Heartbreaker is short-sighted as his power has typically allowed him to receive anything he wants with minimal effort. However, he is not stupid when he tries taking what he wants. He 'oozed' confidence and sexuality.
Heartbreaker is cautious and typically plays it safe; he does not go out much and instead uses his women and kids to run errands and search for potential victims. Through planning and careful application of his power, he has managed to remain several steps ahead of the authorities. However, his cult-like group can slip; if forces mobilize against him, Heartbreaker and much of his group will run and move out to a rural location for a while or disappear into another densely populated neighborhood.
He had the habit of collecting wedding rings, presumably from the married women he abducted.
Heartbreaker is a tall man with a lanky, muscular physique, long black hair, and a goatee. Unlike most capes thanks to his cautiousness and intelligence he has been able to live to middle age.
Abilities and Powers
Heartbreaker has the Master ability to manipulate the emotions of nearby people. He used this ability to form a harem of beautiful/useful women that serve him zealously, committing crimes and dying for him.
Heartbreaker appears to require line of sight to use his power on targets. Both of his runaway children have greater range with their powers than he does. However, the effects of Heartbreaker's power are long-term or permanent, continuing even after his death.
As a human-based Master, Heartbreaker is resistant to, and interfered with, by similar Masters. After his son Jean-Paul gained his powers by Heartbreaker using his powers to cause a Trigger, Heartbreaker had troubles affecting him, so attempted to obtain leverage instead. It might also be possible to build up resistance to Heartbreaker's powers after years of exposure.
Heartbreaker was born in Europe and later moved to Quebec. Due to his slipperiness, he was active for several years and never caught. Authorities did mobilize forces against him when he slipped, but they often fought guerilla forces of innocents that let Heartbreaker and much of his group get away. Authorities kept an eye on things and maintained warnings, but avoided placing a Kill Order on him due to the risk of crazies coming out and getting themselves controlled by Heartbreaker.
After working for his father for three or four years as a cape, his son Jean-Paul decided to leave because Heartbreaker kept trying to control him. After some time passed, Heartbreaker eventually got enough resources to break his typical pattern. He and the Heartbroken kidnapped the actress Sidney Saile from Vancouver and took her back to Montreal. However, Heroes from Vancouver and Montreal went after them and successfully foiled his attempt to collect the actress. His family lost half of their resources after the fight and his daughter Cherie ended up leaving, which left Heartbreaker in a black mood for a while.
Two of his children, Jean-Paul and Cherie, had run away from him at this point. He sent two of his children after at least one of them.
↑ 1.01.11.2“If it was easy to take over a city, more people would have managed it,” I said. “This is work. There’s always more to be done, whether you’re dealing with your enemies, dealing with your subordinates or coordinating with your allies. If you find you have free time, you’re probably fucking up.”
“Or!” he said, raising a finger, “I could delegate.”
“That’s a recipe for failure,” I told him.
“My dad managed it.”
Heartbreaker, I thought. I was put in mind of the images of Heartbreaker that had made the web. The villain, by virtue of his personal, extensive harem, had a whole cadre of women virtually climbing over each other for the chance to fawn over him and worship him. The pictures were a consequence of that, released by his ‘girls’, as Regent had termed them. Each picture depicted a man in his thirties or forties, depending on the time the picture in question had been taken. He had black hair, the scruff of a beard, and was invariably seen sitting or reclining on couches and beds, often shirtless, with women at the periphery of the image. He oozed confidence and raw sexuality, languid, more lanky than athletic. - Excerpt from Imago 21.3
↑ 2.02.1‘Master’ refers to the ability to control others or (in the case of specialized cases of other powers, like Tinkers) to create minons… Taylor, Parian, Crusader, Heartbreaker and Nilbog all fit this classification.
