LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #57

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon May 11 19:06:26 PDT 2020

On 5/7/2020 10:29 PM, EDMLite wrote:
>      Doused with microwave radiation, Theodore Wong gained the ability to glow and be 
> detected at great distances by anyone with a Geiger counter.  Forced to retire, Wong has
> left former sidekick Lite to continue his battle against the forces of corruption, chaos
> and common sense, and to carry on the legacy of the fabulous EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN.

aaaaaaaaaaaaa :D :D :D aaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! AAAAA EDM IS BACK :D :D :D

> who suggests the clues needed to solve mystery of the Waffle Queen’s death -- and to
> resolve what quite frankly turned into a much longer storyline than any of us were
> expecting -- 

I mean, big mood

> (the one known  as Beige Countdown, which later became Beige Midnight, which… oh,  go ahead 
> and read the Wiki)

Augh, I gotta spiff up the Beige Midnight page. X3

> What might our characters be doing if they lived in the current golden age of peace and
> prosperity that is 2020?

hahaha oh god

> “If there’s one thing that being a member of the Millennial Generation… or is it Gen-Z? 
> I’m never quite sure… has taught me, it’s that whatever’s wrong with the world, I’m
> probably part of the reason for it.”

Lite has had the singular pleasure of being Kids These Days during three 
different labels. I mean, generations.

> A super-hero is someone who believes whatever extraordinary power he was born with, or was given
> by the universe, is reason enough for him to bypass the law, the criminal justice system, the
> government or any sense of shared public morality in pursuit of whatever self-righteous cause he
> thinks is important.  Take that way of thinking to its logical extreme, and you’re left with the
> current occupant of the White House.”

[Check out LNH20 Comics Presents #22 to see Drew's response to this spicy take! 
- Ed.(UE)]

> “Since the very first super-hero appeared, what have any of us been doing -- in movies,
> in comics, on television and in life -- but pushing the argument that it’s better to put
> your trust in one supremely powerful individual than in any form of collective public action?
>       “Because anybody who’s ever read a comic book knows that being a super-hero isn’t about
> being powerful.  It’s about using that power to help other people.  Putting them first,” I > said.  “The reason we all wear masks is to make the point that anybody who 
had the powers we> have could and should and probably would be doing the things 
we’re doing.  It’s never about
> us.  And that makes us the opposite of the current President.”

YEAH!! <3 Like... if you go back to Action Comics #1, it isn't about Superman 
being a moral authority or The One Who Will Save Us. It's about a guy who could 
be any one of us, who has the power to fight the awfulness in the world in the 
way all of us want to do. And the fact that he's just doing what any good person 
would do with such power is, I think, a strong argument for solidarity - 
everybody using whatever their own power is to do good.

>       “Nah.  That trick never works,” I said.  “Besides, heroes never worry about being
> great.  They’re too busy doing good.”

<3 <3 <3

>       And sure, some people like to be fooled.  Some people pay hundreds of dollars to sit
> in an auditorium and applaud when some joker in a tuxedo points out to them how awful they
> are at paying attention.  Not me.
>       Never me.

Oh I just want to *hug* Lite.

>       But whatever else he was, Blount was a magician.  The first time we’d met [way back
> in Easily-Discovered Man #28 -- Footnote Girl] he’d convinced Easily-Discovered Man,
> Cynical Lass and me to go up against Pointless Death Man and an army of zombie
> cheerleaders, which was a lot more like a near-death experience and a lot less like a campy
> ’80s horror film than it sounds.

Though I gotta admit, that was hella manipulative. I can see not trusting 
magicians after that.

> Magicians never reveal their secrets, after all, even when the secrets they’re protecting
> aren’t theirs to protect.

That's such a good line. Rob has a heck of a way with words.

> Back then, I’d been a naive, inexperienced 16-year-old who’d just started working as Easily-
> Discovered Man’s sidekick.  Since then, I’d spent two years facing down the worst the > universe had to offer.

Aha, so *that's* how the sliding time scale works here. After the thing with the 
Net.Hippies I was afraid it was busted.

> I was pretty sure I’d had something to do with keeping the Church of the Fourth Wall from doing
> whatever it was it wanted to do -- I was never really clear on what that was. 

