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Superstar (Image Comics Busiek)

Superstar

(Cody Bridges)


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

“He’s Earth’s Greatest Hero. As long as his ratings hold up.”


Context

Superstar: As Seen On TV was a 1997 stand-alone graphic novel by Kurt Busiek. It’s about super-heroes, reality TV, fame and marketing.

The main character is the major super-hero of his world, and works better as such.


Background

  • Real Name: Cody Bridges.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Clay Bridges (Father), Jesse Bridges (Brother), Katherine “Kitty” Bridges (Mother), Unnamed Step-Mother.
  • Group affiliation: Bridges Communications Enterprises.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City.
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Reddish-Blond


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Powers & Abilities

Strength Level

Without having absorbed “Bio-Energy”, Cody Bridges possesses the normal human strength of a man his age, height and build who engages in regular exercise.

However, Cody can gain superhuman levels of strength by absorbing “Bio-Energy” from other human beings. While fully charged, he can lift (press) weights in the 50 to 100 ton range (“Class 50”).

Known Superhuman Powers

As a result of Dr. Schweber’s experiment, Cody “Superstar” Bridges gained the superhuman ability to absorb the life force (or “Bio-Energy”) from other living creatures through physical contact.

Superstar’s body uses the absorbed energy to enhance his physical attributes to superhuman levels and fuel his ability to fly.

When fully charged, Superstar is super-humanly strong and has a high degree of imperviousness to bodily harm. His body can easily resist penetration from high-caliber bullets and intense impact with no sign of physical harm.

Under normal conditions, Superstar can also fly at speeds approaching the speed of sound (770 miles per hour) for prolonged periods of time.


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Abilities

Cody is an experienced horse trainer and outdoors man. He generally excels at any task that has a physical component to it.

Limitations

While Superstar can literally drain the energy from other human beings, the process is unpleasant for the victim and can be potentially dangerous. As such, he tends to avoid using his power directly on other human beings.

Additionally, Superstar’s energy reserves fade gradually over a period of days even if he doesn’t use his powers. Prolonged intense use of his abilities cause his reserves to be depleted at an even greater rate.

His maximum level of output (both in strength and his ability to fly) decreases in direct proportion to his reserves.

Paraphernalia

Through intense research, the engineers at Bridges Communications have created two pieces of technology that allow Cody to get around his limitations. The first are portable Moximizers. These devices replicate Cody’s ability to absorb Bio-Energy from living creatures in a limited fashion.

Superstar (Cody Bridges) takes off over a white background

When a human places their hand within the Moximizer, it absorbs the smallest fraction of said human’s life force and stores it within its internal battery. When enough human’s have gifted the Moximizer with their energy, Cody can then absorb said energy directly from the Moximizer’s internal battery itself.

It is unknown how many individuals it takes to fully charge a Moximizer, but presumably it is hundreds of individuals.

Over time, the engineers at Bridges Communications not only reduced the size of the Moximizer technology, but also made it portable and devised a method of beaming stored “Bio-Energy” to it. They then embedded the new technology into Superstar’s costume.

This allows them to “beam” Bio-Energy to Superstar in the field, giving him the ability to top up his reserves on the fly.


History

Cody Bridges is the eldest son of Clay Bridges. Clay was a cold, aggressive, self-made business mogul who attempted to raise his sons in his image. When his first wife, Kitty, attempted to ease his iron grip upon his sons, Clay divorced her and moved onto another “trophy” wife.

His father’s cold dismissal of his marriage was the last straw with Cody. Despite only being in his early teens, Cody walked away from the only home he had ever known without looking back.

He put himself through college by working various odd jobs, all of them physical and in the great outdoors. He was attempting to avoid the business environment that reminded him of his father.

Superstar (Cody Bridges) flies with a camera in tow

After graduating college, Cody listlessly wandered the globe in the attempt eke out a living. While working in a ski resort in Austria he happened upon a parapsychology experiment that offered to pay its volunteers. Having nothing to lose, Cody volunteered.

