John William Domeck, a.k.a, "The Gray Champion," is the titular character of The Gray Champion: Modern Legends trilogy in The Gerosha Chronicles of Dozerfleet Comics. John himself is a Marlquaanite, one assuming the identity of Nathaniel Hawthorne's character from Twice-Told Tales. His debut is in The Gray Champion: Freedom's Apparition, but his early life is also documented in A So-Called Heretic. His actions in A So-Called Heretic become one inspiration for the creation of SCALLOP; which by Freedom's Apparition, has taken a great amount of interest in his return. That interest is further secured after the events in The Gray Champion: Chillingworth's Revenge, and even more cemented after the events in The Gray Champion: Shaken Dust.
After three major adventures, he disappears for a time. However, he returns in the fourth season of the Cataclysmic Gerosha series Sodality; as one of the rescued "Legends" whose recruitment to the Sodality of Gerosha significantly increases that superhero league's overall power and influence. John is the father of Margaret "Marge" Domeck-Ramirez, who goes by the superhero identity "Mapacha." He is also the widower of Katherine "Kicked Deer" Domeck. He becomes a grandfather-esque figure in the life of his sidekick Hea Pang, as well as beginning his superhero career in the 21st century as an ally of Dae Pang. He later becomes a mentor to Roy Bernauld, a time-traveling WWI veteran who would succeed him as the Gray Champion.
Gray and Hea return for Sodality: Battle for Metheel. In this video game premise, John Domeck must defend Desulon's lab on Phaelon so that Hea may rewrite history and prevent King Morzhuk's plans of using the Grand Ultimate's Ruby to conquer the universe.
He also features prominently in a non-canon Marvel: Avengers Alliance fanfic crossover dubbed "Percolation," where he and Hea must protect the Marvel Gaming Universe versions of Danny "Ghost Rider" Ketch and Jubilee during an Icy Finger assault on SCALLOP headquarters - while Extirpon and Anarteq III are trapped in the Marvel world.
Powers, accessories, and weaknesses
Flight and levitation are things Gray can do in moderation, though he is better at transmitting himself through electronic and radio signals. This gives him a "ghost-like" ability to climb inside of a TV screen in one part of the world and come out of a screen or camera on the other end.
He can become invisible at will, or make select parts of him invisible or intangible at will.
Gray even has an increased tolerance of extreme temperatures, preventing him from sweating too greatly on a hot summer day or freezing too soon on a cold winter's day.
If near an unstable enough source of electrical power, he can channel that power through his sword to generate lightning bolts as well. However, he seldom uses this ability before the events in Shaken Dust.
On top of all this, he has enhanced strength enough to toss a helicopter if in a pinch, though he rarely utilizes this strength as it is in his reserves.
He can heal more quickly from injuries than most, though he is not invincible. His healing is not instantaneous; nor is it as quick as that of Ciem.
Gray's trusty weapon is a sword modeled after a museum model at Dae's history museum. It is a strong-yet-light-weight equivalent to a sword that may have been used in the days of George Washington. It's closest equivalent is the Hunting/War Sword model forged by John Bailey of Fishkill, New York.
His mask is a custom design, supposedly created by Hea Pang in her spare time. His hat is based on a Puritan hat similar to the one William Bradford may have worn. His gloves and boots are more modern in design, and are implied to be a rubber treatment process. However, the majority of his suit is not that different from a Confederacy general uniform. This is because while Puritan history would certainly be in Dae's museum, that doesn't mean that it'd be the sole focus. Due to the civil unrest outside, Gray had to assemble his costume in a hurry. He would have grabbed the most practical relics in sight for his costume, which would not necessarily have been relics exclusive to his original time period.
He used this uniform for Freedom's Apparition and a similar one in Chillingworth's Revenge. In Shaken Dust, his suit is upgraded to a protective, futuristic black body glove not unlike that worn by a Stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He wears gray suit pants and a modern gray trenchcoat on top of his body glove. His Puritan-era belt, hat, and sword remain basically the same and are integrated into his new suit design. His mask, gloves, and cape remain the same.
In Vindication, his suit is replaced with a Gray Champion-themed combat suit based on a SCALLOP combat uniform - designed to aid him in his missions of infiltration and to utilize built-in defenses against MPF beams. Upon return to Toklisana, he keeps the anti-MPF features and utilizes them into his body glove. He otherwise resumes wearing his suit from Shaken Dust.
Upon nearing retirement during the Swappernetters arc, John makes an improved version of the anti-MPF body glove for Roy Bernauld to wear. He also creates a version of his suit worked around a WWI combat uniform's design, with the intent of Roy wearing that look as the Puritan look is set to retire when John does. This is in keeping with the following line in Hawthorne's original tale:
But none could make reply. The fathers of the people, those of four-score years and upwards, were disturbed, deeming it strange that they should forget one of such evident authority, whom they must have known in their early days, the associate of Winthrop and all the old Councillors, giving laws, and making prayers, and leading them against the savage. The elderly men ought to have remembered him, too, with locks as gray in their youth, as their own were now. And the young! How could he have passed so utterly from their memories--that hoary sire, the relic of long departed times, whose awful benediction had surely been bestowed on their uncovered heads, in childhood?
