"If I were half the man Craig is.. then I'd be half the man Craig is. But I'm not." -- Ravenspeaker
Born in 1969, Craig Carson was the youngest of two brothers to a lower middle class family in East Vancouver. His father, a shoe salesman, abandoned the family when Craig was 5, and his mom died of pancreatic cancer when Craig was 12. With no one else to raise him, Craig's brother Jack, seven years his senior, dropped out of school to pull them through. The two boys, didn't have it easy, but despite the tragedy of their childhood, they survived and were generally a happy, very close family. Craig's childhood, regardless of the tragedies, was not the proverbial "unhappy superhero childhood." And despite the changes that were to come, that closeness never changed.
And things were about to change very drastically.
On a cold night in late February 1983, Craig spotted a woman perched on a ledge of a tall building in East Vancouver, with a crowd shouting at her to jump. Her intention was clear. Determined to save her, Craig climbed the building to talk her down; the woman, seeing Craig's courage and compassion, declared "you are worthy of the power of Living Thunder!" and a lightning bolt struck Craig from out of the sky. Craig awoke in a superhuman body, which he dubbed Thundrax.
(For a more detailed version of Thundrax's origin, see Night of the Thunderbolt).
"We belong to a group named SUNDER! The villains blow, and VIPER blunders...Can you see, can you see it's SUNDER? You'd better run, you'd better take cover!"
-- The SUNDER Theme Song (parodying Men at Work).
Gifted with the "Living Thunder", Craig was able to transform himself into the mighty Thundrax. As Craig said later: "I was a fourteen year old boy scout in the body of a god. I had two options: I could either pick up girls, or fight crime. I was terribly shy, so I fought crime."
A few weeks after gaining his powers, Craig encountered Vancouver's SUNDER (Superhuman United Nations Defense Emergency Reserve) super-team, foiling a VIPER and GRAB robbery at a library in downtown Vancouver. SUNDER's leader Shamus, a telepathic detective, liked what he saw in the kid and inducted him into the team (quietly overlooking the fact that Craig was barely in his teens). It was a bit rough balancing high school and super heroing and keeping his identity a secret, especially from his brother.
Craig served with SUNDER for nine years. Their mainstays were Shamus, the semi-reformed vigilante Mark (Avenger) Derringer, the frost-powered mutant Cryo, mining engineer turned superhero Flux, mutated Canadian astronaut Greg (Solar Sentinel) Jenkins, the powerful earth elemental Elemmus, and George, a physicist who refused to accept any codename. Serving under UNTIL's sponsorship, these heroes fought numerous bizarre villains including the would-be messiah Borealis, the chaotic cosmic entity Amok, the would-be conquerer Overlord, the mad geneticist Malachite, the international criminal mastermind known as the Colonel. a group of super thieves called PLUNDER, the superhuman pest Dark Prowler, as well as VIPER.
In 1984 SUNDER first encountered the demon lord Zorasto lieutenant of a demon-god named Asmiak. Zorasto used roleplaying gamers to unwittingly perform a ritual that transformed Vancouver's Stanley Park into a huge pentagram that would serve as a portal to Hell. SUNDER closed the portal, then traveled to the infernal reaches to rescue them, a trip that cost SUNDER the life of their fire elemental ally Inferno. Zorasto would return to plague the team -- especially Thundrax -- on numerous occasions.
The most deadly of SUNDER's enemies were Black Spectre and his Brotherhood of Terror, a team comprised of nearly a dozen villains which also included Avenger's father Master-Mind. In 1985, the Brotherhood effectively conquered Vancouver through their proxy Masquerade (who, as William Donaldson, became Vancouver's mayor) and embarked on a campaign to besmirch their reputation that portrayed Thundrax as destructive, stupid and psychotic. It was Craig's first brush with the power of the press, and one which probably colored most of his reactions to negative publicity to this day.
The plethora of villains made for an intimidating apprenticeship: as Craig later noted, he had literally gone to Hell and back before he was old enough to legally drive a car.
SUNDER also encountered a group of high-tech Western Canadian separatists who were the forerunners of the Hunter-Patriots. The team beat them easily, and figured they were a joke that would never appear again. Thundrax came to deeply regret that assessment.
SUNDER was a small local team which garnered little attention outside of British Columbia. However, despite their relatively low profile, they were powerful and capable, and were a surprisingly effective weapon in UNTIL's arsenal of super humans. There was, however, one incident that would prove especially pivotal for Craig's future.
A Mission in Life
In 1986, SUNDER encountered Borealis once again, this time hijacking a cargo of grain. It seemed like a typical supervillain plan, if a little below Borealis's usual world-conquering standards. The team charged to attack, when Borealis revealed that he was hijacking the grain for an underground network devoted to famine relief in Ethiopia.
"Just what are you doing about that, SUNDER?" Borealis challenged them.
Craig's brother Jack, in Two-Fist gear.
The words haunted Craig. Idealistic teenager that he was, it occurred to him that he had to do more than just punch out the world's problems. The world needed much more, and SUNDER (and superheroes in general) were capable of doing much more. Craig got together with his teammates and set up a private foundation. Using Flux's mining engineering expertise and the earth elemental Elemmus's ability to find deep mineral and petroleum reserves, SUNDER went into business, with the goal of creating a cash stream to found charitable projects. Craig, who was politically liberal, enthusiastic, and a good public face, agreed to front the agency. It was extremely successful. Though Craig only kept a small portion of profits for petty cash, when the price of resources shot through the roof in the 2000s, his fortunes grew exponentially. By 2005, he was an accidental billionaire.
Eventually, the team neutralized most of the major threats in Vancouver, and the team drifted apart. The Brotherhood of Terror dissolved due to internal squabbling. Shamus, the team leader and Thundrax's mentor, walked into a fog and vanished in 1988, disappearing as mysteriously as he had appeared in 1983.
