LNH: LNH Comics Presents #53: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig #18
robrogers72 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 18 08:50:09 PDT 2007
LNH Comics Presents #53:
INFINITE LEADERSHIP CRY.SIG #18: Frat Boy/Ordinary Lady
"The Age of Heroes"
By Rob Rogers
4 p.m., Tuesday, April 17
"Ah, spring!" sang Easily-Discovered Man,
opening his arms to embrace the sunshine
along the western corridor of Legion
headquarters. "Sweetest of seasons, when the
ageless cycle of life begins anew, and the
heart of every young man turns to love,
baseball, and battling crime. Wouldn't you
"I wouldn't know," muttered Easily-
Discovered Man Lite, slouching along beside
his mentor. "I'm not a young man any more."
"Indeed?" Easily-Discovered Man asked.
"And here I thought that infernal device
with which the malevolent Mother Time did
accelerate your aging only advanced you
into your mid-twenties? Hardly a time to
abandon the pursuit of glory for a slow
amble into the primordial pit of age and
"Sorry, Prof," Lite said. "It's just
that it feels so weird being in my twenties.
I keep finding myself getting nostalgic for
things that just happened. And I've become
really, really self-absorbed."
"So you say," Easily-Discovered Man
said, sweeping away a pair of Oozelfinches
that had landed on his sidekick's shoulders.
"Also, I'm really starting to like the
music of John Mayer," Lite said. "Was this
what it was like for you when you went
through your twenties?"
"In truth it was not," Easily-Discovered
Man said. "For one thing, I entered upon
my third decade in the usual manner, rather
than having been blasted there by an
"Point," Lite conceded. "But didn't you
find yourself wondering whether... well,
whether you'd missed out on something? That
life had gone and passed you by while you
were paying attention to something else?"
"Not at all," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"For the moment the tender rays of that
fateful microwave did transform the humble
form of Professor Theodore Wong into the
mighty glowing warrior you see before you,
my destiny was as clear to me as if it had
been writ in three-hundred-foot tall
stone letters, raised upon the peak of the
He frowned. "You pay me no heed."
"My bad," Lite said. "It's that whole
being self-absorbed thing again."
"Take as your example your bosom
companion Frat Boy, who since his
transformation by that selfsame Mother
Time has become a whirlwind of energy
"He's also become a rampaging
@#$%hole," Lite said.
"And yet he attends to that most
pressing matter at the moment: the serial
disappearance of the Legion's leaders,"
Easily-Discovered Man said. "Behold!
The same is true of Ordinary Lady, who
despite the ravages of Mother Time,
continues to have..."
"A body that's a wonderland?"
"A mind that is focused like some
mighty telescope upon the crisis at
hand," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"Who knows, but that e'en now, her trip
to the Legion armory shall be the key that
unlocks the mystery that has held our
august body in its clutches like the talons
of some mythical Roc for lo these many
"How's it *@#$%^? going?" Innovative
Offense Boy asked, as Ordinary Lady
entered the armory.
"Easily-Discovered Man is narrating
again," the martial arts mistress replied,
as the heavy double doors ground shut
"Amateur," Kid Recap grumbled, as he
and No-Point Lad struggled to lift an
enormous rifle into position above
Innovative-Offense Boy's workbench.
Ordinary Lady peered at the rifle for a
moment before her eyes widened with
recognition. "Isn't that...?"
"The rifle used by the Sheepshagger
during the 'Mutton Mania' cascade?" Kid
Recap said. "The one that either turned
people into sheep, teleported them into
another dimension, or covered them with
thick, lustrous wool, depending on who
the writer was at any given time?"
"Yeah," Ordinary Lady said. "So what
does this have to do with our missing
"Probably nothing," No-Point Lad sighed.
"The #@$%^& it does," Innovative-Offense
Boy said, opening a panel on the side of
the weapon and reaching inside with a pair of
tweezers. He withdrew what looked to
Ordinary Lady like a glowing, pulsating
speck of dust.
"What's that?" she asked.
"Anarchic #$@%^&* plotdevicium," he
"One of the rarest elements in the
Looniverse," Kid Recap explained. "It's
formed when one cascade crashes into another."
