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Frankenstein (7 Soldiers) (DC Comics)

Frankenstein

(Seven Soldiers version)


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

“Did I request thee, Maker from my clay
To mould Me man ? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me ?”
– (X.743-5), John Milton’s Paradise Lost


Context

Seven Soldiers is a 2005-2006 comic book epic by Grant Morrison, taking place in odd corners of the DC Universe. The sweeping story ranges from the very first men on Earth to the very last, and is full of extraordinary material.

It is made of distinct miniseries, each with different themes, atmospheres and artists.

Seven Soldiers is a complex fiction that takes work to piece together. Our profiles about the series do that work, though the various mysteries (such as the nature of the Soldiers or the Sheeda) are only explained in the most germane profile. That means S P O I L E R S though, and we recommend reading our profile after reading the comics.

This “Frankenstein” is distinct from previous DC Universe character themes after Frankenstein’s Monsters (not to mention Young Frankenstein or the Spawn of Frankenstein or other oddities).


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Background

  • Real Name: Possibly Adam, adopted the name “Frankenstein” as his own.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: The Bride of Frankenstein, in a way. Melmoth argued he was his “father”, but this is rather disputable
  • Group Affiliation: Former agent of S.H.A.D.E..
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 7’2” Weight: 315 lbs.
  • Eyes: Red (yellow eyeballs). Hair: Black, sparse.


Powers and Abilities

Frankenstein is an unbeatable engine of destruction that makes Lobo look like Charlie Brown.

He cannot be stopped. He will overcome anything. He never stops. He’s smart. He’s resourceful. He’s highly experienced. He knows no fear. He endures anything. He never flinches. He adapts. He’s the ultimate soldier. He has killed universes. He always wins.


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History

Frankenstein’ s origin is tied to that of Melmoth, formerly the Last King of Man at the End of Summer. Betrayed by his Queen, Gloriana Tenebrae, he was abandoned back in time at the conclusion of the Harrowing that resulted in the Fall of the Camelot of 10,000 years ago.

Melmoth conducted numerous activities during the millennia. A key one was discovering the Cauldron of Life. The Cauldron had been lost in the timestream through the actions of the Shining Knight (Ystin). It landed in Slaughter Swamp, north of Gotham.

Seeping into the swamp, the waters of life inside the Cauldron would eventually play a key role in the alchemy of Solomon Grundy. It is less well-known, however, that Melmoth replaced some of his blood with the very Water, making himself immortal and invulnerable.

The properties of the Water can also be transmitted through his body fluids. Thus, the children he sired upon the women of Roanoke became grundy-men when they died, having a bit of Water in their veins. And, in 1816, when a young Swiss doctor came to Melmoth for the secret of eternal life, Melmoth gave him some of his blood.

The modern Prometheus

The subsequent events seem to have flowed in a roughly similar way to the original novel. However, there appear to be differences. While electricity was used as an important catalyst, it was truly the blood of Melmoth that made the Creature immortal, unliving, unkillable.

Frankenstein once comments “I [have] already killed my accursed maker”. Though this is not what literally happens in the Shelley novel, it may be artistic license on the Creature’s part, since it was his obsession for hunting down the Creature even into the Arctic that resulted in Victor Frankenstein’ s death.

Whatever happened on the ship, the Creature swam to America after jumping into the frigid waters, where he became an adventurer. It is likely the Creature decided to become a protector of humanity shortly after the early 1820s. At some point he started calling himself “Frankenstein” after his creator.

Patricides

Though he did not know about Melmoth’s instrumental role in his own creation, Frankenstein started clashing against the monstrously evil fallen king during the XIXth century.

Frankenstein with his weapons

In 1870, they warred aboard a speeding train filled with Melmoth’s Sheeda servants. Frankenstein decapitated Melmoth with a slug through the neck, sending Melmoth’s head flying right into the combustion chamber of the steam-driven train.

The train derailed, crashed and exploded down a cliffside, likely killing all the Sheeda who had survived Frankenstein’ s onslaught.

