5940 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Ultraman (Morrison Earth-2 evil Superman) (DC Comics)

Ultraman

(Post-Crisis, pre-52 version)


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

Context

Ultraman is an evil version of Superman, living on another version of Earth. He is the leader of a motley crew of similar “reversed” super-heroes, the Crime Syndicate.

There have been several takes on this concept. This profile covers the Ultraman who was first seen in Grant Morrison’s Earth Two graphic novel.

This version was killed during the conclusion of the Final Crisis, though this writeup was completed before that took place. A new Ultraman from Earth-3 debuted during the 52 limited series and died during the follow-up series Countdown.

After the Flashpoint/New 52 reboot, another iteration of an Earth-3 Ultraman appeared with a different origin and abilities from the one in this writeup.

If none of this made any sense, this is alas normal and you should read our DC Comics ages and Earths article.


Advertisement


Background

  • Real Name: Clark Kent.
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Lois Lane/Superwoman (wife), Brainiac-baby (clone).
  • Group Affiliation: Crime Syndicate of Amerika.
  • Base Of Operations: Centropolis.
  • Height: 6’3” Weight: 225 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

After his alteration by aliens, Ultraman received a vast array of superpowers from exposure to anti-Kryptonite. This made him the physical equal of Superman.

Ultraman is highly knowledgeable in various scientific disciplines. But his preference for using brute force, in combination with his emotional instability (particularly his lack of patience), usually results in Ultraman behaving stupidly.

It has been suggested that Ultraman has a weakness to white dwarf matter similar to Superman’s weakness to Kryptonite. But the effects have never actually been shown.


Advertisement


The Favor Bank

The people of the anti-matter Earth are generally driven by amoral self-interest and lust for power. This tendency would cause the societies of that Earth to quickly fall apart if it were not for the Favor Bank. This is the one inviolate rule of the cultures of the anti-matter Earth.

As Batman summed it up, “If you ask a favor, you owe the person who supplied it. It’s a debt to be repaid — whenever it’s called in. How ever much it hurts you.” Or as Owlman stated more succinctly, “When you owe, you pay. Even if your grandmother is bleeding out in the gutter. You don’t get to set the terms.”

The effect of this is that all people of the anti-matter Earth have the equivalent of — in DC Heroes terms — a Catastrophic Irrational Attraction to repaying debts when the marker is called. On those few occasions when people violate this rule, whatever passes for the local authorities will quickly bring the offender in for trial.

Such offenders are usually put to death, though it is possible they would be granted a second chance if they can show a good faith effort was made to repay the debt.

Home Field Advantage

The matter and anti-matter universes have not only physical but moral differences. In the matter universe, good ultimately prevails, while evil is the dominant force of the anti-matter universe. Within each universe, this is represented in this manner — the prevailing force tends to have better stats and more Hero Points  than their opponents, especially in the aggregate.

When the JLA and CSA first met, this difference was expressed more dramatically. When individuals from one universe crossed over into another, they became less efficient. In DC Heroes terms, their Hero Points expenditures were raised as if they were operating one Genre lower than the usual campaign setting.

For example, if the campaign is set in the Action Genre, those who have crossed over into other universe spend HPs as if they were in the Mock-Real Genre.

This apparently only applies if the individuals crossing over were at odds with that universe’s moral bias. When the heroic Alex Luthor of the anti-matter universe crossed over into the matter universe, he was not affected. However, when the CSA traveled to the matter Earth they did suffer this disability.

This imbalance between the universes was negated as part of the universal restructuring of the DCU when Krona was defeated in the JLA/Avengers crossover series. The essential character of the two universes — that good triumphs over evil in the matter universe and vice versa in the anti-matter realm — remains the same though.


History

The Crime Syndicate of Amerika is the JLA of an Earth in an antimatter universe where good is evil and evil is good. Benedict Arnold was the first U.S. President, Washington was a traitor, Britain fought for its independence against an Amerikan colonial power, etc. It is a reversed DCU.

By large, things are pretty upbeat in the DCU. People are generally happy, secure and open to the wild and the novel by virtue of living in a world where good always triumphs in the end, thanks to colorful superheroes.

By contrast the dreary inhabitants of the antimatter world live on a planet dominated by lies, greed and hypocrisy (if that world sounds all-too familiar, then you’re just too cynical by half…). Vice and corruption are a way of life and the bad guys always win.

Here crime is the founding principal of society. Evil is rewarded, cruelty is lauded and people live everywhere in fear of their masters. This goes all the way through the local mobs and the corrupt police, the bent journalists and up, through City Hall and the governments, to the top of the pyramid – the seedy Crime Syndicate of Amerika and its vicious bullying leader, Ultraman.

The CSA rules their Earth with an iron fist from their lunar headquarters, the Panopticon, named after the central surveillance tower of the Panopticon prison design . Their motto is “Cui Bono”: Who Benefits. (Interview with Grant Morrison)

It’s a bird ! It’s a plane !

