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'''Lou Cypher''' is a villain introduced in the serial "[[Legion of Lawndale Heroes]]." He makes his first appearance in Volume 3, Part 4 ("[[The Devil's Own]].) ==First appearance == Cypher is sent by [[John Dynell]] to solve the problem of the Legion by getting rid of the Legion itself. It is stated that Cypher has been Dynell's "odd job man" for ten years. Cypher arrives in Lawndale and decides to creatively reinterpret Dynell's orders, proceeding to the Mayor's office in an attempt to have the zoning permit for the construction of [[Legion Tower]] revoked. However, Mayor Mike Dunlap orders Cypher out of his office. Enraged, Cypher decides to assassinate Mayor Dunlap at a ceremony in which the Mayor will hand the key of the city of Lawndale to the Legionnaires. Dunlap is shot with a high-powered rifle, and the Legionnaires are forced to go into action and keep Dunlap from being killed. Cypher attempts to kill the mayor at the Cedars of Lawndale Hospital, but only finds a note left by Jane Lane. The Legion have transported the mayor for safe-keeping to Legion Tower. Cypher drives into an ambush at the Tower, and the Legionnaires are forced to reduce his body to a smoking husk in order to defeat him. The Legionnaires discover, however, that Cypher's actual "soul" resides in an object known as a [[Soul Crystal]]. Cypher's body can be destroyed, but Cypher's spiritual essence remains alive as long as the Crystal is intact. [[Dawn Hall]] is contacted for help in disposing of the body and the Soul Crystal is placed in a safe location near the unbuilt Tower. ==Second appearance== Lou Cypher -- or the force that represents him -- reappeared in LLH after Brittany Taylor received her powers. Using her invisibility powers, she finds the Soul Crystal in Sandi's trailer at the Legion trailer compound. Once she possesses it, the Soul Crystal begins to subvert Brittany's mind and the Lou Cypher personality takes over. Brittany/Cypher was somehow able to kidnap Stacy Rowe from the Cedars of Lawndale Hospital and somehow "program" Stacy into believing that she was a robot. The plan would be for Stacy to kill the Legionnaires when Stacy's "programming" activated. However, the Legionnaires traced Stacy's disappearance to Brittany and confronted her at the Taylor Home. Brittany/Cypher attempted to kill the Legionnaires with a rocket launcher. The attack failed and Jane's defensive magnetic shields made a wreck of the Taylor house. Brittany was able to get the best of the Legionnaires during the initial part of the battle, combining her invisibility with combat tactics, but was eventually knocked unconscious. The Soul Crystal is now back in Legion possession, this time in a safe to which only the Leader and Deputy Leader know the combination. ==Powers/abilities== Cypher appears to be a normal human being of slightly below average intelligence. It is postulated at the end of "[[Heart of Evil]]" that the person who Cypher's body inhabits might not be Cypher himself, leaving open the possibility that Cypher can return in any form. He is skilled in the use of handguns and high-powered rifles, using such a rifle to attempt to kill Mayor Mike Dunlap of Lawndale from long distance. Furthermore, Cypher is also skilled with a knife and his "intelligence" might be skilled in hand-to-hand combat, providing it is possessing a body. In addition, Cypher carried a special handgun that fired plastic shells. The handgun's shells could not be blocked by Jane Lane's magnetic powers at the time; but recent education Jane Lane received at the [[United States Academy of Extranormal Studies]] might have provided Jane the ability to defend herself against such weapons in the future. During his planned incursion at the Cedars of Lawndale Hospital, he protected himself with plastic armor and an armored hat -- most likely to protect the integrity of his physical body rather than as a means of survival. Cypher's real powers come from the Soul Crystal itself. The body the Crystal inhabits is invulnerable to such killing attacks as electrocution or even incineration -- Cypher is able to fight even when his body is reduced to a partially carbonized corpse in his first battle with the Legionnaires. Removing the Crystal from Cypher's form "de-animated" his physical body and ended the fight. It appears that Cypher's physical and mental powers are not limited by the natural vulnerabilities of the human body. [[Brother Grimace]] would later imply that the powers of the Legionnaires had been displayed at lower levels during this battle than displayed in the most recent parts of the series. This implies that Cypher might have taken substantially more damage than it would have normally take to burn and skeletonize a normal body. Cypher's rare displays of strength might imply that the Soul Crystal provides greater endurance, invulnerability and strength to whatever form he possesses. Cypher was also immune to psionic attack during the battle. Only when touching the Crystal itself is Daria able to contact the malevolent intelligence that calls itself "Lou Cypher". Cypher's second incarnation (as Brittany) appeared to be weaker than the first. The first body Cypher used had the Soul Crystal implanted within the abdomen but Cypher had not had the opportunity to implant the Soul Crystal into Taylor's body. (Taylor carried the Crystal in a backpack.) As Taylor, Cypher did not have the borderline invulnerability associated with Cypher's earlier form. Furthermore, Daria was only able to read Cypher's thoughts by touching the Crystal itself the first time they met; in their second meeting, Daria was able to read Brittany/Cypher's mind from a long distance. These limitations might be due to the fact that the Crystal had not been physically implanted. It could also be surmised that the Crystal more easily affects targets of low intelligence. Cypher's first incarnation was of slightly below average intelligence; Brittany's lack of intellectual distinction might have made the Crystal's mind control more effective. ==Trivia== *"Lou Cypher" is obviously a play on the name "Lucifer". (Lu-CIFER) *Cypher drives a Black Beauty Trans-Am with the vanity license plate "DARK1". The Trans-Am was totaled at the battle at the Quarry. [[Category: Alternate Universe Characters|Cypher, Lou]] [[Category:Metahuman Characters]]
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