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Putty Drones - DC Comics - Justice League of America enemies

Putty Drones


Context

These artificial beings were only seen in Justice League of America Vol. 1 #105, in 1973.

However, this sort of pliable construct is useful in superhero stories. So let’s have a short profile.


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Powers & Abilities

These small, featureless humanoids have a consistency not unlike silly putty or bread dough. Their body harmlessly deform under impact.

This may be the same “plastalloy” tech used for the Shaggy Man.

They are coloured pale yellow, presumably as defence against Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).

Other characteristics

  • They are remarkably fast, agile fighters. They seem to attack with superhuman speed.
  • They have a degree of superhuman strength. They could lift at least two drums of crude oil.
  • They evidenced what seems to be short-range 360° vision (two metres at most).
  • They can team up to form a giant bouncing ball travelling at high speeds. This “vehicle” can carry cargo. One variant is to form a balloon, if there’s a source of hot air to provide lift.
  • They can liquefy themselves to ooze away through small apertures.

The putty men operated in crews of six. There seemed to be twice that number in total.


History

These drones were sent out by T.O. Morrow. Their job was to steal raw materials such as rubber, coal, specific types of wood, etc..

Putty Drones - DC Comics - Justice League of America enemies - Stealing paintings

These were needed to repair one of Queen Bee’s abandoned mechanical hives. Morrow made it look like the drones were an automated failsafe array from the hive.

However, the whole operation was a lure. The thefts were meant to grab the attention of the Justice League. Then the android Red Tornado would prove his worth, and get invited to join the League.


Personality

These constructs are entirely silent. However, they are clearly able to coordinate with each other.

Back then, Morrow was employing a crew of operators for his advanced weapons. It is possible that the putty men were remote-controlled through a VR interface, with each construct being handled by one operator.

The putty drones had a high level of initiative and would use their environment against their opponents. Since they seemed to be a throwaway creation, this too suggests trained human remote operators.


Marvel Universe History

The equivalent would be the Leader’s more malleable androids.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Putty drone

Dex: 04 Str: 07 Bod: 15 Motivation: N.A.
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: /// Occupation: Drone.
Inf: 02 Aur: /// Spi: /// Wealth: N.A.
Init: 010 HP: 000

Powers:
Full vision: 00, Gliding: 02, Jumping: 04, Regeneration: 03, Running: 06, Shrinking (Only To Squeeze Thru): 07

Bonuses and Limitations:
Gliding, Jumping and Running all require a full squad of six Putty Drones to join to form a ball or balloon. Subtract 1 AP for each missing Putty Drone.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics): 05, Martial Artist (AV): 12, Thief (Stealth): 03

Advantages:
Life Support (Full), Stabilization.

Connections:
None demonstrated.

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance, MPR (mute).


Design Notes

For AV computation purposes, I’m using the second edition’s magenta roster book stats for the Elongated Man.

Putty guys have partial Mental and Mystical stats. But I suspect these are actually the stats for the (hypothetical) operators. Rather than something intrinsic to the putty drones.

Their demonstrated performance requires high scores. As often with older comics, that only makes sense within the story, where they do steal-and-run operations. Something with these stats used as a kill team would be far too deadly.

I’m not using Fluid Form since what this Power models is very specific. It’d need a bunch of modifiers. Here, a modified Shrinking and high BODY do a fine job of modelling the material.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: JLoA Vol. 1 #105.

Writeup completed on the 14th of October, 2019.

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