LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #49 (1/2)

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 19:58:20 PST 2007


    Doused with microwave radiation, Theodore Wong gained the

ability to glow and be detected at great distances by anyone

with a Geiger counter.  Together with his sidekick Lite, his

intern Cynical Lass, and fellow hero Substitute Lad, Wong wages

a constant battle against the forces of corruption, chaos and

common sense as the fabulous EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN.


    The following takes place during Week 2 of the Infinite

Leadership Crisis, chronicled in "LNH Comics Presents" #41-47.


-----Previously on "The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man"----

    "Easily-Discovered Man Lite!" said Kid Recap, his eyes

lighting up the way they always did whenever he had the

opportunity to relate a particularly juicy bit of exposition.

    "You look a little down in the dumps for someone who, with

the help of Easily-Discovered Man and Cynical Lass, defeated a

powerful telepath who'd managed to convince a group of men

they'd been turned into gorillas!" Kid Recap said, as I walked

through the revolving doors of Legion of Net.Heroes


    "You left out the part where my girlfriend dumped me, my

best friend lobotomized a girl with his super-powers and my

mortal enemy, the Waffle Queen, turns out to have been

killed," I said, half-heartedly flipping a penny into the

fountain at the center of the lobby.

    "Well, look on the bright side," Kid Recap said, as a

brunette in a red-and-white jumpsuit entered the atrium,

engaged in conversation with an overweight boy in grey

overalls with a ragged towel wrapped around his neck.  "It's

a big city, and you're still young.  I'm sure you'll be

able to find yourself a new mortal enemy."

    "Hey, everybody!" said the girl, whose voice was so

cheerful, upbeat and musical that I had to check to see if

she was being followed by a group of assorted children and

Muppets.  She wasn't.  "What's going on?"

    "Now that you mention it, Sing Along Lass," said Kid

Recap, who assumed (correctly, in this case), that anyone

asking the question "what's going on?" was probably talking

to him, "Lite here was just telling me that the Waffle Queen

had died."

    "No kidding?" said the boy, who was using the little finger

of his right hand to dig something out of his ear.  The bib

of his overalls bore a badly-pixilated representation of LNH

author Saxon Brenton surrounded by a red "no" sign.  "So, uh,

when is she coming back?"

    "What, as a weasel or something?" I asked.  "I'm not even

sure she's Buddhist."

    "I think what So-Lame-Even-Saxon-Brenton-Wouldn't-Use-Him

In-A-Story-Lad is asking is whether the Waffle Queen

died a regular death or a comic book death," Kid Recap


    "What are you talking about?" I asked.  "You mean the way

people in comics drop off whenever sales get slow or the book

approaches some kind of numeric milestone?"

    "That's only part of it," Kid Recap said, walking over to

the lacquered black piano in the corner of the lobby.  "Maybe

Sing Along Lass should explain."

    "Of course," said the super-heroine, as the lights in the

room faded away and a spotlight illuminated the contours of

her costume.  "Key of C, if you wouldn't mind," she added, as

Kid Recap sat down at the piano.

    "It's hard to be a hero, as everybody knows," she sang.

    "You're forever scaling buildings and changing out of clothes

    There's prison breaks and planet quakes and alien attacks

    But when you die in comic books, sometimes you come back..."

    "Does this happen all the time?" I asked, as Kid Recap

launched into a jaunty piano tune, and a straw hat and cane

appeared in my hands.

    "Not always," Kid Recap said.  "Comic book deaths only take

place under certain circumstances."

    "Not that," I said, as my feet began to tap of their own

accord.  "I mean the singing and the dancing and the...


    "It's Sing Along Lass' power," So-Lame-Even-Saxon-Brenton

Wouldn't-Use-Him-In-A-Story-Lad said.  "It's better if you just

go with it."

    "If you're going toe-to-toe

    With your most hated mortal foe

    And he falls into a pit without a bottom,"

Sing Along Lass sang.

    "And you're sure that he's a dead guy

    But there's no corpus delecti

    Like the Yankees, he'll be back again next autumn

    "For it really doesn't matter

    If you saw a bloody splatter

    As long as there's no corpse to be exhumed

    There's no need for tears or grief

    -- you can suspend your disbelief

    'Cause that's the kind of death we call ASSUMED."

    "No body, no death," Kid Recap said.  "That's the rule."

    "But what if I've seen her body?" I asked.

    "Are you sure it's her body?" Kid Recap said.

    "Well, I'm no coroner, but..." I began, but Sing Along

Lass cut me off with the next verse.

    "If your villain should expire

    In a plane crash or a fire

    Don't assume that he's the one who wound up dead,"

Sing Along Lass sang.

