Dread Midnight Strikes
I still can’t believe I have to fear a Dread Midnight, let alone warn someone I know that they might be after them. The fact that it’s an Untouchable just makes it that much more unthinkable. How is this even possible. From what I have heard, Jingle took my advice and got the hell out of Dodge. I hope he is doing well but considering how hard it is to survive in San Niebla anyway, let’s just say I wish him a decent living. He’s still part of the Untouchables but his distance makes him more of an ambassador independent rather than part of the larger collective of the team. Considering half of the extra might for the Untouchables comes when they merge with the Mark, it kind of limits his potential. I’m told his cousin got him a job as a bike messenger until his studies could resume. At least he doesn’t have to worry about getting hit by cars. Stay strong and quick, Jingle.
Oh, Bobbi says hi and Penelope says that if you keep taking about her backside like you did in my last post then, and I’m quoting here: “We shall show him fear before he can no longer appreciate what he has.” I don’t know which one of them said it. Judging from the wording, I would say Reptila but that’s just a guess.
Speaking of fear from what was once ridiculous places…
For those who don’t know, Dread Midnight used to be one of the greats in the early 30’s. When he first found the spotlight he had spent the better part of a year literally bludgeoning half of the lower echelon gangsters in Gateway City. That spotlight was, again, a literal spotlight as they found him holding “Rocky” Marichino over city hall by his tie. At first (and yes I have seen the photo they published of that event) he didn’t look like much in the new world of masked vigilantes and Mystery Men and Women. He wore no fedora or over coat (fashionable at the time) but a simple black suit, a hood over his face and a pair of goggles. His black jumpsuit held a double arrow point up and little else, not even a utility belt, though he did have a simple black cape, one of the first to add that little affectation. But he was not your average masked man. Besides his physical abilities, he carried himself like a predator, a stalker, and force to be reckoned with. The photo made him more of threat, standing on city hall like that. I’m told it started the photography career of an amateur shutterbug named Bud Thompson. From then on, as the newspapers and radio dramas would say, “Criminals should fear the strike of Dread Midnight.” Yeah, I know it sound hokey now, but at the time it had something of a ring, considering everything else, why not.
Dread Midnight spent the better part of a decade routing out criminals, gangsters, and the occasional fifth columnist. He has his share of supervillains, I’m told, but those records are sealed until 2045 thanks to the fact that he joined the war effort. Not long after Pearl Harbor made most supervillains at the time seem like chumps, Dread Midnight, his sidekick Tock, and a bunch of other masked men and metahumans became the first integration of Paramericans. They fought metas in both Europe and Asia, though several remained to deal with threats at home. Each photo, even in the brightest day, his black on black outfit swallowed the light as he flipped tanks over with his bare hands. In recognition for his feats and efforts, all information concerning him, Tock, and those that survived were buried and deemed about several grades above top secret. Four star generals and Commanders in chief could hold this secret but no one else. Thankfully, after the war, the Original Dread Midnight retired, as mentioned in Bud Thompson’s Biography of “the Midnight Terror.” Apparently the two of them were close friends after the war, even going so far to explain how he got his magnificent might.
He had close to invulnerability and heightened strength he says he got from a chemical formula that changed him forever. That formula was used on one other then destroyed. Even an order from the President couldn’t get it back (as FDR’s Chief of staff during the war noted in his third autobiography) and Bud kept as much he could secret enough. He did mention that the first did end up loosing a leg in the war in some major battle with an unnamed Nazi Uber. Details about the battle are sparse but it was sited as the primary reason of Midnight’s retirement.
Two years another Dread Midnight came about. This time, Los Reinas, California, not far from the Famous Hollywoodland sign. IT was rumored that this was Tock continuing the crusade his old mentor started. This one’s outfit, while still black on black with a cape, seemed more tactical, the flowing hood replaced with a snug full face mask, though the goggles remained. He also wore more gear, including a pair of M1911 pistols. He routed out corruption, crime, and basically made a name for himself for almost 15 years. He retired in what some have called shame when it was requested that he report to the House Unamerican Activities Committee. The official notice was that he was to tell the committee who among the Los Reinas citizens and those in the movie industry he had found had ties to the communist party. The notice had to be printed as a half page ad in every newspaper in the city to get the message through. It came through alright. Two nights later four senators awoke at exactly midnight each with a single word drawn on their foreheads. When they discussed the matter the next day, each still bearing the mark thanks to the indelible ink which takes days to wash off, they found they had one word of a sentence. “Never” “Contact” “Me” “Again.”