Knowing Melmoth, his nemesis, would not be back for decades, the Monster did not arise from the burning wreckage. Perhaps he also needed time to repair the considerable damage from the crash.

In 1925 the wreckage was still visible from the few houses built nearby. In 1955 the area became more urbanised and by 2005 it was right in the middle of a southwestern town, with the high school having unknowingly been built on top of the crash site.

Teenage zombie death cult

The XXIst century was judged ripe for a Harrowing, to come in its early years – in 2005. Through soft places like the Miracle Mesa or Slaughter Swamp, Sheeda advance forces crept in to establish power bases by corrupting and warping humans.

One such soft place was in the vicinity of the 1870 train crash site. A tiny Sheeda spinerider ambushed a fat, ugly, awkward teenager only called Uglyhead by his peers. Firmly affixed to Uglyhead’s neck and ’riding‘ him through his brain stem, the Sheeda leveraged his victim’s previously embryonic ability to read the thoughts of others.

In typical Sheeda fashion this power was used for psychological warfare and to create crushing despair. Desiring, on some level, revenge against the other students (and especially the jocks and popular girls), Uglyhead conducted a creepy, subtle campaign of psychological destruction at school.

Frankenstein aiming a pistol

Starting with one of the pretty girls and rapidly expanding from there, he made the kids destroy their own beauty and free spirit, turning them within days into a pathetic, squalid, disgusting, psychologically broken and self-loathing cult. The spinerider then brought in Maggots, to take possession of the corpses and near-corpses.

Two of the students, however, had escaped the abject events. A girl named Kim hated the other popular girls and actively kept her social distance from the students. She and her boyfriend had been away for an extended week-end. When they came back one evening, they stumbled upon the scene, with the Maggots hard at work on the assembled school population.

Live to rise

Terrified, the two teenagers started to run away. Then the lad suddenly stopped and decided to sacrifice himself to save Kim. He tore two power lines from the ceiling and crashed them into the liquids-covered ground, killing himself and shocking the Maggots as he professed his doomed love for Kim.

This turn of events is suspect, and smacks of the machinations of the Seven Unknown Men. Although he seemed genuinely terrified, Kim’s friend felt like he knew he was going to die, to have a plan already prepared to save Kim, and to have rehearsed his last words.

Furthermore, the very specific tactic he chose resulted in massive amounts of electricity being pumped into the foundations of the school. There laid something far more dangerous than any Sheeda.

Rise to live

As Kim ran down a corridor, Frankenstein burst from under the floor, slowly standing up like a giant zombie from Hell. Trying to fight her way past him to escape the horrors on her heels, Kim hit him with her electrical stun gun. This allowed Frankenstein to fully awaken.

Quickly assessing the situation, he gallantly introduced himself to Kim, and assured her she was under his protection. Frankenstein slaughtered everything Sheeda-touched he could find, including Uglyhead and the rider on his neck. He then torched the entire school to take care of any Sheeda survivors, and killed off a few runners.

The creature then told Kim (oddly detached from the situation and quite calm, since she was still in shock) to warn mankind of a coming Apocalypse. Frankenstein dug out his gear, grabbed a sword he called “the sword of Michael” from a nearby comic books/fantasy store and walked away in the dark and stormy night.

Life on Mars

Frankenstein inevitably tracked down Melmoth, still in the endless process of accumulating resources and allies to defeat his wife. Melmoth had just raided Limbo Town, and was expecting developments in a long-range plan of his.

Melmoth had a chain gang of youths, the Red Team, work on Mars. There they excavated a long lost tomb which he thought contained more gold than ever existed on Earth. They used a Erdel gate (named after Saul Erdel, the man who brought the Martian Manhunter to Earth) to ferry between the two planets. Melmoth was on Mars when Frankenstein burst into his Earth headquarters.