She isn’t controlling stuffed animals the size of a second story building like Parian or directing squads of women with machine guns, grenades and zero self preservation like Heartbreaker. - Comment on Extermination 8.5
↑“My dad runs his own group in Montreal. I was working for him before anything else.” - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑I'm not saying he doesn't take what he wants. He just isn't stupid when he goes about it. He makes a lot of enemies as it stands. Cherish was frustrated that he was reaching for the stars (ho ho ho ho), and threatening to burn the rest of them. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 5.05.1Heartbreaker is slippery. His location is rarely easy to pin down, he doesn't go out much, he'll use his women and kids to find good looking women or women he can use and add them to his circle. They run the errands. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 6.06.1Woman A has a fight with her boyfriend, drives the man away, and becomes more isolated, she heads to her job, orders in, and generally mopes and acts normal for a recent divorcee single mother. Enter Heartbreaker.
Haha, no. Heartbreaker was there from the beginning. He targeted her and her daughter, had her drive her spouse away and disconnect from extended family, and moved his flock into the nice house... a surprising number of people can be fit into a house if they're willing/forced to sleep five or six people to a room.
Maybe target the neighbors too, if there isn't enough room around. Woman A continues to work, embezzles from the company, and disappears from the grid. Authorities only learn that Heartbreaker was there after the fact, when they connect the dots.
The group moves on to Woman B, who happens to work in a police station or PRT office. She's not that attractive, but she's useful. Like Woman A, she continues to work, but she keeps an ear to the ground regarding all things Heartbreaker related. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 7.07.1Maybe it's one of the once-a-year times when something slips. A kid gets recognized. Forces mobilize, the mole alerts Heartbreaker. Forces teleport in or mobilize via. flying vehicles, and Heartbreaker is already gone and running. He's got kids like Guillaume and the like, who already have dozens of unwitting spies watching (Guillame touches everyone in a crowd, and senses through their eyes, like Taylor's swarm sense, minus the control aspect, and can temporarily blind them or fuzz their senses), allowing the escape route to be plotted, and the group gets a few seconds of warning time before the flying suit passes over the area. Capes are forced to move in groups, because moving out alone means running the risk that Cherish might sense them, and the small group of Heartbreaker's kids, a handful of captured capes, and his elite zealot-soldiers could flank them and give Heartbreaker the moment he needs to wololo the solo cape.
Meanwhile, the women he's tired of are armed and ready to fight like the worst kind of zealot, convinced he's in the bedroom. The heroes approach, forming a perimeter, and neighbors of the initial victim make a move, flanking, opening fire with hunting rifles or improvised weapons. Chaos, fires are set.
It's hell - fighting guerilla forces made up of people you really don't want to hurt, blameless. Heartbreaker moves out to the periphery of the city to live in a rural location, or just disappears into another densely populated neighborhood. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑I looked at the rings on the memorial. “Heartbreaker’s.”
“He collected them. I uncollected them.”
“I’d heard he died.”
Imp nodded slowly. “Said I would. I told you I’d kill his dad for him.” - Excerpt from Scarab 25.6
↑“And if they tried to come at me through my family, they’d get what they deserved,” Regent said.
“Why?” Parian asked.
“His dad’s Heartbreaker,” Tattletale said.
“Oh. Oh wow.”
“Funny thing is,” Regent said, “If you think about it, we might be bigger than Heartbreaker, now. People all over America know who we are, and I’m not sure if Heartbreaker is known that far to the south or west.” - Excerpt from Imago 21.1
↑Lisa whistled, “After Coil let that detail slip, I made a mental list of possibilities. Had it narrowed down to four. Heartbreaker was one, the pieces fit, but it was so hard to believe.”
“He’s big,” Brian said.