The only reason we in the public know any of this is the senators (who in my opinion should be enjoying their seaside views of the corners of hell they each occupy) openly discussed it around the old janitor they didn’t even see. He immediately leaked it to the press and drove to Mexico, or so the story goes.
Since then there have ben 17 Dread Midnights. It’s a bigger franchise than McBurgers, Caffeinator and Creamery Kid or the Dread Pirate Roberts. What’s worse is that the line from the original stopped in 1953. Each successive person afterwards has been some hero wanting to make a name for themselves by being the scary “Dread Midnight.” Each time the aspects of being “the Grim Terror of the Night” got, well, frankly, stupider. From huge, impressive looking but nonfunctional wings where the cape had once been, or bandoleers of arms, or blades upon blades upon blades.
After #7, well, it just got silly. Though I have to mention #14, a Randolph Swicero of Queensland, Ohio. A former running back who decided to avenge his little brother’s death at the hands of the Basilisk of the first incarnations of the Menagerie. He spent almost all of his families not unsizable wealth trying to make himself into the perfect angel of justice. This included training in marital arts, weapon classes, and stealth techniques. Then he took it several steps farther, opting for unnecessary cybernetic implants and a exoskeleton assisted costume which included: holographic imagers, darkness bombs, guns upon guns, and extendable razor blades on his fingers. Blades upon blades were sewn into the man as he turned himself into a living arsenal. The deep black of his costume drove fear of the demon in the shadows that could jump out at any moment and slaughter everyone around. He then stalked Basilisk for two weeks, attacked, and found that Basilisk and Red Dragon having a drink together.
He never got in so much as a war cry. Basilisk immobilized him with his gaze and Red Dragon tore his head off. The story of #14 might have stopped there, except the techno-amplified vigilante has so many implants and augmentations, his neckless head still lived. I’m told Red Dragon keeps it on his desk under a bell jar.
It didn’t take long for the next idiot to try something similar.
Consequently, most people acknowledge that when they hear “the Dread Midnight strikes” it’s some yahoo who wants to be Inferno or Nightshift, or the next Cane and will fail miserably in doing so. Time and time again. Most don’t last more than a year before either deciding this isn’t the life for them or choosing a new identity… if they are lucky. There is even a running Gag on Saturday Night Live about it, until Jack Rooney, the actor most known for the portrayal of the pseudo-scary vigilante, died of an overdose.
So at first when I heard that Dread Midnight had Jingle’s scent, I almost laughed it off. What was he going to do? Fall on his knives at him?
Then, I got the notice. At least one member of the Good Time Boys, reported an individual calling himself Dread Midnight, slaughtered a rival gang in Downtown Bridgeton. What little footage there was, captured by cellphone video by what is either the luckiest or unluckiest passerby. The all black costume remained, even the cape, though it was much shorter. The goggles also remained, but now more integrated into the overall helm of the masked avenger. With precise efficiency, use of cloaking darkness, and superhuman strength practically eviscerated every member of an eight man crew. It’s worth noting that all eight members had outstanding warrants for arrest on a number of charges. So why did the Good Time Boys report it? Glad you asked. Dread Midnight delivered the head of the rival gang to the Good Time Boys. It’s currently believed he did this to gain their trust and entrance into their lair. That lair no longer exists, though the fire department was able to excavate most of the members’ bodies. The last, who wishes to remain anonymous, had turned himself over to the police. He claims the only reason he is alive is he was the only member at the lair who didn’t have felony convictions against him.
Now there is a new agent, a Dread Midnight to be feared again. And he is looking for a friend of mine. So I’m making note of any and all heroes who read this, can you please help? What is going on with this guy? Why is he trying to kill Jingle? Where did he come from? In the end, keep an eye for my friends. I would like to know how I can help, but I have no idea.
Great, I’m praying to them now….