Since Hea's generation would have found John Domeck's attire of third-Puritan, third-Confederate, and third-modern uniform strange, Tabitha's generation would be just as confused by a Gray Champion who was half-WWI veteran and half-modern. This governs the logic of all manifestations of Gray Champion armor and equipment except for John's Vindication suit, which was designed specifically for defeating an alliance of the Icy Finger and Phaletori.
While he may heal quickly and be able to phase through matter, Gray is not completely invincible. MPF generators will place him in suspended animation just as easily as they will Extirpon or any other Marlquaanite.
While he ages at a significantly slower rate than before, he does still gradually age and can eventually die of old age. If caught off-guard, he can still be shot or stabbed. It might not kill him, but wounds of that magnitude can temporarily disable him.
His strength also seems to be amplified by his confidence with his surroundings; so he becomes a weaker fighter and has less focus the longer he spends time in venturing into unfamiliar territories. For this reason, he rarely leaves the greater area around Boston until the events in Shaken Dust. After that, he rarely leaves the state of Arkansas. He will, however, venture elsewhere briefly if the situation is dire enough and calls for it. However, Gray usually sticks to his mission of fighting street crime and standing up to local corruption. He leaves most of the globetrotting to Extirpon, and usually lets Pilltar worry about dealing with evildoers in the American Midwest pre-Shaken Dust.
Hypocrisy and sadism in his enemies can enrage him, leading to him becoming distracted by these emotions as he lashes out in righteous fury. Also, he feels tremendous guilt at his failure to stop the Icy Finger from murdering his wife. This is partially why he is so protective of Hea and Tabitha: so he doesn't let down more family than he already believes he has.
John was born to Robert and Elizabeth Domeck in 1607, in Brentwood, England. Robert was an astronomer who had observed the Marlquaan and its activities, utilizing special equipment to do so. However, a lot of his fellow Marlquaan observers began to adopt a strange new cult-like faith. They spoke frequently of an "Icy Finger" of rule, and a new era. Robert would have no part of it. However, he had other problems. The Domecks were a non-denominational family with Lutheran sympathies, living in the time of King James I. With Robert's help, young John became aware of what were known as "Marlquaanite rubies." A good friend of Robert's was eventually killed by the son of one of Robert's old associates. The murder took place with John as a witness on the scene of the then-newly-established Caistor Grammar School. John chased after the murderer, who inexplicably "froze solid" the victim and shattered him. His detective work led John to discover an elaborate cabal, a secret society calling itself "the Icy Finger."
The Icy Finger's members begin committing random murders and acts of terrorism around England, with normal police baffled and the king in disbelief. John Domeck begins forming an underground resistance in 1631 to help his fellow Englishmen defeat the Icy Finger. He also allows his counter-society to know about the Marlquaanite rubies. Those rubies must all be collected, and then buried where the Icy Finger cannot find them. However, this mission proves more difficult than John thought.
A So-Called Heretic
Main article: A So-Called Heretic
Cult leader named Samuel Fortin takes over control of the Icy Finger and tells his followers who didn't already know of an event in which the Marlquaan struck several rubies. They decide to look for the Beamer's Ruby; one that, if guided and used with a mirror or other reflective surface, can give or take away Marlquaan bonds to whomever the wielder wishes. Samuel's right-hand man, Eric Sylvester, warns that their Society of the Icy Finger isn't alone in knowledge of all things pertaining to the Marlquaan. He warns them that a certain John Domeck has been keeping them in mind. Samuel assures Eric that there is no need to fear John Domeck. The Beamer's Ruby itself is of particular concern, since it is a stable ruby. Most of the other known rubies in existence destroy themselves after a single use; but the Beamer's can sustain seemingly countless uses without self-destructing.
John finds himself in prison for refusing to affiliate with the Church of England. He explains to the warden that Samuel and his followers mean to overthrow the monarchy and establish an Icy World Order. The warden doesn't take the threat seriously, until John points out the window. Theresa Welling, a maiden serving the visiting Duchess of Saxony during her stay in London, comes under attack from Samuel Fortin while in possession of the Handler's Ruby. One's bond to the Marlquaan, as John explains, is only secured under the Handler's Ruby so long as the powered individual is physically holding the ruby. Being separated from it takes that power away. The warden accuses John of being "a heretic of the worst kind," and of "meddling in a devilry like none the world has seen before." John argues back that if Marlquaanite powers fall into the wrong hands, they may very well be used for devilry. And for that reason, he intends to retrieve the Handler's Ruby and return it to its rightful owner - Miles Wealthington of Oxfordshire. The warden mocks John, but fails to notice that he has dropped the keys.
The warden goes off to use the bathroom, and John seizes the distraction to escape from prison. He immediately flees amidst the shadows, finding a black-cloth mask and heading straight for Samuel. He catches up with Samuel, who is about to kill Theresa. A battle ensues; and John manages to secure the ruby. Samuel ends up falling to his death. Theresa offers to have her rescuer rewarded, but he reminds her he is a wanted man - a so-called "heretic," for knowing too much about the Marlquaan and refusing to be part of the Church of England. He vanishes with the ruby, whom he then returns to the rightful owner. He warns Miles to flee to America with him, so that the Society cannot use it a second time. Miles agrees.
