for sure ! Our only chance is to reach that branch up there with a human pyramid !”

(Coming nose-to-nose with a hostile dinosaur among the branches)
“Yeeeoow ! There’s another headliner up here ! And it doesn’t like our hogging its spotlight !”

Steve: “Good thing [that this giant crocodile we’re clinging to] is coming out of the water. I had about one breath left !”
Henny: “I had about a half !”
Tommy: “That’s twice more than I had !”

“We’re putting on the biggest show in the war — without an audience !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Typical Flying Boots brother

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Performers, patriots
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 04 Occupation: Soldiers
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 011 HP: 025

Powers:
Jumping: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Jumping has the Catfall Bonus, but can only be used to catfall
  • Jumping is a Skilled Power and is Contingent upon Acrobatics

Skills:
Acrobatics: 05, Artist (Acrobatic performance): 05, Military science (Camouflage, cartography, demolition): 04, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Infantry weapons, Heavy weapons): 04

Advantages:
Dream Team (The three Frank brothers), Expertise (Parachuting), Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols, SCUBA operations), Iron Nerves, Military Rank (unrevealed – no rank insignia is ever visible), Schtick (Make-do Equipment (Acrobatics)), Misc.: Steve Frank can substitute his Acrobatics Skill for his STR for tasks relying on his training as a catcher (+1 FC)

Connections:
None demonstrated in the service

Drawbacks:
None demonstrated

Equipment:
The Flying Boots normally deploy with equipment intended for commando actions – a M1 or M3 submachinegun, and plenty of Mk2 grenades :

  • Submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire] with four or five extra magazines.
  • Defensive grenades (x8) [BODY 01, Bomb: 08, R#03, Grenade drawback]

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: DC Universe

Helper(s): Darci

Writeup completed on the 21st of June, 2011.

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