Check any Golden Age comics reference and you’ll see that aviators were huge back in the day; there were as many aviators as there were costumed “mystery men” on the newsstands during the late 1930’s and WWII. But for sheer two-fisted, hard drinking, hell for leather panache, nobody beats Reb O’Brien, resident flyboy of the legendary Liberty League!

“REB” O’BRIEN

Reb O'Brien

Richard O’Brien was born in Athens, GA, in 1913, the son of a famous barnstorming aviator; consequently little Rick had a plane’s stick in his hand almost as soon as he could sit up unassisted. By the time he was a teenager he was already an accomplished (some say gifted) pilot. Blessed with uncanny agility, reflexes, and endurance Rick set a few (admittedly minor) flight records while still in high school.

After Rick graduated, he began casting about for a direction in life. That September the Japanese invaded Manchuria and, as far as Rick was concerned, his course was set. He journeyed to China and became a combat aviator as a mercenary in the Chinese air forces, becoming the first (but far from the last) American to do so. In due course he was joined by other U.S.-born adventurers; it was at this time that the Georgia boy earned the sobriquet “Reb”, a nickname which has stuck ever since.

Reb fought for the Chinese through the early 1930’s but returned home to the U.S. in 1935. With the generous pay he’d earned in the Chinese service, Rick purchased a couple of cargo planes and went into business for himself under the name “Dixie Air Pirates”. Although Reb would sometimes haul mundane cargo when business was slow, his specialty was flying in and out of tricky and/or dangerous situations, often carrying equally dangerous cargo (and charging a hefty price for his unique services).

There’s no more dangerous cargo than costumed mystery men, and in 1939 Reb officially joined forces with the Liberty League, partly out of patriotism, partly for the adventure, and partly for the cash stipend he earned from the U.S. War Department which contracted Dixie Air Pirates as the official “wings” of the Liberty League. As a side bonus during the Second World War, Reb sometimes received new military aircraft for use in his work (which, in wartime, had expanded considerably from mere cargo transport missions) and he eventually boasted a F4F Wildcat, a F6F Hellcat, and a P-51 Mustang as additions to his growing hangar of airplanes. (The government was also generous enough to replace some of the planes when necessary, such as when the Scarlet Shogun destroyed Reb’s first Mustang [and nearly got Reb as well]).

Although Reb has a well-deserved reputation as a hard drinker and major hellraiser, he’s deadly serious about his work. He routinely carries a pair of holstered .45 automatics but keeps numerous other sidearms in his planes close at hand “as insurance”, including several prized 1860 Colt Army .44s (retrofitted to accept metallic cartridges, of course).

In the mid-1930’s Dixie Air Pirates had a small roster of additional pilots on the payroll; after Reb joined the Liberty League the only other person he’d trust to fly his planes was Liberty Lass, herself an accomplished pilot. Reb O’Brien, along with the rest of the Liberty League, vanished in 1946 and his fate remains a mystery.

IDENTITY: Richard O’Brien
NAME: “Reb” O’Brien
SIDE: G
SEX: M
AGE: 33 (b.1913)
EXPERIENCE: 139,000
LEVEL: 16
TRAINING: Strength
POWERS: None

WEIGHT: 163 lbs.
BASIC HITS: 4
AGILITY MOD:
STRENGTH: 11
ENDURANCE: 21
AGILITY: 19
INTELLIGENCE: 16
CHARISMA: 11   REACTIONS FROM GOOD: –  FROM EVIL:
HIT MOD.: 5.928
HIT POINTS: 24
DAMAGE MOD.: +3
HEALING RATE: 2.4
ACCURACY: +3
POWER POINTS: 67
CARRYING CAPACITY: 281.342
BASIC HTH DAMAGE: 1d6
MOVEMENT RATES: 51″
DET. HIDDEN: 16%
DET. DANGER: 16%
INVENTING POINTS: 2
CASH: $
INVENTING %:
LEGAL STATUS: Member Liberty League; Owner Dixie Air Pirates
OTHER INFORMATION: Reb has no powers, but has heightened endurance and agility (partly natural, partly trained). Reb is (obviously) a gifted pilot, but is also phenominally adept at all kinds of electromechanical repairs and “kit bashing” (turning junk into useful items and even weapons). He carries a pair of .45 automatic pistols at all times and is considered a crack shot. Reb also owns an impressive collection of cargo and fighter aircraft which are kept in constant readiness for the Liberty League’s use.

As always, Reb is willing to kick Axis butt and then double-fist a six of longnecks in your own Villains & Vigilantes campaigns. Just try not to crack up his planes, and do let me know how your adventures go!

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2010, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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