Several years later, Eric Sylvester is seen with several other Society members stalking a squaw whose tribe they had just obliterated. That squaw happens to be Kicked Deer. John arrives and, in spite warning himself not to be tempted to use the Handler's Ruby, uses it to save Kicked Deer's life. Kicked Deer quickly falls in love with John, and the two of them get married. They begin discussing their knowledge of the Society and its ambitions with the local minister. He seems reluctant at first to take John seriously, until John shows him the Handler's Ruby. Rev. George Spellingworth decides that the ruby should be buried beneath the church's foundations, ruling that it is evil.
One of the most dangerous Icy Finger enemies John's friends would face assumed the title of "Shrouded Entity," and began terrorizing Boston pretending to be a literal physical incarnation of the Devil. He grows so dangerous, that even the Icy Finger disowns him. Locals who are body-snatched by him start referring to him as the "Black Man." Miles Wealthington, with a little help from John, manages to temporarily become a Marlquaanite named "Oraphim." As the Oraphim, Miles drives Shrouded Entity out of Boston - and traps him in a block of ice in Greenland. Miles then forfeits the Oraphim powers and destroys the ruby that granted him the ability. However, Shrouded Entity has already managed to corrupt the minds of several in Boston and Lynn, leading to a rise in interest in witchcraft on the part of locals. John and Kicked Deer set to work warning locals about the Marlquaan and Marlquaanites.
However, John's insistence that the Marlquaan is real rubs many other colonists the wrong way. Suspicions arise that he and Kicked Deer are secretly practicing witchcraft. However, nobody can substantiate anything. A few more years pass, and John has become a neighborhood watch. Kicked Deer, going by "Katherine Domeck," begins selling her Indian braid designs and becoming a schoolteacher. She teaches children about both English and her own tribe's histories. The Marlquaan controversy appears to be in the past.
That's when a man named Jordan Smithson arrives in town. John expresses to his captain concerns that Jordan, eccentric from the beginning, might be a member of the Society. The concerns are ignored. Before anyone knows it, various murders begin to happen. John once again dons his mask to find out who is behind the murders. He suspects Jordan, but Jordan slips through his fingers. He leaves John a threatening letter, stating that he will always be one step ahead.
John tries to have Jordan arrested immediately, but Jordan vanishes. Rumors and whispers begin to resume that the Domecks are witches, until young Margaret is sent home from school for getting in a fight to avenge her mother's honor. John warns the families whose children tormented his daughter that they are giving the Society exactly what it wants, as Jordan and the Society continue to sow seeds of discontent. John finds himself removed forcibly from his position after warning the town that Jordan and the Society are using them for evil.
John and his family retreat into the woods to regroup. However, the Society manages to gain an upperhand in town politics, turning the town against the Domecks. The minister's attempts to find John end in failure when Society members catch up to him and reclaim the Handler's Ruby. They use its power to find and capture John and his family. Kicked Deer is executed, while John and Margaret watch helplessly. Father and daughter are sent to the beach, where the Society and its followers in town prepare to execute them. However, they capture a young boy named Robert Boyde. Robert was one of many who tormented Margaret in school on allegations of witchcraft. However, he overhears a conversation between John and Jordan that convinces him that John was telling the truth. He is immediately spotted by a Society member while hiding behind a tree, and is killed in front of Margaret as he apologizes to her. While dying, Robert prays for a miracle.
That miracle soon arrives. Some 400 years later, billionaire scientist Dereck Johnson generates a Marlquaan storm in his company's lab. It goes disastrously wrong, to the point of instigating a synchronized Marlquaan storm 400 years in the past. Right as Jordan and company are about to run John and Margaret through with spears, a bolt of red lightning strikes that area. The Handler's Ruby is destroyed, and Jordan along with several of his cohorts are found incinerated on the beach. John and Margaret are nowhere to be found. A friend of the preacher's notes that the so-called "heretic" John often spoke of a Roman slave named Lord Zeras, who was similarly struck by Marlquaanite lightning - and then lived to tell about it after arriving on the scene again some time later. A small number of surviving Society members retreat, noting the words.
They vow amongst each other that the Society would make as one of its goals the discovery of where - and when - John Domeck would reappear. They also wonder what happened to the Beamer's Ruby, not aware that it has now become Hester's locket after falling into the safekeeping of a young Hester Prynne. This also was Miles Wealthington's doing.
Main article: The Gray Champion: Freedom's Apparition
In the 21st century, billionaire Dereck Johnson conducts a scientific demonstration from one of his own business buildings of the Marlquaan; by forcing it down to Earth. The experiment goes wrong, and in a huge blast, several attending are killed. Others vanish, and several others around the globe become bonded with it, becoming known as "Marlquaanites." These beings gain seemingly supernatural abilities. One of Dereck's spokesmen vanishes into the 17th century, and is killed shortly after arrival. John Domeck and his daughter, however, are separated from each other in the time stream. John immediately believes that he is the only survivor. He ends up wandering the streets of Boston, feeling like Rip Van Winkle. His daughter, however, is adopted by a Cuban refugee family in Miami in 1995.
Boston teenager Hea Pang and her mother Dae rescue John and take him into their home. Dae is a curator for a local museum, and has studied up on Puritan history. When Dae traces her way back through her deceased husband Joo-Chin's genealogy, she discovers that the American side of Joo-Chin's ancestry actually traces back to John's brother Peter Domeck.
