Origin of The Awesome Foursome
During the Olympic Games in Montreal Canada in 1976, Johnny Orson the U.S. 100 meters champion was approached by a stranger who offered him something that he could only dream of: the chance to become one of the growing population of those who sported super powers.
Super abilities had almost completely finished the world of sport. People who once tuned into events like the Olympics in their millions had dwindled considerably since the super borne had begun to appear. Now anyone could look out of their front window and see events more amazing than any mere mortal athlete could demonstrate.
The stranger revealed how he had found a way to ‘tap’ into what he called the ‘source’. Now anyone could have a chance to be ‘special’. Johnny’s ego, coupled with an insatiable curiosity got the better of him and he accepted the stranger’s offer. All this benefactor wanted was the chance to study the effects of the ‘source’ as it coursed through the finely tuned athlete’s body.
Bringing along his equally excited sister, ice skater Jenny Orson and their friend from the Bulgravian Olympic team, weight lifting legend Sergey Borislav, the three presented themselves before the mysterious benefactor and subjected themselves to his ‘enhancements’.
At first nothing seemed to happen. That changed after the first minute or so, as strange energy began to imperceptibly change the very genetic make-up of the three ‘test subjects’. Sergey’s skin caught alight and began to harden into a rock-like armour. Jenny was next, her body becoming cold, transparent ice. Johnny was both instantly awestruck and disappointed. Awestruck at his companions alterations and disappointed that he himself, the ‘Awesome’ Johnny Orson seemed to have developed no such ability. He didn’t have long to wait before his own special attributes surfaced.
Through a nearby doorway, a robot flew in. It demanded that ‘Dr Eugen X’ stop his nefarious experiments at once, by order of ‘The Quantum Mechanic’. When the stranger revealed himself to be the infamous geneticist Dr. Xander himself, he stood there and surrendered to the hovering automaton. The galvanized gatecrasher then extended his cable-like ‘arms’, wrapping them tightly around the evil doctor. Dr. Eugen X then smiled, turned into a blob of viscous jelly and slid out of the robot’s grasp. He ordered his three new allies to attack the robot with their new found powers. They did so, though with varying degrees of success. Sergey’s burning brimstone body lumbered after the robot, who deftly flew out of his reach. Jenny generated an ice slide and skated towards her robotic adversary, but the droid simply span wildly in front of her, cable arms flailing in all directions, smashing her ice slide to smithereens and knocking her straight through a wall. Johnny was up next and this was the moment he realized he’d also been affected by whatever the doctor had done. Running straight at the robot, everything seemed to move in slow motion around him. The robot was almost frozen in time it seemed. It quickly dawned on Johnny that he was running faster than he had ever run before. In fact, he was now a member of a very exclusive club of super speedsters and he was probably the best of that group too.
Able to target the apparently slow moving robot with ease, Johnny raced up to it in the blink of an eye and jumped straight up in the air, smashing an accelerated fist into it’s flight motor. Trouble was, Johnny was now hurtling upwards with the disabled robot in tow at an incredible speed. After a few thousand feet’s worth of travelling up into the air, the speedster began the inevitable fall to the ground.
Seeing her older brother falling from such a great height, Jenny concentrated hard to generate ice slides and deep snow everywhere she predicted her brother’s landing might be. An ice slide caught Johnny’s fast descent and brought him safely to the ground and into a wall of cushioning snow.
After collecting himself and thanking his sister for her timely intervention, Johnny turned his attention to the robot. It was badly broken and needed to be repaired if they were to gain any information from it. Thoughts turned quickly to Dr. Eugen X. After a brief (very brief) look around the Olympic Village and surrounding areas, Johnny concluded the doctor had fled.
Recalling that the robot had mentioned someone called The Quantum Mechanic, Jenny set about finding the robot’s master.
When he was located, The Quantum Mechanic revealed to the three athletes that they had been used by Dr. Eugen X as part of his ongoing experiment to ‘improve’ members of the human race by exposing them to the strange, altering energies of a dimension called The Cascade. He intended to gather the individuals affected by this dimensional energy into an force he was calling the ‘Superiors’ and that they would advance the evil doctor’s agenda further.
The robot, he revealed, was a scout unit called Auton he had just developed, who was programmed to track down and prevent the doctor from fulfilling this agenda.
Hearing of Dr. Eugen X’s plan to turn innocents into super-powered soldiers for his own ends, Johnny felt used by the plausible stranger. In his naivety, Johnny had believed the doctor had wanted genuinely to help him to achieve those things he couldn’t physically. He’d been stupid enough to allow his own ego to direct his decisions instead of his head.
Reflecting on this, the brash youth vowed that he’d stop others from being turned into servants of Dr. Xander. The Quantum Mechanic cautiously warned the young Orson that he might be getting in ‘over his head’. He offered the hot-headed speedster a place in a new program being developed for young possessors of special abilities that was tentatively titled APEX Institute. Still needed governement backing, The Quantum Mechanic was sure that famous names like the Orsons being attached to the program would ensure it’s funding. Johnny and his sister hadn’t long finished college and they weren’t keen on any more lecturing. They politely refused, saying they’d pursue their new objective in their own fashion.
After repairing Auton, the quantum genius gave the robot to Johnny and the others. He programmed the robot to assist his new masters and whenever possible, mentor the young athletes in their actions against Eugen X.
Returning to Orson Manor, Johnny, Jenny, Sergey and Auton became the Awesome Foursome, defenders of humanity from the depredations of Dr. Eugen X and protectors of the The Cascade and the mysterious and dangerous power it contained.