LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #51 (1/2)
robrogers72 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 15 12:56:50 PDT 2012
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 between issues #11 and #10
(yes, the series uses reverse chronology) of "Beige Countdown."
-----Previously on "The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man"----
While searching for the killer of their deadliest
enemy, the Waffle Queen, Easily-Discovered Man and Easily-
Discovered Man Lite are interrupted by the "Infinite
Leadership Crisis," a world-changing event that takes them
away from the investigation -- and their homes, their
families and the world at large -- for more than 500 days.
When they return, the two discover that police have
fingered a suspect in the Waffle Queen's murder -- Aurora
Jones, the super-powered teen known as the Screen Saver and
a close friend of Easily-Discovered Man Lite -- and that
Jones is missing.
Before Lite can join the search for her, however, he's
forced to defend his actions during the "Infinite
Leadership Crisis" at a Legion of Net.Heroes disciplinary
hearing. Thanks to the damning testimony of his best
friend, Frat Boy, Lite is found guilty of acting in a
manner unbecoming of a Legionnaire, and promptly dismissed
from the LNH.
Lite chooses this occasion to tell Cynical Lass of his
long-concealed feelings for her... only to learn that she
plans to accompany an LNH mission into deep space the next
day. Discouraged, Lite accompanies Easily-Discovered Man
home, where he finds the hero's family and friends
gathered in his living room -- along with the super-villain
Before presenting that confrontation, however, the
author would like to acknowledge that some time has passed
since the last episode of this series, and that -- reboots
being in vogue lately -- a brief scene re-introducing our
characters to readers old and new may be in order...
"You know, Lite, I've got to hand it to you. When you
suggested coming to a restaurant whose theme was 'U.S. Vice
Presidents, I thought you were out of your mind," Cynical
Lass said, sitting across from me in the booth we shared at
the Twelfth Amendment.
"Now, I still think you're out of your mind. But this
Aaron Burr-ito is pretty good stuff. I'm beginning to
think neither you nor the Vice Presidency are as utterly
useless as I'd imagined."
"Don't believe everything you hear," grumbled Walter
Mondale, who stood just a few feet away in the restaurant's
kitchen, retrieving the latest batch of Dan Quayle
Memorial Potatos from the Fry-O-Lator.
"Thanks," I said, gesturing to my own meal. "This
John Nance Garner Cup O'Warm Posole isn't bad either."
"There's just one problem," Cynical Lass said.
"You mean the fact that the Dick Cheney's Middle
Eastern Stew has far more unknown knowns than known
unknowns?" I asked.
Cynical Lass considered this. "Okay, two problems."
She held up her noticeably empty wallet. "I just realized
that I spent my last fifteen dollars on this new manicure.
And I'm guessing that you, as usual, will have some
bizarre, otherworldly excuse for not being able to pay."
"My people traditionally celebrate the last Thursday
before payday as the sacred feast of Dontgotnun," I said.
"Which leaves Easily-Discovered Man," Cynical Lass
said. "And he's in costume. If there's anywhere in that
skintight uniform he can hide a dollar, I don't want to
know about it."
The super-hero in question sat a few inches away in
reality, but light-years away in thought, consumed as he
apparently was by the portrait of Spiro Agnew that
hung over the entrance to the men's room on the other
side of the restaurant.
"So I hope you have some... oh, no. Not again,"
Cynical Lass said, a note of panic rising in her voice
as I reached beneath the table for my guitar case.
"Oh yes," I said, unlatching the case. "Unless you'd
care to test out that new manicure of yours washing dishes
Cynical Lass looked down at her hand and sighed.
"Minh would never forgive me," she said, inserting a
pair of orange foam earplugs into her ears.
"Hey, Prof!" I said, startling Easily-Discovered Man
out of his reverie. "This woman" -- I jerked my elbow at
our waitress -- "has no idea who you are!"
