The Conquistador's Plot
The Conquistador's Plot was an intricate plot of the Conquistador in the Fall of 1998, culminating with a series of organized attacks by super villains and small time villains, known as Black Masks, in Astro City as well as other parts of the country.
In the early fall of 1998, there were many "Black Mask" villains from the Kiefer Square neighborhood, starting to turn up dead. The Kiefer Square area was known as a blue collar neighborhood with a lot of blue collar crime; meaning these guys weren't the smartest of criminals, but all dreamed of getting the one big score they could retire from.
With the aid of local "broker" Donnelly Ferguson, the residents and black masks, hired the recently paroled Steeljack to investigate. While not the brightest, he is durable and strong and could survive the attempts on his life the others could not. Steeljack, breaking his parole agreement, takes the case in order to try to help out his fellow strong men and black masks as well as redeem his own name.
Being an investigator wasn't up Steeljack's alley of expertise, but with the goading of Ferguson, he started the interview process trying to make light some clue that would help him figure out the Black Mask Killer and the reason behind the killings.
Even after a week, Steeljack, was lost with no idea of where to turn having done everything in his ability to try and find some kind of lead on the black mask killer. Ferguson decided to clear his mind and took him to visit Esteban Rodrigo Suarez Hidalgo, better known as El Hombre. Hidalgo told Steeljackhis cautionary tale of having money, fame as a super hero. But not having the happiness in his life led to his downfall, when he hired the Assemblyman to help put him back in the spotlight and wound up double crossing him and costing many lives.
Naturally Steeljack was curious how Ferguson knew Hidalgo, but naturally Ferguson shied away from any kind of meaningful answer.
Enter The Turtle
On that same night, as the visit to Hidalgo, the Mock Turtle came flying into the Square, with the Chessmen armor hot on his tail. Unbeknownst to Steeljack, he was being chased by Red Queen's troops from England, who had discovered the armor. Steeljack put two and two together and assumed that whoever was trying to kill the Mock Turtle, was the same one after them.
Steeljack rallied the citizens of Kiefer Square and dozens of them with high tech weaponry defeated and capture the men wearing the armor. Steeljack sent one back with a message to his boss, to leave the people in the neighborhood alone, thinking he had just put an end to most of the killings.
But, a few weeks later, the Mock Turtle is found murdered, right in the area of Kiefer Square, putting Steeljack, back at square one as well as being broke financially.
In order to get back on the Black Mask Killers trail, he went to Ferguson asking for a job to help him monetarily as well as for the case. Donewicz noticed Ferguson getting squeamish at the request, especially when Donewicz seemed to imply Ferguson knew the likely identity of who could be doing the killings.
Steeljack was blinded and taken to the man hiring people, 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, jewelery houses and other places, Steeljack seems to pick up who the Conquistador actually is, surmising him to be Hidalgo, but he couldn't put all of the pieces together. Steeljack's started investigating the former people in Hidalgo's life, but all seemed to shun him or not take him at his word. After mentioning El Hombre's name to the Irregulars, it wasn't a few minutes later when Detective Ruiz, who used to be Bravo El Hombre's sidekick, showed up to confront Steeljack.
After heading back to the square, Steeljack was confronted by Goldenglove's wife that her daughter had took a job and she needed Steeljack to stop her before she started down the life of crime. He caught up to her at a townhouse in South Kanewood, but The Conquistador's robots fired upon them leveling the entire house. Yolanda, escaped but Steeljack wound up captured by police. In his cell, he confronted Ferguson, who admitted that he realized too late, that it was Hidalgo, hiring out the Kiefer Square residents and that he couldn't tell them now, for fear of his own life. Steeljack realized that he was the only one who could stop Hidalgo's plans and stop his friends and neighbors from walking into a trap.
Donewicz managed to escape police custody and made his way to Chicago, where he agreed to take a job for Chicago mobsters. But it was just a ruse to get a jet pack and other technology which would let him break into Honor Guard's Headquarters.
While sounding like an incredibly insane thing, Steeljack was only trying to warn them about upcoming plans of the Conquistador and who he really was. But after checking in with his former partner, Ruiz, the group can't accept the facts and turn Steeljack back over to the authorities.
Steeljack once again managed to overpower the flight jet taking him back to Biro Island and while landing in hundreds of miles off course, he came to the realization it would be up to him to put an end to the Conquistadors Plot. Surmising that the Conquistador's base must be near or at the [[Wildenberg Center] area, Steeljack went there and was proved correct when Hidalgo appeared. After Steeljack, revealed he knew it was Hidalgo behind the mask, Hidalgo revealed his true plan. When the black masks would return to their meet up point, Hidalgo would emerge in a new identity, El Guerrero and capture all of the criminals when all of the other heroes couldn't. But the other part, was that there would be mysterious electrical charge which would "accidentally kill all of the villains, but would leave the insulated Hidalgo protected. It was then that Steeljack realized that Hidalgo was also the black mask killer, killing any of the underlings he was paranoid was too close to finding out the true plan.
This led to the physical battle between the two and the Conquistador had the upper hand. Finally Donewicz mustered enough power and guts, while physically battered, to make one final run of blows, which cracked Hidalgo's armor. This allowed water to seep in and shorted out his armor.
The Plot Revealed
By the next day, the Conquistador's actions were set in motion. Black masks and other small time villains staged robberies throughout Astro City simultaneously, while more powerful and well known villains attracted the attention of the major heroes to serve as a diversion.
Chaos erupted into the streets, as panicked citizens tried to leave from the looting and apparent flames engulfing the city (Which were later revealed to mostly have been an illusion created Smoke and Mirrors). The pandemonium was what Hidalgo had been counting on all along.
A group of the city's prominent flying heroes, arrived after the battle to take Hidalgo in. The Honor Guard couldn't give Steeljack's statements too them about Hidalgo, without doing any investigations of their own, which turned up to collaborate Steeljack's story.
But without Steeljack's intervention, the heroes wouldn't have arrived in time to have stopped the black masks from being slaughtered. All charges against Steeljack were dropped and Hidalgo was taken away silently, without the general public knowing about him or what he almost pulled off again.
The Kiefer Square community was relieved to have the nightmare behind. Donnelly Ferguson would up fleeing town fearing retaliation for his role as broker in almost getting them all killed and Steeljack managed to settle down in a role of taking care of the local cemetery.
Black Masks Involved
- Block & Tackle
- The Chain
- The Fog
- Goldenglove (original)
- Goldenglove (Yolanda Costello)
- The Jackdaw
- Mock Turtle
- Smoke & Mirrors
- White Lightning