Talk:The Conquistador's Plot
I would like to see better use of spacing for new paragraphs in this and other articles. Please make use of a full space line between paragraphs.
Consolidation of information
Stacking this here. It is a cut from the Steeljack page. Much of that information is detailed here, and it even self-references that same detailed information. I have edited the Steeljack to more briefly highlight all this detailed information and then it references this page. That serves two purposes. It reduced redundancy, and it keep the Steeljack page more focus on the character and perspective of Steeljack.
I have copied all that blow-by-blow detail. It is at least 90% overlap of what is here, but there might be some details that others want to extract and incorporate into the main page here.
Hard Times On Kiefer Square
Carl "Carlie" Donewicz was a young boy growing up in the Kiefer Square section of Astro City when he started to run with gangs. You had to in that part of town, or you ended up in a world of hurt. Carl wanted out, and studied as best he could in order to make it happen, but things got complicated. He had minor gang association with the Skullcrushers, and when it came to learning, well, he struggled.
After a fight in which he inadvertently killed a boy, Carl went a little crazy, committing an assortment of violent crimes. In desperation he turned to Dr. Norton Ganss, a scientist who could chemically enhance human physiology, giving people superhuman powers. Somehow, Carl managed to arrange an appointment to discuss potential opportunities. After being told he was acceptable, Carl was immersed in a tank filled with an assortment of liquids. When he emerged, his body chemistry was altered. The most noticeable was his skin now was transformed into a metallic material that provided armor protection and made him near invulnerable to harm. He took the name "Steel-Jacketed Man" and Carl entered into the world of the "black masks" (a.k.a. "super villains").
Time For a Team Up
The Jail Bird Years
Although he had some moderate solo success, Carl ended up in and out of prison, spending over twenty years in the Biro Island Correctional Facility. He was released in 1998 and vowed to "go straight" and never return. This proved to be difficult due to his well-known reputation and distinctive likeness.
The Black Mask Mystery Unfolds
At the time he was released in the fall of 1998, there was a string of "Black Mask" killings going on in and near his old haunting grounds of Kiefer Square. The residents of the square with the broker Ferguson aiding them, hired him to investigate who was behind the series of brutal killings of their own. They reasoned with that Steeljack would be harder to hurt and therefore able to find out more information. Even though he didn't have much of a clue on what to do, Steeljack accepted their offer(knowing it was also breaking his parole agreement) to try and help out his fellow residents, as well try to for some kind of redemption for his past mistakes.
After starting his investigation, by interviewing the loved ones of the recently killed black masks, he was depressed hearing the same story over and over. "One big score and we'd be out," he'd hear and the realization of it all just made him sad.
The daughter of Goldenglove sought out Steeljack, insisting he help her start a career as a cat-burglar of some sort, using her fathers old power gloves as weapons. Steeljack tried talking sense into her telling her the small time crime racket was no way to get out of the Square. She would hear none of it. She knew she was smarter that the rest, and to her way of thinking, she was different, she wouldn't wind up a loser when she got older. This too hit Steeljack close to home. Her rant reminded him of how he felt when she was her age.
After a few days, he still found himself getting nowhere and the feeling of being a loser prevailed. Ferguson decided to take him for a drive, up to Patterson Heights and an old worn down mansion home to an older Hispanic man. After a little prodding from Ferguson, the man started introduced himself as Esteban Rodrigo Suarez Hidalgo, better known as El Hombre. Hidalgo, told his tale of a life in wealth and the boredom and the need for becoming El Hombre. And he also told of his downfall, in hiring the Assemblyman to build a dangerous robot that only El Hombre could stop and wound up getting double crossed by the villain.
Encounter With the Mock Turtle
Soon, the Mock Turtle came flying into the Square with the Red Queen's Men in hot pursuit. Steeljack instinctively guided him to safety, then gathered others to set up an ambush and protect their turf. After soundly defeating the armored criminals, the neighborhood showered Carl with praise and congratulation. They felt confident he solved the mystery of who was killing their peers.
Unfortunately, Steeljack and everyone else was wrong. A few weeks later the Mock Turtle was found murdered like the others. This led to others doubting the man they had hired to find the killer. Carl was stuck with a feeling of despair and total failure. Desperate, he reached out to Ferguson to secure a job for both money and maybe, on the side, continue his investigation.
