According to Icon Powers, Lionel Powers was the youngest of three children, and the most troublesome.
Lionel was born with red hair in a family of traditional blonds. This led to constant speculation that he was the product of an illicit affair. Although doctors would eventually say that his red hair was the product of recessive genes from both parents, it was still the source of much misery from both children and adults.
Lionel Powers was one of the first two people on the planet to receive extra-normal abilities following a strange meteor shower on October 30th, 1938. Lionel and his older brother John were both living on the family farm in Grover's Mill New Jersey when a falling meteor impacted in the nearby field. John, the older and ever-more adventurous, first ventured out, while the reserved Lionel stayed a few yards behind. Both were affected by the strange radiation that emanated from the rock of extra-dimensional origins and changed based on their inherent natures.
John, because of his bravery and physical prowess, developed superhuman strength, speed, durability, and senses. Lionel, because of his intelligence, became a super-genius, able to disseminate any information put before him.
The two of them disagreed with how they should use their abilities. John wanted to use his powers for good. He wanted to clean-up the streets and fight the bullies and tyrants. To that end, he put on a mask and became the planet's first superhero, "Steelman".
Lionel, however, saw what he believed was the "bigger picture". He knew they could make the world a better place, but he decided to do it quietly. Seeing the growing World War in Europe, he used his intelligence to invent more powerful weapons and vehicles. The Powers Engine managed to double the output of jets and tanks with half of the fuel needed. This allowed vehicles to travel further and faster on less fuel, making Lionel an overnight millionaire and getting the attention of influential forces in government.
The Inner Circle
In the 1940's, Lionel was asked to join an elite group of scientists, including Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein, to develop a powerful super-weapon before Nazi Germany could. This group became known as the Manhattan Project, and with Lionel's help, they managed to succeed in their quest years before their German counterparts. In April of 1945, President Roosevelt ordered the use of the first atomic bomb on Berlin. The bomb, dubbed "Shiva" by Lionel, utterly destroyed the city, obliterating Adolph Hitler and the rest of the Nazi leaders. (It is said that there was an altercation between Lionel and one of the generals involved with the project concerning the name "Shiva".) Although the Japanese Emperor vowed to continue the fight in the Pacific, President Roosevelt's decision to drop the second bomb on Hiroshima quickly forced that nation to surrender.
Another one of Lionel's great discoveries during that time was a cure for polio, which allowed Roosevelt to not only get out of his wheelchair, but also to live just long enough to see the end of the war. For that, he received the Nobel Award for medicine.
After the war, Lionel joined a group of scientists and industrial leaders to discuss the post-war plans. It was there that he became aware of a group that he referred to as the Inner Circle, which seemingly controlled every aspect of government. This group was responsible for almost every action in America, including the Great Depression, the prolonged recovery, and its involvement in both World Wars. The Inner Circle was aware of Lionel, as well as his brother's own heroic operations, and they saw potential in both as long as they could be controlled.
The Inner Circle was in the process of polarizing public sentiment for a "new" kind of war, one between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. that would cement their own control over the nation. The cost for Lionel's inclusion, however, would be for John to retire as "Steelman". To that end, the Circle employed Senator Joseph McCarthy to investigate "Steelman" as a possible "communist agent" and force the hero to publicly reveal himself. Lionel would try to convince his brother that it would be best if he just retired.
But instead of resigning into obscurity, John used the publicity to not only reveal himself as a "Meteor Freak", but to also condemn McCarthy and his witch-hunts. The negative publicity destroyed McCarthy's career and Lionel was removed from any connection to the Circle. With the realization that he was also a "Meteor freak", Lionel lost control of his businesses, with the business world treating his super-intelligence as a freak mutation.
Lionel would never forgive his brother for ruining both his business empire and his grasp for power. Seeing both John and the Circle as threats to the future, Lionel used what little connections and resources he had left to forge a new group that would eliminate both threats.
It was also during this time that their middle sister Karen was killed. Karen, who was not exposed to the meteor rock in 1938 and therefore did not get superpowers, lived an otherwise quiet life with her husband and six children. The circumstances of her death and the timing of it were reason enough for Lionel to believe that this was the result of John revealing his identity.
Calling his group "Millennium", Lionel began working with various international terrorist groups to coordinate attacks designed to destabilize markets and cause general panic. Because his group did not initially carry out the attacks themselves, but rather served as the facilitators of the actual instigators, few people were aware of their existence.
That changed, however, during the 1968 Republican National Convention. With the assassination of Robert Kennedy, a candidate that Lionel wanted to become president but was opposed by the Inner Circle, Millennium decided to shut down the GOP Convention through acts of chaos. The goal was to discredit the Circle's candidate (Richard Nixon) in the November elections. Unfortunately the various terrorist groups failed to follow directions and spent the resources they were given to plunge themselves into their own petty causes. This allowed public sentiment to support Nixon and allowed him to win in November.
Nixon's election to the White House served as the final straw for Lionel, and Lionel set forth his plans for Millennium to attack directly, no longer working through proxies. Unfortunately, Millennium's activities were being thwarted by John's superhero group, the Legion of Champions.
Munich Disaster of 1972
Millennium's most infamous act was the terrorist attack on the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. Posing as Palestinian terrorists, Millennium members took several Israeli athletes and citizens hostage and waited for the Legion to mount a rescue. When they did, they each fell into a trap designed to overcome the heroes and kill them. Of the fifty members of the Legion that participated in the rescue, twenty-eight were killed, including six of the hostages and five members of the media that were covering the rescues. The remaining twelve hostages were rescued, though, when John's son Kent made his heroic and unexpected debut.
