LNH20: LNH20 Comics Presents #21 [2/2]

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at googlemail.com
Thu Jan 18 21:28:38 PST 2018

"You have to turn yourself in now!" said Doc Nostalgia.

Fearless Leader said something in response but he didn't hear it.

"What was that?" Doc Nostalgia motioned for him to pull down the window, 
and he did so. "You have to turn yourself in now!" he repeated. He 
whispered. "I don't want to hurt you."

"You know this is wrong," said Fearless Leader. "You know SPAMMER is 
just a front for WHATEVER."

"Like, what does it actually stand for?" said Asma

"It stands for... let's see... Super Powered Asset Maintenance and 
Monitoring... Uh... We haven't got it entirely worked out yet. But 
that's not the point!"

"Let's ditch him!" said Sigrid. She plugged her phone.thingy into the 
car radio and queued the playlist, turning on a Nightcore remix of 
Tubular Bells.

"Gaaah!" said Doc Nostalgia. "A desecration of a seminal classic rock 
album!" He fell backward and careened off a building.

They had reached their destination--the Super Dr. Astronaut Peter 
Corbeau Memorial Library. "Like, a library? What are we gonna do, hit 
them in the head with books?"

"Knowledge is power, ja?" said Phonetic Accent Kid.

"Follow me," said Fearless Leader. He pressed a button on his 
phone.thingy and the car folded up into a carrying case for it. They 
dramatically strode into the library in slow motion. The only person was 
there was the librarian, who was absorbed in reading 50 Shades of 
#808080 and making angry marginal notes.

"Aw man, we completely wasted that dramatic slow walk," said Asma.
"We'll have other chances," said Fearless Leader. He lifted up the head 
on a pallid bust of Pallas and pressed a button, causing a bookshelf to 
swing open, revealing four fire poles labeled with "Entrance to the 
Infinite Library" labeled above. They each grabbed a pole and slid down...


In the ruins of Overpriced Coffee, Dr Mood and Dr Contraption, of 
WHATEVER's science division, had come in to pick up the pieces.
"Look at me," said Horse-Man. "I knew I was a failure and I was never 
going to amount to anything. No one will ever love me. Neeeeigh."
"What's wrong with him?" said Dr. Contraption.

"What's wrong with him?" said Dr. Mood. "What's wrong with him? Yes, 
let's go make a horse cyborg. What a brilliant idea. It perfectly fits 
our organization's image as brilliant chess masters. We just forgot one 
EXISTENCE!" He zapped Horse-Man with the Doom Ring set on "exhausted" 
and he thunked to the floor.

"Baaaa," said Man-Horse.
"You're not supposed to say that!" shouted Dr. Mood.


Dr. Contraption sighed. "Lady Deathspork isn't going to be very happy 
with this..."


There was a massive, towering room full of books. More books than you 
can imagine. And if you're imagining more, there's even more than that.

"Welcome to the Infinite Library," said the woman in a white suit, who 
Asma instantly recognized as January Frost. "Emergency headquarters of 
the Legion of Net.Heroes."

"It gives us the power to enter any library in the world, and in theory, 
the entire multiverse," said a young Egyptian man in a natty suit who 
was, of course, Library Lad.

"Whoa," said Asma. She looked at the line of shelves around the 
stairwell, which seemed to go up and down forever. "Uh, does this place 
have any video games?"

"There's an arcade game section down on the 74th floor," he said. "So I 
hear. They have the original Polybius and an Undertale cabinet which has 
the secret of W.D. Gaster. But we haven't been able to explore the rest 
of the library yet--we're still too busy trying to save the world."

"One of the Megareavers went after us," said Sigrid. "But we took care 
of him. The new girl helped out a bit." She patted Asma on the shoulder.
"So, like, how do you know what those are?"

"We were able to get some help," said Fearless Leader, "from our man on 
the inside."

"Like, who's that" said Asma.

