Global Frequency (written by Warren Ellis) only ran 12 issues from 2002-2004. But it remains one of my all-time favourites.
One of its quirks is that it’s full of characters who seem cool and interesting, but only appear for a brief time. Each issue is a single case, the cases often involve an ensemble cast, and few characters reoccur from one crisis to the next.
But since I love most issues, characters who do not objectively have enough material to justify a writeup still make the cut. Yet I hesitated even longer for Mr. Croft. Who’s not a combatant, and thus doesn’t even need a full stats block.
But heh, he’s cool. So whatev.
- Real Name: Winston Croft.
- Marital Status: Unrevealed.
- Known Relatives: A photo in his home shows a wife and a daughter.
- Group Affiliation: Global Frequency.
- Base of Operations: Los Angeles.
- Height: 5’8″ Weight: 150 lbs.
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Brown, balding.
Powers & Abilities
Winston Croft is essentially Los Angeles’ Sherlock Holmes. The sort of guy who walks into a room, examines some details, then deduces everything that happened in a five-mile radius since Clovis ruled the Franks.
Mr. Croft uses forensics equipment while detecting. His favourite is a flashlight that can shine along the entire spectrum, from ultraviolet to infrared. Given Croft’s experience, it allows for quickly finding minute clues.
Winston Croft is retired – he seems to be in his late 60s. He used to be a detective, either as a P.I. or with a Californian police department. It is implied that he helped — as a consulting detective, if you will — the Global Frequency on several occasions.
Aleph stated that Mr. Croft was the best detective the Frequency knew of. Given the extraordinary access that the Frequency has to talent, this could mean that he’s the best sleuth in the GF world. It is also possible that Aleph was buttering Croft up, but that seems unlikely.
Emergency recovery procedure begins now
In 2003, Global Frequency director Miranda Zero abruptly went offline in L.A.. Ten minutes later, GF global coordinator Aleph was activating assets to locate the boss *now*.
Seconds later, an helicopter was on its way to pick Winston Croft up, since he was Aleph’s key talent for the mission. Albeit retired, Mr. Croft gracefully agreed to help.
Beyond the master detective, the following assets scrambled :
- Mark Tran, a technologist working on a one-person helicopter not unlike a jetpack. The Solosoar prototype could cross L.A. with peerless speed and precision.
- Alice April, a bodyguard and former hitwoman. She seemed to have some sort of history with Croft. Perhaps he arrested her once or thrice when she was a teenager.
- A surveillance drone from an unclear party (possibly LAPD sympathisers).
- Mr. Musson, a DNA analysis and CSI expert.
- A large chunk of the Global Frequency’s hacker swarm, primarily used to access most CCTVs and webcams in the area.
- A harried bank manager who could access financial records faster than the hackers could.
With the helicopter, Winston Croft was on the scene within 25 minutes of receiving the call. He started inspecting the hotel room whence Ms. Zero had disappeared.
You know my methods, Aleph
Within ten minutes, Winston Croft had established :
- That intruders had gained access using a bypass device (oil and gel on the hotel room’s door’s card slot), homemade (small fresh abrasions on the metal).
- That they were wearing gloves (there still was powder on the door handle, which would have clung to bare skin).
- That they had used a knockout spray similar to halotane (telltale lingering smell).
- That there were two aggressors, and the sort of shoes they were wearing (based on faint tracks on a thick carpet, using UV illumination). One had dress shoes with worn soles, which likely meant he was a man wearing an old business suit.
- That one of them was taller that Director Zero, given the blood splatter shape from when she was hit.
He also found a trace of latex and ceramic paint on a mirror. This meant that one aggressor had been using soundproofing paint recently. This suggested that M. Zero was held in a densely populated area. And since the paint was fresh enough, the holding site was close by.
It is my business to know what other people do not know
Genetic fingerprinter Mr. Musson came in with a portable lab. Meanwhile, Mr. Winston instructed the smart mob to scour surveillance footage for a tall workman in paint-soiled overalls and a thin man in an old suit.
