Metropolis of Legends
Lord Magnus Stone
Type: Hero (Paragon City)
Primary: Stone Armor
Secondary: Stone Melee
First Pool: Teleportation
Second Pool: Fighting
Current Level: 21
Publication History: Originally a Allan Quartermain-esque character featuring in pages of Dynamo Publishing House’s ‘20s pulp magazine Thrilling Action, Lord Stone was bought by Legendary comics in 1957 following the magazine’s collapse and introduced to the pages of True Adventure Stories. True Adventure Stories originally started as mostly accurate retellings of the exploits of 18th and 19th century explorers, as well as contemporary tales of adventure. However, within a year its editors and writers had mostly ditched any pretence of truth, probably spurred by the purchase of many pulp characters from competitors.
True Adventure Stories, vol 1, No 19 (1957) reintroduced the 19th century adventurer and moved him to the 20th century. His stories mostly involved trials in unexplored and exotic locations, facing death traps, angry natives and mystical threats. However, throughout this time he never interacted with the rest of the characters in the Legendary universe, placed almost completely in the 1900s.
In Tales to Astonish, #72 (1969), a backup feature told of Lord Stone’s “Final Adventure” which involved his expedition to uncover an ancient Egyptian tomb. He was killed and turned into a statue by a magical trap. Of course, this being comics, he was back three years later in the pages of Firebrands, now a superhero made of stone.
The “Past Lives” event rewrote elements of Lord Stone’s backstory, provided him finally with a first name, introduced Ushabti as a recurring amoral foil for him and pushed him firmly into the modern era. He has now joined the other pulp characters, new and old.
The current incarnation of Lord Magnus Stone is a noble-born adventurer from the late 19th and early 20th centuries who was turned to a statue by the curse of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. Thanks to precautions, despite being forever stone, he still lives and is now functionally immortal, super-strong, super-resilient, and able to instantly transport himself to location by stepping into the Egyptian Underworld of Du’at. He has also demonstrated a great fondness for tea.
It is suggested that Lord Stone’s activating of the tomb and the curse of Ushabti is what caused the Time-Pulse in “Past Lives.”
In the deep deserts beyond the Upper Nile in 1913, a young adventurer pumped money from his vast estates into uncovering the mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Examinations of various maps and the uncovering of a curious stone tablet had led the English Lord to believe a tomb that contained a lost pharaoh, Kheru-Tehuti-em-Ankh, was buried by sand and would take only a few months’ work to uncover. He was eager, as this Pharaoh was reputed to be a magician of great skill, supposedly taught by Thoth himself, and had mastered the arts of the magic of True Names, “…conquering the Sand, and the Earth, and the travail of the Sun through the sky.” From this, the Lord deduced that mastery of the passage of time might be found, and believed that ultimately would provide him with immortality! Of all his adventures across many continents, this would be his final triumph, the adventure of an eternity of life!
After toil in the punishing Egyptian sun, a huge stone tomb was laid bare. He was well aware of the dangers posed by these tombs, and a Pharaoh who was a magician would have a well-guarded tomb indeed. He had earlier sent most of the work force home so they might avoid the dangers of the burial complex, and had done the same for the small group of military men he had to defend the work site. It had been painful to lie to his old friend and companion Lieutenant McTavish, but he could not risk letting him be affected by whatever lay within. Especially not since he had become a father.
With his prodigious strength, the English Lord levered open the carved stone door and was welcomed with a cloud of ancient air, stale and cool and heavy with the aura of magic. Swiftly, he mumbled the words of protection and gripped the stone amulet he had found two years before. Bringing a torch, he descended his massive frame into the tomb and gasped.
Within were the most amazing things he had ever seen. Machines, clockwork devices made out of bronze and inlaid with confusing hieroglyphics in lapis lazuli and gold, fresh as if they had been built yesterday. Every surface within was covered in cogs and levers and filaments but for what purpose he could barely guess. It was only a moment later that he realised that perhaps they should not have been moving.
With a rumble, a figure approached from the dark beyond his torchlight. Taller even than his towering stature, the figure was a machine-like man, gold coloured, wreathed in swirling sands that formed and faded and reformed into unguessable symbols. Its face was a beautifully carved golden skull, with a Pharaoh’s headdress and ceremonial beard.
“Lord Magnus Stone,” it rasped, its voice a perfect replica of the Lord’s own, “You have defiled the resting place of my master, He who is the Voice of Thoth and Lord of Life. I, as his ushabti, serve him beyond death and deliver unto you his punishment.”
Before the creature had even finished its last word, the Lord had leaped upon him, beating him down with the crowbar he still had in his hand. “Ancient Egyptian magical clockwork versus good old English iron and a dab hand at the pummelling game! Looks like you’ve got a fight on your hands, old boy!” the Lord yelled, the crowbar desperately attempting to damage the gears below the machine’s chest-plate.
The two rolled around on the floor, the grunting of the Lord’s exertion mixing with the groaning of gears and machinery from the creature. Finally, the Lord had the creature pinned and raised the crowbar to finally incapacitate the guardian that was blocking him from his goal. “Any last words, you bloody wind-up toy?”
The glowing sockets of the skull bored deep into the Lord’s soul. It was then that the Lord noticed the machine held in its hand the amulet, ripped from his neck during the struggle. “Yes.” With a fevered shout, the Lord swung the crowbar as the clockwork man crushed the little stone charm. “Ab-khenef.”
The shockwave threw the Lord across the tomb, and a ripple reverberated across the world. The unleashed force of a thousand buried years erupted in a time pulse, further warping the dimensions and twisting the lives of every single person who had been within the aura of the tomb. The magics of the Sand and the Earth and the travail of the sun through the sky granted the Lord what he had wished for – immortality, but cursed him with the body of a statue, forever unmoving, always hungry, always thirsty, never knowing death.
When the dust had settled, the machine repaired itself and, satisfied with its vengeance upon the defiler, left the tomb. There was much to be done in its master’s name.
Of course the Lord left shortly afterwards. After all, that rum gyppo didn’t expect him to just have the one amulet, did he?