LNH/HCC: Limp-Asparagus Lad Vol.2 #0 [HCC49]

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 7 15:52:12 PST 2014

[LNH/HCC] Limp-Asparagus Lad Vol.2 #0  [HCC49]
Limp-Asparagus Lad Vol.2 #0
A Legion of Net.Heroes title
written by and copyright 2014 Saxon Brenton
(also part of the 49th High Concept Challenge)
Art by Fred H*mback
Cover shows four people - Joshua, Mary-Ann, Terri and Joe - sitting 
around a table, sharing a pizza.  Across the top corner is the label 
proclaiming that that the story 'Contains Crunchy Continuity Goodness!' 
which should probably be taken as given for this series, I suppose...
     The first page is a white area devoid of background, with Kid 
Recap and Footnote Girl standing about, comparing notes as they flip 
through some pages of script.  They look out at the readers.
     Kid Recap: "Hi there.  Welcome to the opening info dump.  This 
is the first issue of _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ since 2007, so it's almost 
certainly the case that even fans of the original series have probably 
forgotten details in the past seven years.  The last regular issue 
was number 58, which concluded the 'Decimation' storyline.  The next 
issue blurb indicated that continuity then led into the _Flame Wars 4_ 
miniseries, and then was supposed to lead back into the main series to 
pick up on some of the fallout with a story called 'One Month Later'."
     Footnote Girl: "Well, that's still more or less the plan.  But 
the writer has decided to take one scene from the proposed 'One Month 
Later' story, and give it its own zero issue reintroduction as a series 
relaunch.  Bluntly, the temptation to use it for the 49th High Concept 
Challenge, about genre characters sitting around and eating pizza and 
nothing much happening, was just too much for him."
     Kid Recap: "So, weak-willed as well as lazy.  Not a good 
combination, I would have said."
     Footnote Girl:  "Plus having written himself into a corner with 
the treatment of the next story arc - but that's something he can 
explain for himself next issue.  Anyway.  For now, the situation is 
that less than a month has passed since the events of _Flame Wars 4_.  
Mary-Ann Happenstance (better known as Senses Lass) has gotten out of 
prison after her brief stint as the supervillainess Senseless Lass and 
joined the Legion of Net.Heroes under the sponsorship of Joshua Asimov 
(Limp-Asparagus Lad).  Joe Foresythe (Retcon Lad) had been living in 
the same apartment as his cousin Joshua, but now took the opportunity 
to move out and start living with his girlfriend, Terri (Fourth Wall 
Lass). In turn Mary-Ann has moved in with Joshua in his apartment in 
the Mutant Town district of Net.ropolis.  This story starts with all 
four of them meeting at Joshua and Mary-Ann's home for dinner."
     "Well, that's me dead," said Joshua with no particular emotion in 
his voice.
     "Where's your character's spawn point?" asked Joe, who continued 
to concentrate on the action on screen.  The four of them were playing 
Clown Incursion, the computer game where robot pirates fought zombie 
ninjas - except when they had to team up against the other-dimensional 
incursions of dreadful Lovecraftian clowns.
     "Back in the entrance hall, same as mine," said Mary-Ann.  "That 
said, it's almost time to check the pizzas, so we might want to stop 
and save here anyway."
     Right on cue the timer on the oven went off.  Terri asked, "How 
did you know that?"
     "Two independently operating attention spans," explained Mary-Ann. 
"I was using the other one to keep track of the time."
     "Gotcha," said Terri as they saved game and packed away the game 
     Joshua opened the oven and examined the pizzas.  "Yes, they are 
ready," he announced.  "Can I have someone finish setting the table, 
please?" he asked as he set the pizzas on the bench top and began 
slicing them.
     "On it," said Mary-Ann as she took from the refrigerator the 
bowl of salad that had been prepared earlier.  Joe opened the foil on 
the garlic-and-herb bread, sending even more delicious smells through 
the rooms.  Terri uncorked the bottle of white wine that she and Joe 
had brought with them, and finally Joshua brought the pizzas.
     "That smells wonderful, you two," commented Terri. 
     "Thank you.  I think it turned out rather well," said Mary-Ann.
     "So who did what?" asked Joe.  Joshua, of course, was a chef and 
also did regular cooking shifts at the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ.  
Mary-Ann was an enthusiastic amateur - but it was enough to note that 
in the unlikely event that she gave you food poisoning then it wouldn't 
be an accident.
     "Oh, I insisted on doing the dough," said Mary-Ann.  She briefly 
mimed twirling the pizza base in mid-air.  "We shared chopping up the 
toppings between us, and the bread..."  Mary-Ann and Joshua looked at 
each other.
     "To be honest the bread sort of just happened in a fit of 
enthusiasm because we already had the ingredients out," he admitted, 
eliciting a chuckle.  The four of them sat down, poured the wine and 
doled out the food, and for a moment conversation paused as they took 
more interest in what was on their plates.
     "So, is there anything interesting that you have planned for 
tomorrow?" asked Terri.
     Joe shook his head.  "Nothing for me.  Regular superhero stuff."
     "I only have a doctor's appointment with Dr Stomper," said Joshua, 
and he pointed to the eye patch he was wearing.  "He wants to see how 
my eye socket is healing."  During the events of the _Flame Wars 4_ 
Joshua had been injured by the creepy little troll god O.M.A.R., who 
had plucked out Limp-Asparagus Lad's eye like an olive.  And 
Limp-Asparagus Lad had gotten off easy, compared to some of the 
superheroes killed during that storyline.
     "Well, I don't remember you saying that you having any problems 
with it," said Joe.
     "Only some loss of depth perception," said Joshua.  "It's not much 
of a problem."
     "What, because you don't have powers that allow you to zap things 
at a distance?" asked Terri.
     "Because I've trained myself to rock my head from side to side 
