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Holocaust (Blood Syndicate character) (Milestone Comics)

Holocaust a.k.a. Pyre

(Leonard Smalls)


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

Context

Holocaust was a major character in Milestone Comics’ Blood Syndicate. This book was part of the Milestone launch in 1993.

Part of the Milestone brand was to have more super-heroes who aren’t wealthy White men. Thus, Blood Syndicate members gained their abilities due to an experimental gas used in the streets of a minorities-majority American city, Dakota. This type of superhuman is colloquially called “Bang Babies”.


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Background

  • Real Name: Leonard Smalls, Junior.
  • Former Aliases: Pyre.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Leonard Smalls Sr. (father, deceased), Thomasina Jefferson (mother).
  • Group Affiliation: The Paris Bloods (Former), The Blood Syndicate (Former).
  • Base Of Operations: The Hot Spot, old Downtown Dakota; formerly The Blood Syndicate’s abandoned factory, Paris Island, Dakota City.
  • Height: 6’9” Weight: 360 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers & Abilities

Due to his multiple exposures to the bizarre substance colloquially named “Q-Juice”, Holocaust is one of the most powerful Bang Babies on Earth.

Unlike most Bang Babies, he has developed multiple gifts. But none so potent as his ability to harness and project intense flame from any part of his body.

Pyrokinesis

Holocaust’s flame can vaporize metal. When in combat, he often emanates a field of flame intense enough to liquefy nearby objects. This prevents most opponents from touching him.

Unlike the Human Torch (and other fire wielding heroes), Holocaust seldom cares about collateral damage he causes. He makes little to no attempt at reigning in his flaming aura. Smalls often sets nearby objects alight as he passes.


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Holocaust can also project his flame as rolling waves of fire or as concentrated gouts of flame. This is much like water flowing from the end of a high pressure hose. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the amount of flame Holocaust can produce, making him a walking disaster.

With concentration, Holocaust can produce flame and heat at levels beyond what he is normally capable of. When he does so, the flame races about him with abandon and he becomes as much of a danger to his allies as his foes.

Physical Abilities

In addition to his pyrokinesis, the Q-Juice initially caused Holocaust to gain over a foot in height, and over 200lbs of muscle. The resulting degree of superhuman strength and durability was unclear.

Smalls has withstood dozens of point blank gunshots with little to no visible harm (though they did cause him enough discomfort to abandon the fight). He’s strong enough to lift fully grown men off the ground with a single arm.

His strength was clearly augmented upon his second exposure to the Q-Juice. From then he could battle super-strong foes to a standstill using his physical might alone. I would say he’s “Class 5” by that point.


History

Thomasina Jefferson was little more that a child when a brutal rape left her pregnant. Desolate and without hope, Thomasina resigned herself to raising her unwanted child when fate intervened. The hospital she was in caught aflame, and she was evacuated along with most of the other patients.

When they made it outside, Thomasina realized the her unnamed son had yet to be evacuated. Despite her better judgement and the dread in her heart, Thomasina plunged back into the inferno looking for her child.

She found him crying fitfully in the nursery which had filled with smoke and flame. Many of the other babies had succumbed to the fire already, but her son had managed to hang on through some miracle. Resigned to her own fate, Thomasina grabbed the infant and ran from the blaze.

When she made it outside, she stood aimlessly for a moment wondering what next to do. Then she spotted one of the other mothers sobbing hysterically about her baby boy. Thomasina strode over confidently, pushed the baby into her arms and told her that she had just rescued her child.

Matricide

Thomasina’s baby was thus christened Leonard Jr and raised by the Smalls family. But Leonard endured a cycle of mental and physical abuse. It warped his sense of self-worth before it could even develop, and turned him into a menace.

He was trouble even, as a tween. He got into fights over nothing and eventually was forced into a reform school. The school did little to curb Leonard’s temper and proclivity for violence. After many beatings, Leonard’s mother eventually died at her son’s hand. This Leonard and his siblings parentless while their father was incarcerated.

