Friday, April 12, 2013

Superhero romance character bio #4: Robber Baron

I haven't done one of these in a few weeks now, so I'll choose someone I was discussing with Cassandra today. 

Montgomery Tarkington Welles AKA “Robber Baron” is Head of the Purchasing and Production Department of the C of C.  He first appeared in one scene of Yesterday's Heroes (he had one line during one of the meetings), but his character was formally introduced in The Son of Sun and SandHe claims to be responsible for the Consortium’s supply of everything from “bullets to toilet paper.”  His chief duties consist of making sure that the rest of the C of C has what it needs to do their jobs.  He oversees a team of workers he refers to as “The Irregulars,” who seem to be responsible for all the more mundane aspects of life in the Consortium Crater Lair.
Monty has dark hair and his skin is on the paler side.  He dresses in the stereotypical suit and overcoat of a late nineteenth century industrialist, complete with top hat.  Think Ebenezer Scrooge.  He walks with a limp and uses a walking stick which is topped with a rock crystal globe, complete with tiny golden continents.  He is missing the middle finger of his left hand, which was lost during an accident years ago.  He has a scar from a bullet wound beneath his left eye, which turned a milky blue as a result.  He wears a monocle, but it hasn’t been revealed if this is due to his needing it to see with that eye, or if it is merely a part of his costume.  Monty seems to spend most of his time with his ever present aide, “Higgins,” who he orders around.  The other man treats his boss with a fearful respect, boarding on reverential awe.    
His powers (if he has any) have not been revealed, aside from a near preternatural ability to somehow know secrets people try to hide.  Monty is described by the other members of the Consortium in less than glowing terms.  Tyrant refers to him as “the sly fox among the howling wolves,” meaning that the man is far sneakier and more underhanded than the rest of them.  He seems to think the man is dangerous though.  Wyatt also indicates that Monty is one of the only truly villainous people left on the team, and one of the only people who doesn’t belong with the others, who he mostly thinks of as annoying but harmless.  Marian describes Monty (in a sequence that was edited out of an earlier book but will probably be in a later one) as “obdurate,” meaning “refusing to reform or repent; hardened by wickedness.”  Poacher describes Monty as exhibiting “random cruelty.”  As Tyrant, Wyatt, Marian and Poacher almost never agree on anything, I think it’s safe to say that taken together, their opinions on him are probably fairly accurate.
Monty’s personality is characterized by his ability to bottom-line things, and he's always willing to ignore ethics in favor of expediency and efficiency.  He’s unemotional and simply doesn’t care about people.  He detests what he calls “impractical morality,” and is always seeking to cut Consortium costs to the bone.  He rarely attends meetings because he’s busy in his department (which is sometimes described as looking like something from the movie “Metropolis”) and making sure his employees do their work.  He’s privy to all the gossip and goings-on among the other members, because his Irregulars are reportedly spying on the others for him.  He represents part of a powerful "uncaring but frugal" segment of the Consortium, which exercises a considerable amount of voting power when matters come up for debate.
Monty is what happens when you’re watching a TV series about the terrible conditions in nineteenth century textile factories (the BBC miniseries “North & South”) while writing about supervillains.  I liked the idea of a cruel well-dressed taskmaster and a team of workers dressed in rags.  It’s interesting to note though that up until literally the very last minute, I went back and forth on whether to make the character male or female (although strangely, the female version of the character would have also been named “Monti.”)  His name comes from a list of common names for industrialists, and my choice was probably more than a little influenced by “C. Montgomery Burns” from the Simpsons.  His last and middle names are an homage to the author of The Magnificent Ambersons, and to Orson Welles, who directed the film adaptation.  I recall several different versions of how Monty arranged his name though, including several versions inspired by the movie Metropolis.
He was introduced to provide the group with a unemotional sort of antagonism.  Most of the others run hot; passionate people who yell and scream and get into petty fights over nothing.  Monty is colder than that.  Wyatt contends that the man is “heartless, nasty, sly and underhanded” and is sarcastic and cold because he doesn’t like anyone and wants them to know it.  I’m not entirely certain if his appraisal of Monty is correct, but if he’s wrong, there’s certainly been no sign of it yet.  Monty is unsympathetic, hard and bitingly mean.  He doesn’t (yet) appear to be close to anyone else on the team, and doesn’t seem to want to be. 
My sister contends that he’s the one character she just doesn’t think can go anywhere good.  I don’t know.  He’s never had a chapter from his point of view, so I’m unsure if the Consortium and Cassandra are correct about him or not.  If he’s secretly got any inner goodness, he’s certainly doing a good job of hiding it, and he’s definitely going to have to change his attitude if he’s ever going to be able to have his HEA.  …He doesn’t appear to really want to do that at the moment though.  There are a bunch of different places Monty can go long-term, and he hasn’t really told me where he wants to go yet. 


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