by Alan Kistler
In Mexico, there is an ancient legend of two gods: the shadow god Tezcatlipoca and the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. And long ago, in an almost prehistoric age of Earth, it is said that these two beings fought. Quetzalcoatl defeated Tezcatlipoca and then left the planet Earth. The only thing he left behind was a battle helmet and a warning that Tezcatlipoca would return to destroy the world. It was said that a champion had to be prepared and would become the vessel for Quetzalcoatl when he returned.
But Quetzalcoatl's followers strayed from their mentor's teachings. As punishment, the feathered serpent-god destroyed the chosen human vessel. Since then, a new organization was formed to prepare and train the next vessel for the day when Tezcatlipoca. This shadow organization was known by many names: the Q-Society, the Q-Foundation and the Q-Brotherhood being among them.
This organization slowly built up an elaborate network of influential figures and businessmen across the world. The Q-Society attempted to recruit Bruce Wayne as a US contact, but he refused to be anyone's puppet. But they were able to recruit billionaire Lex Luthor (who joined only to see if he could use the organization to further his own agendas).
The Q-Society determined that their champion needed to wait in the American Northwest, in the area now inhabited by the city called Vanity. Vanity was certainly not one of America's most popular cities. While Gotham is known for psychotics and chaos, and Blüdhaven is known for corruption and greed, Vanity is known for depression and hopelessness. Vanity has a suicide rate that is five times the US average. It was into this dark hole that the champions of the Q-Society were sent to wait, each champion having an equally trained and are closely monitored replacement at the ready, just in case the worst should happen.
The last champion was a man named Emilio, who arrived in Vanity some twenty years ago. Emilio fell in love with a woman and before long the two had a son. The Q-Society was displeased and ordered Emilio's replacement to execute him and take his place. The replacement refused however and was then psychically assaulted as punishment. The Q-Brotherhood then killed Emilio themselves and brought his son Uno to the South American Andes. As they now had neither a champion nor his replacement, they quickly made preparations to raise Uno to be Emilio's successor. Uno was raised to the peak of physical and mental perfection. At his age, his level of physical and mental fortitude was rivaled only by the Batman (although the Dark Knight did have him beat in terms of willpower and years of experience). Uno was then initiated into the Q-Society to be the next champion and potential vessel for the god Quetzalcoatl.
The society then decided to send Uno to Vanity in order to prepare for the return of the Shadow God. Aztek's first mission was to set up an identity, find a job and a place to live. Upon arriving in the city, he went to a local bank where he helped stop a robbery by a criminal known as the Piper (no relation to the Pied Piper in Central City). Upon further investigation, Uno discovered the Piper was Dr. Curt Falconer, who was being blackmailed by a criminal gang that held his daughter captive. When the city's psychopathic hero Bloodtype arrived on the scene, Uno was forced to stop him, an act which indirectly led to the man's death. Falconer was also killed during this whole fiasco.
With Bloodtype gone, Vanity looked for towards Uno as its new hero. Due to the style of his battle-helmet, Uno was dubbed by the media as "Aztek".
Uno ended up adopting Falconer's identity as a doctor at the local hospital. But a doctor couple, Forbes Cleveden and Julia Frostick, began to have suspicions. Over time, Julia came to trust Uno, even after she found out that truth about him. Despite this, she remained loyal to Forbes, who turned out to be an agent for the Q-Society.
Aztek faced a shape-shifting hitman impersonating Major Force. He took down the villain with the aid of Kyle Rayner, the last Green Lantern. Aztek he also worked alongside the Batman against the Joker. And later, he single-handedly took down Doc Parasite by himself.
Emilio's former replacement came back as the Lizard King. Insane from his psychic assault years earlier, he believed that only he was the true champion. Lizard King grabbed Aztek's helmet and donned it. But his mind was scrambled by the collective memories inside (see WEAPONS) and he was killed in the process.
The more he learned about the Q-Society, the more Uno began to doubt the true intentions of this group. But these personal doubts did not stop him for applying for membership in the newly reformed Justice League of America. With recommendations from Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, Aztek was quickly nominated as a potential. After passing through a series of tests, and besting the android Amazo, he then officially joined as the newest Leaguer.
Aztek fought alongside the JLA for a few missions. Then, during an attack by the newly formed Injustice Gang, he learned that much of the financial backing behind his training had been provided by Lex Luthor. When that adventure concluded, Aztek decided it would be best if he left the League rather than risk exposing them to another trap by Luthor.
What Aztek did afterwards is largely unknown. It is presumed that he continued operating in Vanity, fighting crime and doing his best to keep the city safe.
The day Aztek had prepared for since childhood finally came. The New Gods came to the JLA and warned them of Mageddon, a war-machine capable of killing gods and heading towards Earth. It was revealed that Mageddon was a creature whose coming had been prophesized by many cultures, under many names. One such name was the shadow god Tezcatlipoca.
Aztek took to the skies and confronted Mageddon before he could reach Earth. He actually entered Mageddon's "brain." As he later related, he witnessed one of Mageddon's "thoughts" and was blinded in the process. Defenseless, he retreated back to the JLA embassy.
Aztek was still able to function without his sight, thanks to the helmet. Aztek used the suit's space capability to penetrate Mageddon again and this time, he sacrificed his life to save Superman's. Setting the suit for self-destruct, Aztek caused an explosion which gave Superman the break he needed to survive in his struggle against Mageddon.
Aztek was trained since childhood to physical and mental perfection. He's an Olympic level athlete and gymnast. Aztek is skilled in various fighting styles and is a skilled tactician. He is also a medical physician.
Aztek's battle-suit and helmet are masterpieces of occult engineering. The ancient battle helmet provides the focus for the four dimensional power source. This power source can only be recharged via special rituals. The helmet also contains the stored memories of all the past wearers. A normal person would have his mind driven to the strain of death if he donned the helmet and was assaulted by the collective memories. Thus, as part of the final initiation, the current champion learns mental puzzles that keep the past personalities occupied.
The combination of occult helmet and four dimensional power battery support a vast array of weaponry and devices built into the suit. It has enhanced sensory abilities (infrared and X-ray vision, etc.). It increases the wearer's strength phenomenally and allows for flight.
Other abilities have been demonstrated including invisibility, body heat camouflage, entrapment nets, plasma beams, advanced VR computer mainframe and an unknown variable density armor. When going off to face Mageddon, Aztek also learned to his surprise that the suit could adapt itself to space-suit conditions.
If the wearer was incapacitated, the helmet has an "auto-pilot" feature that will take over and continue the battle. While not fully intelligent, this auto-pilot program is usually able to distinguish friends from enemies and will only continue operating until the battle is over or the wearer regains consciousness.
This article is © 2000 Alan Kistler.
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