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Living Laser (Early) (Marvel Comics) (Avengers enemy)

Living Laser

(Profile #1 - Human body)


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

See the man in the strange costume ! He is a *bad* man ! He is robbing a bank ! He is called the Laser ! Can you tell why he is called the Laser ? Let us read the story and see what happens to the wicked Laser…


Context

The Laser is a C-list enemy of the Avengers. This profile covers his Silver-ish Age  appearances – specifically 1966 to June, 1977. At this point he’s a handy generic baddie.

The costume in the main illustration is his earliest one.


Background

  • Real Name: Arthur Parks.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of Batroc’s Brigade and the Lethal Legion, former minion of the Mandarin.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers & Abilities

Arthur Parks invented compact laser emitters that he can wear on his forearms and wrists, but are so powerful that they can cut cleanly through a bank vault door. The costume includes some sort of battery that can power the beams for extended periods. The projectors have at least four “modes” :

  • Long-ranged energy blasts of great power, but not particularly laser-like.
  • Laser cutting beams that excel against immobile obstacles (as the laser can be focused on a specific point long enough to melt through) but are powerful enough to cleave most things in one swipe.
  • Less-than-lethal energy blasts.
  • Heat beams used to create raging fires.

One panel shows the Laser using his wrist beams to propel himself in the air. But other panels show a sort of jet belt – or nothing at all. Flight was clearly demonstrated with the original costume. However the Laser did not fly when wearing the newer, tighter costumes – perhaps he couldn’t.

Though he’s no athlete, Parks is fairly strong. He’s also surprisingly good at avoiding incoming ranged attack. Even Hawkeye had some difficulty hitting him, though that was 1967 and Barton wasn’t as accurate as he would become.

Accuracy

The Living Laser wasn’t astoundingly precise with his beams. But given his firepower he forced most Avengers on the defensive to avoid getting hit, and he could one-shot most things they used as cover or shields against his rays.

In DC Heroes most opponents of the Laser would Lay Back – or outright Dodge if they lacked ranged attacks. This allows Parks to last longer in combat than you’d expect.

The Living Laser cutting through a vault door

However, the Living Laser was a boss at hitting objects in flight, and at making precise long-ranged shots.

The first asset is presumably a result of his beams hitting instantaneously. This makes it relatively easy to shoot down even jet fighters as their linear trajectory is predictable on such short time scales (whereas a dodging person isn’t). He could also occasionally shoot down arrows.

As to the second, our game stats have to assume that there was some sort of scope on his laser emitters so he could consistently aim at targets situated about a mile away – though no such thing is seen on-panel.

When working on his own the Laser prefers fly-by and sniping tactics, as he’s aware that he has no special defensive abilities. If he has to force a confrontation he’ll build deathtraps in some convenient abandoned building – preferably laser-powered deathtraps.

Generally he fights fairly smartly and employ sensible tactics, though his arrogance will probably lead to grievous mistakes.


History

Back in 1966, Arthur Parks was a research engineer working on laser projectors for military applications. When his fiancée Lucy Barton broke up with him he took it very badly, accusing her of venality (as her new future husband was a bank president) and feeling that his life was over.

He repurposed his research to become a super-villain and show off his power, attacking the bank of Lucy’s soon-to-be-husband;. Parks took the cash but threw back the bonds as the police arrived, to show off.

As the Avengers investigated the heist, Parks spotted the winsome Wasp (Janet van Dyne) and decided to conquer her. In his odd worldview that meant defeating her lover, the mighty Giant-Man (Henry Pym). Pym defeated him as Parks was too busy asserting his superiority. But the Living Laser escaped as he was being flown to prison.

Parks then launched various attacks against New York City to draw the Avengers into prepared traps – a laser cage for Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Hawkeye (Clint Barton), and a vacuum pump for the Wasp.

After capturing the Wasp, he agreed to support a revolution in Costa Verde for $10M (in 1966 dollars – that’s $71M in 2013 USD) and left for Latin America with his captive.

You can’t hurry love

Parks routed the Costa Verdan armies by destroying their jets and tanks with long-range fire. The revolution was soon successful. When the Avengers came, Parks felled them using the huge laser cannon he had been building, plus the rebel militiamen.

His project was to destroy the captured male Avengers with his big cannon, as he assumed that this display of power would earn him the love of the winsome Wasp. Yeah, I know.

