F.I.L.T.E.R./References

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Confirmed

  • Of named members we only know of KNYFE who is a former member of this group and Sergeant Steel who is a current member
  • Their main known location is the Block

To Other Works

  • This group deals with threats to the planet and contains villains like S.H.I.E.LD. from Marvel and the Agency from DC

Questions Answered on The Letters Page

  • Notes from Letters Page 22 - F.I.L.T.E.R.
    • Since F.I.L.T.E.R. has personnel in multiple timelines, is there only one F.I.L.T.E.R. organization? Which reality did it originate in? Only one organization, which originated in the main timeline.
    • How is the Block administered (question assumes that there are multiple F.I.L.T.E.R. organizations)? Only the one F.I.L.T.E.R. which then spiders out into various realities, but things are managed from the Block as a central headquarters, with Warden Hoefle running the Block itself, but Felix Stone running the larger F.I.L.T.E.R. group. The various realities' branch offices have "middle-management" officers in the different realities to help run stuff "locally", but the "stable" portals allow fairly quick response from the main office.
    • F.I.L.T.E.R. seems to have started as a benign "Men in Black" organization, but during the prison riots the officers fire on heroes there to help and Sgt. Steel will work with villains, at this point is F.I.L.T.E.R. evil? How about Steel himself? If there's a prison riot, and you're part of the fighting but aren't officers yourselves, the guards aren't likely to take kindly to you no matter what the situation is. Sergeant Steel is working against a hero, and therefore might qualify as a "villain" by certain definitions, but he's also working under orders. Can an organization, as opposed to the people in it, be "evil"? They're not strictly speaking a "hero team", they're locking up villains but that's more for their benefit than for some societal good, but they are keeping bad guys locked up.
    • Which reality is responsible for the creation of F.I.L.T.E.R.? Do they recruit members from different timelines? Do they recruit multiple realities' versions of the same person? The Block is outside time, F.I.L.T.E.R. is from the "main" timeline, they do recruit people from different realities (K.N.Y.F.E. for one). They don't generally recruit the "same" person multiple times - people take different paths through life, but it's also logistically tricky to do so - but it can happen.
    • F.I.L.T.E.R. Spy (from Time Cataclysm) looks like the Espionagent (from Sergeant Steel's deck) - are they the same person? Does this mean that F.I.L.T.E.R. was caught up in the Cataclysm or were they just exploiting it (or even behind it)? OblivAeon caused the Time Cataclysm. The Spy and Espionagent aren't the same individual as they're the "same" person from different realities (one of the rare exceptions mentioned in the previous answer) and they get sent on disparate missions to keep things from getting too confusing. The Time Cataclysm touches all environments, including the Block.
    • F.I.L.T.E.R. seems choosy about who they incarcerate, why do Char, Kismet, and Choke wind up there while seemingly more dangerous villains wind up in normal prisons? Given that it's an inter-dimensional prison, the stated number of inmates (under 500) seems small, is there a reason? How much to the heroes know about what all F.I.L.T.E.R. is getting up to? A lot of the more modern reasons for only certain prisoners winding up there is a general unwillingness of some heroes (who've started to catch on to the shady stuff F.I.L.T.E.R. is up to) to work with them/turn villains over to them - especially due to the lack of official governmental affiliation. As far as the number of prisoners, F.I.L.T.E.R. is a for-profit organization at this point and they'll frequently capture a powered person in one reality and will then sell that person off to another reality.
    • Is Char the most dangerous inmate? What did he do to earn a spot as the only named prisoner in the deck? Did he already have his sweet "firearm" tattoo or did he get it while on the inside? He already had the tattoo. He gets named because he already had a background due to an affiliation with Fright Train, but he's also one of the more prominent villains present there who's not already represented in some other deck (Spite, Fright Train, Set, etc. all have other, more important appearances, but some of them are from other realities too).
    • Is Sgt. Steel from the main timeline or K.N.Y.F.E.'s home timeline? How about the rest of the team? Is F.I.L.T.E.R. generally from a mix of realities or was K.N.Y.F.E. an exception? Sgt. Steel is from a timeline other than both K.N.Y.F.E. and the main reality. The squad are from a mix of realities, too, but it's not like they're all explicitly from unique timelines (the Arsonator and Mega-Gunner are from the main timeline and had fought Bunker all the way back in his debut comic - see the cover art on the 3rd page of the pdf). F.I.L.T.E.R. personnel started as being from the main timeline, but has expanded into a mix since they found the Block.
