Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Vile Menagerie: TRIUMPH



Real Name: William MacIntyre
Occupation: Sculpture, Former student and investor
Group Affiliation: None, Formerly Justice League Task Force
Base of Operations: JLA Trophy Room, Earth's Moon
First Appearance: Justice League International #67 (August, 1994)
Height: Estimated between 6'0" and 6'2"
Weight: Approximatly 210-225 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Grey, formerly blonde

History:
Jimmy MacIntyre was a super-villain, or at least one of their hoods, until he was busted years ago. In an attempt to keep his son Billy Mac on the straight and narrow, he asked Hourman to visit him one night. Having already discovered his father's criminal past, Billy Mac was a loner, but the visit made him dive even deeper into himself. He decided he wanted to become a super-hero, and began training both mind and body at an early age. By seventeen, he had a body-builder's physique, martial arts degrees, and working knowledge of science and criminology. He eventually developed powers as a byproduct of his father's career. Learning of an alien threat, he studied them, gathered equipment, and meticulously planned his strike. He also studied the new heroes of his time, learning their weaknesses, so he could command them in battle.

In short, Triumph was obsessed, more concerned with his own stature and gratification than helping his fellow man. He was egotistical, overbearing, aggressive, and reckless. He gathered together for the first time the heroes that would later form the Justice League, but would have sacrificed the lives of The Flash and Aquaman for his own glory. When the Manhunter stood in his way, he attacked his teammate, and set off a temporal explosion that thrust him ten years into the future. As it was happening, he was deciding on his heroic code-name.



Returning to reality during Zero Hour, he sought aid from what was left of the Justice League in defending the world against the aliens that started his career. His claims were met with ridicule, so he decided to punch the Tasmanian Devil through a window to show he meant business. While L-Ron/Despero erected a telepathic shield to protect bystanders from falling teammates and debris, Triumph fought Crimson Fox, Elongated Man, and Fire for no good reason. This attracted the attention of the ancient Atlantean sorcerer Arion, who broke things up. While the rest of the JLI decided to give Triumph the benefit of the doubt by heading to Washington D.C., Fire stayed behind. When The Manhunter returned, she informed him of the return of the JLA's founding member. "I've never met anyone named 'Triumph.'"

When Triumph spotted the Capitol Dome, which had been destroyed by the aliens in his past, he realized the time/space drive that kicked him into the future had also wiped the battle from the world's memory. That included J'Onn J'Onzz, who had traced his teammates' course. After receiving a telepathic status report from L-Ron/Despero, he delivered a well-deserved beating to the pompous Triumph. Received a theraputic kiss from an easily impressed Crimson Fox, a concussed Triumph remembered that the aliens' weakness was sonics. Finally heeding MM's decade old advice to attempt peaceful communications with the aliens, Triumph successfully called for an end to hostilities.

Turned down by seventy-seven universities upon his return, Triumph joined the Justice League Task Force instead, and immediately began undermining the Manhunter's authority on the team. He feigned a dispute with the Ray to cover their covertly exploring the headquarters of Vandal Savage during a mission. They were immediately detected, and the move only served to embarrass Manhunter. Later, Triumph bungled a break-in at one of Savage's offices, setting off a bomb which blew up one floor of the skyscraper. Later still, he and his team was trapped on Savage's island headquarters, with the place is set to explode. Powerless, Triumph stood watching Savage, waiting for him to open some secret escape route. While the rest of his team saved their lives, Triumph did nothing except expect a last-minute save that didn't exist. Savage believed Triumph was fascinated by his Machiavellian scheming, and wished to emulate the immortal. His continued actions would bare that out.



Even after numerous warnings, Triumph continues to go behind Manhunter's back for his own ends. Once, believing he had deduced the Manhunter's secret identity, he led the team in formulating a practical joke against MM's presumed alias. Instead, two members nearly died at the hands of a telepath named Von Mauler. After The Ray quit the JLTF, he needed help in dealing with his nemesis, Death Masque. Without consulting J'Onn J'Onzz, Triumph refused to provide assistance in the team's name, leading Ray to accept Vandal Savage's aid.

This was the final straw. On learning the truth, the very angry Martian Manhunter beat Triumph like a red-headed stepchild, then fired him from the team. Unbeknownst to Manhunter, Triumph had suffered a spinal injury on a solo mission, and nearly died from the extra trauma inflicted by J'Onzz. After a self-serving attempt to patch things up with Ray, he returned to JLTF like a stray puppy. While his membership was not actually restored, he tagged along on a mission to save L-Ron, which led to a battle in Skartaris.

