In the chaos created by the Qularr invasion of 2009, Rodney Duelleck stumbled upon an experimental body suit with the appearance of hard rubber stashed in the basement of his otherwise-mundane workplace. Without much time to think, he decided to put it on under his regular clothes in hopes that it would be enough to protect him if he ever encountered one of the insectoid aliens in person.
Far afield from the attack's epicenter as he was, Rodney still found himself within crowds of panicked citizens wanting to escape to safer parts of Millennium City-- some of whom mistook the man for an actual costumed superhero. While initially displeased with the insistence of the masses that he should "take on the bugs at the front line", he eventually was convinced to take charge of evacuating the area.
With most of the civilians escorted to safety, Rodney turned his sights on a group that had fallen behind with the Qularr giving chase! In his attempt to rescue them, he was gunned down with several blasts of alien energy, which incinerated his clothes. The efforts of heroes returning from the heat of the action saved him from meeting an untimely end.
During his recovery, Rodney was told that the body suit indeed protected him from the brunt of the assault he took, but the energy caused a hidden nanite lattice within the suit to overcharge itself and effectively fused the material to his skin... and the process did not stop there. Over time, much of Rodney's body-- his muscles, bones, even his blood-- began to take on properties of the "rubber" the suit was made of!
Advised by doctors that attempts to remove the suit would probably kill him, and with some encouragement from a few people he had saved with his unintentional heroics, an emboldened Rodney decided that he would find a way to use his condition and resulting "powers" for good. Within a few months, he debuted as the Wheelman, and dedicated himself to protecting Millennium City as a true crime-fighter.
He remains unaware, however, that his actions have cast a long shadow: the suit was, in fact, a prototype model of body armor created by ARGENT. Seedier sides of the company keep watch over Rodney's activities as a crimefighter, biding their time and resources in case he turns his attention to them...
The Wheelman's build is mostly lean and athletic, yet adapted to his unique powers and unorthodox mode of travel. He seems excessively broad at the shoulders and lacks depth in his torso area.
Powers and Abilities
Durability: Boasts impressive resistance against physical melee, weapon, and minor projectile attacks, as well as minor temperature fluctuations.
Superhuman Flexibility: Virtually boneless flexibility throughout his entire body, which he can bend and contort at will. His signature demonstration of this power is his Wheelman Roll, often used as his main method of travel, in which he curls into a human "ball".
Kinetic Momentum Amplification: Used in conjunction with his rolling stance, Wheelman can increase the speed at which he travels without other assistance. He has been recorded travelling up to roughly 80km/h on a straight road without obstacles.
Superhuman Equilibrium: While not entirely impossible, it takes a lot to get Wheelman dizzy by any means.
Urban Empowerment and Intuition: While he may not actually have this kind of power, Wheelman always seems to know where he is going when he is rolling around town. He tends to prefer to work around Millennium City specifically, though he has travelled to Vibora Bay on several occasions.
Improvised Combat Prowess: Rodney has no formal combat training of any kind, but is able to hold himself in a fair fight, often using techniques that allow him to take advantage of his flexibility.
Equipment and Other Paraphernalia
Body Suit: Rodney's body is sheathed in a bodysuit made of what appears to be the same rubber material used in the manufacture of tires. though an area of his face (around the nose and mouth) is exposed to the elements. The suit bonded to Rodney on a molecular level, with the process being so thorough that it formed compound substances with his skin, flesh, bone, and blood. As such, it is virtually impossible to remove.
Nanite Lattice System: Hidden within the material of the bodysuit. It has been theorized that this lattice, overloaded by the energy of alien weapons, was the root cause of Rodney's transformation and is the source of some of his capabilities.
Electronic Visor: In addition to protecting Rodney's eyesight, this piece of equipment also features a working HUD display as well as a holograph disruption device.
Personality and Attitude
Relishing in his role as a hero, role model, and sometime celebrity, Rodney exudes a confident attitude in both public and private life. He's proud yet kind, almost to a fault on both counts, but he does know when to keep up his guard around others. He's also a noted jokester when it comes to making tire and vehicle-related puns, and tends to mockingly disapprove when anyone else beats him to it.
The Blue Bruiser - When this hero was stranded in "the middle of Canadian nowhere" after a defeat at the hands of a global threat, Wheelman was able to remotely co-ordinate a rescue effort. The Bruiser repaid him in kind, offering his future assistance, a pair of neat aviator sunglasses, and NASCAR tickets-- however, BB announced his retirement shortly afterwards.
Colosso - From their first meeting, this larger-than-life hero was persistent in his attempts to get Rodney to join his team of Eternals. Despite their friendship being cut short due to Michael Gold's sudden relocation to New York for personal reasons, the Wheelman still holds the man in the highest of regards.
Crimson Falcon - Wheelman has crossed lanes with this cowled hero on several Westside emergencies.
Particle Man - Wheelman rescued the pint-sized hero at his "birth" in the buried ruins of old Detroit. They were briefly reunited as Eternals prior to the group's hiatus from active duty.
Psion and Noble
Sparrowhawk - Previously accompanied Wheelman on their accidental discovery of Particle Man.
Thundrax - Wheelman holds a civil, yet distant, respect for Craig Carson.
Angro - ????
Blowout - Presumed to be a mutant, all that is currently known about Blowout's powers is that they tend to produce explosive results. Coming soon.
Rockabilly - One of Colosso's old foes, Wheelman inherited a stone's throw of this craggy man's ire upon his brief assumption of leadership in the Eternals.
Wheelman's civilian identity has been publicized in the past, due to his actions during and following the Qularr invasion. These days, Rodney enjoys more of a B-list status among the superhuman community but may still be approached by those who have heard of his activities-- heroes and civilians alike.
Barring extremely unusual circumstances, Wheelman can be found operating exclusively in and around Millennium City. As such, he's very knowledgeable about its various landmarks, often giving directions to wayward tourists or heroes looking to make their start in the area.
During his patrols, he often stops at one particular hotdog stand on the fringe of the City Center and Downtown districts of the city.
Rodney gets along well with heroes that are dedicated to serving their community, especially those who take "responsible heroism" seriously.
Rodney's last name is pronounced /duːlɪk/ (do lick).
Wheelman has claimed at one point or another that he has insurance papers and is legal to drive himself on Millennium City streets.
It has been rumored that he is capable of the consumption of motor fuel, but this remains to be proven as of yet.
His lightness and flexibility makes Wheelman a candidate for the use of Fastball Special-like combination maneuvers.
by Taclobanon (dA)
by EryckWebbGraphics (dA)
by Phil Cho (dA)
by Masamundane (CORP)
with Colosso by Smackwell (official forums/dA)
by bernce (dA)
by EryckWebbGraphics (dA)
The Driving Force ~Road Without End~
Infinite Warrior - Mitsuto Suzuki [MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY]