· Other Affiliations ·
April 13, 1980
Near Amarillo, Texas
Millenium City civilian residence with basement armory and operations center
Superhero, former ranch hand
Secret identity compromised
· Known Relatives ·
Kelly Harlow (Sister)
· Distinguishing Features ·
Surgical scars on right side of head.
Powers & Abilities
· Known Powers ·
Near-infallible accuracy with all ranged weaponry, strong and highly acrobatic.
· Equipment ·
Dual custom .357 autorevolvers, lever rifle with quick change magazine, high strength synthetic fiber lasso, various other conventional firearms, custom 'gatling gun', numerous specialized submunitions.
· Other Abilities ·
Tracking, brawling, driving, horsemanship, poker
In costume, his face is usually hidden by a long scarf, wide-brimmed hat, and a set of old-timey metal welding goggles that wouldn't look too out of place at a steampunk convention. Out of it, he's red haired, tanned by environment and lifestyle, well built and square jawed.
Jim Harlow in his early life was not in any was special. A ranch hand on his father's land in a very rural stretch of arid West Texas, he was well liked enough by his few neighbors, known as a hard worker and had ambitions to go to veterinary college once he'd scrounged up enough dough.
Enter VIPER. The universally reviled terrorist organization was always on the lookout for superhumans amenable to recruitment for the cause. Given the extreme danger inherent with what they do however, there were an understandably limited amount of takers. VIPER's research department however, hit upon a solution - if they wanted to enhance their ranks with superhumans, why not simply.. make their own?
VIPER scientists came up with their very own super-soldier program - Project Razor. Subjects were to have cybernetic targeting computers implanted into their brains, along with muscle-enhancing serum and an extensive neural rewrite. And a control chip to keep them in line, naturally. The result was to be hundreds of soldiers at the organizations beck and call who could outrun, outfight, and outshoot even the best human UNTIL agents every single time. It is estimated that in wartime, hundreds of thousands of rounds are expended for enemy KIA. If VIPER could produce a unit that could down this ration to close to 1:1, it would have been a major coup. The resultant productions wouldn't exactly have been equal to Defender or the like, but the organization could produce thousands of them in theory.
None of this would have had anything to do with Harlow at all, save for one unfortunate coincidence. The procedure was highly invasive in its prototype stage. Most individuals' bodies would have rejected the implants. Jim possessed certain biological factors that made him more receptive to the procedure, the sort of subtle quirks of genetics no one would notice unless they were looking for them. VIPER found this out through purloined medical records and abducted him for Razor's trial run, along with hundreds of others.
Harlow doesn't remember much of what was done to him, only what happened after when he came to. VIPER agents in the research facility had staged a rebellion, believing they would either be replaced or subjected to the implants to turn them into mindless killing machines. They staged an act of sabotage that accidentally resulted in most Razor subjects going completely haywire, attacking anything that was not themselves. He escaped this fate through sheer luck - his control chip malfunctioned, while his other implants were still broadcasting the IFF signal that told the Razors he was on their side. For most of the carnage he hid in a packing crate, emerging to find a bullet-riddled abattoir and a team of UNTIL soldiers there to round up and/or rescue survivors.
Harlow was thoroughly traumatized by the experience. He returned home, but simply wasn't the same, mentally or physically. Eventually he felt he couldn't stay there, and for a time worked the carnival circuit as an acrobat and trick shooter - shooting cigars out of people's mouths, hitting things on a ricochet, that sort of showy stuff. This went on for a few years before he realized that none of this was helping him come to terms with what he was now or what had been done to him.
He reached a decision, spur of the moment: if VIPER wanted to make him into an agent of terror bloodshed, he was damned well determined to do the opposite and use his terrible gifts to promote justice, peace, freedom and all those other things what give people warm fuzzies. Naturally one needs a costume if you're going to use superpowers to fight crime, so he modified his showman's costume and took on the moniker 'Desperado' as an ode to the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns he'd been raised on.
As it turns out though, West Texas is not the ideal place for this sort of thing. Weirdos running around fighting crime in funny costumes were.. not particularly welcome, especially not one's packing heat. And so he made his way to Millenium City, where apparently there was a market for this sort of thing, and made a minor name for himself in Westside doing battle against the slums army of oddly dressed criminals.
Harlow is well aware of the tropes drawn from the Western genre his costume and persona embody, and plays them to the hilt whenever the opportunity arises. He'll work the 'mysterious stranger' angle when he enters a new area of operations, or play up the 'notorious shootist' in ones where he is well known. That being said, he is not by any means a cold blooded killer. Desperado operates as a crime fighter according to Millenium City's legal restrictions. He is registered, and usually attempts to take down human criminals through non-lethal means by utilizing a variety of less-than-lethal munitions. However, in extremis or wartime situations he has demonstrated a willingness to use deadly force.
At one time, he kept his identity secret. Desperado has several non-super-powered family members at large in Texas, including both his parents and his sister Kelly. When his identity was exposed during a major cyber-security breach, most of his immediate family went into hiding under a Federal program similar to withness protection.
Powers and Abilities
-Shootist: Harlow/Desperado likes to brag that he can out-shoot any man alive, and at least in regards to normal humans this is quite likely true. Owing to his extensive neuro-augmentation, he can not only perform the type of madcap feets of gunmanship one sees in a Hollywood movie, but do so while making it look easy. His brain is constantly calculating exactly where his firearm needs to be to hit whatever target or targets he needs to drop and sending the coordinates to his wrists, which adjust his aim down to fractions of a millimeter. All this happens in less than a second. It is therefore not uncommon to see him draw and fire at a far-away target without even bothering to aim down the sights, and hit it regardless (for example).
-Guns 'n Ammo: Desperado carries a twinned pair of .357 autorevolvers.. For long-range work a heavily customized lever rifle of the same caliber, capable of quick-loading by swapping out the magazine tube. A variety of machine pistols and short shotguns round out the arsenal. When fighting humans or other organic sentients, he typically utilizes a plethora of non lethal ordinance such as rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, shock darts, stun grenades, and the like. For harder targets, specialized munitions such as armor-piercing tungsten slugs or steel cored ammo are broken out.
--Armor: Harlow tends to wear various forms of anti-ballistic body armor under his costume or longcoats. Typically these are made of a thin layer of kevlar or similar fibers, sandwiching a pocket of non-Newtonian fluids that harden upon strong impact. This gives the vests resistance to knives and piercing damage that personal body armor typically lacks, as well as greater stopping power against bullets than their weight would suggest.
-Scramble: Although difficult as his cyber-enhancements aren't connected wirelessly to anything else, it is possible to disable them with specialized equipment or high-grade technomancy.
-Headcase: His implants give him constant migraines that must be controlled through medication.
-Kentucky Bourbon: Self-medicates.
-The Baron - Mustachioed Menace:
-Pale Rider - Ghost of the Gallows:
-Lariat - Cowgirl of Crime:
-The Bone-Eaters - Demons of the Plain: