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Steel Raven (Marvel Comics)

Steel Raven

(Aranda Charboneau)


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

Context

Steel Raven is a mercenary super-agent type. She seemed quite competent, but the story she was in was cut short. As a result she lay never get developed as a character, but that leaves room for gamemasters who’d like to build upon that base.

This character profile includes data about the organisation that hired her, which was involved in the Weapon Plus mega-project. Additional elements of context can be found in the Typhoid character profile. So you may want to read that first, though it’s a large one.


Background

  • Real Name: Aranda Charboneau
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: Possibly a son (name unrevealed)
  • Group Affiliation: Agent of the Fortress
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 127 lbs
  • Eyes: Light blue Hair: Platinum blonde


Powers and Abilities

Steel Raven is a super-agent type, with superior combat and security skills. She was able to credibly engage Daredevil in hand-to-hand combat. Her arsenal is described in the game stats below.

Secondary sources  indicate she is a competent computer scientist and very wealthy, though neither was quite demonstrated in the stories.


Into the arsenal

The Fortress (sometimes called the Project) is an enormous base hidden in upstate New York. It conducts advanced research into weaponry and super-agents. It seems likely that it is one of the main centres for the Weapon Plus project, best-known for its Weapon One (Captain America), Weapon Ten (Wolverine) and Weapon Thirteen (Fantomex) sub-projects.

One of their main source of income seems to be the production and sale of weapons, from guns to combat robots. They apparently have been making money that way for decades. A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent thought that they had been providing gear for the likes of HYDRA for at least 40 years.

Steel Raven (Aranda Charboneau) posing over a white background

If the Fortress is indeed a Weapon Plus research centre, it is possible that they turned to this to continue developing despite budget cuts.

Psychic surgery

The Fortress’ researchers have been working for decades on “psychic surgery” techniques. These are designed to turn normal people into proficient — though psychotic — killers, or to turn superhumans into docile agents. There are hints that Typhoid, Agent Hazzard and Agent Crock were the result of Fortress experiments and conditioning.

Several such techniques have reminded Wolverine of his Weapon X experiences. It is possible that Aldo Ferro (aka Vole, aka Psi-Borg) was involved with the Fortress at some point.

The ties with the project that created Hazzard and Crock (Project: REPTILE) are indirect and presumably unintended. Lightle created the Fortress about eight years after Nocenti created REPTILE. The hypothetical link hinges on one remark Typhoid makes about her conditioning, which is strikingly similar to how Hazzard and Crock describe their own memory and identity manipulations.

Steel Raven (Aranda Charboneau) leaping in with a tonfa

Assuming that the two are related and may have a link to Weapon Plus sounds credible – but it all remains assumptions.

New Genix

The Fortress also runs a team of young superhumans called New Genix. This nascent team is surrounded by a sophisticated deception. They think that they live in the year 3065 AD. They also have been assured that the Earth has been devastated by the apocalyptic conflict between mutants and humans, called the Horizon Wars.

Steel Raven is occasionally involved with the New Genix project. She once ran them through a harsh training session pitting the New Genix kids against a Blood Soldier robot. The robot supposedly was a relic of the Horizon Wars, of the type that “killed the Inhumans and dozens of Avengers”.

For a while the Fortress also held Jessie, a young mutant empath and telepath with gender identity issues. Since Jessie vanished from Mary Walker’s life at a later date, it is possible that they succeeded in recapturing them.

Other notes

The Fortress seems to be run by two men – Dr. Zachary Hoffner and Dr. Sidney Joern. Joern was decapitated by Wolverine. Howbeit, his head was kept alive and aware by his teams, perhaps whilst they grew a clone body for him to be grafted on. Both doctors seem highly intelligent, quite ruthless, gifted with nerves of steel and with little care for ethics.

The Fortress is likely the largest lab in the US – in DC Heroes RPG terms, 18 APs or more. Its security systems are also incredible, ranking at about 11 APs and including psychotronics  and the most advanced superhuman detection scanners.

Much of the security is run by conventional paramilitary forces. However, far more dangerous weapons can likely be brought to bear if intruders tarry. Steel Raven was apparently recruited to head security. If Project: REPTILE was indeed a Fortress sub-project, they once employed the Black Widow as an agent.


History

Secondary sources have stated that Steel Raven is a wealthy socialite who became a mercenary under unrevealed circumstances. She worked for the Fortress as a high-ranking security specialist and special agent.

In the Fortress, she was almost always accompanied by a young boy suffering from an obvious psychological trauma and a severe anxiety disorder. This taciturn kid may have been her son.

Steel Raven (Aranda Charboneau) vs. Daredevil

It has been implied that some sort of trauma, likely related to her low-key hostility toward men, might be at the root of her mercenary career as Steel Raven.

Other elements of her behaviour and the Fortress’ attitude toward Steel Raven lead to the impression that she was a very successful and very expensive mercenary with enough of a reputation to extensively negotiate terms.

Jessie

In 1994 Professor Xavier detected the presence of Jessie, a young mutant empath, within the Fortress. He had Wolverine launch a rescue mission. Given the security in the Fortress, Wolverine recruited Mary and Typhoid.

Mary did not register as a superhuman even on the Fortress’ scanner and was a brilliant actress. This allowed her to infiltrate the place then turn into Typhoid. The plan worked, but Typhoid got overconfident on her way out. Thus, she and Jessie were captured.

Within Typhoid’s mindscape, Mary let out a psychic cry for help. It was telepathically relayed by Jessie and hit two former lovers – Daredevil and Wolverine. Vengeance was also contacted as he was more or less the Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch), with whom Typhoid and Mary had previously flirted.

The three men came to investigate the Fortress at about the same time, triggering a major security alert. Steel Raven responded.

