June 14, 2016
165. JOHNNY FLASH
Johnny Flash; Apollo John
New Italy, Platinum City, USA, Earth (Core Reality); Late 21st century
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Johnny has no hyper-abilities. He is an exceptional driver and widely considered the best race car and stunt driver in the world. He’s also a great hand-to-hand brawler.
At a secret time and date in Platinum City every four years, a select few elite drivers from across the globe are invited by the Platinum City criminal elite to participate in The Apollo – an epic race, named after the Roman deity who was prayed to by travelers seeking a safe journey. The god was also said to have driven the Chariot of the Sun. It was initially a race solely for Italians, as the founder, Luca Bandoni, was a huge fan of F1 racing. However, when global criminal mastermind Edgar Lockhart discovered the success The Apollo was having, he not only took over the vent, but also opened it up to every crime family to participate in. Luca was infuriated at first, but knowing he could not win a war against Edgar, and eventually seeing how much more money the Apollo was going to make him, regardless of the smaller percentage of profit he was now taking, Luca went along with the changes without opposition.
WEIGHT: 171 lbs.
The race became world renowned for its difficulty, danger, and the expert skill that was required. The drivers began at the northernmost point of Platinum City along the Canadian border, and the course ran the length of the city, ending at the Mexican border. It weaved up and down between the multiple levels of the city, with lots of top speed racing across the vast highways. It also required every driver to pass through each of the crime family territories of New Italy, New China, New Japan, La Tierra de la Raza (The Land of the Race – Mexican territories), New Russia and New Columbia, which proved extremely dangerous, as the crime families from these areas would do their best to stop their drivers’ competition.
The Platinum City Police Force was also constantly a threat, looking to apprehend the drivers at all times. Therefore, finishing the race was a grand achievement in and of itself. Naturally, a winner was still crowned, and that driver was awarded $5 million in cash. If a driver would happen to win the epic race three consecutive times, they then would receive the permanent title of “Apollo”, to be known as a god of racing, as well as have bestowed upon them Apollo’s Chariot: a statue of the deity riding in the Chariot of the Sun made of solid 24K gold and flawless diamonds, worth an estimated $10 million, and crafted by world renowned diamond empire heiress Erika LeRoux.
In the near-sixty year history of The Apollo, no driver had achieved the status. That was, until a kid by the name of Jonathan Vinoce came along. Johnny Flash is what they called him, and he is the one and only driver in the history of the race to earn the title of Apollo.
Born and raised in New Italy, Johnny was not like most boys growing up. While others loved sports and playing with their friends, Johnny spent all his free time helping his dad at work. His father, Thomas Vinoce, was an expert mechanic who owned his own shop. He also specialized in body work, electronics, and detailing. If it had to do with a car, Thomas knew about it. He was also a retired race car driver himself. Naturally, this led to Johnny falling in love with all things cars, and eventually he became an expert as well. His favorite pastime was watching Nascar, Indycar and F1 racing with his father. Then, at the age of 13, Johnny’s dad allowed him to begin driving at a friend’s local race track under his supervision. It did not take long before Johnny became a phenomenal driver, and by the time he was 16, he was seriously contesting against his dad on the race track.
It was also at this time that Thomas Vinoce was approached by Luca Bandoni. The Apollo was coming up, and his driver was no longer able to race for him. It would have been a disgrace to the family to not have a driver in the epic contest they founded, and with the Japanese looking to win their third straight contest with undefeated phenom driver Ichigo Matsui, the chance a non-Italian could become the first to obtain the title of Apollo disturbed the godfather greatly. Thomas refused, though, citing the race was too dangerous, and he could not risk his life. Johnny’s mother had died of cancer many years prior, and Thomas did not want to make an orphan out of his son. He also knew getting involved with the Bandoni Family was not a smart move. Luca did not take well to Thomas’ refusal, as the mechanic was the only person qualified to fill the void on such short notice. Luca told Thomas if he did not show up to the starting line in three weeks, he would regret it, then left the shop.
Over the next couple of weeks, Luca had reminders sent to Thomas of how serious he was. The godfather mailed him the severed fingers of his mechanics, which not only hurt the shop’s business, but also drove fear into Johnny’s father. He went to the police but they were no help, as Luca owned most of them. Then, Thomas received an envelope from the godfather with pictures of Johnny at school, along with a note saying “No father should have to bury his son”. At that point, Thomas packed up as much as he could, and told Johnny they needed to flee. Johnny knew there was no escaping Luca, though, so without his father’s knowledge, he took the Porsche 911 the two had been working on together as a father-son project, and drove to the starting line of The Apollo. By the time Thomas discovered what had happened it was too late, and even though he was distraught, all he could do was sit and await news of his son’s fate. He was a nervous wreck, but after three days Johnny returned victorious!
Thomas was ecstatic to have his son back safely, however, he knew his boy was not the same. Thomas recognized the look in his son’s eyes. The unbridled passion for racing had taken a hold of him. The speed demon that once consumed Thomas, and caused him to almost kill himself numerous times while seeking the thrill of the deadliest races, was alive in Johnny. It was not long before Luca sunk his hooks deep into Johnny as well. The godfather gave him the nickname “Johnny Flash”, and began sponsoring the young driver in international street racing competitions across the world. Johnny Flash grew to global stardom, even crossing over into pop culture as movie stars, rappers, and athletes all wanted to party with Johnny Flash – the famed racer with mob ties who drove the custom, all-white Porsche 911, donning Italian-flag color seats, and equipped with hyper-advanced technology provided by Universal Intelligence through Luca’s connections to Edgar Lockhart.
Johnny Flash’s career culminated at age 28 by winning three consecutive Apollos, becoming the first to obtain the title of Apollo in the history of racing. He had amassed millions in winnings, fame, and now had the title of the greatest driver of all time. He had defeated Nascar’s best in exhibition races, as well as Indycar and F1 top drivers. Johnny Flash was the greatest driver to ever exist. However, the thrill of competition began to subside, and was not enough for him anymore. Thus, he went to Luca to begin carrying out special operations for the Bandoni Family. When a secret mission seemed doomed to fail and a member of the family was trapped, they would send in Johnny Flash to help make the great escape against the worst odds. That is why when Luca and his men were under attack during a secret business meeting between the Bandoni Family and the Yakuza, involving an informant with detrimental intel about the rival Iga Clan, led by the legendary ninja Danzo, the godfather sent the best driver in the world to rescue his best asset, Jupiter Brigante.
Lt. Rashard Bonds, Musashi and Faceless of the Iga Clan had crashed the meeting where Daichi Matsuzaki and Luca Bandoni looked to buy secrets about their ninja adversaries, from a source known simply as “Confidential”. In the battle, Luca and Daichi fled, while Jupiter stayed behind to allow them to escape. However, Luca knew he could not leave his best fighter and enforcer behind to face death at the hands of the heroes, or to get arrested by the police who were surely on the way. So, he called Johnny Flash to go and extract Jupiter. The driver obliged, and sped to the meeting spot immediately.
When Johnny Flash arrived, some of Luca’s and Daichi’s men were engaged in a shootout with the police, while others were inside, laying down cover fire toward Lou and Musashi, in order to help Jupiter escape. Johnny Flash perfectly navigated the obstacles outside, weaving in and out of squad cars, before crashing through the gate of the building, where he found Jupiter running towards the door. He yelled for the massive man to get into the getaway car, and once Jupiter was inside, Johnny Flash burned rubber and sped off. A dozen police officers gave chase while others fired on the car, but the driver was cool as could be. He shifted in and out of gears flawlessly, drifting around impossible corners, and employing parking brake techniques to stop on a dime and shift directions. It was not long before Johnny lost the police, and entered a series of streets on a lower level of Platinum City to switch vehicles. Once they changed cars, Johnny pressed a button, torching the getaway car, and called the phone number provided to him. Next, he asked the person on the other end where to take Jupiter. It was Raphael Grasso, Luca’s personal consigliere, and the man directed Johnny Flash to a secret location. Apollo John had once again pulled off an impossible mission with god-like skill.