Ultraman was born as Clark Kent, a perfectly normal human being who grew up to become a famous astronaut. He faced certain death when his ship imploded into hyperspace, but was rescued by…something. Kent’s unknown benefactors repaired his body, but did so imperfectly because they had no previous knowledge of human anatomy.

The end result was that Kent returned to Earth with a superhuman body and a twisted mind. (Interview with Grant Morrison)

With his new abilities Kent became the first modern-day supervillain, Ultraman. He quickly rose to the position of kingpin of all organized crime on the anti-matter Earth. Kent then formed the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. Having reached this elevated position, he sought new challenges to occupy his time.

His first rival was a White Martian (see the Martian Manslayer write-up for a *speculative* treatment of that character).

The only rival to consistently pose a legitimate threat to Ultraman was Alexander Luthor. To keep the game alive, Ultraman imprisoned Luthor rather than killing him. Each of Luthor’s escapes provides the competition that Ultraman likes.

Trans-universal

After one escape, Luthor traveled to the matter universe to seek the help of the heroes there. He brought the JLA back home with him. The CSA’s dominion was temporarily disrupted by the Justice League’s intervention on the anti-matter Earth.

The CSA launched a retaliatory strike on the matter Earth as a prelude to conquest. But both teams came to realize that they could not prevail in the universes opposite their own.

The two groups then discovered that the universal crossover was part of a plot by Ultraman’s servant Brainiac. He had secretly engineered the confrontation to regain his freedom and expand the power of his consciousness.

The latter goal required Brainiac to take actions that would have destroyed both Earths. Working with the JLA, the CSA was able to return to their Earth, after which they took their revenge against their rebellious servant by lobotomizing him. (JLA: Earth 2)

Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman later showed up in the matter-Earth’s Metropolis chasing a Superbaby. The baby was revealed to be the Brainiac from the anti-matter universe. Brainiac had created a fetus from Ultraman’s cells and projected his mind into it.

Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman managed to kill the Brainiac baby despite Superman’s efforts to stop them. The trio then returned to their home universe. (Adventures of Superman #603-605)

Rebalancing moral polarities

The CSA established a strong dominion over their entire planet with the fall of the rebel nation of Modora. They continued to seek out new places to conquer in their own universe and eventually discovered the planet Qward.

They were in the midst of ravaging Qward when their universe and the matter universe were both destroyed and restructured as a result of Krona’s experiments (JLA/Avengers).

Seeking to discover what had happened and to prevent it from occurring again, the CSA returned to the matter Earth. Their initial mission was satisfied when they found out that Krona was responsible but had been neutralized by the JLA.

However, the CSA had also discovered that the imbalance between the universes had been eliminated by the restructuring. They began a reign of terror on the matter Earth.

Qward attacks

The Qwardians also came to the matter Earth following the CSA’s trail. They sought revenge for their attack on Qward as well as wanting to find Krona themselves. The JLA redirected the Qwardians to the anti-matter Earth. This forced the CSA to ask the JLA for help in repelling the Qwardians. The JLA thus gained a favor in the favor bank from the anti-matter villains.

The Qwardians eventually quit the field of battle against the two supergroups. The CSA sent the JLA back to the matter Earth, bitterly aware that they owed the heroes a favor.

With that resolved, the CSA began the arduous work of restoring order on the anti-matter Earth. Their public humiliations during their battles with the JLA and the Qwardians had caused :

  • 17 countries to riot against the Syndicate.
  • Two other superteams to break allegiance with them.
  • 20 insurgencies led by superbeings to begin around the world.
  • A break-out of the entire Justice Underground from Ultraman’s Flying Fortress.

Furthermore, another Qwardian fleet was headed toward their planet. (JLA: Syndicate Rules)


Description

Clark Kent is a tall, muscular white male. He has a square jaw and a u-shaped lock of hair hanging down over his forehead. In his civilian identity he wears conservative gray suits and a fake thin mustache (his equivalent of the matter-Earth Clark’s glasses disguise).

As Ultraman, Kent wears a blue body suit and a red cape. On the chest of the bodysuit is a yellow pentagon (oriented with a point at the top) with a red border and a red U inside it.

There are several palm-sized silver ovals on the suit — four around the waist on the front, back, and to either side, and one on each elbow. The function of these, if any, is unknown. It is possible that when the anti-Kryptonite capsules were added to the suit, they were placed inside these ovals, though the ovals were present even before that modification.


Personality

A classic dim-witted bully, Ultraman enjoys lording over the anti-matter Earth as head of the Crime Syndicate. Though he’ll happily crush any opposition, Ultraman particularly enjoys making women bend to his will. The latter trait only makes Superwoman’s defiance of him all the more frustrating to him. Ultraman doesn’t handle losing very well, sulking whenever he is frustrated or beaten.

