God and the Devil: Origin
Eppy Thatcher grew up in a very religious household. As a child he was subject to abuse by his parents. By his own accounts on one occasion his mother caught him "in commission of a sin" and beat the palm of his hand with a fork until it bled. When he father found out he knocked one of his mother's teeth out. At another time his mother caught him snorting coke and ran his face under hot water causing injuries that made it difficult for him to breathe as an adult.
Eppy would grow into an embittered adult. He had once shared his parents' religion, but no longer. He would regularly buy "prayer balloons" in the God Market below the church tower, but would not bother to watch the balloons rise towards the heavens. He worked at a peanut butter and jelly sandwich factory, sorting sandwiches, until he was caught smoking crack on the line and demoted to checking the stickers.
In his first public appearance as Grendel, Thatcher planted explosives on the roof of the Saint Elvis cathedral, blowing it up during the Ash Wednesday mass. Attendants were stunned as he murdered one of the alter boys in front of the crowd. Declaring the church's collections were his, he clicked a button on his staff which overrode the largest collection plate's circuitry and flew out with it. Over God's market at the foot of the tower, he dumped the gold causing a riot in the streets below. The display enraged Pope Innocent XLII who contracted freelance C.O.P. Pellon Cross to assist in hunting down the rogue devil.
Later he broke into the Vatican to steal the golden belt of Saint Elvis. In a televised appearance he denounced the church as well as Saint Elvis' memory. Cross would review the tapes of the event over and over until he would find his first clue leading to Grendel's identity, a small marking on the blade of his staff indicating where it was made. This particular blade was not run of the mill, and few vendors would sell such an item. Meanwhile Thatcher continued to use the drug Arcana Prime, or Grendel, experiencing dark hallucinations geared towards the church and Californian government. He believed that he was the agent of the Devil, and he was destined to bring down the Church, which he ironically thought was worse than the Devil. He saw the Devil as a positive, active force that empathized with humanity, and did not try to force people to do things that came unnaturally to them, as God did. (His Devil is somewhat akin to William Blake's concept of the Devil.) Cross and his assistants deduced his use of the Grendel drug and began to run down its purveyors in order to find Eppy.
Grendel's next target would be the church's Bazaar, but this time his efforts would be thwarted by C.O.P. Pellon Cross. Cross shot Thatcher through the shoulder and allowed him to escape. This time Orion Assante would also witness Grendel for the first time. Before escaping, Grendel would cause further damage to the Bazaar. There was already a marked lack of people there due to his prior appearance.
Pope Innocent rushed reconstruction of the Bazaar and held a commemorative mass to celebrate its reopening. For protection C.O.P. members were stationed with heavy weapons on nearby rooftops. Appearing once again as Grendel, Thatcher took out some of the nearby C.O.P.s and rigged the Church's P.A. system with a sacrilegious recording openly mocking the church and proclaiming hell on Earth. Thatcher killed the Pope's companions with explosive darts, and flying above the crowd on his forked staff he stole the Pope's hat. Wearing the hat he activated a portable protective bubble around himself. Assante, who was in the crowd at the time, remarked on Grendel's genius as such technology did not yet exist in such a powerful and portable way. Grendel ripped the hat in half in front of the crowd before being chased by Cross on his hover-speeder. Cross chased after Grendel smashing into his force-bubble hoping to inevitably destroy it. Grendel was knocked through a brick wall, ending the chase. Cross made the mistake of toying with his prey, waiting outside the hole that Grendel had entered. Demonstrating a great feat of the drug-induced strength that Thatcher enjoyed he smashed through a portion of the wall with one strike, hurling the bricks toward cross. Cross's speeder was damaged, and Cross himself was struck in the head and had to land on a nearby rooftop. This diversion was enough to allow Thatcher to escape into the sewer system, losing large amounts of blood in the process. C.O.P.s attempted to follow the blood trail, but were unable to locate Thatcher.
Thatcher had managed to avoid capture, but he was injured from the fight. In order to manage the pain, thatcher poured the Grendel drug that fueled his insanity into his wounds. The next day he would be fired when he finally lost it and slapped his boss. Later, high and in costume, a construction crew approached the arch that he used as his base. He brutally attacked and killed the crewman. Thatcher then flew up to a window on the church's tower and flew through the glass, attacking Pope Innocent. Surprisingly, the Pope managed to fight back on an even footing. Eppy managed to steal the Pope's robot hand off of his arm and escaped. He would later flaunt the metal fist on his stolen television broadcasts, and threatened that the Pope would be next. When one of Innocent's aides tried to help him, Innocent revealed that the robot hand hand only been a glove, and underneath he had the clawed hand of a vampire.
Thatcher continued his trickery in the run-up to Easter, broadcasting a number of television transmissions ridiculing the object of his hatred. He also spiked the communion wafers with an agent designed to induce vomiting. These particular wafers were designated for the church's priests for Holy Thursday, a day set aside for them to partake in communion. He also placed sonic devices in the base of a monument the church erected in Innocent's honor. These devices were activated during the unveiling ceremony, and resulted in the statue crumbling within moments. He also made the Church's bells ring uncontrollably, and attracted a huge flock of birds to defecate all over the sanctuary.
God and the Devil: A Final Assault
Thatcher also decided that the boots he used to defy gravity were too large and cumbersome, and that he needed to remain more agile and nimble while in flight. After reading up on surgery and taking drugs to dull some of the excruciating pain, he operated on the soles of his own feet. He inserted discs which contained a miniaturized version of the hover technology of his boots. He bandaged his feet and took more drugs through his wounds, hallucinating further. Despite the pain and bleeding he would now be able to float free of the devices that he required before. He continued his hallucinations, and now believed that he was destined to sacrifice himself for the sake of the world, like Christ, except in the name of Grendel, the Devil.
