Going in order from the Action League intro, next up on the Before Action League crappy prequel list is Thunder Girl, brought to life in this illustration by artist Nate Getz. To find out more about Nate click on his name, or check out his most recent Indiegogo comic project that he worked on with writer Michael Hopkins.
Now, according to Thunder Girl’s intro/bio on the show, she flies like thunder, and… that’s really all we know about her, so her history leaves a lot to the imagination. Before I digress into what I think would make for a cool Thunder Girl back story, let me preface things by stating for the record that I really like Action League Now!, but I’m not a huge fan. Fan in its original definition as in short for fanatic. Yes, this Before Action League series is fanatical, but I don’t know every detail of every episode, and the history of these characters is not very rich considering the show was mainly a series of 4-to-5 minute episodes about action figures being broken to bits. I do think that Action League was way a head of its time and that its waiting for a real super nerd (someone better versed in the higher-minded, hipster sensibilities of the cyber-pop culture digital worlds) to re-vamp Action League into a cult hit graphic novel or a more PG-13 updated remake on [adult swim]. With all that in mind, I present to you my broad ideas for what I think would make for a fantastically ridiculous Thunder Girl Before Action League comic book series.
Again, if she had her own gritty backstory hashed out in a 3 to 6 issue comic book mini-series, I’d like to think that before she gained her powers of flight she was an exotic dancer/underground roller derby girl who grew up on the streets. Thunder Girl (or Delilah) was an orphan who never knew her parents, but dreamed of becoming a great dancer/Rockette. At the age of 14 she finally escaped an abusive foster home and ran off to the Big Apple to fulfill her dreams, but like so many runaways she had to learn to fend for herself on the streets. Luckily, she was a quick learner and developed early with a strong, lean athletic build making her physically resilient and giving her the appearance that she was closer to 20 years of age which got her in and out of trouble. After one too many close calls with police for various small crimes and conning street hustlers out of their drug money, Delilah used her natural good looks and mature appearance to get a job working as a bartender at a strip club until she was eventually coaxed by the lure of easy money to become an exotic dancer. On stage she was intense and agile which sparked the attention of the sleazy manager of the club, a fat, Persian slumlord referred to only as Mr. Sam who uses the various dive strip clubs he owns as fronts for recruiting desperate women into a no-holds barred, underground roller derby league. Mr. Sam’s promise of big money meant a quicker way to a better life, so Delilah joined his roller derby team, The Thunder Girls, which was made up of a few wiry, street-smart strippers and former lady pro-wrestlers/prostitutes.
This roller league had a different set of rules, though. The first team to complete ten laps or the team with the most players still moving on the track won $10,000, but due to the savage, almost gladiatorial nature of the underground league (that allowed deadly weapons like maces, knives, chains and axes to be used in play) odds of survival or being physically able to skate again were very low.
In over their heads and fighting for their lives, Delilah and her other Thunder Girls had to unify quickly or be killed. They banded together under the direction of a seasoned pro named Vicious Vicky who managed to get most of the team through to the last round until it was down to Vicious Vick, Delilah and another younger, rookie girl named Rosita fighting to stay on their skates while dodging axe blows from the opposing china town brothel girls who called themselves the Chop Sueysies. Towards the end of the final round, the Chop Sueysies decided to gang up on Rosita and were about to pounce on her with axes ready to mince the poor girl into nothing more than a couple of chunks to throw in their fried lo mein until, in a fit of vengeful rage, Delilah went on a rampage and singlehandedly took out all five members of the opposing team–saving the girls life and remaining on her skates the longest to secure the victory and the prize money for the Thunder Girls.
However, Vicious Vicky harbored resentment towards Delilah–jealous of her youth and threatened by her strength. She secretly plotted to kill her after she finished using her talents to get as much prize money as possible. Under the guise of mentorship, Vicious Vicky took Delilah under her wing teaching her the finer points of the game as well as instructing her in the subtle arts of dealing damage, death and dismemberment to other teams they faced in the underground roller derby league, and together they carried the Thunder Girls on their backs as they flew to the top of the league on a geyser of blood and broken bones–going undefeated in their inaugural year. At the height of the team’s success, Delilah had won the Thunder Girls so much prize money and became so addicted to the adrenaline rush that she quit exotic dancing and gave up her dream of becoming a Rockette to be a full-time roller girl. She became known as “The Thunder Girl” for the amount of bones she’d cracked and bodies she’d slammed to the floor. The more attention Delilah got, the more Vicious Vicky stewed until she finally plotted to kill her during their championship showdown for the grand prize of $200,000.
The championship pitted the top five surviving teams against each other in a death race/marathon through an abandoned hydroelectric power plant filled with deadly traps, including sudden drop offs into a freezing river, radioactive waste, trapdoors dropping girls into shark pits, active land mines, electrified razor trip wire and two half-starved lions to chase down roller girls as they fought their way to the grand prize at the center of the plant.
During the course of the marathon, three of the opposing teams basically ended up in a grappling dog pile with the Thunder Girls. The fight turned into a cloud of vicious blows while everyone involved unknowingly rolled around in radioactive waste as they wrestled with one another before tripping a land mine that ripped nearly everyone apart and knocked some of the outlying players on their asses. In the haze of the blast, Vicious Vicky was the first to gain her composure and decided to take advantage of Thunder Girl’s disorientation by attempting to strangle her to death. Thunder Girl managed to break free by landing a crushing blow to Vicious Vicky’s skull with a chunk of metal pipe only to discover that one of the roving lions was prowling towards the two of them. Thunder Girl stumbled to her feet while gasping for air and slowly tried to back away from the lion only to have Vicious Vicky drop kick her into an adjacent, active, electric generator (used to electrify the razor wire set up around the course). The lion pounced after Thunder Girl’s flailing body just as the generator began to explode, sending nearly 50,000 volts through Thunder Girl and the lion. Vicious Vicky went on to win the marathon being one of only 12 survivors of the death match derby. Thunder Girl was thought to be among the dead by her few remaining team mates and her body was left in the plant. Unbeknownst to them, Thunder Girl was alive and unconscious as her body underwent a metaphysical transformation.
A mysterious element in the radioactive waste she was coated in during the brawl absorbed most of the electric shock transferring and purifying the energy of the electricity directly into the bio-electric make-up of Thunder Girl’s nervous system and muscular system while at the same time fusing some of the lion’s genes into her DNA. Thunder Girl (who was naturally a red head with short spiky hair), gains a thick, lustrous mane of bright blonde locks as well as the lion’s speed and agility and the ability to fly from the fusion of electricity which causes her body to produce bio-electromagnetic pulses that can repel her from Earth’s gravitational pull–allowing her to levitate and control her motion in the air with her added strength, agility and her very thoughts.
Bewildered by the fact that she’s alive and discovering she can fly, her outlook on life instantly changes. The gift of flight brings her an unbridled joy and mental clarity that she’s never felt, however when she sees the carnage left behind by the roller death derby, the body parts and corpses strewn about the abandoned plant she vows to bring the sadistic criminals responsible to justice.
The last book in her series would have her teaming up with a young Chief who’s just made police detective and helps her take down the roller derby death league that’s now controlled by Vicious Vicky who’s murdered nearly everyone formally in control of the derby girls and is now teetering on the brink of insanity caused by an insatiable bloodlust. In the end, Thunder Girl would give up the prize money she earned during her roller girl career to her remaining roller derby teammates so they could start a new life, and she would try to make peace with Vicious Vicky who’s too far gone to accept forgiveness and has her legs broken by Thunder Girl during a final roller derby death match show down.
If you got through reading all this nonsense, you probably have a thundering migraine or you’re just making some thunder of your own by pounding your head repeatedly off of your computer, but on the off chance you liked this weird summarization of Action League fan fiction check out the previous Before Watchmen featuring The Flesh and check back again soon for the third installment: Before Watchmen featuring Stinky Diver illustrated by the very talented Adam Black