Disparation Squad and the Locomotiverse

Okay so this is an idea (or conglomeration of ideas) that have grown out of a character that I rolled that has just taken over my brain so much that I don’t think I’d ever be able to play it without just trying to take over the table completely to push things to fit my ideas, and I don’t have nearly enough friends who are into Sentinels to discuss this with, so I figured I’d drop some of it here. For context, I got into Sentinels through the RPG being in an episode of OneShot and now I’m up through the Kaargra Warfang episode of the Letters Page, and I’ve also listened to every new episode since RPG timeline Catastrophe and Verge, so I’m in the process of building out my lore knowledge. That out of the way, let’s dive in.

So to start, Disparation Squad is the team idea that this character grew into. It’s how you deal with Disparation being your favorite part of the lore when you’re stuck in the sandwich bag. You take a bunch of Disparation heroes who came over from other timelines to help fight OblivAeon and are stuck here now that the gate is closed, and you make a team out of them. I’ve really only got two members of this team worked out at all, and the first one is the character I mentioned above.

So to start, I rolled a retired power suit speedster which I decided works through electromagnets that interact with the Earth’s EM field, allowing for d6 flight and d12 speed. What else do you name such a hero besides MagLev? Now, since we’re working with a train pun, I figured first appearance had to be against Fright Train, right? And if we’ve got two characters slinging train puns at each other, what if this is a Disparation setting where Fright Train’s love for trains is the norm and the only thing unusual about him is his size and strength? And thus the Locomotiverse was born.

This is getting kind of long and is getting to be just about my bed time, so I’m gonna leave that there for right this second, but if anyone wants to hear more about MagLev, Disparation Squad, the Locomotiverse and my thoughts on their publication history and lore, just let me know. I doubt anyone will guess which member of the Freedom Line wears the MagLev suit xD

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I don’t know if you’re just doing this for pure Rule of Funny, or if you’re interested in creating a serious justification for the existence of this character. If the latter, I can help you work out the lore, as I have a pretty solid grasp on some of the history that you’d have to look at, in order to work out an alternate universe where locomotive technology assumed the kind of world-altering importance in 1890 that smartphones did in 2014 for our world. I know nothing about SOTM RPG rules, so this would strictly be advice on the backstory and such. If you’re not trying to get that deeply into it, though, and just want an excuse to crack your friends up, then ignore me. Most of what other people seem to like about this fandom ends up making me cringe, so I’m not too popular around here; I love SOTM just as much as the rest of this site, but seemingly for very different reasons.

Oh don’t worry I’m putting exactly the level of thought into this lore that I think the writers of the comics would have, which is going to depend entirely on which writer this is in which appearance xD And that leads directly into MagLev’s first appearance.

Now to get to the appearance, we have to start with my inspiration for it. While I was playing around with abbreviations for magnetic levitation before stumbling onto the incredibly obvious pre-existing train pun, I tried out MagnLev, which transliterated in Hebrew letters would be מגן לב or a shield of a heart (idk why my brain works this way, but the only thing I love more than a pun is an interlingual pun) so I figured the character gets rebranded as Heartshield. So I need a first appearance that justifies this name later name change being based on a Hebrew pun.

So now we get to speculate on the politics of Sentinel Comics as a publisher within the metaverse (not touching on my own politics in this, just the politics I see within the metaverse based on what C&A have said about it). Based on the Parsons family backstory, the way The Invincible Bunker book is, and the way the Yom Kippur War is worked into Unity’s origin story, Sentinel Comics feels like the type of publisher to make a big deal of the 50th anniversary of Israeli Independence in 1998, so I’m plugging in some oneshot holiday specials that year. We’re talking Freedom Five Passover Special where Unity invites the Freedom Five to her Seder and we tell the story Rugrats Passover special style with Legacy as Moses, Ra as Pharaoh, etc. We’re talking a Justice Comics Israeli Independence Day Special that I don’t feel the need to do a Creative Process on but it’s definitely there. And most importantly for our purposes we’re talking Disparation Hanukkah Special.

