FANDOM


Kurt Wynn, known publicly, if at all, as The Number Man is a Thinker with the power to understand numbers and probabilities.

PersonalityEdit

He was irritated when his banking business lost customers.[1] He was more willing to interfere with organizations that didn't use his banking services.[2]

He disliked the endless white of the Cauldron Compound, and went to some lengths to decorate his office.[3] His office had no chairs, because he believed sitting would leave him too vulnerable.[4] This may have involved the health risks as well.

His participation in Cauldron's experiments gave him a great deal of knowledge regarding how powers and agents worked.[3] He knew how to use the "EM readers" Cauldron used for brain scans to determine if someone had had a second trigger.

He saw morality as a useful delusion perpetrated by society.[5] Nevertheless, he disliked violence.[6] He believed that he worked to save lives, and only ever killed out of kindness.[7] Number Man saw friendship as a sort of shared delusion, but nonetheless saw Jack Slash as a friend of sorts, as well as his polar opposite.[7] He was also interested in fashion and money as constructs of society.[3]

He has noted his distaste for the Harbinger clones. Bonesaw based their personalities according to word of mouth and rumors of his ruthlessness under that are attached to his abandoned alias, rather than acting more in line with his actual personality.[8]

ReputationEdit

Number Man was known as a "supervillain banker".[9] Despite his immense influence, he was relatively little-known.[10] Major villain groups turn to him for help hiding and manipulating their finances, a job he has performed for them adequately for decades.

Once he began operating in the field for Cauldron, he became known as one of the "bogeymen" alongside Contessa.[11]

Harbinger's power was never revealed, unknown to the public. It was believed to be some kind of hyper-awareness of space and the movements of his body, most effective at close range.[12]

AppearanceEdit

Number Man purposefully dresses as normal as possible. He wears a button-down shirt and thin-rimmed glasses. He is clean-shaven and keeps his blond hair cut short. He considers himself "bland" and appears to be a bookish, middle-aged man.[13] He sometimes wore a suit with a pocket protector, and carried pens with him.[14]

As Harbinger, he wore a flowing cloak with a hood, and a snarling, fanged mask with glowing dots in the eye-sockets.[15]

Abilities and PowersEdit

Number Man's ability makes him "good with numbers" to a ridiculous degree. He perceived his power as elaborate mathematical notation, as if written in the air.[16]

His power allowed him to understand and manipulate the world economy in immense detail.[3] He could also use it to predict the likely casualties of various End of the World scenarios.[10][17] He could potentially identify targets to push the world toward collapse.[18]

His power allowed him to analyse architecture, letting him design buildings, predict collapses,[19] and conduct controlled demolitions.[20] Doctor Mother claimed that he was able to calculate the odds of success for a given Cauldron vial, but this was a lie.[21] Tattletale believed that he would be able to break Dragon's time-lock encryption.[22]

He could perceive the Custodian's presence and the edges of Doormaker portals.[23] He was able to fight even with his sight blocked by bugs.[19] He was able to target Night Hag and Nyx despite their powers.[11] He was able to detect Taylor's bugs and identify people hiding among her swarm-clones.[24]

His ability helped him to survive falls,[12] but he was still somewhat worried by them.[25]

He could climb building-faces as fast as he could run on horizontal terrain, using his power to find handholds and footholds.[12] He climbed down a ladder so fast he almost seemed to be falling.[24]

His power was formidable in combat. He can analyse and predict an opponent during combat, allowing him to dodge their attacks by extremely narrow margins[12][26] once he understands their power.[3] He claimed that he could see the stress points of his opponent, allowing him to shatter bones.[27] He could hold Lung and Bitch's Dogs in holds that didn't allow their muscles any leverage.[28] He could judo-throw Dragon's Teeth officers in full power-armour.[12] However, he wasn't quite as good in a brawl as Contessa.[29]

His power was better at range than in a melee fight.[30] He could ricochet bullets to knock the knife out of Imp's hand when she held it to Doctor Mother's throat,[19] and to target Rime regardless of cover and her attempts to dodge.[24] A clone of him was able to disable one of Bitch's dogs by throwing something at it.[31] He was able to track Scion's location for String Theory.[32] His power enabled a clone of him to dodge Foil's attacks, despite her superhuman sense of trajectories and timing. He could also anticipate and avoid Golem's smallest, fastest hands, as well as Revel's programmed orbs.[12]

EquipmentEdit

His power allows him to use use almost anything as a weapon. He has been seen using his pens in combat,[14][27] as well as firearms. Using a small pistol he would fire from the hip;[19] on at least one occasion he made use of a sniper rifle.[24]

He was often seen with a laptop.[21][3] His office contained a number of touchscreen computers hooked up to a Doormaker portal, providing him with info from around the world.[3]

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

Kurt was a founding member[33] of the Slaughterhouse Nine under King, who chose the first cape name for the boy.[34] As Harbinger, he would fight alongside Jacob.

Kurt and Jacob killed King in 1987, they were both around twelve at the time,[35] opening the way for Jacob to reshape the King's group to his purposes.[3] Kurt would leave the group and take up a new cape name that alligned with Jack Slash's paradigms concerning such.

The Number Man would join Cauldron at some point prior to May 1, 1988.[36] He didn't operate in the field.[6]

At some point Kurt disabled Andrew Richter's "Robin Hood" program, which had been stealing money and funneling it to the Dragonslayers.[37]

Story StartEdit

Coil created accounts with The Number Man for each of the Undersiders.[9] He managed these accounts so that they grew "in alternating stutters and huge bounds".[38]

Post-EchidnaEdit

Kurt lost a number of clients thanks to the revelation that The Number Man worked with Cauldron, including Tattletale.[1]

He met with Accord to sell him vials and discuss happenings in Brockton Bay.[39]

Cauldron sent him back into the field.[6] He helped to break Pretender out of Protectorate custody, going up against a team that included Weaver.[24]

Post-TimeskipEdit

Bonesaw created ten teenage clones of him as part of the Slaughterhouse 9000.[33]

Along with Contessa, Kurt helped defeat a group of the Slaughterhouse 9000 when they were overwhelming the heroes.[11] A hours later there were only eight clones of him; all of them were with Jack Slash's group, were seen.[40] He fought them along with Contessa; she killed three of them, and the other five surrendered and joined Cauldron.[26]

Gold MorningEdit

He attended a meeting of all the major players as part of Cauldron following Scion's betrayal.[17]

At some point during or shortly after Gold Morning, he was made aware of the existence of Eden.[20]

During the Irregulars' attack on Cauldron, Number Man talked to Contessa over the phone.[41] He and his clones helped protect Doctor Mother.[19] Following her death, he helped set up the demolition that brought the Cauldron Compound down on Scion.[20]

He became part of Khepri's swarm and helped calculate the likelihood of attacks hitting Scion.[42]

He survived the event, as did several of his 'siblings'.

Early-WardEdit

He and his wife were working well together.

Kurt continued his practice of global economical manipulations. Dominant currency of Gimel.US, trading dollars, is stabilized with his efforts.[43]

Fanart GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit

  • It was initially planned for Number Man to meet with Citrine after Accord's death and form a relationship with her.[44] This showed up in the sequel.
  • Wildbow is planning to save revealing Number Man's trigger event for a sequel to Worm.[45]
  • His last name is based on the presumption that he shares a surname with his wife.[46]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Tattletale had been actively separating herself from the Number Man, issuing new accounts to the Undersiders and her organization.  Not so surprising.  Eidolon had outed him, announcing the Number Man as a Cauldron-involved cape to a crowd.

    Irritating. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  2. Gesellschaft hadn’t elected to seek out the Number Man and make use of his services, as so many supervillains around the world did.  He had no compunctions, as a consequence, about interfering with them. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  4. No chairs.  He’d worked out the dangers of sitting against the convenience and decided it wasn’t worth falling into that trap.  When he did enter his office, he walked, paced, tapped his foot while pondering deeper problems, stood and stared out the window at whatever landscape he had outside his window in a given week. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  5. “Ah,” the Number Man replied.  “Morals.”

    Another delusion perpetuated by society.  Useful, valuable, much like commerce, but still a delusion.  It only served its purpose so long as it was more constructive than not adhering to those beliefs, but people often lost sight of the fact, made it out to be something it wasn’t.