However, Dereck Johnson has been transformed into the hideous Eqquibus. One of his plans involved lobbying to force schoolchildren to receive injections for "Dwayne Strain," the vaccine of which was known to be even more deadly than the disease itself. Parents would be denied both a choice and an opt-out right. Dae and Hea vow to put a stop to it, and take part in a demonstration in public. However, Dereck pays off the local police to harass demonstrators.
When Johnson's inside man, police captain Eric Andro, decides to go ahead and order violence and arrests of all teenagers among the demonstrating crowd; John Domeck decides that he's had enough. He borrows a mask, sword, Puritan hat, cape, blue gloves, blue boots, and a Confederacy outfit from the museum and heads out in public to confront the corrupt officer. Their confrontation is short, because Johnson calls in his helicopters to make war on the demonstrators. John Domeck retaliates by destroying the helicopters, which leads to a direct confrontation between him and Eqquibus. He battles Eqquibus until forcing him to retreat. Eqquibus vows that the war has only begun.
Dae and Hea soon set to work, allowing John to have numerous spare costumes so that he no longer has to borrow museum props, and rumor begins flying around town that Hawthorne's "Gray Champion" had returned. This leads to Eqquibus declaring all-out war on the Gray Champion, even as John is still getting used to the role. Meanwhile, Dae and Hea educate John about what it means to have taken on the Gray Champion's mantle.
Gray soon makes a career out of protecting Boston (and the US by extension) from acts of both domestic tyranny and acts of terror from outside. He also learns of other Marlquaanites, the weaknesses of a Marlquaanite, and how to cope in a world filled with them and the dangers they pose. The mayor declares him an outlaw, however, due to nothing more than ideological disagreement. SCALLOP is sent in to monitor the situation, and Hea is made an agent in the wake of the death of agent-in-training Kyle Medsor.
Mid-April of 2013 in Boston was a time when a criminal known as Blackveil began kidnapping children from local area Boston schools, and keeping them stored for his cult's nefarious plans. Blackveil turned out to have become a Marlquaanite capable of stirring confusion in the minds of those who got too close to a gas he emitted from his body. He took his name from "The Minister's Black Veil", a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Gray and Hea managed to save the children from Blackveil only to discover that it was a setup: an FPB agent helped Blackveil time events so as to lead Gray away from downtown Boston on April 15th. Gray and Hea arrive back in Boston only too late. They discover that the city has been bombed, and that they were unable to prevent the disaster.
Blackveil comes after Gray for revenge, but is defeated. Hea helps a search party of Boston civilians discover that the real criminals are the Tsarnaev brothers, not the NRA; as what Homeland Security and the DOJ had instructed the FBI to make a scapegoat of. However, all Hea's attempts to expose Blackveil and his links to the FPB are foiled when her camera is seized by ATF agents and her blog is hacked. All references to the FPB having any involvement in either Blackveil or in aiding the Tsarnaev brothers is scrubbed. Gray is fortunate enough to foil a CIA assassination attempt made on Hea shortly after her expose on the FPB was deleted by a government hacker. It becomes clear to Hea and Gray both that the current administration no longer represents the values for which Gray fights.
Main article: The Gray Champion: Chillingworth's Revenge
In February of 2014, Gray goes back and forth between his hideout in a church belfry and living with Hea and her young daughter Tabitha Pang. However, the Society of the Icy Finger has made one of its goals be to find out which part of the time stream John has fallen out of, and use their resources to launch an attack. It is revealed that Hester's locket, the gold necklace worn by Hester Prynne containing the Beamer's Ruby, is still out there. If activated, the locket and ruby combination could give or take away an individual's bond to the Marlquaan - long-term.
The Icy Finger, as it stood in the 17th century, was threatened by John's operations. An early Marlquaanite, Roger Chillingworth, made pursuit of the ruby one of his goals in life (along with getting revenge on his estranged wife and her lover.) However, Dimmesdale's public confession and Hester's panicked reaction in public activated the locket and robbed Chillingworth of his Marlquann bond. He was mid-power-use when the bond was taken away, thus it backfired and froze him into millions of shattering pieces, killing him. Hawthorne was careful to airbrush the Marlquaan and ruby out of his narrative for The Scarlet Letter, to avoid drawing undue attention to himself from the Icy Finger. The Icy Finger learned of Chillingworth's defeat, and blamed John Domeck for everything, vowing revenge.
After learning of the Marlquaanite storm that transported John through the time stream, they vowed they would not rest until John's new time period was identified and John was destroyed. Adding to the complications, John has learned that his daughter Margaret is now living in Miami; and was being raised to adulthood by Pablo and Anna Ramirez. She had taken a job in fashion modeling, a job which John could not comprehend.
A member of the Icy Finger, Miles Charleston, begins putting the puzzle pieces together and figures out that Hea Pang is an accomplice to the Gray Champion. Miles murders Dae Pang, and assembles his own Champion outfit to battle Gray. It doesn't take too long before he learns that Gray and John Domeck are the same man; and then makes it his goal in life to hunt down and kill the Gray Champion.
