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Colonel Ling (Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Colonel Ling


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

Context

Colonel Ling appeared in a 1967 Avengers story. By himself he’s just a stock Cold War-era character, but :

  • The story has some interesting quirks and legacies.
  • He deployed a lot of robots and special weapons. These are discussed in the game stats section since it’s clearer, but you can check these out even if you can”t read the stats.

Background

  • Real Name: Ling Wai.
  • Note:Colonel Ling is strikingly similar to Hu Chen, who appears in Avengers vol. 1 #29 and works with the same people. It is possible that they’re the same person with a continuity mistake. If you think it’s important his real name might thus be Ling Hu-Chen – the name “Ling Wai” was provided decades after the story.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: People’s Liberation Army (but see the boxed section below).
  • Base Of Operations: A secret base in China.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Bald


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Powers and Abilities

Ling is a competent senior military officer and marksman. He’s smart, ruthless and has a commanding presence.


History

Colonel Wai Ling was the PLA officer in charge of one of the most secret bases in China (possibly in Hei-Lungkiang / Heilongjiang / 黑龙江省). This base hosted the decades-long project that produced the dreaded Psychotron. This was a towering electronic device capable of projecting terrifying hallucinations straight into the mind of China’s enemies.

As befits tradition, the base was built into a reputedly extinct volcano.

As the Psychotron project neared completion, the KGB sent secret agent the Red Guardian (Colonel Alexei Shostakov) to reinforce the base’s security. Ling was proud of having Shostakov serve under his command.

Due to the strategic nature of his base, Ling had extensive contacts within Chinese intelligence agencies.


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Pale little spider

When the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova) came to visit his base, he was thus warned that she was actually a double agent working for S.H.I.E.L.D.. After pretending to greet the Widow on his base as a respected colleague, Ling tricked her into entering the Psychotron chamber, and made her a test subject for his terror technology.

The Widow somehow resisted the effects of the Psychotron, and nearly managed to escape after feigning weakness. Puzzled by her resilience, the Colonel handed her over to one of his chief scientists, Dr. Yen, for analysis. Romanova was already familiar with Yen, who had brainwashed her some months before.

(As discussed in our Black Widow profiles, such incidents retroactively make sense given the enhancements she received. But these were retcons  introduced decades later.)

Meanwhile the Avengers — and in particular her ex-lover Hawkeye (Clint Barton) — learned of the Widow’s capture. They launched a rescue attempt. That played right into the hands of the Soviets, since a Russian general present at Ling’s base decided to seize the occasion to kill Captain America (Steve Rogers).

Behind the bamboo curtain

As it turned out, the hot-headed Hawkeye decided not to wait for the rest of the Avengers, who were concerned about the diplomatic consequences of an invasion. He went straight to China with recent recruit Hercules. Ling’s forces were outgunned by Hercules’ immense power.

Colonel Ling shows the Psychotron to the Black Widow

Seeing this, the Red Guardian astutely lured the Prince of Power into the Psychotron’s chamber. He then goaded the rash Hawkeye into making a stupid mistake and knocked him out.

With both attackers defeated, Colonel Ling expounded his plans for world conquest to the Soviet General visiting his base. He explained that what he needed was Soviet nuclear submarines to ferry troops and Psychotron projectors to the enemy. After that, given the sheer terror the Psychotron could blanket armies and population with, conquest would be trivial.


History (interlude)

Readers are presumably wondering why a People’s Republic of China senior officer and a Soviet senior officer are working together in 1967. The Sino-Soviet crisis  is one of the key events of the Cold War, and by 1967 the Soviet embassy in Beijing was being attacked by Red Guards.

During the story, one gets the impression that neither Ling nor his Soviet counterpart are on the up-and-up and working through their normal chain of command. It all comes across as some kind of clandestine manoeuvring. Thus, it is possible that neither the PLA nor the Red Army are aware of what is going on.

It is thus likely that the plan was more a James Bondian plot than a Cold War story, with a few thousand Chinese and Soviet renegades planning to conquer part of the West Coast of the US and turning it into their personal realm.


History (resumed)

The Soviet officer was interested. But he still wanted to know why the Black Widow had resisted the Psychotron, and requested a lie detector test. The Widow fooled the detector, insisting that she had never been a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and remained a loyal servant of the USSR. Colonel Ling begrudgingly released her and placed her under the Red Guardian’s command.

Meanwhile the rest of the Avengers — Captain America, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, Giant-Man (Henry Pym) and the Wasp (Janet van Dyne) — arrived. Hawkeye and Hercules’ capture left them little choice but to intervene.

Captain America was separated from the rest and the enthusiastic Soviet General had the Red Guardian engage Cap in a great patriotic duel.

The far more pragmatic Ling wanted to just take the Avengers down without playing games, but had to go along with his Soviet counterpart’s plan.

Showdown

The Red Guardian was practically a match for Captain America, but Cap eventually gained the upper hand. Tired with this nonsense, Colonel Ling electrified the catwalk Cap was standing on, taking him down. The Red Guardian was furious, as he considered this to be dishonourable.

Colonel Ling's most secret base

Meanwhile, Ling’s men were more or less holding the line against the Avengers. However, the Widow unexpectedly made her move to destroy the dreaded Psychotron. Ling opened fire on her, but the Red Guardian — Romanova’s former husband — reflexively interposed his body.

This gave the Widow time to set the Psychotron on fire and free Hercules before Ling could actually shoot her.

The Widow’s sabotage set the installation on fire. As the Avengers evacuated with their woundeds, the determined Ling grabbed a laser rifle and tried to kill Captain America as he was being carried away.

Incensed, the badly wounded Red Guardian body-blocked him and the stray shot hit nearby gas pipes. The explosions triggered a volcanic eruption and the base was completely destroyed.