In 1988. Craig graduated from high school and began pursuing a degree in social services at the University of British Columbia. His first year roommate was a young, practical joking First Nations student named Billy Edenshaw, himself secretly the superhuman Ravenspeaker. After the typical "misunderstanding" where they tripped over each other's secrets, they became good friends and Thundrax took Ravenspeaker under his wing and taught him the tricks of the crime fighting trade. However (much to Craig's disappointment), Ravenspeaker refused Craig's invitation to join SUNDER.
After the defeat of Zorasto in 1990, gatherings of SUNDER became rare occurrences. The team gradually drifted apart; Avenger and Cryo retired to raise families, Solar Sentinel joined the Canadian Space Agency. SUNDER broke up in 1992 after a final battle with Borealis.
Jack Carson, boxer and plumber, didn't realize his brother's identity. He (as well as Craig) also didn't realize he had an enemy. The demon lord Zorasto was, for reasons that remain a mystery to this day, an ancestral enemy of the Carson family. After Jack was crippled by a rampaging sewer monster, Zorasto came to him and offered to restore him to health. Jack agreed, and became the Demon Knight Jaxx, a weapon Zorasto quickly turned against SUNDER. Fortunately the team discovered a ritual to restore Jack to health, and in 1990 trapped Zorasto in a mystic gateway. The demon lord lay bound within the hellgate for twenty years. Still empowered (though no longer demonic) Jack decided to become a superhero and christened himself "Two-Fist". He was assigned to UNTIL's flagship UNITY team, where he served with distinction from 1990-1992.
Thundrax in the shadow of his old enemy, Dr. Destroyer.
"Thundrax, ask history what becomes of those who blindly defend the status quo?"
-- Albert Zerstoiten
In 1991, Craig was invited by Henderson Electronics to a gathering of major superheroes in San Francisco. It was a major coup for Craig -- until the conference was interrupted by Dr. Destroyer, who negated the powers of every superhuman on earth! Destroyer claimed that superpowers would destroy the world, and that he alone could save it. Powerless, Craig nonetheless confronted the megalomaniac, helping to delay him long enough for other heroes to locate and destroy Zestoiten's machinery.
The next year, Destroyer contacted Craig and requested a private meeting, at a neutral location in San Francisco. Craig was baffled that the great Destroyer would choose to speak with a second-string Canadian superhero ("that's like the Chicago Bears challenging the CFL Ottawa Rough Riders to a game"), but nonetheless agreed. Zerstoiten, annoyed at Craig's moral stand the previous year, made Thundrax an extraordinary offer -- if Craig believed that superpowers were such a good thing for humanity, Destroyer would give them to every person on the planet! Moreover, Zerstoiten would give Craig the choice. Thundrax was shocked by the offer, but nonetheless considered it -- and refused. The two men parted company amicably, though Craig contemplated fighting and trying to subdue the armored powerhouse.
Unfortunately, tragedy was to result a few months later, when a battle with Destroyer in Detroit resulted in the loss of the city. UNITY was refused permission to enter the city, but Jack Carson defied orders. He arrived too late to stop Destroyer, and was performing assistance for the survivors when his comm went silent. Jack was found, dead, several hours later, impaled through the chest with a giant spike, presumably by a superhuman looter. The identity of his killer has never been found. Craig blamed himself for what happened, wondering what would have been if he'd accepted Zerstoiten's offer.
The Northern Guard
Thundrax helped train Justiciar and served on two teams together. There's an enormous bond of respect and friendship between them.
"Like a bad penny, a decade after their second invasion attempt the Gadroon showed up on Earth again. Most experts believe this “attack” was in fact more in the nature of a scouting or reconnaissance mission (which is one reason some of them think that about the second invasion). This time a dozen Gadroon starships landed in northern Canada and attempted to establish a base of operations. Half a dozen Canadian heroes including Forceknight, Ravenspeaker, Justiciar, and Thundrax responded, defeating the Gadroon personnel on the ground so handily that the entire “invasion force” distracted the heroes with a feint, recovered the injured, and then fled the planet. The heroes, pleased with how well they’d worked together, formed the second incarnation of the Northern Guard team." -- Champions Beyond, p. 15
After a couple of years soloing in Vancouver, Craig received a phone call from one of Canada's most prominent heroes, Forceknight III (Lyle Doerksen) who asked for his help in battling a secret Gadroon invasion. Joining forces with other noteworthy heroes, the Guard tracked down Gadroon technology to the lab of the super villain Cyberlord, where the team freed David Burrell from stasis: he became the superhero Justiciar and joined them. Together they tracked down the Gadroon to their landing site, repulsed the invasion, defeated the Gadroon leader, the Inquisitor, and decided to remain together as a team. This was the start of the second Northern Guard, arguably the finest hero team Canada ever assembled.
(For more on the formation of the Northern Guard, see:
We Stand On Guard (Again) For Thee)
In the public eye, Thundrax took a back seat to Forceknight and some of the more prominent members, but (with the exception of his teammate Augury, with whom there was mutual dislike), the team looked up to him as an emotional anchor. While in the Northern Guard, Craig mentored young superheroes (just as he had been mentored by SUNDER's Avenger and Shamus). He helped train Ravenspeaker to become Vancouver's superhuman protector and worked alongside Forceknight III in grooming Justiciar to become a top rank superhero.
There was one area where Craig was tragically unsuccessful: romance. He had a crush on Ann Eagleton, his teammate Snowblind, who in turn only had eyes for their teammate Voyageur. After numerous misadventures -- including the revelation that she was the daughter of the monstrous Inuit god Kigatilik! -- Craig finally got his girl. Unfortunately, the first night they were together, Craig lost control of his powers and accidentally electrocuted her! Ravenspeaker made a devil's bargain with Tax'et to raise her from the dead, and Craig, having lost his virginity in the most traumatic way possible, retreated into a social shell for nearly fifteen years. Snowblind eventually married the Swedish superhero Seger and left the team; both were murdered by Eurostar in 1997.
