April 23, 2016
113. THE BIG FIVE
The Big Five
Kaokoland, Namibia, Earth (Core Reality); Late 19th Century
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
The Big Five can morph into a lion, a leopard, an elephant, a cape buffalo, or a rhino. In these forms he can take on the attributes of the animals, including enhanced strength, speed, durability and agility. At times he can also exert limited telepathic control over members of the big five species.
It was around 1884 when the Germans officially occupied Job Nangoloh’s homeland of Namibia. His family was wealthy and had status, however, they still joined the rebellion as his people, the Herero Tribe, were warriors. Thus, they refused to be occupied and eventually took up arms against their oppressors. This resulted in over 65,000 Herero being slaughtered in the first genocide of the 20th century. Job’s entire family was killed. He, however, lived on.
The bullet wound and concussion he suffered during the battle rendered him motionless and in great pain. He wanted to fight to the death, but his body could not physically move itself to press on. When the Germans found him, he was underneath two much larger, dead Herero bodies. Their blood drained onto him. Each drop hitting his skin felt like a boulder splashing into a river from a waterfall. The sensation drove him mad. Yet, he could do nothing but lie there until his enemies captured him.
HEIGHT: 6’6″ (In human form)
WEIGHT: 309 lbs. (In human form)
While a German slave, they forced the teen to do odd, dangerous jobs, such as placing makeshift traps in the desert sand surrounding their camp. They were of poor craftsmanship, which resulted in many of the other slaves being killed while handling them. Job knew death was just seconds away at all times, and it could take on numerous forms. Such was the case on his 24th birthday, when he was sent on a suicide mission.
Job was tasked with retrieving the last few dead German bodies from a battlefield, days after it had concluded. The corpses were rank, and smelled horrid from baking in the hot desert sun, attracting a group of brown hyenas for a feast. Job knew better than to get between a predator and his food, but the Germans insisted he retrieve the commander, who had perished in the battle. Job still refused. The Germans pointed their guns at him, and said he can either retrieve the body or join it. So, Job slowly crept about to get the commander. Just a he expected, though, the hyenas did not take kindly to him approaching their meal. Thus, it was not long before a few of them gave chase after the young Namibian.
The Germans sent one of their own after Job on horseback. The soldier was skilled with a pistol and shot the first two hyenas dead on Job’s trail with ease. The third, however, would not be killed, as the soldier’s gun malfunctioned. That was when they both saw an unbelievable sight just over the large sand dune ahead: a large oasis appeared out of nowhere.
There were trees for as far as the eyes could see, and Job figured if he could climb one of them, he could escape, at least for the time being. His luck would change, though, because as he approached the edge of the oasis, a huge lion appeared, and belted out a deafening roar. The hyena stopped so fast he tumbled and rolled in the sand, before cowering and retreating with haste. The German soldier’s horse immediately stopped as well. As he looked on at Job, he noticed the lion walked up to the slave, and stood in front of him as if he were protecting Job. With no working gun, the soldier slowly backed off and rode away.
Following this, the lion led Job deep into the oasis, where there was a monument with a medallion, floating in the center of a water bubble. Also present was an enormous elephant, a muscular cape buffalo, a beautiful leopard and a huge rhinoceros. All of the animals bowed to him. Job realized they wanted him to possess the medallion. So, he placed his hand in the bubble, and when he grasped the majestic object, the five animals all transformed into spiritual energy and entered Job’s body. Instantly, Job began having visions from the point of view of each animal, and he learned that he was imbued with the power and lifespan of these eternal creatures, allowing him to transform into them. Alas, the time to mount another rebellion was at hand.
Job was able to rally the remaining Herero tribe together by displaying his new powers. Other tribes joined as well, and Namibia systematically fought back against the Germans under Job’s leadership. Because of his ability to transform into the five native-African animals considered to be the most coveted and feared by big game hunters, the Germans began calling him “The Big Five.” His legend continued to grow, and for years he led and inspired the rebels, and eventually drove the Germans out of Namibia for good.
It wasn’t long, however, before South Africa moved in and tried to occupy them next, but the Namibians successfully fought back behind The Big Five, and again, Job helped obtain freedom and justice for all in his land. Peace finally reigned.
The Big Five’s legend spread all across the continent, and it was not long before he began helping those in need all over Africa. Frequently, he would team up with other African nations’ armies to defeat terrorist groups. He also became friends with other African-based heroes, like Makeda of Ethiopia, often working with her to fight villains across the Motherland. That is why when she learned the young telepathic hero Chineke had been kidnapped and imprisoned by a group of super-villains, the first person she called for help was The Big Five.
When he arrived in Nigeria at the compound of the notorious war criminal, Ramses “The Pharaoh” Hondo, Makeda, and American hyper-soldier Lt. Rashard Bonds (who had been sent in by the US Government to destroy the nuclear weapons inside the compound), were already battling one of the Pharaoh’s powerful associates, known as Shanga. The villain was on the defensive at this point, but her mystical hammer was proving to be a difficult obstacle to overcome.
Therefore, The Big Five transformed into the elephant and charged in on a rampage through the trees. Shanga looked terrified as the enormous creature ran up and smashed her with his tusks. She flew back and rolled on the ground before screaming in pain. Slowly, she leaned on her hammer to lift herself to her feet, and when she saw the legendary warrior transform back into a man next to Makeda and Lou, Shanga knew she had better chances of surviving the wrath of her employers, Edgar Lockhart and Reina Valencia, than she did that of this trio of heroes. She was forced to abandon her mission of securing Chineke, and retreat.
Makeda introduced The Big Five to Lou and Chineke, and thanked him for coming to help. The teenage girl was flabbergasted, as she never thought she would ever meet Makeda or The Big Five, let alone both of them together. Lou was astonished as well, and he also thanked The Big Five. The four of them returned to safety soon after, and ended up bonding all night until the morning hours, when it was time for Lou to depart back to Washington D.C.
Years later, Lou needed Chineke’s specific telepathic abilities to help save a soldier from Platinum City named Gary Allen, who was suffering from a mental breakdown due to a series of traumatic experiments that had been performed on him by a team of evil geniuses, who also happened to work for Edgar Lockhart. Lou contacted the Big Five, as he and Makeda had been watching after the young girl, and training her to become an elite hero herself.
The group met in Makeda’s Ethiopian parliament office, where Lou made his request to take Chineke back to the States with him. The elder African heroes were extremely protective of the teenager and despite their great respect for Lt. Rashard Bonds, were very weary of anything involving her being away from them.
Lou told them about the nanocell technology experiments that Gary Allen had undergone, and that he had experienced the same procedures. He further explained that the nanocells had initially left his body vulnerable to the whims of a mysterious telepathic supervillain. However, years before, during their battle with Shanga, Chineke had bestowed a psionic barrier in his mind, which would prevent him from falling under the control of this evil individual. Gary, however, did not have that barrier, and now the mysterious telepath was directing him to use his considerable skill, military training and hyper-abilities for nefarious and dangerous purposes.
Lou speculated that Chineke’s psionic powers were the only thing that could save Gary Allen from what would eventually be a terrible fate. He wanted her to return to Platinum City with him. The teen happily obliged, as Chineke would do anything for the three heroes who saved her. Makeda and The Big Five were less eager to agree, but ultimately they knew Lou would protect their protégé with his life.
That night, The Big Five helped Chineke pack. He also made her promise to be extra careful. She did, but she also demanded that he make the same promise to her, as he was preparing for a major mission to war-torn Darfur. They exchanged promises, and then the mighty Namibian hero watched as the only person he considered family left for Platinum City.