Frankenstein wielding a sword

Frankenstein freed the next batch of Red Team recruits from their servitude toward Melmoth, then went through the Erdel gate. He found one of the flesh-eating bitch-horses of Mars and used her as a mount, followed by her harem of Mars “horses”. Bursting into the tomb, Frankenstein killed the guards and mobsters, freed the slaves from their chains and grabbed his nemesis.

Knowing he had to dispose of Melmoth messily enough for him to be unable to return for a long time, he threw him to the horses who devoured him. Frankenstein told Melmoth that while he would survive this, it would be as dung strewn over Martian ground.

Melmoth cursed him, telling him of his blood within Frankenstein’s veins and that he had been the only chance for humanity to survive the incoming Harrowing. Frankenstein sensed there was some truth in his words.

In wrath’s name

Frankenstein then stumbled upon the horrifying consequences of a S.H.A.D.E. experiment gone awry. Salvation Valley had been poisoned by newly sentient water that drove every living being into a carnivorous, rampaging psychokiller rage.

Charged by tons of murderous small animals, the unprepared Frankenstein was rescued by a female creature once constructed to be his mate. It was the Bride, who previously thought he had perished in the Arctic while hunted by Victor Frankenstein. The Bride captured him, and he was pressed into the service of S.H.A.D.E., which he decided to accept out of pragmatism.

S.H.A.D.E. sent him and the Bride back to Salvation Valley. But Frankenstein had been lied to. He was just here to escort the Bride, help her recover the head of a S.H.A.D.E. operative gone mad after drinking the water, and check things out before S.H.A.D.E. would nuke the town. They euphemistically called this “radical environmental control”.

At this point, it became clear Frankenstein was continuing his association with S.H.A.D.E. solely out of convenience, and they sent him to hunt down “a time monster in Tibet”.

To kill an universe and save history (prelude)

High in Tibet, apparently near the Arthurian citadel of Glorias, Frankenstein confronted Neh-Buh-Loh. Neh-Buh-Loh was a sapient  humanoid time-traveling universe and the Celestial Huntsman of Queen Gloriana. As the Nebula Man, he had clashed with the original Seven Soldiers decades before.

Frankenstein buries corpses while a building burns

While Neh-Buh-Loh was extremely powerful, he was dying and did not know it. During a previous envoy to the XXIst century, Neh-Buh-Loh had allied with Gorilla Grodd in order to take out the Ultramarines. The core group of the Ultramarines was often made of seven members and they could be the Seven Soldiers.

The Ultramarines and their super-town were successfully taken over by Grodd’s forces. The gorillas massacred the civilians while letting Sheeda spineriders take over the super-heroes. The Justice League, with Batman serving as an advance force, defeated Grodd and Neh-Buh-Loh, and decided the Ultramarines were too irresponsible to keep around.

The JLA offered them a new “job”. The Ultramarines were to be injected into the infant universe which would become the Nebula Man and later Neh-Buh-Loh. Their role would be to combat the taint left by a JLA villain called Black Death, which seemed to be the reason why the infant universe would grow into something evil and destructive.

The Ultramarines failed to fully beat back the taint, but could introduce a “poison” that would kill the universe in its Neh-Buh-Loh stage.

To kill an universe and save history

Frankenstein, knowing this from the S.H.A.D.E. databases, used two special bullets serving as a catalyst for the universal toxin introduced by the Ultramarines. He then finished Neh-Buh-Loh off with its own trident.

In the meanwhile, S.H.A.D.E. spotted Castle Revolving. Sheeda forces had previously recovered the Cauldron of Life and brought it to the soft zone of Miracle Mesa. Gloriana Tenebrae had come to personally inspect it, then watch it being taken to Castle Revolving. She then returned to the Summer’s End with her castle to renew herself in the Cauldron and prepare for the Harrowing.

Piggybacking on the global bulk teleportation system, S.H.A.D.E. sent Frankenstein to the Mesa. He successfully infiltrated the Sheeda ships and flying murder factories going back to the last days of Earth.