However, Pym escaped and booby-trapped the cannon, destroying it and knocking Parks out. The Avengers thus could restore a proper dictatorship in Costa Verde, and arrest Parks. Van Dyne suggested medical care for the Laser, as he was obviously psychologically ill.

The Living Laser vs. Thor

Parks spent mere months in prison, as the Mandarin teleported components to his cell so he could assemble new wrist lasers. The Living Laser joined a team of lackeys and allies – the Enchantress, the Executioner, Power Man (Erik Josten) and the Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) – to execute on the Mandarin’s grandiose plan.

He was sent to southern Africa to conduct a coup with the robotic Ultimo as his army, but was defeated by Hawkeye and Thor.

In 1968, Parks was recruited by Batroc to help steal the seismo-bomb. Batroc, the Laser and the Swordsman ran into Captain America in New York City – but Cap defeated both henchmen and convinced Batroc to let him disarm the bomb before it killed thousands.

Death and the elder

In 1970, the Grim Reaper (Eric Williams) recruited for his Lethal Legion 3 ex-minions of the Mandarin — the Living Laser, Power Man and the Swordsman — plus the Man-Ape (M’Baku).

The Reaper’s revenge scheme against the Avengers seemed to work. The Living Laser took out Quicksilver by blasting the concrete to erect an instant wall before his foe. However, it was a trap, and the Avengers soon got up and defeated the Legion.

In prison, Parks read a lot to pass the time, and devoured books about Lemuria . He thus learned about the Serpent Crown – the master artefact left on Earth by Set, of the Elder Gods who once ruled our planet. After he left prison the Laser couldn’t locate the Crown, and wrongly assumed that it had been destroyed.

Returning to science, Parks collaborated with the underworld scientist Dr. Jonah Harrow to implant his laser emission technology in his body, and become a superhuman.

While they worked, the Lunatic Legion sent an android patterned after the Living Laser to kill Rick Jones, but the wonderful Wasp accidentally destroyed it. For a time, it was hypothesised that the android was Parks, altered by the Legion – and that the Living Laser was thus dead.


Description

The costume with the white arms and legs was his second costume, and was assigned to him by the Mandarin. It was soon customised to a similar design with some colour changes – the one with the green arms and legs.


Personality

Parks is a megalomaniac obsessing over his personal power. To him, how much firepower he wields is everything – and he assumes that everybody shares this reasoning. Thus, mighty demonstrations of power should in his opinion be sufficient to have others follow his orders, and to convince women to love him.

He seems completely immersed in this caricatural world where one’s worth is entirely tied to how big a cannon they have, men intrinsically cannot understand women, and people naturally fall in line behind those who wield a big cannon. It might be a weird way to compensate for depression after his fiancée’s departure.

The Laser isn’t as insane as he’ll later become, but spending time with him will make it clear that he’s off his rocker.

The Living Laser vs. Quicksilver

As a proper Stan Lee villain, the Living Laser talks big, and a lot. He’s also clearly overconfident, and his tendency to toy with his opponents was the cause of most of his defeats. Though he’s reluctant to work with teams since he wants to be the big man, he’ll swiftly change his mind if the reward is large enough.

Parks is good at nursing grudges, and will always be interested in striking back against those who defeated him in the past.

Though he was fixated on the wondrous Wasp early on, this obsession soon abated. Perhaps prison therapists made him realise he was just trying to get over Lucy Barton.

However, he remained bitter over her rejecting him. This meant that a plan that could allow him to enslave the winsome Wasp (such as using the Serpent Crown to control humanity) will gain his attention. It’s not a priority anymore, but it’s there.


Quotes

“Hah ! No bank vault is safe from the power of the Living Laser ! My irresistible beam cuts thru the strongest steel like a hot knife thru butter !”

“I’m thru with research ! My discovery will be used to serve no one but myself !”

“The larger the beam, the more damage I can do with one stroke ! No simple banks or jewelry stores for me ! This time, the Living Laser is about to lay siege to an entire city !”

“Nothing shall ever separate the Living Laser from his beloved !”

“The ways of women are a mystery to me ! But, not so my newly-developed laser cannon !”


DC Universe History

Instead of the Wasp, The Living Laser became fixated on Black Canary early in the history of the Justice League. He was working for S.T.A.R. Labs and used his inventions to take on the League several times over the years, including a brief stint working with Professor Ivo.

