LNH: LNH Comics Presents #500: INFINITE LEADERSHIP CRY.SIG Episode 465 -- Part I
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Tue May 1 12:25:25 PDT 2007
LNH: LNH Comics Presents #500: INFINITE LEADERSHIP CRY.SIG Episode 465
It all began on April 29th, 1992 with one post...
And now Two Days and Fifteen Years Later...
Legion of Net.Heroes Comics Presents...
INFINITE LEADERSHIP CRY.SIG
EPISODE FOUR HUNDRED AND
By Rob Rogers and Arthur Spitzer
April the 465th, 2007...
"I think trying to explain it to my grandchildren was the hardest part.
How do you explain to kids that they will never ever have another
Birthday or another Christmas because there is some evil organization
that is so twisted that it would steal all of the months that aren't
called April? How? How do you explain that?" McLaughlin Man said
looking at the TV camera and then at his guest panelists sitting around
"Perhaps you could do what I did," suggested Net.Star. "I simply
calculated the number of days in April that it would take to reach
Christmas and assigned it a new day. I think if you..."
"Having Christmas on days other than December 25th!!!?" McLaughlin Man
scoffed. "I refuse to ever do such a thing!! That's simply letting the
LNH win!! Jesus Christ was born on December 25th!! And if you have it
on any other day..."
"Actually," countered Scholarly Expert Type Person taking his pipe out
of his mouth in an intellectual way. "No one is really sure on what
date Jesus was born. A lot of experts believe that..."
"Nonsense!" McLaughlin Man said slamming his hand on the table. "My
Bible says that Jesus's birth date was on December 25th, 0000AD!!! Are
you calling God a liar??!!!!"
"Where exactly in your Bible does it...?" Scholarly Expert Type Person
started to say.
"Look," McLaughlin said ignoring the question. "This is all beside the
point. Can't we all just agree on one thing? That the LNH is to blame
for all of this?" Everyone on the panel said Amen and nodded their head.
"And the sad thing is that the one man who could fix this problem,
frequent panelist Dr. Boring, is locked away in the LNH's own personal
gulag along with other poor unfortunate souls whose only crime is not
accepting the fascist tyranny of the LNH!!!" McLaughlin Man waved his
hands in a frantic manner.
"Yes," nodded Lethal Lawyer. "This is horrible travesty of justice.
He's been locked away there for two weeks straight and the LNH refuses
to allow me to give him..."
Cannon Fodder just shook his head. Why was he even watching this crappy
show? He had a strong temptation to sic a team of robot duplicates on
McLaughlin Man. No, can't do that. As tempting as it would be. He
sighed and clicked to another channel.
"And Satan arrived in court today in his pajamas. What do think, Susan?
How will this affect his case?"
"Well normally going to court in your pajamas would be a very bad idea,
but considering this is California..."
Cannon Fodder turned the TV off. Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad had
entered the room.
"So is Kid Recap gone?"
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad nodded. [See LNHCP #499: 'The Crimes of
Amnesia!' Whenever anyone decides to write it that is...]
"Guess that leaves us two." Cannon Fodder thought about that for a
couple of seconds. "Man. Ultimate Ninja goes on vacation for a month.
And now this. 465 days later 464 people gone (LNH members, kiwis,
receptionists and so on). And we don't even know where UN went. And
now Deductive Logic Man and No Sense of Direction Man are out there
searching for him and -- How did we get here?"
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad shrugged his head. "Might as will pick our
next leader. You or me." Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad fished into his
hat, grabbed a slip of paper, and read it. "Cannon Fodder. Damn. I
thought I'd get it this time for sure."
"Well, considering how everything is going, you'll probably get your
"You have a plan?"
"Yeah, not a great one -- but I do. I'm going to take a time delayed
suicide pill right before it hits midnight. Maybe if I die my body will
return here and I'll know who or what is doing this and where the LNH'rs
have all ended up. Assuming it works. Other than that -- not really.
I just need to find a way to survive that long." Cannon Fodder took a
sip out of his coffee mug.
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad rummaged through his pocket. "Oh yeah,
here's your code pill!"
Cannon Fodder took the pill and popped it into his mouth. "Wow. I
never knew the LNH had so many codes."
"So what should we do before midnight?" asked Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad.
"Hmm." Cannon Fodder thought about it. "Well, the robot duplicates
have done a pretty good job of making Net.ropolis a crime free place.