    "For it might just be his good twin

    -- or a robot -- or an alien

    Or a clone who gamely volunteered to take his place instead

    "Many a character's been saved

    Between the shooting and the grave

    So I state with some reliability:

    If they have an alibi

    No one in comics truly dies


    "But if that's true," I said, "why hasn't Captain America

come back from the dead yet?  For that matter, what about

Sig.Lad?  They could have brought him back as four different

people by now."

    "Just because writers of comic books can bring back

characters from the great beyond doesn't mean they should,"

So Lame...Lad said.

    "That's right," Kid Recap said.  "Cheating death is one

thing, but cheating your readers can get you into big trouble."

    Sing Along Lass agreed, stretching her body across the

piano and twirling one of her auburn curls around a finger.

   "A scribe's sometimes allowed

   To peel back the mortal shroud

   But beware that this convention's not abused," she sang.

   "Resurrect without a reason

   And some folks will call it teasin'

   And your readers will be angry and confused

   "If it's meaningful they died

   Then it's best to let them lie

   To live on through their legacy and fame

   For life would lose its zing

   If you took away death's sting

   And the stories that we told would be quite lame."

   "Wow," I said, as the rest of the lobby broke into applause.

"So what you're saying is that keeping your death as meaningless

and gratuitous as possible is the surest guarantee you'll be

resurrected?  I guess I really did learn something from

watching all those 'Friday the 13th' movies as a kid."

    "You probably have nothing to worry about," So-Lame-Even-

Saxon-Brenton-Wouldn't-Use-Him-In-A-Story-Lad said, fishing a

quarter out of the fountain.  "Bringing back dead sidekicks is

all the rage in comics these days."

    "Thank goodness for that," Sing Along Lass said.

    "Okay," I said.  "But how am I supposed to know whether the

Waffle Queen's death was meaningful or not?  Easily-Discovered

Man and I haven't even had a chance to investigate her murder


    "Oh, that's easy," So Lame...Lad said.  "All you do is..."

    "Sorry, kid," Kid Recap said.  "But that's my cue to say,

'And now, we present episode #49 of 'The Adventures of Easily-

Discovered Man,' 'Funeral For An Enemy,' soon to be a minor

motion picture at a theater near you."


    The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man #49

                "Funeral For An Enemy"

      Plot:                                     Script:

      Rob Rogers                                Rob Rogers

    "So the Queen and I are putting together this death trap,"

said Downyflake, his face half-shadowed in the light of the

podium candles.  He was standing a few feet from our table at

Where Your Eyes Don't Go, a bar on the east end of Net.ropolis.

It was the kind of place where shadowy figures whispered

together in darkened booths, Johnny Cash songs circulated

endlessly on the jukebox and peanut shells crunched beneath your

feet like the husks of dead beetles.  At least that's what it

said in the promotional material available at the door.

    "She's got two walls of this hallway completely covered in

toasters," the Waffle Queen's former henchman continued.  "All of

'em antiques -- me and Captain Belgium were hitting garage sales

and junk shops three weekends straight -- and each of 'em is

loaded with a different kind of waffle: the sticky kind, the

explodin' kind, the kind that spins around and blades pop out,

even two or three with one of them ultrasonic pulses."

    The faces around the bar nodded.  Some of them, like

Downyflake and the Death Thoreau and the members of Pencil Rain,

were villains I'd run into before.  Others, like Doctor Oblivion,

the Seven Deadly Sphammers, the Worm and Dick Cheney, were people

I'd seen on TV or heard about from the other members of the

Legion but had never met face-to-face.  Most of them either

dressed in black or wore black armbands over their costumes.  All

had come to pay their respects.

    "We've finally got the last toaster mounted, which is a

good thing, since we've just gotten word that Easily-Discovered

Man has figured out where we are and is probably on the way,"

Downyflake continued.  "Just then the Waffle Queen tells me

she's short two gallons for the boiling-hot maple syrup

blasters.  No big deal, I tell her.  I'll just run down to the

7-11 on the corner and pick up a case or two of Aunt Jemima.

    "And she comes down off her ladder, and she looks at me --

you know that really intense look she had," the villain said.

"And she says, 'It has to be pure maple, Downyflake.  Grade B,

if you can get it.'  And I say, 'What the hell difference does

it make?  We're not inviting Easily-Discovered Man and Lite for

dinner.  We're trying to roast them alive!' "

    "Here's to roasting Easily-Discovered Man and Lite alive!"

cried Pointless Death Man from the audience, and the room was

filled with the sound of glasses clinking.

    "And she puts a hand on my shoulder, and in this very quiet

voice, she says, 'Are you an artist, or are you a thug?'  Well,

I'd never really thought of myself as anything before, just a

guy trying to do a job and stay out of jail.  And then she says,

'If you're a thug, it doesn't matter how you do a thing, as long

as it gets done.  Thugs could use a gun or a knife or sugar-free

syrup to murder Easily-Discovered Man.  They could drop a load

of bricks on his head or drive a bus into his house.  Any of

those methods would kill him just fine.' "

    "Here's to killing him just fine!" cried Rabid Child, the

man trapped in a woman's body who served as leader of the

Pencil Rain.

