Ben is Hardman on the Mechanical Maniacs. He started out as Magma Dragoon on the X-Force alongside Mech member Classi Cal and Sinister Six member Gary Martin. He later joined Wily's Warriors (as Heatman) and the Sinister Six (as Fireman) before finally becoming Hardman.
Ben is one of the first friends Gauntlet ever made in the community and has been a vital part of the community since it's inception.
Story-wise, Ben has had multiple identities resulting in an immensely complicated backstory. One consistency is that he is a violent, somewhat angry person with little regard for those who want to control him for their own ends.
Hard has a very long and extremely convoluted history so he does not like to go into the minute details of his previous lives. The most he will tell his teammates his that he was once a member of the X-Force, Wily’s Warriors, and the Sinister Six. Asking him anything more is surefire way to annoy him and though his human form under the armour is that of male in his late-twenties, he is as jaded as a man twice that age.
Violence was been a way of life for Hard since his activation as Magma Dragoon in a now-destroyed future timeline and he tends to favour it over diplomacy. He used to revel in it as a member of the X-Force and took particularly joy in maiming and humiliating “acceptable” targets but with the destruction of his team it began to lose its lustre. Following the disbanding of the Sinister Six and the disappearance of Wily’s Warriors, he continues to endure “burn out” where he simply cares less for the collateral damage he causes on missions. He doesn’t enjoy it but the suffering of others simply does not matter to him.
This apathy extends to his teammates as well (aside from Shadowman and Spark Chan) where he hardly converses with the others and most attempts at conversation feel forced and awkward. He retains a deeply sarcastic sense of humour that he reserves for people he deems arrogant like Geminiman and often shows annoyance with members who criticize him for his reckless behaviour and callousness. As for the two members he respects, he deeply regrets his actions during the war against the Scissor Army and feels he hasn’t earned their forgiveness or their compassion. Despite this, Hard remains loyal to his teammates and will (silently) come to their aid when asked. He simply does not expect them to understand the loss he feels.
Hard still has the temper that made him infamous as Magma Dragoon but shows it considerably less than he used to. He is prone to outbursts against Crorq who he hates with a burning passion for reviving him and condemning him to servitude. He also intensely hates the MM3PC team for usurping the Sinister Six’s good name and the mere sight or mention sends him flying into a berserker rage. He plans on killing all of them but never makes his intentions known to his teammates, especially Sheriff Magnetman whom he mistrusts, and instead waits for the right opportunity to strike.
As for the law, Hard does not care for following it or proper police procedure and thus tends to enact his own brand of brutality on criminals. Their cries for mercy will go unheeded until he beats them unconscious. This causes friction between him and the rest of the team aside from Sheriff Magnetman who he will occasionally interrogate suspects with if only to threaten them with a second beating. Hard doesn’t have much of a moral code anymore because of his increasingly nihilistic worldview, however, he will not harm innocents directly.
One particular think to note is that Hard speaks with a Canadian inflection; he sometimes drops “eh?” at the end of each sentence or call people “hosers” just to annoy them. Sometimes he even copies Bob and Doug Mackenzie on the rare times he feels humorous.
So in conclusion, Hard is a violent and burnt out wreck of a robot master who secretly pines for happier times. Though he’s reluctant to admit it, he knows the Mechs are the only friends he has left and is loyal to the end, just not the most sociable type.
Shadowman: Ben goes back a long ways with Shadowman and thus respects him as both a friend and a leader. As such, he will obey a direct order from him (though he will gladly exploit a loophole if he can find it.) He remains somewhat distant on a personal level due to lingering guilt and regrets from the war. As Pyro, he will often vex or play fight with Shadowman out of a fondness for the “good ol’ days.”
Snakeman: Neutral. Ben does not interact with Snakeman much because of his aloofness towards most of the team. He does seem to have a modicum of respect for him as he rarely responds to him with sarcasm.
Needlegal: Ben affords Needlegal more respect than he does the rest of the team because she is Shadowman’s sister. Due to his nihilistic tendencies, he is far less wary about arguing back during her outbursts.
Geminiman: Sees Geminiman as a preening jerk and will gladly take Shadowman’s side in any disagreement to rankle him. He is also very dismissive of Geminiman’s knowledge of the supernatural and very caustic in his sarcasm towards him.
Magnetman: Ben’s contempt for the Sheriff could fill volumes and is probably the only member of the team that he would kill if given the chance. He does not treat the Sheriff as “real” member of the team and derisively views him as a plant Crorq had placed on the team and thus considers him less than worthless. He does not openly express these views and will half-heartedly grouse at most whenever the Sheriff uses his power on him-- largely because he is the liaison between Crorq and the team. As Pyro, he singles out the Sheriff for humiliation by taunting him mercilessly and using his physics-bending abilities to avoid retaliation.