    • In Sgt. Steel's deck we get to know his team and that they're specific characters - how does one get onto the team? Do they need to replace people periodically (supposing a high turnover rate due to getting the tough jobs), how often? Would we see the recruitment happen in F.I.L.T.E.R. comics? Are members characters that readers would already be familiar with? This team was formerly K.N.Y.F.E.'s team - Jack Steel, Bomb Specialist, Arsonator, Espionagent, Field Inventor, Infiltrationist, and a few others (not the same as the rest of the team as shown in the deck as Steel added Sharpshooter, Mega-Gunner, and Battle Medic to the team once he assumed command). Arsonator knew Mega-Gunner and got him recruited, but generally you get consideration for a slot for past accomplishments (especially wet-work jobs).
    • Since Steel is a "Vengeance-Style" team villain deck, does he work with other villains considering that he's mostly out to get K.N.Y.F.E. specifically and they seem to capture her on their own? They eventually got her without help, but that doesn't mean that they didn't try to get help prior to that. On Earth they worked with Miss Information, offering to help against the Freedom Five in exchange. They hired Greazer to help once they're chasing her out in space (which did not go well for Greazer). [I'll also point out that it's mentioned that they work with Biomancer and Citizens Hammer and Anvil when they're going after Visionary back in the Expatriette episode]
    • When Setback worked in a copy shop, somebody dropped F.I.L.T.E.R. documents that he found. Who was that? What was the document? Why didn't F.I.L.T.E.R. have their own copy machine? Was the shop torn down by a real construction crew or was that a coverup? The person was a high-ranking officer from a local outpost. It was a manifest of prisoners transferred from that outpost to the Block. He wasn't there to copy that document, he was getting some personal stuff done and he couldn't use the work machine for that. F.I.L.T.E.R. used a real construction crew to tear the place down as a coverup.
    • In the Vengeful Five episode, it was mentioned that Baron Blade blew a hole in the wall to break Fright Train out, but given that the Block is in another dimension/out in space how did Blade manage this? Null Space has breathable air. Blade is a mad scientist and builds his own portal to get there and then just blows up a wall to let people out/through his portal.
    • Given that F.I.L.T.E.R. visits multiple universes, are there prisoners from different ones? Are there lots of copies of the same person? How big is it? Like with recruiting multiple versions of a person, it can happen, but not often. The Block has a fairly high turnover of inmates given their trafficking of people to different realities. They tiptoed around it earlier, but F.I.L.T.E.R. is pretty Evil by the end of the story.
    • Given "F.I.L.T.E.R." and "K.N.Y.F.E." it seems that somebody there is a fan of acronyms, is it just one person or a committee? It's a committee, Agents for Creating Robust and Original Names Yoking Meaning.
    • The flavor text of Time Crazed Prisoner implies he's aware of OblivAeon and the multiverse in general, who is he? He's just some guy, but he's been there for long enough that he's gone crazy from being there - but in one of those "only the insane can grasp the truth" kind of ways. All of the crazy stuff on his wall are true things - there are no red-herrings in the card art. F.I.L.T.E.R. figures out pretty quickly that long-term exposure to Null Space can cause a form of madness and do a good job of rotating out their personnel regularly. The Warden and other people that need to be there a lot have required periods that they have to cycle out, although Felix Stone doesn't.
  • Bonus Question Section About The Character We Didn't Know About And Therefore Couldn't Have Asked About:
    • Was Felix Stone always a megalomaniac out to meddle in these other realities for personal power/gain? No, he was always a little greedy/self-serving, but was just a normal bureaucrat.
    • What made him go off the deep end? Null Space Madness, to some extent, but also this resulted in him drawing the attention of Voidsoul ("the whispers of doubt and madness that OblivAeon likes to traffic in") who made him think that all of these crashing realities and whatnot were fine and that things would work out for the best for him. This is why K.N.Y.F.E. gets what amounts to a dismissal when she brings her worries to her superiors - the word from the top is that they are aware of what's going on and they have a handle on it, don't worry and shut up.

Sources