John and Hea travel with Tabitha and the Medsors to Miami to find Marge and get her help in defeating Miles, who has become the new Chillingworth. Nearly losing his life and his daughter's, he finally vanquishes Chillingworth with help from Hea. Hea acquires Hester's locket from the Ramirez family, and uses it to turn the tide of battle in the heroes' favor over the skyline of Miami. John decides to let Margaret live her life with her adoptive parents, while he returns with Hea and her in-laws to Boston.
Main article: The Gray Champion: Shaken Dust
The Crooked Rainbow gains reinforcements, and begins terrorizing Team Gray anew. The Massachusetts State Supreme Court determines that women who are out in public have "no right" to privacy. Hea's enemies capitalize on this, and she begins facing constant harassment. She attempts to pass the time training with another agent: Ricky Fendel. However, Fendel gets suddenly reassigned. The two of them were considering pursuing a relationship, but decide against it. Hea's SCALLOP escort bodyguards begin to become targets for assassination. The city once again declares a bounty on the Gray Champion - for interfering with assassination attempts on SCALLOP personnel.
In light of a Boston judge ruling that a preacher who was not even convicted of any wrongdoing be sentenced to spend time in jail and then be forced to learn Islam, Gray goes forward to publicly condemn the judge's ruling and expose it for violating the Establishment Clause. This media attention, however, puts SCALLOP on edge. They urge Hea to relocate out of Boston following the disruption that ensues.
Meanwhile, the Kirby Act is passed officially. This results in Mapacha going underground. Halal Affadidah and his men take advantage of this situation to instigate jihadist movements in Boston for another terror attack, mocking the city for capitulating so quickly after the bombings in 2013.
On the advice of his friend Terry Beliah, a prosecutor named Ted Brackett contacts the Society of the Icy Finger for help. They send in their latest recruit: a flying hag Emotion Battery with fear induction as well as flame and earthen abilities named Kathy Hibbins.
Hibbins suspects that Hea may be in possession of Hester's Locket, and is sent to investigate. However, she is quickly defeated by the Gray Champion. Announcements on TV let it be known that SCALLOP faces indictment if they continue to employ Hea Pang, and Darius orders Hea's overseers to inform her that she's fired.
The Ramirez and Medsor families relocate with Tabitha to Jonesboro, Arkansas, and allow John and Hea time to pack to join them. It's decided that John and Hea will abandon Boston to its fate, citing Matthew 10:15 as their justification.
Brackett and Hibbins, however, decide to hunt the two of them down and prevent them from leaving the city. They convince the mayor to declare a state of emergency and then shut off most of the city's power grid and wireless communications. This effectively grounds John to the city, limiting his ability to teleport or even fly. He is forced to resort to ground battle tactics to find a way to a new power source after Hea is arrested by SWAT. In jail, Hea finds a high school-aged woman named Tina Murane - jailed for refusing to wear a hijab in school. The two women scheme a way to escape, and then act out their jailbreak as they make ready to find John and head to the Murane family farm. However, Brackett shows up with reinforcements. John mows down the reinforcements and saves the girls in time for them all to flee the area before more reinforcements can arrive.
A bolt of lightning in the sky appears, in spite it being December. Realizing the supernatural significance of it, the three realize it is an answered prayer. John uses the lightning energy to transfer himself and the girls to the Murane family's farm. However, an army of SWAT is already there attempting to murder Tina's family. Hibbins arrives to help the SWAT team, but Hea uses Hester's Locket to de-power her in the nick of time.
Team Gray decides with the Muranes they will orchestrate over time an underground railroad to help others like them flee westward as the nation falls apart. Meanwhile, Affadidah and his men begin tearing the city apart and reducing it to a hellhole. The Obama administration proves unhelpful in thwarting Affadidah's men. To make matters worse, Judge Terry Beliah and his friends make the Gray Champion and his closest allies into targets for their Marlquaanite prison field farms. Boston residents able to flee do so, but only a handful of them survive their exodus. One, before dying, reminds the others that they wanted a city without the Gray Champion in it. They got their wish.
Once the entire Team Gray is reunited in Jonesboro, however, Brackett attacks Little Rock to lure Gray and Hea into a trap. Mapacha joins them, as do several SCALLOP agents. SCALLOP also brings Flintirah to the fight, fearing that Mapacha will need backup. Though many city blocks are damaged heavily in Little Rock, Team Gray proves victorious. John is encouraged to lay low until needed again; and Hea and Tina are given 2-week specials at a SCALLOP jail to keep them out of the limelight until tensions die down over their escape from a Boston jail.
John, the Medsors, the Ramirezes, and the Muranes all work together to orchestrate an underground railroad leading from Kentucky to Arkansas. They suspect that with the destruction of Boston, Affadidah and company would only continue to advance further westward. They know that the White House is protected with heavy MPF technology, courtesy of fears of Extirpon assassinating key government figures responsible for the nation's downfall. Therefore, John focuses on saving the salvageable rather than punishing the guilty.
Main article: Sodality (series)
Some time around when the United States implodes as a nation in 2018, Beliah begins working in cohorts with the Hebbleskin Gang to continue his capturing for later research numerous Marlquaanites that seemed to have Phexo cause sympathies. Even after the fall of Duke Arfaas, Beliah continued orchestrating for the capture of these Marlquaanites and their allies. The Sodality of Gerosha not only goes to great lengths to protect their friends and expose Beliah, but also decides to add to their numbers by recovering as many of these as they can and convincing them to join.
