(Milos Masaryk) (Profile #2 - Super-strength (1968-1974))
The Unicorn is primarily a technological foe of Iron Man. Since he went through significant changes, his profile his presented in three distinct chapters :
- Unicorn part 1 – Unenhanced (1964-1968) (start here).
- Unicorn part 2 – Super-strength (1968-1974) – this here writeup.
- Unicorn part 3 – Terminally sick (1974-1982).
- Real Name: Milos Masaryk.
- Other Aliases: The Uncanny Unicorn, the Unconquerable Unicorn, The Mandarin’s Eleventh Ring.
- Marital Status: Unrevealed.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Former KGB agent, former agent of the Red Ghost, former “agent” of the Mandarin.
- Base of Operations: Mobile ; formerly a secret base somewhere in Europe ; formerly Moscow.
- Height: 6’2″ Weight: 220 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Red
Powers & Abilities
As this era begins, the Unicorn is granted superhuman strength.
Secondary sources list him as a “Class 15” character, but he immediately proceeds to crush large steel slabs or wrestle with the classic Golden Avenger suit of Iron Man armour. “Class 50” seems a better estimate.
His durability and endurance were increased in proportion. For instance :
- He could swim for miles at a high speed.
- He was durable enough to withstand repulsor blasts even at close range.
- He stated that he had a superhuman power of recuperation.
The horn that shatters walls
The Unicorn weapons system have also evolved. Less protection is needed now, and the superhuman strength of Masaryk allows him to bear heavier and more powerful equipment.
The beams themselves aren’t *that* much more powerful, but the helmet is much more compact and less of a bother than the previous contraption. And the various attacks that the Unicorn can deliver were sufficient to badly batter even Iron Man’s Golden Avenger armour.
The jet boots, on the other hand, are markedly more powerful. Their exhaust is viable as a weapon, and they were fast enough to intercept a S.H.I.E.L.D. transport aircraft of unclear performance. Our game stats assume that the boots are as fast as many modern jet fighters. This in turn means that superhuman strength and durability are necessary to operate them at high speeds.
Though the costume looks like a typical superhuman costume, it is made of “synthetic steel mesh”.
(Again, this is continued straight from the previous profile.)
Masaryk was subjected to the Hyper-Activator treatment. This was meant to permanently confer a strength level equivalent to that which is, on rare occasions, demonstrated by hysterical persons. But perhaps thanks to his immense strength and hardiness, the Unicorn could withstand the treatment for far longer than planned.
The treatment thus ended up giving him a high level of superhuman strength. However, the scientists didn’t entirely realise that it had three other effects :
- It dramatically weakened the brainwashing Masaryk had just been through.
- It amplified his tendencies toward paranoia and megalomania.
- It drastically shortened his life expectancy.
Thus, the Unicorn rebelled as soon as he was given his new equipment. He razed the lab to prevent the creation of other super-soldiers, then flew away to seek a way to prolong his life.
A stranger in the Alps
Thus, the Unicorn soon attacked a major scientific congress in the Alps. Demonstrating his crushing power, he demanded a ransom and to be cured. Tony Stark was present and intervened, but soon realised that the Unicorn was stronger than he was.
Iron Man managed to snatch away the Unicorn’s power belt, considerably cutting on his weapon system’s powers. He then threw it down a mountain side. Unable to accept the sudden drop in power, the Unicorn irrationally dove after the crushed and useless belt. He was thus thought dead.
However, Masaryk’s jet boots had an emergency power supply. He thus not only survived the fall, but recovered his belt and flew away. He eventually stumbled upon the current hideout of the Red Ghost (Ivan Kragoff).
Ghost of a chance
Kragoff needed an agent. As a result he :
- Repaired and hardened the power belt.
- Gave the Unicorn psychiatric drugs to stabilize his issues.
- Synthesized a compound he assured him would delay his body’s breakdown.
Masaryk was about to abandon Kragoff at this point, but he was reminded that he needed the Ghost to supply him with lifesaving injections.