"No... idea?" Easily-Discovered Man said, rising from
his seat on the other side of the booth as I began to
strum my guitar. "Never heard of that greatest of heroes,
that grandest of legends, that most magnificent of modern
"Actually, I was just coming over to tell you about
today's dessert specials," said the waitress, looking in
confusion from my face to that of the Prof, who had
leaped on to the center of our table, nearly squashing
Cynical Lass' burrito. "The Al Gore's Inconvenient Torte
seems to be very popular..."
"You see, fair damosel," Easily-Discovered Man began.
"Delores," she corrected.
"Fair damosel Delores," the Prof continued, "I was
once but a humble physicist, toiling away in the trenches
of academe -- until the fantastic finger of fate..."
"And a lot of radiation," Cynical Lass added.
"...transformed my body and elevated my mind into the
spectacle of sublime super-humanity who e'en now stands
before you," the Prof continued. "Lite, if you please...?"
I launched into something that sounded suspiciously
like the opening number from "Man of La Mancha." By this
time, the restaurant's manager -- Mondale -- had emerged
from the kitchen, but he was unable to prevent the
Prof from launching into his very deepest singing voice:
"Hear me now
Customers of this bleak and foul restaurant
Your lives em-pty and dull as can be...," he began.
"That's a bit harsh," Mondale said, but the Prof was on
"Though vile darkness is surging, there's a hero
Who claims battle as his des-ti-ny...!
"I am EAS'LY-DISCOVERED! The hero of legend!
Who castigates evil! Who champions the poor!
With my sidekick beside me, I battle injustice
No matter how great or resourceful my foe
None can eclipse my green glow...
Onward to glories I go!"
"I, Hector, yes I, Hector
I follow my boss here from Heaven to heck," I sang.
Through all of our clashes, I'm protecting..."
"Lite!" the Prof warned.
"...his assets," I continued.
"Battling for my paycheck!"
By now, several of the other diners had begun pounding
on various restaurant fixtures in time with the music, while
the Prof leapt from table to table, his voice a passionate
roar. Walter Mondale poured himself a drink.
"Hear me, monsters and villains," the Prof sang.
"And managers of hedge funds
Your impunity's hereby expir'd!
For you face a foe deadlier than any gun
An avenger who rarely gets tired!"
"Not an actual member of The Avengers (TM), which is a
registered trademark of the Marvel Entertainment Group," I
pointed out, as the Prof somersaulted over the salad bar,
landing next to a lifelike cutout of former Vice President
John Tyler as both of us launched into the finale.
"I am EAS'LY-DISCOVERED!" "I, Hector, yes I, Hector
The idol of millions! Protect the Professor
Both fav'red by destiny with my spatula
And beset by life's woes
And I swear by my powers I'll do my very best
I will never stop fighting!" to get a return on
"Though skies above thunder, though every wind blow
I shall remain your hero..." the Prof sang.
"Onward to glories... you go?" Mondale said, opening
the restaurant's door.
"Onward to glories, I GO!" the Prof roared, sauntering
through the doorway to thunderous applause, with Cynical
Lass and myself just behind him.
"Well, that could have gone worse," Cynical Lass said,
removing the earplugs from her ears. "There's just one
thing I don't understand."
"String theory?" I suggested. "The Arab-Israeli
conflict? The ending of _Inception_?"
"You're always coming up with schemes to make money,"
Cynical Lass said. "And yet you're always broke. So
where does all the money go?"
"Guitar lessons," I said, giving the instrument one
last strum. "That Esteban guy is a genius, but he
certainly isn't cheap."
"So little in life is that is truly worthwhile," said
the Prof, placing one gloved hand upon my shoulder. "We
now present episode #51 of 'The Adventures of Easily-
Discovered Man,' 'The Mother of Intervention,' in high-
definition text where available."
The Adventures of Easily-Discovered Man #51
"The Mother of Intervention"
Rob Rogers Rob Rogers
This might sound like a strange thing to admit, but
most of the time, I'd rather face off against a super-villain
than walk, unprepared, into a room filled with my family
It's not that I'm particularly shy. In fact, a lot of
the time, that's the problem: my foot has gone ahead and
jammed itself into my mouth before my head has even had an
opportunity to assess the situation.
