The Fourth Generation
Ugat (Michael Peña)
Transformed plant/tree creature
Michael goes by “UGAT,” which is Tagalong for “root.” He took the name because there were already a Golden Age hero and a Bronze age technopath villain named "Root "
Michael’s body is made up of plant matter, usually resembling a large tree. He has control over this form though, and can reshape his body at will, making his limbs longer and attacking with clawed branches, heavy fists and stomps, or even sending roots through the ground to attack at a distance. He can talk to other plants, and even influence them. In terms of raw power and potential, Ugat has very few limits. He has even managed to pull his body back into a mostly human “Groot-like” form.
Most of the time, however, he is a tree, hulking and dark of mood, devouring the sunlight and dreaming of his lost flesh.
He does not use a secret identity. There has not been a villain dumb enough to try and anger the angry plant monster by threatening his relatives, and there is no hiding his form behind a domino mask.
Michael Joshua Pena was a perfectly ordinary teenager, hoping to become a poet or a writer when he graduated high school. He lived with his mother Rose, who works on the Miramar Air Force base as a civilian roboticist. Michael’s father left his mother at the same time he was deported from the country years ago, but the Pena Family has an innumerable amount of cousins that helped provide him with role models. Michael was a good kid.
The summer he turned fifteen, he was working with his father’s former landscaping firm, working for his “Uncle” Dominic. Michael was mowing the grass in the industrial park owned by the Thule Corporation. There was a spill, and Michael was hospitalized as he was coated with an unknown chemical substance. He began to change, and a week later, Michael was a six foot intelligent tree.
A year later, Michael had enough control to speak and move. In the meantime, his old high school had been accidentally destroyed by Atomic. That was fine, Michael was now going to Halcyon High with the other freaks, as they were able to accommodate his “special needs.” His cousin Gloria is thrilled to have a family member help her with her graduate degree in botany.
Rose has been deployed with an Air Force unit overseas for her robotics knowledge as a civilian deployment. She contacts Michael weekly, and Dominic (now retired from his settlement from THULE) is a very lazy “legal guardian” when Michael isn’t out doing “Superhero Stuff.”
Why did Michael alone change when exposed to the chemical spill? What sort of life can a freak such as Michael expect? With all of his power, what good does that do him when it comes to high school? The only peers that seem to understand him are the rest of his Delinquent friends who are all as messed up as he is.
(Character Picture by Ron Leman of Blizzard’s Treant from WOW)