Triumph was given a candle by the demonic entity called Neron. Should he light it, the ten years he lost in time would be returned to him, at the cost of his soul. Later, he saved Gypsy's life in outer space, but not out of any concern for her safety. "I was too scared to go after you--I thought better you than me...[but] I knew it would look bad if I didn't! ...I weighed the pros and cons of saving you--then I let you believe I was some kind of hero!!" At a Christmas party, Triumph made peace with his fellow heroes, but was still turned down for League membership. After starting a brawl, he left, then debated lighting Neron's candle. Triumph decided against it, but it is accidentally lit by The Ray. That's when continuity got weird.



It is revealed that the pre-Justice League Triumph gathered opted not to stay together, so he didn't get the credit he longed for there. Billy MacIntyre's powers were stolen by Amazo, never to return, and parts of his anatomy were left reduced by a shrink ray. Apparantly, Triumph was still a member of the JLTF, but as a loser also-ran instead of as a rookie. At some point, MacIntyre swiped some souvenirs from the JLA trophy room, including a pen containing a 5th Dimensional Imp named LKZ. Down on his luck, MacIntyre tried to sell these items to a two-bit supervillain, who decided to just kill Billy Mac for kicks. Tempted by LKZ (pronounced "look-o's"), Triumph freed the imp, who killed his captors. The Imp restored Triumph's powers, then wrecked havok in Keystone City. Triumph contacted Ray and Gypsy, taking mental control of his friends, and directing them in invading the JLA's Watchtower. "Let's go live on the moon now."

After ironically taking out the android version of Hourman with an electromagnetc pulse, Triumph sat in Superman's meeting room chair. "After all these years...the throne's mine. This is the way it should have happened ten years ago." Steel disagreed, and ended up with his armor ripped off his body. John Henry Irons narrowly managed to escape into a vent shaft. Triumph's plan was to allow LKZ to defeat the combined might of the JLA and JSA, then ride in with his League to save the day. Pretty weak plan, especially after Batman learned of it, and took down the controlled Ray. Triumph retaliated successfully, beating both Batman and Superman. That is, until Steel turned the Watchtower's security system on Billy Mac. The Spectre finished the job, turning Triumph into a statue made of ice. It is unknown whether Triumph survived the destruction of the Watchtower a bit afterward, but he has not been seen since.



Powers:
Originally, Triumph drew power from Earth's magnetic field. He could manipulate electromagnetic energy, allowing him to fly, create forcefields, "read" electronic messages, trace energy signatures, emit energy pulses, manipulate objects, enhance his strength, and other formitable abilities. When empowered by 5th dimensional energies, he could mentally control people, had 360º "hyper-senses," super-speed, and could mentally syphon energy. Triumph claimed to be Superman's superior at this level, while slowly killing the Man of Steel by draining his solar cells. It is unknown if Triumph retained these powers after LKZ imprisonment.

Weakness:
Vulnerable to microwave radiation.

Quote: "See, you and Ray were my League, Gypsy, the losers nobody remembered or cared about when the headliners climbed back on stage like it was a Beatles reunion."

Created by Ruben Diaz, Brian Augustyn, Mark Waid, Christopher Priest and Howard Porter.

6 comments:

totaltoyz said...

I think the explosion of the Watchtower propelled Triumph, the hero nobody remembered, into the Marvel Universe, where he changed his name to Sentry.

Luke said...

I see what you mean about "honorary Heywood." Oddly enough I just saw him while rereading Zero Hour and had no idea who he was, so it was a surprise!

What are Triumph's main appearances?

Frank Lee Delano said...

Not a bad theory t-toyz, except Triumph was the incompetent hero who tried to do everything and failed, while Sentry is the omnipotent hero who avoids doing anything and succeeds. He's more like Bizarro Triumph.

Luke, Triumph appeared regularly in JLTF from about #16 onward, and irregularly in his buddy The Ray's solo title. Additional key appearances include JLA-related Zero Hour tie-ins (especially JLAmerica #92,) his four-issue solo mini-series, and the Morrison JLA story "Crisis Times Five" (reprinted in the "Justice For All" trade.)

totaltoyz said...

while Sentry is the omnipotent hero who avoids doing anything and succeeds.

In other words, Earth-616's Forrest Gump.

Luke said...

I saw Justice For All at my comic shop, and it looks like a great sampling of the Morrison League in addition to the Triumph stuff. I will have to pick it up!

Frank Lee Delano said...

"Justice For All" is not a book for continuity nit-pickers, and the last couple stories by Waid and Grayson are not strong. However, I dug the Ultramarine Corps and the insanity of "Crisis Times Five," so I figure it's a fun read overall.