Avalanche is one of the signature minor X-Men opponents. Especially during the 1980s, though he remained a frequent presence in X-stories in subsequent decades.
He should have first appeared in 1979. But Claremont’s Ms. Marvel was cancelled right under Avalanche’s feet. So he actually first appeared in 1981, in a landmark Uncanny X-Men story arc.
(The aborted Ms. Marvel storyline was eventually published in 1992).
- Real Name: Dominikos Ioannis Petrakis.
- Other Aliases: Dominic Janos Petros (anglicised name), Δομήνικος Ιωάννης Πετράκης (Greek spelling, unless I muffed it up), Jon Bloom, Dominic Szilard, Domenic Szilard.
- Note: The low-key joke being that “petros” means “stone” in Greek.
- Known Relatives: Helen Petrakis (wife – presumably Ελένη Πετράκης).
- Group Affiliation: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Freedom Force.
- Base of Operations: Mobile.
- Height: 5’11” (1.80m). Weight: 195 lbs. (89 Kg.).
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Brown.
Powers & Abilities
He has significant superhuman combat experience, and seems quite determined.
He’s knowledgeable about landscaping and gardening.
He’s entirely fluent in English. He’s thus presumably trilingual, since the Cretan patoisA regional dialect. of Greek is now recognised as a separate language.
He received training in parachuting, and likely other military skills.
Pour it on
His mutant abilities is to emit waves of energy from his hands :
- These behave largely as a shockwave.
- Most forms of matter exposed to this shockwave are pulverised. This is great to destroy obstacles, collapse buildings, create a trench/crevasse, tunnel under the ground, etc..
- Pulverised matter is swept along with the shockwave. So effectively, he turns the affected area into a wave of granulates.
- If the shockwave is aimed at a living being it harmlessly bounces back. This can inflict severe damage to Avalanche. But this doesn’t occur if he hits somebody indirectly. Even if it’s simply debris hurled by his shockwave.
The effect also doesn’t occur if hitting a synthesoidAn artificial being built using organic-like tissues, rather than robot-like hardware, and presumably the undead.
- Avalanche once demonstrated the ability to hit the ocean to form a full-size tsunami.
Avalanche is powerful enough to collapse tall buildings. Though technically this is done by attacking the lower floors and letting fiendish gravity do its dirty work.
His tactical role is more about battlefield control, and keeping the opposition bowling around and unable to act.
He also sometimes provides mobility – such as making the Blob surf on a fast-moving wave of earth for a frontal attack.
Avalanche once used teamwork to tunnel faster.
- Pyro would fuse solid the tunnel’s walls so Avalanche didn’t have to focus on that.
- The Blob served as a support structure for the head of the tunnel, so Pyro would have time to get to it.
- Super Sabre was also helping evacuate the debris, again freeing up some of Avalanche’s concentration.
There’s a weak case to be made for Avalanche having a minor healing factorThe power to heal wounds and regrow tissues, like Wolverine. Though if he does have one, it doesn’t seem to work on self-inflicted damage from his powers.
What happened is that he appeared in two storylines published on the same month. With the grave wounds suffered in Uncanny X-Men #255 being already gone by Avengers #312. There was an off-hand comment about him having already healed, though the wounds are later shown to have reopened.
There have been mentions over the decades of homo superior mutants frequently having abnormal power of recovery. So let’s err on the side of generosity for a change.
Bewildered by the Black Blade of Baghdad
Avalanche was once struck by this magic scimitar, but didn’t seem too badly wounded.
This led to a curious statement from the demon Raazer (Uncanny X-Men Annual 1991) that “either his armor deflected the mystical properties of my blade, or the man believes his soul is already consigned to Hell”.
There’s too little data to draw any conclusion. But the flow of the story does imply that Avalanche believes himself, Blob and Pyro to be irredeemable.
If so, then it’s simply a personality trait (and a limitation of the Black Blade) rather than an asset of Avalanche’s.
He seems to have a background in gardening, horticulture, landscaping, orchard farming, or some related job(s).
In unchronicled circumstances, he was recruited by Mystique to join her first Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
For the bulk of events during this span, see the corresponding Brotherhood of Evil Mutants team profile.
Grounding Los Angeles
Avalanche escaped shortly after Mystique and Rogue (Anna-Marie NLN) failed to get the Brotherhood out of Ryker’s Island prison.
(Avengers Vol. 1 Annual #10 needs to happen before Incredible Hulk #263 since Avalanche’s arms are still broken in Rom #31, see.)
He blackmailed the LAX airport , destroying the tarmac as planes landed. This seemed to be a quick and easy way to make millions, as there were few super-heroes in California back in ’81.
You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry
But Landslide of the Outcasts responded. He feared that the small earthquakes caused by Avalanche would tectonically destabilise California.
The fight devastated the airport. Especially after the incredible Hulk (Bruce Banner) intervened.
Avalanche defeated Landslide, but was overwhelmed by the Hulk. He attempted a direct attack against the jade giant, but the feedback shattered every bone in both his arms.
Avalanche thus couldn’t help much during the Windust Prison escape attempt. He tried to, but with his wounds the effect went out of control and he passed out from pain.