The Northern Guard continued successfully until 1998, facing foes like the Ultimates, Mechanon, Magnus Aignur (a technician who'd worked for Albert Zerstoiten who posed as Dr. Destroyer), Magnifique, ARGENT, VIPER and its Dragon Syndicate superteam, the demonic Tilingkoot, as well as extradmensional invasions from the parallel dimensions of Cabotia and Laurentia. They faced powerful extradimensional villains like the Entity, the Song, and Le Seigneur d'Histoires, enduring death and heartbreak as well as experiencing amazing triumphs. For a second time, Craig found a superhuman family to call his own (he remains close to Ravenspeaker, Justiciar, and the now retired Forceknight). In the end, the team was torn apart by prophecies and the machinations of one of its own, Augury, who'd been driven insane after her sojourn in Laurentia. Augury later joined the arch villain Borealis and became one of Canada's most wanted criminals. After 1995, Craig became a part-timer with the team, splitting time between the Guard and an even more famous squad of heroes.
"I'm not sure you're ready for the big leagues, Mr. Carson, but I like your spirit." -- Archdruid
In 1995, Craig, while still serving in the Guard, was offered part-time membership in UNITY, the same UNTIL superhero team that Jack has served on. Quasar, the reformed Dr. Destroyer commander who had just become team leader, wanted to honor Two-Fist's memory and atone for his part in Destroyer's holocaust. Offering Jack Carson's brother a spot on the team seemed like a good way to do it. Craig accepted the offer.
Unfortunately, public backlash to Quasar's appointment in UNITY caused a panicked reaction among the UNTIL brass, as the press demanded that UNITY be a fully transparent operation. The team's UNTIL coordinator, Captain Nicholas "The Wolf" Silvers threw them a bone by revealing Thundrax's identity, previously a closely guarded secret. Craig was now "outed".
My Ex-Secret Identity
Craig was furious, but his teammates persuaded him not to resign -- or punch Captain Silvers to a bloody pulp. In truth, however, with Jack's death, there wasn't anyone Craig needed to protect. His secret identity had long passed its point of usefulness.
The most telling consequence of Craig's secret identity was the destruction of his old family home in East Vancouver, committed by a coalition of the dregs of his SUNDER enemies: Punk-X, Punk-Z, Dark Talon, Null and Void, Deathclown, and the Scions of Zorasto. They intended to destroy Craig's old neighborhood, but were stopped by the Northern Guard.
Silvers was dismissed, but Craig remained bitter about the loss. Also, he generally felt intimidated within UNITY. He didn't speak some of the members' native languages and found it much harder to make friends than usual. One of his few close friends on the team, the American superhero Wildstar, died in 1996 after he foolishly swallowed a super villainess' power gem. Craig was devastated.
Craig made several powerful enemies during his time in UNITY. The most noteworthy was Vladic Dracul. In an adventure in Romania, UNITY ran afoul of Vladic's eldest son Mircea, who was working with Stephen Bathory and the Army of the Impaled in a plan to prevent anyone on earth from performing sorcery -- except for vampire mages who stood on Wallachian soil, whose own occult powers would be greatly augmented. In the ensuing conflict, an army of Saracen ghosts defeated the Impaled. and UNITY invaded Castle Dracul, which straddled the real world and the world of nightmares. It was Craig who held Mircea when Archdruid impaled him with a stake of white hawthorn, destroying him utterly, and Vladic has not forgotten it.
Thundrax in his seldom worn UNTIL uniform.
The Hand of God
"We have done well, this day, Mr. Carson. Go now, and have few desires. -- Peacekeeper, Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities
In 1996, UNITY had its most dramatic case -- the super villain Dark Seraph had come into possession of a dimension-spanning artifact called the Hand of God. UNITY charged into the Nexus of All Realities, where they joined forced with teams from five other dimensions to defeat his plan to reshape reality in his image. It was the most epic battle of Craig's life. In the end, Darkest Seraph was unmade from the timelines of Creation (though a shadow of his previous self would later return in the so-called Champions Universe) and Peacekeeper, a Buddhist Saint from the Gestalt Universe, assumed the role of keeper of the Nexus.
This high point in Craig's career, however, soon gave way to a decline. Epic wins don't equal longevity. In 1998, due to the treachery of Craig's teammate Augury and a dire warning from the great Land spirit of Canada, the Guard was forced to call it quits. Craig became a full-time UNITY member, but by 2000, he'd burnt out. The stress of globe trotting and a rivalry with his (now deceased) teammate Union finally became too much. He quit to go back to Vancouver, where he occasionally teamed up with his friend and former pupil, Ravenspeaker.
"I can think of no finer hero to lead this team than Thundrax. Besides, no other hero seems to want the damn job." -- Lyle Doerksen, Forceknight III
In the post SUNDER-era, with Ravenspeaker and Thundrax protecting it, Vancouver was a much quieter place for super crime than it had been in the 80s: a band of terrorists from Awad, and VIPER were the two major sources of trouble. With relatively little to do, the bored Craig became increasingly interested in politics. In 2001, he was asked to run for mayor. He declined, but admitted he was open to switching careers. "Wherever I can do the most gooc, that's what I'll do."
Craig sparring with his Starforce teammate.
In 2002, Craig got another unexpected offer, this time from Celestar. He and the Cosmic Canuck had never been particularly close -- Celestar was at best skeptical of those who had joined the profession after the Mighty Canadians folded -- but over the years Craig had won his respect. He and Forceknight had founded the Toronto-based Starforce superhero team and brought in the European hero Potenstorm to help them, however the Swede had failed to work out. Thundrax was recruited to reinvigorate the team and make them a potent fighting force. Craig agreed to serve for one year. In that year, Starforce fought a new gang of foes called the the Forces of Nature, battled the now-defunct terrorist group Canada First!, and teamed with the New Knights and Ravenspeaker to stop the unlikely alliance of the Haida death god Tax'et and the European pagan demon-god Samhain from releasing Kigatilik.
It was Craig's first stab at actually leading a superhero team, and he didn't enjoy it very much. The roster: Thundrax, Surfacer, Fire Maiden, the CN Tower, and Trumpeter, weren't the most powerful team of Canadian heroes ever assembled, and Craig found his tactical options limited, especially compared with the Guard. The nadir came when the CN Tower was kidnapped by his brother, the insane Dr. Babylon, who had taken over New Bedlam Asylum in Fell's Point and was using at as a nexus point in a plot to drive all of humanity insane. During the rescue attempt, The Tower was killed, and for the first time, Thundrax took a life in battle, as he was driven into a berserk frenzy by Babylon's Insanity Engine. Thanks to Trumpeter, the team survived the encounter and destroyed the Engine. Trumpeter managed to talk Craig out of retiring from the supers business for good. Edmonton's goofball lycanthrope Polar Bear replaced the Tower on the team, who came to be known as "the out o'towners" in Toronto for the lack of a local member on the squad. Craig openly admitted that the team's lack of acceptance among the locals bothered him.
The Battle for the Soul of Canada
Shortly after the Tower's death, StarForce embarked on their biggest adventure, "The Battle for the Soul of Canada", which Justiciar dubbed "Craig's Big Time Travel Adventure". An encounter with Captain Chronos at the CN Tower's funeral led to Starforce being catapulted through time to several key dates in Canadian history. In the end, it turned out the Nazi war criminal Baron Nihil, Hitler's designated anti-Canadian super villain, had stolen some of Chronos's time travel technology and had summoned a Time Predator to destroy key points in Canadian history in order to cause Canada to unravel. These points were:
1759, where he planned to reverse the outcome of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
Thundrax confronts Takofanes during the Bloodmoon
1812, where he planned to assassinate General Issac Brock at the start of the War of 1812. The incident, ironically, led to the creation of Thundrax's old ally, the Canadian Ghost, a member of the original Northern Guard.
1838, where they stopped the original Hunter-Patriots from burning down what later became the capital city of Ottawa.
1870, where he planned to drive Louis Riel even further into insanity, leading the Red River settlement to commit mass suicide.
1972, where he planned to have the Russians win the Summit Series.
The adventure climaxed in 1960, at a hospital in Dartmouth Nova Scotia where Alice Burrell gave birth to her son David, the future superhero Justiciar. Nihil planned to have the Time Predator infect David's spirit so he would become a living symbol of despair. Things went from bad to worse when Justiiciar, having woken from stasis. was drawn backward through time so the infection could be planted. However, Alice sacrificed her life to save her son, and Chronos regained what Nihil had stolen. With Justiciar back, Craig happily ceded command of the team to his old friend.
Though he didn't realize it at the time, Craig's tenure as leader of Starforce was rewarding. It increased his public profile and he began to be regarded across Canada as a leading national superhero, not the second-stringer he'd been for most of his career. However Borealis's admonishment from 1986 still haunted him, as well as Zerstoiten's accusation that he was afraid of real change. He had now been a superhero for twenty years -- but was dressing up in tights and beating up bad guys all that there was? Was being a second-tier Canadian superhero all he was capable of becoming? Craig decided to take a gamble with his life. In 2004, Thundrax retired from super heroics, and found a new career.
Vancouver-East elects "The Mullet"
"The honorable member from Vancouver-East needs to remember that some problems cannot be solved by wearing tights and punching them."
-- Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Extremely popular in Vancouver, particularly on the city's east side where he grew up, Craig decided to turn to the political arena, becoming an elected member of the Canadian parliament for the Vancouver East riding. Despite his wealth, Craig deeply identified with working class stiffs, the people he remembered growing up with. Craig ran for the NDP, Canada's leftist party. He was named the NDP's Justice Critic, spending much of his time discussing metahuman issues. As a nationally-known ex-superhero, his political opponents often used that history against him, much to his dismay.
More positively, Craig served as Parliament Hill's unofficial superhuman protector, most notably in 2006, when he and Red Ensign III and Ottawa's COMET team repelled an attack by Baron Nihil. However, Thundrax also found life on the sidelines to be far more difficult than he had anticipated. In 2005, with the help of Craig's former teammate Augury, Borealis escaped Stronghold North. In 2007, he was badly shaken when Red Ensign III was murdered by Baron Nihil, and in 2008, when Vanguard (a Vancouver-based team he'd help to mentor) and Forceknight IV (Alan Hellion) were slaughtered by Necrull. Canada's super villains were becoming increasingly dangerous.
Craig's political career kept him in the spotlight, arguably more than ever before. He lost his Justice Critic portfolio in 2008, when he broke with the party to support Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and while rumors that would jump ship and run for the Liberal leadership were patently false, they were enough to keep Craig from advancing up the party ranks. By 2009, Craig had become tired of politics; as a member of the opposition he felt like he had accomplished nothing, and his personal grudge against Canada's conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, reached the point where he could barely stomach going into the House. Now he looked for an opportunity to make a graceful exit.
Return to Millennium
"It's about time, Craig. You're finally back doing what you were meant to do."
Thundrax alongside the Protectors of the World
Later in the year, reports came out that Dr. Destroyer had returned to Millennium City. This reopened serious emotional wounds. Blaming himself for what had happened in Detroit --- especially the death of his brother, Craig effectively abandoned politics to come to Millennium City and search for him.
Craig was determined that Detroit would never happen again. And although his self-confidence has been shaken from time to time, he hasn't wavered from that goal -- find Zerstoiten, and make him answerable for his crimes.
A New Career
Over the last ten years, Thundrax has established himself as an A-level superhero. His old SUNDER teammate Flux transferred control of his company to Craig, founding Flux-Carson Enterprises, a major player in petroleum, mining, and space development. He's stood up for manimal rights, and opposed mandatory metahuman registration, taking advantage of a loophole in Canada's laws to provide asylum for many who wish to avoid signing up with the government. He signed up with the Protectors of the World, but left the team due to personality conflicts.
The Final Days?
In June, 2015, Craig considered an offer to rejoin the Protectors when tragedy struck. On June 29, a category four tornado touched down on the outskirts of Millennium City, Craig battled the cyclone, attempting to push his storm empathy power into full weather control and calm the twister. He succeeded, saving hundreds of lives but at the cost of his own.
(For a more detailed account of Thundrax's demise, see Day of the Tornado).
However, a month and a half later, Craig managed to reform himself and. after considerable effort and the help of friends. he restored himself to his full capacity. This peace did not last long, as Craig's old enemy Invictus returned almost immediately, claiming he was responsible for the weather system that had caused the tornado and blaming him for the deaths of 54 people in the disaster, a claim followed shortly thereafter by a class action suit against the hero. In the end, the Protectors defeated Invictus and exonerated Craig. Invictus attemppted to shift in the timeline and turn Craig into a villain,but it backfired, and the altered timeline diminished Invictus's fortune and status. However, he was not utterly defeated and soon restablished himself into a position of political power.
Craig pursued a normal superheroing career, while expanding his interests in space. However, gradually over time, Craig felt increasingly uneasy about the aftereffects of his resurrection, experiencing a form of PTSD. An incident where he almost fumbled disarming a nuke heading for Moscow led to UNTIL scaling back the hero's duties. Also, recent political changes in the United States have resulted in harassment and controversy, and Craig has been recently subject to increasing government harassment. Nonetheless, despite all these setbacks, Craig perseveres. Thundrax remains one of the most respected superhumans in Canada and Millennium City. He currently serves as temporary leader of the Protectors, in light of Sparrowhawk's recent leave of absence. He was also heavily irradiated during a battle with his clone Jaye; time will tell what side-effects this will have, but this radiation has at least temporarily boosted his already prodigious abilities.
Craig Carson, patrolling near Millennium City's Ren Center.
"The second-born Carson will be destroyed." -- Zorasto the Defiler
Zorasto, heriditary enemy of the Carson family.
Craig's Rogue's Gallery is led by Zorasto, a demon lord with a historic grudge against the Carson family. Originally an Assyrian warlord (born c. 800 BCE), he made a pact with unknown extradimensional agencies, who empowered him as a demon and sent him as their agent in Hell.
Zorasto became involved with the Carson family in 1838, when making a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland, he struck a bargain with Tristan Carson, Craig's great-great-grandfather, granting Tristan immortality and eternal youth in exchange for the lives of his descendents for seven generations. In all likelihood, Zorasto forsaw the 1938 Nazi ritual that made superhumans possible and knew of the potential of his line for superhuman traits.
For more on Zorasto's interactions with the Carson family, refer to That Hellish Thing.
Since making his bargain with Tristan, Zorasto has groomed the Carson family for his purposes. Though Craig does not know it, Zorasto is directly responsible for his father abandoning his family. In 1990, Zorasto assimilated the power of the demon god Asmiak and attempted to launch a demonic invasion of earth. He was stopped by SUNDER, who sealed him in the gateway of the demon gate that he was using to transport his legions to eatth. In 2010, Arthur the Barbarian's archenemy Baskerville O'Brien accidentally freed Zorasto from his mystic gateway. Zorasto redoubled his campaign against the Carson family, but in 2015, he was defeated by the Protectors in a bid to travel back in time and corrupt the process that created superhumans. For his failure, he was dragged to Hell and reverted to the form of a larva to endure torture at the hands of the demon prince Belial.
"I will crush you as crushed my career!" -- Invictus
Craig's other major nemesis is David Sutherland, the superhero Invictus. Invictus was one of the most popular superheroes in Washington and the American south, but used his powers to cover up debauchery, rape, and murder. Craig was one of several heroes who helped expose him, but Invictus decided that Thundrax should be the sole object of his revenge. Craig sent him away to Stronghold, but Invictus has secretly been recruited by Shadow Destroyer for his "League of Destruction". In July 2011 Invictus engineered the escape -- and the retcon of his criminal record -- using entities from the Briah called the Song. While Craig and a coalition of heroes foiled his attempt to alter America's icons and usher in a dark America under his rule, Invictus remains at large. The two have sparred repeatedly over the years, usually behind the scenes.
Recently, Sutherland has been appointed special liaison on superhuman issues by the Trump administration and a lot of resources have been brought against Craig's American holdings.
"Thundrax is an enemy of the human race. His elimination is crucial to our victory over the Devolved Select." -- Genocide Omega
Back in the 80s, with three mutants (Shamus, Avemger, and Cryo) as their mainstays, one of SUNDER's most persistent enemies was the anti-mutant group Genocide. Defeated in that decade by SUNDER sand other hero teams, elements of this organization went on to join the more politically friendly (at least in name) IHA. However, Genocide built an army of robots, and not all of them were destroyed. Recently one of the most powerful robots, Genocide Omega, was reactivated and attempted to kill Thundrax. As it turned out, its reactivation was an elaborate deathtrap set by Invictus, who attempted to seal them inside a cave on Monster Island and persuade UNTIL to nuke it, but thanks to the magic of Tomonari, the heroes escaped. Genocide Omega was captured and dismantled, but other Genocide robot caches undoubtedly remain, awaiting reactivation.