Perhaps too good. The LNHHQ holding cells are filled to the brim with
supervillains. There's probably like 300 down there. Unfortunately,
all of the prisons in Net.ropolis seem to be packed too. Need to find
some place to move them to. And of course we still have the missing LNH
problem to solve. And this Infinite April problem."
"We have the Newbie Syndicate down in the holding cells. They're from
Earth September aren't they? A place that is always September. Maybe
they would know why our April isn't ending?" Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad
Cannon Fodder nodded. "I've thought about that. But they're pretty
clueless. And I'm not sure if Earth September has anyone that has a
clue. Damn. Just thought of something. Last member of the wReam Pack."
"Hmm? wReam Pack?"
"Yeah that's what RosterwReam... I mean wReamHack used to call us. Me,
Parking Karma Kid, Cheesecake Eater Lad, and wReamHack. The wReam Pack.
We'd have lunch together. Adventures together. Train together. We
did almost everything together. We were like the Ultimate Ninja's inner
circle. The Four Musketeers. Of course Cheesecake Eater Lad got
married -- And we sorta drifted after that. Went our separate ways."
"Heh. I can relate. I hang with Namer Boy, Ubiquitous Boy Lad Jr., and
You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad. You should see the crazy stuff
we get up to. Man. I can't believe those guys got to be leaders and
not me. Oh well. It's going to be okay. We'll find a way to get
"I guess. But you never know. Funny. I always knew that I would be
the last one. Just because of my power. The last LNH'r. There's this
dream I have every now and then. Everyone is dead. But not me. I'm
still alive. The last man in dead Looniverse." Cannon Fodder looked
into his coffee mug. Into the black liquid. "Sorry. Sometimes I just
have these moments. You're probably right. Going to be fine. Going to
be a-okay." The door to the Ultimate Ninja's office opened. "Ah, hey
"Greetings, Cannon Fodder and Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad. Has a new
leader been chosen?"
Cannon Fodder nodded. "Yep. You're looking at him. Any progress with
the whole missing LNH'rs or Never Ending April thing?"
"We're still working on it. Although I have been thinking about a
solution to the whole supervillain problem."
"The supervillain problem? Uh, what exactly?"
"The LNH seems to spend quite a bit of time capturing and re-capturing
supervillains. If the LNH simply eliminated all supervillains, then it
could devote its time fully to saving the world. My plan would involve
exterminating all of the supervillains we have in our holding cells and
the other prisons around the world. And killing anyone whoever commits
a single crime. What do you think about my idea, Cannon Fodder?"
"Umm. I think that is a very bad idea. Superheroes don't kill. Unless
it's like in self-defense or something. We're not killers. There are
laws and other stuff that the LNH has to follow."
"Yes, laws. Laws made by corrupt politicians like Hexidecimal Luthor
who aren't interesting in saving the world. If the LNH were truly
interesting in saving the world it would take it over. Humans are
simply too irrational and ignorant to make the correct choices as to who
there leaders should be."
Cannon Fodder didn't like where this conversation is heading. "Umm,
okay. You're right about people making dumb choices. But that's
freedom. You take that away and you've got slaves. And who's to say
your decisions would be any smarter? Oh, and blueberry345NH." The last
bit that Cannon Fodder said was a code to disable the robot duplicate.
"The LNH Robot Duplication Machine says so. Oh btw the first thing we
did was disable any codes that would shut us down." Robo-Stomper took
out a gun from his lab coat. "I'm sorry Cannon Fodder. I was hoping I
could convince you in a logical manner, but I'm afraid that no amount of
logic can pierce your irrational human mind. I am envoking LNH article
23789BZ47239TR of the LNH Constitution."
"Umm article what?"
"Article 23789BZ47239TR states that anyone who can assassinate the
current LNH leader becomes the LNH leader. Prepare to die, Cannon Fodder."
But before Robo-Stomper could shoot him down, Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats
Lad pulled out a piece of paper from his hat faster than anyone had ever
pulled a piece of paper out of a hat. He rushed in front of Cannon
Fodder and used the piece of paper to block the speeding bullet. The
bullet passed right through the piece of paper and into
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad. As Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad fell to the
ground, Cannon Fodder quickly threw his mug of coffee at Robo-Stomper.
The Coffee seeped into the robot duplicates circuitry board and sparks
started to fly. Cannon Fodder dodged a couple of more bullets and
quickly pulled out a katana from under the Ultimate Ninja's desk. With
all of his might he threw the katana right at the Robo-Stomper. The
katana impaled the Robo-Stomper's throat. At first the Robo-Stomper
tried to pull out the katana, but a few seconds later the robot
duplicate collapsed to the ground.