Nodakommandos... Dave Van Domelen... David R. Henry... something???

> Hell, I’d passed Algebra 2.

Heck, I changed majors just to avoid that!

>       The other advantage I had was tucked into the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt.  It
> was something I really wasn’t supposed to have; something I’d kept hidden ever since I’d
> borrowed it from the evidence locker of Legion of Net.Heroes headquarters just before I’d
> been kicked off the team, and it would have given Easily-Discovered Man several heart
> attacks if he knew I had it.  But the Prof wasn’t Easily-Discovered Man any more, which
> meant that I wasn’t Easily-Discovered Man Lite any more, which meant that the rules about
> what you were and weren’t supposed to do in a given situation were sort of ambiguous.  

I love this character so much. <3

>         “I’ve been expecting you,” the wizard said.
>       “Yeah?” I said.  “Well, I’ve been expecting you!”
>       As entrances go, it wasn’t my best.


>       “I couldn’t say,” Blount said.  “I’ve always found it preferable to keep my sorcery
> separate from my head-washing.  No, Hector, I needed merely to look through my window to
> see you coming, and to note the abominable condition of your footwear.  Are those even the
> right size?”
>       “There’s nothing wrong with my Chuck Taylors,” I said.  “Actually, that’s not true. 
> I’ve been wearing these things so long that I’ve forgotten what my feet even look like.  I
> had to replace the laces with zip ties, and my arches have less support than a gun control
> bill in the Kentucky legislature.  But that’s not why I’m here.”

Truly, even in this dark future, he has not lost the power of quip.

>  “I suppose you’ve come to ask about the Waffle Queen, then.”
>       “I’ll ask the questions here!” I said.
>       “That wasn’t a question,” Blount said, finally putting his catalogue down.


>       “Why would you be investigating her death?” Blount interrupted.  “You’re not a police
> officer.  You aren’t even a member of the Legion of Net.Heroes any more, according to the
> press,” he said, tapping the newspaper for emphasis.  “In fact, from what I have read,
> you’re being hunted yourself by a crime lord named Mynabird.  So why, when you ought to be
> hiding away where no one would ever think to look for you, are you here in Net.ropolis
> trying to solve the killing of your greatest adversary?”

Because it's the right thing to do, cf. the conversation at the beginning of the 
issue? Because there's someone who's powerful enough to kill the Waffle Queen 
and willing to upset the status quo by doing so and knowing what they're going 
to do next is almost certainly a really good idea?

>       I shrugged.  “I made a promise?”

That's also a good answer. <3

>       Blount smiled, a small, sad, gray smile.  “I told you this was my place of business,”
> he said.  “So let’s come to terms.  You tell me why it’s so important to you to find the
> Waffle Queen’s killer, and I’ll tell you what I know about the wandering Joneses.  Do we have
> a deal?”

oooooooo. Very good.

>       “Why would you care about my motivation?”

Because you're the most interesting character in this series and that's saying 

>       The magician waved a hand toward my feet.  “Look at the backs of those trainers,” he
> said.  “Worn down.  Sagging.  Like a broken-down old nag.  You’re one of those people who
> can’t be bothered to loosen the laces of your shoes when you remove them at night.  In fact,
> you don’t even untie them -- you just slide your feet out the back and kick the poor things
> into a corner.  It’s no wonder your laces are broken.  Everything about the way you treat
> your shoes identifies you as a slovenly, lazy, undisciplined adolescent lacking in both
> method and ambition.

Jeez, why don't you @ teenage me next time @-@

>       I sighed.  “It’s because it’s the sort of thing Easily-Discovered Man would do.”

>       “Ah,” Blount said, rising from his desk..  “But Professor Wong is no longer…”
>       “I didn’t say Professor Wong,” I snapped.  “I said Easily-Discovered Man.”

:3 Yessssssss <3 A fuck yeah moment!!

>       This was, to the extent that I had a plan, drifting rather far from it.


> Because, however, you believe you already have an idea of what I am going to say to you, you
> appear to be going out of your way to object to anything that contradicts that idea.

Oh, been there.

