(Innocents of God)
This character appeared in but one Marvel storyline in 1975.
I’d consider him a tiny part of the “horrorsplosion” (I’m the only one who calls it that). That is, the return of horror and monsters themes to Marvel Comics in the early/mid 1970s.
Was he an interesting character ? That’s a negative, ma’am. But he’s easy to redesign and expand to fit your stories.
- Real Name: Unrevealed.
- Other Aliases: The Last True Prophet Of The Lord.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Master of the Innocents of God.
- Base of Operations: Squats in New York City.
- Height: 5’9″ (1.75m). Weight: 190 lbs. (86 Kg.).
- Eyes: Blue. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Jeremiah seems to be in good health and shape. His build is a thick one, but there doesn’t seem to be much dead weight. He’d likely be handy in a brawl.
Jeremiah is a mutant with a “protopathic” power. That means he can leech the mental energies of his followers.
In practice, he can :
- Put his faithfuls in a brainwashed, zombie-like, inexpressive state.
- Channel the drained energy into eyebeams. These are fast and accurate – which forced the Human Torch (Johnny Storm) to fight evasively.
- Said eyebeams can manifest as heat, or as concussive force. And perhaps as other forms of energy. He can also fire those from his hands.
- *Possibly* create a 1970s-discotheque-style lightshow. It’s simpler to postulate lighting equipment, but one cannot rule out it was produced by Jeremiah.
Presumably, other applications would be feasible with practice.
A kind of magic
The “protopathic” energies Jeremiah wields also classify as mystical — perhaps even demonic — magic.
Being “dual-classed” as a mutant and a mystic does happen. Magik (Illyana Rasputin), Forge, Storm (Ororo Munroe), possibly Catseye (Sharon Smith), the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff), etc. have a mystical component to their mutant abilities.
Religious belief seems to be what’s at work here. Maybe he can psychically magnify the sort of magical energy gods seemingly gain from mortal worshippers ?
It is unclear whereas Jeremiah could trade souls against power by contacting demons. Perhaps he had the skill to do that, à la Moondark or Baron Mordo.
Or perhaps he had no idea of what he was doing, and just assumed it would work out due to hubrisExcessive, prideful self-confidence..
Something to evoke 1975… well, 1975 is so far in the past that people loved experimental prog rock, and everybody had that record. That’s how far back it was.
Here’s a mercifully abridged version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond by an aged Dave Gilmour, and band. I’ve picked the Live At Pompeii version, since it was a bloody amazing concert.
(I kid because I love. The Floyd’s classic tunes are among the landmarks of XXth century Western music).
Circuit des yeux
The power of Jeremiah’s eyebeams is all over the place.
Early in the story it is sufficient to one-shot the Human Torch or even the Valkyrie (though the latter was shot in the back by surprise). And to fully incinerate two police officers.
Later on, the Torch can endure several blasts, and isn’t wounded once these bring him down.
This suggests that there’s a mechanic where Jeremiah accumulates energy from his followers. But :
- If he has to spend a lot of it, the beams get markedly less powerful.
- The energy cannot rebuild too quickly.
There’s also a sense that :
- His energy pool gets deeper, and allows for stronger blasts, the more followers he has.
- Draining energy too quickly from the pool can disrupt the brainwashing effect on his followers.
But there ain’t enough material to truly hypothesise numbers.
By 1975, Jeremiah was leading about a dozen congregants – the Innocents of God. These mostly seemed to be youths without much of a place in society.
One gets the impression that they mostly lived in squats. But eventually they could afford a semi-distressed building. It had been the headquarters of the Looter aka Meteor Man (Norton Fester).
They also found a way to squat in an abandoned church.
Jeremiah would frequently deliver sermons.
Another recurrent activity was discotheque-style dancing. I assume it made it easier for Jeremiah to drain mental energy, as dancers entered a trance.
My *impression* is that he had been working like any other small-time cult leader, preying on vulnerable and isolated persons. But as he brainwashed more people, his cult became more credible – and his recruitment pace accelerated.
(This setup, the visibly hypnotised followers, and the “dancing in a desecrated church” scene seem to reference early 1970s horror movies. Which really ain’t my area of expertise, so you’re on your own there. Maybe some The Omen references ?)
Now you’ve done it bubba
Not long after the cult started spending nights at the church, a police patrol came in. Deep in his budget Kulan-Gath-but-as-an-Apostle impersonation, Jeremiah slew both officers.
He then decided to sacrifice super-heroes, whom he viewed as unholy. He ambushed the Valkyrie (Brunnhilde), and captured her.
When the Human Torch (Johnny Storm) came to investigate, Jeremiah also blasted him unconscious.