    Downyflake waited for the cries of "Cheers!" to abate before


    " 'What I want,' she says, 'is for people to talk about the

day Easily-Discovered Man died the way they talk about Gauguin's

Tahitian series or Picasso's 'Guernica' or a Christo

installation.  I want them to study it.  I want them to be

tranported by it.  I want it to inspire them.  And I can't do

that with Aunt Jemima.'

    "I never looked at what we do the same way again," said

Downyflake, his voice beginning to waver as he raised a glass

of something that looked like Guinness but was probably Grade B

maple.  "So here's to Constance Schlubb, best boss I ever had,

a villain among villains, a lady and a true artist.  Long live

the Queen!"

    I jostled the Prof as the room burst into cheers of "Long

live the Queen!"

    "Are you sure it's such a good idea for the two of us to be

here?" I asked, tugging at the collar of my suit.

    "Good idea?" Easily-Discovered Man replied, his glowing cowl

and cape making him the brightest spot in the room.  "My dear

Lite, what better way to uncover the murderer of the Waffle Queen

than here, where one of her former competitors might let slip

some critical clue that will assist us in ascertaining the manner

of her mortality?"

    "Speaking of mortality," I said, as Downyflake sat down and

a tall, slightly balding man in a purple suit approached the

podium, "you do realize that all of these people were the Waffle

Queen's competitors only in the sense that they all wanted to

kill us."

    "Now, now," Easily-Discovered Man replied.  "I believe

several members of the Pencil Rain merely wanted to cripple us.

My-Dall wanted to destroy our minds, as did the White Dwarf.

Barrage.... no, Barrage definitely wanted to kill us.  I am

not certain about the Death Thoreau, however..."

    I sighed, turning my attention to the speaker, who was

praising the Waffle Queen for having opened up the crime

community to food-based villains.

    "...And not since the Injoker used nitrous oxide and a

tankful of trained squid to try to tickle Very Disturbed Scary

Creature Man to death has any villain used the ancient and

honored tradition of the death trap with as much panache,"

said the man in purple, holding up a freshly-baked pie with his

left hand.  "Now, alas, she has left us here.  Alone.  Like...

like Little Jack Horner.  Sitting in the corner.  Eating his

funerary pie..."

    "Prof," I said, poking Easily-Discovered Man in the arm.

"There's a crazy man with a pie looking at us.  I think that's

nature's way of telling us it's time to go."

    But Easily-Discovered Man was still lost in thought.

"...The Quartermaster may have wanted to kill us, but he seemed

too much the gentleman... though his henchman, perhaps..."

he mused, stroking his chin.

    "He stuck in his thumb," said the man in purple, doing just

that to the pie in his hand, "and he pulled out a plum, and he

screamed 'IT'S A GOOD DAY TO DIE!'"

    "Prof!" I shouted, pushing Easily-Discovered Man out of the

way as the candied fruit whizzed past his head, embedding itself

in the wall behind us.

    "We've got to get out of here," I said, helping my employer

to his feet.  "If that had been a pecan pie, we'd be dead men

right now."

    "That can still be arranged," said a voice richer and deeper

than John Lennon had been in the late 1970s.  A small gray cat

sitting a few tables away from us raised his paw, and the room

began to shake, with several chairs, candlesticks and even the

framed photo of the Waffle Queen in front of the podium rising

into the air.

    "Hold it, Barrage," said a man in a simple peasant shirt,

green hemp trousers and Birkenstock sandals.  "If Easily-

Discovered Man is going down, I want a part of it."

    "Get in line, Death Thoreau," the Quartermaster shouted,

pulling on a pair of armored gauntlets.  "It's because of

Easily-Discovered Man that Two-Bits and I were trapped in that

prison dimension -- for something we didn't even do!  When I

get my hands on him..."

    "When we get our hands on him," Two-Bits corrected.

    "I'll be satisfied just with killing Lite," Rabid Child

hissed, picking up a wine bottle from the center of his/her


    "Hey now," I said, holding up my hands.  "Remember, we're

all here to honor the memory of the Waffle Queen..."

    "And what better way to honor her than by piling your

bloody corpses on top of her grave?" said Carrion, a

tattooed weightlifter who'd flung me into a pool table the

first time we'd met.

    "You two are probably the ones who killed her in the first

place," the Death Thoreau said.  "It's the simplest


    "My dear sir," Easily-Discovered Man said, "you cannot

possibly be inferring..."