So, following strict procedures, Steeljack was blindfolded and taken to the man hiring the black masks; The Conquistador. Going over all his plans, of a nationwide disruption capturing the attention of heroes and E.A.G.L.E., while using the small time criminals to rob Astro City's banks, jewellery houses and other places, Steeljack seems to pick up who the Conquistador actually is, surmising him to be Hidalgo, but he still couldn't put all of the pieces together. He started visiting Hidalgo's former contacts, including Maria Alvarado, the Irregulars and eventually to the man strongly believed to be the Conquistador's close friend and sidekick, Detective Ruiz. But the last thing Ruiz wanted was someone bringing the shameful past of the Conquistador back into the spotlight and he made his feelings very clear to Stelljack, Once again, Carl had hit what seem a deadend. He returned to the Square with downward spirits.
Once "home" Goldenglove's wife confronts him, wildly explaining that Ferguson set up her daughter, Yolanda, with a criminal job. She begged Carl to stop her from completing it. Carl agreed and tracked her to South Kanewood, where she was in the middle of her robbery. He tried talking her out of it, but it turned out that the Conquistador had using probes to track his "employees" and the devices carried armaments that were quickly deployed. Their were powerful enough to level the house that was the target of Yolando's job. By the time Carl dug himself out, Yolando had long split and he was surrounded by the police.
Ferguson came to his cell and Carl finally got him to admit, that he figured out mid way that it was Hidalgo hiring everyone and setting them up for a big fail. Ferguson was too scared to let everyone know the truth at this point fearing for his own life. Carl meanwhile was stuck in a quandary, realizing that he had to breakout or otherwise the Conquistador's Plot was going to go on unhinged.
After being apprehended, Donewicz managed to used his weight to break free of the helicopter taking him to Biro Island. After finding a safe house, he began making his way east through Kansas towards Chicago. He met with former mob contacts and agreed to take a job, but only for the use of high tech jet pack, which he planned to try and break into Honor Guard's Headquarters.
While sounding like an incredibly insane thing, Donewicz's was only trying to warn them about upcoming plans of the Conquistador and who he really was and how he's trying to save lives.
Unfortunately once he makes it in and they hear him out, the group goes to Detective Ruiz and he doesn't corroborate Carl's story, which means Carl wound up back on his way to Biro Island once again. But once again Carl escapes, managing to overpower Quarrel and force a crash landing and leaving him with the realization that he is the only one that can stop Hidalgo.
By the next day, the plan was in full swing, with black masks performing robberies all across Astro City, while more powerful hired guns distracted the major heroes all across the country. Steeljack had arrived by biplane after arriving hundreds of miles of in Wyoming, discovering the pandemonium The Conquistador wanted, was working perfectly. Putting his best detective skills to use, he remembered smelling sand and hearing seagulls, surmising that his base must be a major building near water, like the Wildenberg Center. This proved to be correct.
As Donewicz and the Conquistador met, Donewicz revealed that he knew that Hidalgo was behind the mask. Hidalgo now confessed his true plan. Once the black masks started coming, he would emerge in a new identity, El Guerrero and capture all of the criminals when all of the other heroes couldn't. But there was more to his sinister plan. At the height of the confrontation, there would be a mysterious and tremendous electrical energy release designed to "accidentally" kill all of the villains, but leave the Hidalgo, protected by his heavy shielding, safe. Now Donewicz put together the final pieces of his detective puzzle. Hidalgo was the black mask killer! He was targeting anyone he thought was piecing together too much information about his master plan for revenge and retribution.
Steeljack engaged in a physical battle with Hidalgo, seemingly losing the fight several times in the confrontation. Eventually though, mustering enough power to finally crack the villian's armor, causing water to seep in and short out Hidalgo's electrically powered plated shielding.
Exhausted, on the verge of passing out, Steeljack is vaguely aware of several of Honor Guard's flying members, the "angels" arriving, to take control of the situation. They quickly and discretely wisk Hidalgo away and advise Steeljack to stay put, help is on the way.
One of the first responders was Detective Ruiz. He brought Steeljack up-to-speed on what was happening along with some background details concerning Honor Guard investigating Carl's claims, but they couldn't yet accept them without additional, more substantial proof. Ruiz admitted his team came to the same conclusions, but by the time they would have been cleared to take action, it would have been too late to save the black masks. Ruiz also told Donewicz he would be probably be cleared of all charges, once things got sorted out.
By the following Spring, most of the residents of Kiefer Square had long forgiven Carl for robbing of them of their big payday, realizing his major goal was saving their lives. Donnelly Ferguson, fearing retaliation for his role in Hildago's plot, whether active or passive, fled the confines of Astro City. Carl settled down and took a meager role as caretaker of the Boneyard Cemetery. It provided him with minor funds for living, and the means to finally place an angel statuette upon the tombstone of his beloved mother.