Cannon Fodder quickly kicked the gun out of the robot duplicates hand
and grabbed it. And then he rushed over to where
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad was.
"Why did you do that? It wouldn't have mattered if he had killed me!"
Cannon Fodder said as he held Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad body.
"Should have been bullet proof paper. Powers screwed up. God, dying.
Knew I appeared in too many issues. Heh. So this is death."
"You're not going to die! Please. I'm going to save you. Please, just
try and stay alive." But Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad didn't answer him.
He had slipped away into unconsciousness.
What was he going to do? No point in taking him to the Organic Lass
robot duplicate since she'd probably want both of them dead too. And
the nearest hospital was too far away. He had to think. Where? Wait.
The Peril Room. Of course! The Peril Room.
He had to take Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad to the Peril Room. Cannon
Fodder put Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad shoulder around his neck and put
his arm around Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad's chest. Christ, he was heavy!
<<LNH Members! This is the LNH Robot Duplication Machine Speaking! The
LNH Leader Cannon Fodder has gone insane! He has killed Dr. Stomper in
cold blood! He is now a menace to society and must be stopped at all
costs! Whoever kills Cannon Fodder will be made the next LNH leader!
Cannon Fodder must die!>>
Cannon Fodder looked at the LNH intercom. "Well, so much for the
Honeymoon." And with that Cannon Fodder kicked the door in front of him
open and made his way towards the Peril Room.
Cannon Fodder's Day
Last LNH'r... Standing!
Several Hours Before...
"Stop shooting!" Londonbroil screamed, as
the sniper's bullets cut into the wall
behind him, covering his clothes and those
of the tall blonde woman beside him
with brick dust and plaster. "She's an
Academy Award nominee, for *@#$%^'s sake!"
There was the briefest of pauses, and
then the shooting began again.
"Sorry," the sniper said, shouting to
them from the roof of a nearby laundromat.
"I'd thought about letting you live. But
I just don't see the point in it."
"Did you get them yet?" the
beside him asked, as the man and woman
below them ran for cover.
"No," the robotic No-Point Lad said,
happy to have found a porpoise in life at
last. "And I doubt I will. But I'll keep
firing anyway, for no particular reason."
"It's all in the attitude," Liefield's
Android Porpoise said. "My sonar tells
me they're almost at the end of the alley.
If you toss a grenade over there..."
"LEAVE THEM TO ME," a metallic voice
declared, as retro-rockets swept the rooftop
free of dust and a gunmetal-gray,
cylindrical robot settled beside the two
"Irony Man? That you?" Liefield's
Porpoise asked, glancing at the blister-
coated armored figure. "Didn't
recognize you in your new armor. It kind
of looks like a saltshaker with a skin
The slit in Irony Man's helmet
opened, and a long metal tube with a
nickel-plated suction cup on its end
emerged, raising and lowering itself
until it pointed toward the rear
of the alley below them.
"I FIND THIS NEW ARMOR GREATLY
ENHANCES MY ABILITY TO... EX-TERM-
IN-ATE!" Irony Man said, his voice
growing higher and more shrill as his
mechanical appendage crackled with
Londonbroil stared up at the armored
hero and swallowed hard.
"Well, this is it," he said to the
woman beside him, who was hiding her head
behind a shield in the shape of a waffle.
"Not that it's likely to be any consolation
to you, but I want you to know that I've
A door materialized in the brick wall
"In here," a hooded figure hissed, and
Londonbroil, having no better offers at the
moment, grabbed the woman and ducked inside,
just as Irony Man fired.
"Cheers," Londonbroil began, but
stopped, as the robed man held a finger up
to his unseen mouth. He led the couple
down a cold and empty hallway, the walls
lit by tin lanterns and lined on either
side with framed photographs.
"Jeff McCoskey. Byron Molix. Carolyn
Vaughan. Who are these people?" the woman
whispered, squinting at some of the pictures.
"Couldn't say," Londonbroil said, as
their guide led them to a second doorway.
He held his arm toward the door, indicating
that they were to go inside, bowed, and
then disappeared into the darkness.
Upon entering, the two found
themselves in a brighter, but no less
empty room that looked as though it had
once been a restaurant. Londonbroil pulled
a chair back for his companion, and the
two of them sat down.
"Do you think we're dead?" the woman
"If that's the case, then the afterlife
has lousy catering," Londonbroil replied.
"These menus look to be about ten years old."
"The In-Continuity Cafe?" the woman
read, turning the laminated paper over in
her hands. "What do you suppose it means?"
