|The Radioactive Skull|
|Real Name:||John Critchfield Jr|
|Known Aliases:||Junior, Little John, John-John, Juanito|
|Age:||22 (DOB June 18th, 1999)|
|Eye Color:||Brown (Green via radiation emission)|
|Nationality:||American (Granted "resident alien" status in Etoile Isles by Recluse Administration)|
|Place of Birth:||Cygnus Medical Center, Paragon Heights (Galaxy City), Paragon City, RI, USA|
|Base of Operations:||Mercy City, Mercy Island, Etoile Isles|
|Known Relatives:||Mother (Barbara Critchfield-Rodriguez), Brother (Robert Critchfield AKA The Nuclear Gravedigger), Aunt (Maria Rivera-Rodriguez), Cousin (Luis Rivera AKA Death's Head Atomic); Father (John Critchfield, deceased), Uncle (Jorge Rivera, deceased)|
|Radiation Projection, Radiation-based Force Field (Personal Range), Radiation Immunity, Flight (via ionized particle emission)|
|Critchfield is a wanted felon in the United States with multiple active warrants for his arrest.|
John Critchfield Jr was born to John Critchfield and Barbara Critchfield-Rodriguez in Galaxy City, one of the major boroughs of Paragon City. When John Jr was born, the borough was still known as "Paragon Heights". When John Jr was three, the Rikti War began, and his was one of the many families devastated. His father John and his uncle Jorge were both killed by invading Rikti forces, dying in an act of self-sacrifice to buy the rest of the family enough time to evade capture and make it to a Vanguard safe zone.
Although John Jr is too young to remember the War itself, he does remember growing up as a refugee in his own town; what little his family had was utterly destroyed during the invasion, and although Paragon Heights was rebuilt as Galaxy City, many citizens and families fell through the cracks. Growing up in abject poverty, John Jr and his brother Robert were both easy recruits into The Skulls as that gang made in-roads in Galaxy City. The two brothers were hardly anyone in the gang; like most low-level gang members, they hadn't committed any crimes worse than petty theft and vandalism, instead relying on the gang to help take care of the neighborhood where the government couldn't or wouldn't. Both boys relied heavily on their cousin Luis, a much higher ranking member of The Skulls. Between the two siblings, Robert was the more skilled and adept criminal, and John Jr frequently relied on his protection.
John Jr, Robert, and Luis were all in Galaxy City the day the Shivan Meteors rained down and obliterated the borough. The three were all headed home from high school, and were exposed to a massive dose of radiation from one of the crashing meteors. Like a number of other people who happened to be in Galaxy City that fateful day, the three developed superhuman abilities! John Jr developed the ability to project blasts of radioactive energy, and to encase himself in a protective atomic force field.
In the chaos of the Shivan Crisis, Luis convinced John Jr and Robert to join up with Arachnos for a shot at a better life. The three evaded Longbow forces and the city's heroes, making their way to an Arachnos Flier. With their atomic abilities, the three former Skulls began to take various contract jobs throughout the Isles, slowly building a new life for themselves as career criminals, with John Jr becoming known as "The Radioactive Skull". The three have spent the past decade or so living in the Isles and acting as mercenary supervillains.
John Jr accepts contract and mercenary work from interested parties across The Rogue Isles. The unstable nature of his powers and his lack of skill means that his services are not in demand; much of the work he does get is through his brother Robert, who frequently works with him and helps to score him jobs.
John Jr lives in an apartment in the Mercy City neighborhood of Mercy Island, and is roommates with his brother Robert.
John Jr is not officially affiliated with Arachnos, although like many residents of the Rogue Isles he accepts contract work from them. As a part of Lord Recluse's general policy of making life hard for the forces of law and order, John Jr is one of many villains who has been granted "resident alien" status in the Etoile Isles, which can make any arrests on American soil more complicated as a matter of international relations (although legally/formally, the United States does not recognize the Isles' "general amnesty" policy and still considers John Jr to be an American citizen).
John Jr has living relatives in Paragon City; his mother Barbara and his aunt Maria. Both survived the destruction of Galaxy City and are living in Atlas Park with the other displaced Galaxy residents. No records exist of John Jr attempting to contact them since his departure for The Rogue Isles.
