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Powerful energy-projecting supervillain, a product of the ill-fated Project Sunburst.


In 1994, a group of US Army generals launched Project Sunburst in an effort to determine if it were possible for soldiers to survive, and thus for America to win, a nuclear war. Volunteers told they were participating in a “wargame” were exposed to the effects of a nuclear blast at short range. The lucky ones died right away. The unlucky ones lingered for months, sometimes years, before dying agonizing deaths. A mysterious few were affected in strange ways. One, Randall Gordon, seemed basically unharmed, though it was later learned that changes to his neurochemistry made it possible for him to operate the powered armor created by the military’s Man Amplification Project. He became the supervillain Armadillo (see CV3). A handful of other survivors went into comas. To keep the whole matter quiet the generals created a secret facility, nicknamed “the Crypt,” to store the comatose victims and care for them until they died. And some did die... but most did not. One, Jason Matthews, awoke a few days later and soon developed powers of radiation control and projection. He was eventually liberated from the Crypt by the supervillain Binder and became Radium, a member of Binder’s team the Ultimates. The other bodies remained in the Crypt, some slowly deteriorating, but others remainining surprisingly strong and vital for comatose persons. In late 1994, an agent for Dr. Destroyer infiltrated the Crypt and “liberated” one such victim, Tim Colton, whom Destroyer later awakened and made into his henchman, Gigaton. Gigaton was the most powerful survivor of Project Sunburst until 2002. On March 18 of that year, one of the “healthy” survivors, a man named Randall McFadden, suddenly awakened. He could remember seeing the explosion... then feeling it. It was glorious, like being kissed by the Sun, a feeling so powerful that his body couldn’t take it and had passed out. He was a little puzzled by how he got to this strange hospital, since clearly he’d only been unconscious for a few minutes. He was more than a little upset to learn he’d lost eight years of his life. He didn’t feel like a man who’d been asleep for nearly a decade — he felt like he was bursting with energy and power, like the Sun itself was inside him. Realizing he’d been exploited and used as a guinea pig, he decided he had no interest in staying... and that maybe he shouldn’t leave these other men behind. Without even having to think about it he discovered that he could sense patterns of energy. Three of the men had energy inside them, like he did; the rest seemed quiescent or near death. Again almost without thinking about it, Randall lashed out, projecting bursts of energy that awakened the three men, smashed down the barriers between them and the outside world, and made possible their escape. The next time the world saw Randall McFadden, he wasn’t using that name anymore. Garbed in a costume befitting his glory and power, he was Sunburst, and he was going to make the world a better place — whether the world wanted it or not. Sunburst and his team made good on that promise for six years with no change in their lineup, and little change in their modus operandi. In 2008 Sunburst realized that the supervillain Radium, a member of the Ultimates, was also a survivor of Project Sunburst. Determined to have all the survivors as followers, he made contact with Radium and offered him a place on the Sunburst team. It took some effort, but at last he succeeded and Radium defected from the Ultimates. His ranks bolstered by Radium’s firepower, Sunburst has become more dangerous than ever


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