Innovative-Offense Boy nodded, and Kid
Recap and No-Point Lad lowered the rifle to
"Occultism Kid theorized that only an
extremely powerful plot device could be
responsible for the disappearance of all
our leaders," Kid Recap said, placing a
little wooden stool and a plate in front
of Innovative Offense Boy. "Now, an
ordinary plot device -- like the one Mother
Time used on you and the others -- has a
single, predictable effect, making it
easier to track. But anarchic
Innovative-Offense Boy held up a hand.
Kid Recap unwrapped a small, pink
cardboard box and placed a chunk of peanut
butter fudge on the plate in front of him.
He signaled to No-Point Lad, who was
holding a device that looked like an old
Viewmaster in front of his eyes.
"Watch what happens when we add this
tiny bit of anarchic plotdevicium to this
piece of Granny Felendmeyer's Peanut
Butter Fudge. Which just happened to be
lying around the armory," Kid Recap added.
Innovative-Offense Boy released the
tweezers. There was a flash, followed by
a succession of swirling balls of light
that resembled a Disney special effect.
The fudge stretched and shimmered,
shifting rapidly from a piece of
confectionary into a tiny glass tiger,
a bowl of petunias, an Apatosaurus skull,
a 1980s-era Trapper Keeper, and a little
grey-faced man wearing pince-nez.
"At long last! Sentience!" the man
screamed, before becoming a box of
Kleenex, an electric blanket and finally
an America Online introductory CD.
"I'd always wondered how they were
able to make so many of those," Ordinary
"The effect is different every
*@#$%^ing time," Innovative-Offense Boy
said. "No-Point Lad, did you get a
reading on the Dhavernas device?"
"I did," No-Point Lad said. "Not
that it could possibly make the least
bit of difference."
"*@#$%^in' A," Innovative-Offense Boy
said. "Now that they're all calibrated,
we'll keep one of those $#%^& Dhavernas
devices pointed at Frat Boy, or Fratman,
or whatever he's *&#$%ing calling himself
these days, at midnight. If he disappears
-- and if anarchic *@#$%ing plotdevicium
is at work -- we'll know. We might even
be able to track him."
Innovative-Offense Boy sighed,
removing his laboratory goggles and
revealing the long dark streaks beneath
"And if that doesn't work," he said,
"we'll move on to Plan #$%^& Q."
"You're already up to Plan Q?"
Ordinary Lady asked.
"It's been a long *@#$%^ing month,"
Innovative-Offense Boy said.
Ordinary Lady reached for his hands,
rubbing them gently with her fingers.
"I'll bring this report to Fratman,"
she said. "Thank you."
"*&^%$#@," Innovative-Offense Boy
Most of the other Legionnaires had
already taken their seats in the Central
Command Center by the time Ordinary Lady
arrived. She described the progress
Innovative-Offense Boy and the others had
made, bringing cheers from some of those
in the room and a nod of appreciation from
"Excellent work. Really top shelf,"
Fratman said, as Ordinary Lady took her
seat. "And now, I'd like to ask Doctor
Bad-Bedside-Manner to report on his
efforts to return some of us to our
Fratman turned to the two-way
monitor screen in the back of the room,
where the image of the Legion's top
medical expert (in the absence of Doctor
Stomper) flickered to life.
"I'll keep this brief, because most
of you won't understand what I'm saying
anyway, and because I'm meeting an
underaged intern for drinks in about
twenty minutes," the doctor said. "In
order to reverse the effects of Mother
Time's magic scythe" -- he used his
fingers to make disparaging quotation
marks around the word 'magic' -- "I've
decided to use an experimental
chronoton bombardment procedure."
"Chronotons!" Cliche Dude gasped.
"But... they're highly unstable! No
one has ever tested them under these
"Damn it man, don't you think I
know that?" Doctor Bad-Bedside Manner
barked. "However, Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy volunteered for my experiment, and
since none of us care that much about
him anyway, I think we can agree that
it's safe to proceed."
The doctor stepped back to reveal
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, looking
confident and well-sedated, standing
within a wire-encrusted Plexiglas booth.
