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Speed Demon (Spider-Man enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Speed Demon


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

Context

Best-known as a Spider-Man foe and a Thunderbolts member, Speed Demon is the main super-speed villain in the Marvel Universe.


Background

  • Real Name: James Sanders
  • Other Aliases: Whizzer, Harvey James
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Formerly Squadron Sinister, Sinister Syndicate, Thunderbolts, and Supreme Power
  • Base Of Operations: New York
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 175lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Grey


Powers and Abilities

Speed Demon can act at speeds far greater than normal people, due to the effects of a chemical he created under the Grandmaster’s guidance.

It changed his physical structure, strengthening his muscles and bones. It also increased the efficiency of his nervous system, including his brain, making his thought processes and reflexes six times faster than those of the average person.

Speed Demon with his Whizzer costume

Capable of moving at a speed of 160 mph for around three hours, he can move faster for shorter periods. These heightened speeds allow him to run up vertical surfaces, or even run on the air if he has enough of a run up.

Sanders has a master’s degree in chemistry. He is a skilled fighter, especially at using his speed.


History

Chemist James Sanders was contacted by the Grandmaster, who offered him super-powers in exchange for his services. Agreeing, Sanders created tablets based on information the Grandmaster provided, which granted him superhuman speed.

Given the identity of the Whizzer by the Grandmaster, he was introduced to the rest of the Squadron Sinister. This team was modelled on the Squadron Supreme, a superhero group from an alternate reality. The other members were Hyperion, Nighthawk, and Doctor Spectrum.

The Squadron were pitted against the Avengers, themselves pawns of the Grandmaster’s opponent, Kang. Split up, Whizzer was pitted against Goliath (Clint Barton) in London. The battle was interrupted by the Black Knight, who knocked Sanders out, believing he was helping, but the action actually broke the rules of the contest, preventing the Avengers from winning at that point.

While the Avenger’s challenges continued, the Squadron were released from the Grandmaster’s service, and returned to Earth.

When Hyperion sold the Earth to the alien, Nebulon, the Squadron initiated a plan to melt the polar ice caps and flood the Earth. Nighthawk betrayed them, however, warning the Defenders of the Squadron’s intentions.

They were eventually stopped, Doctor Strange casting a spell over them which caused them to forget their powers and identities.

Stolen memories

Believing himself to be a chemist called Harvey James, Sanders got a job at the Hudson Pharmaceutical Company in West Caldwell, New Jersey. This false personality remained in place until the Avengers turned up looking for information about Doctor Spectrum’s Power Prism, which had taken control of the Wasp.

As soon as he saw Captain America, Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch, Sanders remembered who he was, and instantly attacked. Running circles around them, he nearly escaped, until Captain America tagged him with his shield.

Speed Demon (James Sanders) vs. Sea Leopard

It’s unclear what happened to him next. If he had been turned over to the authorities, he escaped. Experimenting on the speed formula allowed him to become even faster. He adopted the new identity of Speed Demon, using his powers to carry out thefts from shops and museums.

This type of crime would often bring him into conflict with Spider-Man, on his own or partnered with the Human Torch. Sanders would often be arrested, but never for that long.

Sinister Syndicate

He later joined the Sinister Syndicate, alongside the Beetle (Abner Jenkins), Rhino, Boomerang, and Hydro-Man. Their first job was to kill Silver Sable, which ran into complications when Spider-Man turned up with her, and the Syndicate were beaten.

The Syndicate, led by Doctor Octopus, helped rebels overthrow the oppressive government of the European country of Belgriun. However, this was part of a plan to make off with the treasury. Silver Sable and Spider-Man turned up to oppose them again, but fell afoul of the public, who saw the Syndicate as heroes.

Spider-Man and Sable managed to foil the theft, resulting in the treasure being dropped over the public. It’s uncertain whether the truth of their intentions became known to the public, so Sanders may still be welcome in Belgriun.

Sanders was one of the speedsters  invited to race by the Runner, alongside Black Racer, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Makkari, Quicksilver, Super Sabre, and the Whizzer of the Squadron Supreme. While he outlasted the Black Racer, and Super Sabre, Speed Demon fell at around 81,000 km.