Doctor Schweber I presume

It was there that he first met Dr. Schweber. The experiment seemed to be going well, until an unexpected accident occurred and set off a huge explosion in Schweber’s lab.

Even as naked flame threatened to consume the lab, Cody felt his body come alive with new found power. With unconscious ease, he hefted the ruined equipment overhead and carried the stunned forms of the doctors out of the lab.

Unknowingly Cody had absorbed a portion of the doctors’ life force, their “Bio-Energy”. He then used it to fuel the superhuman abilities granted to him in the accident.

Over the next couple of days, Cody puzzled out his new found capabilities. He also realized that he could do some real good in the world. He called his brother, Jesse, and told him his plans after swearing him to secrecy. Unfortunately, Jesse could never keep anything from their father.

Jesse met Cody in Paris, and to Cody’s disappointment, Clay had accompanied him. Before Cody could walk away, Clay described a captivating plan, wherein he would use his vast financial power to fund Dr. Schweber’s work and provide the support and “Bio-Energy” that Cody would need to help the weak that surrounded him.

Despite his better judgement, Cody couldn’t resist his father’s pitch.

A Star is Born

Before he knew it, “Superstar: Cody Bridges” was born. He became an overnight sensation, largely due to Bridge Communications marketting machine that placed his face and exploits on every television screen and radio station across North America.

As his fame grew, so did the amount of “donations” from his fans. With each piece of merchandise that was sold, his fans granted him a portion of their own energy. Their gifts allowed him to perform even greater heroic feats which caused his fame to grow, and so on and so on.

Superstar (Cody Bridges) flies above the city, leaving an energy trail

Unfortunately, the number of superhuman threats grew in equal proportion to his fame. He quickly found himself battling all manner of superhuman menaces from the Crime-lord Mandalay to the freakishly powerful Quantum Mechanic.

As time wore on, Cody’s continuous arguments with his father over profits and merchandising rights began to wear on the altruistic hero’s spirit. He grew more and more moody, and began to regret ever making a deal with his father.

It all came to a head when Clay commissioned a prototype Superstar figure to be made without his son’s knowledge. At that point, Cody actually considered walking away from his father’s support.

Robo Sapiens

It was at that time that the robotic villain Robo Sapiens unleashed a deadly assault on the North American people. The artificial being used stolen technology from Dynalink to create a weapon that allowed it to control human minds.

After a few harmless (but horrifying) tests of the technology, he went on the offensive and hijacked the population of Ohio. Superstar confronted Robo Sapiens and his forces there but was forced to retreat when he came under the mental assault of Robo Sapiens weapon.

Like all of his adventures, Superstar’s defeat was witnessed nationwide. His defeat rocked his fans, and as more and more people fell under the influence of Robo Sapiens mind control device, Superstar found his energy reserves to be depleting quickly.

It was only the quick thinking of Dr. Schweber that managed to save the day. The genius doctor reverse engineered a headset that would render Superstar immune to Robo Sapiens device and devised a method of tracking the robotic villain.

Superstar (Cody Bridges) punches through the head of a robot

With his new technology in hand, Cody set out to confront Robo Sapien at his home base. It turned out to be an appropriated aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean just off the California Coast.

He found Robo Sapiens waiting for him, prepared to fight. The two came together in a thunderous clash, trading titanic blows that shook the aircraft carrier to its bowels.

Showdown

It didn’t take long for Robo Sapien to gain the upper-hand in their conflict. His massive artificial body was simply too strong for Superstar’s depleted strength.

As Cody began to take a savage beating, his father (who had been observing the battle via a remote controlled camera) commanded Jesse to broadcast the battle live to every willing cable provider in North America.

Millions upon millions of homes were instantly bombarded with the live feed of Cody’s desperate battle. Even as they watched the battle unfold, the viewing audience was informed that anyone who made an immediate donation of “Bio-Energy” would be given the opportunity to buy a limited edition Superstar figure.

The desperate nature of the battle combined with the lure of the special edition figure lulled Superstar’s supporters out of their homes and to donation centers in droves.