With villains, at least, there's a script to follow.
Unless you're dealing with someone who's never staged a
major caper before -- and even those guys are usually savvy
enough to hire a couple of seasoned henchmen -- everybody
who shows up at a super-villain battle knows the role
they're supposed to play, and everybody usually does what's
expected of them. That's why, even when there's energy
blasts and eye beams and who knows what else flying around,
so few people get really hurt in fights between super-powered
Walk into a gathering of your family and friends,
however, as Easily-Discovered Man had just done, and
there's no telling what might happen. Unlike villains,
the people you love rarely do you the courtesy of letting
you know what sort of hidden abilities they're prepared
to unleash on you, and they almost never reveal their
secret plans, even when they have you at their mercy.
Of course, if you happen to walk into an event
that includes both your loved ones _and_ a major super-
villain, you might as well light yourself a cigarette,
because you're pretty much screwed.
At least seeing ReVamp Lass in the middle of the
Prof's living room told me whom I should yell at first.
"What the hell are you doing here?" I asked.
"Well," ReVamp Lass said, looking down at me through
what looked like a very expensive pair of designer glasses,
"it was either this or the revamped 'Catwoman,' and there
are some things I just won't do, even for art."
"Didn't we cover this at the end of the last issue?"
asked Substitute Lad, his voice slightly muffled by his
mask. "ReVamp Lass is here to moderate the intervention
Mrs. Wong is hosting for her husband."
"My wife... turned to one of my enemies for help?"
asked the Prof, who looked and sounded as confused as I
"Hang on, Prof," I said, turning to ReVamp Lass.
"First, everything about the new 'Catwoman' is tasteful
and required by the story.
"Second," I said, facing Substitute Lad, "it's
ridiculous to assume that any of our readers remembers
something that took place in an issue posted more than
three years ago. And third... Sub, what are you doing
here? Why would you want to be a part of this?"
"By intervention," asked the Prof, still not quite
grasping the point, "do you mean that you require Lite
and myself to raise our mighty arms in the service of
justice? Why would you need to assemble in this manner?"
"Why?" asked Jennifer, the Prof's daughter -- who was,
I noticed, sporting a cast across most of her left leg.
"Well, for one thing, Dad, it seems like whenever Mom or I
have 'required your services' in the last few years, we've
had to take a back seat, because you were off doing
something for absolutely anyone else in the world."
"Miss Wong," said ReVamp Lass, sharply enough that the
Prof, Jennifer and I all jumped a little. "I thought we
agreed to confine ourselves to the letters we wrote to
"My dear Jennifer," said the Prof, who had removed his
mask, and whose voice was somewhere between the tenor he
used for making grand pronouncements about super-heroism
and the everyday tone he used for everything else, "'tis
true that my sacred mission as one of the city's foremost
defenders of all that is good and true doth sometimes call
upon me to sacrifice the delights of home and hearth..."
The Professor's wife snorted.
"Hah," said Irene Wong, clad head to toe in a dress
so black and severe that she seemed to be mourning death
itself. "When have you ever sacrificed anything, Theo?
You teach as much or as little as pleases you, then throw
yourself into your fantasy world of heroes and villains,
wearing that absurd costume and coming home covered in
bruises and scars... when it suits you to come home at
She shook her head and gestured to one of the other
men in the room. "If it wasn't for Professor Dahl, you
probably would have been fired from the university a long
"Professor Dahl? Michael Dahl? Otherwise known as
'My-Dall, Man of 1,000,000 Mood Swings?' " I asked,
recognizing the man, whom I'd last seen at the funeral of
the Waffle Queen [in Easily-Discovered Man #49 -- Kid Recap].
"He's the one that should be thanking the Prof for stopping
his insane rampage" [in EDM 31-32 -- Kid Recap].