The pair then went after Stark’s newest invention, the Cosmic Ray. Unbeknownst to the raging Unicorn, the Ghost had lost his powers and wanted to use the Ray to repower himself.
The Unicorn, the Ghost and two ape aides (Alpha and Beta) were successful – it even seemed for a while that they had killed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell. The Ghost repowered himself and empowered Alpha and Beta with the Cosmic Ray as the Unicorn fought Iron Man.
After telling Masaryk that the “lifesaving” injections had been bogus all along, the Ghost left with his primates, blowing the lab with the Unicorn and Iron Man still within.
Surviving, the unlikely pair collaborated to get out. Iron Man had his generators intact but his weapons were offline, whereas the Unicorn was out of power. They plugged their system into each other so they could keep going, and caught up with the Ghost after hitching a ride on a transatlantic flight.
But Masaryk was too enraged, and during the fight he accidentally unplugged the cable hooking his weapon systems to Stark’s generators.
However, Alpha and Beta then betrayed the Ghost to launch their own world conquest scheme. In the ensuing confusion the Unicorn knocked Iron Man out with a kick to the face, karate-chopped the Red Ghost as he was stunned, and flew away with a nearby aircraft and the Red Ghost as a prisoner, intending to force him to work on a genuine cure.
Ring my hell
It didn’t work (perhaps the Ghost simply misted away) and the Unicorn went looking for an even greater genius, the Mandarin. But it was too late. By the time he found the scientist and some tests could be run, Masaryk was a mindless vegetable.
The Mandarin was considering disposing of his subject when he discovered that his most recent weapon, the Headband of Yin, allowed him to take mental control of Masaryk. Though still mindless, the Unicorn could follow his orders and his precision and strength seemed intact despite his golem-like condition.
Thus, in 1973, the Mandarin dramatically revealed his “eleventh ring” whilst in battle against Iron Man. They twiced proved able to overcome Iron Man, very nearly killing him. However, clashing energy beams had a weird effect. They transferred the mentality of the Mandarin into the mindless body of the Unicorn !
Since the Mandarin knew his brain patterns would not last long in the Unicorn’s deteriorating brain, he was forced to flee with his unconscious original body under his arm. Some weeks later, the Mandarin managed to reverse the mind transfer. To do so he kidnapped Sunfire and used the tremendous energies of the haughty Japanese mutant to power the machinery he had designed.
The Mandarin then just discarded the Unicorn to die… but he had overlooked one factor.
The Unicorn is drawn, and depicted by captions, as “towering” in several scenes. As noted in the previous entry 6’2″ seemed taller during the 1960s than it does now, but if you want to describe him as taller than that there’s ample precedent in the primary sources .
And yes, there are curved spikes on his shoulders. It’s odd, if minor.
At this stage the Unicorn is drunk on power, and convinced that he’s Superman strong. He acts in a grandiose, thunderous, reckless, impatient way and speechifies quite a bit. The Unicorn is entirely liable to forego occasions to act sensibly if he can instead demonstrate the might of his, err, horn.
Running on paranoia and megalomania, he expects treachery at every turn. However, his mounting despair at his condition forces him to trust people he’d otherwise never would.
If he starts losing a fight or is otherwise made to look weak, he’s liable to react in a psychotic manner. He will utterly despise anybody who ever defeats him, and endlessly seek vengeance. At this stage he has lost pretty much all of the discipline he previously displayed. The Unicorn acts more like a glory-seeking, verbose barbarian warrior.
“Why ? Because the Unicorn makes it so… Because magnetic waves radiated by my hyper-powered horn draw [all cameras] toward me… Because I want what transpires here televised to a terrified world ! That is why !”
“Now that I’ve made clear the vast spectrum of might available to the Unicorn… I hope there will be no foolish resistance while I state my demands to you… and the world !”
“*This* is my answer to the docile defeat you propose ! Think I don’t know you’d use surrender to strip me of all my peerless power ?!” (BLAST !)