The race was won by the latecomer, Buried Alien, far faster than any of them.

Speed Demon (James Sanders) vs. Spider-Man>

Again working with the Sinister Syndicate, Sanders began making moves on Boomerang’s girlfriend, Leila Davis, when Boomerang was arrested. Leila turned out to actually be the wife of the late Ringer, who blamed the Beetle for her husband’s death, and had only infiltrated the group to gain revenge on him.

Her plans exacerbated rifts in the group, splitting them into two opposing factions, and they soon disbanded.

Working for the Man

Recruited by Justin Hammer, Speed Demon was part of a group of super-villains Hammer lent to his current co-conspirator, the Sphinx, and they battled the New Mutants and Spider-Man, who were trying to foil the Sphinx’s plans.

When they realized how dangerous the Sphinx’s plans were, directly threatening their lives, Speed Demon was one of the villains who teamed with the heroes to oppose him, rather than fleeing. They stopped the Sphinx, and Sanders left.

Again employed by Justin Hammer, Speed Demon was teamed with Whiplash, Hydro-Man, and the Blizzard (Donnie Gill), as protection from the ’new‘ Beetle, who’d been raiding Hammer’s facilities.

They fought the Beetle when he attacked, and the Thunderbolts, when they arrived tracking him. They were eventually overwhelmed and were forced to flee, leaving the Thunderbolts to drive the Beetle away.

Deciding to start using throwing knives, Speed Demon took part in the Bloodsport tournament in Madripoor. In the first round he was pitted against Patch (Wolverine), within a giant cylinder. He was doing well until Patch used his throwing knives against him, leaving him bleeding from a bad neck wound.

Patch refused the audience’s calls to kill him. Surviving, Sanders decided against continuing to use weapons.

Speed Demon (James Sanders) dodging Spider-Man's blows

Hired by Baron von Strucker, head of Hydra, he was tasked with infiltrating the Thunderbolts, currently led by Mach-IV (Abner Jenkins), to keep an eye on them. Coming to the team’s aid against the Wrecking Crew, he was accepted into the team, although not without suspicion.

Justice, like lightning

Eventually coming into conflict with Hydra when their plans threatened Manhattan, Speed Demon betrayed Strucker, siding with the Thunderbolts. Reaching speeds beyond what he normally could, Sanders managed to reach all the bombs Strucker had set around the city, getting the final one miles away from the city within seconds.

He spent a lot of time trying, unsuccessfully, to hit on team mate Joystick. Fellow new Thunderbolt, Blizzard (Donnie Gill), uncertain at his new role, seemed to latch on to Sanders, looking up to him as a kind of older brother figure. When he learned that Sanders was considering pulling a job with the Shocker, Gill tried talking him out of it.

Sanders pulled the job, using his old Whizzer suit, not knowing Blizzard had planted a tracker on him. Blizzard tried to stop him during the heist, but Sanders beat him, leaving him tied to the Throgs Neck bridge, half-naked, with a note thanking him for trying.

Following the job, Sanders informed the police of the Shocker’s location. Snatching his weapons and the loot the moment they arrived. The loot he then gave to Jenkins to support the Thunderbolts, since their funding, which had originally come from Strucker, was running low.

He continued stealing money to support the group, including from the company of old team mate, Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond). Nighthawk soon found him, confronting him with his crimes in front of the other Thunderbolts.

Speed Demon (James Sanders) attacking Spider-Man

Before the matter could be settled, they were interrupted by new versions of Hyperion and Dr. Spectrum (Alice Nugent), who abducted both Speed Demon and Nighthawk.

They were told of the new Squadron’s plans (although Nugent wanted them to call themselves Supreme Power) to solve the worlds problems. It would first require them to take over the world. Learning that their plan to take over was more to make the world better than to feather their own nests, Sanders decided it sounded too much like work.

Speed Demon and Nighthawk tried to play along, but their subterfuge was quickly seen through. The Thunderbolts arrived just as battle broke out, and Hyperion and Dr. Spectrum were forced to flee.