He encountered Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Green Arrow at least once during their time as partners. He came close to defeating them for the first time as the Guardians had reduced the power of Jordan’s ring. Only the arrival of Black Canary helped them escape his trap.

Later, he was transformed into a creature of sentient light when Lex Luthor tricked him into submitting to a process intended to drain his power and use it on Superman. He escaped, briefly worked with the Parasite as a way of keeping his uncontrollable power in check.

He then left to travel the universe as a beam of light when the Parasite was incarcerated.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Living Laser (human body early era)

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Criminal
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 009 HP: 025

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging): 06, Evasion (Ranged only): 06, Gadgetry: 06, Scientist (Drawing plans): 06, Weaponry (Wrist emitters): 05

Advantages
Familiarity (Lemuria (Marvel Universe Deviant version)), Scholar (Laser technology), Stroke of Genius (Living Laser costume).

Connections:
Mercenary scene (Low).

Drawbacks:
SIA toward toying with his opponents.

Equipment:
LIVING LASER COSTUME [BODY 04, Energy blast: 12, Flame project: 09, Flight: 07, Laser beam: 13, Sharpness (Laser beam): 04, Telescopic vision: 04, Advantage: Schtick (Trajectory calculation), Limitation: Sharpness only against immobile targets, where the Laser can maintain his beam on the same spot, Note: Laser beam can only do Killing Damage].


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Living Laser (profile #1 – human body) — Averaged PL5.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
01 01 01 01 01 03 00 00

Power

Surprisingly good footwork ● 2 points ● Descriptor: Skill
– Improved Defense
– Enhanced Dodge 2, Luck 2 (both Limited 2 to the Defend action)

Lasers expert ● 2 points ● Descriptor: Skill
– Technology +7 (Limited 1 to lasers)
– Improved Aim (Limited 1 to lasers)
– Ranged combat +4 (Limited 1 to lasers, Limited 1 to high-velocity objects with a linear trajectory)

Devices

Living Laser costume ● 32 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Technology
– Jet Belt — Flight 6
– Telescopic sight — Senses 1 (Extended Visual 1)
– Laser-based Beams — Array

  • Combat blast — energy Ranged Damage 12
  • Laser cutting torch — laser Ranged Damage 16 (Distracting, Limited 1 to immobile targets)
  • Decollimated beam — heat Ranged Damage 9

Combat Advantages

Close Attack 2, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 1, Improved Aim, Improved Defense (+ other Defend bonuses)

Other Advantages

Inventor

Skills

Athletics 1 (+2), Expertise (Laser science) 13 (+16), Expertise (Lemuria lore) 1 (+4), Perception 2 (+2), Persuasion 1 (+1), Ranged combat (Wrist emitters) 6 (+7), Technology 8 (+11) (Limited 1 to Operation, Jury-Rigging, Building and Repairing)

Offense

Initiative +1
Unarmed +3, Close, Damage 1
Wrist emitters +7, Ranged, effects vary
Laser wrist emitters (vs. high-velocity objects with a linear trajectory only) +11, Ranged, effects vary

Defence

Dodge 10 Fortitude 03
Parry 04 Toughness 02/01*
Will 02

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Greed The wicked Laser is in for the money.
  • Arrogance Parks routinely toys with his opponent, and this often backfires.
  • Temper The Living Laser nurses grudges and will go out of his way to settle them.
  • Unbalanced Parks has an odd, unrealistic world view mixing obsessive misogyny and power fantasies based on the size of his cannon.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 10, Dodge/Toughness PL 6, Parry/Toughness PL 3, Fort/Will PL 3.
  • Points total 87 Abilities 16, Defences 16, Skills 14, Powers 4, Devices 32, Advantages 5. Equiv. PL 6.

Notes

The Surprisingly Good Footwork Power models his ability to unexpectedly dodge very precise attacks such as Hawkeye’s arrows ; the Laser Marksman Power models his ability to hit fast-flying target as if they were immobile (since a laser hits nigh-instantly).

For PL calculations I’ve used the Combat Blast in the Array, since the Laser Cutting Torch is normally used against obstacles such as bank vaults. The Powers aren’t counted in the PLs since they’re so specific

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Silver Age Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Andrew Lee, Jackson, Gareth Lewis.

Writeup completed on the 21st of April, 2014.

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