A member of VIPER's Dragon Branch and introduced in the 5th Edition Champions sourcebook, VIPER: Coils of the Serpent.
Kevin Armstrong grew up as one Detroit’s golden boys: boxer, triathlete, scholar, and all-around Renaissance kid. Upon graduating from college, he became one of the elite: a Silver Avenger in PRIMUS. He was the perfect citizen, the All-American Boy. But PRIMUS didn’t turn out to be all Kevin expected. There was too much petty jealousy, too many rivalries and feuds between the Silver Avengers, too little cooperation between the organization and other government agencies. It was a snake pit, and Kevin couldn’t adapt to all the games and internal politics. He became extremely disenchanted, but the more he complained, the less people seemed to listen to him.
Then Dr. Destroyer obliterated his hometown of Detroit. His family — including his wife, infant son, parents, and most of the people that he grew up with — were dead.
Kevin blamed the government for the destruction — a government too weak to oppose the enemies of this country, too busy with partisan bickering to deal with the... Kevin had a list of grievances as long as a Congressional report. PRIMUS considered Kevin a little high-strung at the best of times (the official word was that he’d never fully coped with the initial Cyberline treatments) and like many people, he had problems dealing with what Destroyer had done to Detroit. He was ordered to take an extended leave of absence. While on leave, he went boating on Lake Michigan... and in a freak boating accident, he drowned.
Except Kevin didn’t die. His “death” was merely a ruse that allowed him to join VIPER. If he was going to work in a snake pit, he’d do so by choice. VIPER didn’t lie or deceive people about what it was. It wanted to impose its will directly on the people, instead of lying to them and letting them destroy their country through self-deception and lack of self-responsibility. VIPER would force the people to make the sacrifices necessary to save the country in the long term — sacrifices that would prevent a maniac like Destroyer from ever doing again what he had done to Detroit. People wonder how a Silver Avenger could join VIPER — Kevin’s never had a problem telling them why.
VIPER was more than pleased to accept Armstrong into its ranks, and his fortunes sky-rocketed. Before long he was appointed to command an elite squad, VMS-Alpha, and he soon achieved fame in the organization as the agent who killed the supervillainess Bora during VIPER’s initial attack on Eurostar in 1996. But the good times didn’t last for long. A rival in VMS-Alpha, codenamed Krait, leaked Kevin’s true identity to the media, along with “evidence” that made it seem he was a PRIMUS infiltrator of VIPER, not a true traitor to America. Faced with imminent execution by VIPER, and hunted by the authorities, Kevin fled VIPER for more pleasant climes.
Kevin spent the next few years as a mercenary, earning a great deal of respect in the merc community for his skills, tactical genius, and loyalty to his men. He even had a brief affair with the Irish supervillainess Scorpia.
In 2002, Kevin’s mercenary ventures took him to West Africa. During the middle of a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone, he was ambushed, shot repeatedly, and left for dead. But he didn’t die. He felt the call of the Great Serpent Nama, and he overcame his wounds and went to him. All the Serpent said to him was: “Tell Essec I say you have a destiny.” He then directed Armstrong to the door that led to VIPER World Headquarters. When Armstrong delivered this message to the Supreme Serpent, Essec recognized it as a clear instruction from Nama to give the discredited agent his blessing, so he pardoned him and reinstated him with honor into VIPER’s ranks. He restored Kevin to command of VMS-Alpha (Krait immediately fled to Southeast Asia and vanished).
The Supreme Serpent gave Kevin a new codename, VIPER-X, after the famed VIPER operative of the 1960s (see page 10). Soon VIPER’s leadership was portraying him to the rest of the organization as the perfect agent: tough, charismatic, loyal to his friends and VIPER, and ruthless to his enemies. Today, VIPER-X serves as VIPER’s “Poster Snake” as well as one hell of an ongoing embarrassment to PRIMUS. Daniel Johnson, the current Golden Avenger, has put Armstrong’s capture at the top of his “to do” list.