Breakdown (Alpha Flight enemy)


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


Most of the context can be found by first reading the Bedlam the Brain Blast character profile.

Breakdown only appeared in 1987/88, in two Alpha Flight story arcs.


  • Real Name: Esme Fernando.
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed husband and two children (status unknown).
  • Group Affiliation: Derangers.
  • Base Of Operations: New Life Clinic, later a government hospital, later Bedlam’s base near the Arctic circle.
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Breakdown is psychologically fragile. She is very likely to experience nervous breakdowns when stressed.

Unfortunately for her surroundings, her decompensative episodes activate her superhuman power. Her body becomes a sort of unstable energy and detonates.

Breakdown seems able to vectorise the explosion to some extent. That is, a portion of the force is emitted as a directed blast. Depending on how much of the explosion she has thus focused, those jets of explosive energies can damage even superhumans.

After she blows up, Breakdown exists as a dispersed energy being. From there she can coalesce back into her human form – possibly to explode again if the source of stress is still there.


Once the madman known as Scramble, Lionel Jeffries supposedly recovered his sanity. He then put his life-manipulating powers to good use as the director and head physician of the New Life Clinic.

Other healthcare establishments started sending their incurable cases to New Life, as miraculous recoveries happened there with some regularity thanks to Jeffries’ powers.

However, Scramble was not actually cured at all. He had just learned to fake it. He had a secret underground lab built under the Clinic, where he resumed creating “superior” forms of life to satisfy his deranged dreams.


Obsessing over superhumans, Jeffries identified several persons around him who had superhuman potential – presumably an x-factor he could activate with his own powers.


One of the latent mutants was one of his best surgeons, Dr. Knapp. The others were patients with grave mental issues. Jeffries kept the potentials locked in bare, transparent cells, uncared for and without any psychiatric support, as he experimented.

One of Scramble’s tricks was to use the body parts of his dead victims and graft them on other subjects using his powers, to obtain a better specimen. It is thus possible that some or all of the future Derangers received such grafts, or were intended as donors. Vaguely similar techniques would be later used by John Sublime for his U-Men.

Lionel Jeffries eventually revealed his insanity as he merged with Roger Bochs and became the creature Omega, whom Alpha Flight defeated. During the clash, Dr. Knapp’s powers were activated, and the captive superhuman mental patients were discovered.

The Canadian state had the mental patients transferred to a government hospital, but there was little doctors could do past keeping them sedated to avoid complete mayhem.


This is where they were found by the madman Bedlam. Bedlam took psionic control of the mental patients, and turned them into his superhuman puppets. The patients could follow his orders, but were practically incapable of speech or coherent thought.

Bedlam gave them code names – Freakout, Breakdown, Janus and Goblyn, and he called this ’team‘ the Derangers. In Bedlam’s sick mind, they would be the vanguard of his new race.

Bedlam also captured Alpha Flight (minus Box). He decided to have a big fight between his subjects to see which ones would be the most worthy to serve him and be the true master race.

Despite Bedlam’s powers, Alpha Flight rallied to some extent and took control of the fight. They even turned Freakout and Goblyn against Bedlam.

Bedlam lashed out and seemingly killed all the mental patients save Goblyn, but was soon defeated. The victory came in part thanks to the arrival of Box and Wolverine.

Bedlam and the Derangers are presumably dead, since after the battle four bodies were transferred away.

Known biographies

There is very little information available on most Derangers:

  • Goblyn (Laura Dean) is the best-known one, since she later shared adventures with Alpha and eventually joined the Flight.
  • Breakdown was a Canadian housewife with a husband and two children. The dreariness of her existence combined with her psychological vulnerability led to a catastrophic nervous breakdown, from which she never recovered. She remained far too fragile to operate out in the world.
  • Freakout was the frontman for a successful Canadian heavy metal band. A heavy user of numerous narcotics, Freakout basically destroyed his brain through substance abuse.
  • Janus, though gifted with creative and artistic talent, suffered from severe schizophrenia. He also had a comic book multiple personality disorder, which ruined his life. His two personalities hated each other with a murderous passion.

No real names were originally given for the Derangers. This may be because, with the apparent exception of Goblyn/Dean, Jeffries seemingly assembled them from multiple mental patients.

One gets the impression that there was a “core” person whose biography is sketched out above, but bits from a number of other psychotics were swapped in and out to build the Derangers.


See illustrations.


Having been thrust into a stressful situation with telepathic orders to kill, Breakdown did not speak. She just repeatedly exploded until subdued.

DC Universe History

Perhaps the group formed in Arkham Asylum (look out, Batman !), given their psychiatric histories.

This group could also be an appropriate opponent for some versions of the Doom Patrol.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 02 Str: 01 Bod: 02 Motivation: Psychotic
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 01 Occupation: Mental patient
Inf: 02 Aur: 01 Spi: 01 Resources {or Wealth}: 001
Init: 006 HP: 020

(Self-Link) Bomb: 08, Dispersal: 09, Mental blast: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Bomb and Mental Blast can be Combined, but only within a maximum of 12 active APs.
  • Dispersal can only be used, and must be used, in the Phase that follows Bomb.
  • Breakdown cannot perform any Action when Dispersed, and for one Phase after she stops Dispersing.
  • Mental Blast has the Scattershot Advantage.
  • Mental Blast and Dispersal are Contingent Upon Bomb.

Accuracy (Bomb, Mental blast): 06, Vehicles (Land): 02

None demonstrated.


Minor Rage, Catastrophic Psychological Instability, Uncertainty, SPR (Powers will trigger whenever she’s stressed).

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Jackson.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (Alpha Flight v1 #048 and #053).