Like most superhuman residents of the Rogue Isles, John Jr is on Longbow's watchlist of threats. While he is not a high enough priority to have units dedicated specifically to his capture, Longbow agents have been instructed to combat him and attempt capture whenever the opportunity arises. John Jr is also one of the superhumans under general surveillance by Project Vishnu, Longbow's ongoing research and intelligence operation dedicated to researching the Shivans and monitoring superhumans empowered by Shivan radiation.
Project Vishnu Speculation
On September 17th, 2017, John's brother Robert was arrested in Independence Port during an Arachnos operation and was held in the Ziggursky Penitentiary for the better part of a year. During this time, his powers and physiology were examined by a joint team of Longbow and SERAPH researchers, who compiled a detailed medical report on him. Using this report as a basis, Project Vishnu has made a number of speculations about the nature of John Jr's superhuman abilities and physiology (given the common origin source, as both brothers received their powers from the same Shivan meteor). None of this information has been confirmed. John Jr has been tentatively categorized as a Class 11 Threat on the Ronan-Greene Universal Threat Scale.
- Radioactive Skull is a force multiplier: a superhuman who seems to create more energy via their super-powers than they take in, thus violating the conservation of energy. Most superhumans who generate vast amounts of energy do so by either absorbing from local sources, drawing upon other-dimensional sources, storing vast amounts of energy for long-term use, or using more conventionally understood methods of energy generation (such as intracellular fusion reactions).
- Radioactive Skull is more susceptible to power drains and nullifications than most superhumans, and could be contained by draining his radiation rather than needing a device that nullifies superhuman abilities.
- The force fields that Radioactive Skull creates have no physical component. Many force fields and other force/energy constructs are constructed out of semi-solid energy (sometimes also known as "phasic energy") which reacts in many ways like matter. Conversely, Radioactive Skull's personal protective force fields instead function as an energy reduction field; a bullet passing through this field would lose a substantial portion of its kinetic energy, rather than impacting against the field as if it were a solid object.
- Radioactive Skull's superpowers are the direct result of being altered by Shivan radiation, rather than possessing some form of inactive superhuman mutation or latent superhuman potential that was activated through radiation exposure.
- The radiation produced by Radioactive Skull is not carcinogenic, but is a nauseant. It has both concussive and burning properties.
- Radioactive Skull constantly leaks trace amounts of particle radiation, which can be tracked with relative ease, even at long distances.
- Radioactive Skull is nearly immune to the effects of radiation, save for Shivan radiation; Shivan radiation by-passes the protective effects of his energy reduction field, and his own powers have little effect on Shivans.
- All of the above information is information any investigating character could get a hold of; this page isn't written as being a single document from a single source, but all of the personal information and background details could be discovered by searching a handful of major databases (IE collating data from both Longbow and the FBSA). Radioactive Skull is tagged as "Not Publicly Known" purely by virtue of fame; he's "just another supervillain", the kind of guy who could be handily be beat in a Tip mission (an Elite Boss at best) so he's not exactly famous, and the average person on the street may have not even heard of him specifically, much less know of his real name. However, the information is readily available, as he has an arrest record and has made no attempt to hide his civilian identity.
- The dates presented here assume a real-time timeline, and that the destruction of Galaxy City occurred on its real world date of September 13th, 2011. If you use a Sliding Timescale, feel free to ignore all dates on this page.
- The "Ronan-Greene Threat Scale" is a reference to the tabletop game Mutants & Masterminds, published by Green Ronin. In that system, Radioactive Skull would be a PL 11 character; roughly equivalent to a mid-tier Spider-Man villain such as Rhino, The Sandman, The Lizard, Venom, or Electro.
- Of the three Atomic Skulls, Radioactive Skull is the least overtly villainous and the most likely to be recruited into herodom. He has no specific desire to remain in the Rogue Isles or to commit crimes; his powers are simply uncontrolled and dangerous, and was funneled into criminal activity due to socioeconomic circumstances. A lifetime of bad experiences have taught him that the only people he can trust are his family members, but beyond those hurdles he'd be just as happy being a hero as a villain.
- If your character also gets powers from the Shivan meteors (or the Shivans in general), I generally assume that those powers would cancel his out, and that they'd be largely or completely immune to his radiation.
- Radioactive Skull's atomic powers can be easily be tracked by satellite (or a geiger counter for close range) if your character has access to that kind of capability/technology/whatever.