Better Angels: The Mess, of The Villainous Nine

better-angels-the-messWritten by Greg Stolze and illustrated by Kurt Komoda, © 2014

The Mess was hellbinding solo before he ever heard of General Null. A low-level cop in Detroit, his name was Harlan O’Neill. He got his rider, Shaklakar the Potent, off a statue that wound up in the evidence locker after a serious drug deal went seriously wrong. (Total casualties included four dead, six wounded, two of them cops.)

Getting the power of Shaklakar put O’Neill on the path to being a supercop, which was just what the demon wanted. Luring its mortal into escalating uses of force, it was getting closer and closer to making him into a hate-ridden murderer hiding behind the thinnest tissue of ‘justice’ as a pretext. Then The Mess met General Null.

Shaklakar’s wrath was great indeed when General Null explained what was really going on, and it even managed to trick Harlan into revealing something of his situation to a corrupt Internal Affairs investigator who soon came to covet Shaklakar’s amulet, to the point of stealing it out of the evidence locker. Her attempts to kill Harlan and take the demon as her own led to a giant, confusing tangle of accusations and counter-claims. Ultimately, both were fired. She’s still out there somewhere, plotting and scheming and trying to find him.

Cashiered and working as a security guard, Harlan is a bulky, heavyset man with a dour expression and shaved head. The Mess wears a mud-brown costume festooned with chaotic pockets bulging with knives, weapons, pagers, zip-cuffs, duct tape, a police-band scanner and anything else Harlan thinks might come in handy. It’s topped with a mirror-visored black helmet.

When he goes fully Aspected, The Mess is a ball of guttering flames kicking out foul, green-black smoke that smells like paint and burning hair. You can’t really see him until he’s right on top of you, at which point, it’s too late.

Greed 2, Generosity 1
Espionage 2, Knowledge 2

Cruelty 4, Courage 2
Cowardice 1, Endurance 3

Corruption 2, Nurture 1
Deceit 3, Honesty 1

POWERS: That Hideous Strength, Clairvoyance

ASPECTS: Darkness-Shrouded, Flame-Wreathed


Better Angels cover