Left with no one else to turn to, Leonard joined one of Paris Islands most notorious gangs; the Paris Bloods. These were led by the particularly charismatic and brutal Elijah Sinclair. He had forged the disparate members of the gang into an effective unit. Thus, the Bloods controlled the majority of Paris Island.

You ain’t shit

When Leonard joined the Bloods, he met and fell madly in love with Elijah’s daughter Juniper. The two struck up a fast friendship, then a precocious teenage relationship.

It was during this period that Leonard committed his first deliberate murder. When his father was released from jail, Leonard ambushed and killed him with his bare hands. He was 12 at the time.

Elijah eventually stumbled across Juniper and Leonard’s relationship. While his men held Leonard helpless, he beat Juniper savagely to punish her for laying with a nobody like Leonard. He then repeated the process on Leonard, all the while degrading him with phrases like, “You ain’t nothing but shit. How dare you!”

Leonard absorbed the beating and the lesson, filing it away deep in the recesses of his mind. Unlike his father and Elijah, Leonard was a patient young man. Elijah had too much power to strike back, but he could wait.

The Big Bang, part 1

Leonard continued to run with the Paris Bloods, despite his loss of status with the gang’s leadership. Once you were a Blood, you were a Blood for life.

Meanwhile, the gangs weren’t satisfied with the equilibrium of power. It resulted in constant turmoil and death, yet little gain for anyone. They agreed to face each other on neutral ground, along with any other gang that wanted a chance to settle their scores.

As word spread, over 500 members of the various gangs planned on entering the battle to end battles for the ownership of Paris Island.

The Bang started as planned, and Leonard made a decent showing for himself. He was knee deep in the rumble when the police first appeared on the scene. Despite their attempts to keep the events of the Big Bang quiet, word had reached the cops.

The Big Bang, part 2

Leonard kept fighting. Meanwhile the authorities lobbed the foulest smelling tear gas he ever experienced into the group. The gas had an immediate and horrific effect on the people around Leonard; as he watched some of the bangers’ skins melted clear off of their skeletons.

Others simply dropped dead. Leonard himself felt like the fires of God were burning through his body in the attempts to get at his soul. His skin felt like it was burning and he screamed and howled as it consumed him. Smalls then passed out.

When he next awoke, it was in a field of bodies and in a new body. The gas had transformed him into an enhanced physical specimen. Over time, he realized that he could control the fires that he had felt burning within him during his transformation.

Thicker than Blood

99% of the participants of the Big Bang lost their lives that day. Those that survived the gas either fled the area, or gathered together to try and understand what happened.

The majority of survivors came from the Paris Bloods or their once rivals, the Force Syndicate. They decided to combine their strength and form a new faction, the Blood Syndicate.

The Blood Syndicate began a wave of vigilante terror throughout Paris Island. They struck at any and all gang related and drug dealing targets. They slaughtered all who opposed them and taking their resources for themselves.

Leonard had been re-christened Holocaust by his newfound friends. He took great pleasure in using his new powers to wipe out his enemies. As the Syndicate’s reputation grew, Holocaust’s callousness and arrogance grew alongside it. He realized that no one could stop them, and he was going to enjoy his new found infamy.

Beyond the pale

It all came to an end though, when during a raid on a drug dealer’s home, Holocaust set fire to an entire apartment complex.

Every member of the Syndicate tried to save as many bystanders as they could, except for Holocaust. He sat back and watched the fires burn with a look of satisfaction on his face.

When the Blood Syndicate finished rescuing the civilians, leader Tech-9 confronted Holocaust over his actions. A lifetime of rage and resentment took over, and Holocaust lashed out at Tech-9. He challenged him for leadership.

The two met in one on one combat later that day. While Holocaust had the upper hand through the majority of the fight, he eventually lost due to his budding over-confidence. Rather than killing him, Tech-9 forced Holocaust to do the one thing he hated the most; admit that he was weak.