Several of the other people in the room gasped at
this, with one older woman actually taking the time to
look up from her knitting to mutter "Tsk, tsk" at me.
Dahl held up one hand.
"It is true that at one time, I took on the
character of a supposed super-villain in order to better
understand Professor Wong's... condition," Dahl said.
"At the time, I concluded that my colleague's extra-
curricular activities were merely a harmless diversion.
Now, of course, I recognize the danger in which he
places himself and others on a daily basis..."
"Danger?" I said, a little more loudly than I had
"Professor Dahl is quite correct," Easily-Discovered
Man said. "As you know, Lite, I recently had my
nomenclature legally amended, such that 'danger' is,
in actuality, my middle name."
"Yes, but Prof, he's accusing you of putting other
people in harm's way," I said, turning to Dahl. "What
about all the lives Easily-Discovered Man has saved?
Like the time he helped end the threat of the Pocket
Bureaucracy?" [Way back in EDM #10 -- Kid Recap, really
working for that paycheck today].
"As I recall, it was Sig.Lad, Particle Man and Kid
Anarky who destroyed that dimension," ReVamp Lass said,
consulting her clipboard. [That happened in Constellation
#16 -- Kid Recap]. "In fact, about the only thing you
and Easily-Discovered Man accomplished during that
adventure was inadvertently bringing the Deathstocker
into our world... eventually giving rise to the Waffle
Queen" [as revealed in EDM #18 -- Kid Recap].
"...Okay," I said. "Then what about the times we
stopped Barrage... or Dessica... or heck, even Doctor
Killfile? [in EDM #8, 50 and #37, respectively --Kid
Recap]. Think about all the people who might have
been hurt or killed if the Prof and I hadn't gotten
there in time."
"An interesting point, Mr. Lopez," Dahl said, in the
tone many of my teachers used to indicate that whatever I
had just said was completely irrelevant.
"Would those people who were injured before you and
Professor Wong arrived on the scene accept your
characterization that you had 'gotten there in time?'" Dahl
asked. "What about all of those whose property was damaged,
and who were unable to collect insurance because their
policies specifically excluded situations brought about
through the interference of unlicensed vigilantes?"
"I... what?" I said. "Okay, then, what about the..."
"Oh, do bring up the time you and Theo engaged the
White Dwarf, and nearly allowed him to seize control of the
Legion of Net.Heroes," the Prof's wife said [in EDM #23
-- Kid Recap, could really use some help here]. "Or the time
the two of you were at the center of a riot in the Mall of
Net.ropolis? [in EDM #42 -- Footnote Girl, at your service!]
Or perhaps you'd like to tell us how your inspired leadership
nearly resulted in Charlie Hustle assassinating the President
of the Usenetted States?" [in LNH Comics Presents #58 -- Kid
Recap and Footnote Girl, all together now!]
"Yes, all those things _nearly_ happened," I agreed.
"But that's pretty much the way things go in our line of
work. The bad guy is about to throw the switch, the knife
is dropping, the world is on the very edge of disaster, and
then the Prof and I show up and save the day. Tell her,
"That is the way things are and have always seemed to
work out," said Easily-Discovered Man. "In comic books,"
he added, in a smaller voice.
"Look," I said, wondering if anyone in the room
would even consider listening to me. "We could sit here
all day and debate whether thwarting this evil scheme or
taking that villain off the table ultimately made that
much of a difference. But that's never been what Easily-
Discovered Man is all about."
"Oh?" Irene Wong said, arching one penciled eyebrow.
"Do tell us, then, Mr. Lopez, what exactly has been the point
of my husband's second career."
"Okay," I said, taking a deep breath. "No one super-
hero can fix everything or save everybody. You'd have to
be crazy to think that. But real heroes... and the Prof
might just be the most heroic guy I've ever met... they
inspire other people to do the things they didn't think
they were capable of."
"But why does it have to be Theo?" Irene asked.
