Friday, February 13, 2009

Obscure Character Handbook: Abel Carmody

Real Name: Abel Carmody
Occupation: Industrialist, former U.S. Calvary soldier
Legal Status: United States citizen with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: U.S.A.
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Unnamed wife, Kishana Lewis (descendant)
Base of Operations: Carmody’s Folly, Black Spirit Lake, the Badlands
Group Affiliation: None, formerly 6th Calvary “C” Troop
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black
Intelligence: 19th century medium.
Strength Level: Normal human strength.
Superhuman Powers: None
First Appearance & Origin: JLA: Scary Monsters #1 (May, 2003)
Publisher: DC Comics
Status: Copyright 2003 DC Comics
Created by: Chris Claremont & Josh Hood

In 1877, Abel Carmody was a “Buffalo Soldier” serving under Sergeant-Major Lincoln Freeman in the 6th Calvary “C” Troop. Disgusted by the orders of Colonel Daniel Rutledge to massacre a peaceful encampment of Plains Indians, Carmody and Freeman hid an elderly medicine man and his granddaughter, “same as my Pappy did runaways in slavery time.” The old man informed the black soldiers that their commander and fellow white soldiers who rode into a nearby valley to murder “surviving hostiles” were already dead. “There will be cold, and there will be snow… and horror will come for those who ride with him, to crack their bones and feast on the marrow of their souls. And then it will come for us! You must beat it back. You must keep the horror within the confines of this valley… or the world will end.”

Shortly thereafter, in the middle of summer, the snow fell, and the monsters came. “We fired our guns ‘til the barrels blazed too hot to hold. We never saw what wuz killin’ us. The snow wuz too heavy. They moved too fast. The only thing we learned for sure… wuz that iron made them hurt.” With only two men from the company left alive after the initial assault and one left standing, the medicine man explained further, “The portal that admits the horror to our world opens only for a time. When it closes, it must return to its own place. But each time, the door opens wider, and for longer. The horror means to claim our world for its own. It must be stopped.” The shaman was too old to survive a fight of the magnitude necessary to drive out the demons, and the Calvary had killed his son and intended successor. His granddaughter had the “blood for such a battle, but not the knowledge.” Sending Carmody and his granddaughter out of the mountains, the shaman explained, “I cannot destroy the dark trail, only block it for a time. The power I summon must be renewed, else the seals will be broken someday, forever! That, child, must be your task.” Freeman and the shaman stayed to face the horror, and perished in an explosion of flames.

Abel Carmody went on to become one of the great industrialists of the 19th century, and has been claimed to be the only African-American to whom that honor can be applied. “Born a slave, he died a millionaire… From the moment he made his fortune, he started building… ‘Carmody’s Folly.’” The sprawling fortress was constructed near Black Spirit Lake, made of stone, and built to last. “While he built his empire, his wife supervised construction of their home. She died here, alone, within days of its completion. Carmody himself never set foot over the threshold… The entire house is constructed of granite, with walls averaging a meter thick… The lodge houses one of the finest collections of Plains Indians artifacts in the nation. And a library rivaling what you’d find at most top-rank universities. All relating to the occult... This is really the most extraordinary collection. Texts of magic representing every continent, culture and era of Earth's history... Trouble is, reading isn't enough. Shamanic lore requires a spiritual aptitude, much like the metagene that conveys superpowers, in those who seek enlightenment. You not only have to be born to the role, you also have to earn it by undertaking a series of ordeals.”

Further, the house contained, “catacombs that extend into the heart of the mountain. Fresh spring water. Medical supplies and food up the wazoo. Weapons. Generators and fuel for months. And not just electricity. There are more torches than I can count. Plus wood and coal galore.” It was noted, “That was a stipulation of Abel Carmody’s will. That his house remain intact and fully stocked, in perpetuity.” The resort hosts its own medical and security staff, as well.

At present, the nearest town is fifty miles from the valley. Although a lush forest oasis surrounded by a virtual desert, Black Spirit Lake was never settled by permanent inhabitants. No fish swim in its waters, and the green is barren of life, animal nor insect. The forest regenerates itself at a fantastic rate, so that even the most grievous damage to impact it could be regrown within a month. This process would appear to be a defense against the horror, as the wood is saturated with a resin that burns with the intensity of white phosphorous. In fact, the bowl-shaped valley could act as a natural blast furnace. The only exit from the valley is through Carmody’s Folly, and the monsters showed no ability to transverse the mountains surrounding it.

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