Johnny recovered, and attempted to prevent the sacrifice. However, he couldn’t make much headways. Since Jeremiah just had to look at him to blast him.
However, Jeremiah’s ceremony registered as a major mystical breach to Dr. Stephen Strange. The Valkyrie’s consciousness was being pushed into a demonic dimensionOther realms of existence that are not our universe.. Which meant that some demons would be able to cross over to Earth.
Don’t mess with the Sorcerer Supreme
The Innocents of God were in some disarray, as fighting the Torch had expanded too much of Jeremiah’s stolen energy. Therefore, the good doctor could just walk in.
Strange summarily banished Jeremiah to the underworld he had been trying to contact. This may have been in part to facilitate the recovery of the Valkyrie’s soul, which had been beset by the demons there.
The hell Jeremiah found himself in seemed dominated by a demon, or perhaps a type/polityGeneral term for an organised group (a tribe, a democracy, a theocracy…). of demons, called Oruthu. These seemed eager to seize Humans… and Jeremiah was no exception.
Dr. Strange let the Innocents of God leave. He considered it wasn’t their fault, and they already had suffered enough.
Jeremiah’s cult is a confusing mix of Satanism-as-seen-in-1970s-horror-schlock, and fire-and-brimstone Evangelical rhetoric.
One suspects that he has either no proper education in Christian theology, or enough to cobble a DIY heresy.
He’s consumed by his lust for power, not entirely sane, and deep into role-playing a sort of mixture of mighty wizard-priest and demon lord.
Of course, Jeremiah doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice his Innocents of God if necessary. They are an important resource, but in the end he only sees them as expensive batteries.
“Innocent ones ! Spider-Man is a true symbol of modern-day evil. Who knows – he might even be the Antichrist ! In any case, he will prove a most suitable subject for our rite of purification.”
“How dare you interrupt our holy celebration, men of Caesar ? How dare you come here, to this sanctum sanctorum, this most sacred of sacred places ? Who are you, who act so rashly ? Give me your names — and I may spare your souls !”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
He’d probably have appeared in a Deadman back-up feature.
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 04||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 05||Wil: 05||Min: 04|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 05||Spi: 04|
|Init: 012||HP: 085|
Flash (Stdy illum only): 05, Heat vision: 08, Mental blast: 08
Bonuses and Limitations:
No Powers can engage more APs than Jeremiah’s current Hero Points score.
Accuracy (Heat vision, Mental blast, potentially other eyebeams): 08, Artist (Sermons): 04, Medicine (Brainwashing): 05, Occultist: 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Medicine is a Powered Skill.
- Occultist likely doesn’t have all Subskills, and might be a Powered Skill.
Headquarters (counts as Confined since there wasn’t significant equipment therein), Rank (Sergeant – the Innocents of God).
SIA toward Power and acting powerful.
He had a ritual allowing to make the astral form of a captive, unconscious person Dimension Travel into a demonic dimension.
APs of Dimensional Distance unrevealed, and components likely included drugging the victim with something specific and having a good flow of psychic energy (from at least a dozen followers).
It also took a good while, maybe an hour, and the Dimension Travel was trivial to detect magically.
The energy pool thing discussed above can be approximated through Hero Points. It’s simple, it uses known mechanics, and from the players’ PoV it’ll be about right.
This is why the proposed stats feature a *much* higher Hero Points total than you’d expect from such a minor villain.
This is so he can spend heavily in the early stages of the story, then gradually run out of steam. Especially if his SIA compels him to spend HPs just to look mighty.
Technically there might be a thing restraining HP spending to his Powers but heh, I’m assuming he’s a NPC and that is therefore unnecessary.
The EVs of his blasts are therefore based on the assumption that he was maxing them out with HPs at first, then couldn’t afford that anymore.
The Limitation is there since, once he fully ran out of HPs, he had to resort to physically engaging Dr. Strange.
There might be a thing were spending HPs create a R# on Medicine (Brainwashing). But in the story Jeremiah had little difficulty reasserting his controls. And the Innocents were too dazed to truly act during the span where they weren’t brainwashed.
OTOH, my sense is that he had to spend a small HPs fee to reassert control.
His peak energy output might follow a reverse geometric progression. So his listed APs would be for 10 congregants, then +1 over that for 20, then +1 over that for 40, then +1 over that for 80, etc..
As a wild guess.
With, perhaps, a cap as he can only channel so much energy before catching fire.
The assigned Rank Advantage is lowballed, since the Innocents of God aren’t good “troops”.
Source of Character: Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1.
Writeup completed on the 4th of June, 2021.