"I've heard of it, once," Londonbroil
said. "It's supposed to be a place
created by one of the Writers, and then
forgotten. A blind spot on the Looniverse,
where even the Writers themselves can't
influence what goes on inside."
"And what better place," said the deep,
gravel-filtered voice of a very old man,
"to serve as the headquarters for the
worldwide resistance movement against those
very Writers? Welcome, my children, to the
innermost sanctum of the CHURCH OF THE
"Oh, no," Londonbroil said, springing
up from his chair. "There's no way I'm
getting involved with you guys."
"Then, by all means, feel free to
withdraw by the way you came, and throw
yourself on the mercy of the LNH,"
the old man smiled. "Such as it is,
"What's happened to them?" the tall
woman asked, as two men, a woman and a
small grey cat entered the room. "When
did they start shooting first and saving
the horrible puns for later?"
"The LNH is going through a leadership
crisis -- has been through this whole,
long, neverending month, if you can believe
King Konqueror," said one of the men, dressed
in a silver jumpsuit dripping with pockets and
wearing what looked like a toaster on his
"Without the influence of the Ultimate
Ninja, the Legion's natural tendency toward
chaos has been allowed to spiral out of
control," he continued. "They've lost what
minds they had to begin with, and their
moral compasses as well."
"Nice to see you, Downyflake," said
Londonbroil, still standing behind his
chair. "Downyflake, this is Uma Thurman.
Uma, this is Downyflake, and that's our
host, Father Brown."
"Delighted," the old man said,
kissing her hand.
"Thank you," Thurman said. "And what
a beautiful little cat you have," she
added, reaching a hand towards the creature.
"I wouldn't do that, if I was you,"
Londonbroil said. "That's Barrage. He
don't take to it."
The cat settled into a chair at the
next table and regarded them with undisguised
hatred, his tail twitching back and
"That fellow over there is Plummet,"
Londonbroil said, indicating a short,
muscular man dressed in a magenta jumpsuit.
"Not much of a talker, that one, but he can
fall faster than any other living thing. And the
lady..." he continued, taking in a
slender woman with hair like dried blood
who seemed to be taller than Thurman.
"Have I seen you somewhere before?"
"It depends," the woman said, smiling.
"Do you spend much time on the Internet?"
"Are you a SuicideGirl?" Londonbroil asked,
his eyes growing wide.
Downyflake snickered. The woman frowned.
"I'm the Melissa virus," she snapped.
"However, you may call me Vector."
"Really?" Thurman asked. "I thought
Vector was a Superguy char..."
Father Brown coughed.
"He don't much like when you make
reference to things what're on the other
side of the Fourth Wall," Londonbroil
"My apologies," Thurman said.
"Vector Prime, then," the redheaded
woman said, taking the seat next to the
cat. "And I see by that unusual outfit that
you intend to take the place of the late
The actress blushed. "I'd never expected
to take her place," Thurman said, fingering
one of the waffles attached to her outfit.
"Really, I'm just here to research a role."
"And how did the two of you come to be
with us?" Father Brown asked.
"Well," Londonbroil said, returning to
his seat, "by way of researching her part,
Uma here had consented to meet with me at
Where Your Eyes Don't Go and talk a bit
about the late Queen."
"She was a saint," Downyflake said,
dabbing at his eye with a handkerchief.
"And she had a hell of a 401-K plan."
"We were just sitting there, talking away
in the bar, when Easily-Discovered Man and Lite
showed up," Londonbroil said.
The cat hissed.
"I know of this Easily-Discovered Man,"
Father Brown said. "Please continue."
"He made like he was going to arrest the
whole place," Londonbroil said. "Easily-
Discovered Man, mind you! Well, I might have
said a word or two, and Carrion -- remember
Carrion, Barrage? Big guy, from way back --
Carrion gets up and meets them halfway
across the floor. And I'm thinking, yeah,
this is it. The end of that, I mean.
"And it was," Londonbroil continued.
"Only not in the way I thought. Lite pulls out
a gun -- never seen him with a gun before --
and just shoots Carrion, there in the middle
of the bar, with some kind of electricity.
Poor bugger was still lying on the floor, arms
and legs twitching, when the whole thing went
to hell and Uma and I got out of there."
"It was very brave of you to protect me,"
Thurman said. "And clever of you to use the
Scarlet Prawn as a human shield."
The others nodded their assent.
"All of this was foretold," the priest said.
