Now, meet the latest offering from Revo-Corp: Benchmark. He is the hero against which all other heroes will be measured.
With all of the shady dealings Revo-Corp has been involved in, it’s hardly surprising that they have been playing both sides of the field. They were waiting to unveil Benchmark when a carefully calculated villain plot had disabled many of Earth’s heroes, but OblivAeon seemed an even better opportunity! Either, Benchmark would save the day, positioning Revo-Corp as both corporation and savior, or everything would be destroyed and it didn’t really matter then, right?
- His real name is Randall Butler and he is only a few years older than Unity
- Unity and Benchmark are said to starting a relationship towards the end of SotM sharing a bond over Revo-Corp
- In the RPG timeline Benchmark still works for Revo-Corp (seemingly not under non-Blade management) as a part of their team, the Paradigms (with Unity- they're not a Setback/Expatriette pair yet, but it's still furthering their relationship).
- From Letters Page Episode 32:
- So, fairly late in the Multiverse era the company reveals their new project - the Benchmark Program. Benchmark^TM "The New Standard"^TM
- Benchmark is the last permanent (i.e. not a "Be the Gate" alternate reality) hero to arrive in the pages of Sentinel Comics [presumably before OblivAeon and the start of the RPG events where new heroes are introduced]. Randall Butler was a tough, athletic, smart, handsome man who had great potential, but had the flaw of being kind of aimless in life. Noted by the guys as being on high school sports teams, the chess club, the boxing club, etc. and was popular and he thought a lot of himself given the reactions he got from others - "arrogance" isn't the right word, but he had so little understanding of how the world really works that he got the idea that just his presence would make things better. This trend continued through college where he also picked up acting (which continued to feed his ego in that he was giving people somebody to look up to or just making their day better).
- That's not to say that he was a bad guy, he genuinely helped people out (volunteer firefighter) and he's not doing things for the fame or his own self image - he just thinks that his self image is enough to help people by itself. If he sounds like a jackass, that does kind of apply looking at in in the abstract, but he doesn't think of himself as selfish and he's also genuinely likeable.
- His agent eventually gives him a call about this "hero" opportunity through this Benchmark^TM program. He thinks that he can finally, genuinely use all of his natural qualities to help out.
- The readership is immune to his in-setting charisma, though, and his appearances elicit groans of "Oh, this guy again" eyeroll He's just a little too much of a Mary Sue.
- His first appearance is during Termi-Nation where he saves Bunker from Chokepoint - this no-name guy who just shows up and saves one of the most important/competent heroes in Sentinel Comics and is immediately insufferable.
- He "saves" Tachyon during a Progeny fight.
- He takes on the Slaughterhouse Six by himself.
- As his story progresses in RevoCorp Presents and his guest appearances in other books, the question becomes "What's the point of this character?" Readers know that RevoCorp is up to shady stuff, but this guy seems to be genuinely on the up and up (even if we all hate him). Is he just really good at hiding a bad side or what?
- He does catch on to RevoCorp's bad side eventually, but kind of too late and even then the people he approaches brush him off with "that's some rogue division" or "of course we have a weapons development program given the nature of the company" and so on. Then OblivAeon happens.
Variant: Originally revealed during the OblivAeon Kickstarter as the $250k stretch reward.
In an alternate reality, Benchmark is the only hero left in a world that needs heroes desperately. Backed by the angel-investor funded RevoCorp, Benchmark does all he can to protect the world.
Benchmark is running up against a classic economic issue of Supply and Demand. So, when a portal opens to a dimension with a threat against all reality, Benchmark must join the fray.
- He's fighting Scions alongside other heroes (who have come to be allies, but not really friends because even they are annoyed by him - except Setback, Setback likes him). Specifically, he's working with Setback and Parse (the heroes who, coincidentally, have ties to RevoCorp) when some hidden subroutine in the suit's programming takes over and attacks them - leaving Randall as a passenger unable to prevent this. They're both incapacitated and just before the suit is able to execute them, Randall is able to figure out a way to prevent it - suit functions that aren't specifically overridden for these hidden programs and actions that aren't technically against orders allow him just enough freedom of action to stop it. That is, if he's pretending to "help" the suit, he can trick it into letting him disrupt things (and he's good at chess and can play the long game here). What he eventually manages to do is "accidentally" run it through some walls or "unsuccessfully" dodge some attacks from the Scions they should be dealing with to the point where the suit is broken. It's still got several operating components, but the systems aren't talking to one another to the point that they're able to work as a cohesive unit.
- Revenant shows up - he had been monitoring the situation and was the one who triggerred the secret programming when he saw that Setback and Parse were both present. This was to be the culmination of his plot against these heroes. However, now that Randall is back in control of his (more advanced, but severely damaged) suit he's able to fight Revenant and protect the other heroes. This is the final reveal of who's behind the Revenant mask, ending his story in the Multiverse era. Benchmark goes back to the fight against OblivAeon, but it's changed his outlook on being a hero and endears him to the readers once they see that he's been duped this whole time and the bluster was his corporate "brand", not his own personality. He's not perfect and he continues to grow, even into the post-OblivAeon era.
This information is from the Sentinel Comics Universe, one of two branching universes. Products in this timeline are: Sentinel Comics RPG.
- Forms The Paradigms with Unity