Alternate Identity: Benicio "Ben" Wang
Base of Operations: Freedom City
Concept: Ultimate Spider-Man meets Robin meets Daredevil, as reimagined by Guillermo del Toro
Table of Contents
Allies, Associates, & Enemies
Costume & Appearance
Current Role & Hooks
Personality & Motivation
Powers & Skills
Allies, Associates, & Enemies
Bombshell saved Octoman's life during his first outing as a superhero, and afterward, she brought him to the secret Interceptors headquarters in the Espadas School, where she tended to his wounds while he met Jack of All Blades and one of their children. Bombshell and Jack helped Ben get into the Claremont Academy, and promised to help him in the future.
His roommate during his first year at the Claremont Academy.
As part of his admission process for the Claremont Academy, Ben had to tell his parents about his powers. He has not, however, told them that he is Octoman. His dad likes superheroes almost as much as he does, and would probably be proud of him. But his mother hates superheroes.
Ben's four grandparents all live in Brooklyn. He's visited them during almost every holiday of his life. None of them are particularly wealthy or influential, but they do love him.
The mad scientist Cooper Seidel knows that he turned Ben Wang into Octoman. He wants to collect as much data from the boy as he can before punishing the boy for ruining his experiments.
Josef Bankowski, the abusive junkie Bombshell and Octoman apprehended during his first outing as a superhero was eventually captured by Goanna, whose experiments transformed him into the supervillain who now calls himself "Webmaster". He'll drop everything for a chance to get revenge on any of them.
Costume & Appearance
Because of his mixed ancestry, Ben's actual ethnicity is difficult for people to guess at first glance. He has big eyes and a heart-shaped face with soft features which makes him look younger than he is. His build is that of a typical semi-athletic lanky teenager. During his day-to-day life out of costume, he uses his shapeshifting power to mimic his original appearance before his mutation. He recreates the brown eyes that turned yellow, and the medium-length Afro hairstyle he wore before all his body hair fell out. He also hides the new lines and folds in his skin, which appear to be scars but are actually new orifices. He has three on each side of his neck, one each on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet, another on each forearm, and several along the sides and back of his torso.
The other changes to his body from the mutation are less visible. An x-ray would reveal his lack of a rigid skeleton, and several new organs and muscular structures. His blood is thick, like syrup, and purple, since it contains both the hemoglobin normally found in humans (which is red, since it contains iron), and the hemocyanin found in cephalopods (which is blue, since it contains copper). His blood pressure is significantly higher than that of a normal human. When he is cut, his blood is less likely to drip and more likely to spray. His blood is also slightly radioactive; not enough to be dangerous, but enough for Geiger counters to register a noticeable uptick.
Ben technically walks around naked most of the time. Both his normal street clothes and his superhero "costume" are just manifestations of his ability to change the shape, texture, and color of his own flesh. When he is "in costume", the impossibly perfect way that the "fabric" clings to his skin is a clue for close observers to its true nature. His "mask" somehow adheres to his face in a manner which conveys all of his facial expressions , and the "mouth hole" never falls out of place or exposes any of the skin around it, no matter how much he moves, talks, or gets punched in the face.
Current Role & Hooks
Ben loves being a superhero. It's all he ever dreamed of. He will literally jump at any opportunity to participate in anything that he thinks of as "superhero stuff". Protecting the West End, like Geckoman and the Interceptors before him, is his top priority, but he's willing and able to chase trouble through any corner of Freedom City, or beyond. He's going to Claremont because Geckoman went there, and he wants to be like Geckoman.
Octoman is simultaneously a spin on Spider-Man (particularly both versions of Ultimate Spider-Man), and a legacy character for Geckoman, whose love of that PC mirrors my own. He's a downright Lovecraftian take, as if Spider-Man, Robin, and Daredevil were to be combined and re-imagined by Guillermo del Toro.
During the school week, Ben lives in the dorms at the Claremont Academy. On the weekends and during vacations, he returns to his parents apartment in the West End.
Benicio Wang was born in Brooklyn to Gen-X parents. His mother, Maya, is an overworked public defender of Puerto Rican Afro-Latina descent. His father, Diego, is a half-Filipino, half-Ashkenazi overworked baker and deli cook. Ben frequently jokes that his lineage makes him the most Brooklyn guy who ever lived. If one of his parents are in earshot, they will retort that they moved to Freedom City when he was a small child, and visiting his grandparents during the holidays doesn't make him a New Yorker.
