The Backbeat are a team of super-powered criminals assembled by the super-villain Thrasher. Consisting of Thrasher himself, music-themed metahuman criminals Boombox, Riff and Heavy Metal, and reluctant criminals Amplifier and Video; the Backbeat first appeared in New York committing several high-profile robberies. The group was captured when Amplifier and Video turned on them and helped members of Justice Inc. defeat them. After escaping prison, the Backbeat added new members Ruckus and Headbanger. They have most recently come into conflict with members of the Enforcers of Justice.



Real Name: Jack Craig

While incarcerated in a Turkish prison for drug offences, Jack Craig met an old Indian mystic, the same mystic who had trained the super-villain, the Fiddler. As he had done a half-century before with the Fiddler, the mystic showed Jack how to focus his mental energies using a musical instrument, in Jack's case a guitar. Preparing to use his newfound powers to escape, Jack first tried to kill the mystic, much as the Fiddler had tried decades ago. This time the mystic had no patience for such things, he had need of Jack. Revealing himself to be the immortal psychic Count Viper, the mystic brought Jack to Chicago to help with the Count's current agenda. Now calling himself Thrasher, Jack used his powers to incite a riot amongst the populace of Chicago's metahuman ghetto, the Netherworld.

The Count's plan was thwarted by Hawkman and Hawkwoman but Thrasher escaped. A short time later he was recruited by someone he thought was the Wizard, but was really a robot controlled by the Ultra-Humanite. Thrasher became part of a villain group called the Injustice Syndicate, which Ultra planned to use to distract the heroic Justice Inc. while he executed his plan to take over the world. Ultra's plan was thwarted and the members of the Injustice Syndicate were captured.

Thrasher soon escaped from prison and formed the Backbeat with other music-themed criminals he had encountered in prison or recruited through various underworld connections. He has led the team ever since.

Powers & Abilities:
Thrasher is a powerful psychic, but can only use his powers while playing a guitar. It is the concentration involved in playing a musical instrument that allows Thrasher to focus his mental energies sufficiently to use his powers. Among Thrasher's psychic abilities is the power to project powerful beams of energy from his eyes, generate devastating blasts of sound from his instrument, and hypnotize or outright control the minds of others, even large crowds (so long as they can all hear his music). Following in his predecessor's footsteps, Thrasher has also commissioned a series of "trick" electric guitars with weaponry and other features to add to his natural arsenal.



Real Name: Michael O'Hare

Michael comes from a blue collar New Jersey family. While playing guitar in a band part-time, waiting for his "big break", he worked as a lineman for the power company. Working on a downed power line during a storm, Michael was struck by lightning, activating his metagene. He used his newfound abilities to commit some simple robberies, but because of his powers he found himself incarcerated in the Vault when he was caught by the police. It was there that he met fellow inmate Thrasher and became one of the founding members of the Backbeat as Riff.

Powers & Abilities:
After his accident, Riff gained several electromagnetic powers. He can control both electrical and magnetic energy. Among the effects he has been able to create is the ability to project powerful bolts of electricity, lift and manipulate metal objects, control the flow and intensity of electricity (to a degree that he even has limited control over electrical equipment), and the power to surround himself in an electromagnetic force field. Seemingly unrelated to his electromagnetic abilities, Riff has also demonstrated the power to affect the intensity of sound, turning the roar of a jet engine into a faint hiss or raising a whisper to deafening levels. In order to use any of his electromagnetic powers, Riff needs to channel them through some kind of electrical equipment. Since joining the Backbeat his focus of choice has been an electric guitar.

Heavy Metal


Real Name: Bryan Sanders

Bryan Sanders dropped out of high school to become a roadie for his favorite heavy metal band. He aspired to be a drummer in the band, but after the Dominator Gene Bomb activated his powers it became too costly to have a drum set reinforced enough to withstand Bryan's strength. After demolishing an entire hotel during a post-concert celebration Bryan was incarcerated in the Vault, where he became a founding member of the Backbeat.

Powers & Abilities:
As Heavy Metal, Bryan possesses superhuman strength and resilience. He also has the power to alter his density, increasing his mass to 60 times normal and raising his already great strength and resistance to even higher levels.

Boom Box


Real Name: Lester McNealy

A New York native, Lester McNealy wanted to be a rap star since he was a teenager. Like most of the kids in his neighborhood, Lester eventually joined a gang. When his powers surfaced, he was able to use his gang connections to get a job as a bodyguard for a notorious gansta rapper. As a reward for his loyal surface, Lester's employer eventually let him perform some backup on one of his songs. This was as far as Lester got to his dream, though. Lester's boss had lots of enemies, and during one attempt on the rap star's life Lester, who called himself Boom Box by this point, found himself in battle with another metahuman bodyguard. In the ensuing chaos Lester's boss was killed, as were several other people, and several blocks in Manhattan were destroyed. Boom Box was arrested and sent to the Vault, where he encountered Thrasher and helped form the Backbeat. He has been with the team ever since, but still holds out hope of someday fulfilling his boyhood dream and becoming a real music star.

Powers & Abilities:
Boom Box's powers surfaced in his late teens, while he was running with a gang. He superhumanly strong and tough and can grow to almost 40 feet in height, increasing his already prodigious strength. Boom Box also has the ability to project sonic vibrations which can shatter objects or cause massive explosions.



Real Name: Richard Russo

Richard Russo comes from the Netherworld in Chicago, where he ran away to when his powers first manifested. When Thrasher, no stranger to the Netherworld himself, got wind of young Richard he returned to his old stomping grounds to investigate. Thrasher arrived in time to save Ruckus (as Richard had started calling himself) from an angry mob. It seems the young man had taken a job performing at one of the Netherworld clubs and had started using his powers on his audience. When word got out that Ruckus was manipulating people's minds the people of the Netherworld went ballistic and hunted him down. With Thrasher's help, Ruckus escaped the mob and left the Netherworld with his benefactor to become the newest member of the Backbeat.

Powers & Abilities:
Ruckus' weapon is his voice. By singing he can control the emotional state of his audience, or keep them frozen in rapt attention, able to do nothing else but listen to him. He can also project sound to a variety of effects, including create devastating sonic blasts, generate seismic vibrations, or even act as a sonar. His lungs are also enhanced to help him focus his sonic powers. If he wants to, Ruckus can exhale with nearly tornado-strength intensity. Unlike most of his teammates, Ruckus does not possess enhanced strength or resistance so he wears an armored vest beneath his costume for protection.



Real Name: Damien Stevens

Damien was the lead singer in an up-and-coming rock band in LA with a penchant for performing extreme stunts during stage shows. Seeking greater and greater thrills Damien joined the underground extreme sports circuit, performing incredibly dangerous stunts, dangerous to most people anyway, with Damien's powers the stunt needed to be extremely extreme to even come close to being risky for him. As his stunts became more and more outrageous, and dangerous, Damien caught the attention of the authorities. After a three-state manhunt, Damien was finally cornered in the desert outside Las Vegas, only to escape with the help of the Backbeat. Having recently escaped from prison the villains were looking for new members and felt that Damien fit the bill nicely. He signed on as Headbanger and is still with the group.

Powers & Abilities:
Headbanger possesses superhuman strength and resilience, and is also a powerful telekinetic. He can also absorb kinetic energy and channel it into his own body. The more physical punishment he takes, the stronger and tougher he becomes. His upper limit has never been calculated, though it is believed if he absorbed enough energy he would become stronger than Superman until the absorbed energy wore off.

Forces of Evil