LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 3 #3: "Sequels are Always Worse" [1/6]
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 10:17:28 PST 2020
LEGION OF NET.HEROES VOLUME 3
#3: "Sequels are Always Worse"
A St. Valentine's Day emotional massacre by Jeanne Morningstar
Note: the framing sequence of this issue takes place after Hungry,
Hungry Sabertooths! #24 and Another LNH Title? Really? #11. The
flashback takes place on Valentine's Day, 2020.
To tell the truth, Catalyst Lass was feeling just a *little* strained.
She was doing her utmost to keep the LNH motivated and undepressed. And
it was working! Well, mostly it was working.
But she was starting to feel a little weird and vulnerable. She was
sending so much energy out into her LNH teammates she was worried about
losing it herself. And she was most of what was keeping the team afloat,
so if she fell apart, that was it.
And, stuck in quarantine, she was alone with her thoughts and struggling
with big-time guilt and frustration feelings she'd been putting off by
constantly throwing herself into doing something. She wasn't alone with
her thoughts a whole lot. When she was, she preferred to be reading
romance novels. She tried to lose herself in a fantasy romance novel
about lesbian knights, but her thoughts just kept pulling at her.
For one thing, she felt partially responsible for this whole mess. She'd
actually got the writers into writing LNH again. Noticing the lull in
the activity, she'd got Doctor Stomper to build a machine that would
send her catalytic energy out to the Writers to get them to start
writing again. And it had worked! Of course, the problem with that was
that it meant that things were happening. Way, way too many things.
For another thing, now that she didn't have anything to hold those
thoughts back, she was thinking about the times she'd let the LNH down.
About the Second Valentine's Ball. It was strange to think back to how
it had all started, back to when she'd been so sure of herself, right
after her victory on Mars against the Foo. [Another LNH Title? Really?
#11] She'd been determined to get an honest to goodness decent
girlfriend for Token Girl, her best friend who was just starting to
really come to terms with being queer, whatever it took.
Her plan had been, of course, to hire a freelance witch to build a
powerful computer program for shipping. She spent days and days playing
around with different settings, different potentials, and she soon
started having Ideas.
Much bigger ideas than just helping her friend. It had been a long time
now since the first Valentine's Ball, one of the high points of the LNH.
Many old characters who were central to the LNH had left since then for
one reason or another, but there were a lot of new characters and new
dynamics, which meant new opportunities for shipping. And of course
shipping was crucial for getting on board new readers. What if they had
another Valentine's Ball?
She'd been tempted to laugh, just a little bit maniacally, as the plan
took shape in her mind...
Doctor Stomper was sitting at his lab--
"Wait a minute," said Masterplan Lad, who along with Chaos Theory was
watching all the flashbacking from atop the Net.ropolis Bandshell. [as
seen in many and various issues of Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths!] "I
though this flashback was from Catalyst Lass's point of view--"
"Shhhh." Chaos Theory put their finger on Masterplan Lad's lips.
Doctor Stomper was sitting at his lab. He was engaged in penetrating the
abyss of the Deep Omnilooniverse (it was impossible to describe some of
his experiments in a way that didn't sound double-entendreish
sometimes). With him was his assistant, Sister State-the-Obvious.
She'd gotten divorced some time ago ago, and become depressed because
she didn't really feel like she had a place in the LNH any more, so
Doctor Stomper had offered her a place as his lab assistant. The idea
was that, as a mad scientist, he had a tendency to disastrously miss the
obvious and she could help point it out to him. He knew the sorts of
tropes that 60s science-based characters tended to fall into--from Reed
Richards building a Negative Zone prison to Beast torturing people in
X-Force--and wanted to make sure he stayed away from that.
In fact, their connection went a lot deeper than most people
knew--Sister State-the-Obvious had been one of the first Brotherhood of
Net.Villains, and Doctor Stomper's saving her life was one of the things
that lead to her changing sides. [A tale to be told in Retcon Year...
which I *really will* write at some point. Why are you looking at me
SSTO's situation was the kind of thing that was rooted in
behind-the-scenes drama, but which was kept around because of the way it
could be use to comment on wider comic tropes. She was a classic example
of a Silver Age-style female character who fell into a certain kind of
role and a certain relationship early, then had that relationship fall
apart on her, questioned herself, experienced anger and doubt for the
first time. It'd be interesting to see what kind of relationship she
might end up in now--
Dr. Stomper was so busy thinking about Sister State-the-Obvious in the
abstract that he didn't notice at first when she was calling to him.
