Day of Independence
The Forest Thing
The Arboreal Avenger, born Melvin Cisco, was a quiet, lonely boy, odd in all the wrong ways. His quirky nature earned him nothing but bullying and teasing from his peers, leading him to take shelter among the animal kingdom for love and affection.
Turned out, animals hated him too.
With nowhere else to go, Melvin Cisco retreated into the warm, if rather quiet and motionless bosom of the plant kingdom. He spent most of his young life ensconced in the heart of forests, studying his planty allies. As time grew, so did Melvin. He excelled in his studies, having little in the way of distractions, and went to a prestigious, six year college where he got a PhD in botany. He became one of the foremost experts on flora in the world, an important resource, but he never outgrew his distaste for man and animal alike.
One day, while experimenting with a vegetation growth enhancement chemical, he splashed it on himself; once exposed to the complex chemical cocktail that was his lab, its composition changed rapidly, as did Melvin Cisco himself. The man that emerged from that laboratory was not a mere mortal; he was a terrible beast, a savage creature formed out of a medley of hyper charged plant particles! The Arboreal Avenger!
It seemed likely that Melvin would go on to become a diabolical supervillain, who’s ecosystem based terror attacks would rock and terrify the world… but it was not to be. For several years, Melvin lived as a recluse in Independence Park, scaring off any who dared come near his most sanctified of places, until one day, his park was visited by Canada Man, one of the greatest heroes Independence had ever known. After helping Arboreal fight off the villainous White Knight, Melvin impulsively joined the Independents after wandering lost for so many years!
His powers came in handy, providing an offensive backbone to the team which helped them deal with the hardiest of opponents. However, the plethora of flame based villains caused Arby to wither away more times than he would’ve liked to admit. After countless battles, he began to call the Independents ‘friends’.
One of their travels was to a plant dimension, where Arby found others of his kind. It was ruled by a tyrannical queen, who wished death on the Independents, but they managed to escape; however, Arby was sorely torn between staying there and assisting the plant folk against their queen, or leaving with the Independence. Eventually, he left, taking the Plant Queen’s daughter, Princess Daisy, who became his girlfriend.
Arby, at this point, became a near recluse again, living with Daisy, fighting attempts to industrialize the world, and things of that nature. He semi-retired to the forest, before the Julius Act reared its ugly head. Melvin traveled with Afro Fist into Independence to help his friends, but came just in time to witness S.A.N.C.H.O.‘s death. Disheartened, he was shocked and horrified to learn that his beloved Princess Daisy was attacked, as well. Melvin would have killed his assailant, had Sunhawk not intervened. Once the world was saved, he’s slunk around Independence, worrying incessantly about being a target…
Note from Stonewall: “I always wondered how Arboreal would turn out. Always seemed like he had a habit of lettin’ loose and goin’ at whatever came his way like a cornered animal. Hell I wondered if he’d even care ‘bout bein’ a hero. Gotta be glad for Canada Man and Sunhawk then; felt he learned a lot from those two, more than he could learn from me anyway. Jus’ hope he’s been gettin’ along well with those other two at the park. Havin’ someone ya care about ‘s a feelin’ that goes away too quickly and he almost lost that when Riverstone terrorized that park.”
Lizard-Man commentary: I figured my vine suit would like him, but apparently not. Then again, maybe my suit knows how much his text books cost, that’d make anyone grumpy.