The effect of Clay’s gambit became immediately apparent. The new flow of “Bio-Energy” (beamed directly to Superstar from Bridge Communications) quickly rejuvenated Cody’s awesome strength. When his strength hit its peak, Cody lashed out with all of his pent up frustration.

He landed blow after blow on the robotic villan, and in the end simply tore his mechanical body into two.

A Necessary Evil

The next day, Cody confronted his father at Bridge Communications. He let Clay know that he knew that, contrary to his wishes, Clay had mass produced the limited edition figures and simply waited for a grave situation (like the one that had just passed) to occur.

Clay had banked on the desperation of the situation and the greed of the collectors to not only save his son, but to make himself millions of dollars.

But to Clay’s surprise, Cody gave him his blessing to do what he wanted. He had finally accepted that his father’s own greed was a necessary evil if he wanted to keep protecting people. He didn’t like the situation but he couldn’t just walk away.


Description

Cody Bridges is an attractive young man. He has short blond hair, intense blue eyes, and the kind of body that one can only acquire through intense physical activity (like an elite athlete) or by acquiring superpowers. His build resembles that of a NFL quarterback, rather than that of an elite bodybuilder.

Cody’s costume is a relatively simple one, and definitely was a product of the 1990’s. It consists of a spandex like material that covers him from neck to his booted feet. The torso has been coloured white, while the feet neckline and finger-less gloves are all a deep blue colour.

The costume’s neckline and the central part of the chest have a design imprinted on it to form a white star that is framed by red quadrilateral-like shapes.

Topping off the costume is a jacket made up of an unknown material. The jacket itself is red starting from midway down the back, to over and across the shoulders until approximately midway down the front. Red stripes run down the center of the jacket sleeves.

The rest of the jacket is white. Superstar wears the jacket when in action, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows at all time.


Personality

Given a choice, Cody would live an idyllic and peaceful life living off the land in the stretches of wilderness found in Montana. At heart, he is a simple young man, who steadfastly refuses to become his father.

Unfortunately for Cody (but fortunately for the world surrounding him), the incident that granted him his abilities occurred. Cody always had a strong sense of duty within him. Even before he received his abilities he never could simply stand by and watch the weak get trampled underfoot of something or someone they couldn’t stand up to.

At heart, Cody is a good-natured and responsible young man. He is driven to aid those in the world that can’t help themselves. He does it day in and out because he wants to do it. Helping people helps Cody be the man that he wants to be.

Unfortunately, he has been forced to compromise his own principles in order to continue his work. He realizes that without his father’s aid, keeping a continuous stream of bio-energy would be difficult to near impossible.

Worse, with the celebrity that his father’s machinations brought him, he has lost any chance of privacy or the ability to trust anyone with his true self and innermost desires. His life is completely available for public consumption, and in some ways this has embittered him.

Despite this he continues his work, and refuses to stop. He just hates the price.


Quotes

Fangirl: “Can you make it out to Darlene an’ Shirl ?”
Superstar: “Sure Darlene. You know, I think I saw you, before…”

(After a vigorous pep rally)
Marissa: “Hey Cody. How’re you doing, hon ?”
Superstar: “Ragged, Marissa. Maybe next time I could just go 15 rounds with Trainwreck instead…”

(To Clay after discovering that Clay had a unauthorized Superstar action figure commissioned without asking for his approval)
“I’ll go to rallies and sign autographs and do press conferences, if that’s what it takes — but I won’t be turned into a product to make you more money ! You can’t do this without my approval, an’ you know it ! And I DON’T APPROVE!”

Jesse: “Hovercam is tracking fine — you can go ahead and engage.”
Superstar: “Like I was waiting for permission…”

“No dad ! No TV show ! Not starring Matt Damon, not starring anyone !”


DC Universe History

Trying to make ends meet after graduating college, Cody Bridges took a job working as a janitor at a Pittsburgh S.T.A.R. Labs facility. While he was working there, he made fast friends with one of the local scientists, Dr. Schweber, who was conducting a radical experiment using a strange new form of radiation.

Unfortunately for both, the radiation and experiment proved unstable.

