LNH: LNH Comics Presents #504
robrogers72 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 11:19:54 PDT 2011
When the mad Dr. Killfile threatened to destroy the
Internet -- THEY answered the call! Today, THEIR strange
and mighty powers are our last, best line of defense
against crime, disaster and unspeakable horror! THEY are
our knights in shining spandex... the LEGION OF NET.HEROES!
[Cover shows Easily-Discovered Man Lite acting as the
referee at the center of a boxing match. In one corner is
Particle Man; in the other is the zombie President James K.
WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE: Nearly every deceased President
of the Usenetted States has risen from his grave, using
his power to influence others to spread chaos and cause
destruction. While members of the Legion of Net.Heroes
fan out across the nation to do battle with the monsters,
one Legionnaire -- Occultism Kid -- seeks an answer to the
mystery of the zombie presidents within the hidden halls
of the nation's capital...
* * *
Legion of Net.Heroes Comics Presents #504:
"Dark Horse Rising"
By Rob Rogers
* * *
Library of Congress,
Washington.gov 20 February 2011 12:32 p.m.
"You weren't entirely honest with the President,"
said Secret Service Agent Samantha Baron, as she, Occultism
Kid and Anal-Retentive Archive Kid entered the Library of
Congress' Jefferson Building.
"Good," Occultism Kid said. "I do my best never to be
entirely honest with anyone, and I'd hate to think I was
"You mentioned Taft and Abraham Lincoln. But you
never said anything about the remains of our most recent
President," Baron said.
"Hex Luthor?" Occultism Kid said. "What makes you
think he's dead?"
Agent Baron scowled. "Just because the federal
government doesn't intervene in the affairs of your private
army doesn't mean we're not aware of them," she said.
"Especially when it comes to a former head of state."
[The fate of former U.S. President Hexadecimal Luthor
is revealed in Beige Midnight #6 -- Footnote Girl].
"Yes. Well, Luthor is hardly the President I'm
concerned about at the moment," Occultism Kid said, as
the group approached a statue of Thomas Jefferson tucked
into an out-of-the-way alcove.
"Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, how familiar are you with
the life and career of Mr. Jefferson?" Occultism Kid asked.
"Let's see," the younger man said, tilting his head
slightly, as though something fascinating had just appeared
on the ceiling. "Third President, first Secretary of State,
former Governor of Virginia, author of the Declaration of
Independence, inventor, scientist, diplomat... And didn't
his personal library make up the original collection of this
"Not the original collection," Agent Baron said.
"That was destroyed when the British burned Washington
during the War of 1812. Jefferson re-launched the library
by selling his collection to Congress in 1815. Of course,
two-thirds of that donation was lost during a fire in the
library in 1851."
"Or so your government would have us believe," said
Occultism Kid, approaching the statue. "I take it you're
familiar with the device Mr. Jefferson is holding in his
"I didn't even notice it at first. But that looks
like a cypher wheel," Anal-Retentive Archive Kid said.
"A code of Jefferson's own invention, used for his
personal correspondence, and later by the U.S. intelligence
services until the Second World War," said Occultism Kid,
reaching up to adjust the tumblers of the cypher wheel.
"Truly a remarkable man."
As Occultism Kid spoke, the two enormous bookshelves
across from the statue of Jefferson groaned for a moment,
then shifted ever-so-slightly apart, so that a crack about
three inches wide formed between them.
"After you," Occultism Kid said.
"But we can't possibly walk through that tiny gap,"
Anal Retentive Archive Kid said.
Agent Baron sighed. "It's bigger on the inside than
it is on the outside," she said, walking forward. "That
was what you were going to say, wasn't it?"
Occultism Kid pursed his lips together. "That's not
important," he said, approaching the doorway.
As Anal-Retentive Kid reached the passage, the room
seemed to stretch and shrink at the same time. Staircases
appeared at odd angles, reaching up into infinity and
fading away to hidden points in the far distance. Candles
flickered, apparently suspended in mid-air. Everything
smelled of old oak and camphor.
"Welcome to the Secret Library," Occultism Kid said,
opening his arms to the room. "The single greatest
repository of arcane knowledge you are ever likely to
encounter -- unless the Mormons let you into their private
collection beneath the Tabernacle, which I sincerely
doubt. Here are..."