slightly when I'm reaching for something," explained Joshua, deadpan.
     "Actually, I have a medical appointment too, I think..." said 
     Terri raised an eyebrow.  "You think?"
     Joe sucked in a breath in mock worry.  "Oh, I dunno about that.  
A mysterious request for a medical exam.  That sounds like the start of 
a supervillain plot to me."
     Mary-Ann gave him a droll look.  "It was from Occultism Kid.  The 
only mysterious part was that he wanted to do an examination of my soul, 
and since I don't have one..."
     Joshua was puzzled.  "What makes you think that?"
     Mary-Ann looked at him, then at the others.  They were all sharing 
the same expression of mild bafflement.  "Uhm, artificial person here," 
she said, waving her hand in credible impression of Buffy-speak sarcasm. 
"I wasn't built with one."
     Joe shook his head.  "Proves nothing.  I mean, okay, it's 
complicated, and you can be born or built with one right from the start. 
But you can also pick one up or grown one yourself after the fact."
     Terri looked at Joe.  "That was how CAW got one, wasn't it?  Or am 
I misremembering?"
     "No, no, that's the case I was thinking of as well," answered Joe. 
He turned back to Mary-Ann.  "See, one time the Load Island Renegades 
all got damned to Hell..."
     "How did they manage that?" asked Mary-Ann.
     "Shenanigans," replied Terri in the serious tone of voice that 
indicated, no, really, it would take way too long to explain in full.  
"Although I think it was Swordmaster's Dad's fault..."
     "*ANY*way," continued Joe. "When they brought up the fact that the 
Carborundum Armored Weapon is a robot and supposedly shouldn't have a 
soul, it turned out that thanks to the love and acceptance that the 
others had given him, CAW had gotten one as well.  [In _Swordmaster_ 
#10 - Footnote Girl]  So, you know, just being part of a family helps.  
I mean, as long as it's not dysfunctional, or anything," he added.  Then 
he ploughed on, "But honestly, knowing that you're a people person and 
have got the whole 'I don't want to be a supervillain, I'd rather be 
helping people' shtick going should be more than enough in your case."
     "What he's saying is that we all think you're a genuinely good and 
loving person, and that we simply assumed that you'd have a soul as a 
result," said Joshua, cutting through the waffle that young people tend 
to generate when they're trying to talk about embarrassing topics like 
emotional intimacy.  "Although Occultism Kid's idea to check how the 
process is proceeding is a good idea that honestly had not occurred to 
me until now."
     "Well..." said Mary-Ann, somewhat overwhelmed by this.  "That's 
very nice of you to say so.  So, uh, is it possible for the reverse to 
     "Yeah, sure," said Terri.  "I mean, everyone always thinks of 
selling your soul to demons, because of how prominent the idea is in 
pop culture..."
     "That's relying on external agencies," countered Joshua.
     "Right, right," agreed Terri.  "We're talking about people becoming 
hard-hearted and losing their souls all by themselves.  Well, the 
Looniverse works a lot on pop culture cliches, so I remember there was 
an old Lost In Space episode where a crew of space pirates had turned 
into machines.  I can't think of any in-Looniverse examples..."
     "Sure you can," said Joe.  "Remember the 'quest to the Dream Court' 
arc in _Dvandom Force_?  When the DForce members first catch sight of 
the Castle of Dreams they're told that only those who are empty inside 
can't be affected by the Castle's beauty, and sure enough they're all 
ooh-aah... except for Kat.  And Kat worries that after all the 
hard-bitten mercenary work she's done over the years that she no longer 
has a soul to be affected by it."  [In _Dvandom Force_ #94 - Footnote 
Girl]  Joe gestured with his hands in a 'there you go' movement, and 
then finished off his argument with a flourish of fan boy logic:  "All 
of which clearly shows that Kat should ignore her Writer's attempts to 
keep the sexual tension going, and simply start sleeping with Kid 
Pocky.  That will get her soul back."
     "Argh!  You...!" went Terri, and hit Joe over the head with a 
cushion.  "You're such a *guy*!"
Character credits:
     Footnote Girl, Fourth Wall Lass and Retcon Lad created by Saxon 
     Kid Recap created by Josh Geurink.
     Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton. Created by Mystic 
Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham (chaos and entropy 
     Senses Lass created by Martin Phipps.
All characters copyright 2014 to their creators or owners as applicable.
Back issues of the Legion of Net.Heroes may be found at Russ Alberry's
Eyrie Archives at:     ftp://ftp.eyrie.org/pub/racc/lnh
Author's notes:
     Written for the 49th High Concept Challenge: Slice of life, where 
genre characters share a pizza and nothing happens.
     I've had this scene on the back burner for a long time.  People 
who were on rec.arts.comics.creative in 2012 and read Tom's thread 
'Three Metaphors for Superhero Teams' about the different ways in 
which superhero teams operate as metaphors for various social groups 
may remember that I gave a brief description of it at that time.  But 
I think I've been nursing the scene for almost a decade.  (Or maybe 
longer.  I've kind of lost track.  Sorry.)  In any case, yeah, Andrew 
was definitely right when he observed that the core cast of _Limp-
Asparagus Lad_ tend to act as a family group, and here I chose to 
literalise the metaphor and clobber you over the head with it.
     The video game Clown Incursion appeared once before in _Legion of 
Net.Heroes Volume 2_ #35.
Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au     saxonbrenton at hotmail.com   
'In fact in a superhero universe, teenagers may be even stupider. After
all, the brief moment in the real world where the thought "this may kill
me" forces it's way into their head would be followed by "this may give
me super powers" in a superhero universe.' - jlbarnett Scans_Daily 2010 

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