For decades the Red Guardian was thought to have died in the conflagration, but he survived. Colonel Ling thus might have escaped the inferno too.


Description

The colonel is a smoker. He is almost never seen without his favourite cigarette holder.


Personality

Smart, ruthless, driven, charismatic, pragmatic, ambitious. He was an eloquent orator in the Stan Lee/Roy Thomas tradition of soliloquising villains – see quotes for examples.


Quotes

“We have no need to defeat him, fool ! Yet, for all his vaunted strength, he shall never bother us again ! Observe… and tremble !”

“It is with pleasure, comrade general, that I welcome you to my nation’s most secret base !”

“So… the Black Widow somehow deceived the lie detector ! Thus, I find her guilty of treason and sentence her to… death —!” (KRAK !)

“Whatever else may befall… even though the Psychotron itself be reduced to flaming ashes… CAPTAIN AMERICA MUST BE DESTROYED !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Colonel Wai Ling

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Power
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Commanding officer
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 010
Init: 012 HP: 020

Skills:
Charisma: 05, Military science (Field command): 05, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Advantages:
Language (Mandarin Chinese), Rank (Colonel in the PLA).

Connections:
People’s Liberation Army (High), Red Army (Low), Red Guardian (Alexei Shostakov) (Low), Doctor Yen (Low), Chinese intelligence agencies (High).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Arrogance.

Equipment:
He could access any weapon stored on his base – see the profiles below.


Ling’s troops – the elite

These soldiers are clad in special suits and use advanced weapons :

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Patriot
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 03 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 009 HP: 005

Skills:
Military science (Camouflage, cartography, demolition): 03, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 04

Advantages:
Familiarity (PLA equipment and protocols), Rank (Private first class).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Minor Rage.

Quote:
“We do NOT have a moment, comrade !”

Equipment:

  • SPECIAL SUIT [/BODY/ 04, Flame immunity: 04, Sealed systems: 06, Bonus: Those suits also protect against the Psychotron, allowing the wearer to ignore its effects unless it is breached]
  • One weapon among the following:
    • Flamethrowing rifle [BODY 03, Flame project: 07, Limitation: Flame project has a Range of but 03, R#04].
    • Heavy laser pistol [BODY 03, Laser beam: 05, R#04].
    • Laser rifle [BODY 03, Laser beam: 07, Telescopic vision: 01, R#04].
  • Some had JETPACKS [BODY 03, Flight: 05, R#03].

Colonel Ling's elite troopers

Colonel Ling's jetpack troopers


Laser tanks

TANKS WITH LASER CANNON [STR 08 BODY (Hardened) 13, Laser beam (Autofire): 12, Running: 05, R#03].

One of Colonel Ling's laser tanks>


MiG jet fighters

MiG JET FIGHTERS [STR 08 BODY 09, Flight: 10, Projectile weapons: 09, Radar sense: 12, R#4].


Wheeled giant robot

WHEELED GIANT ROBOT [STR 10 BODY (Hardened) 11, Growth: 06, Running: 05, Note: Growth is Already Factored In. Note that the robot has arms with pincer-like “hands”.]

Colonel Ling's giant wheeled mecha


Tripods

MARTIAN TRIPOD-LIKE ROBOT [STR 05 BODY (Hardened) 11, Growth: 07, Laser beam: 06, Running: 05, Note: Growth is Already Factored In, Laser Beam is fired with an Automatic Action but has an AV of 01 (it is a quadruple rotating array on top of the tripod). Note that the robot has arms with pincer-like “hands”.]

Colonel Ling's laser-armed tripod


Basic soldiers

There’s a company of soldiers with standard uniforms and guns defending the base. Their stats are:

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Soldier
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 03 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 007 HP: 005

Skills:
Military science (Camouflage, cartography): 03, Vehicles (Land): 02, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 03

Advantages:
Familiarity (PLA military equipment and protocols), Rank (Private).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
None.

Equipment:
PPS43 Submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#02, Advantage : Autofire].

Colonel Ling's People's Liberation Army troopers


Features of Colonel Ling’s base

The documented features of Ling’s base were:

  • Extensive internal video surveillance.
  • Several rooms with sleep gas dispensers [BODY 04, Knockout gas: 13].
  • People-holding plexiglas tubes [BODY 07]. Some of those tubes lie beneath trap doors on the base’s ground level, dumping the person stepping into the trap door into a tube.
  • Lie-detection machines [BODY 02, Detect (lie): 06].
  • Radar array [BODY 05, Radar sense: 20].
  • Huge Blaster Cannon emerging from the ground [BODY 06, Energy blast: 14. The crew stays underground and operates the cannon through a periscope.]
  • Some of the catwalks can be electrified [BODY 06, Lightning (no Range, includes AV): 12] .
  • One of the towers has a sliding panel revealing another artillery emplacement – a Para-Sonic Thermo-Ray [BODY 05, Flame project (Area of effect 1 AP): 15, Limitation: Range is but 04]. No, we don’t know what a Para-Sonic Thermo-Ray is.

Colonel Ling's para-sonic thermo-ray turret


The dreaded Psychotron

The Psychotron was a building-sized piece of machinery with extensive control consoles. It had Illusion: 14 – which could either be focused in a small room in the base (Area of Effect: 03) or broadcast (with a Diminishing Area of Effect, the strength dropping by one for every AP of distance from the Psychotron).

The illusions were apparently tailored to the targets, within the limit of available intelligence. The classic one was to project a tsunami, but it was also used against Hercules to convince him he was caught in an endless fight against the ever-regenerating Hydra of myth.

As for the Black Widow, she saw a horrible flaming face flying around her and shooting eyebeams at her while laughing a nerve-wracking laugh.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Avengers vol. 1 #42-44.

Helper(s): Darci.

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