“N-no… it cannot be… the Unicorn is unconquerable… unconquerable…”
“No one dictates to the Unicorn, Ghost… and lives !”
“Iron Man at least ! Let the Red Ghost toy with machinery and babble of power… it is the Unicorn who actually possesses it ! From my hyper-activated strength… to my horn of multi-purposed magnificence… It’s the Unicorn who has the power ! And it is the Unicorn who will use it… and win with it !”
“No ! No one makes mockery of my mighty horn !”
DC Universe History
At this stage the Unicorn somewhat resemble a Green Lantern Silver Age villain. Sonar could have been behind the Hyper-Activator, then played a role similar to that of the Red Ghost.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Unicorn (Hyper-activated strength)
|Dex: 06||Str: 12||Bod: 10||Motivation: Power !|
|Int: 05||Wil: 04||Min: 05||Occupation: Criminal|
|Inf: 06||Aur: 04||Spi: 04||Wealth: 003|
|Init: 019||HP: 045|
Regeneration: 01, Running: 05, Suspension: 04, Swimming: 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Suspension only kicks in when exposed to freezing temperature for an extended time and approaching clinical death (-2).
- Running and Swimming are Contingent Upon STR.
Military science (Camouflage, Demolition): 05, Thief (Security systems): 04, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, Heavy): 04, Weaponry (Unicorn weapon systems)*: 06
Headquarters (KGB hideout in Europe), Language (Slovak, Russian, possibly Czech), Lightning Reflexes.
SIA toward megalomania, MIA toward paranoia, SIA toward revenge, Minor Psychological Instability, Minor Rage, Misc.: Masaryk’s life expectancy is now but a few years.
While he’s on his meds (provided by the Red Ghost), the Unicorn’s MIA, MPI and Rage are nullified, and his SIAs are reduced to MIAs.
- UNICORN COSTUME [BODY 10, Damage Capacity: 03, Flight: 10, Skin armour: 01, R#2, Recommended STR 06. Limitation: Damage Capacity requires special facilities to be Recovered. If an opponent is in contact with the soles of the costume, the Unicorn can fire his jet boots – that’s Combined Super-breath: 08 and Flame project: 04 with No Range.]
- UNICORN HELM AND HORN [BODY 11, Damage capacity: 04, Disintegration: 10, Energy blast: 14, Force wall: 21, Heat vision: 14, Magnetic control: 13, R#3, Recommended STR 09.
- Limitation: Force Wall can only form a bubble, with only 8 APs of Volume. It is transparent to light and sound and opaque to gasses.
- Limitation: At least two simultaneous big impacts (lorry-sized or larger) over the force bubble, each with an EV of 11 or more, will Burn Out the Force Wall instantly (before it can defend against the impacts).
- Limitation: Thief (Stealth) only to muffle the noise of the jet boots (that is, they’re half as noisy as you’d expect).
- Though it has the Real Armour drawback, the suit allows the wearer to gain an RV up to its own BODY.
- Note: meeting the R# means the power reserve of the suit are getting low, likely starting with the jet boots. As a rule of thumb everything loses 4 APs of power per attack or per minute of use once the R# is met. Everything Burns Out if the R# is met a second time.]
Both these equipments require a Power Belt to function, though the jet boots have an emergency reserve. Originally the Power Belt has BODY 06, but after the Ghost builds a new one it has BODY (Hardened Defenses) 11.
Strike, my mindless 11th ring !
As a mindless slave of the Mandarin, the Unicorn :
- Has no Mental or Mystical Attributes.
- Cannot spend HPs.
- Has no Skills but his Weaponry ones.
- Has no psychological Drawbacks.
Technically he should still have his Martial Artist Skill. But if he were to be depowered he would probably be depicted as dramatically weakened, rather than able to fall back on his immense-by-human-standards baseline strength.
At this stage the Unicorn is rather aggressive in spending HPs, but it’s done competently and works well for him.
Source of Character: Older Iron Man comics.
Writeup completed on the 27th of December, 2016.