Ripper is a super-strong super member of VIPER's Dragon Branch. Always immensely strong, when he activates the "Omicron technology" embedded in his body he temporarily becomes one of the strongest beings on Earth.
No one really knows who Ripper was before the accident. The only pertinent detail is that he worked for VIPER in the Monster Island Nest.
It was VIPER that got Doctor Phillippe Moreau to come and treat Ripper. He was horribly disfigured from an accident in which he was sprayed with large quantities of an acid compound, which destroyed a large portion of his skin and tissue. Dr. Moreau rebuilt him, using armor plating in place of skin as well as a new exoskeleton in place of muscle. He used an experimental serum to keep the man alive. Despite this, Moreau was unable to make the injured VIPER operative look anything close to normal. Ripper became more tormented and malicious from his pain.
It has taken years for VIPER to improve on what Moreau tossed together on the spot, but they have done it. Their new Omicron technology stabilizes Ripper’s biochemistry through regular injections, recieved through his harness. His armor has also become stronger and more impressive.
Ripper isn’t very intelligent. Although he’s been a super villain for VIPER for years, he doesn’t comprehend tactics or strategy very well. In battle, he will habitually grab hold of an opponent and rip them in half – hence his name, Ripper.
Thanks to his built in armor, he’s incredibly strong and can take a lot of damage. This makes his disregard for tactic less of an issue. His Omicron injections make him even stronger, although he can only tolerate a few injections a day. The knowledge of that strength gets into his head,often making him go berserk.
In this condition he will fight both friend and foe with little regard to safety.
Ripper was introduced as James Allison, an escaping villain, in the Escape from Stronghold Adventure supplement in 1981.
James Allison was drafted in 1968 by the U.S. Army. He became a Green Beret, sent on the most difficult and dangerous mission. His luck ran out while investigating a secret laboratory in North Vietnam. Allison was imprisoned and used by his captors as an test subject for bizarre experiments. During the tests, he was injected with unknown test serums and bombarded with strange, unknown types of radiation. When the experiments failed, James Allison was transformed into a malformed monster. The Viet Cong left him for dead when their laboratory was bombed. While the Cong had no idea of the strength he'd gained from his mutation, he survived and found his opportunity to escape. Allison made his way back to South Vietnam, and was found by a forward artillery observer. Transferred to a military hospital in the states, Allison recovered somewhat, only to be told by his doctors that he was dying from the radiation he had received. The doctors could offer him only one chance at survival -- Project Omicron. This project had been developing certain human augmentation devices for military use. The devices were adapted to Allison, and managed to keep him alive. Even as he survived, he was horribly malformed and his twisted mind rebelled. Allison broke free and now leads a life of crime in a struggle to escape his past.
From the 5th Edition sourcebook VIPER: Coils of the Serpent in 2003, Ripper was updated and given a purpose.
From the journals of Dr. Phillippe Moreau:
- "I so dislike being awakened in the middle of the night. But I suppose that’s it’s inevitable given the line of work the jealousy and narrow mindedness of others has forced me to adopt."
- "Five nights ago the Nest Leader banged on my door well past midnight. He took me to see one of his men, lying in the infirmary horribly injured. He babbled something about a botched robbery and the explosion of some type of equipment. Whatever it was, it showered the man with an acidic compound, eating away most of his skin and features despite his BCU and helmet. The only way to save his life was by grafting armor plating onto his body in place of the lost skin, installing a special exoskeleton to replace his lost muscles, and subjecting him to extensive drug treatments with special sera I recently developed. He lived through all the operations and injections, though I fear he will never again know complete freedom from pain."
After Dr. Moreau finished “rebuilding” the man who would become known as Ripper, VIPER gave Ripper a place on the Dragon Branch and a reason to go on living - superhuman combat. Over time, they replaced the basic armor and exoskeleton Moreau implanted in and on his body with experimental devices developed by VIPER labs: Omicron technology. His biochemistry stabilized, and sometimes enhanced, by the Omicron chemicals injected into him through his Omicron harness. His earlier armor was also replaced with a newer, far stronger Omicron Armor. He has become an unstoppable force on the battlefield - one of VIPER’s most powerful, and uncontrollable, superhuman assets.