From there, the swarm scoured video footage to trace where their van had been headed. They also tracked down where the paint had been bought.
Though it seemed that Mr. Croft had done his job, he remained with Mr. Musson.
The pair came in again 15 minutes later, as Aleph’s efforts had been stalling for several minutes. One of the suspects had an alias. It was not found in the databases Aleph was using at this point, but cross-referenceable using a tiny DNA sample Musson and Croft had analysed in the hotel room.
When I imagine Mr. Croft’s voice it sounds like Stanley Clarke’s bass guitar. Look, it’s a jazz fusion thing, okay ? You can’t judge that. I have rights.
An ageing but still spry African-American gentleman, with lighter skin (about a 26 on the von Luschan scale , for those millions of dermatologists who read writeups.org) and a manifestly receding hairline.
Mr. Croft *so* dresses like an aged detective. Brown trench coat, beige slacks, white button-up shirt, durable chukka boots , old guy’s waistcoat, old-fashioned wristwatch.
Winston Croft is a gentleman, a goal-focused deductive genius, and a hardboiled detective. He has a slightly sarcastic, almost impish — but subtle and amusing — sense of humour.
He seemed glad to work again – which may be in part because this would save Miranda Zero’s life. Many of the best Global Frequency agents seem to have a personal debt toward Ms. Zero.
One panel gives the impression that he was alone in his house yet surrounded by portraits of his family. Perhaps he retired after tragic familial losses, and was nearing the end of his grief when Aleph called.
He addresses most people as “young man” or “young lady”.
Mr. Croft: “Well now. Alice April. Still on the loose ?”
Ms. April: “I’m a good girl now, Mr. Croft.”
Mr. Croft (wryly): “Of course you are. Shall we go in and solve our mystery ?”
Mr. Croft: “Sniff the air.”
Ms. April: “Yeah, it’s like… God, that reminds me of…”
Mr. Croft (looking at April with sly amusement): “… burnt opiate products, perhaps ?”
Ms. April (annoyed): “… maybe. I, y’know, *heard* about how they smell.”
Mr. Tran: “What is that ? I love gadgets.”
Mr. Croft: “A forensics light source. […] It enhances the visualisation of trace evidence. Also useful for tracking slugs in my garden.”
Aleph (angrily): “Damnit !! We are so BLOWING this !”
W. Croft (calmly): “No, we are not, young lady. Computers are idiots, and only repeat what they are told.” (beat) “The genetic typing is speaking to another database entirely. And it is telling us that your ‘Aggerholm’ has also answered to the less colourful ‘Joseph Arthur Dobbs’.”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 03||Motivation: Unrevealed|
|Int: 07||Wil: 07||Min: 05||Occupation: Retiree|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 05||Spi: 05||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 013||HP: 015|
Charisma (Interrogation): 05, Detective (Clue analysis): 08, Detective (Legwork, Counterfeit rec, Law, Police procs): 06, Medicine (First aid): 03, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 03
Area Knowledge (Greater L.A. area).
Global Frequency (Low), Street (Low), Underworld (Low), LAPD (Low).
- Global Frequency Phone [BODY 04, Radio Communications (Scrambled): 19, Misc. Advantage (Allow Remote Sensing from Central Operations)].
- Forensics flashlight [BODY 02, Enhance (Detective (Clue Analysis)): 01 (cap is 10), Enhance (INT): 03 (cap is 12), Superspeed: 02, Ultra vision: 02, Limitations :
- Both Enhance Powers have a Power Loss (they require 4+ APs in Detective (Clue Analysis) to engage one AP, 5 to engage two, and 6 to engage three).
- Enhance (INT) only to find clues on a scene.
- Superspeed only for Tasks, only for Tasks reinforced by the Enhance Powers of the Gadget, and can only engage as many APs as the relevant Enhance Power of the Gadget.
Source of Character: Global Frequency comics.
Writeup completed on the 25th of November, 2018.