LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 3 #3: "Sequels are Always Worse" [1/6]

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 10:17:28 PST 2020

#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 
like that?--ed.]

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 
world-changing breakthrough..."

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.




"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 
party theme."

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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