Powerhouse (Savage Dragon comics character)


(Denny Atlas)


Powerhouse is a recurrent character in the Savage Dragon comics. He appeared somewhat early, in 1995, when there was still an “Image Comics Universe”. But then soon blew up. Howbeit, the “Savage Dragon Universe” has a curious tendency to coexist with many universes in strait cross-overs. It’s particularly true with indie super-hero books.

Though a lot of Powerhouse’s appeal is based on visuals, there’s definitely an interesting character behind the, err, noble avian visage.


  • Real Name: Denny Atlas (possibly).
  • Other Aliases: Pecker-Head, Chicken-Head, Hay-Head.
  • Marital Status: Presumably single.
  • Known Relatives: Ra, the Egyptian Sun God (ancestor).
  • Group Affiliation: The Annihilators, The Vicious Circle, Special Operations Strikeforce.
  • Base Of Operations: Chicago.
  • Height: 6’ Weight: Unrevealed.
  • Eyes: Red Hair: Feathers


Powers and Abilities

Powerhouse has not only inherited the looks, but some of the powers of his bird-god ancestor. He is superhumanly strong (“Class 60”), is resistant to harm, and can fly. He is also somewhat resistant to mental powers.

For a brief time the magician Abner Cadaver increased Powerhouse’s strength to make him a match for Mighty Man II.

Powerhouse’s strange form and abilities come from his godly ancestry and not mutation. Therefore, he is immune to the power removing effects of Negate, and was not affected by the Nega-Bomb.

He is an excellent speaker and second-in-command.


Powerhouse became a member of the freak mob the Vicious Circle in Chicago during the early 1990’s. He became a member of the Vicious Circle to help protects his fellow freaks from being oppressed by normals.


Powerhouse was present at the Freak Outpost when Roughneck unsuccessfully attempted to take over the Vicious Circle after the death of the Overlord (Savage Dragon #24). When Brainiape attempted to take over the Vicious Circle, Powerhouse objected and convinced him as to why he wasn’t qualified (Savage Dragon #25).

Powerhouse was present when Cyberface assumed leadership of the Vicious Circle, and when Johnny Redbeard II attempted to challenge him. Cyberface killed many of Johnny’s followers, and had Negate remove Johnny’s powers. Powerhouse then evacuated the current Vicious Circle headquarters with the other Circle members, as it’s location had be compromised (Savage Dragon #26).

After Cyberface was made the new leader of the Vicious Circle, Powerhouse was sent to retrieve Brainiape and bring him back to the fold. In doing so, foiled a bank robbery attempt by his quarry, and severely damaged Brainiape. For a short time at least, Powerhouse was seen as a hero by the citizens of Chicago (Savage Dragon #28).

The Vicious Circle plans

After Powerhouse took Brainiape back to the Vicious Circle’s new headquarters, he had him healed. Powerhouse was then ordered by Cyberface to send Brainiape to kill officer Dragon. Powerhouse was also present when the Vicious Circle tried to save the dying Cyberface by turning him into a vampire (Savage Dragon #34).

Powerhouse (Denny Atlas) taking off through a roof

Cyberface’s condition made him immune to being turned into a vampire. Yet Powerhouse and the other lieutenants of the Vicious Circle tried anything they could to keep him alive. Abner Cadaver was able to take the energies from a number of immortal beings to temporarily restore Cyberface (Savage Dragon #35).

When Mars invaded Earth, Powerhouse and other members of the Vicious Circle defended Chicago. When Dragon returned to Earth after the invasion was turned back, Powerhouse and the Vicious Circle attacked him (Savage Dragon #37).

After Dragon was captured and publicly crucified by Cyberface, Freak Force and a number of freaks who were friends of Dragon attempted to save him. Powerhouse was granted enhanced powers by Abner Cadaver and used them to fight Mighty Man II. When Cyberface was killed in the fight with Dragon, Powerhouse and the rest of the Vicious Circle ran off (Savage Dragon #38).

Cyberface has fallen

With Cyberface gone, command of the Vicious Circle was taken over by Horde. He used his mind controlling leeches to take over most of the Circle. Powerhouse was one of the few to escape (Savage Dragon #39).