Frankenstein emerges from his tomb

Frankenstein thus reached the End of Summer — the dying earth, the last kingdom of mankind, the end of time. Ignoring the gigantic red sun, the atrocious red flowers, the long-since boiled away oceans and the rest of the Apocalyptic scenery, Frankenstein immediately resumed his one-monster war against the Sheeda.

Commando at Summer’s End

Through force, stealth or trickery, he infiltrated in turn each of the six world-wrecking harvester dreadnoughts that contained the bulk of the Sheeda forces. Frankenstein set up large charges of impossibly potent Sheeda explosives in each of them. Then he single-handedly invaded Castle Revolving, the palace of the Last Queen of Mankind, Gloriana Tenebræ.

As she mocked the lone warrior, he produced his radio detonator and pressed the button. The explosions destroyed most of the forces massed for the Harrowing of the XXIst century and cut off the advance forces that had already chronoported to the beachheads (such as New York City, which seemed to be the primary target).

Somehow realising Frankenstein’s vow to protect mankind, Gloriana told him the truth about the Sheeda.

After a few seconds of silent hesitation, Frankenstein just walked away. He fought his way to the steering room of Castle Revolving, commandeered the wheel and started piloting it toward 2005 and New York, claiming he would bring the Queen of the Sheeda to judgement. His previous plan was apparently to destroy the Sheeda civilisation.

The Spell of Seven

As Castle Revolving warped in high above New York, the Sheeda advance forces were being beaten back by mobs led by the Manhattan Guardian, another one of the Seven Soldiers. By that point, the Spell of Seven had gone live thanks to Zatanna.

The Shining Knight engaged Gloriana in a fight. Though she lost the upper hand against the powerful Queen, another agent of the Seven Unknown Men — I, Spyder — whom the Sheeda thought they had turned into their pet undead assassin, shot Gloriana through the mouth with an arrow.

This made her fall off Castle Revolving, where the Bulleteer landed the fated strike.

Later appearances

However, Frankenstein (and the Morrisson version of Klarion – see his entry) was seen again during the Infinite Crisis brouhaha, in 2006-2007. What happened after Klarion took the throne at the End of Summer remains a complete unknown, but Frankenstein no longer seems to be with S.H.A.D.E..

If Frankenstein is indeed back, he is probably traveling and investigating to check if there is some grave threat against humanity requiring his services ; if not he will likely go back into suspended animation, to awaken and live again if some horrible invading menace from beyond time and space needs to be thoroughly curbstomped.


Description

Wikipedia notes he mostly looks like the 1931 movie version of the Creature (with Karloff), which is a good point. Frankenstein speaks in grayish, squiggly balloons, which I assume is a cavernous, deeply badass voice of DOOM.


Personality

Frankenstein is both a protector of mankind and a highly professional soldier. As long as he can protect mankind, he’s OK with taking orders. Thus he did not make any fuss when S.H.A.D.E. captured him to make him one of their agents. He had guessed that they fought for *roughly* the same cause, and would provide him with resources.

His vow to protect humanity is very strong. When Gloriana Tenebrae told him the truth about the Sheeda, he hesitated and was forced to completely revise his plan since he could no longer kill off the Sheeda.

He clearly considers himself as a monster, cursed to live despite his wishes. Being a pragmatist he seeks to derive the best benefits for others from his personal malediction. He’s also after a constructive way to express his quiet anger.

Monster, cavalier, soldier

Frankenstein is a grim, lonesome warrior and knightly protector. He’s always fighting and absolutely relentless. He also enjoys quoting from appropriate poems – what else were you expecting from an icon of Romantic literature ?

Frankenstein is cold like a rock under the ice. After the Bride betrayed him and shot him in the corner of his eye and right into his brain, he decided to ally with her employers because he felt that was more expedient and would be useful for his current goals. He just did not seem to mind.

Frankenstein vs. the Sheeda

When Uglyhead, who could make everybody nearby read his targets’s thoughts as if they were words, used his powers on Frankenstein, no words appeared. Just pure death.

