The Prodigious Files: The Cosmic Knight Dynasty
Cosmic Knight is an… interesting hybridization of two rather disparate characters. In his original incarnation I envisioned him as the Prodigious version of DC Comics’ Starman complete with storied legacy and his “cosmic lance” taking the place of the Gravity/Cosmic Rod. However, the later incarnations would utilize powered armor in their crusade against evil (as hackneyed as it sounds), which effectively bring them closer to Marvel’s Iron Man in that respect. With a the added tweak of transforming the Prodigious world into an amalgamation of several dozen parallel Earths, why not scrap the initial concept and build from the ground up? What makes the stellar sentinel particularly important to the overall series is that his grandchildren are central to story so his “dynasty” deserves a detailed history.
He hails from Earth-01, which bears striking similarities to the Marvel Universe where the public is more wary of its heroes and generally prejudiced towards ultrahumans unlike its “neighbor” Earth-00—or Earth-Prime—who hold them in high regard. (Note: I patterned Earth-00 after Earth-1 from the Pre-Crisis DC multiverse.) Earth-01 is similar to our world in that most of its nation-states had same histories, names, and borders though the city names in the New World are different, i.e. Ford City takes the place of New York City. It also differs from our would because a delayed Operation Overlord led to the complete Soviet occupation of Germany, Austria, and Finland as well as a communist victory in the Greek Civil War. However, mad science still exists and Josef Stalin had himself transformed into a cyborg in an attempt to mold himself into the image of the “New Soviet Man.”
As such Earth-01 is a much more paranoid and violent world; the United Nations does not exist and the United States directly intervened in the Chinese Civil War, which resulted in a divided China between the Nationalist South and Communist North. With a bloody stalemate in former Middle Kingdom, “north” China was not able intervene in the Korean War, which ended in a united Korea under Seoul’s leadership. The two major blocs were the Democratic Alliance (US/UK/Canada/ANZC/South China/Japan/Korea etc.) and the Munich Pact (the Soviet Union and its allies), with the military-industrial complex even more prevalent.
The story of the Cosmic Knight is between two brothers: the idealistic Zachary Valor, whose scientific and engineering prowess was beyond anyone in the first and second world, and his far more pragmatic and ruthless brother, Alexander. Both come from a clan of industrialists who gained their fortune building munitions and weapons for the Allies in World War I and became the United States’ main weapon supplier after World War II. Unlike his family, Zachary was interested in the peaceful applications of technology and thus invented the Cosmic Energy Converter (CEC), which is effectively a zero-point energy generator, for the sole intent of space exploration and free energy in 1968. However, his father, Yancy, and brother had other plans and sold the technology to the US government for its military applications. Zachary protested at first but only relented when Alexander publicly accused him of “being a red.”
Zachary quit his position at Valor Industries shortly thereafter to carry on his research into zero-point energy as well as develop “weapons” for non-violent urban pacification, including a prototype for armored power to protect police forces. Meanwhile, Alexander oversaw the perversion of Zachary’s CEC into the deadly X-Bomb. What neither Alex nor Yancy knew was that a faction of Soviet-backed Luddites infiltrated the company, and took both men hostage at the factory where company was assembling the weapon for a demonstration. Still loyal to the family and worried that police and military involvement would lead to casualties, Zachary donned the prototype armor in a rescue attempt.
While he succeeded in defusing the situation without any fatalities, one of the Luddites shot and mortally wounded Yancy Valor who died shortly after arriving at hospital. The event haunted Zachary and inspired him to begin his one-man crusade against profiteers, spies, and ideologues alike. As such, the newly christened Cosmic Knight dealt primarily with corporate and political intrigue (coming into direct conflict with his brother, who never learned his alternate identity) as well as espionage to keep spies from stealing his technology. Politicians and industrial players naturally hated him, but the Cosmic Knight evoked Arthurian chivalry that fascinated the public enough to allow him to operate unabated, so long as he did not act directly against US interests. Earth-01’s called this halcyon period “The Age of Camelot” with his arrival as well as the return of the Revolutionary and the advent of Indra, the three of whom form the nucleus of the Battalion. Zachary resented the name because of its warlike connotations and clashed with the jingoistic Revolutionary, but remained a mainstay on the team roster. He was also the only member of the Battalion who did not treat the Vanguard with contempt and suspicion when they “crossed over” from Earth-00 in 1976 and even formed a friendship the cosmically themed Tycho.
Cosmic Knight and his family relocated to the “amalgamated” Earth after the Shapeless destroyed Earth-01’s universe in the Cataclysm and built New Ford City with the survivors. However, age combined with injuries sustained during the conflict forced him into retirement. Zachary turned his attention to restarting Valor Consolidated with his CEC technology becoming the backbone for “Earth-Alpha’s” energy infrastructure while his son, Aaron, became the second Cosmic Knight who became a member of the Vanguard’s Beta Squadron himself and even married Tycho’s daughter, Sharon Ronning. Due to his experimentation with zero-point energy, the ultrahuman potential in Zachary’s bloodline awakened in his children’s genetics and blossomed in his grandchildren who would develop ultrahuman attributes of their own; Notably his grandsons Jason “Jace” Valor (by his other son, William), Blake, and Benjamin as well as his granddaughter Emma (via Aaron.)
