The Letters Page: Episode 8
Another member of the Freedom Five! It's Bunker!
An important note before getting into the actual show notes for the episode. This episode was recorded at the beginning of the year, as we knew that this week, we would be unable to record an episode due to various conventions. As a result, the Q&A portion of the episode is MUCH shorter, as we had far fewer Bunker questions. Not to worry! On May 23rd, we'll be posting Episode 19 - Freedom Five Recap. That episode has been planned since just after we posted the episode about The Wraith, as we've gotten a bunch of follow up questions on both Legacy and The Wraith. That episode will just be a huge Q&A section covering all of your Freedom Five issues, including Bunker questions! So, apologies for the shortness of this episode, but we'll make it up to you in May! Get your questions in using our handy question form!
Now, back to the standard show notes and such!
Run Time: 45:23
Even though this episode is short, we're still proud of it because we get to talk a bit about how things work behind the scenes in Sentinel Comics, so that's cool.
For hints at the Bunker and Wraith relationship, see images from the OblivAeon lead-up ARG, here and here.
- Tyler is from Boulder City, Nevada. His father was a mechanic. He joined up with the Army to see the world.
- The first time Tyler shows up in the Bunker suit during a war was during Desert Storm. Within Sentinel Comics, the character of "Bunker" originated as a World War II hero, but that was Vernon Carter, G.I. Bunker. Bunker served as a insert character for soldiers - reading the comics about a soldier character while they themselves were on deployment These were military stories in the solo Bunker books, not "superhero" stories.
- Bunker gets pulled into "superheroics" when Legacy starts pulling together what becomes the Freedom Five, but it takes a while for the solo military book to wind down. His military background does transition over, somewhat: mercenaries he'd fought in The Indestructible Bunker show up later as F.I.L.T.E.R. operatives (the Arsonator and Mega-Gunner from Sgt. Steel's deck are described as being in this category, presumably some of the others too), one of his rival squad mates gets recruited by Baron Blade for the Vengeance arc, etc. The supporting cast wasn't just jettisoned with the transition to superhero.
- Bunker suit features:
- All versions have projectile weapons.
- Generally able to be "reconfigured on the fly" to emphasize different functions (might be a step to far to say that they're "modular" though)
- Self-repair functions.
- WWII version is more what we think of as a "suit of armor" that a person wears and could attach things to whereas the versions Tyler uses are much bigger and are more like vehicles that you climb into and are just in the "chest" cavity, Freedom Six Bunker has taken one of these huge suits and has hollowed it out so that he can wear it like a suit of armor since Fright Train is so big to begin with.
- Omni-Cannon is a staple of the platform, routes all of the suit's power into the shot, although the modern iterations are more powerful and more reliable than, say, the WWII version (although this isn't really something that's a feature of the game).
- Bunker has been involved in most Freedom Five conflicts, but doesn't really have a rogues gallery of his own (a result of his main pre-team book was military in nature). Fright Train was a mercenary who got augmented by Revo-Corp and recruited to the Vengeance Five specifically to be a foil to Bunker (due to the shared backstory) and was the first such "Super Villain" for him as an individual (this was also happening at around the time that his solo comic was winding down). Choke also first shows up at this point and she winds up stealing a bunch of Bunker suit parts and blows up other suits in the Freedom Five Headquarters (Choke is later apparently "killed" by K.N.Y.F.E. per her card "For the Greater Good"), but shows up later as Chokepoint in the Termi-Nation story.
- Termi-Nation arc involves a lot of Bunker stuff as Chokepoint was being held at Fort Adamant by General Armstrong, who was in charge of the Ironclad Project, but also turned out to be involved in a lot of shady stuff (there will be a Termi-Nation podcast). It results in the new, modular, mostly ceramic Bunker suit being built, though. The modular technology also plays into Omnitron V's ability to transform as much as it does in Tactics.
- Main supporting cast member for Bunker was his sister Katie who served the purpose of exposition; a lot of the storytelling conceit was in the form of excerpts from letters back and forth between them that would be overlaid on the action.
- Second major relationship in his life is with the Wraith. They spend a lot of time together "in the shop" at FF HQ (she's working on inventions, he's working on the suit). Both are tacticians with an interest in being prepared and just grew together gradually over time, but only really became a "couple" by around the end of the card game timeline.