John Domeck, Hea Pang, a slightly-older Tabitha Pang, and Hester's locket all end up being captured in MPF cells. There were plans to have Hea and Tabitha executed in the "Second Wave," after Houston was to be destroyed in the "First Wave." However, the Sodality defeated Musaran and thwarted Arfaas' plans in the first wave. The need to rescue and recruit Marlquaanites results in special attention being brought before the Sodality by their allies of a group of Marlquaanites called "the Legends."
It is determined that John Domeck's Gray Champion just so happened to be one of those legends. John is eventually freed from his Marlquaanite prison field by Emeraldon, while other members of the Sodality free Hea and Tabitha. Beliah and company fail to deduce that Hea is in position of Hester's locket, which means that Hea's addition to the Sodality enables them to create new members at will. Still others manage to locate and free Marge, so she can resume being Mapacha.
Gray, Mapacha, and Extirpon prove to be priceless new members of the Sodality, increasing its power several-fold. It is with their help that the Sodality is able to retrieve Camille Beliah, whose testimony proves critical in bringing down Terry Beliah's public support. Gray becomes one of many after the defeat of Beliah and the Phaletori to venture out on his own afterward. He promises that if the Sodality needs his help again, he'll return.
Battle for Metheel
In Sodality: Battle for Metheel, John Domeck does return. He, Hea Pang, Tabitha Pang, and a few others are captured by King Morzhuk's invading forces on Earth. However, the ship transporting him is intercepted by Phaelite warriors. Gray is rescued amidst the ordeal, but is stranded on Phaelon. He and his friends defend a scientist named Desulon, while Hea travels back in time to destroy the Grand Ultimate's Ruby with the help of Kicked Deer and Hester Prynne. Gray gets to battle a new villain named Bosom-Serpent, named after a different short story by Hawthorne. He later joins Extirpon and other Sodalists on Metheel to bring about the overthrow of Morzhuk and establishment of restored freedom to Metheel.
Main article: Sodality: Vindication
After the Beliah Amendments to the Kirby Act start being enforced by old Beliah supporters who've allied themselves with the Icy Finger and Phaletori to infiltrate the Toklisanan government, SCALLOP and the Sodality must enact an elaborate plan to expose the infiltrators and restore harmony between the Heavenly and Earthly Governances. This plan requires John in a new suit to travel to Italy and help a Sodality strike team dubbed "Spaghetti Liberation" defeat Rappacini and Marblefaun's plans in Italy and Mozambique.
Teaming up with him are Anna and Pablo Ramirez, Purge-Flare, Sapphire King, Botan the Plant-Man, Extirpon, Pilltar, Time Capsule, Keet Kabo, The Socratic, and Jackal Semicolon. Marge, Hea, and Tabitha stay behind in Toklisana to help SCALLOP weed out Icy Finger spies and Screwworm operatives under the strike team dubbed "Caged Dove." However, the three women's efforts to save their country result in them being sent to prison. John vows to keep watch over all of them, until such a time when he can freely operate with them anew. He also convinces the museum where Hea was working that it would be worth their while to hire her back once she is free. He vows to Hea that he will most of all keep watch over Tabitha, as she must start her own journey in a post-Sodality world.
Main article: Swappernetters
Three years after the events in Vindicatino, John is battling the persistent menace of Feathertop II - who has become an enforcer for the new regime that has taken over Arkansas. With most of the Sodality still in prison or under house arrest via SCALLOP being arm-twisted into detaining them (whilst secretly aiding them), John soon realizes that he and the Ramirez family are all but completely alone to save Arkansas.
The McArthurs and Malestroms get jobs with Lambrelli Labs - Candi in the CSI lab - in an effort to earn income and try to stay away from more jail time. Pilltar and Strawberry have been effectively banned. Vince Finton and his closest friends have gone deep underground. The Navyrope Society finds its wishes dishonored to have peaceful protests against the new regime, and gory battles break out frequently between regime heads and Navyrope troops - the latter having been forcibly branded as "terrorists." The Phaemer Village Peacekeepers are banned from Earth, content to live in exile on Phaelon. Team Black Rat is also forbidden to leave the lands owned by China and venture into Toklisanan territories. Jeral and Emily Cormier find themselves confined to a village run by SCALLOP off the coastline of Mexico. Jack and Miranda are forbidden to leave their Apache reservation for several years. Kyle and Charlotte are too busy battling to protect Louisiana from Affadidah's forces to have time to worry about the Sodality as a whole. And the Florentines are all confined to Italy by this point.
In effect, the Sodality has been all but completely destroyed; leaving what little remains of Team Gray to defend their homes in Arkansas and their neighbors not won over by the regime through other means. Growing old, John fears that he won't be able to bear the Champion's mantle forever. However, he discovers a new Marlquaan storm. Roy Bernald, a US WWI fighter, is transported and finds himself in 2029 Arkansas just a few months before Tabitha was to be released from a juvenile correctional facility. He quickly defeats some brutal regime guards, before learning what is really going on. He discovers he has similar powers to John Domeck. John is alerted to his location; and offers to be the new Gray Champion's mentor. They go to see Hea Pang, but have to be careful not to trigger anyone's notice for fear the regime would have her arrested again.
