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

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 08:56:55 PST 2007

My apologies for the formatting in the first post...
although it seems to be a trademark of this series...

    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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