Unfortunately, tragedy would later strike the Valor clan, as Blake, Aaron’s oldest, was a psychopath who managed to mask his true nature from the adults. Blake possessed an abnormal fixation on death and secretly tortured small animals (including family pets) before moving onto tormenting his siblings, Benjamin in particular. He physically abused his brother and even threatened Emma to ensure his silence. Blake’s sadism increased exponentially when his shadow-based powers manifested at age fourteen, and finally revealed his true nature to the rest of the family. (His cousin, Jace attempted to warn the family for years but his warnings went unheeded.) He kidnapped Ben and Emma and tortured them for hours before the (Teen) Lancers and Vanguard found them. The torture also awakened Ben’s latent abilities, which spiraled out control and seemingly vaporized both him and Blake. A grieving Aaron died in battle with the Vanguard’s dark counterparts from Earth-Omega (another amalgamated Earth orbiting on the opposite side of the sun) two years later and William reluctantly took up the mantle as the third Cosmic Knight.
As for Sharon Ronning-Valor, she relocated to Saint Hillary with Emma to begin anew and far from looming shadows of both families’ legacies. They lived a fairly normal life until a mysterious child fell from the sky and crashed into their life; the boy arrived as a fiery meteor and landed in a lake. He would have certainly drown had Emma not swam out to rescue him. He strongly resembled the deceased Ben Valor, except that he had silvery-white hair with a cobalt streak and was a complete amnesiac. Unfortunately, a malevolent entity known Eclipse is stalking the family but has a particular hatred for Ben.
Powers and Abilities
Zachary Valor himself possessed no ultrahuman abilities and instead relied on his own inventive and engineering genius to combat ultrahuman and technology-dependent criminals. The Cosmic Knight armor is similar to Iron Man, but with more overt medieval influence and greater emphasis on defense and firepower. Cosmic Knight’s signature weapon was the Gravity Lance, which is capable of immobilizing enemies by either increasing the Earth’s gravitational pull on the target as well as trap them “stasis fields” generated by its Cosmic Energy Converter. However, Zachary trained himself in the use of medieval weapons, such as maces and axes, and developed high-tech versions whose design principles are similar to lightsabers.
Aaron and William, while lacking in their father’s genius, received extensive weapons and hand-to-hand combat training, which makes them more formidable fighters than Zachary was.
The Cosmic Knight Dynasty
Zachary Valor (Founder, retired) – Resides in New Ford City where he oversees the operation of Valor Consolidated and its subsidiaries as its CEO. Though he is one of the wealthiest men on Earth-Alpha, he lives a frugal lifestyle and instead uses his personal wealth to help fund programs such as the Excelsior Initiative for the education of young ultrahumans.
Aaron Valor (Cosmic Knight II, deceased) – Inherited the mantle from Zachary shortly after the Cataclysm and the first Cosmic Knight to join the Vanguard. Inherited his father’s sense of responsibility, particularly to the survivors of the Cataclysm, and thus trained to become a full-time superhero. Despite, the “deaths” of his sons, he continued to serve with the Vanguard until he was killed in action against the Consortium.
William “Will” Valor (Cosmic Knight III, current) – Inherited the mantle from Aaron and Vice President of the Cyan City branch of Valor Consolidated. Unlike his brother, William is a workaholic struggled to balance his responsibilities to company and his family, and often neglected the latter. He struggles even more now with his duties to the Vanguard, which destroyed his marriage and his relationships with his children. The stress has driven him to alcoholism, which he attempts to hide but not very well though Zachary and the Vanguard have yet to intervene. Comes off as a womanizing braggart (amplified while he is intoxicated) towards his teammates and the public.
Jason “Jace” Valor (Neon, active) – William’s oldest son and the first Valor to manifest ultrahuman abilities. He is active in Cyan City and currently enrolled as a second-year student at Cyan University. While a distinguished hero in his own right, he is resentful of the expectations placed on him by his father and grandfather.
Sharon Ronning-Valor (Daybreak, inactive/retired) – Aaron’s wife, daughter of Tycho, and mother of Blake, Benjamin, and Emma. Though she was superhero in her youth and founding member of the Teen Lancers’ first incarnation, she retired to pursue a career in architecture and begin a family of her own. However, she chose to renounce her ties to the Valor and Ronning legacies after the deaths of her husbands and sons, but found herself and Emma pulled in again after the mysterious but familiar boy crashed into her life. She is Currently partner of a firm in Mile High City, but resides in Apex Falls, and makes it clear she will never reenter the world of superheroes her children are part of.
Blake Valor (presumed deceased) – Aaron and Sharon’s oldest son, and a psychopath who only “felt” pleasure by tormenting his siblings. Kidnapped and attempted to murder Ben and Emma eight years ago but seemingly died when Ben’s burgeoning powers vaporized them both. (Profile Pending)
Benjamin Valor (Flare, active/student) – Sharon’s “adopted” son. The boy has no memory of his life before meeting her and Emma. (Profile Pending)
Emma Valor (Sparkler, active/student) – Aaron and Sharon’s only daughter. She is a normal teenager for all appearances because of her mother’s insistence on keeping her away from the superhero life. Her memories her father and brothers’ deaths are vague due to repression of the events and has seen several therapists over the occasional nightmares. She also resents Sharon’s overprotective behavior towards her and occasionally engaged in petty crimes as acts of rebellion until Ben appeared in their lives.