    "...that we'd be stupid enough to show up here if we were

the ones who killed her," I finished.  "For crying out loud,

we're the ones who are investigating her death!"

    "Then you're even more foolish than I thought," Barrage

said, his tail twitching behind him.

    "Hold on," I said, grabbing the first thing I could find,

which turned out to be a fruit basket left at the bar by

someone named 'Mr. Everywhere.'  I held it in what I hoped was

a threatening manner.  "What about... what about what the Waffle

Queen said?  Remember?  She wanted our deaths to be something

special.  Are you going to trample on her memory like that?   Are

you artists, or are you thugs?"

    The room was quiet for a moment.

    "We're pretty much thugs," said the Scarlet Prawn.

    "Okay," I said.  "I didn't want to do this.   But all of

you have left me no choice."

    "Really?" Carrion asked, ripping the jukebox loose from the

wall and lifting it over his head.  "And what exactly are the

two of you going to do to us?"

    "We," the Prof said, placing his hands on his waist, "shall

chastise you with more honor than you deserve."

    "And besides that," I said, "we brought along another member

of the LNH to defeat you -- the Invisible Incendiary!"

    "We did?" Easily-Discovered Man said.

    "The Invisible Incendiary?  Really?" said the fruit-flinging

villain.  "I'd heard he was retired."

    "He is, Plum Master," Downyflake said.  "Haven't you ever

appeared in an episode of 'Easily-Discovered Man' before?  The

sidekick always comes up with some plan of escape based on a

ridiculous coincidence no one in their right minds would

possibly believe.  They get away, and we end up looking like


    "But this time," Carrion said, "they're going to be the ones

to face the music."

    "Face the music?" Plum Master asked.  "What kind of a line is


    "It's because he's holding a jukebox above his head," I

sighed.  "Look, guys, I don't want to be the one to turn

Invisible Incendiary loose on this place.  Once he gets


    "If Invisible Incendiary was really here, at least one

of us would notice the warmth in the room," Rabid Child said.

"Carrion, if you'd like to do the honors..."

    Carrion nodded, grunted and threw the jukebox...

    ...which burst into smoke, ash and soot seconds before it

could collide with my head.

    "It's really him!  Scatter!" Downyflake cried, as Carrion

leapt backward, Barrage bolted from the room, Dick Cheney

swirled his cape around himself and disappeared in a puff of

sulfur and the others ran pell-mell from the bar.

    "Remarkable!" Easily-Discovered Man said, moments later,

as we surveyed the wreckage.  "And to think I had no idea you

had asked that portentous phantom of pyrokinesis to accompany

us.  How fortuitous that you did!"

    "Actually, I didn't," I said.  "You can come out of the

shadows now, Londonbroil."

    "Londonbroil!" the Prof gasped, as the flamethrower-

carrying villain emerged from the doorway leading to the

kitchen, tipping his bowler hat to us as he entered. "Why would

one of my most resolute enemies come to my aid at such a time?"

    "As a matter of fact," the Acetylene Anglophile said,

pointing his flamethrower at the Prof, "I'm still of two minds

whether to help the two of you or reserve the right to kill you

myself.  Are you really trying to find him what done in the

Waffle Queen?"

    "You have my word that I am," Easily-Discovered Man said.

    "Very well," Londonbroil said, lowering his weapon.   "If

someone out there is gunning for super-villains, it's a sure

bet the local constabulatory isn't going to be much help...and

none of the other super-heroes is likely to give a damn."

    "You think it might be another villain?" I asked.

"Downyflake was here tonight, but what about the other members

of Team Waffle?"

    Londonbroil shook his head.  "Doubt it," he said.   "Captain

Belgium seems too much of a straight arrow, and Mrs. Butterworth

was practically her best friend.  The two of them was like


    "Then perhaps it is she who would be most familiar with the

Waffle Queen's activities over the past week," Easily-Discovered

Man said.  "According to the police, the arch-fiend died in her

apartment, apparently whilst she was eating.  There was no sign

of forced entry..."

    "Doesn't mean that much when you're living in a world where

people can slide under doors or walk through walls or turn into

Bovril or whatever," Londonbroil said.  "But it's a start.

    "I'll contact you with an address for Mrs. Butterworth," he

said, tossing a compact pager at me.  "The two of you may want to

look into Schlubb's consulting business.  There were quite a few

young people with super-powers the Queen outed as part of her

career, and one or more of them might have come looking for her."

    "Thanks," I said, as Easily-Discovered Man picked his way

toward the door.  "I guess I owe you one."

    "Bloody well right you do," said Londonbroil, picking up the

photograph of the Waffle Queen from the floor of the bar and

dusting it off with his sleeve.  "Lite, do you swear you'll bring

in whoever killed Constance -- no matter who it turns out to be?"

    "Part of the job description," I said.

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