"That's the point," I replied. "Most super-heroes
-- and Substitute Lad, tell me if I'm wrong -- are people
who life singled out as being special. Maybe they were
born different, or became different through some kind of
accident, or trauma, or because everybody else decided they
didn't fit in. And because they _are_ different, they
feel compelled to act differently than everyone else.
Better than everyone else."
"Or worse," Substitute Lad said, staring at his
"But Easily-Discovered Man -- I mean yes, he has
powers, but ultimately he's a super-hero because he
decided to hold himself to the same standards as
people who are a lot more powerful," I said. "And
when other people see that, they think yeah, I might
not be able to leap tall buildings or punch holes in
battleships, but I can be the kind of hero Easily-
Discovered Man is just by changing the way I act."
I have rarely seen the Prof look as pleased as he
did in that moment.
"Who?" his daughter asked.
"Who what?" I replied.
"Who does that? Who are these people you've been
talking about who became better people because of my dad?"
Jennifer asked. "Because I've never met one."
"Yes, Mr. Lopez," Irene said. "You've seen to it
that my husband's face has been plastered across
billboards, on lunchboxes, in toys and video games,
even on boxes of that detestable cereal. Everyone in
Ame.rec.a knows who Easily-Discovered Man is and what
he represents. So where are these admirers?"
"I... look, he has 356 'friends' on Facebook," I
stammered. "He has Cynical Lass, who came all the way
from England and left the InterKnights just to be the
Jennifer Wong sniggered. "You're an idiot, Lopez,"
she said. "Anyone who's ever seen the two of you together
knows why Cynical Lass came to work with the LNH. It
had nothing to do with my father."
"Substitute Lad!" I said, as desperate to change
the subject as I was to seek the help of my friend.
"Look, here's one of the most powerful beings on the
planet -- able to duplicate the abilities of any other
super-being. He could have signed up with the Alt.Riders.
Or Dvandom Force. Or the Society of Pool Heroes... though
it would have looked a little weird to see him running
around in a Speedo all the time. But he chose to hang
with the Prof."
"Actually," Substitute Lad said, "I applied to join
Dvandom Force. They sent me a form letter rejection."
"Not helping, S.L.," I said.
"Even misspelled my name. Called me 'Substitute
Ludd,' like I was somehow against technology. I love
technology!" he continued.
"And this is the sort of person my father inspires?"
Jennifer asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Hector is right about something," Substitute Lad
said, turning his masked face toward the Prof's daughter.
"I am one of the most powerful beings on the planet. I've
taken on the entire assembled force of the Legion of Net.
Heroes nine times in the Peril Room -- well, the
holographic version, anyway... and beaten them three
"Okay," said ReVamp Lass, picking up her clipboard.
"Moving on, now..."
"Hector asked me a question," Substitute Lad said, his
voice becoming just a little bit louder, enough so that
ReVamp Lass sat down on the Wongs' couch. "He wanted to
know what I was doing here. Why, after spending all this
time as Easily-Discovered Man's friend and colleague, I
would try to talk him out of being a super-hero."
"You are, as ever, entitled to your opinion," the Prof
"Most of you know that I recently went up against the
time-traveling super-villain known as Charlie Hustle,"
Substitute Lad said. "We fought just outside of
Washington.gov. I was duplicating the powers of Captain
Caffeine at the time, so I ought to have been untouchable.
But he was faster than me. Faster than anything I've ever
Substitute Lad paused to take a drink of water, which
he poured through the little open slot at the bottom of his
mask, where his mouth was. No one else said a word.
"He hit me so hard and so fast that it wasn't until he
ran away that my face even responded to what he'd done to
it," Substitute Lad continued. "It swelled up so badly
that I couldn't breathe. I should have gone to a doctor.
That would have been the smart thing to do. But I was
convinced that I had to go after Charlie Hustle, that I was
the only one who could stop him. And I thought I could
Substitute Lad removed his mask.
"How do you think I did?" he asked, as the entire room
(Part 2 follows)
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