Sunday, January 03, 2010

Vault Extra - Death Duel With the Destroyers

So I mentioned yesterday that the Destroyers, super-powered henchmen of Saker who were the Elementals' first opponents, had originally appeared in a RPG supplement published two years before the comic book. This is that supplement (and I hope you appreciate this, because I had to dig through about ten boxes before I figured out where I had these stored).

"Death Duel With the Destroyers" was the first scenario for the Villains and Vigilantes role-playing game published by Fantasy Games Unlimited (independent scenario publisher Judges Guild had earlier published a scenario titled "Break-In at Three Kilometer Island" - I owned it back in the day, but it is long since lost - it wasn't very good, anyway).

And right here, you can see one reason why I preferred V&V to Champions early on. The production values on V&V products were pretty good, and never better than this awesome cover by Willingham. You get a real sense of action and adventure here, and the color illustration is gorgeous, especially compared to some other companies' products at the time. Nowadays, all the companies have amazing artists, but back then, the companies were so small and paid so little that they were lucky to get even halfway decent illustrations on their products.

The adventure itself is fairly standard: a madman named Doctor Apocalypse demands that Manhattan be deeded to him, and sends first a mysterious storm, then a gigantic robot to prove that his demands are serious. Defeating the robot leads the players to the Destroyers' headquarters.

The Destroyers themselves are pretty much the same in both supplement and comic. The members have pretty much the same powers and abilities, and similar appearances. Slight differences in costume and background information are to be expected. The biggest difference is that the comics' Chrysalis is named The Iron Maiden in the scenario. I'm sure it was changed to avoid infringement suits of some kind.

One of the coolest things about the scenario is that not only do you get game descriptions of their powers and personalities, but each character also gets a little comics page devoted to them. Annihilator battles Microgirl. The Iron Maiden dons her armor. Electrocutioner zaps The Raven (who I think was Bill Willingham's personal character in his game campaign, so in a sense, it was like he was zapping himself).

And here was where I discovered something I'd forgotten (or never noticed).

On the page featuring Ratman and Behemoth, they are shown having just defeated a heroine named Morningstar, which ended up being the name of the leader of the Elementals. So even though the scene in question doesn't appear in the Elementals comic book, I like to think that game-buyers like myself got an odd little preview of the Elementals comic two years before its publication.

The sequel adventure published later that year was "The Island of Doctor Apocalypse." And though the not-so-good doctor bears little physical or background resemblance to Saker from the comics, the characters do share a common source for their powers--otherwordly demons whom they have subjugated in order to siphon power from them.

So there you have it: the Secret Origin of the Destroyers from Elementals. I hope you enjoyed it.

Oh, and all that digging through boxes has unearthed some really unusual stuff, so the next few weeks' worth of Vaults should be fun. See you then.

No comments: