Real Name: Luther Arkwright
Identity/Class: Human mutant (Homo Novae)
Occupation: Agent of Zero-Zero
Affiliations: Octobriana, Rose Wylde
Enemies: The Disruptors
Known Relatives: Captain Gavin Arkwright (father, deceased), Sarah Arkwright (mother, deceased), unidentified paternal grandfather (deceased), Victoria Mary Elizabeth Boudicca Miranda Cordelia Arkwright Stuart (daughter), Henry (son, deceased), Anne (lover, mother of Victoria and Henry)
Base of Operations: Active across the multiverse
First Appearance: "The Papist Affair", Brainstorm Comix (British underground comic, 1976)
Powers/Abilities: Luther is able to move between parallel worlds by force of will alone. He is a near instinctive warrior, deadly with both swords and guns. He possesses a variety of psychic skills.
History: Reality is not as simple as we would like to believe. Instead of the solid, one-track history we know, existence is actually split into a myriad of parallel realities, each with an alternate history, each residing within their own dimensions. With the right equipment, it is possible for a person to move between these parallel worlds, and interact with their counterparts on another Earth. And with interaction, comes conflict.
Across the parallel worlds there is an ongoing covert war for control of the realities. On one side are the Disruptors, a name given to a collective of groups who have been secretly manipulating the development of many Earths for their own unknown reasons. On the other are the inhabitants of parallel Earth "Zero-Zero", one of a handful of Earth's free of the Disruptor influence, and who sought to oppose them. Zero-Zero had a uniquely stable position in the multiverse, and thus had become a world of peace, with some of the most advanced technology of all the Earth's. Having uncovered the Disruptors' activities, Zero-Zero recruited agents, and sent them out across the parallels to oppose these villain's plans.
Luther Arkwright was a unique individual, bred by the Disruptors to be their ultimate weapon. Born on Parallel 00-30-22, Luther was the son of a Battle of Britain ace who had been awarded the Victoria Cross; his mother was a Disruptor agent. Luther's father had been carefully chosen to sire a child, being chosen because he came from a long line of soldiers and fighters who had served their country with distinction. Born in 1950, Luther was truly one-of-a-kind; he alone across all the Earths had no parallel selves.
Shortly after his birth, Luther was abducted by Disruptor agents, his kidnapping covered by a hospital fire which slew both his parents. Taken to a parallel devastated by nuclear conflict, Luther spent the first fourteen years of his life in an underground bunker, subjected to a training regime designed to turn him into a living weapon. However in 1964 Luther displayed the first use of a hidden talent, when he subconsciously shifted himself back across the parallels to the Earth of his birth. Finally free of his masters, he spent the next six years on the run from them; perhaps he would have remained in hiding if he had not been discovered in 1970 by Rose Wylde. Rose was an agent of Zero-Zero, another anomaly of the parallel worlds - many of the different Roses across the multiverse were telepaths, empathically linked to one another.
Rose became romantically involved with Luther, and also recruited him into the service of Zero-Zero. Like them he sought to discover the ultimate goal of the Disruptors, willing to travel the multiverse in search of this answer. On many worlds he became a decorated soldier in the service of the England of that reality, a way of directing that world's forces against the Disruptors; on most he was also involved with Rose Wylde.
Luther finally uncovered the Disruptors' final plan on a world where the Disruptors had prolonged the English Civil War. England remained ruled by a fanatical descendant of Oliver Cromwell, a fascist state run by a madman and opposed by the Royalist forces led by King Charles and (after Charles death in battle) his sister, Anne. During his time on this Earth, Luther discovered the Disruptors had activated Firefrost, a legendary device capable of destabilising, and eventually destroying, the entire multiverse. Seeking to draw out the Disruptor agents, Luther joined the Royalist cause, during which time he became sexually involved with Anne, impregnating her. This later resulted in the birth of twins, Victoria and Henry. However Luther was captured by his enemies, and died in their custody. Unfortunately for the Disruptors, he managed to resurrect himself, his powers enhanced by the experience; with his increased abilities he brought the threat of Firefrost to an end, then renounced violence and vanished.
Twenty-three years later Luther was hunted down by his daughter Victoria. Like her father she had developed the ability to shift realities without technological aid, and she had sought him out to assist her in preventing a catastrophe from consuming her England.
Comments: Created by Bryan Talbot.
The first installments of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright appeared in serialised form in British underground comic Near Myths in 1978, and was then continued in pssst! magazine, but only around half the story had been told when that magazine folded in 1982. The story remained unfinished until Britain's Valkyrie Press released a nine-issue mini series reprinting the original parts and concluding the tale, between 1987 and 1989. This was subsequently reprinted for the American market by Dark Horse Comics in 1990. In 2000 Dark Horse released the sequel, Heart of Empire: The Legacy of Luther Arkwright, in both comic and CD-Rom format. Another nine-parter, this story starred Luther's daughter, Victoria Arkwright-Stuart.
In May 1984, when only around half the initial Arkwright saga had been released, Bryan Talbot illustrated and co-wrote (with James Brunton) an article and RPG adventure set in Arkwright's multiverse for Imagine #14, TSR's UK house magazine. 23rd Parallel Games released an Adventures of Luther Arkwright role-playing game in 1992, but the company hit financial problems, and the game soon went out of print. A new Arkwright RPG, "Zero Zero", this time for the d20 system, was due to be released in 2004 by Hogshead Publishing, but was shelved when the company shut down. In 2015 Design Mechanism released Luther Arkwright: Roleplaying Across the Parallels as a supplement for Runequest 6.
In 2004 Big Finish released a three disc adaptation based on Talbot's series and characters, with a pre-Doctor Who David Tennant in the title role, and Paul Darrow (Blake's 7's Avon) as Cromwell.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Jerry Cornelius, a similar character created by Michael Moorcock, and one which served as a partial inspiration for Luther.
Luther Ironheart, a robot
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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