Wellspring of Power

Speed Demon was, nevertheless, fired from the Thunderbolts by Songbird for his stealing. Returning to the Squadron, he learned they were again working for the Grandmaster, opposing Baron Zemo, who soon took command of the Thunderbolts, again.

Both sides were after control of the Wellspring of Power, the source which the Grandmaster had used to empower the Squadron.

Nighthawk soon rejoined them, too, for his own reasons. But Sanders, not trusting either the Grandmaster or Zemo with that power, kept Jenkins informed of the Squadron’s activities. They planned to make sure no one could seize the power.

While on a mission in Constantinople, he met Joystick, sent there by Zemo (although she was actually a double agent for the Grandmaster). They fought, and while he’d previously been able to run rings around her, she revealed herself capable of moving faster still (by drawing on the Wellspring), and broke both his legs.

Left wheelchair-bound, Sanders was relegated to research for the Squadron, and was unable to take part in their final battle with the Thunderbolts. During the worldwide conflict, the Wellspring energies increased globally, and Sanders was struck by a blast of energy which healed his wounds, and temporarily boosted his powers.

Travelling to the site of the clash, he discovered Zemo had beaten Grandmaster, but Joystick was about to strike him down and take the power herself. Speed Demon intervened, beating her quite easily, and then departed.

Sanders has since been seen spending time with other super-villains at the Bar With No Name, in New York, and is rumoured to be a part of the Hood’s supervillain mob.


Personality

An arrogant braggart, Sanders is confident, sometimes overconfident, in his abilities. He is nevertheless a professional on the job, and is usually a loyal team mate in the field. He doesn’t seem to have much in the way of long-term goals, preferring to go for the easy life.

When he became Speed Demon, he was initially stealing valuables to buy himself what he needed, or art pieces to decorate the place he bought with his stolen resources.

After joining the Thunderbolts, he started to enjoy the positive reaction of the public. Even after being thrown off the team he seemed to be trying to do the right thing. Whether that was due to actually wanting to be good, or because he could see the threat posed by either Zemo or the Grandmaster gaining that much power, is unclear.

Following this he returned to what he knew, hanging out in supervillain bars, and inevitably returning to a life of crime, possibly because he can’t see anything else to do with his life.

As the Whizzer he was almost maniacally condescending to his enemies, or allies, even more of a braggart than normal, and a whiner when things turned against him. This may have been a side-effect of the original chemical, as he seemed less frantic after his experimentation with the formula.


Quotes

“None can equal the matchless speed of the wonderous Whizzer !”

“How can you stop a foe who is elsewhere by the time you strike ?”

“Sorry to have been so hard on you, wall-crawler ! Since this is my first time out as Speed Demon, I had to prove myself ! You just happened to show up ! Nothing personal !”

“No doubt your vaunted spider-sense warned you of my presence, you webbed weasel ! But all the warnings in the world aren’t enough to stop the Speed Demon !”

“C’mon, you slow pokes, this is no time to be dawdling.”

“Pushing my buttons. Risky move, considering I can break the speed of sound on one leg.”

Dr. Spectrum: “Why have you betrayed us ?”
Speed Demon: “Betrayed you ? I didn’t think you were actually serious about that ’save the world‘ crap ! I thought it would just be a scam to score some cash ! If I wanted to be with a group of idiots wasting their time trying to be heroes I could’ve stayed with the Thunderbolts !”

“Hey, ’Stick. Nice of you to remember me… what with breaking my legs an’ taking my power, I wasn’t sure if you would. Look at us, me with my powers back, you, not so hot. I figure, payback’s a #@&*, which works out fine — ’cause so are you !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Speed Demon

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Criminal
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 028 HP: 045

Powers:
Cling: 02, Flight: 05, Running: 07, Superspeed: 11

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All other Powers are Contingent on Superspeed (-1 each)
  • Cling may only be used while moving along surfaces at speed (-1)
  • Flight may only be used while moving at speed, after running a similar distance on a solid surface (-1)
  • Superspeed does not sub for movement (-1)

Skills:
Gadgetry: 05, Martial Artist: 04, Scientist: 05, Thief: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Gadgetry and Scientist apply only to chemistry (-1 each).