"My God," said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, pressing
his hands against the walls of a glass case. "That...
my Latin's rusty... but that looks to be a copy of the
Libri Auspiciorum. Julius Caesar's Libri Auspiciorum.
The last one supposedly burned with the Library of
"Yes, well, if you believe Agent Baron, this whole
collection burned in 1851," Occultism Kid said. "The
truth, of course, is that Congress decided there were
certain items in President Jefferson's private collection
that the Ame.rec.an people were not ready to see. So the
regular Library of Congress holds the Jefferson Bible, and
the Jefferson Koran..."
"And this one contains the Jefferson Net.cronomicon,"
Agent Baron said, indicating a flesh-colored book in
another glass case. "And there's his copy of the Gospel of
Eve, and the Quipu chronicling the last days of the Inca
Empire. But none of that is what we're here for.
Is it?" she added, glaring at Anal-Retentive Archive Kid.
"An actual copy of 'Love's Labours Won,' " gushed
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, rushing from one strangely-
balanced stack of books to another. "And the last six
issues of Miracleman. And 'Twilight of the Superheroes'
...my God, with art by George Perez. And issues 4 and 5
of 'A Lurk of Faith...' "
"Your assistant seems like he'll be more of a
hindrance than a help," Agent Baron said, as Anal-Retentive
Archive Kid disappeared into the stacks. "I still don't
understand why you insisted on bringing him."
"It's always nice to have someone to talk to,"
Occultism Kid said, squatting down to examine the library's
card catalog. "Besides, I expect Anal-Retentive Archive
Kid will end up surprising both of us with the quality
of his research. In fact, I'm counting on it."
* * *
Mesilla, Net.Mexico 1:56 p.m. MST
"Why is it?" asked Hector Lopez -- the young man known
as Easily-Discovered Man Lite to his friends and a startling
number of enemies -- "that every time we go to visit our
grandparents in Net.Mexico, we're ambushed by a crowd of
racist yahoos led by a zombie ex-President?"
"What are you talking about?" his brother Juan
shouted, his back to Hector as the crowd closed in around
them. "We haven't been to visit our grandparents in years."
"And this experience confirms the wisdom of that
decision," Hector said, looking for a break in the wall of
angry, sign-carrying protestors that faced him.
Though they dressed differently -- some wore T-shirts
and shorts, while others wore suits or heavy jackets that
seemed out of place in the Mesilla sun -- all of them
carried signs, with slogans reading "Mexicans Go Home,"
"What Part of ILLEGAL Immigration Don't You Understand?"
and, inexplicably, "Barracks Boatman was Born in Nigeria."
All of them moved in lock-step, their shuffling,
shambling motions jerking in rhythm with the pealing of the
bells in the tower of St. Albino's Church. And when they
spoke, each member of the crowd chanted "Manifest Destiny!"
-- a tribute, of sorts, to the man who commanded their
attention from the church tower: the dessicated corpse of
former President James K. Polk.
"We need to get out of here," Lite said. "If there's
one thing I've learned as a sidekick to Easily-Discovered
Man, it's that you can't win an argument with a zombie. And
mind-controlled bigots are even worse."
"Who said anything about arguing?" Juan replied,
twisting his hands around the neck of a baseball bat.
"These jerks want to drive Grandma and Grandpa out of
business -- calling us illegal immigrants, when our family
has been here since before this city became Ame.rec.an
"I've noticed that," Lite said. "I've also noticed
that there's about six hundred of them -- not counting the
undead monster perched on top of the church -- and two of
us. I'd say it's about time we made a break for... JUAN!"
Easily-Discovered Man Lite screamed as his brother
lunged toward the mob... and then sighed, as the horde
of Polk followers charged toward them, enraged.
"Great," Lite muttered, drawing his spatula from its
sheath as the crowd advanced. "Well, if this is how it
ends, I suppose I might as well go down swinging. Or
flipping," he added, glancng at the spatula. "Man, I really
didn't want to go down flipping."
As Lite raised the utensil, however, he found his arms
blocked by iron bars that shimmered into existence around
him, while walls of glass enclosed his brother.