"You are very good at delaying your death sentence, Monsieur Carson. But not forever." -- Mechaniste
The Venomous Imperial Party of the Eternal Reptile. VIPER has been an enemy of Craig's since his very first mission, when he helped SUNDER stop VIPER and GRAB from stealing microfilm from a Vancouver library. Craig's role in UNTIL's anti-VIPER Task Force has made him a priority target of the snakes. Over the years, Craig has, like King David, slain (well, pummeled) his tens of thousands, many of them VIPER. Craig's actions have warranted the attention of the highest level of VIPER. While their Serpent Court task force has been inactive for a year, they (or a similar agency) might be activated at any moment.
Craig's first appearances saw him join with SUNDER to remove Vancouver's VIPER Nest, but over the years, they returned to plague him. In March 1995, Craig was captured by VIPER (after a battle against by the Northern Guard against Tax'et where he was presumed dead). Following two months of torture and indoctrination by then-VIPER leader Lancehead, Craig was made part of VIPER's Dragon Syndicate team, but was freed by the Guard. Craig still has nightmares about the time he spent as their "guest".
In June 2010, Craig was launching a Flux-Carson orbital power station at Cape Canaveral when he was attacked by Viperia and the Serpent's Court, resulting in the death of seventeen NASA employees. Thundrax was placed in a coma for nearly two weeks, until he was restored by his fiancee Sarah and Erik the Red, head of the Mystic Waymeet.
Thundrax faces the daughter of Nama
In Auugust 2011, in an attempt to clear Orbital of the Silver Age Sentinels from an attempted VIPER frame, Craig allowed himself to fall into VIPER's hands. After a week of torture (which he had anticipated), Thundrax was rescued, however he had been replaced with a clone (which he did not anticipate), who proceeded to try to sell Flux-Carson to a VIPER holding company and (failing that thanks to the intervention of Miss Servo), transmitted Flux-Carson secrets to VIPER. Craig is currently trying to keep deposits uncovered by a rare earths mineral survey, potentially worth tens of billions, our of VIPER's hands.
Another of Craig's most powerful enemies is Necrull. The centuries old nercullitic sorcerer-scientist is responsible for the death of Craig's proteges, the Vanguard, as well as Craig's friend Alan Hellion, aka Forceknight IV. Craig's one attempt to confront him in 2008 ended wth Necrull nearly killing Thundrax and absorbing his powers, but he was rescued by the Starforce and Forceknight V. Since then, UNTIL and the RCMP have ordered Craig to not directly confront the necromancer, however it's only a matter of time before some sort of batte takes place, especially after Necrull raised a zombie version of Craig's brother Jack in early 2010 (before Jack's return through time).
ALL THE REST...
Craig has crossed swords with everyone from Firewing to Takofanes to Eurostar to Destroyer, however, his most personal grudges are against:
Lady Lightning (no relation to the golden age heroine of the same name) is Dr. Lydia Brower, a researcher in artificial weather systems whose misguided expeiments resulted in her transformation into a woman of "Living Lightning". Viewing Thundrax's Living Thunder as a natural complement, she attempted to kill Thundrax in the belief that his death would transfer her powers. She was defeated by the combined might of Thundrax and Arthur the Barbarian and now sits in Stronghold.
Craig's current nemesis, Josiah Brimstone, emissary of Belial!
The Black Banner is Hugh Brock, son of the second Red Ensign, Canada's most renowned superhero of the 1960s and 70s. Feeling neglected by his dad, when he took up the Canada Staff after his dad's death, he chose to become a supervillain, but was stopped by Forceknight III; the Canada Staff was stripped from him and given to his cousin Davie, who became the third Red Ensign. In prison, Hugh developed the delusion that he was "king of Canada. In 2010 he escaped from Srronghold North and fixated on Craig as the newest national iconic superhero, but was eventually defeated.
Baron Nihil is a crazed Nazi scientist who manpulates "Nihil energy" and commands a small extradimensional army, the Knights of Sanguanay. Nihil attacked Parliament Hill several times when Craig was an MP, and has not forgotten the impact of his mighty fists. To add fuel to the fire, Nihil killed Craig's close friend Davie Brock, the third Red Ensign, in 2007.
Finally, he has old rivals and enemies from his days with SUNDER and the Northern Guard. These include:
Avenger's sadistic father, Master-Mind, a mutant who's been alive for two centuries, has targeted Thundrax several times for helping his son.
Two of Thundrax's oldest enemies were Xavier Bliztter and Terry Zhao, a pair of Vacouver area anarchists known as Punk-X and Punk-Z. They were witnesses to Thundrax's origin, and picked up "background radiation of the Living Thunder" , which Zorasto later cultivated to transform them into demon knights, granting them power in exchange for an unbreakable oath to kill Thundrax. Both men have the power to sap Thundrax's strength; X is nearly as strong as Thundrax, while Z is an incredibly fast and skilled practitioner of Shaolin dragon style kung-fu, They came very close to killing Thundrax several times in the 1980s, and they led the gang of C-list villains who destroyed the Carson family home in 1995 after Craig's identity was outted. They bequeathed part of their powers to their kids, who tried to kill Craig during a visit to Vancouver in 2010.
SUNDER's nemesis Borealis has always been one of Craig's major nemeses, especially with Augury and the Landsman (whose beat him badly in both of their fights and left him buried alive once) as his servants. Borealis is an incredibly powerful energy manipulator who believes that Canada -- under his control -- is destined to rule the world.
Blackstar of the Ultimates has always had a hate-on for Craig, and continues to try to prove his superior strength.
Craig and Black Paladin have clashed on numerous occasions, and Craig has several times stood between Paladin and mystical sources of his power that the black knight considered his "destiny" to possess. The Knight of the Crows remains perhaps the most dangerous of all of Craig's personal nemeses.
Very recently, the man who created Justiciar's cybernetic systems, Cyberlord, reemerged after being presumed dead for close to twenty years. Craig was among many heroes who helped David Burrell in stopping him from ransacking a crashed Roin'esh ship.
In addition to those who will trade punches with Craig, Thundrax has more subtle enemies (ie. those who prefer to attack Craig bhind the scenes). The biggest of these is probably PRIMUS, owing to an incident where Craig exposed an illegal PRIMUS research base on Canadian soil, though Craig has never gotten along well with any of the Golden Avengers). PRIMUS brass doesn't want to kill him, but would love to see him humiliated or discredited. However, many PRIMUS officers consider Craig a good friend and capable ally.
Perhaps Craig's most enthusiastic enemies are in the press. Craig has never forgiven the right wing press for their role in keeping UNTIL out of the United States prior to Detroit, or for the hatchet job they did on Celestar in the early 90s. His opinion of the current American media is even more contemptuous. For their part, the feeling is mutual. In Millennium City, the anti-Thundrax charge is led by Curt Curruthers and the Adair Media group (Curruthers is a Millennium City TV commentator who's very far-right wing and anti-superhero -- Thundrax is quickly replacing Witchcraft as the favorite target of his rants), and FOX News, though few media outlets give Craig any sort of favorable coverage, and SNN tends to downplay Craig's involvement in any positive superhero story.
The negative coverage does not extend to Canada, where even the right wing press usually mutes its criticism, given Craig's surging reputation, though Canadian prume minister Stephen Harper is not a fan. Thundrax does have defenders in the American press: most famous of these are Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow, who have done expert dissections of some of the media's anti-Craig stories, though Stewart always mocks the mullet in the process.
Another major rival is Franklin Stone, the head of ACI. Not only is Craig a superhuman who's foiled some of his plans, Stone resents Thundrax's superhuman gifts and sees him as a potential rival to his industrial empire. He's been actively working with the press to destroy Craig's reputation, as well as attempt to subvert Craig's friend Indestructible to his cause, in part to drive a wedge between them.
Finally there's the annoying super villain Dark Prowler, who occasionally surfaces to mock him, or steal things that Craig cares about, just to prove to Thundrax that he's earned the title of "world's greatest thief" (Craig, of course, doesn't give a damn about the title, but Prowler lives under the delusion that it's the most important thing on Earth).
Thundrax joins the Protectors against several enemies, including Invictus
"Another fool who will not fall. I will embrace you for your fighting spirit, brother... with fire." -- Firewing
November 2002: Thundrax vs. Firewing
Craig slams the champion of Malva in the Forum Malvanum!
Craig was the leader of Starforce at the time, though he was already planning to hand over the reins to the recently returned Justiciar. Firewing, aka Ariax Thone, the Malvan super-gladiator Firewing, had humiliated Starforce the previous year, forcing them to flee while he set the CN Tower ablaze, resulting (among other things) in the resignation of Craig's predecessor, Potenstorm. This time, however, Craig and Starforce didn't run. Captured on camera, the other Guard members fell one by one, leaving Thundrax alone with the alien titan.
In the ensuing battle, as captured on camera and beamed live to the nation, Thundrax refused to fall. He was outmatched, but despite enduring terrible burns, he kept fighting until his last strength fell, breaking Firewing's nose and shattering six of his ribs in the process. This was sufficient to earn Firewing's respect, and he left the field without killing anyone. The honor of Starforce was restored, and Craig became much more popular in Canada after the battle, though the rest of the world didn't pay much attention yet.
This battle is also responsible for one of the most embarssing incidents in Craig's life, as Craig's costume was completely burnt off during the fight, resulting in numerous naked pictures of Thundrax flooding the internet. Perhaps not surprisingly, his popularity spiked when they first appeared.
The injuries gave Craig an excuse to temporarily bow out of superheroing, and he handed over the team to David Burrell, who has led it ever since.
Craig has locked horns with Firewing on several occasions since then, most notably in 2012, when Firewing attacked an apartment complex in Millennium City in order to draw out battle. Craig was defeated when he was knocked into collapsing wreckage and was buried under a building; other heroes stepped in and drove the Malvan gladiator away, though it cost the life of the veteran superhero, the Paladin.
November 2011: Thundrax vs the Tirithians
The race of Craig's friend Horizon had invaded earth before, but this time they came loaded for bear, and Craig helped his friends in TASK and GLOBE in a brutal battle that spanned Millennium City. In the end, the Tirithian leader threatened to detonate a nuclear device that was strapped to his back, so Craig grabbed him, forcibly flew him up to low orbit, fighting with him every inch, in a desperate effort to save the city.
After a long, bloody fistfight, Craig knocked the Tirithian commander unconscious and hurled the nuclear weapon out of orbit (it was later retrieved by an UNTIL team from GATEWAY). Thundrax has never directly saved as many lives as he did on that day though (at his request), details on the situation have never been revealed to the general public.
June 1996: Thundrax vs. Seger: The Battle of Thunder Bay
This was not Thundrax's finest hour. Craig had taken a leave of absence on the Northern Guard to serve with UNITY. His replacemment was Anders Erlandsson, a Swedish archeologist who obtained power from a magical amulet that gave him the Strength of Thor, the Cunning of Loki, the Valor of Balder. the Insight of Odin, the (Masculine) Beauty of Freyr, the Vigilance of Heimdell, and the Ferocity of Fenris Wolf. Calling himself Seger (Swedish for "Victory"), Erlandsson established himself as one of Europe's most powerful heroes. though quickly also acquired a reputation for aloofness and arrogance to go with it.
UNTIL suggested Seger as a replacement when Thundrax took a leave of absence, and Forceknight was more than willing to find someone with similar powers to Craig's to fill the power vacuum -- and soon came to deeply regret the decision as Seger's negative traits soon came to the fore. One member of the Northern Guard who wasn't turned off by Seger's charms was Snowblind, Thundrax's ex-girlfriend. The two soon became romantically involved.
In June 1996, while investigating a claim that Snowblind's mother was still alive, Seger was trapped by the recently awakened Necrull and injected with am experimental Necrullitic serum. The Scandanvian titan went insane and began to lay waste to the western Ontario port city of Thunder Bay. The Guard tried to stop him, but all members were put down by the berserk hero except for Snowblind. The effects of the serum began to wear off when Thundrax arrived; seeing his fallen comrades and perceiving Ann in danger, Craig immediately attacked.
The two men seemed to feed off each other's powers, and both men fought with unbridled ferocity. Seger's taunts about Snowblind loving him instead of Thundrax did not help the sitjation. The battle leveled seeveral docks and warehouses in the port district, inflicting several hundred millions of dollars in damage. No one was killed in the conflict; eventually the effects of the serum and the collective results of the battle took their toll on Seger, and he fell. Snowblind blamed Thundrax for the carnage, left the team, and went to Sweden with Seger, where they were soon married.
Craig and Seger met one more time: at Forceknight's 1997 wedding, where (partically because of the effects of super-liquor provided by Ravenspeaker) a drunken Craig and Seger got into another destructive brawl. It looked as though the two men would be enemies for life: sadly this was the case, as Seger and Snowblind were killed in 1998 while intervening in the VIPER-Eurostar War.
August 1999: Thundrax vs. Black Paladin
Every eleven years, a phenomena happens called the Ravenyear, where an Unkindeness of ravens gather to find the choicest battlefield on earth, and strip it clean, magically siphoning bits of the essence of the slain. In this way, the Raven magically elevates its intelligence above all other birds.
Craig confronts Black Paladin on the roof of Millennium City's City Hall in 2012
The existence of the Ravenyear is a carefully guarded secret: which few (even of ravens) have knowledge of, however the Black Paladin's pet raven Cataclsyme discovered it and informed his master. Long a plague upon the world, Sir Gilles de Morphant, the Black Paladin was the blackest of all black knights. He had faced Lancelot in the days of Camelot nearly slaying him and his beloved Elaine before Lancelot dispatched him and sent him to Hell. After making assorted mystic pacts, Sir Gilles returned to the world in the superheroic age, eager to work his malice. Armed with Cataclysme's information, the Black Paladin took counsel with his demonic patrons and devised a way that the Ravenyear's power would come to him instead of the ravens who collected it.
However the Haida superhero Ravenspeaker also foresaw the ravenyear and the Black Paladin's interference. Suspecting that Sir Gilles might be able to use his control of ravens to take control of him during the ritual, the spirit elder sent his old mentor and teammate Thundrax in his stead. Battling in the Cœur de la Cruauté on the border between the real world and the land of ravens, Thundrax was beaten and defeated, but managed to regain consciousness long enough to disrupt the ritual at its crucial moment, revealing Sir Gilles and his scheme to the raven host. The Unkindness turned on Sir Gilles, slaying the traitor Cataclysme, and forced the Black Paladin to retreat, minus the immense power of death that he would have acquired.
This was not Thundrax's final encounter with Black Paladin. In 2005, Paladin teamed with the Scions of Zorasto in an attempt to free the demon lord from the imprisonment that SUNDER had provided for him by substituting Craig in his place, but he was stopped by Thundrax and Starforce. In 2010, Paladin again attempted to evoke the Ravenyear at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, taking advantage of a tragedy to try to enflame feelings of conflict that would have produced a feastground for the Unkindness of the choicest specimens of humabnity (in the hopes that the Unkindness could be persuaded to share its acquired power), but was stopped by Thundrax and Justiciar. In 2012, Black Paladin and his dragon attacked Millennium City's city hall, and Paladin called out Thundrax; Paladin defeated Thundrax, but was kept from finishing him off by Proudclad and Particle Man, while a host of heroes slew Malais. With his dragon at least temporarily killed, Black Paladin retreated.
October 1986: Thundrax vs. Dreadnought
The Black Dragon struck! SUNDER's second in command --the Avenger-- was in a coma, during the 1986 Vancouver election where Mark Derringer had chosen to run against William Donaldson, himself a shapeshifting supervillain
Donaldson, realizing that Avenger was vulnerable, hired the mercenary villain Dr. Meklar to assure he didn't survive to election day. Meklar sent his cyborg assassin Dreadnought, and former Brotherhood member Nightshade to kill him. In his way stood Avenger's teammate Thundrax. Dreadnought threw everything he could at the teenage hero, knocking him through walls, elevators, down staircases -- he even tried to bring a building down on him. However Thundrax was determined to stand between Dreadnought and his teammate at all costs, and in the ensuing battle Dreadnought was killed. Donaldson won the election, but was soon exposed by SUNDER and the veteran local vigilante Acrobat. Avenger survived to remain the scourge of crime on the west coast.
It was Craig's first major battle against a powerhouse without the aid of his teammates and cemented his reputation locally as a hero to be reckoned with, though Dreadnought's accidental death badly shook him. Meklar headed many of the early projects involving what later became the Hunter-Patriots and is responsible for their cyborgs and their teleportation technology. He has never been captured and his current whereabouts is unknown; some suspect that Meklar is an alias of Cyberlord, the villain responsible for Justiciar's cybernetics, though Cyberlord's son Circ has denied the connection.