Characters: Lightning Rod
Real Name: Leon Jamal James Rodney
Occupation: Student, adventurer-in-training, possible Bringer of Universal Armageddon
Identity: Not known to the general public
Legal Status: Citizen United States of America with no criminal record
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York
Known relatives: Alisandre "Sandra" Guichard Rodney (mother), Randy Rodney (father), Lucas Rodney (brother, deceased), Andromeda Guichard (aunt), Eric Guichard (uncle)
Group Affiliation: T.A.S.K.
Skills/abilities: Lightning Rod's physical abilities come from his biological bond to the last T'Adari Battlestaff, an ancient alien weapon possessing incredible destructive potential. In order to allow his significantly frailer human physiology to withstand prolonged contact and use of the staff, the weapon has begun the process of transforming Lightning Rod's genetic code to match key T'Adari elements. As a result Lightning Rod's strength, resistance to injury and immunity to certain types of radiation have increased. He is also becoming more aggressive.
Weapons: Lightning Rod wields the last T'Adari Battlestaff known to exist. The Battlestaff was the signature weapon of members of the T'Adari Empire; a race of star-faring beings which was among the first in this universe to gain sentience after the Big Bang. The T'Adari developed a method which allowed them to siphon energy from the immense forces keeping parallel dimensions and universes apart and it is that energy that powered their Empire and their weapons. The T'Adari ruled great swaths of the universe, controlling through butchery and planetary level slaughter, until they turned their terrible weapons on themselves. No staves were believed to have survived and it has been theorized that the staff that Leon Rodney is now bonded to has been on Earth since the planet's earliest days as a volcanic cauldron. [This could explain some of planet Earth's other anomalous traits]
Through the Battlestaff Lightning Rod can tap into a limitless source of energy; the forces keeping parallel dimensions and universes apart. Lightning Rod can project this energy in the form of devastating beams of force or as a personal force field of varying levels of size and intensity. It is rumored throughout the universe that a single T'Adari warrior could lay waste to an entire city. Lightning Rod is nowhere near that level of proficiency and it is believed that due to his body being human rather than T'Adari, he will most likely never unlock the ability to wield 90% of the staff's power.
The staff enables sub-sonic flight (at this level of Leon's development) and creates armor out of Leon's epidermis. He has learned over time that he can control the generation and placement of the armor by force of will. The staff has two modes and Lightning Rod often caries it in its less imposing, shorter "inactive" mode.
The Battlestaff is biologically linked to Leon Rodney and it does not respond in any way to any other individual. If Leon were to be separated from the staff for a significant period of time his body would begin to shut down and death would occur. The Battlestaff is believed to be indestructible as this particular staff spent millennia within Earth's molten core.
Brief personal history: Leon Rodney is the second son born to Randy and Sandra Rodney. Shortly after Leon was born, Randy Rodney re-enlisted in the Marines in response to terror attacks on New York City. He would go on to serve multiple tours of duty and missed much of Leon's early years. Leon in turn clung to his older brother Lucas, idolizing the older boy. On Leon's fourth birthday he fought with another toddler at kindergarten over a slice of cake. Two hours later the two were fast friends. The toddler's name was Omar Deen and they have remained inseparable.
Eventually Randy Rodney's military service ended and he was reunited with his family. At first Leon was uneasy around the father he barely knew but the two soon bonded, with the younger Rodney becoming a little awestruck when his father returned to the NYPD and was promoted to Detective. The Rodney's were a finally a complete family. This was not to last.
Two years later Leon's father was assigned to a special advisory unit tasked with assisting the U.S. military with the training of the Afghan police force. During this time Randy Rodney came into contact with [REDACTED]. This assignment took him away from home for weeks at a time and it was during one of these periods that Leon's older brother Lucas, was shot and killed on a neighborhood playground; protecting neighborhood children during a gang shoot-out. Young Lucas Rodney died a hero.
The Rodney family was devastated and Leon was helpless as his family fell apart in the wake of his brother's death. Sandra sank into a deep depression and blamed her husband for not being present to keep his child safe; and his father in turn, became frustrated with the NYPD (and himself) as the investigation into Lucas' shooting failed to turn up any leads and no arrest was made. Eventually Leon's parents agreed to separate and he found himself visiting his father on the weekends.
It was during one of his weekend stays that Leon accidentally discovered a message from one of his father's confidential informants on the detective's forgotten cell phone, warning the elder Rodney of an attempt on his life. Leon tracked his father to a deserted warehouse in Brooklyn only to be caught in the confusion of his father's "museum heist sting operation" gone horribly wrong. During the chaos Leon's hand is cut open and he comes into physical contact with a pipe-like golden rod.
During the next two days Leon would witness the destructive power of the activated T'Adari staff and become embroiled in the fierce struggle between the forces of T.A.S.K. and the Factory for control of it. The teen would encounter Meridian and O.G. Knight and his mother would be menaced by [REDACTED]. He would be attacked by gangs, save [REDACTED]'s life and fly for the first time. Eventually a pitched battle alongside his father and Meridian and O.G. Knight in the streets of downtown Brooklyn brought [REDACTED] out to the rescue but not before [REDACTED] was seriously injured. Leon and his family left the scene under the protection of [REDACTED] and were taken to T.A.S.K.'s headquarters.
What becomes of the possessor of the last T'Adari Battlestaff?
What becomes of a teen from Brooklyn with the most feared weapon in the universe?
That remains to be seen.
Written by Damion Gonzales
Character design by Sean Isaakse