"That those mighty Authors above who do chart our
destiny with malice aforethought would tire of
making us the object of their ridicule, and
commence our outright torment for their pleasure."
"Bloody hell," Londonbroil said. "Do you
go on like this all the time? No wonder no one
comes to your church."
"Silence!" Father Brown said. "And it is
further prophesied by aged Elgar the Infinitely
Acerbic that when the heroes of this world
should fall from grace, it would fall to those
who had once been considered villains to lead
humanity out of the darkness into which it had
"What exactly did you have in mind, Father?"
Uma Thurman asked.
The priest shook his head. "This is not my
hour," he said. "I am here only to provide you
with shelter against the coming storm, and to
introduce you to the one who will lead you into
The door at the back of the cafe opened, and
an enormous man in shining black armor strode
into the room. Every part of his well-polished
armor was black as a moonless midnight, save for
one long pale visor -- curved upward on either
end like a wicked smile -- in which a single
yellow light pulsated endlessly from one side
to the other.
"The Legion of Net.Heroes has lost their way,"
the armored man said, his deep, sonorous voice
coming from somewhere within his chest. "They
have become like the immune system that attacks
its own body, a cancer on the Looniverse that
will destroy it if left unchecked. And we are
the ones who will carve out that cancer."
The speaker brought his fist down on one
of the empty tables, sending the saltshaker to
the floor and launching a saucer filled with
beer nuts into the air.
"I propose to march on Legion headquarters
this very afternoon, and destroy those system
corruptors," the armored man said. "Vector Prime
will deactivate their defenses and render their
communications inoperative. Londonbroil, Plummet
and Barrage will gain us entry into the building,
where Downyflake and the Waffle Queen will free
our fellow travelers and lay waste to our enemies."
He raised one gauntleted fist into the air.
"And with I, MYNABIRD, to lead you, you
shall be victorious. Relentless. Unstoppable.
You... my SURREPTITIOUS SEVEN! Together, we
will eviscerate the Legion, and grind Easily-
Discovered Man and Lite into a rich, gooey..."
"Just a tick," Londonbroil said. "The good
Father here just said he isn't willing to get
involved. So that leaves just six of us, I'm
"Or so it would seem," Mynabird said. "The
time has come to introduce our seventh member!"
Everyone looked expectantly at the door.
The cat yawned.
"I said," Mynabird repeated, "the time has
come to introduce our newest member!"
The door opened, and Father Brown's acolyte
ushered in a thin, frowning youth carrying
four boxes of pizza.
"Okay," the boy said. "That's three
Paprika surprise specials, and... which one of
you guys ordered the anchovies?"
The cat raised his paw.
"Oh, my," Vector Prime said, standing up
and running her hand across the boy's chin.
"That's the most delicious piece of code I've
"So you're sure you're not a SuicideGirl?"
"Look," the boy said. "I'm not into any
weird stuff, okay? I'm just doing this to put
myself through... why does she keep looking at
me like that?"
"I'm not talking to you," Vector Prime said,
the pupils of her eyes glowing green. "I'm
talking to that wonderful creature inside of you."
"What are you... oh, no," the boy said,
dropping the pizzas to the floor. The cat
immediately ran over to the top pizza and began
nibbling on it. "Not again. Not after all these
The boy clutched his face and dropped to
his knees as pinpricks of metal burst from his
skin. Wires, writhing like worms, surrounded
his arms and wove patterns across his legs.
Dull dermal plates projected from his face,
making his profile look like a Picasso
painting, and one of his eyes began to glow
"Damn," Downyflake said. "I guess that
Spurlock guy was right about too much fast
food being bad for your health."
"Behold," Mynabird said, "the ALT.IMATE
NINJA! The ultimate cyborg warrior,
unstoppable in combat, programmed to counter
the fighting moves of the entire LNH, and
hidden within the body of this humble pizza
The cyborg knelt before Vector Prime and
bowed his head.
"I AM YOURS TO COMMAND, MY LADY,"
"Looks like we're about ready to take on
the LNH," Londonbroil said, bending down
to pick up a slice of pizza. The cat
hissed again, and he backed away.
"Not quite," Mynabird said, depressing a
small black button on the side of his armor.
A black panel at the front of his armor
opened, revealing a black compact disc.
"Before we go into battle, we must first
participate in the time-honored tradition
known to all warriors... the training
montage, scored to a mid-'80s synth-pop
classic!" Mynabird said. "Fortunately,
I've brought along a copy of Europe's
'The Final Countdown.' "
"No one ever told me that being a
super-villain was going to be this painful,"
Uma Thurman said, huddling next to
Londonbroil on the subway. "My arms hurt.