The hollow citadel

As Vengeance attacked Wolverine due to a misunderstanding, Raven directed her attention toward Daredevil. Meanwhile, Jessie and Typhoid escaped.

As a result, Steel Raven was ordered to disengage and find them. She somehow tracked Jessie down, and discovered that Typhoid was now being Bloody – a brutal misandrist waging a literal war of the sexes.

By this point Steel Raven was fed up with the Fortress, and in particular its mistreatment of children and teenagers. This stance of hers was considered a security risk by Dr. Joern. Yet his co-director Dr. Hoffner wanted to keep Steel Raven on the staff. That may have been because of an unrequited romantic interest in her.

Calling Bloody her sister, Charboneau offered an alliance to kill Dr. Hoffner. Bloody agreed. During this murder attempt Steel Raven had to engage Vengeance and then Wolverine in combat to cover Bloody. However, Bloody unexpectedly became Mary and fled.

Steel Raven (Aranda Charboneau) shooting her pistol

Joener continued to suspect that she might be a security risk, but the attempt against Hoffner went undetected. Steel Raven continued to work for the Fortress, quite probably with her own agenda. She captured and killed a S.H.I.E.L.D. contractor who had broken into the Fortress to acquire intelligence.

Later on took over a New Genix training exercise. Charboneau made a combat robot more violent and threatening than scheduled, in order to toughen up the New Genix youths and better prepare them.


Description

Her costume is basically a bondage suit. When she was seen out of costume she was wearing a designer, super-tight red dress with a bare back, and 1940s-starlet-style long red gloves.


Personality

Cold, quiet, professional. Acts with authority, confidence and discipline. She seems to be highly driven toward success, and determined to achieve her objectives at any cost.

This also includes an independent streak and some unclear but strong personal beliefs. Steel Raven will dutifully work for employers, but she will never be loyal to anything but herself and her apparent son.

Steel Raven (Aranda Charboneau) sitting in a virtual reality rig

Charboneau has issues of undetermined nature with men. She’s highly wary of them and can easily become antagonistic. Furthermore, she nearly always dresses in a very sexualised fashion.

She also seems quite protective toward children. This is not limited to the boy who accompanies her.


Quotes

“I have completed my assignment. Successfully, of course.”

“Let jerks one and two cancel each other out, and I’ll take out the idiot in red.”

(A boy in her care reacts with severe distress as a guard tries to make small talk with him) “NEVER ! You will never speak to, or touch that child again. Or I will kill you. Can you comprehend that ?”


DC Universe History

Steel Raven would be a Lexcorp security specialist. She might even be an Amazon, much like Hope and Mercy. In timelines were the Great Disaster occurs, the Command D bunker might be what remains of the Fortress.

Another possibility that comes to mind is the Secret Six series. Mockingbird had some means of controlling all of the Six, whether blackmail, unique medicines, etc. Perhaps Aranda was recruited in a similar fashion ?


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Steel Raven

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Agent
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 009
Init: 021 HP: 035

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Detective (Legwork): 06, Martial artist: 08, Military science: 05, Scientist (Computers): 06, Thief (Stealth, Security systems): 06, Weaponry: 08

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Credentials (Fortress, Medium), Expertise (Perimeter security), Iron Nerves

Connections:
Fortress (Low, from Credentials)

Drawbacks:
MIA toward distrusting males

Equipment:

  • COSTUME [BODY 05, Blunting: 05, Claws: 04 (05 w/STR, 09 w/Martial Artist), Projectile weapons: 04, Note: Projectile weapon has Ammo: 06 and has to be used with the Weaponry (Missile) Subskill]. This costume is likely made of ballistic cloth and includes two claw-like attachment on the lower forearms, which can be moved forward and attached on the wrist and back of the hand to serve as claws or punch daggers in close combat. There are also a number of sharp metallic bits that are almost certainly detachable throwing blades, and at least two shuriken that definitely are.
  • Ruger KP90 .45 Pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#02]. Exact model is arbitrary.
  • Fighting dagger [BODY 05, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 09 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Custom-built high-calibre single action handgun [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 06, Range: 05, Ammo: 05, Rec. STR 03, R#02, Drawback: Must spend a Standard Action to ready a new round]. A heavy, long, scoped handgun that is not actually seen in action. I assumed it was somewhat similar to a high-calibre G2 Thompson Contender pistol, rebuilt with a five-shot box magazine in front of the trigger block and a single action feeding mechanism.
  • M16A3 assault rifle (or M4A1 assault carbine) [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 08, R#02, Advantage : Autofire] with M203 Grenade Launcher [BODY 02, Range: 07, Ammo: 01, Drawback: Long Reload] with two offensive grenades [BODY 01, EV 07 (Area of Effect 1 AP), R#03, Grenade drawback].
  • Machine pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Ammo: 08, R#03, Advantage : Autofire]. From a very vague similarity, I have assumed this gun was a close variant on the infamous S.H.I.E.L.D.-issue .30AP machine pistol.
  • Steel Raven could also draw extensively from the arsenals of the Fortress. Examples include:
    • A small two-balls bolo – too light to snare limbs as full-size one, but able to wrap around a limb then emit destructive electromagnetic pulses [BODY 04, Energy Blast: 08, Grenade Drawback, Bonus: Energy Blast has Continuing Effects (like Disintegration)].
    • Energy-charged tonfa [BODY 06, EV 08, R#02]. This police-style night-stick includes a sort of prod at the short end, discharging large amounts of energy on impact.

Design Notes

Many of the stats are hypothetical, given how little material there is about her (which resulted in part from the cancellation of Marvel Comics Presents).


By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (created by Steve Lightle)

Helper(s): Darci

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