"Don't worry, folks," Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy grinned. "Won't nothing
happen to Lady Liberty's favorite son!"
"Engage," Doctor Bad-Bedside-Manner
spat, and energy crackled to life
within the tall plastic box.
"Ah, the sweet tang of science,"
Easily-Discovered Man said. "The
thrill of discovery! The passion for..."
A collective gasp burst from the heroes
assembled within the Central Command Center.
"Well, the good news," Doctor Bad-
Bedside Manner said, "apart from the
staggering amount of money I'm going to
charge you all for this procedure, is
that Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy is back
to his proper age."
"But... there's two of him,"
Ordinary Lady pointed out, and indeed
there was: an Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
dressed in a blue turtleneck, slacks
and a beret sipping a Starbucks latte
and another Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
to his right, wearing a red Confederate
battle flag T-shirt, cutoff jeans and
a Dale Earnhardt baseball cap, and
crushing a can of Natural Light against
"Fear not," Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
Blue said. "Our nation's medical
technologies are the most advanced on
the planet, and will surely discover
a cure for my condition within hours."
"Damn right they will," Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy Red said. "Or else we's
gonna kick us a little ass! Yee-ha!"
"Okay," Fratman said, as the
image on the viewscreen faded to black.
"As you can see, it's more important
than ever that we find and apprehend
this Mother Time. I'm open to ideas."
who had been transformed into a baby,
made a few helpful gurgles.
"He thinks she might be hiding in
Ve.net.zuela," Linguist Lass said.
"Not gonna happen," Fratman said.
"Who's next? Theory Man?"
"She's using her weapons to make
money, rather than trying to take
over the world," Theory Man said.
"So maybe she'll do it again. My
guess is that she'll strike at the
Antiques Roadhouse, turning worthless
modern-day junk into priceless
"I thought that was what eBay was
for," Lite said.
"Interesting idea. Possibly
plausible. Except that it came from
Theory Man," Fratman said. "Any other
"Maybe... maybe she's using the
scythe to help other women look
younger. Rich women," Ripping
Dancer said. "I mean, a lot of women
are concerned about their appearance."
"Kiwi!" a kiwi said.
"He said, 'kiwi'," Linguist Lass
"She knows we're after her. And
those transformed babies of hers
weren't much help as muscle," Lite
said. "Maybe she's headed down to the
Henchman Hiring Hall on the waterfront
to recruit more help."
"I think..." Easily-Discovered Man
"Hiring henchmen. I like that
idea," Fratman said. "Lite, that's good
stuff. Okay, people, let's put together
a posse and go crack heads on the
waterfront. Who's with me?"
"If I might interject..." Easily-
Discovered Man said.
"I said, who's with me?" Fratman
snapped. "I only have a few hours here,
"I'm with you," Bandwagon Chick said.
"Any opportunity to KICK SOME ASS,"
said Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy Red, who had
just entered the room.
"I'll try anything once," Sleeps-With
"Hell, I'm just curious to see how
all of this will turn out," Arthur Spitzer
"Kiwi!" the kiwi said.
"The majority rules," Mainstream Man
"But I truly believe she will return
to the factory," Easily-Discovered Man
"Look, professor," he said. "I
appreciate your experience and your point of
view, not that they've ever been in any way
helpful to this organization. But we've
got to have a decider in this outfit, and
He rose from the leader's chair and
looked around the room.
"Meeting dismissed," Fratman said.
"Lite, this was your idea. Are you on board?"
"I'd like to hear what the Prof has to
say," Lite said, remaining in his chair.
"You were a child before today," Fratman
said. "But you've never been a fool, Lite.
Think about what you're doing. Either
you're with us, or you're against us."
Lite stood up.
"You forgot the most important part of
my name," he said. "It's _Easily-Discovered
"Fine," Fratman said. "You want to
continue helping that doddering old fool play
super-hero, go ahead. But I won't forget
"Is it just me," New Look Lass said, as
Fratman and several of the other heroes left
the chamber, "or have these meetings become
a lot more dramatic since Limp-Asparagus Lad
"Go ahead, Easily-Discovered Man,"
Ordinary Lady said.