    He’d suddenly lost a great deal of interest in this conversation. - Interlude 21.x
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 “I was thinking we use you in the field, Number Man.”

    The Number Man leaned back in his chair.  “Me.”

    “You’d perform.  You have performed in the past.”

    “I suppose,” he mused.  He rubbed his chin.  He needed to shave.  “A long time ago.”

    “I know you wanted to get away from that business, but-”

    He shook his head.  “No.  This is bigger than things I want.  If I can participate in this, I can get my hands dirty.  We’ll be looking for the Slaughterhouse Nine, I take it?” - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jack was his other number, his inverse.  The Number Man was working to save lives, and he killed as a matter of kindness.  Jack considered killing a matter of fact, and any life he spared was only for his own twisted ends.

    The Number Man still considered the man a friend, as much as he knew that friendship was one of those ephemeral constructs.  One of the delusions people subjected themselves to, to make the world make sense. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  8. "I'm sorry," the Number Man said, to Rachel.  "For the behavior of my clones.  They're inaccurate, based on hearsay and speculation more than fact.  I was more polite, back then, more efficient." - Venom 29.7
  9. 9.0 9.1 "And before I forget, I arranged individual accounts for each of you with a supervillain banker by the name of The Number Man, as paying for tonight's job in bills, naturally, was unfeasible.  My men will provide you with your account information and the instructions for accessing these accounts as you retrieve your dogs." - Tangle 6.8
  10. 10.0 10.1 - Excerpt from Interlude 14.y
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Sting 26.5
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Interlude 26a
  13. He armored himself in normalcy.  He wore only a button-up shirt and thin-rimmed glasses, his blond hair cut into a short style that was easy to maintain.  To anyone on the street, he wouldn’t appear to be anything but a bookish middle-aged man.

    He hadn’t always been this bland. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  14. 14.0 14.1 Rounding out the group was the Number Man, who had a pen pressed tight against Cuff's jugular, her costume already torn open at the throat to expose flesh.  His foot was propped up on a sphere.

    I could see the resemblance between the Number Man and the boys in dress shirts.  Twenty or more years of difference, and the Number Man was dressed in a full suit, which somehow made him more imposing, pocket protector or no, but they were too similar to be anything but related. - Venom 29.7
  15. Each was young.  Teenagers.  Each had a matching mask, a snarling face, complete with fangs and glowing dots in the dark eye sockets.  Their clothing flowed, with hoods peaking above their heads.  Each carried a different improvised weapon.  A fire axe.  A two-handed shovel.  A makeshift spear.

    "Harbingers," Weaver said.  "Don't let them get close!  Finish them quickly!" - Interlude 26a
  16. As though it were penciled in the air, in thread-thin, elaborate notation, he could see the geometry and the numbers unfolding across the world around him, through the air.

    He withdrew a pen from his pocket, spun it around one finger.  The notation billowed around it, and through it, he could see the movement of the pen, the plotted trajectory, the velocity and rotation of it.  The numbers clicked into place with a speed that made the rest of him, his very perceptions, seem like slow motion. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  17. 17.0 17.1 Extinction 27.2
  18. Our Harbinger has been giving us some very good advice.  Talking about the critical places to strike.  What happens if we attack certain targets?  The world teeters on the brink of falling to the Endbringers.  Divide my remaining soldiers and attack key points in the infrastructure, and maybe that's game over for humanity. - Sting 26.6
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Venom 29.7
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Venom 29.8
  21. 21.0 21.1 "We have no need for human experimentation.  The Number Man can calculate the odds of success for a given formula."

    LIE. - Excerpt from Interlude 14.y
  22. Cockroaches 28.2
  23. His power alerted him about the Custodian’s presence as he entered the hallway.  The sum of a million infinitesimal details.

    It also informed him of the seam in the hallway, marking the nearly invisible Doormaker portal. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Drone 23.2
  25. Venom 29.9
  26. 26.0 26.1 Excerpt from Interlude 26
  27. 27.0 27.1 “You’ll miss,” the Number Man said.  “And I’ll close in and strike you, using my pen and my hand.  I can see the stress points of your body, clear as day.  I can shatter your skull like a glass, and it would be an exceptionally painful way to die.” - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  28. hey moved fluidly as the animals lunged, snapping and biting.  Confident movements.  Two caught Huntress' head, wrenched it to the side, while the others avoided snapping jaws to catch Bastard's forelimbs, bodily hauling him up and then throwing him to the ground.

    The two animals were brought down in as many seconds.  Pinned, as inexplicably as Lung was pinned.  Except this wasn't sheer strength.  They were strategic, targeting body parts, one of the young men leveraging his whole body between Bastard's forelimbs, forcing them apart in a way that the dog's musculature couldn't combat.

    It was like holding a crocodile's mouth shut.  Jaw strength aside, the crocodile wasn't built to force it's mouth open.  The wolf wasn't built to draw its legs together against its chest, but couldn't get feet under it to stand without dislodging the offending attacker.  The other had his head caught and twisted to one side. - Venom 29.7
  29. This kid with the dress clothes was slippery, efficient, but the way his movements played out… maybe not quite on Contessa's level.  Contessa would have found a way to attack and defend at the same time, instead of being stuck evading Golem's power. - Venom 29.7
  30. My power is better at range.  Better still as I get further away, attack from other angles, in more subtle ways. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  31. Golem tore his eyes away from the scene.  He glanced down at the street, where Bitch, Parian and Foil were reinforcing Tecton and Hoyden, backing them up as the Harbingers approached.  One Harbinger threw something, and a dog dropped like its heart had stopped. - Sting 26.5
  32. Extinction 27.4
  33. 33.0 33.1 King

    Screamer

    Harbinger

    Breed

    Crimson

    Gray Boy

    Nyx

    Psychosoma

    There were ten of each in various glass chambers. The original members. - Interlude 25
  34. “A reputation. Don’t tell me you don’t feel like there is something bigger, something better. You call yourself Harbinger. That’s all about the things to come.”

    “His name for me, not mine,” Harbinger said. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
  35. I have it written down somewhere, but I had it down that they were no older than twelve, IIRC. Might have been twelve. - Wildbow on Sufficient Velocity
  36. Excerpt from Interlude 15.z
  37. Richter's programs had continued to defraud organized crime, emptying bank accounts here and there.  Another agency, which Saint now knew to be the Number Man, had eventually stopped the Robin Hood A.I., but not before it had filled the Dragonslayer's coffers. - Interlude 26.x
  38. The bank account Coil had assigned to me seemed to be growing in alternating stutters and huge bounds.  The benefit of having a bank account that was managed by a guy who called himself ‘the Number Man', I supposed. - Colony 15.6
  39. Interlude 20.y
  40. Sting 26.5
  41. Interlude 29
  42. Speck 30.5
  43. Money- they handled money and they had money. Kurt had arranged the trading dollar and he’d made it work. A city couldn’t run on barter, and a megalopolis was far more involved than a city. - Excerpt from Interlude 5x II
  44. Wildbow: Accord was definitely grooming Citrine. Sorta wish I'd explored that more
    Wildbow: But in writing Worm, I was definitely keeping the "That thing you're planning to do in the future? Do it now. Move the story forward" adage in mind, and it had done well for me up to then
    Wildbow: But it did sorta overly condense things in the final quarter
    Wildbow: The Citrine/Imp vs. Heartbreaker interlude I ended up canceling would've touched far more on that
    Wildbow: But I wasn't comfortable with writing romance/relationship stuff.
    Wildbow: Would've done a lot to round out the Number Man, tho
    Wildbow: Citrine mourning the death of Accord, meets with Number Man to discuss taking over the Ambassadors.
    Wildbow: He fills some of the void that Accord left.
    [...]
    Ridandria: She wasn't sure she was in love till he threatened her with a plastic protractor
    Wildbow: No, Rid is closer. Up til the plastic protractor bit.
    Wildbow: There's a reason I canceled it though. Wasn't sure I could sell it. - Wildbow on IRC
  45. Wildbow on Spacebattles
  46. “It is. Thinkers and tinkers, Balminder? Negligible powers?” Kurt asked.

    “Not just those. Not negligible. I know my powers, Number Man. I know my shit. This wasn’t trifling.” - Interlude 5x II

NavigationEdit