So, as I talked about in brief before, there is another fanfic out there set in the alternate universe I created for my DC fanfics, and it isn’t written by me. Instead, it’s written by Doctor Sweet, another writer on Fanfiction.net. This story is entitled ‘Challengers of the Unknown’, although I tend to personally just shorten it to Challengers. Now, in the mainstream DC universe, the Challengers of the Unknown were a team created in 1957 by Jack Kirby, as a quartet (later quintet) of characters who dealt with some of the more science fictional/paranormal situations and scenarios of the time, and, to the best of my knowledge, did not have any sort of superpowers of their own. Personally, I find that last bit ironic, considering that elements of Challengers were reused when Kirby teamed with Stan Lee to create the Fantastic Four. Regardless, there have been a few different incarnations and revamps of the group throughout DC Comics’ history, such as the Challengers From Beyond, a group of superheroes that banded together during Countdown To Final Crisis and searched the Multiverse for the Earth 0 version of Ray Palmer, and trust me, the less said about Countdown, the better. And frankly, Linkara’s already gone on at length about Countdown, so I don’t really think there’s much, if anything, that I could add to the subject that would matter in the slightest. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if it in some way inspired this team that Doctor Sweet created, because they’re all pre-existing superheroes. However, they do still deal in the same sort of stuff: Time travel, other dimensions, outer space, and so on.
Doctor Sweet’s Challengers of the Unknown is a bit different in tone and structure from my fanfics, in that each chapter is told from the first person perspectives of all the members of the team, switching between each one at different points in said chapter. It also contains a bit more cheese to it in terms of how stories resolve, but that’s alright with me. Sometimes, a healthy dose of cheese and lightheartedness can be appreciated when DC only ever wants to release dark stories nowadays. But anyway, let’s talk about the team.
Jefferson Pierce in this story is a physics teacher at Theodore Knight High School (cute reference, Sam), who fights crime as Black Lightning in his spare time. As a Metahuman with control over electricity, he can generate and manipulate bio-electrical fields around his body to protect himself and others, or grant himself limited flight. He can also hurl lightning bolts at foes with varying levels of power. He COULD very well likely generate electrical blasts that could kill people, but as he isn’t a believer in killing his foes, he instead limits them to stun. Among the other heroes on the team, he’s likely the most strategically sound and mentally disciplined, making him the clear field commander for the team.
Doctor Kimiyo Hoshi is one of STAR Labs’ three Directors, alongside Ray Palmer and T.O. Morrow (which probably won’t be the only time we’ll be hearing references to either one of those two), is one of the world’s leading physicists, and as of late has been reverse-engineering equipment taken from supervillains to create technology for the betterment of mankind. She also appears more than a bit arrogant and shows disapproval of superheroes. However, the truth is that she’s actually a Metahuman, able to manipulate light into blinding flashes or hard light barriers, but kept this knowledge to herself until an emergency forced her to use it to save the others. Kimiyo wanted to be a scientist, desiring to help the world with her knowledge, and feared coming out as a Metahuman and becoming a superhero, meaning she’d be forced to help the world through violence. Plus, she’s more than a little opinionated on superhero costumes and code-names, instantly disliking the name Cyclone gave her, ‘Doctor Light’. Still, if an emergency presents itself, one can always rely on Kimiyo to do what is necessary to protect people from danger.
Rory Regan, AKA Ragman, is one of the stranger superheroes EVER. A Jewish man, he runs a pawnshop in Gotham City called Rags’n’Tatters, and it just happens to have a magic suit of rags powered by the souls of evil men and women. If a person is truly, irredeemably evil, the suit can absorb their soul and use them to increase Rory’s strength, speed, and stamina. As someone who isn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect of heroes killing villains, gotta say, I’m not completely kosher with this. However, it’s not like the Tatterdemalion of Justice uses this power willy-nilly, having only used it once in the narrative to stop someone from killing someone else. Also, apparently using corrupted souls to empower himself slowly but surely cleanses said soul of their past sins, and eventually allows them to pass on to Heaven, as opposed to going to Hell as they would’ve otherwise if they’d never gained redemption for themselves. I’m not sure I’m okay with this, but it does give him something unique, and possibly something to have to redeem himself for later on (especially considering who he shares a city with). We’ll just have to see where the writer goes with this.
Referred to by Jefferson as ‘the Nobel Prize winner in the chatterbox category’, Maxine Hunkel is a student in his class, and the granddaughter of Golden Age heroine Red Tornado. As a Metahuman with control over wind, she has adopted the name Cyclone, the Witch of the Winds. Despite being highly intelligent and a good multitasker, she’s also a rather hyperactive teenager, and…I’m just gonna say it right here, she’s my favourite member of the team. lol I dunno, I just find her funny, and more than a little inspiring, as the rookie superhero that can stand alongside more experienced ones and hold her own. She’s also the source of some of the aforementioned cheese, as…well, just read how Chapter 2 ends, you’ll see. But, as I said, that’s fine. And frankly, how can you not like someone who has answered to the nickname ‘Pipi Wrongstocking’? XD
Shilo Norman is the world’s greatest escape artist, answering to the name ‘Mister Miracle’. He wears a suit equipped with various gadgets and the like used in his acts, which allegedly sold out Madison Square Garden. He doesn’t consider himself a superhero, believing that he’s out of his depth while working with the Challengers. However, he has great instincts and improvisational skills, and his equipment, which consist of a number of laser torches and the like, actually can be used to assist in a number of situations where the rest of the team’s skills and abilities aren’t enough to overcome whatever’s against them. You may have noticed, however, that there’s no official relation between his equipment in this universe and the technology of New Genesis, nor is Scott Free part of his back-story. There IS a reason for that, but for now, it remains a secret that directly relates to why this is the ‘Infinite Universe’.
Mari Jiwe McCabe is a fashion model known across the world. However, she also works as a superheroine and oftentimes ally in crime-fighting to Jefferson known as Vixen. Using an ancient artifact called the Tantu Totem, Vixen is able to access the morphogenic field called The Red to gain the abilities of animals, be it the strength of a bull elephant, the speed of a cheetah, the flight of an eagle, the echolocation of a bat, the weight of a blue whale, or anything else she can think of. She can be a little bit of a hard-ass at times, particularly under stress in emergencies, but she genuinely means well, and will never give up in the fight against crime and evil.
Zauriel is an angel working for The Presence, and don’t bother asking which religion he follows or which deity The Presence is supposed to be, as all angels like him follow a Prime Directive that prevent them from spilling the beans on that matter. Leaving the Silver City for Earth out of boredom (and I’m assuming more than a passing love of pop culture, given how he talks sometimes, lol), he now operates out of an invisible, floating base called the Aerie. While he has wings for flying, he also can ride in the Chariot of Fire, which he can drive throughout all creation, both space and time. He also has a flaming sword for combat, has incredible strength and speed, and can even summon flaming tongues that impart the ability to speak different languages to people.
Anyway, that’s all you need to know about the cast of Challengers. Feel free to give it a read by clicking the image below, and if you have an idea for a story within the DCIU, by all means, leave a comment letting me know what your idea is, and maybe we’ll make it happen. Ja né!