"Thank you, my dear daredevil damsel of
dire deeds and derring-do..."
"In twenty-five words or less, please."
"Yes, of course. It occurs to me that
what Lite said is quite correct: the
children Mother Time aged to do her dirty
work make very poor henchmen," Easily-
Discovered Man said. "It is difficult to
see, therefore, how they might have served
as garment workers, given that the task
requires considerably greater concentration
"And yet the clothes they make are top-
notch," New Look Lass said. "I just picked
up two or three things from their September
"So who's producing the clothes?"
Ripping Dancer asked. "And why go to all
the trouble of staffing a factory with
"I'd like to find out," Ordinary Lady
said. "New Look Lass, take some of those
clothing samples to Gorilla Grad. Ask him
to look for anything unusual."
"I'm on it like a white leather mini
over sheer black nylons," she said,
saluting and leaving the room.
Lady continued. "Get me the history of that
factory -- blueprints, business licenses,
old newspaper clippings, whatever you can
find -- and ask Browsing Boy to look at it.
"Easily-Discovered Man," Ordinary Lady
said. "You and I are going down to that
factory. If you're right, Mother Time will
be back to check up on whatever it is she's
"I'd like to come too," Ripping Dancer
"So would I," Lite added. "Although it's
not just because Ripping Dancer said she
wanted to come. Although I don't really
mind that Ripping Dancer said she..."
"I'm coming too," Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy Blue said. "I take that 'Made in the
USA' label on this country's clothes very
"Glad to hear it," Ordinary Lady said.
"Meet me in the garage in four minutes.
And Lite, pick me up a set of sais, a bo
staff, and some of those daggers Contempo
Weapons Lad created from the armory along
"Can do, ma'am."
Ordinary Lady waited until the others
had left before exiting the command center.
She was not surprised to find Innovative-
Offense Boy waiting for her on the other
side of the oak-paneled doors.
"You sounded like a @#$%^& leader in
there," he grinned.
"That's what worries me," she said.
"Sooner or later, if these disappearances
continue, one of us is going to get chosen.
And when that happens, all that will be left
at the end of the day will be a few case
files in the computer and a pile of weapons
in the arsenal. I don't want that."
Innovative-Offense Boy put his arms on
Ordinary Lady's shoulders.
"You know that's not *@#$%^ing true,
Jean," he said.
Ordinary Lady shook her head.
"I want something more," she said.
"I've been thinking about this for the last
few days. When it's my time, I want to go
knowing I've left a living legacy behind."
For the first time in as many years as
they had known each other, Ordinary Lady
saw the Legion's master strategist grow
"I... I... *@#$%^&," he said.
"That's not what I had in mind," Ordinary
Lady said. "But I will need your help."
Four minutes later, Ordinary Lady was
seated beside Easily-Discovered Man as her
squad rumbled through the streets of
"I know I've only been here a short
time," said Ripping Dancer, staring at the
rows of bobble-head dolls and the miniature
organ with Pez-dispenser pipes that adorned
the back seat of the Easily-Discovered Van,
"but why is this vehicle so..."
"Tacky and vile?" Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy Blue suggested.
"Hideous beyond all rational thought?"
"I was going to say, 'intense,'"
Ripping Dancer said.
"Crime is intense," Easily-Discovered
Man said, his voice booming over the
throbbing bass of 'Dragostea din Tei'
pulsing through the vehicle's sound system.
"Injustice is intense. To master these
things, my child, one must be even more
intense. One must be... overpowering."
"That explains the six Old Spice
air fresheners," Ordinary Lady gasped.
"Thank God we're almost at the factory."
"Indeed we are, my headstrong
headmistress and her handpicked helpmeets!
For was there ever, in fable or lyric,
a gathering as vaunted, as hewn from the
fabric of the celestial bodies above,
as that dread host which e'en now girds
itself to champion the cause of good
than the omni-powerful Ordinary Lady
and her brave band of fear-eschewing..."
"We're here," Ordinary Lady said.
"So we are!" Easily-Discovered Man
said. "Time to deploy... for justice!"
"You know," said Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy Blue, as Lite opened the back of the
van, "after that ride, I almost have
respect for you."