Powerhouse joined up with Octopus is trying to revive Cyberface, whose brain Octopus had placed in the body of Brainiape (Savage Dragon #40).

Horde then sent the mind controlled She-Dragon and Mace to attack Powerhouse, Octopus and Cyberface. At that point, they were in the process of stealing the Overlord’s armor. Dragon then showed up and knocked out Cyberface, She-Dragon and Mace, removing the leeches that controlled the two.

Powerhouse then fought Dragon. After many insults were exchanged, Powerhouse knocked Dragon for a loop and flew away while Dragon recovered. Powerhouse, Octopus and Cyperface regrouped and took possession of Overlord’s armor (Savage Dragon #48).

Powerhouse and the others were then joined by Openface and Babyboom. They converted Overlord’s armor to work with Cyberface in Brainiape’s body. They were then attacked by a swarm of Horde’s leeches and mind controlled members of the Vicious Circle, including Mako and Bud Ugly. During the fight they were all attacked by the heroes Kill-cat, Beast Boy and Feezle.

Dragon then joined the fight and while Cyberface and Dragon were fighting, Brainiape’s brain snuck up on the pair with a gun, wanting his body back (Savage Dragon #49).

Godworld and the Overlord mystery

Herakles and the God Squad were then sent to Earth by the Elder Gods to bring all of the descendents of gods to Godworld. They attacked Powerhouse, saying he was a descendent of the sun god Ra . Herakles used a teleportation disk to send Powerhouse to Godworld (Savage Dragon #52).

Powerhouse (Denny Atlas) vs. Mighty Man

When the Special Operations Strikeforce sent a team to Godworld, Powerhouse was among the people to escape back to Earth before Godworld blew up. He then flew off to escape capture by the S.O.S. (Savage Dragon #54).

Powerhouse aided Octopus and Openface in tracking down the Overlord’s armor. But they found it in possession of someone who threatened them if they tracked him again (Savage Dragon #55). They reasoned it might be Overlord’s essence downloaded into the armor… or pretty much anyone who found it (Savage Dragon #56).

After the Overlord’s armor seemingly killed Dragon’s wife Smasher at her wedding, Dragon spoke with Powerhouse about finding out who was in the armor. Powerhouse didn’t know (Dragon #62).


When Powerhouse realized Dragon hadn’t sent Mighty Man to attack the Vicious Circle he apologized for sending his men after him. He also agreed to ally with Dragon in finding out information on the Covenant of the Sword. The Covenant had captured Vicious Circle member Baby Boom, and was suspected of kidnapping Dragon’s friend SuperPatriot and others (Savage Dragon #73).

Darklord and the Covenant used the combined powers of Negate and Baby Boom to create a Nega-Bomb and rob most of the superhumans on Earth of their super powers. After this, Powerhouse volunteered to aid the Special Operations Strikeforce in taking Darklord down. He was part of the raiding party lead by Dragon against the Covenant.

Powerhouse seems since to have become a full-fledged member and might be on his way to finally be a hero.


Powerhouse is a tall and very muscular man, with a bird-like head. He has light colored feathers covering his head, and wears a colorful, recognizable costume with a heroic mantle.


Powerhouse is a fairly complex character. Despite having a background as an enforcer for the Chicago mob and being a physical powerhouse, he first tries to get things done without resorting to violence.

He is a smooth talker and could be a leader if it weren’t for his appearance. Nobody would, despite him having impressive powers and physical abilities, follow a man with the head of a chicken. But, truthfully, he is more of a follower than a leader. Still, he will do a good job as second-in-command or as a reluctant leader.

He also has lots of bad luck.

Smooth criminal

Originally, he was a part of the criminal underworld. Powerhouse would protect freaks and criminals in his gang if they required assistance. This task as a protector and defender is why he joined the underworld in the first place, and what brought him into conflict with the law. He would join into various criminal activities due to the betterment of criminal society.

Powerhouse feels very strongly about protecting freaks like himself.

