Sunday, December 27, 2009

Breakneck R.I.P.

If you’ve already checked out page 21 of Worlds Apart, then you know the bad news.

Breakneck is dead, his self-triggered nuclear holocaust absorbed by Hellfield and vented into the Flame Universe from whence our resident Fire Elemental hails. (For more on Hellfield’s powers, please see my previous blog entry). What starts as a BANG instantly becomes little more than a whimpering pile of ashes at Hellfield’s feet. The shocked looks on the faces of Breakneck’s Götterdämmerung comrades says it all.

Maniac’s hybrid minions have come to Fantasy Land fully expecting to die. In true terrorist fashion, the prospect of plunging headlong into eternity never scares them. It inspires them. Like all fanatics, they thrill to thoughts of departing this world in a harrowing blaze of homicidal glory.

Yet somehow the anticipated apocalypse hasn’t only been delayed; it’s been denied... with extreme prejudice. Suddenly Breakneck, their field general and Maniac’s BIG GUN, has been dispatched by one of the “second-stringer” Irregulars as little more than an afterthought. The tide of terror has changed.

It is now Götterdämmerung’s turn to be afraid... very afraid. While never terrified of facing death on their own terms, Breakneck’s untimely demise signals not only the end, but the failure of Götterdämmerung’s mission. Reality sets in. They aren’t facing the Protectors anymore. Not only have the rules of engagement changed, but even the very nature of the game itself.

But enough foreshadowing. The next few pages will bear out the fates of Maniac’s minions. For now, let us turn our attention to the first casualty among their ranks, Breakneck.

When we first meet him, Breakneck has taken teenage starlet Trishy Tanaka hostage, vowing to rape her on international TV before detonating a nuclear bomb that will not only level Los Angeles but perhaps destroy our solar system as well. As the Protectors and the Irregulars soon learn, Breakneck is not open to negotiation. It isn’t a matter of IF he will initiate a catastrophe, but rather WHEN. Before his short-lived reign of terror is snuffed out by Hellfield, Breakneck even drops trou in a depraved attempt to coerce oral sex from a sickened and stupefied Achilles.

Obviously, this guy has issues. So just who the heck is he, anyway?

For the answer to this, I will once more turn to the Titanic Trademark Universe Handbook.

Breakneck (Dante Taylor) The field commander of Maniac’s Götterdämmerung, Breakneck possesses savage super-strength that increases exponentially as he gets angrier and angrier. At its peak, Breakneck’s strength puts him in Achilles’ class or maybe even a tad stronger. Such exertion does take its toll on him, however, and the more energy Breakneck expends, the longer it takes him to recharge.

Dante Taylor began his criminal career as a small-time hood, stick-up man, and carjacker with a penchant for sadistically beating and savagely raping the victims of his extortions and robberies -- be they female or male. One such episode, the carjack-kidnapping of a married couple and their three small children, landed Dante in prison with a life sentence and no chance of parole.

In prison, Dante resumed his sadistic sexual attacks on his fellow inmates. When a fifteen-year-old Todd Harper found himself sentenced to Taylor’s cell block, Dante devoted all his attention to breaking in the “new meat.” Harper was able to defend himself, however, and the two developed an enmity that extended beyond the prison walls. (See my previous blog entry on Buckshot)

As one of the prison system’s most violent and unrepentant inmates, Dante made the perfect subject for Darius Kilhausen’s experimental “rehabilitation program.” When Kilhausen’s subjects developed hybrid super-powers, Dante organized the massive breakout that eventually led to the creation of Maniac’s Götterdämmerung. Taking the name “Breakneck,” Dante Taylor assumed a leadership role in Maniac’s shock troops, ranking as Kilhausen’s favorite right behind Maniac’s prodigy, Buckshot.

Even while they both served Maniac, Buckshot and Breakneck hated each other. In many ways, Buckshot’s loathing for Breakneck is what first separated him from Götterdämmerung and inspired his quest for redemption. So keep this in mind as you chuckle at the pile of ash that marks the final culmination of Breakneck’s criminal career.

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