"Drop the chatter," Ordinary Lady
said, drawing a pair of katanas from
her backpack and twirling them like a
"But that's all I do!" Lite said.
"If she's here, we need to hit her
fast and hard," Ordinary Lady said.
"OAB, there ought to be a fire exit
around the back. Stake it out. Lite,
head up that service ladder and watch
the roof. Dancer, you and I..."
"My clothes!" Ripping Dancer gasped,
as her torn leotard rippled, stretched
and transformed itself into a white
leather bodysuit with wing-sized lapels
and a rhinestone belt. "How am I
supposed to dance in roller skates?"
"Damn it," Mother Time muttered,
fiddling with the handle of her scythe.
"I left this thing set on 'clothing.' "
"Take her!" Ordinary Lady said,
dodging a second blast from the scythe.
"Right!" said Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy Blue. "We need to get her back
before midnight, if we're going to
save Frat Boy."
"Oh, is that all?" Mother Time said,
turning the Chauvinistic Crusader's
beret into a broad silver medallion.
"Well, let's just see about that!"
"No!" Ordinary Lady said, as
Mother Time reached for her hourglass.
As she raised it above her head, the
world seemed to spin around Ordinary
Lady's head, as if she was seeing it
through a kaleidoscope, or perhaps
a clothes dryer. The sun raced
across the sky; stars bled into
shining streaks before fading again
into the dawn.
"Too late," Mother Time said,
lowering the glass. Ordinary Lady's
cell phone began throbbing at her
"Ordinary Lady," Ordinary Lady
"Jean! Where have you been?"
Innovative-Offense Boy said.
"We've been trying to reach you
for hours. Frat Boy disappeared
last night at the hiring hall.
You're the new leader of the LNH."
"Execute Plan 36," Ordinary
Lady said, as Mother Time reset
her scythe. "And put Browsing
She threw the phone to Lite.
"Find out what he knows," she
said, rolling out of the way as
Mother Time fired again.
"Give way, fair fiend," said
Easily-Discovered Man, shaking his
glowing fist at the villainess.
"Your brand of evil cannot prevail
'gainst the assembled might of the
"Yeah," Lite said. "And that
razor-on-a-stick-thing is getting
old. Which I guess is your thing,
"Quite right," Mother Time said,
dodging to the left as Ripping Dancer
threw one of her newly acquired
roller skates at the villain's head.
"That's why I've decided to accessorize
with... the Mirror of Possibility!"
"You know those things are only
effective against vampires, Medusa and
parakeets, right?" Lite said.
"The Mirror of Possibility forces
all who encounter it to confront all
that they might have been -- or that
they might still be -- had their lives
turned out differently," Mother Time
explained. "It's amazing what you can
find at estate sales these days."
"It can't be!" Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy Blue said. "I'm surrounded by...
a social worker! A kindergarten
teacher! An NPR commentator! An
Internet start-up CEO! And... an
Oscar Meyer wiener?"
"You can't really expect any of
these duplicates to pose a challenge to
us," Ordinary Lady said, facing down
versions of herself as a grad student,
a priestess, a mother and a bride.
Mother Time smiled.
"That's up to you," she said. "But
know this: destroy, or even defeat,
any one of your doppelgangers, and that's
one path you will have eliminated from
your life... forever!"
LEGION ROLL CALL:
Theory Man.... wReam
Bandwagon Chick.... Sue Clark
Cliche Dude.... Jef Kolodziej
Contempo Weapons Lad
.... Mitchell "Tarq" Crouch
.... Peter "Tick" Milan
Easily-Discovered Man and
Easily Discovered Man Lite
.... Rob Rogers
Frat Boy and Innovative-Offense Boy
Gorilla Grad.... Tony Pi
Kid Recap... Josh Geurink
....Saxon Brenton, Robert "Mystic
Mongoose" Armstrong and wReam
Linguist Lass and Ordinary Lady
... Martin Phipps
New Look Lass.... Charles Fitzgerald
No-Point Lad.... Tim Munn
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy.... Jamas Enright
Ripping Dancer.... Arthur Spitzer
.... Tom Russell
"I wasted time, and now time doth
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