Ben met Geckoman in 2010, though Gecks probably doesn't remember. The 18-year-old superhero was occupied with defending Freedom City from the third Grue invasion, and working things out with his supervillain girlfriend. But Ben will never, ever forget it. He was only seven years old when his family found themselves trapped in the Millennium Mall, huddling behind an increasingly fatigued and desperate Spellbound. Ben was impressed with her and the lightning-wand she used to zap away the invading aliens, but with her black costume and icy demeanor, she scared the boy almost as much as the Grue. When the brightly-colored, wise-cracking Geckoman dropped down through the skylight and started jumping around, tossing boomerangs, and kicking giant monsters in the face, little Ben's fear evaporated. From that day forward, Ben was a lifelong #Geckofan.
Eight years later, Doctor Cooper Seidel was hard at work trying to stabilize and enhance his universal antivenom serum, and his resulting transformation into the reptile monster Goanna. He had retained a gang of hired thugs who had helped him steal the lab equipment, rare animal specimens, and radioactive materials he needed for his latest experiments. He closely monitored local law enforcement communications, so he had advance warning when the multi-agency task force finally found his hideout and moved to raid it. Seidel and his henchmen hastily loaded the irradiated animal specimens into a truck and escaped just as the tactical units broke down the door. The truck had enough of a lead that they might have escaped, if a bystander hadn't lost their grip on their dog's leash. Or if the dog hadn't then run out into the middle of the road. Or if fifteen year-old computer science prodigy Ben Wang hadn't run out into the road after the dog to scoop it up. Or if Seidel's henchman hadn't swerved at high speed to avoid Ben and lost control of the truck, flipping and crashing it. The truck and the tanks inside it broke open, spilling water and a menagerie of mutated animals into the street.
Ben saved the dog, but the truck clipped him, sending him flying several feet away. He was dazed for a few moments, before the rush of cold water on the asphalt under him cleared his head. He saw a tiny yellow octopus crawling on his hand, and had just enough time to think it was cute before it bit him. Seidel ordered his henchmen to gather up the escaped test subjects, but no amount of money could convince them to pick up a bunch of radioactive venomous creatures with their bare hands. While Ben was wracked with painful muscle spasms which escalated into projectile vomiting, diarrhea, and a full-blown seizure, an enraged Seidel transformed into Goanna and slaughtered his own "cowardly and incompetent" henchmen, along with the occupants of the first couple of police cars who responded to the crash. Goanna intended to do the same to the bumbling idiot boy who had ruined everything, but when he saw that one of his test subjects had already done the work for him, he merely laughed while the boy suffocated on the pavement. Knowing that some combination of the FCPD's STAR squad, AEGIS, or one or more superheroes would show up soon, Goanna fled into the sewers. Seidel showed up at the hospital where Ben had been taken later that same night, intent on harvesting samples from the boy's corpse, since it was all the remained of his months of research. He was surprised to learn that the boy had survived. He took careful note of the boy's name, and resolved to keep him under close surveillance.
Ben received prompt medical attention, and he seemed to make a full recovery, with one exception: The song he'd been listening to on his headphones when he dove out in front of that truck was the last thing he would ever hear. Hearing loss isn't a normal symptom of either vehicular collisions or tetrodotoxin poisoning, but the doctors had no other idea what else could have caused it. It wasn't until several days after he was discharged from the hospital that Ben's body began to change significantly. The changes happened gradually, over the course of several months. Ben hid them from everyone, even his parents. As his new powers slowly manifested, he learned how to use them through a combination of new instinct and trial and error. He knew immediately what he wanted to do with them. Right after his sixteenth birthday, during the summer before his sophomore year of high school, Ben put on his costume and started swinging through the streets of Freedom City as Octoman.
Ben's parents love him, but they don't really have time for him. They're both workaholics with jobs which demand that they be workaholics, so he tends to fall through the cracks. Most of Ben's social life takes place online. He didn't have many in-person friends, even before he moved to a new school across town. His mutated appearance and new disability make him feel self-conscious and isolated. He's become adept at lip-reading, but not perfect, and not everyone has the time or the inclination to learn how to sign with him. He's open to romantic relationships, but he doesn't think any would survive the girl in question seeing the "real" him.