Embarrassed and seething with rage, Holocaust surrendered and then quit the Syndicate. He walked away and solemnly promised himself that he would be back and get even.

Recruiting

Holocaust spent the next several weeks making significant changes in his life. His loss to Tech-9 actually taught him something. He funneled his energy and money into establishing a sustainable base of power. He bought a night club which he immediately named “The Hot Spot”. And he aggressively recruited Bang Babies.

The first two were particularly nasty individuals. The first called himself Hot Streak while the second had taken the name Tarmack. When the bang-powered Static defeated both Hot Streak and Tarmack in combat, Holocaust attempted to recruit him for his growing organization as well.

He used all of the charm and influence he could muster. Smalls nearly had Static converted to his point of view. But he then made a bad misstep and attempted to murder the child of Giacomo Cornelius. Cornelius was a local mobster who had insulted the Bloods in the past and Holocaust in particular.

Static balked at Holocaust’s actions, and refused to allow him to kill the child. Holocaust realized that the two would never see eye to eye. He dismissed Static.

Shadow War, part 1

A few weeks later, Holocaust was approached by the Star Chamber. These superhuman were a splinter faction of the Shadow Cabinet organisation. Furthermore, they knew what caused the Big Bang and had created the Bang Babies.

They revealed to Holocaust that the source of his abilities was a bizarre substance called Quantum Juice. There were stockpiles of it around the world. This made it possible to create an even larger cadre of superhumans.

Ever the pragmatist, Holocaust realized that they needed his power to gain the Q-Juice. He struck a bargain – 15% of the Quantum Juice for his own purposes. The Chamber agreed to his demands, and Holocaust joined their side. His first assignment was to recruit one of the more powerful individuals in Dakota; Icon’s partner Rocket.

The Chamber felt that if they got Rocket over to their side, Icon would be less likely to interfere. But after recruiting Rocket, the conflict between the Chamber and the Cabinet burst into an all out war.

Shadow War, part 2

The opposing sides battled it out for the remaining Quantum Juice. The Chamber came out on the short end of the stick. Unfortunately for Holocaust, his actions both before and during the conflict drew the direct attention and ire of Icon.

The Hero of Dakota confronted Holocaust immediately after the conflict at the Hot Spot. Smalls was badly beaten, and his nightclub thrashed. As Icon left though, he did not realize the events that he had set into motion.

Unknown to anyone, Holocaust had stolen a single vial of Quantum Juice during the Shadow War. His latest loss, and his overwhelming pride forced Holocaust to do the unthinkable. He rolled the dice and exposed himself once again to the Quantum Juice.

My Name is Holocaust

The odds fell in his favor. Holocaust’s second exposure to the Quantum Juice didn’t kill him. It made him stronger, much stronger. He immediate began to rebuild his crumbling power base using his new found strength.

Using his existing gang, plus cybernetic assistant (Bad Betty) that he recruited from the Shadow Cabinet, Holocaust began a reign of terror throughout Dakota City’s underworld.

He began to slaughter all of the mobsters that had once held him back, beginning with Elijah Sinclair. He not only destroyed his organization, he took his right hand man Felix, his assets, and his daughter Juniper.

After he systematically destroyed Elijah’s life, he burnt the man to a cinder.

The Coalition, part 1

With this accomplishment at hand, he turned his attention to the Coalition. The Coalition was the gathering of the six most powerful mobs within Dakota. With Elijah Sinclair’s demise his seat at the table was open, and Holocaust wanted it.

The other leaders of the Coalition felt that Holocaust was too much of a loose cannon, and too street to join. They hurled the same threats and racial epithets at Holocaust that he had heard he entire life. But this time he had something that he desperately craved from the first time his father had laid a hand on him. Power.

Holocaust systematically destroyed two of the other member’s of the Coalition, burning them into the ground. Desperate, the Coalition called in the final marker they had. They called the Mayor of Dakota and the police.