For the next three years, the aging John trains Roy on how to be a true Gray Champion. The two Grays also keep a watchful eye on Tabitha and her Swappernetter friends, as they sometimes face dangers beyond what their powers bestowed on them by Mapacha can handle. Extirpon and the Navyrope Society also vow to pitch in and help Tabitha when possible, as she helps arouse in the public the fervor to overthrow the regime.
When the time comes for revolution to destroy the regime and restore Toklisana's academic freedoms, SCALLOP allows as many Sodality as are able to the means of reconvening so that Tabitha and her friends can finish the fight. With his purpose in life fulfilled, John allows Hea to de-power him with Hester's Locket. He informs Roy that there should only be one Gray Champion at a time, and Roy vows to embrace the Way of the Gray Champion. John begins aging more quickly without his Marlquaan bond, eventually growing too weak to sustain himself. He dies in Hea's care some years later of old age, his funeral reuniting Team Gray and the other Modalities briefly.
With John deceased, Roy fully takes over as the Gray Champion. He witnesses, among other things, the marriage of Tabitha to Jordan Sterlie-Steel. Since Tiffany married into the Steel family, Tabitha takes on the Steel surname as well. She also adopts Jordan's lab-created Marlquaanite "daughter" Samantha "Dollschief" Steel, and has a child of her own with Jordan. Thus, the Steel family vows to bring the Sodality and its mission to a new generation. Roy considers himself as part of that new generation. He also knows that any Icy Finger remaining on the planet will now want to go after him, as vengeance for him having the nerve to take up John Domeck's old calling.
Gray's primary archnemesis in the beginning is Samuel Fortin and his accomplice Eric Sylvester of the Society of the Icy Finger. However, his inability to properly defeat the entire Icy Finger and its evil in the 17th century means its remnants follow him into the 21st. Eqquibus, who brings John into the 21st century, seeks to destroy him when John interferes with Eqquibus' diabolical plans for the city of Boston.
Gray also does battle with street criminals, and sometimes is targeted by corrupt politicians and other authority figures who feel threatened by him. Middle Eastern terrorists have put him on their hit list as well, due to his occasional interference in their activities. Judge Terry Beliah is one of Gray's most dangerous enemies though, as he was about to use his position in government to have Gray and other Marlquaanites neutralized in suspended animation till crack of dawn. However, Gray's most calloused adversary is Miles "Chillingworth II" Charleston. Others Gray has fought included Eric Andro, Blackveil, Feathertop, Marblefaun, Rappaccini, Brackett, Hibbins, and the like; all of them deriving their names from Hawthorne's literature. In Battle for Metheel, Gray also has to fight off Bosom-Serpent. One of the most terrifying he'd ever had to face was the Shrouded Entity, an ancient evil associated with the demonic that Gray needed help from Extirpon and Hea Pang in order to finally defeat. His quest to pass the torch to Roy involved the need to defeat Feathertop.
John has always been taught to have a very strong sense of right and wrong, and a strong sense of duty to loved ones, God, and country. He believes in doing anything virtuous which he would deliberately do to the fullest measure that it can be deservedly done. He will love a woman completely, and will fight evil with a fierceness fit for someone with more combat experience than what he has. He is willing to explain up from down to any who don't know. He doesn't like to give evil an inch.
He is also a man of tremendous curiosity, often very skeptical of his surroundings. His 17th-century morals and mannerisms make him confusing to 21st-century Bostonians. Other than around Hea, Roy, Tabitha, Kicked Deer, or Marge; he tends to be a loner. The fact that he is out of his normal mode of the time stream makes him find it difficult to relate to others. He feels that he has an obligation as the Gray Champion to remain fairly reclusive; always present yet hidden. His favorite haunt when not at the museum (or around Hea) is a church belfry. He does have an attitude of mistrust about most modern music. However, he doesn't question Hea's decision that the lyrics to "Freedom Fighter" by Creed describe him quite well.
Gray was perceived in more or less the form he has now ever since the fall of 2001. In that year, the Dozerfleet founder was taking American Literature class at Holt Lutheran High School (called St. Matthew Lutheran High at the time.) The instructor, Traci Backus, had the class read Hawthorne's original short story "The Gray Champion" as a part of a class assignment.
This was followed up by everyone in class getting to write their own short stories about "The Champion's Return." Everyone's take was a little different, but some were cheap knock-offs of The Patriot. The Dozerfleet founder's initial short story on this subject matter may not have survived to the present day, but it was the first depiction to indicate that the apparition's appearance had been updated slightly. It was also the first incarnation to introduce the black mask with rectangular jewel eyepieces. In this short story, the Champion's role was a tiny bit more active than in Hawthorne's tale. This small collection later became known as Earth-G0, dubbed "Hyper-Uber-Proto Gerosha" in the Gerosha multiverse.
The character soon evolved into a movie premise by the beginning of 2002, in which Gray would be a ghost trapped in the Marlquaan and forced to battle until his spirit could be freed. Hea was known as Heeshwa, given the Dozerfleet founder's lack of exposure to anything genuinely Korean at the time. The first story was going to involve a hypnotic, green-cloaked monster from Saudi Arabia named "Verdabbin" that Gray had to protect his friends and loved ones from. The decision to replace Verdabbin with Eqquibus came after the Dozerfleet founder watched Spider-Man in theaters. Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin became the inspiration for a newer, more fleshed-out and more personable villain. From there, pictures of horses and one of an incubus that featured on Google Images inspired the idea of a man who was merged with a horse and an incubus.