   Are you lactose intolerant?”
>       “Lactose?  No, I… Why do you…?”
>       “I was going to ask how you take your tea,” Blount said, pouring a splash of milk into
> a small black mug without a handle, “but then I realized it would be very much like asking
> an Australian shepherd whether it liked Mozart.  The dog, I mean.


>       “Wait… did you just say Mozart was a dog?”

Bwahaha X3

> Maybe the old man needed someone to listen to him, and you, for all your ability, needed
> someone to tell you what to do with what up until then must have seemed a meaningless
> existence.”
>       “These sandwiches are really pretty good,” I said.  “You set a good table, Trevor. 
> Can I call you Trevor?  I’m pretty sure I just did.  You make great snacks, and from what I
> can see you put together a damn fine set of shoes.  But you don’t understand people.  You
> sure as hell don’t get the point of Easily-Discovered Man.”

Daaaaaaaamn. <3

> You were born in ancient Egypt or something, into a world of gods with incredible powers
> who did whatever the hell they wanted, and ordinary people who prayed night and day for
> the gods to just leave them alone so they could live their ordinary boring lives. God, it
> must have been like living in Minecraft.”

That's a brilliant plot for a new isekai series.

> You learn that the best thing you can do is to find a niche in life that keeps you well out
> of the way of the people who either want to run the world or change it.”
>       “That isn’t the worst advice in the world,” Blount said.
>       “It isn’t even advice.  It’s just a statement about the way things are.

Damn but this series is making some fucking strong statements!

> “Because the moment the Prof put on this mask,” I said, pulling the glowing green cowl from
> the back pocket of my jeans and waving it at Blount as though I thought he needed a
> handkerchief, “everything changed.  Here’s this guy who isn’t born with any super powers. 
> He’s not rich.  He’s smart, yeah, but he isn’t a genius; he isn’t the son of a god or an
> alien or someone chosen by fate to do great things.  He was chosen by fate to teach physics,
> and to be a husband and a dad, I guess.  But he decided he was going to be a super-hero. 
> He put himself on a level with the gods.  And after that it didn’t matter how many bad guys
> he brought to justice, or how many times he saved the world, because what really mattered
> was he showed people the world doesn’t just belong to those with powers, or with power. 
> You make the decision you’re going to be a hero, and even the gods themselves will stand
> aside and get out of your way, for a change.”

YEAH!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

>       “No,” I said.  “I’m going to find the Waffle Queen’s killer because from the time I
> met Easily-Discovered Man, it stopped being okay for me to leave the things that were
> really important for someone else to do.”

Hell yeah.

>       “Mmm,” he said, taking another sip.  “I sent them to another plane of existence.  Not
> my usual thing, of course, but one has to be willing to step outside of one’s comfort zone
> from time to time when the need requires.  They’re quite safe there.  Raising cabbages, I
> believe. Very Diocletian.”
>       “You said you wouldn’t look them up for me,” I said, turning my back on the magician
> and surveying his bookshelves.  “As if they were a book.  And you talked about stepping
> outside your comfort zone…”

Oh dang, you really set this up. :D

> There, standing in what looked like an exceptionally-vivid illustration of an English country
> garden and dressed in overalls and black rubber brogans were Luke, Emily and Aurora Jones,
> shading their eyes from the sun and looking -- for the most part -- astonished to see me.
>       “Lite?” Luke asked.  “Easily-Discovered Man Lite?”
>       “Told ‘ya,” Aurora said.  Emily rolled her eyes and passed her cousin a twenty-dollar
> bill.

heeheehee I love it

> “But I’m not just here to trade witty banter.  Ravencroft sent me to find you.”
>       This brought a flurry of responses from the gardeners, with Luke’s animated “Really?”
> nearly drowning out Emily’s “Gods and goddesses, here we go again” and Aurora’s “Since when
> have you had any witty banter to trade?”


>       “Let’s talk about trust,” I said, digging the photograph of myself, Easily-Discovered
> Man, Substitute Lad and a teenaged Waffle Queen out of my wallet and slapping it down on top
> of the book. “It wasn’t a super-hero who made me forget ever having been in that picture.”
>       “My...gods…” Trevor Blount gasped.  “Then... it’s true.  You never have worn anything
> other than a T-shirt and jeans in your life, have you?”