The resulting explosion bombarded Cody with an unknown quantity of radiation, granting him his powers but temporarily driving him insane. Taking on the name, The Parasite, Cody came into conflict with Superman on several occasions.

Eventually, Cody was cured of his insanity and upon regaining his normal looks, decided to make amends to the people in society that he had wronged while unstable. He took the name Superstar as a not so subtle tribute to the man of steel who had not only stopped his rampages, but also forgiven his sins.

Before long, Superstars exploits made him nearly as famous as the man of steel himself.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Superstar

Dex: 04 Str: 12 Bod: 11 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 06 Wil: 07 Min: 05 Occupation: Professional Superhero
Inf: 06 Aur: 08 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 010
Init: 016 HP: 040

Powers:
Flight: 09, Vampirism: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Flight: Leaves a visible light trail/burst except when hovering (+0FC ).
  • Vampirism: No Range (-1FC), No AV (-1FC).

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics, Climbing): 05, Animal Handling: 04, Evasion (Aerial only): 07

Advantages:
Confidant (Jesse), Credentials (Government, High), Expertise (Wilderness Survival), Headquarters (Expansive), Popularity, Rich Family.

Connections:
Dr. Schweber (High), Bridges Communications Enterprises (High), NATO (High), NORAD (High), American Media (Low).

Drawbacks:
Gradual Loss Vulnerability (STR, BODY and Flight lose one AP per 12 hours spent without using Vampirism), Loss Vulnerability (STR, BODY and Flight lose one AP for every 15 phases of violent exertion), Limelight, Public Identity.

Genre:
Action.

Equipment:

  • Ear Bud Communicator [BODY 04, Radio Communications (Scrambled): 10, R#2].
  • Costume [BODY 06. Bonuses & Limitations: Neutralizes Both Loss Vulnerabilities].


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

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Superstar — Averaged PL9

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
01 (12) 02 (10) 04 01 03 01 02 03

Powers

Energy-suffused physique ● 72 points ● Descriptor: Bio-energy
– Super-Strength — Enhanced Strength 11.
– Invulnerability — Enhanced Stamina 8, Impervious Toughness 6, Protection 1.
– Flight — Flight 9, Quirk (leaves a glowing trail unless hovering).
– Life Drain — Grab-based Weaken Stamina 04 (Resisted by Fortitude).

Devices

Moximizer receptor costume ● 10 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Bio-energy
Communication (life force transferral) 4 (Limited 1 – people able and willing to use a Moximizer).

Combat Advantages

All-Out Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Favoured Environment (Airborne), Interpose, Move-by Action, Power Attack.

Other Advantages

Attractive, Benefit 2 (Popularity and marketing machine), Benefit 3 (Wealth), Benefit 2 (Government credentials), Connected, Equipment 3.

Skills

Acrobatics 3 (+7), Athletics 2 (+14), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+5), Deception 1 (+4), Expertise (Animals handling) 6 (+7), Expertise (Wilderness Survival) 7 (+8), Insight 6 (+8), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 4 (+7).

Equipment

In-ear radio — Communication (radio) 3 Subtle 1

Offense

Initiative +3
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 12

Defence

Dodge 04 Fortitude 12
Parry 04 Toughness 11/13*
Will 7

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Limelight Superstar is one of the world’s most famous celebrities.
  • Power Loss Superstar gradually loses 1 rank of each his powers (save Life Drain), Str and Sta for every 12 hours he doesn’t use his Life Drain power. This increases to once every 15 Rounds of violent exertion, but can be limited or rolled back via Moximizers and his costume.
  • Public Identity Superstar’s identity as Cody Bridges is publicly known.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 8, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort/Will PL 10.
  • Points total 160. Abilities 30, Defences 7, Skills 18, Powers 72, Devices 10, Advantages 19. Equiv. PL 11.


By Bryan Gittens.

Source of Character: Image Comics series Superstar: As Seen On TV Comics created by Kurt Busiek (Author) and Stuart Immonen (Illustrator).

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet (for the Thermo the Thermatronic man write-up), Pawsplay (for the M&M stats).

Writeup updated on the 1st of March, 2015.

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