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The Terror (Timely Comics)

Terror

(Laslo Pevely)


“Known to the world by the weird name, the Terror, this fantastic being possesses all the facilities of a normal human, injected with a certain virus from a mad dog. This strange human undergoes a complete physical change when angered. The body temperature rising with anger produces an extra agitation of the chemicals and in place of a cool, placid individual rises — the Terror — who carries the sceptre of Justice to the darkest dens of the underworld.”


Context

The Terror is a relatively obscure Golden Age , who appeared in 1941-42. He was in Mystic Comics by Timely Publication, the predecessor of Marvel Comics.

The Terror made a comeback in The Sensational She-Hulk in 1990, but it didn’t quite fit in… anything. So this profile is chiefly about the character as seen during the 1940s.

I couldn’t peruse Mystic Comics #6 when researching this profile.


Background

  • Real Name: Laslo Pevely.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’8” (Pevely) 6’1” (Terror) Weight: 160 lbs (Pevely) 190 lbs (Terror).
  • Note: Vitals have been adjusted from the official numbers, which seem too low.
  • Eyes: Brown (Pevely) White (Terror) Hair: Black (Pevely) None (Terror).


Powers and Abilities

The Terror is tall man possessed with incredible strength and resolve. Although he does not look particularly acrobatic, he can perform cinematic  athletic feats. Such as leaping from a two stories high cliff onto the hood of a speeding car. According to a caption, he fights with “the fury of a thousand demons”.

Laslo Pevely does not seem to possess any special skill or ability. He obviously has no investigative skills. He may also fail to summon sufficient anger to turn into the Terror until the last possible moment. This usually happens when he has been defeated and is thus too demoralised to resist.

Apparently, being exposed to flame renews the strength of the Terror. He and his clothes do not seem to burn either, at least when thrown into a lit fireplace.


History

A dark and stormy night

It was during a dark and stormy night of 1941. A burst of particularly strange events happened at the home and laboratory of the famous scientist, John Storm.

A gigantic enraged ape burst in from nowhere and invaded the isolated house. Rex, Storm’s nondescript mutt, suddenly attacked the huge primate with unholy rage. As it did, the dog’s head took on an oddly deformed, skull-like appearance.

Demonstrating incredible strength, the dog managed to kill the ape.But it died from massive stress moments later.

Fascinated by whatever had happened to his pet, Storm scooped the dead canine. He managed to extract the hitherto unknown virus that had given it super-strength and a skull-like face. But while the scientist was working, more unlikely events occurred.

A tall, dark stranger (well, not quite)

Lightning struck a tree. It fell onto the road, right in front of an unsuspecting motorist. The stranger, dressed in full evening attire, hit his head in the crash. After a while he staggered toward Storm’s house, where he realised he could no longer tell whom he was.

Storm determined that the man would never recover his memory due to the impact and lightning. Reasonably enough, the scientist then decided to give him a future by injecting him with the virus. Thus, he could turn the stranger into “the most powerful foe of crime, since the annals of time”.

However, *yet* another unlikely event was also underway. A trio of thugs, led by a criminal named Greco, came to Storm’s house. They demanded that he help them in their unlawful enterprises. The sternly justice-minded doctor refused. Therefore they beat him savagely, resulting in fatal wounds.

White-knuckled fists of justice

They were interrupted by the amnesiac stranger. This man suddenly felt a terrible need to avenge the dying researcher with extreme prejudice. Scared witless, the murderers fled, declaring that “that guy’s a terror !”.

However, the Terror caught up with them as they were driving away. He killed Greco by twisting back the criminal’s pistol-wielding hand, then sent the car to crash down the hill.

Returning to normal, the stranger swore that “with your books and notes to aid me, the Terror shall continue your fight against crime and evil”.

The fight against crime and evil continues

In his subsequent adventure, he reportedly foiled the plan of one Decker. This Nazi spy was about to shrink President Roosevelt to a mere few inches of height.

Pevely (likely living in professor’s Storm place and using his savings) later read about robbers attacking small businesses in a nearby town. One man had died during such a robbery. Angered by the news, he turned into the Terror, who decided to take the looters out.

Soon, Pevely was shopping at random in the nearby town, hoping to stumble onto the looters. He soon did. But during a melee against the entire crew, he was knocked out from behind. The looters decided to execute him and make an example of him to further cow the locals. But Pevely changed again and punched out the leader as the surviving criminals fled.

His work done, the Terror faded into the night… ever in search of new adventure !!

Because evil lurks in the heart of men, I suspect

Somehow, Pevely was next seen “in Europe” (likely the UK). There he read in the papers about ships of refugee leaving Portugal for the US but never arriving. Incensed, he travelled to Lisbon to investigate. There, he soon noticed a shifty-looking boat captain.

Embarking, he soon realized that the man was a Nazi agent. The boat would deliver the hapless refugees to the Sahara. There, along with French POWs, they would be forced to construct a railway crossing the deadly sands until they died.

The Terror knocked out all of the Fascist scum. Then he commandeered the ship, which he took to America. When they nearly reached their goal, they spotted a German sub in American waters. Pevely had the refugees transfer to rowboats, then raised the British flag on the main boat. As a result, it was sunk… along with the Nazi agents that were still held in the keel.

The Terror later went to the Sahara to kill the Nazi foremen at the railroad construction site.

Poison, Inc. and “Bull” Murdock

Pevely later learned in the newspaper of a murder. It had been committed by the new criminal conspiracy of “the Old One”. He now employed a band of poison-using hitmen known as Poison, Inc. Suspecting that the worst enemy of the victim was behind the contract, the Terror beat up a confession out of him. He then proceeded to dismantle Poison Inc.

However, when he reached the Old One, he was knocked out from behind by a henchman. The killers then threw him off a jetty. However the water revived the Terror, and he took out the Old One and his henchman. The mastermind chose death through suicide, using poison.

Later, the Terror happened upon yet another sinister plot. Gangster “Bull” Murdock had been contacted by the masked Mister Z. In their scheme, they forced men who had recently taken a huge insurance on life to designate an alias of theirs as the recipient. Then they murdered the policy holder.

Hit by a car from behind, the Terror could not stop them after they committed the first murder. But he soon laid a trap for them by taking a large insurance as Pevely.

However, during the melee, Mister Z knocked the Terror out from behind (sounds familiar ?). Hoping not to leave a body behind, they threw the unconscious Terror into a large nearby fireplace. This merely revived him, and he punched everyone out. He then unmasked “Mister Z” as the president of the insurance company.

The Terror then continued his unending search for crime.


Description

When he turns into the Terror, Pevely is surrounded by a strange vapor that looks like misty flames.

The Terror’s appearance varied. Thus, I’ve stuck with the illustrations from his first depiction. The “skull face” varied, though the Terror always wore the same evening attire and cape. In his subsequent appearance his face seemed somewhat demonic or goblin-like. But it continued to more or less resemble a sort of skull. Mostly.


Personality

The Terror is a Gothic avenger, a sort of vengeful vampire taking out evildoers like last week’s trash. He doesn’t really have a personality. He just spouts some of the quotes below and beats bad guys up.

Pevely seems to be a mild person who mostly serves the Terror. He prefers to transform into his monstrous alter-ego when out of sight.

The Terror never kills directly and by his own hand. He will wrestle opponents so that they shoot themselves, drive cars off cliffs, trigger explosions, let villains kill each other, etc.. But he does not use straight Killing Combat. This odd hypocrisy was common in Golden Age stories.


Quotes

“They’re killing an innocent man ! They must pay for this — they must !”

“The fiends ! The heartless fiends !” (one of his favourite exclamations)

“Prepare for your doom !”

“There they go – to their just end !”

“So, an organised mob of thugs are robbing the little fellas, eh ? Picking on the poor people, are they ? People who can’t fight back ! Well, we’ll see what the Terror can do about it ! It will be a fight to the finish between those curs and the Terror ! And the Terror shall win !”

“I wish I could do this to every crook in the world !” (crash)

“This is the only language you understand !” (slam !)

“And now, merciless ones, you shall pay for your horrible deeds !”

“The hour of judgement is at hand — you killers !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Terror

Dex: 07 Str: 06 Bod: 06 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 06 Wil: 07 Min: 08 Occupation: Amnesiac vigilante
Inf: 07 Aur: 07 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 022 HP: 040

Powers:
Flame immunity: 03

Skills:
Acrobatics (athletics)*: 07, Charisma (Intimidation, interrogation): 08, Martial artist*: 07

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Schtick (Conditional Recovery (exposed to a good amount of fire)).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Alter-Ego (Laslo Pevely — must be very angry to change), Strange Appearance, CIA toward Seeking Justice, Serious Rage, Attack Vulnerability (Blindside attacks: – 2CS OV/RV), Misc.: Amnesiac.


Design Notes

The Attack Vulnerability is a Genre Rule, really. But we prefer to list them as Drawbacks so people don’t forget.


Laslo Pevely

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation: Amnesiac vigilante
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 006 HP: 040

Skills:
Vehicles (land, water): 03

Advantages:
None.

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Alter-Ego (The Terror — must be very angry to change).


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Terror — Averaged PL9.4

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
05 04 05 02 07 02 03 03

Powers

Incombustible ● 6 points ● Descriptor: Who knows?
– Impervious Protection 4, Impervious Enhanced Fortitude 4 (both Limited 2 to fire)
– Regeneration 4 (Source: large open flame)

Combat Advantages

Chokehold, Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll 4, Ranged Attack 2, Startle.

Other Advantages

Fearless.

Skills

Acrobatics 5 (+10), Athletics 5 (+10), Deception 2 (+5), Insight 6 (+9), Intimidation 5 (+8), Perception 5 (+8), Persuasion 4 (+7), Vehicles 2 (+4) (Limited 1 to common land and water vehicles).

Offense

Initiative +5
Unarmed +11, Close, Damage 5

Defence

Dodge 10 Fortitude 09
Parry 12 Toughness 04*/08
Will 12

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Alter-Ego Laslo Pevely is practically useless. Furthermore, he might fail to summon enough anger to become the Terror until it is almost too late.
  • Appearance The Terror looks inhuman and is very tall (by 1940s standards).
  • Obsession The Terror is utterly consumed with administering justice, no matter what.
  • Look out, behind you ! The Terror’s Perception bonus to detect people about to strike him from behind is zero.
  • Amnesiac The Terror knows nothing about his past… but honestly, it’s very unlikely to ever hinder him or even play a role.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 10, Fort/Will PL 11.
  • Points total 122. Abilities 62, Defences 24, Skills 17, Powers 6, Devices 0, Advantages 13. Equiv. PL 9.

Notes

Normally I’d write him as Pevely, and have a Power granting him the power of the Terror… except that Pevely is useless. So his entire character sheet (except for knowing how to drive) would be contained within the Power, which would be pointless.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Golden Age Timely Comics.

Helper(s): OHOTMU Golden Age 2004.

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