the Laughing Mask
For the majority of his crime fighting career, Dennis Burton was but a normal human. He lacked special powers of any variety - whether they be physically inborn, knowledge based, or even housed within fantastic equipment. However, now that he's working for the United States government, Dennis has been given the job of piloting Electro, and can thus be considered a high tech hero.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
.45 Pistols (a): his signature weapons, Dennis always carries his pieces with him - even if he's doing legal work as the district attorney! He may fire these deadly implements to inflict his Agility +4 in lethal damage in a single shot, raised to +5 if used in a semi-automatic mode. However, Dennis can also fire both weapons simultaneously, raising his damage +1 (whether firing singly or semi-auto).
Electro (i): after the Twelve dispersed, and the government found that only individuals exposed to Electro's electra-waves for some time could pilot it, they made Dennis a deal. In exchange for clearing his legal record, they wanted him to pilot Professor Zog's greatest creation in the service of America. Not wanting to spend any more time in jail, Dennis readily agreed. Electro is covered in its own entry.
Laughing Mask (a): while operating as the Laughing Mask, Dennis carries several of these masks. In addition to protecting his identity, these smiling masks glow with a weak phosphorescence, which gives them the ability to shed intensity 1 light. While not readily visible under normal lighting conditions, they stand out quite conspicuously when Dennis cuts the light in a given space.
Chemistry (i): to better investigate crimes in his jurisdiction, Dennis maintains a secret laboratory full of equipment that allows him to make proper use of this skill. Whether he studied chemistry in school or boned up on it as an aside to his vigilante work, Dennis knows everything there is to know about conventional chemistry, and can make associated actions at a reduced difficulty.
Guns (a): though he can fight competently even while unarmed, Dennis is a demon with a gun in hand - or as is most often the case, two. He can fire any standard, semi-automatic, or fully automatic rifle or pistol, or even irregular firearms such as a shotgun or a dragon, at one difficulty level lower than is normally required - which complements his natural agility quite nicely.
Law (i): as a young, assistant district attorney working in a major metropolitan area rife with crime and corruption, Dennis knows the law like the back of his hand. While he himself is not legally allowed the power to make arrests, Dennis can wield the law like a weapon in court. He may reduce the difficulty of actions regarding knowledge of the law by one level, whether related to legal facts or actual practice.
Martial Arts (a): on top of his ability to fill his foes full of lead, Dennis is more than competent in the use of his very body as a weapon. Whenever he's engaged in unarmed melee, Dennis may strike at a reduced difficulty. While he usually prefers two-fisted action (if not striking with the butts of his guns), Dennis can also kick, knee, and even bite with equal ability.
Quick Draw (a): making him incredibly deadly with a gun whether or not it's currently in hand, Dennis has the ability to draw and fire with almost blinding speed. He is allowed a +2 initiative bonus when handling firearms in battle, which allows Dennis to get the drop on criminal scumbags a whole lot easier than his Agility or Intellect would normally indicate.
Two Guns (a): a style he's evolved all on his own, Dennis excels in the use of two-handed gunplay. What this means is that he can fire both of his .45s without penalty in a single exchange, either by dividing his pre-card play action score between two distinct attacks, or by firing both simultaneously in a bursting attack to acquire an increase to the damage he inflicts in a singular assault.
There are few people that Dennis can rely upon for aid. Though a member of the so-called Twelve, a group of Golden Age heroes who were recently reawakened after decades in Nazi-inflicted stasis, Dennis didn't get on with his cohorts all that well. Combine that with the fact that half of them are dead, and you find he has few friends. But those surviving members of the Twelve might aid Dennis if he asked for it.
Vengeance: Dennis cannot abide a crime that goes unpunished, particularly when human lives are lost as a result of them. The more egregious the death, the more fervently Dennis desires to balance the scales of Justice! This may explain why, even when given the opportunity to spare the lives of some criminals, Dennis takes it upon himself to end their threat... permanently!
Dennis began his vigilantism as the Laughing Mask, and wore a distinctive uniform while inflicting death upon evildoers. It consisted of a red T-shirt, red trousers, an oversized golden lifting belt, boots of either red or golden hue (it varies), and twin holsters to house his dual hand cannons. This, of course, held no candle to his trademark, golden laughing mask, which glows ever so slightly.
When he instead began to operate as Purple Mask for a time, perhaps because things had become too hot for his original heroic identity, Dennis instead wore a much darker ensemble! It included stretch fabric pants, a stretch fabric shirt, and trunks of navy blue hue, navy blue boots with purple trim, a large purple belt, purple leather gloves, and his namesake purple mask, with an arrow emblem on the forehead.
Dennis has since resumed the use of his Laughing Mask identity, and the associated costume.