"Who do you think?" said Doc Nostalgia, stepping from behind a bookshelf 
full of romance novels.

"Huh?" said Asma.

"He may be a bit of a crank," said Fearless Leader, "but he's a 
firebrand socialist at heart."

"And I still believe in the Legion," he said. "It's my curse to only 
value things after they are gone. I'll admit the Legion was frustrating 
sometimes... Well, all the time. But now I can see how important it was."

"Hey, it's not done for yet." Fearless Leader tapped him on the nose.

"No, you're right. It isn't." Doc Nostalgia embraced him and kissed him 
on the lips.


Is only going to get gayer from here

"Yep," said Sigrid. "They've been a thing for a while."

"But like... I never thought of Doc Nostalgia as being the kind of guy 
who'd do weird convoluted double crosses."


"So as you can see," said Doc Nostalgia, "that squirrel was actually one 
of my robots impersonating the devil. The reindeer were robots as well!"
"Gosh," said <Ollie Jensen?>, Boy Reporter, "I sure have learned a 
lesson about, uh... What was the point of all that again?"


"You'd be surprised," said January Frost.

"How are things holding up?" said Doc Nostalgia.

"Not good. The last mission took a lot out of us--Otherkin Lad's healing 
up the rest of the team. It's hard for him without Kindle around. We 
haven't heard back from Captain Minority and Lurking Girl yet. We don't 
know where Kid Enthusiastic and Kindle are. We don't know what happened 
to the LNHQ. We don't know where Professor Penumbra went when he vanished."

"Well, maybe this can help." Doc Nostalgia handed him a letter. "I stole 
this from Dr. Contraption's desk. Unfortunately, I can't make heads or 
tales of this. Uh... is there anyone here who knows Esperanto?"

"Ah!" said Phonetic Accent Kid. "Eeet ess one of my powairs zat I can 
decipher any language! Pip pip cheerio!" Sigrid facepalmed.

"Okay," said Asma, tapping her feet. "So... Where do I go now?"

"You stay here with us," said January Frost. "It isn't safe for you out 
there. Whether you want to actively be involved in our operations is 
your choice--"

"Heck yeah I do," said Asma. "I'm ready."

"An excellent decision, Powerpoint Transition Lass!" said Doc Nostalgia.
Sigrid gave her a thumbs-up. "Welcome to the Legion, kid. Hope you 
survive the experience."

"Don't worry," said Fearless Leader. "She says that to everyone."


The rest of the team had gone to sleep in the tents they'd pitched in 
the library. Sigrid slouched on the library chair and lit a cigarette, 
starting up a mix of Halsey and Johnny Cash on her phone.thingy (the 
early and late Cash, not Chicken in Black).

January Frost, pacing over by the collected issues of Lass Lady, caught 
sight of her. "Ah, hello Sigrid. Is something on your mind?"
She took a deep drag on her cigarette (which wasn't actually lit, since 
the library was no-smoking, but it was the principle of the thing). "I'm 
just thinking about Powerpoint Transition Lass. She's so excited to be a 
hero--a real hero. Just like I used to be. And I'm scared we're going to 
let her down."

"We won't," said January Frost.

Sigrid's eyes rested on a poster of Ultimate Mercenary, wearing the 
costume he had in the ninja wars. "I never thought I was going to say 
this, but I miss that guy," she said. "Do you ever miss the old days? 
When we were just starting out? When it seemed like everything could 
turn out alright, and we just might change the world?"

"They don't seem terribly long ago for me. I'm an immortal, remember? I 
grew up in Whitechapel at the turn of the 19th century. The place where 
all the cruelty and oppression of the world's greatest empire came to 
rest in its very heart. On days like this, I feel I've scarcely left it 
behind. But these times are when I'm the most needed. Once, I fought to 
escape my roots, to distance myself from poverty and misery. Now I fight 
to keep anyone from suffering what I suffered.

"The Legion are everything I believe in. They're not the world's police 
or gods on earth. They're a community. A community that will take 
anyone, whatever their race or gender or ability, if they have courage 
in their hearts. A community with a place for even the most seemingly 
useless. A community that exists to look out for those who have no one 
else to look out for them. And for that, we were hated. Oh yes. We were 
hated long before this year. The backlash was always going to come. I 
knew. I've seen it before. But it doesn't have to be the end. We're 
still here. There are still those who admire us and look to us for hope, 
and we owe it to them to keep fighting. We can still change the world."

"God," said Sigrid, "I hope so."


You have been reading
instead of paying five dollars for an event comic. This was a good choice.

Powerpoint Transition Lass, Nerf Girl, Phonetic Accent Kid, Doc 
Nostalgia, Newsreavers, Dr. Mood, Dr. Contraption, Horse-Man and 
Man-Horse, Lady Deathspork, Ultravac WHATEVER--Adrian McClure
Fearless Leader--Dave Van Domelen/Adrian McClure
January Frost--Tom Russell/Adrian McClure
Library Lad, Kid Enthusiastic--Drew Perron
Pantra, Captain Minority (Minority Miss), Lurking Girl--Lalo Martins
The Infinite Library--Mike Escutia


I wrote this last year, not long after the election. When election 
results came in, I was reading Dark Reign. I've been in the middle of 
reading through all of Bendis's Avengers run on Marvel Unlimited, and I 
was struck by how weird it was in the early Obama era and how this setup 
fit where we are now better than it did then. I was also thinking about 
LNH20, and how that had been inspired by both the Obama-age zeitgeist 
and the early New 52, and how many things had changed in both the world 
and comics since then. So here we are.

I had envisioned LNH20 as something that would move vaguely closer to 
real time, at least at first--as the world became more superhero-y and 
LNH-y, it would start to flatten out into comic book time, and people 
would remark on that. It turned out we weren't really able to write 
enough LNH20 stories for this to work, but the fact it had been five 
years (!) since then gave me room for a nice dramatic time skip. We're 
not totally done with the original status quo of course--there's plenty 
of room for more stories to be told, both from the team's early history 
and the period from Spoon of Destiny to now. (And now of course this 
issue is a year behind on the timeline but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.)

I wound up sitting on this issue for a year because I was hoping to get 
Spoon of Destiny done first, and I'd left too many storylines unfinished 
and skipped too many steps. But I've decided it's more important to be 
just writing regularly and get the stuff out there, and hopefully 
that'll give us motivation to keep pushing on. Also this felt 
appropriate for the first post under my new name.

Besides Dark Reign (Doc Nostalgia's current appearance is based on the 
Sentry), this setup is also drawing on the Outback era of X-Men (with 
Library Lad, who has the power to navigate the Infinite Library, as 
Gateway) and the 90s animated series. A lot of the mood, tone and motifs 
came from Nextwave! And of course there's also the dystopian Five Years 
Later version of LSH (the version that was current when Classic LNH was 
founded, and which it partially came about in reaction to). The 
post-credits scene bit is inspired by a plot element from that series, 
as well as the current All-New X-Men.

I have no idea where any of these plot threads are going so feel free to 
do whatever.

Oh yes, there's a post-credits scene:


Kid Enthusiastic walked past the pile of stunned guards into the secret 
lab. (Which had a large sign above it saying "SECRET LAB--KEEP OUT--NO 
GIRLS.") He whistled the Mission Impossible theme to himself.

"Kid Enthusiastic's Super Rad War Journal, day 73. Still haven't been 
able to make contact with the rest of the team. I made it into the base. 
Now I'm gonna find out what WHATEVER's big secret is..."

A group of transparent cylinders were clustered around a device. Inside 
of them were teenagers, wearing bright and outdated costumes.

"...What the heck?"

They were clearly the Saviors of the Net.

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