Or – “Hero Of Many Roles: Scientist… Superspy… Android… Island…” The history of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents began with a scientist murdered in his lab, but Emil Jenkins wasn’t alone in his development of super-weapons for the United Nations Defense Enforcement arm. Other men worked tirelessly to create weapons of democracy for use in the brave new world of terrorist cells and metahuman threats to liberty, including today’s history entrant. The eldest and wisest of the Agents, his nature is unique among not only T.H.U.N.D.E.R. but among heroes in general. It is fitting that the man who was so key in
Or – “Think “Mission: Impossible” Only With Awesome Red Blazers and No Peter Graves…” The various inventions of Professor Emil Jennings allowed The Higher United Nations Defense Enforement Reserves to empower their agents with super-abilities for the new era of spycraft, but even before they branched out into supers, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. was overthrowing tinpot dictators and defending liberty around the world. Once Dynamo, Lightning and their ilk arrived, there were still old-school agents doing their thing, and the Best of the Best of the Best (HOO-AH!) was the elite T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad, the team who went in when all other options had failed.
Or “He Needs Either A Tambourine Or A Locker!” The one universal truth about government agencies is that there are always subdivisions, sub-contractors and related departments whose jobs remain unexplained to all but the most knowledgeable of operatives. So it is with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. The job of Defense Enlistment Reservations (or is that Enlisting Reserved Defenses) takes on many forms and many guises, and even consummate professionals like Dynamo, Lightning and The Raven can’t be everywhere at once. Thus was formed U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A., the United Nations Department of Experiment and Research Systems Established at Atlantis. Where T.H.U.N.D.E.R. handles trouble on land, U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A.
Or – “James Bond With Wings…” These days, it seems every super-team has a little bit of formula to its makeup. A leader, a tech guy, an airhead, a quipster, a loner, and fill in with your favorite other guys. Back in the day, though, there weren’t any such things as “the loner character” (mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of character to be found in many superteams.) The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents set a number of precedents with their team, foreshadowing the modern tendency for heroes with feet of clay, the fascination with spycraft and intelligence work, and even the
Or – “Who Is This Allen Person, Again?” Professor Emil Jennings was a man ahead of his time, finding technological ways to capture the powers that took Gamma bombs, alien rockets, special serums and more in the hands of others. From Dynamo’s Thunderbelt, with it’s ability to make you nigh-invulnerable, to Menthor’s helmet and it’s full-spectrum psionic abilities to the mysterious cloak that accompanies them (a long story that I’ll be getting to soon enough) Jennings was pretty much a full-service superpower clearing house. But, it should be noted that not ALL the scientific accomplishments used by T.H.U.N.D.E.R.’s eponymous agents
Or – “Fresh And Full Of Life!” In the grand scheme of things, there are only a limited number of really good ideas in the universe. The old cliche of movie producers explaining something as “X Meets Y” is a cliche for a reason, after all. (Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull = Han Solo + Lizzie McGuire / Nostagia.) So, when defining today’s Hero History entrant, you find yourself explaining that he kind of looks like the Silver Age Atom, but has the abilities of Professor X, with a touch of Ilya Kiriakin for seasoning. But even that explanation
Or – “Not Bird, Nor Plane, Nor Even Frog…” The 1960’s featured a proliferation of spy organizations, from Nick Fury’s SHIELD, to Derek Flint’s ZOWIE, even Napoleon Solo’s UNCLE. In fact, for a time it seemed that the only thing more plentiful in the mid-60’s than intelligence operatives were superheroes, so it was natural that, eventually, SOMEBODY would discover a way to combine the two. The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents were created in response to a dangerous world, working as operatives of the United Nations to combat threats that your average super-friend wouldn’t have the reach or resources to combat, and foremost