>       “Something happened in that small town,” I said.  “Something that turned this girl” --
> I waved the photograph again -- into a megalomaniacal super-villain.  Something that would
> eventually get her killed.  And I was there.  The only reason I can’t remember is that
> someone tampered with my memory.  And the most likely candidate is standing on the other
> side of that desk.”

>       “Fine,” I said.  My hand shot forward, drawing my spatula from my back pocket and
> flipping the gardening book loose from Trevor Blount’s grasp.  I caught the book with my
> other hand.  “If you won’t help me, I’ll ask Luke to use the Ring of Simplification on my
> memory.”

Oh that's a *fascinating* idea.

>       “Do you even know what it feels like to open up repressed memories?” Blount said,
> rubbing one hand with the other.  “You'd be watching a series of events unfold -- horrible,
> unspeakably awful events -- with you right in the middle of them, but utterly powerless to
> change the course of history, however much you might want to.  It would feel like the 2016
> presidential election all over again.”

hahahahaaaa @-@

>       I stared the sorceror down.  “I can take it,” I said.  “I sat through a triple bill
> of Ben Affleck’s _Daredevil,_ Nicolas Cage’s _Ghost Rider_ and Keanu Reeves’ _Constantine_.”
>       “Yes, but that’s hardly…”
>       “Twice.”
>       “Even so, you can’t compare…”
>       “On F/X,” I said.  “With all the commercials.”
>       “Perhaps you are made of stronger stuff than I imagined, Hector Lopez,” Blount said.


> “How long have you known?”
>       “That you were carrying Syrup of Suggestion?  Please.  Who do you think came up with
> the recipe?  Once you’ve worked with nepenthe, you never forget the smell,” Blount said,
> picking up the bottle and holding it up to the light.  “Would you have used it?  Slipped it
> into my tea, when I wasn’t looking, and then ordered me to do what you want?  It might have
> worked, you know.  You’ve got the hands for it -- that was a nice trick with the spatula.”
>       “I don’t know,” I admitted.
>       “Remember that,” Blount said.  “Because this” he tapped the bottle with a fingernail
> “is a river.  Once you cross it, there’s no going back.  And everybody comes to one of
> these, sooner or later.  Connie Schlubb did.  So did her killer.  So will you.  I crossed
> mine a long time ago. It’s why I spend so much time trying to keep kids like Luke Jones
> from going over, and why I try to have compassion for those who do, and for those who are
> getting too damn close.”
>       I swallowed.

Daaaaaaaaaamn. Extremely good. <3 <3 <3

>       “Thank goodness you have chosen to give consciousness your full-throated embrace once
> more, Lite!” said a deep and remarkably familiar voice.  “For while we were successful in
> evading the destruction of the Pocket Bureaucracy, it would appear we have yet to return to
> the delights of our dedicated demesne, Net.ropolis, and that, like hapless surfers betossed
> upon the waves of the space-time continuum, we may even be displaced in time!”

oooooooh I see. :D

> once I have donned this cape and cowl I become that which strikes profound discomfort in the
> bowels of evildoers everywhere… he who carries hope to the hopeless like the burning taste
> of brandy in the cask of a Saint Bernard…. that phosphorescent paladin of the powerless, the
> poor, and the put-upon known to champions, criminals and citizens alike as…”
>       “Easily-Discovered Man!” I said.
>       The Prof sighed.  “I really was hoping to be able to finish the line,” he said.

:D :D :D <3 <3 <3

>       TO BE CONTINUED...


>       NEXT ISSUE: The crime-crimping duo of Easily-Discovered Man and Lite is back -- in
> flashback form, anyway -- thus proving once again that nothing on the Internet is ever
> created nor destroyed, but merely catalogued by Google.  Can Lite at last solve the mystery
> of who killed the Waffle Queen?  And can he endure the soul-shattering psychic pain of re-
> living his sophomore year of high school?  Find out in the episode three out of four
> dentists suggest we call “People Who Live in Glass Houses.”


>       SPECIAL THANKS: To Arthur and Scott for an amazing RACC-Con-’19 (note: NOT a virus); to Perry and Graham for giving me the time to do this and to Apocalypso for continued inspiration.

awwwwww <3 <3 <3

Drew "this was hella good and I'm so looking forward to more!!" Nilium

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