- Other wearers of the Bunker suits: Corporal Vernon Carter wore what's now referred to as the "first" Bunker suit, but it was not referred to as such at the time (just with a Project Ironclad designation), Tyler Vance was the first to be called "Bunker". Steven Graves is wearing some different version in the Iron Legacy timeline. Tyler Vance was one of the first targets to be "put down" by Legacy once his plan to take over is put into action. Graves, had had noble goals at first and had just gone down the wrong path - in the Iron Legacy timeline he'd found a way back and had redeemed himself, so Tachyon recruited him when she was putting together the team.
- Other versions of Bunker that we see are still Vance, just different suits. The one we see in Freedom Four Annual #1 is his first "superhero" story and is also the first such alternate suit we see him wear.
- Hobbies? Social life? Nope. His "hobby" would be the Bunker suit itself - think along the same lines as a guy who's always tinkering on his classic car in his off hours. In the card game timeline he's also still in military and "on assignment" which precludes some social life stuff.
- Where was the original suit developed (in-house military or by a contractor)? Any tech leak out for use by bad guys? The Ironclad Project dates back to the American Civil War, continued development until it got to the level of person-scale armor (starting at around WWI). The original goal at WWII stage would have been to have lots of armored soldiers, but it wasn't economical. The modern Bunker suit was a qualified success, but requires an operator who's very tech savvy - could be the operator/engineer/mechanic and they couldn't get many people to fill that role. The suit was developed in-house by the Army, though. The Army could make more, but in the main card game timeline that doesn't happen. No instances of bad guys driving Bunker suits - Miss Information stole parts as sabotage, Omnitron's definitely taken some of the tech, Chokepoint's whole deal, etc., but those are all different from somebody getting into the suit and running amok with it.
- How much do the soldiers wearing the suits know about Project Ironclad and what's the project's true purpose? The purpose is just what's been said already. The users don't really know much beyond the military history of the project, but there's not much that's classified beyond what they themselves are doing while using the suits. There's no secret nefarious goal here.
- Different variants are different people, how are they different, why did you do it this way, any others like this? Much of this is already answered. Any other characters like this too? Legacy, kind of Unity or Omnitron. Ra and the Ennead kind of would work this way too, but doesn't play out within the card game timeline. Why did Adam and Christopher do this? They like making new characters as opposed to shuffling the hero names around as legacy characters.
- How did the relationship with the Wraith get started? Started as just working together doing the hero thing, then the hanging out in the shop together like described earlier. They've been on actual "dates" too, though, although being out in public is a bit harder given their personalities. Dinner and a movie "at home" is better.
- How many suits does Bunker have (and special underwater and space suits)? We see the underwater suit in the FFA #1. He essentially has "infinite suits" for story purposes due to his constant tinkering in the shop. The "suit museum" we see a few times (Bunker deck: "Decommissioned Hardware" and Freedom Tower "Vance's Maintenance Bay", foil Freedom Five Bunker's incap side) are mostly decommissioned designs. He's not making them from scratch himself, but having access to help from Tachyon and Unity gives him more flexibility when he's designing them. Other "active" suits include a stealth suit, a space suit (got up to one of Voss' ships at one point).
- What's happening on the incapacitated art for regular and Freedom Six versions in the alternate art pack? Regular version alternate art isn't meant to represent any particular time event. Freedom Five shows the destruction of Freedom Tower during OblivAeon. Freedom Six shows Graves after Iron Legacy wrapped him up and put him on the tracks, he was then hit by the train (which derails the train, but doesn't kill him outright).
- What's Bunker's favorite sandwich? He likes meatball subs. No food allowed in the suit, though.
- Did Bunker form Termi-Nation? Why only Unity and AZ with him? Termi-Nation isn't a team, but a comic event dealing with the turn of the government against powered people. The shady stuff involving Fort Adamant. The major villain is Chokepoint (and Dr. Demikahv) and those three heroes are major players in the event due to their reliance on technology and how that relates to Chokepoint.
- Tactics: Due to the strain between heroes and government, the Freedom Five break off from government sponsorship. Bunker has to resign his military status to stay with the team. Probably the hardest decision of any member in this transition (although the Wraith going public is up there too and Legacy no longer being associated with the government is tricky too). He does get a helicopter, though.
- RPG: still has suits and whatnot, but he's now more like a "super hero drill sergeant" - in charge of combat training in the battlefield awareness and planning sense.