"Okay, this is weird," Juan said. "You're trapped in
a cage, and I'm stuck under an aquarium. Do you suppose
these guys looted a pet store before coming here? Because
I would've liked to get in on that action."
"It means that our butts have been saved," said Lite,
as a teenager in a yellow wrestler's outfit and a blue bird
with an uncanny resemblance to the Twitter logo soared
above their heads. "And that things are about to get a lot
"Hide away, folk family!" cried Particle Man,
gesturing toward the pair with what looked like an enormous
hammer. "Or else someone's gonna get you. Someone's gonna
get you. Someone's gonna... Lite? What are you doing
"One of your friends from the LNH?" Juan asked, hands
pressed against the walls of his aquarium. "How'd he find
us? Do you have some kind of beeper? And what did he mean
about us being a folk family?"
"Particle Man doesn't need a beeper. He knows the
World's Address," Hector said. "Besides, the only people who
carry beepers in 2011 are drug dealers and people waiting
for a table at P.F. Chang's."
"What's the situation, Lite?" Particle Man asked,
hovering a few feet from the door of the cage. "I was told
that Zombie Polk was orchestrating a riot down here. But
he doesn't seem to be exercising any direct control over
"He's..." Lite began, before his words were drowned
out by the ringing of the church bells and another chorus
of "Manifest Destiny!" and "Fifty-four forty or fight!"
"Hold on, I can't hear you," said Particle Man,
drawing closer. "Man, it's so loud out here!"
"That's just it," Lite shouted. "He's channeling his
power through the bells, using them to inflame the deep-
seated prejudices of these people and turn them into
the supporting cast of Thriller."
"Easily-Discovered Man Lite is correct," Blue Canary
said, returning from a sortie near the church tower.
"They are persuaded by the ringing of the bells. They're
not responsible for anything they do."
"Then there's only one way to go," said Particle Man,
who remained untouched by the thrown bricks and beer
bottles of the crowd -- partly because it was impossible
for any of them to know his speed and location at the same
time, and partly because most of them were roaring drunk.
He snapped his fingers, and the cage and aquarium
surrounding the Lopez brothers vanished, causing Juan to
topple to the ground. "Can the two of you handle things
here until we get back?"
"Oh, sure," said Lite, as a brick sailed past his
shoulder. "Angry, drunken mind-controlled mobs and chile
verde are the two reasons I come to Net.Mexico."
"Using bells to control human behavior," Blue Canary
mused, as he and Particle Man soared over Old Mesilla's
Market Square. "You know, if I didn't know better, I'd
say that Polk might just be taking a page from..."
"Pavlov? Public schools?" Particle Man guessed.
"I was going to say They Might Be Giants," said Blue
Canary, as the exquisite dead guy in question came into
view, tall and imposing even in un-death. "Strange as it
sounds, it's possible that Polk may be tapping into the
same source of power that fuels your own abilities."
"That would explain why my brain is full of facts about
Polk," Particle Man said. "Well, that and the fact that
he was featued on C-SPAN's 'True Washington.gov Story' and
'Behind the Legislation' last week."
"If that's the case," Blue Canary said, "you'll want
to take special care to..."
"Hold that thought," said Particle Man, who had
come within taunting distance of the Presidential corpse.
"Hey, YOU! Yeah, James K. Polk! Our 11th President?"
Polk's skull swiveled to face the flying hero in a
halted, jerking manner that would have made stop-motion
animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen weep for joy.
"Yeah, that's right," Particle Man continued. "Young
Hickory? Napoleon of the Stump? I'm calling you out!"
The zombie's teeth formed a wide, wicked grin.
"Napoleon of the Stump?" Blue Canary asked.
"Oh, sure. It was one of his nicknames," Particle
Man said. "They gave it to him because he was so good at
public... HEY NOW!"
Still grinning, the undead Dark Horse of Ame.rec.an
Politics had reached toward the parapet of St. Albino's,
grasped the shaft of an iron weathervane, uprooted the
instrument as easily as if he had been pulling a weed
from his backyard garden and hurled it at a startled
The net.hero had just enough time to throw his head
back -- performing a kind of aerial limbo dance -- before
the improvised spear soared past.
