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Wonder Man (Marvel Comics) during his solo series, flying with his jet belt

Wonder Man

(Simon Williams) (Profile #2 - early solo series)


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

Context

This profile is part of a chronological series – though they’re old and some of them are closer to being benchmarks. We suggest reading them in order, namely :

  1. (start there).
  2. Wonder Man profile #2 – early solo series (this here writeup).
  3. .
  4. Wonder Man profile #4 – post solo series.

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Most of the changes in the solo series have been retconned away as illusions created by Mephisto, other than the basic concept of Wonder Man as an energy being. This is understandable given the continuity conflicts the series had with previous material.

Nevertheless, we’re presenting this write-up out of affection for that series. These stats may also be useful as a depiction of a future Wonder Man or one from an alternate timeline.


Background

  • Real Name: Simon Williams.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Sanford and Martha (parents, deceased), Erik Williams a.k.a. The Grim Reaper (brother), Vision (“brother”), Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (“sister-in-law”).
  • Group Affiliation: Avengers, formerly the Masters of Evil.
  • Base Of Operations: Los Angeles.
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 380 lbs.
  • Eyes: Glowing red Hair: Gray


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Powers and Abilities

As a result of Baron Helmut Zemo’s experiments, Simon Williams’s body is now completely composed of ionic  energy fields.

This gives Williams superhuman strength and durability (in DC Heroes RPG terms that’s heightened Str, Body, Cold and Flame Immunities, Density Increase, Invulnerability, Jumping, Systemic Antidote) as well as enhanced reaction time and movement speed (Superspeed). His unique body composition is somewhat more vulnerable to energy and sonic attacks than other types (Attack Vulnerabilities).

Due to multiple exposures to the Enchantress’s powers, Wonder Man began developing a resistance to her mind control spells. He was able to subtly undermine her plans even though he was still under her spell.

Fluctuations

At the beginning of the series, Wonder Man’s abilities in the above areas were significantly lower than they had been in previous appearances. As the series progressed it became obvious that Simon’s mental state affected his overall power level.

Thus it is likely that the sudden drop in his abilities was connected to Simon’s striving to emphasize his humanity over his altered physical state and the self-doubts that arose from that conflict.

After exposure to the nega-bomb explosion during the Kree-Shi’ar War, Simon’s powers began to fluctuate. Whether the nega-bomb’s radiation actually catalyzed these fluctuations or the event simply exacerbated Simon’s psychosomatic symptoms is unknown. When he suffered doubt or fear, his abilities would decrease precipitously, sometimes to the point of Simon passing out.

When Simon became enraged, his physical abilities increased to the levels roughly equivalent to those he had prior to the start of the series. In this state he was strong enough to knock out a doppelgänger  of the Hulk with two punches.

He also bare-handedly decapitated his own evil duplicate, whose powers were only equal to Simon’s normal abilities.


History


While the contradictory continuity of the Wonder Man solo series was largely dismissed as Mephisto’s illusions during the Avengers Two limited series, this write-up assumes that the revelations within the series are factually accurate — as the author has stated he meant them to be — within the context of said series.

The early history of Simon Williams in the actual Marvel universe is significantly different. See the other Wonder Man write-ups for details.

As a child Simon Williams’s parents repeatedly impressed upon him the importance of looking out for his brother Erik, especially since Simon was the “good” son. This came to a head when Erik accidentally burned the family’s house down and killed both parents. Simon covered up for Erik’s mistake, as his parents would have expected of him.

After graduating college, Simon became a weapon designer with his own small company. However, he was put out of business by Tony Stark’s superior designs in that area. His brother Erik started to embezzle funds as the business failed, a crime for which Simon took responsibility in order to protect Erik again.

A deal with Zemo

Simon blamed Tony Stark for his business failures. He thus accepted Baron Helmut Zemo’s offer to give him superpowers so he could join the Masters of Evil. The Masters were slated to attack the Avengers, which Stark was heavily invested with.

Baron Zemo then put Simon through a series of treatments that changed him into “a being of pure ionic energy, a living engine of destruction !”

Williams joined the Avengers as Wonder Man to help destroy them from within. During his time with them, he became inspired by their heroism. Soon, Simon cchanged his mind about helping the Masters of Evil. Zemo informed Williams that he would in fact need continual treatments or his transformation would kill them.

Despite his fear of dying, Simon helped the Avengers defeat the Masters of Evil, and then lapsed into a death-like coma.

