Interactive net.madness in the superhero genre! Visit rec.arts.comics.creative for more!
[ The cover is a young girl standing on a mountain with her back to us, holding a glowing equation over her head and facing a giant turtle with a long beard and a toga flying towards her on jets of flame.]
In her room one night, turning, tossing, unable to sleep, Faith Barnham receives a shocking message from beyond!
“I am Baron Verulam, the last!” said the phantasm. “You are the only one who can help me!”
“Help you do what!?” asked the frightened teen.
“Help me solve Francis Bacon’s last puzzle, and save the land of Bensalem from ultimate destruction!”
The shadow spread, and the net.heroes were right in its path. Twitter held on to the exhausted Sp33d Fr34k. She was closest - and so, it touched her mind first.
Twitter staggered under the sudden mental weight. Kid Borlaug felt like his legs were turning to cheese. The Crimson @venger fell back, clenching her teeth. Very Big Boy closed his eyes, overcome by lethargy. Pummelo fell to one knee.
And Outfielder Boy, feeling the push on his mind, pushed back. He threw up a wall of telestatic, the psychic noise creating a buffer around his teammates.
Twitter, first to fall, was also first to rise. “Okay!” she said, shouting to be heard over the mindnoise. “Very Big Boy, take Sp33d Fr34k back to LNHQ.”
“You’re both wounded, and you can move faster carrying her than I could!”
“…” Very Big Boy shook his head to clear out the cobwebs. She was the leader on this mission, and it wouldn’t do to underestimate her. “Right!”
As he took off toward the headquarters, Twitter turned. “Okay, guys, stay as far away as you can. Outfielder Boy, keep up the defense. Crimson @venger, see how it reacts to a long-range attack. Kid Borlaug, anything you can do to slow it down. Pummelo - you with us?”
“Uh—” He swallowed, struggling with his perspective switch. “Yeah.”
“Okay. Shoot acid, right?” Twitter bounced in place. She was finding it harder and harder to keep up the ‘super-serious squad leader’ act. “Anything else?”
Pummelo could see that he was dealing with a no-nonsense hardass. “If I concentrate, it homes in on people’s eyes.”
Oh man, ewgh. But useful! “All right, get it ready. On my signal, squirt the bastard!”
He nodded, and the plan went into action. Kid Borlaug reached out to the weeds poking through cracks in the pavement. He whispered words of growth and encouragement, and they responded, climbing up to entangle the approaching figure - only to lose their impetus halfway.
The Crimson @venger gathered net.elemental force into a swirling sphere of pure punctuation. She lobbed it through the air, with an arc like a mortar shell, rising and falling on the figure’s head - and thudding to the ground with no effect.
Outfielder Boy winced at the strain. “‘s stronger… closer… they get!”
“Right!” Twitter had had it. Pummel into unconsciousness with super-speed fists first, ask questions later!
She raced towards the figure. Her accelerated senses picked out details: the shuffling gait, the desaturated purple and gray of the outfit, and the fact that, hey, this guy looked just like a normal college kid—
And then she looked into his eyes.
It was hard to do it. Too hard. But everything else was harder. No purpose. No point, really. To anything. And even if she’d had some sensible reason, it wasn’t like she’d accomplish anything.
As her mind was flooded by thoughts flowing like molasses, the energy leeched from her limbs. Even with a lightning-fast mind, there was only a fraction of a second in which to act.
Just long enough, in other words, to send a signal.
A squirt of citrus zigged through the air, zagging with mathematical precision into the figure’s eyes.
Twitter tore away at maximum acceleration, looping around in a wide, ragged arc and knocking over Pummelo.
“Oh… hah… n-nice job.” She sucked in a breath and rose - and felt the shadow. The figure was closing in, and Outfielder Boy had fallen to his knees.
The Crimson @venger had Kid Borlaug thrown over her shoulder. “I fear we must retreat!”
“No,” said Twitter, stumbling, turning to face the shadow. “Can’t let it get further into the city…”
Kid Borlaug raised his head. “Gotta fight ‘t the end… ‘s the Legion way…”
The Crimson @venger nodded grimly. “Then fight we sha—”
Outfielder Boy gasped, and the blanket of protective static vanished.
It oozed over them like a leaden fog. It wasn’t that they couldn’t get away. It just didn’t matter if they did. They could get to it later. Right now, it was time to do nothing. Time to be…
A double thunderclap split the sky, and bolts of supersaturated prismatic color slammed into the figure. The shadow rippled violently, emotion from all up and down the spectrum bleeding out before it burst like an overstressed soap bubble. The figure - the man - wobbled and fell on his rear. “…what!?”
He stared up. Oh. The new people were here. The scintillating supergods, and their herald…
A being touched down in front of the net.heroes, completely covered in constantly shifting fractal patterns, blue and purple and red. “Yo. I’m Chaos Theory, these are the Agents of the Intergalactic Network, and that was a Servant of Sloth. Any questions?”
Casey von Aluminumfoil looked across Net.ropolis. The skyscrapers were asleep.
The sky was a dizzying profusion of stars, and he couldn’t look into its eyes. He walked among prone humans, who ate the lotus of boredom. The heartbeat of time was soft and closed.
None could walk, and therefore he did; it would only drive him where he was. But a light walked before him. It spun, and its sharp honey gleam washed him of delusion. As it lifted the sleepers, he knew why and when and what and where it was…
[ June 1st, 2013 ]
It was a nice, sunny day at the Net.ropolis Fur Outlet… when TERROR STRUCK!
“Hahahaha!” haha’d a teenage black girl. She wore a flaring, pointed mask and gloves with long, steel claws, along with jeans and a T-shirt. Standing on the display counter with a double armful of pelts, she proclaimed, “These ill-gotten gains will help fund our reign… OF TERROR!”
A young man, about college-aged, with similar looks and a similar mask, sighed and held out a large cloth bag. “Really, Olivia—”
“Shut up, Tra— TLDR!” She tossed the furs in his face. “Call me OTP, and nothing else! After all— soon the whole WORLD will know me by that name! Mwahahaha—”
“Stop right there!” Twitter stood on the opposite counter, pointing at OTP, and around her, dramatically arrayed, stood Outfielder Boy, Very Big Boy, Kid Borlaug and the Crimson @venger— the Legion of Net.Heroes!
[ The cover is a simple holofoil; dark grey with a silvery Irony Man II in the position of Rodin’s Thinker and the series logo in blue. In the corner is the Flame Wars Final logo. ]
Drops of red swirled into a creamy yellow-white base. Thin-sliced bits of fruit fell in, and were stirred with gusto. A light powder fell on the surface, and it slid into the heat. Baking, baking… finally, it was done. One cut, then another, it rose to the lips, and…
Cheesecake-Eater Lad sighed. This ketchup-mango-chai cheesecake just wasn’t working.
The Commons were one of the lights of a lonely galaxy.
A race that split from the Cascaders long ago, their stock in trade was
knowledge, and the stated goal of their society was to spread it.
They constructed a network of great energic nodes across the Orion-
Cygnus Arm and began trading. The great civilizations girded themselves
for economic strife, but when the Commons arrived, it was with a
question: How can we fit ourselves in without screwing you over?
Thus, the Commons slotted into the holes in the system, separate from
it, but working within its rules. They traded old information for new;
not just dry facts, but expressions of cultural distinctiveness. They
translated handshakes and how-are-yous from one star-spanning nation of
space to another.
Their one great flaw was their centralization. The Crucible of the
Commons was the central node of their network, a library planet second
only to Webster’s World. Not all of the Commons’ communications passed
through it - indeed, it participated directly in very few trades. But
the underlying assumption of the entire system was that it would be
And then the shadow came, and passed across it…
Now, the energic nodes are still. Hails, first annoyed, then worried,
then frantic have gone unanswered. Acquisitions, new and old, sleep in
stasis pods. And the Commons themselves…
Pity the Commons. But you may want to save a share of pity for the next
the superhero genre is supposed to be about hope and heroism
not perpetual angst and bullshit as a stand in for quality
there’s nothing intrinsically less valuable or relevant about stories of joy, or characters who are often happy and kind
the medium should be allowed to mature, of course, and that means showing a spectrum of things, but it does not mean abandoning what the genre is founded on
And that’s basically why we do this.
Written by Adrian J. McClureOriginally posted June 13, 2003 (Commentary track posted April 28, 2013)
LNH Non-Comics presents
A KnightsBridge production
#1 (of ?)
“The Genetically-Engineered Vegetables of Wrath, part 1,” AKA “The End of History, part -2”
Almost a Flame Wars VI crossover
It was not exactly a dark and stormy night. For one thing, it wasn’t even dark, although it was a bit foggy, so naturally it couldn’t be stormy or night either. In fact, it was about the afternoon. So it was more of a light and foggy afternoon. It was still menacing, though.
“Just get on with the story,” muttered Ultimate Mercenary under his breath.