Advantages:
Scholar (Chemistry)

Connections:
Thunderbolts (Low), Underworld (Low)

Drawbacks:
None


Wellspring Empowered

During the time he was part of the Thunderbolts, and later during the Grandmaster’s machinations, Speed Demon’s speed was noticeably increased by the Wellspring energies circulating, at one point reaching speeds of a mile per second.

For this period drop his Running Power, and the Limitation on his Superspeed. Presumably he dropped to regular levels following this period, but this is unverified.


Previous Stats

He briefly used throwing blades, but gave them up after they were quickly turned against him. [BODY 05, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 05 w/MA), Range: 02]


Design notes

His official maximum speed is 160mph, but official stats from Marvel tend not to necessarily match what’s shown on the page.

In this case there’s nothing to definitively contradict this speed. The 2 exceptions are Quasar #17, which is unreliable as it has a number of speedsters keeping close together in the race when they really shouldn’t, and his time in the Thunderbolts, which is explained in the ’Wellspring Empowered‘ section below.

But his Superspeed needs to be higher to account for how he can hold his own against high DEX characters such as Spider-Man.

I’ve therefore given him Running to handle the movement that Superspeed would normally include.

Initially his powers were gained from tablets, but in more recent appearances he’s been worried that the powers given him by the Grandmaster will eventually wear off. Given that the tablets haven’t really played any part in stories, I’ve handled his Powers as innate.



Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Speed Demon – Whizzer — Averaged PL 8.8

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
1 2 2 1 4 3 1 1

Powers

Altered Physiology ● 61 points ● Descriptor: Chemical Exposure
– Super Speed — Enhanced Advantage (Agile Feint, Close Attack 10, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 2, Great Endurance, Improved Initiative 6, Move-By Action, Takedown 2, Ranged Attack 10), Enhanced Defense (Dodge 7, Parry 7), Quickness 3
– Fast Movement :

  • Running — Movement 3 (Water Walking, Wall-Crawling 2), Limited (while running); Speed 5
  • Running in the Air — Flight 3, Gliding

Combat Advantages

Agile Feint, Close Attack 4, Close Attack 10, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 2, Improved Initiative 6, Move-by Action, Ranged Attack 10, Takedown 2

Other Advantages

Great Endurance

Skills

Athletics 4 (+5), Expertise: Criminal 4 (+7), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise: Science 10 (+13, Limited to chemistry), Insight 2 (+3), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged Combat: Thrown 7 (+8), Sleight of Hand 4 (+5), Stealth 4 (+6), Technology 7 (+10)

Offense

Initiative +26
Unarmed +18, Damage 1
Throwing blade +18, Damage 2

Defence

Dodge 15 Fortitude 6
Parry 15 Toughness 4/2*
Will 4

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Greed Speed Demon is easily lured by wealth and strong criminal personalities.
  • Reluctant Hero He has occasionally fought on the side of good, usually because of a perceived greater threat or because he has been persuaded.
  • Chemical Dependence Speed Demon’s powers were originally gained from pills he created under the Grandmaster’s direction. It is unknown when and under what circumstances they might wear off.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 10, Dodge/Toughness PL 10, Parry/Toughness PL 10, Fort/Will PL 5
  • Points total 135 Abilities 30, Defences 17, Skills 23, Powers 61, Devices 0, Advantages 4. Equiv. PL 9.

Notes

Previous Stats
He briefly used throwing blades, but gave them up after they were quickly turned against him. (Strength-based Damage 1, Ranged, Thrown)

Wellspring Empowered
During the time he was part of the Thunderbolts, and later during the Grandmaster’s machinations, Speed Demon’s speed was noticeably increased by the Wellspring energies circulating, at one point reaching speeds of a mile per second. For this period his Speed is 9. Presumably he dropped to regular levels following this period, but this is unverified.

By Gareth Lewis

Source of Character: Marvel Comics (covers up to Thunderbolts #109)

Helper(s): Marvel.com , Chris Cottingham. M&M stats by Pawsplay.

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