My back is killing me. And I am never, never
going to get that song out of my head."
"Consider yourself lucky," said
Downyflake, who -- like Thurman and the others
-- had hidden his costume beneath a black
pea coat. "The original Waffle Queen used to
make us train to the 'Flashdance' soundtrack."
"We're here," Vector Prime hissed, as the
subway pulled into the Scavenger Avenue
station. "Have your goggles and filters
ready, and don't move above ground until
Downyflake gives you the signal."
"Where are Plummet and Barrage?"
Londonbroil asked, following the tall redhead
out of the train.
"If Barrage has done his job,"
Downyflake said, staring into a palm-sized
device shaped like a tiny waffle iron,
"that telekinetic cat has... yes. He's
positioned Plummet into geosynchronous
orbit above Legion headquarters."
Downyflake snapped the little
"Better mask up," he said. "Our friend
Plummet is about to drop in on the LNH."
"STATE NAME AND PURPOSE OF VISIT," two
Kirbybots demanded, as Vector Prime approached
the entrance to Legion headquarters.
"My name is Melissa," Vector Prime said,
her eyes beginning to glow. "And I'm here to
violate your security."
"REQUEST DE..." the first robot began,
then slumped uselessly to the floor.
The second robot looked at the first
robot, shrugged weakly, and toppled over.
"Boys," Vector Prime said, stepping over
the bodies of the two robots and entering
the lobby of the building. "Can I help it if
they fall all over themselves for me?"
"Something's wrong," the robot Multi-Tasking
Man said, looking up from his monitoring of the
Legion's defenses, a spirited debate on talk.origins
and three simultaneous games of Unreal Tournament.
"We're losing power."
"And something's moving toward us... a meteor,
by the looks of it," the wReamHack-droid said.
"Except that meteors don't usually move that fast."
"But without power, our force field won't be
able to protect us," the robot Sister-State-the
Obvious said, as the monitor station's lights began
to flicker. "What would the Gamer Boy robot think?"
"I'll see if I can jump-start the system from
one of the rooftop access panels," the Bad-Timing Boy
"So who do you think our mysterious leader is?"
Uma Thurman asked, leaning her back against the tiled
walls of the subway station.
"Well," Londonbroil said, paging through a
copy of the Net.ropolis Observer, "seeing as most
of us here have fought Easily-Discovered Man at one
time or another, and seeing as 'e seems to have
a mad-on for the fella, I has my suspicions."
Thurman turned her head toward Londonbroil.
"Do you know that your accent keeps changing?"
she asked. "I could introduce you to my dialogue
coach, if you want."
Londonbroil shook his head.
"I've been hearing about this new crime boss
tearing up the underworld," he said. "Fancies
'imself the equal of Mr. Homage. He has this
thing about heroes considered to be silly, or
ones who make a lot of jokes -- he can't stand
them. And he loves the violence. They call
"Put your goggles on," Downyflake announced.
Bad-Timing Boy had just arrived at the exact
center of the building's roof when he felt a
shadow fall across his face. He looked up.
"Oh, snap," he said.
The impact sent a shock wave rippling through
downtown Net.ropolis, shattering windows,
overturning parked cars and collapsing the Chan
Center for Breakaway Architecture at Dave Thomas
Car alarms screamed. Hydrants sent torrents
of water streaming into the air. The dust
thrown up by the crash mixed with the smoke pouring
from Legion headquarters in a haze that choked
out the sun.
The McCoskey Bridge trembled with the weight
of the blow. Two of its support cables snapped,
and drivers slammed on their brakes to avoid
contact with the snaking wires. One of them,
braking too late, skidded off the edge of the
bridge and tumbled toward the water...
...and into the waiting arms of Kid-Not
Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour Story, who
gently returned it to the bridge. As he
released the car, he saw the brilliant jade
beam of Halls Jordan's Green-Ring-Around-The
Collar seize on the broken strands of bridge
cable, fusing them back into place.
"Writers Block Woman! Keep that wave
from reaching Net.ropolis," he yelled, since
none of their communication.thingees seemed
to be working. "If it reaches the shore, the
whole fashion district will be underwater."
"And with flood pants at least six years
out of style!" the robot Writers Block Woman
gasped, hovering above the bay. "Have no fear,
my hyphenated friend, for I shall not let you
down... though I'm not entirely sure how to
go about doing that..."
