The Masters have a handily generic quality to them, making them easy to use, as well as a clear theme.
We yet have to modernize the individual profiles, but here’s a modern “base camp” team profile.
Full Name: The Masters of Disaster
- Selling their services to the highest-bidding criminal (or at least shady) concern.
- Or committing lucrative crimes on their own if they don’t have a client.
- They have also occasionally embarked on revenge strikes against their enemies.
Modus operandi: Superhuman field team that usually barges in and uses brute force to accomplish its orders.
The Masters of Disaster have nothing against cheap, underhanded tactics (such as taking hostages) and gratuitous destruction and intimidation. But they will only fight for an appropriate pay.
They tend to operate en bloc , but only occasionally use genuine teamwork.
Extent of operations: Global.
Relationship to conventional authorities: The Masters of Disaster are all wanted criminals.
Bases of operations: Unrevealed if any.
Former bases of operations: Unrevealed if any.
Major funding: Sales of their services. They usually do 50% up front, and 50% on completion. Back in 1985, the team’s price for a superhuman battle was half a mil – though that’s presumably among the upper range of their prices.
Known enemies: The Outsiders
Known allies: None
Equipment: They occasionally use hand-held radios.
Number of active members: 7
Number of reserve members: None at that point
Organizational structure: Small team operating under a set leader.
Known officers: New-Wave (Becky Jones)
Known former members: Shakedown, Windfall (Wendy Jones)
Known support personnel: None
Membership requirements: Recruitment by New-Wave. The Masters will normally stick to their theme, where members must have an identity and power that evoke natural disasters such as tidal waves, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, landslides, etc.
Founder: Presumably New Wave
Other leaders: None
Major campaigns or accomplishments: Not much, really. They have held their own against the Outsiders from time to time, and they have endured as a team against poor odds and casualties.
- Murder of Shakedown by New-Wave.
- Inability to bring Heatstroke and Coldnap’s condition under control, though it’s unlikely that New-Wave ever put any real effort into that.
- Defection of Windfall.
The past of the Masters of Disaster was never explored, but they have been active since at least 1984. At their core is New-Wave, who seems to be doing most of the management, sales and leadership. She likely was the one who recruited the rest.
While her style of management seems to mostly rely on yelling and acting tyrannical, the team is endured into the present day. Their activities have not been continuous though, due to lengthy prison stays and temporary splits.
The known engagements of the Masters of Disaster were, in chronological order:
- Hired to kill Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce). Pierce had only returned to an active status by joining the Outsiders, leading to a fight between the two teams. The client was killed when she impulsively took a blast intended for Black Lightning, and the Masters of Disaster then retreated.
- During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, they were among the throngs of super-villains teleported aboard Brainiac’s spaceship. They agreed to join Lex Luthor and Brainiac’s army. They helped attack Earth-4, and may have participated to other battles off-panel .
- Worked for mad scientist Maxwell Tremayne, helping him clear part of the remote Mountains of the Moon to establish his base. When the Outsiders came after Tremayne, he paid the Masters to fight. When Tremayne was slain by one of his androids, the Masters decamped.
- Worked for Baron Bedlam during his 1986 coup and invasion in Markovia. They captured the newlywed Queen of Markovia, helped kill off the Markovian military, and defeated the Outsiders when they came in.
However, the Outsiders were freed by Looker (Lia Brigg), and Windfall temporarily defected to them. New-Wave opted to stick around when the Outsiders and the Markovian counter-attacked and Bedlam’s allies withdrew their support. Her main goal was to kill Windfall, but Bedlam’s remaining forces and the Masters were routed.
- The Masters of Disaster were held in Markovia. However, Coldsnap and Heatstroke eventually ceased to believe in Markovian promises to cure their condition and combined their powers to blow up their cell.
New-Wave used a clone of Windfall to infiltrate the Outsiders and betray them. But the Masters’ assault was foiled thanks to Batman’s preparations. During the battle, one of the Windfalls was killed by the other.
- By this point, the team was disintegrating. Coldnap and Heatstroke wanted to walk away, and New-Wave was willing to murder to keep them in. However they had been imprisoned in the Slabs, a prison for super-humans. They briefly got out of their cells when Mongul escaped, but were apparently beaten down by the guards and didn’t make it out.
- After years of maximum security imprisonment, in 1994, Heatstroke and Coldsnap realized that the authorities wouldn’t cure them. They reluctantly returned under New-Wave’s leadership. The three of them and Shakedown combined their abilities to burst out of their cells. However, the then-current team of Outsiders took them down and thus stopped the prison riot.
- Part of the team was apparently released a few years later, but not New-Wave. Presumably she didn’t benefit from a shortened sentence for good behaviour.
Leaderless, Heatstroke, Coldsnap and Shakedown attempted to rob a bank in Opal City in 1998. This was presumably another attempt to pay for research to cure Coldsnap and Heatstroke. However, they were steamrolled by Jake “Bobo” Benetti.
One gets the impression that they went back to prison for several years, but not in the Slabs with New-Wave. Perhaps that was to let them avoid her influence.
- In 2001, New-Wave finally got out of the Slabs when the Joker turned everyone within into green-haired, chalk-white-skinned maniacs. She rampaged in an unspecified city, destroying entire high-rises and killing hundreds while “jokerized”.
- Mere days later, Circe assembled an army of female super-criminals to take over New York City. Albeit no longer jokerized, New-Wave gleefully participated. Though Circe’s witchery turned responding male super-heroes into animals, Wonder Woman assembled an army of super-heroines and defeated Circe and her henchwomen. New-Wave apparently got away, though.
- Shakedown was apparently released before the others, and New-Wave located him in 2002. They attempted a ransom scheme, but the father of the baby they kidnapped had just gone bankrupt. Furious, New-Wave murdered Shakedown, but was captured by Batman and the JSA before she could kill the baby.
- In 2010, a new version of the Masters of Disaster surfaced. Heatstroke and Coldsnap reupped and were joined by Mudslide and Dust Devil II, two newcomers. From the dialogue one gets the impression that the team wasn’t formed by New-Wave but that they busted her out of prison to lead them.
The Masters attacked a Markovian research station. The Outsiders responded, but ended up fighting each other due to Geo-Force’s growing madness. This let the Masters of Disaster complete their mission, freeing the imprisoned and greatly altered Geode (Denise Howard) who soon rampaged through Markovia.
- In 2011, a battle with Doomsday weakened Geo-Force’s outsiders and killed one of them, the Eradicator. Markovia’s hostile neighbour seized the occasion to attack, and hired the Masters of Disaster to create chaos in the capital and further facilitate their advance.
The Masters ran into the Creeper, who briefly repulsed them. The irascible New-Wave then crashed a tidal wave on the city. However, it would seem that the Masters of Disaster then left as events escalated beyond what they were paid to handle.
Source of Character: DC Comics