"Bastard wants to hit me," Particle Man muttered.
"For a guy that's been dead nearly two centuries, he's
got a pretty good throwing arm."
"He is displaying powers no other Presidential zombie
has shown," Blue Canary said, fluttering just out of reach
of Polk's grasping claws. "This tends to support my They
Might Be Giants theory."
"Are you sure?" Particle Man said, as Polk raised his
thin, decaying arms above his head. "I mean, They Might
Be Giants were born more than a century after Polk was in
power. Maybe he's just a '28 Days Later' kind of zombie
living in a 'Night of the Living Dead' kind of world."
Zombie Polk clapped his hands together, and the
clanging of the tower bells rose from a cacaphonous hum to
a deafening roar. Windows shattered; car alarms up and down
the square beeped and whirred in protest and several urban
professionals looked up momentarily from their Blackberrys.
"That does it," shouted Particle Man, hands clasped
over his ears. "We need a crane!"
An enormous iron ball and chain materialized in the
air above Polk, sweeping through the air and splintering
the bell tower as though it was a child's sand castle.
The sound of the bells abruptly hushed, and Zombie Polk,
clawing at nothing, fell through the void...only to reappear,
moments later, riding what appeared to be a platform-sized
Mexican hat with a very wide brim.
"By the 21 tracks of 'Fingertips!' " Particle Man cried.
"Then -- the legends are true! Polk must have acquired the
Hovering Sombrero of Tenochtitlan when he sent Zachary Taylor
to loot the Halls of Montezuma."
Particle Man paused. "Did I really just say the
Hovering Sombrero of Tenochtitlan?"
Blue Canary approximated a shrug.
"And 'By the 21 tracks of 'Fingertips'?' "
"It's a Rob Rogers story," Blue Canary chirped. "Just
roll with it."
"Fine," Particle Man sighed, reaching for the holster
strapped to his belt. "I suppose I'm going to have to use
my Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love. I've always hated that
particular power, and not just because it sounds like a '70s
"I wouldn't do that just yet," Blue Canary said, as
Polk edged closer, mystical headgear whirring beneath him.
"It's possible the bullets might not work on the living
dead -- let alone one with powers similar to ours."
"Okay," Particle Man said, taking a quick glance at an
index card that listed his various powers. "Well, the cage
and aquarium is no good in this situation. I suppose I
could always try the hammer..."
"No," Blue Canary tweeted. "If, like us, Polk was
chosen to receive They Might Be Giants powers, there
must have been a reason for it. Maybe there's a way to
get through to him... to reach out to the person he was."
"YOU CAN'T REASON WITH A ZOMBIE," Easily-Discovered
Man Lite shouted from somewhere below. "THE WORDS YOU'RE
SAYING NOW MEAN NOTHING MORE THAN 'MEOW' TO AN ANIMAL!"
"I'll give it a shot," Particle Man said, flying as
close as he dared to the unearthed president and his
gravity-defying chapeau. "Hey, Polk!"
The skeletal President crossed its arms.
"Listen," Particle Man said, trying to ignore the
stench of the grave and the overpowering smell of old hat.
"This is all a misunderstanding, right? I mean, even in your
own day you were misunderstood. People in your own party
thought you wanted to annex all that land from Mexico to
allow the spread of slavery, when really you envisioned a
nation of small farmers spreading from coast to coast."
"Better wrap it up, Person," Blue Canary said. "It
doesn't look like he's buying what you're selling."
"Just wait," Particle Man said. "Listen, Polk, I know
you didn't want slavery to spread... any more than you
wanted the Ame.rec.an Southwest you created to be filled
with people who felt they had the God-given right to be
there, and to keep out anyone who didn't look or sound or
act like them. But that's the legacy that's playing out
Both hero and zombie regarded the melee taking place
on the streets below, which had escalated to near-riot
levels. Polk's face, which moments before had been a
paper-white mask of evil, seemed to soften -- which was all
the more remarkable, given that it was essentially a
"You promised your party, and the Ame.rec.an people,
that you wouldn't seek a second term in office," Particle
Man said. "Is this really the comeback you would have
wanted? Is this what Sarah, your wife, would have wanted?"
