On March 15, 1964, a team of Norwegian geologists investigated a glacial fragment that had recently settled against a fjord on the North Cape of Norway, near the town of Nordkapp. They made a startling discovery, one of the most amazing archaeological finds of the twentieth century. Frozen in the fragment, perfectly preserved, was a Neanderthal hunter. His pale skin was intact, his arms outstretched as if trying to catch himself. Wanting to preserve the specimen, they proceeded carefully, leaving the ice around his body. They’d all heard stories about wooly mammoths broken free from the ice, their bodies beginning to rot almost as soon as the air and the heat touched them. They wished to risk no such destruction of their Neanderthal, who they dubbed "the Nordkapp Man." Quickly, they contacted a team of archaeologists to help them preserve the body and study it properly.
Late that evening, though, something rather amazing shook them up even more than their initial discover. Beneath the ice, the Nordkapp Man’s eyes opened.
When it became clear that somehow, miraculously, the Neanderthal was alive and struggling to escape from the ice, the team worked together to chisel him out and offer what medical attention they could. He was terrified and confused, but fortunately was weak enough from his ordeal that they were able to lend him aid without being injured themselves.
The months that followed proved momentous for the Nordkapp Man, the teams working with him, and the field of anthropology. Whether because of the metahuman powers he quickly manifested (as many theorized) or because of a quick intellect that had survived for centuries (as the Neanderthal himself would later assert), the Nordkapp Man -- "Grak" in his prehistoric tongue (he has since adopted the name of his tribe, "Mktunnugut", as a surname) -- adapted to his new situation quickly and was soon able to communicate with other people. Testing positive for the Metagene, he proved to have formidable cold-projecting, or cryokinetic, abilities.
As the world’s only living Neanderthal, Grak became quite a celebrity. At the same time, he was the focus of much anthropological study because of what he was able to tell the world about the Stone Age and his life prior to being caught in a glacial collapse. Grak was surrounded by academics, and it was into their world -- not the world of superheroes -- that he was drawn first. His keen mind soaked up language, philosophy, science, and more; within less than 10 years, he grew from a Stone Age hunter to a professor of cultural anthropology and, through studying his own abilities, a noted cryogenics expert.
In April 1998, while lecturing at a seminar in Bern, Switzerland, Grak witnessed the Dutch superhero Shriek trying to stop a vandalistic rampage from the "wild child" supervillain team calling themselves the Young Gods. Seeing that she was greatly outnumbered, he tore off his tweed jacket and tie and went to assist her, using his ice powers to blast away at Young Gods Shredder, Bang, and Neon.
He and Shriek were still trounced by the Young Gods, but they put up a good show of it. Seeing Shriek in action, and fighting alongside her, he felt a calling to distinguish himself in the same way that she did, to use his ice powers for more than just chilling cocktails at academic functions where his Homo sapiens sapiens colleagues treated him with respect, yet gawked at him when they thought he wasn’t looking. He decided to become a superhero.
Maintaining the well-known name "Nordkapp Man," Grak began a short career as a solo hero, quickly joining EuroShield. Finding that his academic pursuits prevented him from full-time hero status, he maintained a position as an adjunct member and consultant. He was performing in that role in 2001 when the metahuman Torch destroyed EuroShield's headquarters and the Silver Marten murdered Grak’s protégé Eternity.
When the European Union added insult to tragedy by withholding funding for the team, he decided to abandon academics and devote himself to superheroics full-time once more. But this time he joined a team with a wider scope, and a more global worldview: the Global Guardians.
Personality and MotivationsEdit
Grak has adapted well to modern society (in fact, he's done much better at this than his colleague, Ultra-Man) and seems to feel little angst about being the world’s only living Neanderthal. He is kind-hearted with most he meets, and the awkward time he spent learning about modern customs has made him very patient with others’ eccentricities. However, the heart of a Stone Age hunter still beats in his chest, and he can be ruthless with his enemies when he deems it necessary. Although he has always stopped short of killing his opponents, his forebearance is not out of some moral code, but from an understanding that modern society frowns on such things.
He is fascinated by the wonders of the world around him and will often go on strange tangents while explaining things to others (a trait he picked up as a professor).
One of the more notable aspects of Grak’s personality is his sense of humor. In the Stone Age, the language he spoke with others of his kind was relatively unsophisticated, and he has become fascinated with modern wordplay, delighting in jokes that even kindergarteners tire of. He is also an inveterate punster, and the more tortured the pun, the better in his opinion.
He also often claims to have personally invented many things whose origins predate history—fire, the wheel, language, etc. He enjoys creating elaborate stories to back his wild claims, though it is doubtful that he truly expects anyone to believe him.
"Have an ice day! Heh heh... oh, that one never get's cold. Never get's cold! Get it! Oh... I kill myself sometimes..."
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Because of his years of experience, his study of cryogenics, and his training with EuroShield and the Global Guardians, Nordkapp Man has developed a wide range of effect with his ice control (cryokinetic) abilities. He can generate blasts of ice that pummel and freeze his opponents, can superfreeze the air around his arm into a huge and hard spiked club that he can use to bash a large area, can create opaque ice bonds to grapple a single target or blanket a larger area, can create a wall of ice, can superfreeze a target (usually an inanimate one) to make it brittle and more susceptible to physical damage, and can create a huge ice storm about 2 kilometers across to disorient those within.
He can also generate a shell of ice around himself that protects him from damage. He can create a simple shell like this effortlessly, a shell that stays close to his skin. With effort, he can create a larger and harder shell that supplements the first one. That second shell tends to break away when he’s stricken with powerful attacks, and he can only restore it through the same effort.
Nordkapp Man has also developed a way to use his ice powers to help propel him along; these ice slides work best when he’s moving himself along the ground, but he can also build them up like ramps or pillars to carry himself upward. The ice supporting his body is vulnerable to attack, however, and more than one opponent has made him fall to the ground by knocking the supports out from under him. Other results of his ice abilities include the ability to see variances in heat and a general resistance to cold.
Nordkapp Man has experienced other effects from his Metagene and the centuries he spent imprisoned in the ice. His aging seems to have been retarded. He can also return his body temporarily to its suspended state, feigning death. Perhaps one of Nordkapp Man’s greatest "powers" is his keen intellect. He is frequently underestimated for his appearance, yet his seemingly crude exterior hides a rich and well-trained mind. He has proven to be a strong asset to the Global Guardians.
Nordkapp Man looks much like the classic Neanderthal picture: huge head with jutting jaw, slumped shoulders, arms trailing near the ground. His long, blonde hair (something that still surprises most people, who assume all "cave men" to have dark hair and eyes) and beard are unkempt and he generally wears only a pair of shorts (usually cut-off jeans) and a Hawaiian shirt unless more formal attire is called for.
In most public situations, he activates his icy shell force field, and often the stronger, breakaway ice shell on top of it. The result is that he looks like he’s covered in a layer of thick, semitransparent ice.
While he’s mastered several modern languages, his jaw structure does force him to speak with a slight lisp. Several women have commented on the brilliance of Grak’s blue eyes, but this never seems to have led to anything more serious.