Though Ultraman enjoys challenges, he has very few left to him anymore. His boredom is only broken by Luthor’s escapes and the occasional superhuman who emerges to fight the CSA, either as an enemy or as a rival.

In the meantime, he amuses himself with twisted jokes such as literally dumping counterfeit money over major cities and allowing the influx of fraudulent bills to destroy the local economy.

Though he enjoys fighting worthy opposition, on those occasions that Ultraman encounters an unusually intractable problem his excitement quickly turns to frustrated anger.


Quotes

(After vaporizing a complaining bystander) “They insult me within earshot, they know what to expect. Big Brother *is* watching you.”

(Preparing to travel to the matter Earth) “Hoist the Jolly Roger high… and prepare to board.”

(Upon arriving on the matter Earth) “A whole new world stretched out and screaming. Start with terror. Always soften them up with fear.”


Sharing



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Ultraman

Dex: 09 Str: 25 Bod: 18 Motivation: Psychopath
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Head of Crime Syndicate
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 025
Init: 034 HP: 250

Powers:
Directional Hearing: 08, Extended Hearing: 08, Flight: 18, Heat Vision: 15, Invulnerability: 22, Microscopic Vision: 15, Sealed Systems: 11, Super Breath: 12, Super Hearing: 08, Superspeed: 14, Systemic Antidote: 18, Telescopic Vision: 13, Thermal Vision: 13, X-Ray Vision: 13

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • X-Ray Vision cannot penetrate lead (-0FC).
  • Superspeed is a Catastrophically Marginal Power, costing 30 HPs to activate for a single “scene” (-3FC).
  • The time to complete mental tasks cannot be reduced by Superspeed (-1FC).

Skills:
Charisma (Intimidation): 08, Scientist*: 05

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Centropolis), Credentials (US Space Program, Medium — Rank: Lieutenant), Expansive Headquarters (The Flying Fortress and the Panopticon), Sidekick (Brainiac, until his death during the Brainiac-baby debacle).

Connections:
Crime Syndicate of Amerika (High) Daily Planet (Low).

Drawbacks:
Catastrophic Rage, MIA (Challenges), MIA (Asserting dominance over others), SIA (Asserting dominance over women), Power Loss (04 APs subtracted from all Physical Attributes and all Powers for every half-hour (09 APs of time) that Ultraman is more than 17 APs away from any samples of anti-Kryptonite; no stat can be lowered further than 05 APs by this Power Loss).

Equipment:

  • ANTI-K CAPSULE SUIT [BODY: 18, Advantage: negates Ultraman’s Power Loss Drawback for one week (18 APs)]. After Ultraman’s vulnerability to a lack of anti-Kryptonite radiation contributed to his defeat by the Martian Manhunter, he had his costume redesigned with capsules of anti-K to address the problem.
  • CSA SIGNAL DEVICE (built into belt buckle) [BODY 01, Radio Communication: 25, Limitation: Radio Communication only allows user to send/receive the signal for a CSA meeting at the Panopticon].
  • FLYING FORTRESS [BODY 24 STR 20, Flight: 06]. This gargantuan station is Ultraman’s private retreat and is usually found floating over Centropolis. It has a Laboratory rated at 18 APs, which has produced experimental oddities such as Ultra-Titanus and an “Ultradog” similar to Superman’s Krypto (the latter of which was killed when it displeased Ultraman). The Fortress also has a trophy room, a dungeon, a detention center holding many superheroes, and likely many other as yet unknown resources within.
  • When traveling long distance, Ultraman often uses CSA teleport tubes (BODY: 12, AV 08, Energy Blast: 12, Teleportation: 24, Limitations: Energy Blast only has a Range of 03 APs and attacks anyone without a CSA signal device within that area, Teleportation can only teleport objects from one tube to another), which are located in the Panopticon, Ultraman’s Flying Fortress, and in hidden locations in most major cities.

White Dwarf Matter

It has been suggested that Ultraman has a weakness to white dwarf matter similar to Superman’s weakness to Kryptonite, though the effects have never actually been shown.

A tentative approach would be a Power Loss (All of Ultraman’s Physical Attributes drop to 04 and all his Powers fall to 0 when he is within 1 AP of white dwarf matter) and possibly a Fatal Vulnerability (Ultraman loses 1 AP of Current BODY Condition for every 2 phases he is within 0 APs of white dwarf matter).


Design Notes

Like many writeups, this takes the “Superman’s DEX is 10, although he sometimes uses his Superspeed to make it higher” approach. The stats are predominantly based on comparison to Superman, so if your campaign uses stats for Superman that are different than his official ones, make the appropriate adjustments.

The anti-Kryptonite withdrawal rules are only a rough guess, since there are not many details available on the precise effects and time periods involved.

By Jeff Baker and Roy Cowan.

Source of Character: DC Comics.

Helper(s): Grant Morrison (interview), John Colagioia, Michael Andrew Ficklin.

Writeups.org is a non-commercial, community site

We chat and work at the DC Heroes Yahoo! group .