He is not evil per se. But he does what he feels is necessary and will usually not make excuses for his actions. He would enforce order within the organization and step in to stop anyone who broke the rules. For example, this once forced him to stop a bank robbery to round up rogue members of the Vicious Circle.

He has a sense of honor and will keep his word whenever given.

Both heroes and villains are aware of this. Thus, the Savage Dragon once sought him in order to obtain information about the criminal underworld. He has enough good qualities to be a hero. But being somewhat misguided and really intent on protecting freaks like himself, who mostly happened to be criminals, he became a criminal.

Feathered fury

Powerhouse is courageous, cool and calm under pressure. Due to these strengths he was often sent onto solo missions in the field to retrieve one item or another or information or even to kill a great threat. He will not be affected by taunts, but will enjoy friendly banter in combat.

Powerhouse (Denny Atlas) vs. Savage Dragon

He is also an adequate strategist. Thus, the others will usually follow his lead temporarily when he comes up with a plan.

He is enough of a mercenary to work against the criminals if the situation is too dangerous. That makes him a possible temporary ally of heroes. He would also join forces with the heroes if threats against his fellow villains were too great, if they had common goals, or if the Earth was invaded.

His action eventually resulted in that Chicago citizens began to regard him as a hero, and that heroes started to see the possibility of reform. Then, after all freaks lost their powers in the nega-bomb explosion, Powerhouse no longer had any freaks to protect. The opportunity was perfect to choose to pursue a career as a law-enforcement officer with the Special Operations Strikeforce.

Thus, he continues his role as a defender, and quite possibly is becoming a real hero. As a hero, he is unlikely to betray his new friends. His status within the criminal underworld is currently unrevealed.

He seems at peace with his new role, and will also help out his fellow Gods at Godtown if they require his assistance as an outside agent.


“We’ve all been ridiculed — it comes with the territory. But rather than become sideshow attractions for gawking, slackjawed yokels, we’ve joined forces. We have power — and we use it.”

“Okay, that does it for me — Cyberface and Octopus have made their escape by now. I have enough sense to know when to quit. We’re too evenly matched and I have nothing to gain by continuing this.”

Brainiape: “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t be running the show !”
Powerhouse: “Because you’re an ape with an exposed brain for Christ’s sake ! Because you smell and nobody can be in the same room with you ! Because you’re argumentative and belligerent ! Because you want to junk all of the infrastructure that Overlord set up and start over ! He put many things in place and we’d be foolish to toss out the good with the bad. This war is hurting all of us — freaks are killing each other and wrecking the city. We’ve got to pull together and pick a new leader based on merit and a consensus of the whole group. You may do well if this was just a matter of brute strength, but we can’t afford any more bloodshed — that’s insanity ! Besides — nobody’s going to take orders from a talking gorilla, Brainiape — so forget about it !”

(Interfering in Brainiape’s bank robbery) “Cyberface could drain this bank dry without setting foot on the premises. The Vicious Circle doesn’t need insubordinate, loudmouthed punks like you screwing things up for us.” (wrammm !) (Brainiape lies defeated) “And don’t call me Chicken-head or Pecker-head.” (turns to the saved customers) “Sorry about the mess. Good day.” (customers begin thanking him) “Next time you go out — order the beef.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 08 Str: 14 Bod: 12 Motivation: Mercenary (later Responsibility of Power)
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 07 Occupation: Mob enforcer, later S.O.S. member
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 024 HP: 050

Flight: 06, Sealed Systems: 15, Systemic Antidote: 20

Bonuses and Limitations:
All Powers and Physical Stats are Innate (+1).

Charisma: 06, Martial Artist: 09

Altered Anatomy, Expertise (Chicago mobs), Gift of Gab, Lightning Reflexes, Near-Immortal (supposedly), Sharp Eye.

Chicago Street and Underworld (Low), Godtown (Low, later only), The Annihilators (High), The Savage Dragon (Low, later only), The Special Operations Strikeforce (Low, later only), The Vicious Circle (High).

Distinct Appearance (chicken head), SIA (Protecting freaks), Secret Identity, Unluck.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Savage Dragon comics.

Helper(s): sysabend.org/champions  (Powers and History section).