Polk hesitated, then leaped from his floating hat,
charging at Particle Man with a roar.
"Oh, the hell with it. Hammer DOWN!" Particle Man
said, unleashing a giant cartoon hammer that pounded Polk
into a presidential pancake.
Almost immediately, the riot below ceased, and members
of the former mob looked up in wonder, as torn bits of what
had once been a Hovering Sombrero rained down among them
like ribbons of ticker tape, slowly twisting in the wind.
"I told you it's impossible to reason with a zombie,"
said a bruised, beaten but still-standing Easily-Discovered
Man Lite, as Particle Man and Blue Canary touched down on
the sidewalk beside him.
"You know, there's still something I can't figure out
about all this," Particle Man said.
"Really?" Lite replied, bruises swelling around his
eyes. "Because everything about the body of a former
President dancing around on a flying hat makes perfect sense
to me. Of course, I have been hit in the head repeatedly
for the last half hour."
"I thought you said that Polk was using the bells to
control the minds of the rioters," Particle Man said, as
Blue Canary flittered about, applying gauze and ointment to
Lite's wounds. "Why didn't the attacks stop once the tower
"Oh, that," Lite said, wincing as Blue Canary applied
hydrogen peroxide to one of his arms. "I take it from
where you were sitting, you couldn't see the symbol etched
into the bottom of the Hovering Sombrero. Some kind of
spiraling shape that made folks go insane."
One by one, the former rioters of Mesilla struggled to
their feet, staring in confusion at the wreckage of the
square, the collapsed church steeple and the battered signs
many of them still held.
"What the hell happened here?" said one thoroughly-
confused looking man, nearly tripping over the shattered
skeleton of James K. Polk. "There's a human skull on the
"It's a nightmare that you'll never be discovering,"
said Particle Man. "You're free to come and go."
"Or talk like Kurtis Blow," Lite suggested. "But just
to clarify: the Legion of Net.Heroes had nothing whatsoever
to do with the destruction of that national historic
landmark, or the desecration of the body of a former
"Whatever," the man said, holding up his hands. He
squinted to take a closer look at the sidekick. "Hey...
are you the guy who hit me in the eye?"
Neither man noticed that the bones of President Polk
had begun to twitch.
"Well, that about wraps that up," Particle Man said,
beginning to rise into the air. "Blue and I are heading
back to Washington.gov... though frankly, I'd rather just
lay where I fell and rest a while."
Polk raised his shoulders out of the dust, shook its
skull, and began reaching for a broken bottle dropped by
one of the rioters.
"Thanks, PM," Lite said, looking around in both
directions. "Hey, has anybody seen my broth..."
"THERE CAN BE ONLY...JUAN!" Lite's brother screamed,
swinging his bat at the head of Zombie Polk and knocking it
clear of the body. The creature immediately stopped moving.
"That was amazing!" Particle Man said. "How in the
world did you know that Polk would be back?"
"Because that's what happens in pretty much every
zombie movie ever made?" Lite said.
"Not really," Juan said, dropping his bat. "I just
reasoned that Polk wasn't done yet... and he wouldn't be
'til his head fell off."
Lite, Particle Man and Blue Canary all rolled their
"What?" Juan said, as Lite shook his head and the two
other heroes took to the air. He lifted up Polk's skull.
"Hey, look. I'm putting my hand inside the puppet head!
No? Come on, guys! Do not forsake me, my indolent
friends? Hey, that was pretty good, right? Guys? Guys?"
NEXT ISSUE: Terror strikes Net.York, as Master
Blaster and Sarcastic Lad face down an army of the living
dead... and the original Rough Rider returns!
LEGION ROLL CALL:
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Footnote Girl
.... Saxon Brenton
Blue Canary and Particle Man.... H. Jameel al Khafiz
Easily-Discovered Man Lite.... Rob Rogers
Occultism Kid.... Josh Geurink
"The undead are like
A bunch of friends
That demand constant attention..."
--They Might Be Giants, "Wearing a Raincoat"
"One great object of the Constitution was to restrain
majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon
their just rights."
--James K. Polk
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