Unfortunately I have to run now, so stay tuned for the next installment :sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

Oi, I can imagine it now. : )

You don’t have to imagine!! X) it’s time for the Disparation Hanukkah Special!!!

Now, given that I made this up as a first appearance for my character, you’d think MagLev would be front and center, and that’s where you’d be wrong. The main story of the Special is an alternate version of the Voss invasion where he starts by taking over The Citadel of the Sun, and Citizens Dawn, Dusk, Pain, Hammer, and Anvil replay the story of the Maccabees as they take it back. (Judah Macabee was known as The Hammer, and he was a priest or Kohen, which is what Dawn’s last name connects to. Also, it’s the Festival of Lights. So many reasons to bring Dawn into this). Then the backup story in the last few pages of the book are a story of Hanukkah in the Locomotiverse featuring MagLev saving Hanukkah from Fright Train. The writers didn’t really put more thought into it than that. They didn’t establish or even decide internally who was in the MagLev suit. They just made it Jewish by writing מגלב (maglev transliterated into Hebrew) on the chest and shoulders of the suit stacked in a 2x2 square of letters. They just needed a couple more pages to fill out the floppy and the Locomotiverse was born.

Idk if the Locomotiverse really comes up at all over the next decade or not, but the next important moment in the character’s publication history comes in 2008-2009 when a young writer gets a shot at a 12 issue limited Disparation story. (I know the 12 issue limited isn’t really a format we see from Sentinel Comics, but this is my thing I’m adding to my own version of the canon, and it’s my personal favorite format, so I do what i want :joy:). This writer is a late 20s Jewish lesbian who grew up going to a Progressive Zionist Reform temple, but she’s also very into Leslie Feinberg, a notable antizionist, so this comic writer is sitting with a variety of influences and has a complicated relationship with Zionism, so where does she look for her Disparation pitch but the character introduced in a lazy story at the tail end of a year with several Zionist propaganda oneshots? And so Heartshield is born, adding a single line to the old logo on the suit, and this is where the Locomotiverse really gets filled in. I think this is where I’ll move to a chronological look at the lore.

Daniel Montgomery was a Jewish scientist living in modern day Mordengrad conscripted by Fyodor Ramonat and forced to help with his projects. When he was able to sneak the time though, he worked on an escape hatch of sorts, an armored suit that would work with electromagnetism to propel the wearer at high speeds. When America’s Greatest Legacy is sent in to deal with Ramonat, Daniel sees his chance, puts on the suit and turns it on. He hasn’t yet had the chance to test it though, and he immediately passes out from the G force. The suit only stays active briefly, but it moves quickly enough that he wakes up in Megalopolis. He goes on to apply the technology of the suit to trains, inventing the maglev train decades early compared to our reality, and establishes Montgomery Industries on that basis. Growing up hearing this story and seeing superheroes in action, his daughter Maia decides that she wants to become a superhero. One day, she finds where her father stored the suit and takes it to renowned scientist Meredith Stinson for help resolving the G-force issue. While working on the suit together, the two fall in love and eventually get married. (This is Disparation I do what I want). With the improved suit, Maia Montgomery becomes the superhero Heartshield.

Now, this is a Maia Montgomery who does age together with Paul VIII and is very much of his generation as the story of the Locomotiverse progresses, and to reflect this, the Freedom Line is based more on the original less popular version of the Freedom Five. Legacy and Haka are largely the same, they’re just far more enthusiastic about trains. The other two members of the team here are known as Cryoline and Steam Whistle. You are welcome.

One of the major villains in Heartshield’s story in these 12 issues is of course the Locomotiverse version of Heartbreaker, because who else do you send after a hero with Heart in the name? Here however he’s known as Trainwreck because this is the Locomotiverse we’re talking about.

Sort of the big theme of this book is memory and exploring what you do with what your parents give you. One of the notable quotes that leads into the flashback to Daniel’s story is “every time I put on the suit, I can’t help but think of that inscription on Paul’s ring.” The importance of memory as a theme will come up again when I get to explaining Disparation Squad era Heartshield and the flashbacks to the OblivAeon fight that we get there, but this is all I have time for tonight.

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