"Thaz wan beeg wav," said Typo Lad,
observing the onrushing wall of water as it
approached the bridge. "R maybee.. yum,
The mighty wave vanished, leaving those
on the McCoskey bridge to stare down into
a dark reddish morass of barbecue-flavored
"Wish Rebel Yell could've seen this,"
Jordan mused, surveying the scene. "I
think that's the worst of it," he said,
flying up beside Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any
"I'm afraid not," the Kid said,
pointing across the bay to the smoldering
remains of Legion headquarters.
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the
burning of HQ!" Londonbroil sang, letting
his flamethrower play along the walls and
the furniture of the Legion's foyer.
"We have toasted all the kiwis and the
little finchies too! And now we're marching
through the yard to roast the honor guard!
Our troops are marching onnnnn..."
He stopped and raised his safety
goggles. Surrounding him were the robot
duplicates of Cheesecake-Eater Lad, Ordinary
Lady, Kid Anarky, Kid Chivalry and
Swordmaster, each pointing a blade in
"Ordinarily, I'd say this doesn't look
good," said Londonbroil, raising his hands.
"Ordinarily," Kid Chivalry said,
"That's why I brought my friend along,"
Londonbroil said, stepping aside to make
way for the Alt.Imate Ninja. "Did I happen
to mention that he's programmed to counter
the fighting patterns of each and every one
Kid Anarky smirked, raising his claymore.
"Patterns?" he said. "Let me show you
what I think of patterns."
Londonbroil tipped his hat to the heroes
and backed down another corridor. He
re-ignited his flamethrower and had aimed it
in the direction of the Central Command Center
when Easily-Discovered Man stepped into his
path, palms outstretched.
"Halt, thou flame-spewing felon!" the
glowing robot said. "How dare one such as
yourself enter these hallowed domains and
besmirch them with such wickedness?"
"You started this, Professor,"
Londonbroil said, raising his weapon. "You
walked into my bar and beat up my friends.
And you did it on the one night in a million
I had a date with Uma Thurman. That's a
hard thing for a fella to forget."
"Terrible things have been done tonight,
and worse still are yet to come," Easily-
Discovered Man said. "But only you can decide
the part you wish to play in this bloodshed.
For ought that you have done in the service
of evil, villain, I have ne'er known you to
be a murderer. Are you prepared to destroy
me to achieve your goals?"
"I never did like you, old man,"
"But you will not kill me," Easily-
Discovered Man said. "For if it were in you
to do so, you would have accomplished it
"Damn you," Londonbroil said, lowering
"You see?" Easily-Discovered Man said.
"There are still some things in heaven and..."
With a wet, greasy pop, Easily-Discovered
Man's head exploded like an overripe grape.
"Londonbroil may not be a killer,"
Barrage said, licking his paws. "But I am."
The cat looked at Londonbroil, finally
turning its tail in disgust.
"Get out," he said. "You sicken me."
"The feelin's mutual," Londonbroil said,
as he trudged out of the building.
"Oh, God," Cynical Lass said, as she
came upon the headless, smoking corpse of
Easily-Discovered Man. "Lite, we're too late."
"You have no idea," Barrage said,
staring at a block of marble that had tumbled
from the ruined ceiling. The rubble lifted
itself into the air, then rushed forward,
pinning Cynical Lass to the ground.
"Monster!" Easily-Discovered Man Lite
screamed, rushing forward and spraying Barrage
with a plastic water bottle. The cat hissed
and ran off down the corridor.
"Prof... my God," Easily-Discovered Man
Lite said, staring at the body of his mentor.
"Cyn, can you move?"
Cynical Lass coughed.
"Hold on," Easily-Discovered Man Lite said,
using his spatula as a lever to remove the
block of stone covering her body. The rubble
rolled away, leaving a battered, bruised and
bloody Cynical Lass lying on the floor of the
"I'm getting you out of here," Lite said,
dropping the spatula and placing his arms
beneath the girl.
"Not sure there's a there to go to any more,"
Cynical Lass rasped, blood spilling from her lips.
"This is no time to be quoting Gertrude Stein,"
Lite said, carrying her towards the door. "I'm
pretty sure the Legion can get along without us
for the rest of the day."
"Going to have to get along without me,
anyway," Cynical Lass said, clutching Lite's
shoulder. "Never... did... like... cats."
"Hey," Lite said. "Hey. Don't talk like
that. You still haven't had a chance to turn
me down for the prom. I haven't had the chance
to tell you... to tell you..."
"Don't get all serious on me," Cynical Lass
said, her face growing pale, her eyes locked on
Lite's. "Tell me a joke, Lite..."