While he means well in his effort to carry on the Burton family tradition of dispensing law to the lawless, Dennis goes to severe extremes in doing so. Having no qualms about putting criminals down in the most painful fashion possible, and in fact enjoying the act of doing so, Dennis is kind of an ugly man - though he hides his dark side while working as an assistant district attorney. Somehow.
Real Name: Dennis Burton
Occupation: vigilante, Electro operator
Legal Status: citizen of the United States with a criminal record, likely expunged
Marital Status: single
Alias(es), if any: the Purple Mask
Group Affiliation: the Twelve
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: none
The latest in a long line of Burton men, Dennis followed in the family footsteps and decided he wanted to enforce the law. Instead of being a policeman, however, Dennis studied law in school, and became a lawyer. Quickly finding his way into public service, Dennis became an assistant district attorney due to his deft handling of the law, and had a career that was taking him places.
But Dennis felt that the wheels of Justice moved too slowly. Using knowledge gained as the assistant district attorney, Dennis leapt into action as the Laughing Mask, a frightening vigilante who put his prey down hard... and permanently. Armed with twin .45 pistols, he usually killed all but one of his evildoing targets, forcing a confession from him or her before handing them over to proper authorities.
On one such outing, Dennis came into conflict with Lester Deeks, a businessman who was sabotaging various passenger trains to force the rail yard into insolvency, and thus making it easy for him to purchase. Though he killed many men, women and children, Deeks felt no remorse for his actions, and thus Dennis had no problem murdering the man outright, not to mention most of the hired thugs who did Deeks' dirty work.
For a while, Dennis continued this activity, putting down countless gangsters, bad businessmen, and even a corrupt politician or two. But it became harder and harder for Dennis to elude the police whose work he felt he was doing in the first place, so he eventually adopted a second vigilante identity for a time. Now going by the name of the Purple Mask, Dennis could continue his work with less hassle.
As the Purple Mask, Dennis helped out Frederick Swaberts, a millionaire heir beset by criminals under the command of Renard, a corrupt official in charge of public records. Once Renard's goons found the millions of dollars stashed in Swaberts' inherited home, Dennis killed the thugs invading the joint, even throwing one in a moat of acid! Naturally, he forced a confession out of Renard before subsequently escaping.
Dennis next leapt into action after witnessing a brazen bank robbery first hand. Tailing its perpetrators to their hideout, he invaded the joint as the Purple Mask, only to be knocked out with a chair from behind. Recovering, Dennis harried the bank robbers until he could pick them off one at a time, and at last apprehending the thieves, he handed them over to the police - along with all the bank's purloined cash!
Though this is the extent of Dennis' published accounts of extreme violence against evildoers, it is known that he continued his crusade against crime both before and during the Second World War. And while he maintained his Purple Mask identity for a time, Dennis did revert to his Laughing Mask persona eventually. His reasons for doing this, of course, are known only to himself.
As the battle to defeat Nazi Germany came to a close, the United States government summoned all of its heroes, powered or otherwise, to help 'grease the wheels' of Berlin's invasion. Among the heroes to answer this call was Dennis, who traveled to Europe along dozens of other adventurers to end this part of the War. And why not, for Dennis was now able to unleash his true brutality on evildoers without consequence.
When the Allies entered Berlin, Dennis was among eleven other heroes assigned to take control of the headquarters of the notorious SS. While most of the facility was easily handled, this group of Twelve heroes were ambushed and incapacitated by remnants of the SS, who wished to dissect and study these super-humans (or so they hoped) at a later date. Too bad the Russians killed them soon after, though.
This caused these heroes to languish in stasis for decades, undiscovered, until a construction crew in the newly reunited Berlin discovered where they were being held. Awakened alongside his wartime allies, it took a bit for Dennis to adjust to this new era. But soon enough, Dennis resumed his crusade against the forces of evil, starting by breaking up an attempted holdup at a convenience store!
When the police investigated, however, they found out that Dennis' firearms were used in a gangland murder back in the 1940s, and arrested him. Dennis thus languished in jail for some time, at least until he was bailed out by Mastermind Excello. It was at about that time that the Twelve had to face down one of their own, the Dynamic Man, once they found out that he - or rather, it - was using Electro to murder those he disliked.
Surviving this brutal battle, Dennis prepared to defend himself against the charges of murder he faced, but received a curious offer before he saw a day in court. The government, you see, couldn't seem to make Electro work for them, its electra-wave transceiver only seeming to function with the minds of those who had been exposed to it for some time. And since the Twelve had recently dispersed, that only left Dennis.
Not wanting to go to jail at all, Dennis thought piloting Electro for the government seemed a much better prospect. So, eagerly agreeing to their terms, in exchange for his record being cleared, Dennis began to drive Electro through any number of conflicts they needed resolved. Of course, Dennis had to slightly modify Electro first, placing one of his laughing masks atop its face - so that would be the last thing its foes would see!
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