“No,” Alec shook his head, “He’s scary. He’s newsworthy. But he’s not all that.” - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑ 12.012.1Heartbreaker was what you got when someone had a power like Gallant, the ability to manipulate emotions, and absolutely no compunctions about using it selfishly. Unlike Gallant, Heartbreaker didn’t need to shoot you with any blasts of energy to affect you. He just needed to be near you, and the effects were long term or permanent. - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑Heartbreaker found beautiful women, made them love him, really love him, and formed a cult-like group with them serving him hand and foot, committing crimes for his favor. They worshiped him to the extent they were willing to die for him. Drawn to their natural conclusion, his methods meant he had lots of kids. Alec included. - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑ 14.014.1See, difference between me and Daddy is that I have range. I can use my power even if I can’t see the person I’m using it on. Through walls, from the building next door. - Excerpt from Interlude 11g
↑Alas, Heartbreaker’s powers have permanent effects, beyond even his death. - Comment by Wildbow on Crushed 24.5
↑Testing happened on our birthdays or if he’d had a bad day… he’d try to set up a trigger event. Not supposed to be so hard, given that we were second generation capes, obviously, but he started when we were eight or so.” - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑ 19.019.1Alec shrugged, “So yeah. I worked for him for three or four years. We did jobs, I learned the family trade. Called myself Hijack at first. He started to get on my case. I think maybe he was having trouble affecting me the same way he did before my powers kicked in, so he compensated for that by riding me. Pushed my limits, made me do stuff that was dangerous, stuff that was hard on my conscience. Wanted me to break, beg him to stop, so he’d have leverage to get me to do what he wanted.” - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑His emotions were so muted. Dim. How much of that was Jean-Paul or Alec’s personality, and how much was his natural immunity, built up over years of exposure to Daddy? She couldn’t get a sense of what he was feeling, which was disappointing. - Excerpt from Interlude 11g
↑jmdlugosz: «“I think I’m done with listening to you whinge,”» “whinge” is completely unknown to most Americans, and is British. An Amarican girl would say “whine”.
↑Authorities maintain warnings and circulate pictures, they keep an eye on things, root out moles, and everyone knows but few say that the open confrontations are too costly, and the subtle stuff is matched by the power of this one cape and his nine or so cape children. It's bad enough with controlled assaults, but bringing a Kill Order into it? Crazies coming out of the woodwork, making mistakes? Nightmare. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 23.023.1“And he ordered me to kill this foot soldier for a group trying to push us out of their territory. After I was done, he told me I did it wrong, that I had to do it again with a captive we’d taken, and I knew no matter what I did, he’d make me keep doing it. Just another way of pushing my limits. I had convinced myself I didn’t care about the people I was hurting or about this guy I’d just killed, and maybe I didn’t. Maybe I don’t, still. Dunno. But it was so pointless.”
He shrugged, “I didn’t see a real reason to stay. Walked away. Changed my name, got fresh ID, changed my villain name too.” - Excerpt from Buzz 7.1
↑ 25.025.125.225.325.4“But it didn’t happen. Time passed, he never made a push for it. Guillaume got his power, you know. Ten or so of us kids, and three of us could control people one way or another. Four if we count you. We had what we needed to pull off something huge, and Daddy decided he wanted a celebrity among his girls. Took us on a road trip to a film set in Vancouver, kidnapped this star, took her back to Montreal. So petty.”
“Somehow I’m not surprised.”
“Heroes came after us, from both Vancouver and Montreal. Half of what we had built and earned as the Vasil family just kind of got trampled in the fighting that spilled out from that. All because Daddy wanted to bone someone famous. I got fed up, left.” - Excerpt from Interlude 11g
↑“So you’re on your own. And he didn’t send the others after you?” Alec moved one of his subject’s legs so she would fall to the ground rather than point her gun at the man standing next to her.
“He did. Guillaume and Nicholas. Guillaume just has to touch someone and he can sense everything they do for a good while. Nicholas just wallops you with pants-shitting waves of terror. Literally thousands of eyes and ears looking for me, can’t fight when they do get close to me.” - Excerpt from Interlude 11g
↑“Heartbreaker slit his own throat after Imp tormented him for long enough. Everyone freaked out.” - Excerpt from Infrared 19.g
↑“And you recruited the kids,” I said. I used my bugs to track the bystanders, my eyes to note more who fit the criteria. Boys and girls, some narrow in physique, most with black curls, others with that pretty set of features that had marked Regent and Cherish. Some were fit on all counts, others mingled two of the qualities and skipped a third. Heartbreaker’s offspring, unmistakably.
“I recruited some. They needed a place to go, and it’s kind of nice, having them around,” Imp said. “They’re good enough at fending for themselves. One or two, you get the feeling they’re almost like him. In a good way.” - Excerpt from Scarab 25.6