Easily-Discovered Man Lite carefully lowered
the young woman to the ground and closed her eyes.
"Now this is a truly beautiful scene," said
a heavy bass voice. "If only I'd thought to add
a video recorder to the features of this helmet.
Then I could play this moment over and over again,
maybe even post it on YouTube. Oh, wait! I did!
And I will!"
"I don't know who you are," Lite said, picking
up his spatula and rushing toward the man in black
armor, "and frankly, I'm not in the mood for
"You? But you're always in the mood for
conversation," Mynabird said. "Always making clever
little jokes. Bad puns. Carrying on at the
expense of others. I thought you were never at a
loss for words."
"Sometimes I let my fingers do the talking,"
Lite said, swinging his spatula at Mynabird's helmet.
The armored warrior reached forward, grabbed the
utensil, and crumpled it into a ball.
"Guess I shouldn't send a spatula to do a
can-opener's job," Lite said, as Mynabird grabbed
him by the throat.
"Now that's the Easily-Discovered Man Lite I
know and hate," he said. "Hasn't anybody ever told
you that you're an antique? That 'bwah-ha-ha' stuff
went out of fashion twenty years ago. What readers
want nowadays is realism. Angst. A whiff of
"And plenty of violence," he added, twisting
Lite's arm around with one hand while the other
gripped his throat. Something snapped. Lite
"This is the one you don't get out of,"
Mynabird said, smashing Lite into the wall.
"This is the one where nobody comes to save you.
Because nobody cares. The world doesn't need
your kind of heroes anymore."
"It still needs heroes," Lite gasped.
"It still needs the LNH..."
"Your Legion is destroyed," Mynabird said.
"Your girlfriend is dead. Your mentor is
decapitated. Your city is in ruins. The
world you knew is in flames. And now, it's
time you knew who was responsible."
The pulsating yellow light within
Mynabird's visor stopped. There was a tiny
sound, like a puff of air, and the armored
man's helmet split in two, revealing a
miniature control console manned by a
speck-sized, reddish, eight-legged creature.
"At last, Easily-Discovered Man Lite,"
the creature pipped. "At long, long last,
my revenge is complete! You will suffer,
Easily-Discovered Man Lite... and you will
die... as you have always deserved to... at
the hands of the EASILY-DISCOVERED BRAN MITE!"
"Umm. Who?" said a confused Easily-Discovered Man Lite.
"Die!" The armored hands started pulsate. And a beam shot straight at
Easily-Discovered Man Lite. And afterwards there was just a smoking
crater where Easily-Discovered Man Lite had been.
"Hah! I win! I win! Easily-Discovered Man Lite is dead!! The Mite is
mightier than the Lite! I'm king of the world!! Who wants to give me a
high five?!" squeaked the glowing speck.
The Surreptitious Seven just kind of looked at the tiny little speck
that was speaking to them in a flabbergasted way. "What in the world is
that thing?" asked Uma Thurman. "Should we kill it?"
"You idiots! You idiots!" cried someone from behind the rubble. "Those
are robot duplicates you killed!" The villains turned around to see who
was speaking to them. It was Cannon Fodder who was lugging some
"Robot Duplicates?" Easily-Discovered Bran Mite quickly shut his helmet
back up. He scanned the charred ground. "Yes. You're right. Damn!
Oh btw about that whole Easily-Discovered Bran Mite thing -- I was just
joking! I'm the Mysterious Mynabird! And no one knows who I am! No one!"
"Oh, give it a break," said Londonbroil who had returned.
"Look you fools! This whole place is swarming with robot duplicates who
want to kill every single supervillain! There are no more LNH'rs except
for me and Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad! If you want to survive you're
going to have to do what I say!"
"And why do we need you exactly, Cannon Fodder? There's a whole army of
supervillains trapped in your LNH holding cells who could easily take
care these robot duplicates," said Easily-Discovered Bran Mite.
"Free the supervillains? Free them all? Yes. That could work. Yes.
We could do that. Free them all!" said Cannon Fodder with a slightly
crazed expression. "But first we need to get Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats
Lad to the Peril Room!"
"You want to help us free the supervillains?" said Vector Prime in a
"Yes! I can help you! I know all of the LNHHQ codes! But we need to
get to the Peril Room first?"
"And why should we help you?" hissed Barrage.
"Because I also know all of the self-destruct codes. And I will have no
problem using them!"
"Okay then -- to the Peril Room!" commanded Easily-Discovered Bran Mite.
End of Part I
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