As World War II raged on, kid sidekicks and mascots were all the rage with superhero teams. Some sidekicks were orphans, some were “street” kids, and some were just regular youngsters doing their part to help the Allies win the war. Meet Fireball, teenaged mascot of the Liberty League!

FIREBALL

Fireball

Al Walker was one of Silver City’s many “street kids”, children who were left homeless by the ravages of the Great Depression. The existence or whereabouts of Al’s parents was unknown to Al (or to anyone else for that matter), and the youngster managed to eke out a precarious existence as a streetcorner “newsie”, selling daily newspapers while living in abandoned buildings. Al’s bleak life changed forever when he was thirteen years old. One day while Al was selling papers, a flash fire erupted in a nearby tenement building; without waiting for firefighters to arrive, Al rushed into the building to try to save the residents trapped inside. He’d managed to safely evacuate most of the building’s occupants when a wooden beam dropped from an upper story and knocked Al unconscious inside the blazing building. Despite the tenement’s complete destruction Al miraculously survived; dragging himself from the ashes, the boy discovered that he now possessed the power to generate and manipulate flame, and could even turn his entire body into a pillar of fire.

Taking the name “Fireball”, Al used his powers to help others and began to make headlines in the very newspapers he once sold. Jack Victory of the Liberty League decided to take the homeless boy under his proverbial wing and Fireball not only gained a new home but also became the League’s “mascot” (as underaged superhero team members were prone to be called in those days). Fireball was never a full-fledged team member and was sometimes left behind when a team mission promised to be especially dangerous. This is likely why Fireball didn’t vanish with the rest of the team when the Liberty League mysteriously disappeared in 1946 (Fireball’s mentor Jack Victory had already gone missing under separate circumstances in 1945).

Fireball continued a superheroic career as a “solo” until 1952. In that year, the Congressional Committee on Superhuman Activities (the CCSA, under the leadership of Senator C. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee) was instrumental in passing legislation requiring all costumed “mystery men” to reveal their identities publicly and register with the U.S. Government. Fireball opted to instead flee the country. Seven years had passed since the disappearance of Jack Victory, who was declared legally dead; Victory’s will named Al Walker as his sole heir. Fortunately for Fireball, all of this occurred several months before the Kefauver Committee’s decision caused Fireball to leave the United States.

After investing his inheritance, Fireball first traveled to French Indochina where he fought alongside the French against the Viet Minh. After independence was declared in 1954, Fireball journeyed to Algeria with his newfound French military friends and again fought alongside them as a mercenary in another losing cause. Shortly before Algeria’s victory against France in 1962, the Kefauver Act was overturned and costumed superheroes (as “mystery men” were now called) began to reemerge in the U.S. Fireball returned to America but found that no superhero team wanted him in its ranks; his mercenary activities with the French (as well as his personal behavior while overseas) had earned him an unsavory reputation.

Desperate to remain in the limelight, Fireball wrote a “tell all” book about his life as a Liberty League member and French mercenary. The book was panned critically (since the Liberty League had vanished two decades before, there was no way to independently verify any of the information, and many details [such as Walker’s claim that he had been seduced at age 14 by a twenty-year old Liberty Lass] were met with extreme skepticism, if not outright derision) and it died on bookstore shelves.

Walker was forced to accept the fact that the superheroic world no longer wanted him, so he gave up his heroic activities as Fireball and returned to the drinking and womanizing ways he’d learned as a mercenary in Indochina. He ran a small, albeit successful, chain of strip clubs during the 1970’s and 1980’s but burned through his profits as fast as he could make the money. By the turn of the twenty-first century gambling had replaced womanizing and Walker found that the dividends he still received from the investment of his inheritance from Jack Victory, as well as from mercenary money he’d likewise invested, were no longer able to support his lavish, dissolute lifestyle. When last seen in 2008, Walker was living in cheap motel rooms, dressing shabbily, and still blowing fairly substantial sums of money betting on horses at a nearby West Virginia racetrack. His present whereabouts are unknown.

The following stats are for Fireball, age 20, at the time of the Liberty League’s disappearance.

IDENTITY: Al Walker
NAME: Fireball
SIDE: G
SEX: M
AGE: 20 (b.1926)
EXPERIENCE: 33,000
LEVEL: 7
TRAINING: Agility

POWERS:

  1. Flame Power – Flame Projection attack, Range=S+E (28″), Damage=1d12, PP=2, Defense Cost = 1 action to intercept incoming attacks

WEIGHT: 157 lbs.
BASIC HITS: 4
AGILITY MOD:
STRENGTH: 12
ENDURANCE: 16
AGILITY: 16
INTELLIGENCE: 12
CHARISMA: 13  REACTIONS FROM GOOD: +1 FROM EVIL: +1
HIT MOD.: 3.8016
HIT POINTS: 16
DAMAGE MOD.: +1
HEALING RATE: 1.6
ACCURACY: +2
POWER POINTS: 56
CARRYING CAPACITY: 261.248 lbs.
BASIC HTH DAMAGE: 1d6
MOVEMENT RATES: 44″
DET. HIDDEN: 13%
DET. DANGER: 13%
INVENTING POINTS: 1
CASH: $
INVENTING %:
LEGAL STATUS: Associate Member Liberty League

You can use Fireball as a NPC in your own Villains & Vigilantes campaign; just be sure to let me know how he’s doing in your game!

Have fun! — Steve

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

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