NAME: Verner Van Buren
EYE COLOR: None
HAIR COLOR: None
OCCUPATION: Supercriminal, Founder, Owner, and Operator of Imminence Technologies.
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lenox, MA
- Automaton Body - atomic-powered robot body that houses a preserved brain in place of a head.
Any man can be a millionaire in America. It takes a real forward-thinker -- an innovator -- to become something more than just their bank account. In days long past, the industrialists had their revolution. Tomorrow was what they decided. It was during this golden age that the world was introduced to the unflappable Verner Van Buren. Genius didn't do him justice, but it was the label most often applied to him. In a country where the only thing that matters is dollars and cents, Verner sure amassed a lot of them.
You've probably had an Imminent Meal at one point in your life. They were all the rage when they first debuted in the 1940s and 50s. Just pop the frozen dinner in the oven and you'd be eating like a king in minutes. Such a simple idea was the cornerstone of Verner's fortune. It made him as rich as a Rockefeller and built the basis for his empire, Imminence Technologies. Soon Verner had a piece of every business around, and his extravagant wealth expanded to the point where it was actually getting hard to spend it.
Yet, Verner had seen nothing but suffering as he rose to the top. World wars, the Great Depression -- he lived through it all and he yearned for a brighter future for all mankind. Utopia was always laughed off as a pipe dream; the structures of society were too ingrained and unfair to change for the better. Life had winners and losers -- that's how it would always be. Unwilling to accept that answer, Verner became enamored with the philosophies and writings of economists, scientists, and any other thinkers who had dreams like his. And, after rigorous study, he determined they were all wrong.
See, utopia was a myth that humanity, in its current state, could never achieve. Everything that had been built over centuries of oppression had to be wiped clean. Verner believed the only way for the world to actually achieve harmony was the apocalypse. Any apocalypse. From the ashes of nothingness, the bright future everyone strived toward could be founded.
Obsessed with this idea, Verner dedicated much of his company's plentiful resources to the study and development of whatever would end the world. Atomic power seemed to be the safest bet at first, but as the threat of mutual assured destruction began to scare world leaders' fingers off the proverbial trigger, Verner knew he couldn't put all his eggs in that basket.
The man's age had also begun to catch up with him. He couldn't afford to let his mind die -- not before he ensured the apocalypse would occur. Fortunately, his company's magnum opus, Imminent Meals, relied on 'deep freeze' technology. Without a second thought, Verner had his brain frozen and preserved until the 2010s when his most trusted engineers finished work on a new robotic body he could control through a neural interface. Verner Van Buren was alive once more -- reborn as the sole Determinant of a better tomorrow. It is only one apocalypse away!
Through his company and its many subsidiaries, the Determinant has a hand in hundreds of different potential schemes that could result in the end of the world. He is essentially an apocalyptic investor, seeking to bankroll anyone he thinks can do irreparable harm to the world. One of his main methods was political interference by using Imminence data gathering to help disastrous candidates win elections. One figure he secretly assisted, Duncan Lax, went on to become the Mayor of Paragon City and nearly started a superhuman civil war by granting unprecedented authoritarian power to the hero Incrediman. Determinant's political meddling was eventually discovered and stopped by Ace and the Vanquishers after Duncan Lax's secrets were exposed by a hacked app.
With Imminence Technologies now blacklisted from politics, Determinant had to refocus his efforts into other apocalyptic avenues. He provided funding to a number of crackpot mad scientists -- the most promising of which was Reanimator, the doctor who brought Limbo back from the dead. While he waited for Reanimator's zombification projects to pay dividends, Determinant also began looking into the source of a serum called "The Fever" which granted random superpowers to the Wrangler and his fellow members of the separatist movement SCION.