Personality & Motivation
Ben is bright, inquisitive, and altruistic, but he can't keep his big mouth shut. Growing up as the latchkey-kid only child of two workaholic parents has turned him into a bit of an unconscious attention-seeker. He likes to make an entrance. He has an opinion to share about everything. If he's not rambling, he's arguing. If a joke or an insult comes to his mind, then it also comes out of his mouth. He never stops trash-talking during a competition or a fight. He's actually a pretty sensitive kid, but he never met an emotion he couldn't hide under sarcasm or just drown out with his motor-mouth. He doesn't know how to pick his battles, and his refusal to let the slightest disagreement, injustice, or insult go unchallenged gets him into trouble. But even when he's railing against injustice, he generally tries to keep things light. He'll keep making bad jokes and puns past the point where anyone is laughing (if they ever were to begin with).
After his brush with death, Ben just felt lucky. But once his powers manifested, weird though they are, he felt blessed. Ben has two passions in life: Hacking, and superheroes. He maintains active accounts on both HeroHouse and TroubAlert (Username: Geckofan). He's been obsessed with Geckoman in particular (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of his Young Freedom and Interceptors teammates) since he was seven years old. He had resigned himself to, maybe, at best, using his hacking skills to play a support role for a superhero someday. But he desperately wanted to be an actual superhero, just like Gecks. His resulting disability and (slight) disfigurement have put a damper on his enthusiasm, but only a slight one. He's still having trouble adjusting, but he loves being a superhero more than he misses his hearing.
Powers & Skills
Ben is a world-class hacker who can get into almost any system.
Ben has a surprising amount of hand-to-hand combat training for a teenager. He's been wrestling since junior high, and he's been taking self-defense classes since he was seven (they weren't a hard sell for his parents after he almost died in the Grue invasion). His superhuman agility and flexibility, his bundle of sticky tentacles stretching and lashing out for dozens or hundreds of feet in every direction, his lack of response to any auditory stimuli, and his youthful recklessness and loud mouth all combine to make him a confusing and irritating opponent. He can potentially attack or evade in any direction. He can lash out with his tentacles like whips, use them to grab a foe and pull them in for a punch or a kick, or use them to pull himself in close for the same. He will wrap his tentacles around a foe, and then slam that foe into objects, terrain, or even other foes. He'll grab a faraway foe and pull them in for a punch, or pull himself to them, boot-first. His ink sprays and venomous bite make him even more unpredictable.
Ben was a normal human, but an injection of radioactive octopus venom mutated him into a human-cephalopod hybrid. His body has grown several new glands, organs, and orifices.
He has almost no bones left in his body. Most of them have transformed into cartilage and muscle. So while his body looks "solid" from the outside, he can bend, stretch, and compress his flesh, contorting into any position and squeezing through any crevices. His skin can secrete a clear mucous which acts as a lubricant to aid this process. The outer layers of his flesh are so flexible and malleable that he can change the texture of his skin at will. His skin cells contain pigments which can be released with muscle contractions in a virtually infinite variety of combinations, allowing him to change his coloration to anything he can imagine. These traits allow him to effectively becoming invisible in the normal visual light spectrum, or to mimic the appearance of any object or creature. This also makes it virtually impossible for foes in hand-to-hand combat to keep a grip on him.
He has superhuman levels of strength, agility, stamina, and to a lesser extent, resilience. With his thick skin, powerful and flexible muscles, and lack of a rigid skeleton, he is able to absorb traumatic impact, cuts and blunt force alike, with less likelihood of real injury. He has grown several "back-up organs", which make it less likely that any wounds he suffers will be debilitating. He has three hearts, and enough brain and nervous tissue running throughout his body to act as a second brain and spinal cord. He has what would be considered a "weak healing factor" by superhuman standards (not enough for Regeneration or Impervious Toughness, but enough for a high Constitution score). His body can repair minor damage quickly, and more severe wounds are less likely to happen in the first place. He doesn't heal from serious injury much "faster" than a normal human, but he heals "better". Given time to recuperate, he will reliably make a full recovery from trauma which would cripple or kill a normal person. Like a cephalopod, his body can even regrow lost limbs. He isn't technically immune to fatigue, disease, infection, radiation, or extremes of temperature or pressure, but his body is so effective at fighting them off that sometimes it seems like he is. He has, for lack of a better term, "super-health".