Believed to be dead, Simon Williams was buried. The Avenger Hank Pym had kept copies of Simon William’s brainwaves. When the Vision joined the Avengers, these brainwaves were programmed into the Vision to give the android human emotions.

From the great beyond

Soon afterward, Black Talon disinterred Simon and reanimated him, sending him against the Avengers. Simon regained his wits and it was discovered that he had not actually died. Rather, he had lapsed into a coma while his body finished its transformation into pure ionic energy. He rejoined the Avengers and went on to a distinguished career with them.

While Simon was with the West Coast Avengers, the US government captured the Vision and erased his original personality. This was in response to an incident in which the Vision seized control of the world’s computers in an attempt to end world conflict. The Vision was reprogrammed with information from the Avengers’ database, but still lacked his original personality.

When the Vision’s wife, the Scarlet Witch, asked Simon to contribute his brainwaves again, he refused. Though he thought of the Vision as a brother, he had never really felt comfortable with someone else having a duplicate of his personality.

More importantly, Simon also reasoned that while the Vision might have had Williams’s personality initially, the Vision had built upon that and become his own person.With those additional experiences gone, the Vision could never truly be recreated and any attempt would be a mockery of the original.

This caused a rift between Simon and the Scarlet Witch, a rift all the more painful for Simon because of his unspoken love for her.

The solo Wonder Man series begins

Simon eventually took a break from being an Avenger to concentrate on his acting career. He desired to build a normal life for himself and to come to terms with who he was. In particular he wondered what kind of person he truly was and whether or not he was truly human, given his transformation into ionic energy.

He made various friends in the Hollywood community including a woman named Alex Flores, a screenwriter on some of his projects.

The Kree-Shi’ar War interrupted his process of self-discovery. Working with the Vision during Operation: Galactic Storm  helped Simon begin to work out his feelings about the Vision, the Scarlet Witch, and his past. The climax of the Kree-Shi’ar War found Simon Williams caught at ground zero of a nega-bomb detonation, which had a profound effect on his powers.

They started to fluctuate depending on his mood. When he gave in to self-doubt he would lose power and physically “deflate” and when enraged his powers would increase beyond their original levels.

High on emotion

These fluctuations exacerbated the personal questions Simon was dealing with. His battle with his evil twin during the Infinity War  only worsened his internal conflicts.

Simon accidentally empowered others with part of his ionic energy twice. The first time resulted in the creation of Angkor, the manifestation of a Buddhist priest’s internal anguish after witnessing the horrors of war. The second time, he inadvertently gave his friends superpowers.

Simon eventually broke off contact with his friends for fear that he would do them more harm. Simon also had a growing conviction that since he was only an energy being with memories of being a man. Thus, he felt that he should not get used to associating with humans.

He took an acting job out of town and, by using his emotional turmoil to get into his part, displayed a surprising talent for acting.

The Crazy Eights

Meanwhile, his empowered friends formed the super team Crazy Eights and exposed a criminal operation posing as a security provider. This marked them for death. One of the Crazy eights was able to contact Simon and Wonder Man rushed back to save them.

In the aftermath of the battle, Simon realized that his friends needed him and that the best way to protect them would be sort out his issues rather than avoiding them.

(History is continued in the Wonder Man (solo series version, issues #22-29) write-up.)


Description

Simon Williams is a tall, athletically built man with handsome features and tousled hair. His eyes normally glow red, but he can dim the glow so people don’t find it disconcerting. When enraged, his eyes glow even brighter, seemingly flaming with ionic energy.

He previously dyed his hair black, but can now maintain that color as part of his limited shape-shifting abilities.

His costume consists of dark blue spandex pants, a sleeveless muscle shirt, and fingerless gloves with a red belt, boots, and wristbands. The shirt has a large red “W” running across the chest. In casual circumstances, Simon would wear loose clothing over the costume, usually in earth tones.


Personality

At the start of the series, Simon was a very troubled individual. Multiple factors combined to cause Simon a great deal of anguish and confusion over what kind of person he really was:

  • His unusual family history.
  • His guilt over his work as a munitions dealer and the failure of his company.
  • His conflicted relationships with the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.

This was exacerbated by his multiple deaths and rebirths. His various deaths worsened his fear of mortality, while his rebirths made him wonder if he was even a human being anymore in any sense of the term.

Consequently, Williams focused on working as an actor as a means to develop a sense of personal identity. He wished to define for himself who and what he truly was. He dreamt of portraying complex characters and being recognized and acclaimed as a sensitive and nuanced actor.

Simon hoped that this would in turn prove that he was a living human being and worthy of love. He seemed entirely unaware of the irony of trying to prove himself more real by taking a series of fictional roles.

Turmoil

Simon was trying to separate himself from superheroics as part of this process. Accordingly, he hated being dragged into superhero work, becoming short-tempered whenever he found himself battling supervillains again. Though Simon didn’t completely lose control under those circumstances, he often charged recklessly into fights.

This trait was exploited by more intelligent foes, such as Splice.

In the period of time between the end of the Kree-Shi’ar War and the resolution of Simon’s confrontation with Mephisto, Simon’s psyche became as unbalanced as his powers. He found himself swayed between two poles. Sometimes, he suffered profound depression over the violence in his life and his possible inhumanity.

At other times, he would work himself into a violent rage over those same issues and the uncertain relationships he had with the women in his life. Williams began using lethal force in some of his fights and even got into fights with his fellow Avengers when his rage consumed him.

Simon left Los Angeles for a while because he feared that his unstable powers and personality might result in harm to his friends and colleagues. When he returned, he realized that the only way to protect those he cared for was to confront his problems rather than running away.


Quotes

“I don’t want to be an ’action-hero‘. I keep telling everyone — I want to be an actor. With substance.”

“Am I a man ? Or just a hunk of ionic energy that remembers being a man ?”

“You don’t know weapons ! I do, remember ? I made them. I sold death for years.”

“I left because I saw that I’m not human. I wondered if I should even try to be a part of this world. I came back because I was needed… and because whatever I am, I have to confront it.”


DC Universe History

Simon William’s business was floundering when his factory was destroyed during a battle between the JLA and the Champions of Angor. His insurance had lapsed and he could not convince investors to invest the necessary capital to rebuild.

Simon was approached by the first Injustice League to destroy the Justice League. He let himself be convinced that the JLA’s actions demonstrated that they considered themselves above the law. As he saw it, they cared noting for those whose lives and property was destroyed during their conflicts.

Simon was transformed by Lexcorp experiments, though Lex Luthor’s link to this incarnation of the Injustice League remained secret. Simon was meant to get powers similar to Superman’s – another attempt at the same experiments that created the Bizarro-clone.

But instead became imbued with the same cellular “solar batteries” with which Superman absorbs yellow sun radiation. Consequently, Simon gained some of Superman’s enhanced physical characteristics.

(In game terms, use the Previous Statistics, adding Superman’s vulnerabilities to kryptonite and to a lack of yellow sun radiation and replacing his Partial Attack Vulnerabilities with a PAV to red sun radiation.)

Infiltrator

Simon joined the JLA to destroy it from within. However, he came to realize that the Justice Leaguers were not the heartless monsters he believed them to be. He thus helped them defeat the Injustice League. Simon made the ultimate sacrifice during this battle, imposing himself between Superman and a blast of simulated kryptonite radiation.

Simon was believed to be dead and buried alongside other dead JLAers. He emerged from the grave a few months later. He was now a being of Kryptonian energy whose transformation had been triggered by the unique interaction of human physiology with a Kryptonian overlay and exposure to faux-kryptonite radiation.

This transformation was a dim foreshadowing of Superman’s later transformation into an energy being.

Simon rejoined the JLA for a time. After the JLA disbanded during the Legends crisis he moved to California, taking time off to come to terms with his new life. His powers began fluctuating after exposure to the Gene-Bomb during the Invasion.

(DCU History is continued in the Wonder Man (solo series version, issues #22-29) write-up.)

See the Classic Wonder Man write-up for another possible DCU History linked to the Captain Atom Project.


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Simon Williams

Dex: 05 Str: 14 Bod: 11 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 04 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Adventurer
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 020 HP: 050

Powers:
Chameleon: 02, Cold Immunity: 05, Density Increase: 01, Flame Immunity: 05, Invulnerability*: 11, Jumping: 08, Superspeed: 05, Systemic Antidote*: 11

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Chameleon is only used to dim the glow of his eyes, turn his gray hair black, and to repair his costume; the latter function is something Simon does automatically and without conscious awareness of doing so (-2FC).
  • Density Increase is Always On — total Physical RV is 12 (-1FC).
  • Superspeed cannot be used to subtract from the time to perform a task nor substitute for DEX (-4FC).

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging): 04, Artist (Actor): 04, Gadgetry*: 04, Martial Artist (including Techniques)*: 05, Scientist*: 04, Vehicles: 05

Advantages:
Government Credentials (Avengers, Low), Life Support (All except No Need to Sleep), Miscellaneous (Wonder Man has a +1 CS to OV/RV versus the Enchantress’s mind control magics), Scholar (Weapons Design).

Connections:
Avengers (High), Ginger Beach, aspiring actress (Low), “Spider” Beach, wannabe sidekick (Low), Beast (High), Alexandra “Alex” Flores, scriptwriter (Low), Neal Saroyan, publicist/agent (Low).

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance (glowing eyes), Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (energy attacks, -1 CS to RV; sonic attacks, -2CS to RV), Public ID, Uncertainty.

Equipment:
FLIGHT BELT [BODY 05, Flight: 06, Drawback: the flight belt can only be used by ionically-powered characters. Tony Stark designed this flight belt for Simon. It was powered by ionic energy drawn from Wonder Man’s body. The flight belt was destroyed in issue #3 when Wonder Man used it to power a kit-bashed gamma irradiator, after which he relied on his Jumping Power for high-speed transportation].


Ionic Flux

In the wake of the nega-bomb explosion (from issues #10 to 21), Wonder Man’s powers began to rise or fall with his moods. This Power Complication Subplot worked as follows.

When Simon was given cause to doubt himself, he would become enervated, sometimes so drastically that he would lapse into semi-consciousness. When Simon encountered these circumstances, he suffered the equivalent of a Mystical attack. These attacks usually had an AV/EV of 06/06, but could go as high as 10/10 if they struck at one of Simon’s core values.

A typical 06/06 attack often occurred when Simon went into battle as an ironic result of worrying about losing his powers. One 10/10 attack resulted when Wonder Man confronted the mysterious Angkor during one of its murderous rampages – only to realize the cruel behemoth had been a pacifist monk until being inadvertently energized by Simon’s own unstable ionic powers.

RAPs gained from the above attacks were subtracted from all of Simon’s Powers and Physical Attributes, to a minimum of 0. For example, if such an attack gained 3 RAPs, all of Wonder Man’s Powers and Physical Attributes were lowered by 3 APs. If he suffered 5 or more RAPs, reducing his DEX to 0, he became too weak to move.

Simon could spend HPs as usual to increase his OV/RV, but could not use them for Last Ditch Defense (he usually saved HP expenditure for a recovery roll, as described below).

Grrrrrr!

Conversely, if Wonder Man became enraged, he could not only counteract the above power losses but even increase to levels of might similar to the ones exhibited prior to the start of the series. Since he was pushing against his own limits, Simon’s INF/AUR were the AV/EV and his INF/SPI were the OV/RV.

He could spend HPs on this roll in the same manner as any other Dice Action. If Simon received 1 or more RAPs, any penalties he currently suffered from a self-doubt check were negated.

If Simon managed to get RAPs equal to or greater than his SPI score, he also underwent a massive power boost. His STR increased to 21 APs, his BODY to 15, and all Powers except for Chameleon and Density Increase were each raised by 2 APs (Invulnerability and Systemic Antidote raised with BODY, due to their Link). Unfortunately, he would also gain Catastrophic Rage.

This enhanced state would last a number of APs equal to the RAPs received on the roll, after which he would return to normal, or until he took RAPs from a self-doubt check, in which case he would return to normal and suffer the usual self-doubt penalties.


Ionic Charge

Another side-effect of Simon’s uncontrollable powers after the nega-bomb explosion was his inadvertent empowerment of various bystanders. In both cases, the affected parties each received 15 APs that were distributed as enhanced Attributes or new Powers.

The first person to experience this was Brother Thommanom, whose mental projection powers formed a unique connection with Simon’s ionic energy. As a result, Thommanom became Angkor, an animated stone statue with great strength and durability.

Soon afterward, one of Simon’s power bursts granted superpowers to eight of his friends and neighbors who were standing beside him. Each of the subjects had widely varied abilities, from overall physical enhancement to the ability to create “electromagnetic” clones to projection of an astral body.


Previous Statistics

Prior to the start of the series, Simon had the stats listed in the Wonder Man (classic era) write-up.

Wonder Man did not have the Martial Artist Skill during the first four issues of his series. After being thrashed by Splice, Simon took it upon himself to get training from Captain America, which he put to use in his very next fight against the Recession Raiders.

Simon’s acting ability has improved since he learned to creatively channel his personal issues into the characters he portrays. Prior to this development in issue #19, Simon’s Artist (Actor) was only 03 APs.

By Roy Cowan and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Wonder Man comic series (Marvel Universe) issues #1-21.

Helper(s): Michael Davis, Woodrow Hill, Jackson, Jay Myers.

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