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Exploring Shrinking in the CU


Steve
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I’ve recently been working on putting together a superhero campaign based on the Shrinking powerset and was wondering if any groups or individuals in the CU study shrinking or the Microverse.

 

Other than Shrinker, are there any characters who have an “Enter The Microverse” sort of ability?

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I found two references to an official "microverse" in the Champions Universe, other than Shrinker's. One appears on p. 10 of The Mystic World:  "Superbeings with shrinking powers sometimes report worlds that exist on the scale of bacteria, atoms, or subatomic particles. Mystics believe such characters find natural portals to other dimensions. Reported “microverses” seem to follow strange but consistent natural laws, so most mystics think they must be Assiatic realms. Some microversal explorers, however, tell stories of talking bacteria, a Quantum Casino where God plays dice with the universe, and other oddities. Mystics speculate that these super shrinkers may find their way into strange Yetziratic or even Brialic realms." None of these mystics or explorers are named, though.

 

The other is on p. 121 of Villainy Amok, part of Chapter Six discussing scenarios revolving around heroes who have been shrunken. It describes the "Bottle City" of Naldar, once a Malvan colony which rebelled against the Phazor of Malva. As punishment the Phazor hired Thane sorcerers to shrink its inhabitants to microscopic size. After several misadventures detailed on p. 121, the bottle ended up in a curio shop in Millennium City, its true nature undiscovered. Its inhabitants still research ways to try to break the spell.
 

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What’s interesting is that the only science-based superhuman I could find who studies Size Change Physics was Dr. Destroyer.

 

The CU doesn’t seem to have an analog of Marvel’s Hank Pym.

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2 hours ago, Steve said:

What’s interesting is that the only science-based superhuman I could find who studies Size Change Physics was Dr. Destroyer.

 

The CU doesn’t seem to have an analog of Marvel’s Hank Pym.

Maybe a CU equivalent to Hank Pym exists...it is just that he doesn't actually advertise. 

 

Either that or the best superhero names he can think of is Doctor Shrinker and Shrinkie Dink.

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6 hours ago, Steve said:

What’s interesting is that the only science-based superhuman I could find who studies Size Change Physics was Dr. Destroyer.

 

The CU doesn’t seem to have an analog of Marvel’s Hank Pym.

 

Oh, sorry, I didn't pick up on that part of your inquiry. For that there's actually a very direct analogue: Daniel Collins, who in the early 1960s was one of the founders of the world-famous Sentinels superhero team (CU analogue to the Avengers) under the code-name Microman. Collins and his research partner accidentally discovered a shrinking ray which, for unknown reasons, only ever worked on Collins himself (with a couple of exceptions -- see below). Collins retired from adventuring in 1987, publicly revealed his identity, moved to Dearborn, Michigan, and opened a small radiology company, Collins Labs.

 

Another organic being on which Microman's ray was effective is the monster Cazulon, one of the menagerie of giant monsters unleashed by the invading alien Qularr in 1965. Microman shrank the creature from its original 200' height down to 8". Cazulon was later placed on display at the Millennium City Zoo. The ray's effect ultimately wore off in 2003, and Cazulon went on a rampage in MC until Collins used an enhanced version of his ray to shrink it again.

 

In the mid-2000s "the second Microman, inheritor of the fabulous shrinking devices of the aged celebrity hero Dan Collins," joined Nighthawk's anti-VIPER team, "Project Mongoose" (Champions Universe: News Of The World p. 23). His true name isn't given, and there's no character sheet for him. However, Daniel Collins received a full 5E sheet and background write-up in Digital Hero #13. That sheet does include Microverse-based abilities, although no mention of Microman interacting with it otherwise. His later exploits are described in Millennium City and News Of The World.

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Thank you, LL. I will have to look through Microman’s write-up.

 

I’m currently plotting out a campaign involving a research facility and superhero team based around shrinking and the Microverse, kind of like a version of the Fantastic Four mixed with Ant-Man.

 

One option I’m considering is that an accident with quantum energies gave the members of the team their powers, and all of them would also have shrinking as a common powerset too.

 

Another option would be for science types with special suits using a type of Pym Particle compound that gives them shrinking ability and the ability to enter the Microverse and explore the worlds there, so more like Adam Strange mixed with the Atom.

 

In the CU, shrinking seems to be a very under-used powerset theme and would make for a fun campaign background.

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For further inspiration, I suggest Astro City #17 (January 2015), in which Kurt Busiek presented an entire cosmology of layered microverses -- the Molecuworlds, Subatomica, the Quarklands, the Unterverse below them all, and others unnamed -- in only 24 pages. Plus another dimension, the Non. All in a cracking good story, too. The man's a flaming genius.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Unfortunately, the only shrinking character I have used is rather dull in these terms. The Crimson Cockroach does the infiltration and investigation work for the Scarlet Spectre.

 

He doesn't get down to submolecular sizes.

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On 8/2/2021 at 2:22 AM, Steve said:

In the CU, shrinking seems to be a very under-used powerset theme and would make for a fun campaign background.

 

FWIW I can think of a couple more official villainous shrinkers besides Shrinker, although neither can get to microscopic size. Hummingbird is a mutant and member of GRAB who can shrink to about 2.5 inches in height (Champions Villains Volume Two: Villain Teams); while Hornet accidentally gained insect powers including shrinking to around 1 inch tall (CV Vol. 3 Solo Villains).

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On 8/2/2021 at 2:22 AM, Steve said:

I’m currently plotting out a campaign involving a research facility and superhero team based around shrinking and the Microverse, kind of like a version of the Fantastic Four mixed with Ant-Man.

 

One option I’m considering is that an accident with quantum energies gave the members of the team their powers, and all of them would also have shrinking as a common powerset too.

 

Another option would be for science types with special suits using a type of Pym Particle compound that gives them shrinking ability and the ability to enter the Microverse and explore the worlds there, so more like Adam Strange mixed with the Atom.

 

That last sounds very much like DC Comics' classic Challengers of the Unknown. For a little additional inspiration, p. 13 of Champions Universe outlines a group very obviously inspired by the Challengers, called, "The Cryptonauts." There's even a mystery in the Cryptonauts' ultimate fate which might play into a story with your group.

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