Despite the operation he endured he would not rest in his quest to continue disrupting the church's doings. Disguised as a church employee he snuck into the preparations for the latest celebration, pouring Arcana Prime into the bowls of incense. Preparing for his final assault, he donned his costume once more, the boots of which had been soaking all night in a numbing agent to help with the pain that walking and flying caused. Before getting out of his apartment he was confronted by Pellon Cross. Cross had suspicions about Thatcher, and waited for him to fully confirm his belief. Cross had also been infected by Innocent, turning him into a vampire. Cross believed that he was now blessed, that killing for blood was a holy experience, and that Grendel was Satan. Cross and Grendel fought ferociously, but Grendel was able to gain the upper hand and escaped, breaking through his apartment window. Thatcher flew off to mount his final assault on Innocent's reign.
It was at dawn that fate would have three separate armies converge at the church tower: Orion's Sword, Cross's vampire legion, and the church's own defenses. It was also that morning that Innocent would unveil his great weapon, the Sun Gun. With it he hoped to blot out the sun, forcing the already impoverished masses to become fully dependent on the church for even their light and warmth. While the battle raged below, Thatcher clad in gold and gems met Innocent on even ground at the gun. Innocent and Thatcher fought as animals, a battle which ended with Thatcher knocking the pope in front of the beam of the sun gun, vaporizing him. The tower came crashing down around the battle below, and Grendel flew off in flames. Finally, the Devil had revenge on Tujiro, who had started such problems for Christine Spar centuries ago.
Devil's Reign: Thatcher's End
It is unknown exactly where Thatcher fled to immediately after the collapse of Vatican Ouest. Thatcher would not turn up again for several years later. Orion Assante had succeeded in taking over half of the known world, but began to believe himself to be possessed by the devil as Eppy Thatcher. Assante sought out Thatcher using his chief psychic, Manny McDoon. At the time Thatcher was (and had been for some time) living in the sewers under the Vampire-owned casino Grendel's Palace. By this point Thatcher had gone completely insane, and seemingly no longer saw himself as being possessed; he had also lost his enhanced strength. Assante took Thatcher back to his base of operation at the Sun House, and attempted to discover the secret of Grendel's evil. It was from Thatcher's insane ramblings that Assante got the idea to rebuild Innocent's great weapon. Assante used this new Sun Disc to end the world war and claim possession of the entire world. Thatcher believed that he had become so accustomed to the toxic atmosphere below Grendel's Palace that he was not able to survive without it, and as he remained in the Sun House he slowly deteriorated. By the point Assante officially became Grendel Kahn I, Thatcher was already dead.
Powers and Abilities
Eppy Thatcher possesses strength, agility, and fighting skills beyond normal human levels. This is partially due to the hallucinogenic drug Gendel which he takes regularly. A side effect of his drug abuse is the slow deterioration of his sanity. He was able to punch through a brick wall, throw people around, and stun the extremely durable vampire Pellon Cross with a bowling ball.
He was a formidable hand-to-hand fighter, even though he had no training. He was able to kill a small squad of C.O.P.s in seconds, and also killed a group of construction workers armed with sledge hammers very quickly. He fought equally with the vampires Pellon Cross and Innocent XLII, who both had enough enhanced strength and speed to overwhelm almost any other opponent.
He was fairly resistant to pain and injury when he was under the drug's effects. He was shot and injured several times and it didn't seem to affect him until later. However, when it wore off, he felt the pain again.
Thatcher exhibited a high degree of intelligence, developing intricate technologies as Hunter Rose once did, even developing gadgets that otherwise dd not yet exist in his world. For instance, he invented flying sandals and disks which he attached to his feet; a flying grocery cart; a force field; and android that was so lifelike its robotic nature was undetected by soldiers and technology; small metal balls that deflected the lasers in an alarm; technology that kept the Church bells ringing despite all attempts to stop them; video broadcasts that were able to override all other TV channels, including even Orion's own pirate broadcasts; controlling the Church's offering disks in a way that its scientists could not understand. He had perfect scores on his technology entrance exams into school, an apparently unique feat.
Weapons and Equipment
Thatcher's staff is similar in design to Hunter Rose's original staff, although its handle is thicker. On one end it features a forked blade. The other end contains a laser which, when activated, is capable of cutting through thick glass or metal. Inside, it contains complex circuitry capable of overriding remote computer technology such as the church's levitating collection plates. Also similar to Rose's staff, the blade of Thatcher's staff can be electrified.
Thatcher also developed technology in his boots which facilitated levitation and flight, and later miniaturized the same technology into a pair of discs that he surgically implanted into the soles of his own feet for flight. He was fairly nimble and quick in the air with this technology.
He also used a personal force field when flying, which were capable of standing up to gunfire and physical assault. It did have a breaking point, which was reached after Pellon Cross smashed into him several times with his hover bike, finally ramming him into a brick wall.
He also used a blowgun with explosive darts.
In his final battle with Innocent, Grendel wore gaudy jeweled armor, similar to the belt of St. Elvis. Presumably this armor added extra protection.
In his civilian guise, he carried a wrist gun that shot sharp crosses. This was a piece of existing technology, and he did not create it.
Eppy Thatcher was named after Margaret Thatcher.