Topman: Top’s criticisms annoy Ben to no end so he tends to be combative around him. However, unlike Geminiman or Magnetman, he does not have any genuine hatred for him.
Sparkchan: Ben often avoids interacting with Sparkchan because of his shame over his (reluctant) stint with the Scissor Army. He still cares for her deeply though his feelings for her are strictly platonic. As Pyro, he is far more affectionate towards he and considers her as sort of a sisterly figure.
AbilitiesEditAs Magma Dragoon, Ben had all the base abilities of the character before attaining his Perfect Form which endowed greater power and stamina. During "A Tale of Two Teams" MD demonstrated the ability to fly .... once. In "Time Lost" he turned invisible using an invisibility cloak ... once. In the same ep it was shown that once MD leaves Earth his volcanic powers are are harder to handle and he has to make a connection with stars. MD has also demonstrated the power to "go Nova" and destroy entire space colonies (when enhanced with the Circuit Stone).
At once point Gate turns Ben into Blaze Heatnix and he has all the base powers of that Reploid.
In an adventure involving Hsu and Chang, Magma Dragoon acquired all eight Circuit Stones. together they grant him his Perfect Form, which wields the fires of compassion(!?). As Perfect MD Ben has flight and can use Chaos Control to appear in many places almost simultaneously. In this form he wields the powerful Vulcan Hammer.
All forms of Magma Dragoon control fire in various way. Shooting fire, making fire erupt from the ground, engulfing himself in fire, etc. Each attack usually has it's own name (the signature move being the Hyper Magma Blade). Using Chaos Control allowed Ben to sense the Circuit Stones when they're nearby.
As Fireman, Ben has access to the Sinister Six's Transmetal armour, which was basically just a power boost for existing Fireman abilities. At this point the X-Force timeline was destroyed and he lost access to the powers and form of Magma Dragoon and Blaze Heartnix.
As Heatman he has all the base abilities of Heatman. When General Cutman upgraded him for the Scissor Army Heatman was powered by plutonium which gave him an explosive increase in power at the cost of his overall sanity (plutonium aced like a drug and Ben became obsessed with it; he was more berserk than ever while on it and in pain when off it). When he consumed Wily's entire supply of plutonium he changed into a version of Magma Dragoon that was merged with his Heatman design.
As Hardman Ben wears the Transmetal 3 version of the Hardman armour.
Ben sometimes transforms into Pyro Da Fox, a man-made life form based on the DNA of Tails. Or possibly Pyro is a version of Ben from the Sonic Universe. Maybe it's a bit of both.
- Pyro's powers are, in general, speed and endurance; in "Year fo the Fox" Pyro easily withstands a barrage of Fire Storms and Elec Beams at the same time.
- Pyro is capable of shooting force beams and powerful fire blasts.
- Pyro has an attack called the "Fire Twist" which involved spinning around and shooting fire beams everywhere.
- Pyro is also capable of releasing a massive plasma discharge.
- If that wan't enough Pyro has also used Lazer vision.
- Despite his many, many, MANY powers overuse tires Pyro out. Using his powers too much causes them to sputter out as if they've run out of gas.
- Pyro is physically weak and lacks physical attack strength.
- Ben can change to Pyro at will by saying "SHAZAM" and calling down magical lighting ala Captain Marvel (despite the Pyro body being shown as a separate creature in the YotF prologue; presumably it was merged with Ben's body).
- Of the Mechs, only Gauntlet knows Ben is actually Pyro (as shown in Year of the Fox) although both he and Ben seem to have forgotten that when Ben turns into Pyro during the Mech's Series 8 (Out FOXed).
Pyro himself is a Warner Bros-esque character with some typical cartoon personality traits and powers.
In "Who's Yo Daddy" it's shown Ben can use his Pyro, MD, and Heatnix powers in any form he chooses. In "I think I'm turning Kitsune" Ben claims Pyro is a kitsune; a fox spirit from Japanese mythology who eats energy and grows a new tail every 100 years.
Ben’s creator was Dr. Ming Yu and his children Nicole and Michael, all part of the science team that developed the Dragoon Clan (which consists of Ben and Mr. Dragoon) and to study "Quantum Technology" that arose following the Technodrome's destruction during the Mech's Series 2 finale. The government saw this as a threat and sent Sigma and his Maverick Hunters to wipe out the team and entire colony and to cover it up, ironically, as a Maverick attack.
In "Who's Yo Daddy" Gate claims Ben is the spirit of Frieda and Thor’s scion of Teutonic myths that descended to Earth and was to be the god of Eternal Youth and Chaos (which is why he was able to use the circuit stone’s power so well). Unfortunately Ben was made an outcast after it was discovered that he was a virtual immortal. He was shunned by an envious humanity and he constantly terrorized them throughout World War Three before retiring to a isolated island. Ben's essence didn't stay in the main universe, but was also present in the Sonic universe where Nth captured it and used it to create Ben's later Pyro identity. This was all claimed by Gate, but he was also claiming to be Nth at the time, so it's best to assume this was all an elaborate lie.
Ming and Nicole escaped while Michael escaped with Ben and Myron (Mr. Dragoon). At some point Nicole and Ben fell in love while Ben was still in his human form (his MD form, apparently, something that he can turn into). Some time later Michael was captured and handed over to the American Maverick Hunters by Canadian authorities and Ben was absorbed into the MH’s ranks.
After this time the events of X4 happened as presented in the game. Afterwards the Mavericks reformed under the team name "X-Force" including Ben as Magma Dragoon. Ben was a typical berserker and went on many adventures with the that team. At some point he started dating Iris (much to Zero's chagrin).
As MD, Ben was a frequent time traveller. He was there when the Sinister Six first formed and was invited to the Superhero convention in Megalopolis in one of the Six's earliest adventure. Shortly after that he welcomed Gauntlet to the community (in an story based on life). This would not prevent the Mechs from targeting the X-Force in the X-Force/S6 crossover A Tale of Two teams, however. The Mechs (particularly Gauntlet) grew obsessed with getting revenge on the X-Force for this.
During "Double Doom" Double finds a new power source and goes on a rampage, dismantling the X-Force when they try to stop him. Their fate is shown in Year of the Fox. The team is captured by Nth, General Alan Reno, and Dr. Nuji Yakasan. They decide to use MD's and Mr. Dragoon's (whom they've also captured) minds combined to guide their super soldier project - Pyrofoxie (later known as Pyro Da Fox). Mr. D didn't wind up being merged with their genetically engineered Mobian and they quickly lose control of Ben as he leaves to search for his lost comrades. While he's looking Double and Red break into Nth's satellite and capture them.
The Mechs seemed to battle the X-Force as they went on a rampage and the team hoped to get their revenge then, but it turned out to the the Sinister Six, Doc Robot, and Gemini Red in disguise (in "X-Force Farce").
As Pyro Ben fights Gary, the S6, and Scorpion until Gary changes him back to MD with a magical bolt of lighting (which he recently acquired), revealing himself to be the new Split Mushroom. Together they defeat Red (who had teamed up with Double), track down the missing X-Force members (and two new ones), and defeat Double by destroying Maui (which was mostly Ben). After this adventure Gary formally joins the X-Force and keeps in contact with the team as they head back to the future.
At some point Ben's fooling around with Iris got her pregnant and they had a son - Chibi MD. But it didn't work out between the two of them and they divorced.
In the early stages in the Mech's Series 3, as they're on their road trip, Ben was amongst a group of "dragons" which attacked the Mechs for associating with the dragon-killer Xelloss.
During the story "Time Lost" Ben learns about his past - and that two of his creators have been killed (presumably secretly by Sigma) as Sigma (secretly) destroys Sky Lagoon in order to gain more power from the explosion. Enraged Ben flees to steal the Circuit Stone, which grants him vast power and frames Gauntlet so that he wouldn't be caught. He picks a fight with Gauntlet (twice) for no real reason but to see who would win in a fight before both are teleported by Sigma to his base where he explains that it was he who killed Ben's creators all this time. Becoming enraged once more Ben Circuit Stone to power up and destroy Sigma's asteroid base.
In their own series the Mechs finally did get revenge in Series 3 when they encountered an alternate reality version of the team and (in Series 4's second half) played the hijinks that version of the team endured for laughs in front of the mainline Ben (when they return to their home reality in Series 4 and Ben's Heatman by then).
In "Who's Yo Daddy" Ben learned more about his origins from Gate (who claimed to have been Nth at the time) and the mad Reploid turned him and some of the X-Force into the Maverics of X6 (with Ben being Blaze Heatnix).
It's quickly evident that Ben has retained his Pyro transformation somehow as he uses it to pester his new teammates almost immediately after joining their team. Without knowing it's really Ben in disguise the Warriors try to bribe Pyro into leaving, but he claims to have bonded with the team over the gift of food and promises to stay. In "Go get your funk on" Nth abducts Ben and explains that it was he who saved him and engineered his reverse reincarnation as Heatman.
As Heatman, Ben faced a corrupted Chibi MD, now grown up and calling himself Neo Dragoon and leading a horde of clones of himself. Ben himself was disguised as his former identity of Magma Dragoon (as were all the community members that volunteered to fight the Neo Dragoon army), but Neo saw through this ruse quickly.
In the end Neo and Red would be defeated once and for all at the cost of several lives, including Gary's. However, it was not to last as Gary's consciousness remained intact within his armour. Ben himself would survive and be cloned by Kefka and be made into Fireman (upon meeting Shadowman for the first time as Fireman, Ben would claim there isn't two of them, but it would become clear later on that there are). In an unseen adventure Kefka would be behind the formation of an all-new Sinister Six who, after a battle with the originals, inherited their Transmetal armour. When meeting Shadowman as Fireman for the first time Ben would claim that being a clone was only a joke.
As Heatman, Ben would be forced into working for Dr. Wily along with the rest of the Warriors thanks to litigation.
Eventually the evil General Cutman would be drawn from his own universe by Mesmerman and the madman would begin his rampage by targeting the Sinister Six of the epiverse. In the Sinister Six's Series 5 finale the General's schemes would come to fruition. Early on Neo Dragoon kills Super Chaos and then challenges the Sinister Six when they look for clues at the S6 PC's base (at the dump). Eventually Fireman takes on Neo all by himself and, seemingly immune to permanent harm (thanks to Nth's help), he defeats the insane Neo Dragoon as they both turn their fire powers up to maximum. Unfortunately Fireman himself would not survive the assault. Gary himself would die shortly thereafter because of injuries sustained during battle (in an echo of his real life death).
Upon reflecting on the fate of his friend, copy, and son (along with his vanished timeline), the Heatman version of Ben would grow despondent. When a revived General Cutman began a large scale war Heatman joined the RPD with a plan to die in a blaze of glory as Fireman did. This was not to be, however. His remains were recovered by Chimeraman and General Cutman would remake him into the terrifying Scissor Army version of Heatman controlled by a drug like dependance on plutonium. However this was short lived. He was sent to the Skull Space Station in order to obliterate Wily's forces once and for all. After consuming all of Wily's nuclear stockpile, Heatman morphed into Magma Dragoon and blew himself and the space station along with him. He was last seen reverted to his fox form floating inert in space.
This death wouldn't last either. With Hadrian forced off the Mechs in Series 7, Crorq saw an opportunity to place someone on the Mechanical Maniacs for his own use. Hoping to use his knowledge of the future for his own use (and unaware that Classi possessed knowledge of the future herself) Crorq managed to revive Ben using the remains found in space along with what was left of Fireman's databanks (new technology allowed for their retrieval). This merged the two Bens into one which Crorq hoped to interview, however Ben has no technical knowledge and his home timeline was destroyed making his knowledge of future events doubtful at best. In a fury Crorq abandoned his plans to use Ben for these ends.
As Magma Dragoon, Ben had a penchant for eating children.
The key difference between Heatman and Fireman is that Heatman is insanely violent while Fireman is insanely delusional. Fireman would frequently hallucinate that the Muffinman was attacking him.
In his first appearance as Fireman, the robot would claim that there was only one Ben. This was just a lie.
Originally Ben was to have lost his memories of his time with the X-Force. However, everyone kept on referencing them so this idea was dropped.
There was another continuity with another Ben - the Digimon inspired X-Force AU. This, however, was short-lived and never even saw an ending. The Mechs would meet this version of the X-Force in Series 3's "Revenge by Proxy."
Ben planned to exit the team scene entirely once and planned to use the Business of War to do so. However, misunderstandings led to a confrontation behind the scenes. Story-wise Gauntlet did his best to carry out plans for Heatman in the spirit of friendship, even if they had to happen immediately rather than in the following stage as planned. In a few months Ben made up with the Mechs (as should be evident).
Story-wise the Mechanical Maniacs never did learn that Ben was Pyro Da Fox, information Ben keeps close to the chest within the series. However, Crorq does know of this identity since Ben was found in that form when he was floating in space. Crorq spilled the beans to Shakeman, but it's unknown if Shake fully understands the significance of this.
During series 8 Sheriff Mags is given secret orders to keep Ben in line. This is why the Sheriff stays close to ben wherever he goes.
At the start of Series 8, Ben remains morose over the loss of his friends and his action during the War. Over time he would get over this and become, while not exactly light hearted, more light hearted than he once was.