Madam Mayor, part 1

Dakota’s mayor was a younger, hard woman. She had sacrificed her personal happiness in order to gain the life that she felt she deserved. Thus, Thomasina Jefferson re-entered her son’s life.

Holocaust (Leonard Smalls) back when he was Pyre

Mayor Jefferson pulled out all of the stops to stop her reckless and power hungry son. This went from corrupt members of the police force to John Tower – the seemingly invulnerable retired hero of Dakota. Despite the odds stacked against him, Holocaust proved a single fact to everyone who dared to oppose him; everything burns.

At the end of the conflict, all of the Mayor’s forces were dead.

Madam Mayor, part 2

Left with little else, the Thomasina directly confronted her son. Thomasina revealed that she tolerated the Coalition as it served to control the more unstable elements of the Dakota underworld. She would continue to do so until the situation flared out of control.

When that happened, she would call in the National Guard, the military or even Icon if she had to, to bring things back under control. Holocaust sneered at her threat and prepared to murder her. But she added that she didn’t care who led the Coalition, as long as it did its job.

As she left, Mayor Jefferson let one last tidbit of information fall into Holocausts lap. She indirectly confirmed the suspicion that he had since the night he murdered Elijah … that the Smalls weren’t his biological parents.

Before Elijah died, he had tried to bargain for his life with the identity of Holocaust’s real mother. The Mayor’s tacit approval of his actions only served to cement his suspicions.

The Coalition, part 2

Given the Mayor’s stance, the remaining members of the Coalition relented. They gave Holocaust a seat at their table. The price though was a simple one; every member of the Coalition had sacrificed something personal as a price of acceptance.

They gave Holocaust a choice of what to sacrifice, Juniper (who he had finally gotten back into his life) or his name.

Leonard surrendered his name to the Coalition. But instead of celebrating he went to Thomasina’s office and demanded that she owed him something for abandoning him. She owed him a name. Thomasina, while not directly admitting that she owed him anything, finally gave her son a name. She rechristened him “Pyre”.

There once was a burning man…

Leonard ruled his ever growing criminal empire with a iron fist. He also continued to recruit from the survivors of the Big Bang. Eventually he came into direct conflict with the Blood Syndicate once more. Yet he allowed them to live rather than take the conflict to its logical conclusion.

After all, he could see that the group was barely holding together, especially after the death of their charismatic leader Tech-9. He would wait.

The Syndicate did fall apart. When it did, Holocaust cherry-picked the members that he wanted for his organization and created his own version of the Blood Syndicate. With that in place, he made his final move. He called a meeting with Coalition and got all of its leaders in a single place.

He then told them in no uncertain terms that he was in control. While they were present, the newly formed Blood Syndicate slaughtered their forces and destroyed their operations. The Coalition hierarchy had little choice but to capitulate to his requests. Holocaust left the group broken and defeated, with one last statement.

“ Oh. One last thing. Don’t call me Pyre no more. My name is HOLOCAUST.”


Description

Holocaust is a tall, nearly impossibly muscular Black man. His hair hangs loosely about his shoulders like a lion’s mane, and are often braided into long dreadlocks.

He normally has an immaculately trimmed goatee on his chin. Unlike many gangbangers doesn’t truly possess any other distinguishing marks or tattoos.

While Holocaust isn’t model handsome, he is quite striking. His natural charisma and confidence radiate from him. His stance usually resembles that of a predator waiting to pounce.

Other aspects

Holocaust doesn’t wear a costume per se. He can usually be found in a pair of red tights/slacks and thick reddish brown combat boots. Both his boots and his slacks are accented with yellow designs that flow down the sides of the legs and the front of his boots.

His waist is normally encircled by a thick yellow 1990’s style belt as well. Holocaust doesn’t bother with shirts and is normally bare-chested, but he does wear a red and gold vest that is usually stretched to the maximum across his massive back and shoulders.

Finally, his ensemble is rounded out by a pair of red finger-less gloves that cover his hands and forearms.


Personality

Holocaust is perhaps one of the most dangerous types of men you could ever meet. He is ambitious, clever, patient, charismatic, ruthless and so very very violent. The difference between Holocaust and a psychopath is very slight.

His belief system is simple, and was driven home by the many trials and tribulations of his youth. He believes quite simply that if you aren’t the abuser, you will be abused. Every action that he takes, every punch that he throws is all an effort to ensure that he will never be abused or looked down upon by anyone ever again.

Like many young men raised in his situation, Holocaust has become numb to the violence and the death that accompanies the lifestyle he has chosen to live. In fact, in some cases he seems to revel in it.

Under normal conditions, no matter what the odds, who he is facing, or how many foes stand in front of him, Holocaust will not run from a confrontation. He will instead react with brutal, cunning, and overwhelming force.

Despite his “rawness” and his image of barely restrained violence, Holocaust is a surprising charismatic individual. His confidence is absolutely infectious and he possesses a silver tongue.

Through the force of his will alone he has been able to convince several other Bang Babies to throw in with him, and even tempted heroes like Static and Rocket to do his bidding.


Quotes

“The power burned me, a righteous flame that forged me into this perfect being you see before you. I am no longer a man. I am a god.”

“If you ain’t taking, you’re getting took.”

Nobody tells me what I can or can not do. #$($*& you and get out… before you feel some real heat.”

(in response to Juniper saying there’s no hope for people like them) “No need for hope. I’ve got POWER. Enough for both of us.”

“Whatchoo gonna do punk ? You gonna make a move on me ?! You gonna hit me ? Come on Mother@(*#&! COME ON !”

“I don’t give a shit about this park anymore than I give a shit about you or the people I supposedly came from. You could all burn for all I care. In fact, I’m going to help you all do exactly that.”

“Let me tell you how it’s going to be from now on. Everyone strong enough to retain their territory may do so. But. I. Am. The. Man.”

“As long as you show me proper respect, we can all prosper. For those who don’t see it my way, I got enough bus tickets and body bags for all y’all. Enjoy your dinner. It’s on the house. Oh. One last thing. Don’t call me Pyre no more. My name is Holocaust.”


DC Universe History

With the merger that occurred between DC and Milestone Universes during the “World’s Collide” Crossover, it is apparent that the Milestone Universe is one of the alternate universes that remained after the Crisis.

With this in mind, all of the events of Holocaust actually occurred in the DC Universe, and he could be encountered by the player characters through the clever application of the Dimensional Travel power.

After the events of the Infinite Crisis and the New 52, the characters of the Milestone Universe are folded directly into the DC Universe, and Dakota city is presumed to have been always present.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Holocaust

Dex: 05 Str: 08 Bod: 07 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 08 Occupation: Crime Boss
Inf: 08 Aur: 08 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 010
Init: 019 HP: 070

Powers:
Damage Capacity: 03, Flame Being: 10, Flame Immunity: 10, Flame Project: 11, Flash: 08, Force Field: 07, Growth: 01, Power Reserve: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Flame Being: Area of Effect (3APs).
  • Flame Project: No AV.
  • Growth: Always On and Figured into Stats.
  • Power Reserve: Affects Flame Being and Flame Project, Fatiguing.

Skills:
Charisma: 08, Detective (Law): 05

Advantages:
Expansive H.Q., Iron Nerves, Scholar (Business, Finance, Crime).

Connections:
Bad Betty (High), Mayor Jefferson (Low).

Drawbacks:
Arrogant, Minor Rage, Mistrust, Public Identity.

Genre:
Mock-Real.

By Bryan Gittens.

Source of Character: Milestone Imprint Comics Series – Blood Syndicate & My Name is Holocaust, created by Dwayne McDuffie.

Writeup completed on the 06th of December 2012.

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