New orifices on his forearms and on the sides and back of his torso can deploy tentacles*, which can stretch for hundreds of feet. The same neural tissue running through the rest of his body also runs through the tentacles, allowing his brain to control all of them perfectly. (*Technically, these new limbs are "arms", rather than "tentacles", since they have suckers along their entire length, instead of just at the ends, but this distinction only matters to marine biologists.)
His body contains a network of hollow tubes and bladders similar to a cephalopod siphon. He can use muscular contractions to force fluids through those tubes and out of his body, through a series of new orifices on the palms of his hands, the soles of his feet, and his lower back. The primary use of his internal siphon is locomotion. By forcing air or water through it, he creates jet propulsion, launching himself through the water or up into the air.
A substantial portion of his extra brain tissue is devoted to processing visual and olfactory input, and the suckers on his tentacles act as extra noses and tongues. His senses of sight, smell, and taste are enhanced far beyond those of a normal human. His eyes can perceive a wider array of color at finer detail, and he has excellent night vision. He can distinguish fine details in scent and taste, and track them to their source like a bloodhound.
His body is truly amphibious, adapted equally well to life in open air or under water. His aforementioned increased visual acuity allows him to see perfectly in the dim light of deep water. He has gills on the sides of his neck, which remain closed in open air but which allow him to breathe while he is under water. His skin acts as near-perfect insulation, keeping him from losing his body heat. His blood contains both hemoglobin and hemocyanin, so it is equally effective at keeping his tissues oxygenated in both open air and freezing water. His siphon allows him to regulate his internal fluid pressure, which, along with his flexible muscles, lets him adapt to the crushing weight of the deep sea.
His internal siphon can also expel the pungent, opaque black ink produced by another one of his new organs. He can release it gradually, creating a cloud which provides cover (the gas quickly dissolves in open air, so it is equally effective under water or on dry land), or he can fire a concentrated burst of ink directly into the face of an enemy, temporarily blinding them and overwhelming their olfactory senses in a manner similar to that of tear gas or pepper spray.
His head contains venom sacs, which produce a paralytic poison similar to that of the octopus who bit him. His body injects this poison with a combination of a pharyngeal jaw and a proboscis: A pair of pincers, similar to a cephalopod beak, on the end of a second tongue, hidden under his original tongue, which can telescope over a foot from his mouth, fully extending in a fraction of a second. His own body is immune to this venom, and other, similar toxins.
Octoman: Close To Home: During his first outing as Octoman, Ben meets Bombshell, and they clash with the man who would become Webmaster. Bombshell later takes Octoman to the Interceptors headquarters, where he meets Jack of All Blades. Bombshell convinces Octoman to attend the Claremont Academy.
It's Moving Day: Ben finally sets foot on the Claremont campus.
Dagon The King: Ben attends a guest lecture by Sea-Devil. It does not go well.
Freaky Fraternity: Ben commiserates with Horrorshow about the fallout from "Dagon The King".
Rat Patrol: Ben commiserates with Soliton about the fallout from "Dagon The King".
Tech Compliance (IN PROGRESS): Ben joins Tech Club at Claremont.
It's Me, Daystar: During the evening following Ben's first night at Clarmeont's Tech Club, he and Daystar exchange emails.
Daka Rush (IN PROGRESS): Octoman gets ambushed by some rogue Dakanans.
Punching Up: Ben works out and spars with his fellow students in an impromptu boxing lesson by Rebound.
Hydra Yas Queen (IN PROGRESS): Octoman helps out Artificer.
Reptile Brain (IN PROGRESS): Ben's Claremont squad takes a trip to the zoo.
The Eagle Flies Alone (IN PROGRESS): Ben gets caught up in Angelic and Pan's school prank.
#ReleaseTheRavenCut: Miss Grue asks Horrorshow for help, and Ben tags along.
Phone A Friend (IN PROGRESS): Ben is one of several fellow Claremont students invited by Angelic to a party at the DuTemps castle.
Ancient Enemies (IN PROGRESS): Ben and the rest of Clarmont's Green Squad help Veronica Danger rescue a pair of lost Danger International archaeologists.