The need to have Gray become a human being bonded with the Marlquaan instead of a spirit trapped in it was the result of a need to 1)make the character more vulnerable and 2) make the Marlquaan's nature more universal and applicable to other characters. A lot of this change was necessitated by a decision to merge Gray's mythology into the Gerosha universe, where it needed to share space with The Meshalutian Trilogy and Ciem. In Classic Gerosha, there was an attempt to make the Gerosha universe even more inclusive, which resulted in the inclusion of Volkonir and the Grillitan Diner. There were even plans, ultimately rejected, to fuse The Bison and his mythology into Classic Gerosha. Since then, the events surrounding Volkonir and the Bison were moved into a universe of their own. The Grillitan Diner was moved to being canon to the same universe as The Trapezoid Kids Movie and Camelorum Adventures.
In Comprehensive Gerosha, Gray's mythology would end up being refined even further. "Heeshwa Pwong" became Hea Pang, and her unnamed mother was named Dae Pang. Eqquibus would become slightly more clever and use cheap lines less often. Gray's first superhero tale was going to simply be called Gray Champion, after the Hawthorne story. However, it soon became obvious that a more distinct title was needed. That added distinction came on September 28th of 2011, when the Dozerfleet founder watched a YouTube video featuring footage from the trailer for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. It suddenly became obvious that a subtitle on that order was needed. Since the novel adaptation of Ciem became Ciem: Vigilante Centipede, Gray's first story in Dozerfleet was renamed The Gray Champion: Freedom's Apparition.
Comprehensive Gerosha plans for The Gray Champion: Modern Legends were only slightly revised for Cataclysmic Gerosha. Gray's role in Abolition was rewritten slightly to make it conform to the season 4 plot for Sodality. In late 2015, real-life news events inspired Shaken Dust to be added to the continuity. The desire to make John Domeck have his own Gerosha-continuity-building trilogy also arrived as a result of reimagining the character some more. Comments on DeviantArt that he was basically "Puritan Thor" have led to a desire to pursue playing up the similarities. Shaken Dust was to be the final part of John's adventures in modern Boston, in much the way that Thor: Ragnarok was to be the final movie in the MCU's Thor trilogy.
Gray's black mask and rectangular yellow eye pieces were designed specifically to give him an "authoritative" look of "judgment upon evil," but also to make him readily recognizable as an icon. His cape was ruled "a must" for his appearance, as it harkened back to the Puritan look of his namesake. This was the same reason for him receiving the hat that he wears, even though the hat's color scheme was altered from the typical "Pilgrim hat" color of black.
Lack of visual reference when he was first drawn became the reason for his coat to resemble a Confederate soldier look more so than a true Puritan uniform. It was decided that this artistic view would be run with rather than corrected. Since Hawthorne described his Gray Champion as "slightly anachronistically dressed," it was reasoned that the Champion's appearance would modify slightly over the years. However, the rule of thumb would always be that no matter how much the Champion's appearance updated, he would always have a gray color scheme and would always appear anachronistic in his time period. The blue tint to his boots and gloves also served a purpose: to ensure that he had a little extra color besides being all black, gray, gold, and yellow. This blue was also added to the inside of his cape. Having John's beard appear through a slit in his mask also became part of the icon. It sent the clear message that he was an older gentleman, not "some kid."
Gray is symbolic of virtues and values that are in need of preservation for a nation to have the blessing of God; of values that are best symbolized by a uniform, usually worn by someone who had those values in an era not too terribly long ago from the present. Therefore, the original apparition dressed as a full Puritan in 18th-century colonial Massachusetts. Other alleged sightings during the Civil War would have been of a hero of the Texan War. In the World Wars, an apparition would resemble a hero in the Mexican War. Likewise, John Domeck looks slightly like a Civil War solider as opposed to a 21st-century hero. Roy follows a similar logic, with his suit based on his WWI veteran combat uniform.
Other media appearances
Percolation marks the first explicit appearance of the John Domeck version of the Gray Champion in a form of media not canon to any prior Gerosha continuity. The fanfic for Marvel: Avengers Alliance explains how it would be possible for Extirpon to be temporarily exported to the game's version of the Marvel universe, where he'd partially lose his powers and be forced to become a SHIELD agent operating under the moniker of "Agent Opendi."
Jubilee and the Danny Ketch version of Ghost Rider find themselves switching universes with Extirpon and Anarteq III temporarily. SHIELD and SCALLOP would eventually find a way to establish contact with each other, and negotiate how to get Extirpon and Anarteq III home. However, the two displaced Marvel heroes initially arrive in Boston. They are attacked by Microwave Mouth, the Icy Finger, the Crooked Rainbow, and Boston police. Hea Pang and Gray intervene to save them. Hea contacts Darius and has the displaced heroes sent to SCALLOP headquarters until something can be done about their predicament. From there, she and Gray further monitor activity related to their new friends as SCALLOP agents request them to. This story takes place a short time after the events in Extirpon and Freedom's Apparition.
- ↑ Moran, Donald N. "George Washington's Swords." Liberty Tree Newsletter. June 2004.
- ↑ Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Gray Champion." Twice-Told Tales. 1837.