Uncle Sam’s bidding
During most Freedom Force operations, Avalanche simply did his job in a mostly disciplined and semi-competent manner. See the Freedom Force profile for more.
Still, during the 1991 Kuwait defeat, he gave the order to abandon Pyro and Blob to save the Crimson Commando.
As often, Avalanche’s hair colour has been all over the map.
His costume also fluctuates to a notable extent. Perhaps he kept looking for the sweet spot between protection, and ease of movement and perception.
Avalanche seems to be more of a mercenary than a mutant rights activist – or a mutant supremacist. He will fight for the cause, but he wants to get paid. And he remains on the lookout for lucreMoney, especially when regarded as sordid or distasteful or gained in a dishonourable way..
Petrakis is greedy. He can control himself, but if there’s a lot of money to be grabbed and he cannot grab it, he’ll feel terrible. He has a definite criminal mentality, but enough discipline to force himself not to commit crimes if that’s in his rational interest.
He seldom talks much, and his usual behaviour evokes that of a passable soldier. Frex he usually was serious about following Mystique’s directives, whereas Pyro or the Blob were always on the lookout for ways to abuse their power or commit crimes.
Two bits of characterisation
He seems to be very much into gardening and landscaping. This apparently brings him genuine solace.
During the Kuwait disaster, Avalanche gives the order to leave Blob and Pyro behind in order to save the Crimson Commando. He then comments “they’re not worth it”.
Since this comes minutes after surviving a blow from the Black Blade, there’s an implication he considers himself and his two comrades as worthless and damned.
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 04||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 04||Wil: 03||Min: 04|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 03||Spi: 04|
|Init: 013||HP: 035|
Bonuses and Limitations:
- All Powers are Contingent Upon Vibe.
- Earth control is limited to moving volumes of earth.
- Mental blast can only be used if the target is within 1 AP of a surface that Avalanche can affect with Earth Control. It’s flying debris from the shockwave.
- Regeneration cannot heal self-inflicted damage from Vibe.
- Running can have passengers, and is usable on others. It is done by surfing on a “wave” of ground.
- Shockwave can be Combined with Earth Control. If so it will affect all within the Earth Control effect.
- Shockwave cannot be resisted by Density Increase or Joined. Or by the Bracing Manoeuvre.
- Recovery against Shockwave can be done using DEX/DEX, or Acrobatics/Acrobatics, or Flight/Flight instead of the normal DEX/STR.
- If used against a living being, Vibe cannot inflict RAPs and will instead attack Avalanche as Bashing Damage.
- When used against obstacles, Vibe can act as its own AV. Otherwise (say, if attempting to pulverise an object held by a person), Avalanche uses Accuracy.
- Water Control is Minor Marginal, and cannot do fine manipulations.
- Water Control requires as many APs of volume of water as APs of the effect being attempted (after HP boosting).
Accuracy (Earth control, Mental blast, Vibe): 06, Martial Artist: 04
Credentials (Freedom Force, Low (from 1985 to 1991)), Familiarity (Gardening, Landscaping, Military equipment and protocols), Languages (Greek, Cretan Greek).
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants v4 (Low).
Misc.: Avalanche is a mutant.
- ORIGINAL COSTUME [BODY 04, Blunting: 03, Enhance (Physical RVs): 02 (cap is 07), Limitation: Blunting only upon attacks that fall upon Avalanche].
- CLOSED HELM COSTUME [BODY 04, Blunting: 03, Enhance (Physical RVs): 02 (cap is 08), Enhance (RV against Unarmed, Structural, Critical, Devastation and doubles): 03 (cap is 08), Radio communications: 06, Sealed systems: 02, Shade: 01, Conditional Soaking (Structural damage), Limitation: Blunting only upon attacks that fall upon Avalanche].
The Blunting on the COSTUME is arbitrary. It makes sense, but it’s minor and undemonstrated.
The CLOSED HELM COSTUME also has a bit of extra verbiage about Structural damage. To help model the fight against the Hulk at LAX.
The Water Control could easily be treated as a Trick Power. But I’m not enthusiastic about assuming that low-Hero-Points characters such as Avalanche will do HP-hungry effects under ordinary circumstances.
The military Familiarity is on shaky ground (so to speak). He only demonstrated a familiarity with helicopter gunships, and parachuting. But Greece does have mandatory military service.
Design notes – applied earth control
Here, the modelling includes three effects that should logically covered by Earth Control displacing volumes of earth :
- Movement speed via “surfing” (Running).
- Persons caught in a Earth Control landslide should suffer defined effects. But there’s nothing in the rulebook. Well, hosana, here’s an example !😺 There’s more verbiage than I’d like, but this reflects the absence of solid ground. And the fact that the shock itself doesn’t hit people.
- Likewise, Earth Control *probably* covers Digging. But it’s not entirely clear, so Digging’s in the stats block. Which also allows for a separate, precise APs level.
Source of Character: Μάρβελ Κόμικς.
Helper(s): Roy Cowan.
Writeup completed on the 24th of March, 2020.