Although Lionel did not take his nephew's power levels into account, the amount of carnage done to the Legion was more than enough for the operation to be considered a huge success. Lionel's deathtraps dealt a devastating physical and moral blow to the Legion as a group, and on his brother John. With the resignation of Nixon and the realization that he was working more for the Circle than for the general public, John went into semi-retirement, turning the attention over to Kent, whom the media had since dubbed "Icon Powers".
Death of John Powers in 1984
In the years that followed, Lionel would devise several plans intended to not only destabilize global markets, but also to gage the new generation of heroes that would spring up. Although the various investors of Millennium would sometimes question Lionel's leadership skills, they did so at their peril, and they certainly could not question his super-genius intelligence, which allowed him to invent incredible devices.
In 1984, Lionel launched his most devastating plan, one that he considered his "legacy".
The first part was a dual-stage deathtrap. Using a modified subatomic particle accelerator, Lionel threatened to create enough antimatter energy to destroy the world. This brought both John and Kent Powers into action, although Kent was the only one powerful enough to stop the particle accelerator. This allowed Lionel to goad his brother into the second stage of the deathtrap, one that took John's life.
The second part was revealed soon after Kent discovered John's body. In searching for Lionel and any possible escape routes he may have used, Kent discovers a survival pod. Opening the pod, he discovers a four-year old girl named Leona.
Lionel surrenders and turns himself in at John's funeral. He is charged, pleads guilty, and is sentenced to life without parole at the Ultra-Max prison.
Even though he was in prison, Lionel had prepared numerous operations for Millennium to continue to carry out. This was done first to prove that his organization would not die with him in prison, but also to challenge the "new" hero team that came up following the disbanding of the Legion of Champions.
He also specifically requested that no family members ever contact him in prison, especially his daughter. This seemed strange, but prison officials complied.
In the years that followed, Lionel would hear snippets of information about his daughter's development, and he was particularly interested in her physical abilities and her intelligence.
In 1993, Lionel allowed his first visitor, which he was prepared for. Icon Powers revealed that Leona had undergone a psychotic breakdown and was being kept in stasis. It was then that Lionel revealed the truth of Leona's birth, and that she was actually genetically created from DNA taken from Icon's parents and mixed with his own DNA along with genetically-encoded knowledge from his own library. He called it his "greatest gift" to a world that "spurned" him in favor of John.
He would later express disappointment and even resentment when he learned that Icon would work with the alien Photonis to suppress Leona's personality and submerge it within a new persona which they called "Karen" (named after John and Lionel's middle sister).
Release and Death
Although Lionel was in prison, the terrorist group Millennium continued to operate and spread fear around the world, reaching out to and eclipsing both ultra-liberal and ultra-conservative extremist groups.
In November of 1999, a fluke power surge in an ICBM missile silo being decommmissioned caused the ICBM to launch on a pre-programmed course to Moscow. Thankfully the rocket was destroyed by Photonis before Russian equipment could detect it.
This revealed a doomsday plan left over from the days of "The Circle". So convinced that humanity would never survive long enough to see the 21st Century, the members of "The Circle" had created a failsafe program in the event that their prediction was false. Inserted into the original "failsafe" systems of the 1960's and 70's, America's nuclear system had a countdown clock that was set for midnight on January 1st, 2000. Should the clock reach the set date and time, the nuclear arsenal would automatically launch, without any authorizaion or way to countermand the procedure.
Members of Millennium announced that not only did they know about this "spoilsport program", but they were prepared to either disable the program or redirect the targets for whomever would offer the most money.
President Clinton asked to personally meet with Lionel to see if he would be willing to negotiate a deal, or at the very least help to neutralize the threat. Lionel agreed only under the condition he be given a full presidential pardon. Clinton then asked the League of Champions to work with Lionel to stop the threat of Millennium.
Not long after his release from prison, though, Lionel escaped custody. Much like everything else in his life, he had prepared for this possibility as well and had a contingency plan in place.
Returning to the inner circle of Millennium, he believed he could take charge of the "ultimate plan" and mold it to suit his own benefits. Instead, he discovered that the organization had moved on beyond merely "world control" and had become nihilistic. Civilization didn't need to be "tamed" or "controlled"; they believed it needed to be destroyed and started fresh. The very thought of the organization becoming that extremist was appalling to him, and thus he began to work to sabotage the "ultimate plan".
On December 31st, 1999, a mortally-wounded Lionel arrived at a New York hospital. He told his nephew that he had neutralized the software virus that would trigger the program. Despite his wishes to the contrary, Icon tried to arrange one final meeting between Lionel and his daughter, but Lionel denied that Karen was ever his daughter, proclaiming that his daughter was long since "dead".
Lionel Powers was declared dead on January 2nd, 2000. Rather than given a burial, his body was cremated and his ashes deposited on the Moon, which were in accordance to his final wishes.
Millennium as an organized terror group collapsed shortly after 2000 to various smaller factions.
Following his semi-retirement, Kent Powers wrote an unauthorized biography of his uncle's life. The biography contradicted much of Lionel's "Manifesto" teachings and painted him as a man constantly looking for validation. Book sales were tepid at best as few people were interested in reading about the life story of a villain.
Powers and Abilities
Since Lionel Powers only existed in Universe XHT-S7, there was no way to measure his abilities by Vanguard's standards.
It is believed he possessed super-genius level intelligence that allowed him to develop remarkable devices. He reportedly helped to invent both nuclear fusion and fission, as well as develop the first supercollider. He was a master of several languages