"Yes?" he said, not turning away from the Cosmo-Viewer (a Viewmaster
rigged into an elaborate kirbytech device).
"How long has it been since you slept?" she said. He knew she must be
putting effort into this; saying things that weren't just statements
could be hard for her.
"Ah, I'm not sure. Time doesn't feel real to me anymore. ...Three days,
"You need to get sleep," she said.
"Ah yes, well," he said, "I'm right on the edge of an absolutely
She yanked him away from his machines and pushed him against the wall,
kabedoning him. "This would be a lot easier if I had an invisible force
field," she said. She looked him in the eyes and frowned. "You need to
go to sleep this exact moment."
"Ah, er, yes, I suppose I do. Thank you." Dr. Stomper smiled and then
collapsed right onto the floor and started snoring like a buzzsaw.
When he woke up, he was wrapped up in blankets Sister State-the-Obvious
and Mashup Laq had presumably put on him, curled up like a cat. He
rubbed his eyes and reflected.
"You're awake!" said SSTO. "...You're holding onto something. So am I."
"I am? ...Now what's this?" he asked, feeling the envelope in his hand.
"I don't know," said Mashup Laq. "These all just kind of... appeared in
our hands just now. I'm seeing reports of this from all over the LNHQ.
It's cool! But also kind of creepy!"
"Indeed." Dr. Stomper slowly opened the perfume-scented lavender
envelope, inside there was a note written in elegant script.
DEAR DOCTOR STOMPER,
YOU ARE INVITED TO THE SECOND VALENTINE'S BALL.
GO TO THE ABANDONED THEME PARK SOUTH OF NET.ROPOLIS AT SUNSET ON
VALENTINE'S DAY AND ENTER THE TUNNEL OF LOVE. YOU WILL BE BROUGHT TO
"Valentine's Day. That's in a week," said Sister State-the-Obvious.
"This looks like something Catalyst Lass would come up with." She smiled
"That it does," said Dr. Stomper. "But the whole thing has a bit of the
scent of a trap about it, in addition to the perfume. The abandoned
theme park seems a bit off-brand for her."
"I mean, it could go either way," said Mashup Laq, "but there's only one
way to find out, I guess..."
A week passed. Everyone speculated and argued about the invitations and
what they could mean. Cat herself, however, was nowhere in sight.
In the end most of the LNHers made the same decision. They weren't going
to leave a plot hook with a juicy plot worm affixed to it alone, even if
that plot hook was being wielded by a plot fisherman with decidedly
lethal intentions, not the catch-and-release sort. The lines at the
Abandoned Amusement Park were surprisingly long.
"I wonder," said Dr. Stomper, "do tunnels of love exist anymore, or are
they just something people know secondhand from media? Are they
something that used to be real once but now are mainly known from
second- or third-hand cartoon references and Archie digests?"
"Who knows," said Mashup Laq.
The Abandoned Amusement Park had been abandoned as long as anyone
remembered. It had been far more popular as a site for net.villain
schemes and hauntings than it had ever been as an actual amusement park.
It was kept around because it was safer to leave a place the various
ghosts, ab-natural beings, slendermen, etc. could haunt rather than
letting them overrun the city itself.
The LNHers, two (or three) by two (or three), walked past the decrepit
ferris wheel and the rather worrying giant clown face and entered into
the Tunnel of Love. Dr. Stomper, Sister State-the-Obvious and Mashup Laq
got onto a boat and patiently waited for it to bring them outside.
There was a darkness, and a motion that spun them around like a whirlwind...
Doctor Stomper opened his eyes. He was in the LNH ballroom, just as he
remembered from the Valentine's Ball. But everything was a little bit...
not quite right. The wallpaper was red, for one thing, and the music
being played on the jukebox was a ghostly, scratchy version of "It's Not
"Ah yes, Lynchian surrealism," said Doctor Stomper. "An interesting
He was sitting on a chair, and turned to face the person beside him. He
was not expecting it to be Occultism Kid
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