On the other hand, he seemed to have a sort of smile (which looked weird, because Frankenstein *never* smiles and he had seemingly never learned how to do it) when he found the Bride again. He seemed to vaguely wish they could have a relationship of some sort.

Otherwise he doesn’t do emotions. He just left an obviously shellshocked and heading toward serious PTSD Kim alone in the night and walked away after killing all the Sheeda.

If Frankenstein appears in your game, I’d suggest researching two or three good Milton quotes, then planning the events so he can say them at a dramatically relevant time.


Quotes

(The quotes in italics are Frankenstein quoting from Milton)

“You cannot kill what does not live, Melmoth. I am Fate’s cold breath upon your shoulder, Melmoth !”

(Slowly emerging from the ground like some huge muscular zombie badass from Hell) “Was… something… left… undone ?”

“Ahhhhh… I heard… I hear… radio… teevee… this brave new world. This distant century. And still there’s so much… evil.”

(Gallantly kissing Kim’s hand while she is still trying to fry him with a stun gun) “Fear not. In wrath’s name… I am at your service.”

“Too late. You have awoken me. Abomination.” (starts killing lots of monsters)

“O miserable mankind. To what fall degraded, to what wretched fate reserved… and judgment.”

Kim: “You set the whole *school* on fire ?”
Frankenstein: “The rest I will kill with spade, and sword, and gun.”

“I must walk my road alone. Find your kin and tell them to gather weapons, for Armageddon’s breath is now upon their necks. If men called Sheeda come this way, and if dark Melmoth shows his hand again… tell them they have, in their folly, awakened my vengeance. Tell them, I will find them, and make hammers fall upon them like a rain. Tell them… FRANKENSTEIN LIVES !”

“I am vengeance !”

(Describing Mars, its satellites, its mounts) “First over the horizon comes Fear. And at its heels, Terror. The flesh-eating horses of Mars are restless.”

“You. Did you think to escape judgment ? You who chose to profit from slavery ?”

“Madmen say the meek shall inherit the Earth. Has that awful day come at last ?”

Frankenstein rides a monster on Mars

The Bride: “You assumed Herr Doktor’s name in the end ?”
Frankenstein: “I was his great work. I will bear his signature into the future where it may perhaps be honored.”

“But what substance could cause this ? Turn the gentle lamb to fury, the strong heart to jelly ? What toxin flows here ?”

“We… we are the same. Therefore I grant you the sweet remedy I am denied, monster. The solution to the suffering of self-awareness in a hostile world. Oblivion.” (BOOM)

“Frankenstein to S.H.A.D.E. command. Target acquired.”

(Flatly) “Frankenstein to S.H.A.D.E.. I need a new right arm.”

“But many shapes of Death, and many are the ways that lead to his grim cave… all dismal.”

“I am not so foolish as to make this flagship my first port of call. I have already visited six other vessels of your fleet.” (triggers the unbelievable amount of explosive he placed into six world-wrecking harvester dreadnoughts, destroying the bulk of the Sheeda military force in titanic explosions) “Nor am I done with you, madame. Your fleet lies in ruins. Return with me, witch, alone, without your legions ! Trial awaits you ! AND JUDGMENT !”

(Calmly activating his Internet uplink in the middle of a brutal melee) “Online.”



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Frankenstein

Dex: 07 Str: 09 Bod: 10 Motivation: Soldier, protector
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 09 Occupation: Warrior
Inf: 07 Aur: 06 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 023 HP: 135

Powers:
Damage capacity: 10, Energy absorption (electricity): 07, Growth: 01, Invulnerability: 16, Jumping: 01, Radio communications (encrypted): 12, Regeneration: 05, Suspension: 01, Sealed systems: 05, Systemic antidote: 05, Time travel: 55

