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Outlaw (John Henry Martin) over a white background

Outlaw

(John Henry Martin)


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

Context

Outlaw appeared in one of Kim Yale and John Ostrander’s Manhunter issues, in 1989. He then popped back for an encore in a few late-run Suicide Squad issues, in 1991/92.

He’s a super-strong, lone wolf outlaw biker. Who apparently became a mercenary.


Background

  • Real Name: John Henry Martin.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None living.
  • Group Affiliation: Suicide Squad.
  • Base Of Operations: Louisiana, Suicide Squad.
  • Height: 6’2″ Weight: 480 lbs. Age: late 20s/early 30s.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


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Powers and Abilities

John Henry is a victim of the Meta Bomb released during the Invasion . He received treatments at Belle Reve for his “affliction”, but he was able to overcome them.

His abilities include:

  • Super-strength (at least “Class 35”, allowing him to tear through thick metal plating).
  • Minor invulnerability. It is sufficient to take handgun rounds, though a .44 magnum round at close range can wound him. His super-muscles essentially make him immune to bodywide impacts (such as falls) if he’s braced for them, and he’s generally hard to kill.
  • The ability to leap up to a hundred feet.
  • Increased body density.

Other assets

Martin once states that he weighs over a ton. That doesn’t seem compatible with his interactions with surfaces (such as wooden stairs), though he had to reinforce a motorbike so he could ride it. We this went for an estimate close to 500 lbs.

One gets the vague impression that his power and density had increased between his 1988 appearance and his 1992 one.

Martin has extensive experience with brawling, motorcycling and low-level crime. He also has some low-level criminal contacts, primarily among outlaw bikers.


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History

John Henry Martin grew up on his pa’s farm in Dawson, Georgia. He spent much of his life in reform school or in prison, as he never was much for following rules. He apparently rode with at least one outlaw motorcycling club, and came to love living on the road.

But it was while he stayed in Dawson that he fell hard. A local drug lord had the sheriff, the judge and the D.A. in his pocket – but a cop was nevertheless to testify against him. This policeman was seeing Lydia, Martin’s ex-girlfriend. That made Martin, with his lengthy criminal record, a perfect fall guy after the rogue cop was murdered by the drug lord’s men.

Martin was in prison during the Invasion. The Gene Bomb granted him super-strength. He half-involuntarily tried to escape due to the fierce pain, accidentally wounding several officers. But his lack of control sent him crashing hard, and he was arrested. Martin was sent to the Belle Reve prison, where a Federal treatment seemed to permanently neutralise his powers.

Born to be wild

But he actually retained his abilities. John Henry escaped whilst transferred back to Georgia, accidentally killing a guard. He had picked the spot – it wasn’t far from an old biker friend of his, who lived in the swamp. This man, Brody, gave John Henry a bike to ride back to Dawson. They reinforced this hog so it would take Martin’s weight and strength.

Martin knew that bounty hunters were after him. That included Manhunter (Mark Shaw), whom he had met in a New York prison. Shaw did find Martin, and offered to help him expose the drug lord and crooked sheriff in Dawson. Martin refused, and as they fought the local police came in – along with their paymaster.

However, Shaw was wearing a wire and had made a deal with the state police, who came in in force. Martin killed the drug lord in the fray, then chased down the sheriff. They were both stopped by a state police road block. Martin chose to kill the sheriff anyway, and resultant police gunfire made him fall off a tall bridge.

Though he hadn’t quite expected to survive, he did. And Manhunter declined helping for a body, as a matter of honor.

Suicide, it’s a suicide

Two years later, John Henri Martin joined the Suicide Squad during the War of the Gods  crisis. Amanda Waller recruited him as she was rounding up whoever she could to back Black Adam during his assault against the forces of Circe.

Both Waller and her lieutenant the Bronze Tiger seemed familiar with Martin. Apparently, the Tiger and Martin had worked together in Beirut, and Martin had adopted “Outlaw” as a moniker. The simplest hypothesis is that he worked as a merc on an unchronicled Squad mission, circa 1990.

Late in the Squad’s career, Waller assembled a team to invade the island of Diabloverde and end some grudges. In particular she wanted a fake Suicide Squad dismantled. Outlaw was a part of it, and helped Nightshade (Eve Eden) conduct reconnaissance. During the assault, Martin engaged Blockbuster (Roland Desmond), as specifically hired to.

Outlaw prevailed – according to Martin, hard time had left him a meaner fighter than Desmond. However, the dazed Outlaw was then taken down by Pathfinder, who hit him by surprise. Pathfinder saw that he could take down but not kill the super-durable Martin, and just left him behind as he was needed elsewhere.

Outlaw hasn’t been seen since.


Description

John Henry Martin is a tall, muscled man, with long hair and a short beard. He wears jeans, boots, and a leather vest exclusively. His bandanna never seems to be out of place. He is every bit the one-percenter.

He’ll usually wear a big steel chain as a belt, à la Luke Cage.

He has an older, rural working class Georgia accent and diction. Though he can downplay it if he prefers.


Personality

Though rough and tumble, John Henry is not an unthinking brute. He is smart and does not underestimate others. He has a live and let live attitude, which comes from a tough life and believes in taking care of your own business.