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Radio communication originally only allowed him to hear radio and TV signals over the air. S.H.A.D.E. eventually used this as a base to equip him with a broadband Internet satellite uplink, connected to their VPN. They were also the ones to make it Encrypted.
  • Time Travel can only be used to send e-mails through time to the S.H.A.D.E. VPN (FC is 1), using his Radio Communications.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 05, Animal handling (Horses, including flesh-eating horses from Mars): 05, Artist (Poetry): 05, Charisma (Intimidation, Interrogation): 09, Military science (Demolition): 07, Occultist (Identify artefact, occult knowledge): 06, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 05, Weaponry: 09

Advantages:
Credentials (S.H.A.D.E., Medium), Immortal, Iron Nerves, Expertise (Milton quotes, the Sheeda), Life support (Frankenstein needs very little air, food or sleep – but still needs some. This is on top of his Sealed System power), Lightning Reflexes, Rich Friend (S.H.A.D.E.), Schtick (fast reload – he only needs an Automatic Action to reload one of his guns), Stabilization, Misc.: If Frankenstein loses limbs or organs, they can be replaced using appropriate fresh body parts (though for limbs, it’s going to take a champion bodybuilder to match), Misc.: Frankenstein is not alive, and thus immune to some effects specifically targeting living creatures, Misc.: Frankenstein seems practically immune to fatigue ; he can walk thousands of miles and swim across the Atlantic.

Connections:
S.H.A.D.E. (Low – from Credentials), The Bride (Low).

Drawbacks:
Partial Attack Vulnerability (-2CS RV vs. Limbo-made witch-brands, since they are specially made to control grundies), Strange Appearance, SIH of the Sheeda (including Melmoth), SIA toward Protecting Humanity.

Equipment:

  • Handgun (x2) [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 08 (Diminishing), Sharpness (projectile weapon): 02, Range: 02, Ammo: 01, R#02, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range – use the Range given next instead, Drawback: Long reload time, Rec. STR: 07].
    I *think* those… things are vintage, radically shortened, single-shot 10-gauge break-open shotguns that have been identically redecorated and fitted with a pistol grip. They seem to fire armor-piercing slugs. In other words, those hand cannons cannot be fired with normal human strength and inflict really massive damage.
  • Sword of Michael — either [BODY 30, EV 05 (10 w/STR), Sharpness (EV): 04] or [BODY 12, EV 05 (10 w/STR)]. It is unclear if the Monster recognised “the sword of Michael” as a genuine artefact that just happened to lay there (and by Michael, we mean the archangel, best known for his role in Milton’s Paradise Lost) for some weird reason, or as poetic hyperbole and symbolism about an ordinary replica sword. Given that he could cleave a man in two with a spoon, it’s hard to tell the difference anyway.
    The artefact hypothesis is not as far-fetched as it seems, however, when one considers how Frankenstein fit in the machinations of the Seven Unknown Men – and considers that it might have been his sword from before the train crash, salvaged from the wreckage by locals decades before and used as decoration.
  • Universe-Killing Bullets (x2) [?]. The most logical explanation is that S.H.A.D.E. (which almost certainly has access to the full databases of the Ultramarines Corps) built this pair of bullets to incorporate rare elements that would serve as a powerful catalyst to the universe-wide toxin that was introduced into Neh-Buh-Loh by the Ultramarines, triggering its destruction within Phases.
    It is possible that the catalyst was a binary compound, requiring both bullets to hit Neh-Buh-Loh in sequence to activate its destruction.

Design notes

I have been very conservative with the stats for Frankenstein. In the published material his upper limits are unclear, since he pretty much blows through any and all opposition.

DEX might be as high as 9 or 10, STR could be in the mid-to-low teens, BODY could be in the low teens. MIN, SPI and INF could well be in 9-11 range, most Skills might be up to two APs higher, etc.

So this writeup has “Occam’s razor” stats and probably shortchanges him. Also, Invulnerability might be as high as 20 (which is Solomon Grundy’s level).


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Seven Soldiers (2005) and in particular Frankenstein 1-4.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan.

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