Martin abides by a rough code of honor, based on biker values. The main bits seem to be :

  • Always avenge an insult.
  • Only fight your buddies in a fair duel.
  • Do not drag your buddies into your personal problems.
  • Stay loyal toward the club.

It also was important for him that his ex-girlfriend in Dawson know that he had been framed, and hadn’t murdered her police lover.

Though he’s undeniably a violent criminal, he doesn’t seem actively homicidal outside of personal vendettas. But his strength is difficult to finely control, which leads to accidental deaths. And, obviously, he has no trust whatsoever in the system.

Though Bronze Tiger seemed to like him, Amanda Waller called him “this character” and Eve Eden didn’t seem to like him much. His behaviour toward women may thus be boorish.


Quotes

“The hard way. That’s the way I do everything”

“Like in the [prison] yard. You take care of your own business.”

“I’ve lived outside the law all my life. That’s why I don’t expect do die old or die nice. But I’ll be hanged if I’m gonna die for what I *didn’t* do.”

“Jist so ya know — ain’t nuthin’ personal, hoss. Been paid t’take ya down, so I’m a-gonna do it.”


Marvel Universe History

Perhaps the one-percenter club Martin once rode with was Big Daddy Dawson’s Ruthless Riders, for obvious reasons.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Outlaw

Dex: 06 Str: 10 Bod: 08 Motivation: Unwanted power
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Ex-criminal
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 016 HP: 040

Powers:
Damage absorption (Structural only): 04, Density Increase: 02, EV 13, Invulnerability: 06, Jumping: 03, Regeneration: 01

Bonuses & Limitations:

  • All Powers are Contingent Upon STR.
  • Damage Absorption only usable if Martin can see the impact coming and brace himself (an Automatic Action).
  • Density Increase is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Invulnerability takes about a dozen minutes per roll.

Skills:
Vehicles (Land): 05

Advantages:
Conditional Soaking (Blunt & Unarmed), Familiarity (The art of motorcycle maintenance).

Connections:
Suicide Squad (Low), Street (Low).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward a biker’s code of honour, MPR (not breaking small, fragile objects is difficult), MPR (Essentially no sense of touch), Minor Rage (his strength is hard to control), Attack Vulnerability (Ballistic and Piercing Descriptors, – 1CS RV).

Equipment:
REINFORCED HOG [BODY 08 STR 06, Running: 07].


That hideous strength

Blockbuster is the main benchmark to align Outlaw’s STR against. But Blockbuster’s STR is given by Mayfair as a 10. This is surprisingly low, though one suspects that this is set so he doesn’t Stun Batman with every blow (which would be the case with a 11).

So this writeups has Outlaw as strong as Blockbuster, but with EV to allow to destroy obstacles just like he did in Manhunter.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Outlaw — Averaged PL10

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
01 (09) 02 (05) 02 02 03 (05) 01 01 01

Powers

Hard-boiled super-strength ● 54 points ● Descriptor: Metagene
– Enhanced Strength 9, Enhanced Stamina 3, Enhanced Fighting 2.
– Enhanced punching, kicking and shredding — Strength-based unarmed Damage 3.
– Enhanced leaps — Leaping 3.
– Bullet-resistant — 6 Ranks of Impervious for his Toughness.
– Durability — Protection 3 (Quirk: not against Ballistic and Piercing descriptors).
– Durability — Protection 2 (Limited 1 to Unarmed and Blunt descriptors).
– Durability — Enhanced Fortitude 3, Enhanced Parry 3.
– Durability — Regeneration 1, Enhanced Advantage (Diehard).
– Brace for impact — Immunity 2 (Half-effect from falls, collisions and other bodywide impacts that he can see coming).
– Physical density — Feature 1 (body mass is a 4).

Combat Advantages

All-Out attack, Defensive Roll 2, Diehard.

Other Advantages

Equipment 3, Startle.

Skills

Close Combat (Unarmed) 4 (+9), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (Outlaw biker) 5 (+6), Expertise (Motorcycle mechanics) 4 (+5), Insight 3 (+4), Intimidation 2 (+3), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Firearms) 2 (+4), Vehicles 6 (+8) (Limited 1 to land vehicles).

Equipment

Reinforced hog Size M, Strength 4, Speed 6, Defense 9, Toughness 9 ● 13 points

Offense

Initiative +2
Unarmed +9, Close, Damage 13

Defence

Dodge 9 Fortitude 11
Parry 11 Toughness 8*/10/12
Will 7

* Without Defensive Roll
** Blunt and unarmed impacts only

Complications

  • Biker’s honour
  • Too strong for his own good Outlaw’s strength is difficult to control. He can easily break objects even if he’s careful, and it is quite possible to kill opponents without meaning to.
  • Born to be wild Martin is incapable of living in mainstream society, and he has a gigantic rap sheet that makes it impossible anyway.
  • Thick skinned Essentially no sense of touch.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 11, Dodge/Toughness PL 10, Parry/Toughness PL 11, Fort/Will PL 9.
  • Points total 121. Abilities 26, Defences 19, Skills 15, Powers 54, Devices 0, Advantages 7. Equiv. PL 9.

Notes

There are fiddly bits about his damage output and durability, to reconcile his Manhunter material with his Suicide Squad material.

By Philip John Mason and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Comics – Manhunter and Suicide Squad.

Helper(s): Kevin Berger, Maflickin, Pawsplay.

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