Tag Archives: superheroes

Podiobooks to Print: Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty

Another podcast novelist makes the leap (over a tall building) to print on Monday, 25 August as Mur Lafferty‘s superhero novel, Playing for Keeps, debuts from Swarm Press.

I read Playing for Keeps about a year ago, when a pre-overlord Chris Miller and I were asked to assist with some of the “Stories of the Third Wave” supporting material for the podcast release of the novel. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of the production after only one episode due to some conflicting obligations, but the story of super-powered people whose abilities aren’t quite good enough to make them full-fledged superheroes is right up my alley and I’ve often speculated that my own “Third Wave” power could be anything from killing hard drives to sipping coffee just before it has cooled down to the point where it won’t burn my tongue.

Here’s the official press release from the publisher:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25 Release Date for Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps

Swarm Press is pleased to announce the upcoming release of breakthrough podcaster and author Mur Lafferty’s newest novel of superheroic action Playing for Keeps. Originally a self-released “podiobook,” this new printed version of Lafferty’s novel is due to hit shelves on August 25, 2008.

Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty.

Welcome to Seventh City, the birthplace of super powers. The First Wave heroes are jerks, but they have the best gifts: flight, super strength, telepathy, genius, fire. The Third Wavers, like bar-owner Keepsie Branson and her friends, are stuck with the leftovers: the ability to instantly make someone sober, the power to smell the past, absolute control… over elevators. They just aren’t powerful enough to make a difference… at least that’s what they’ve always been told. But when the villain Doodad slips Keepsie a mysterious metal sphere, the Third Wavers become caught in the middle of a battle between egotistical heroes and manipulative villains.

Playing for Keeps grabbed me and kept me reading straight through when I should have been plotting a new fantasy series for Tor Books. Mur, thank you. Tor, however, does not thank you.” – David Drake, author, Hammer’s Slammers.

Mur Lafferty is an American podcaster and writer based in Durham, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a degree in English. Her nonfiction work has appeared at www.SuicideGirls.com, as well as in the magazines Knights of the Dinner Table, PC Gamer, Computer Games, Scrye, and SciFi Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in Hub, Escape Pod, and Scrybe. She was, until July, 2007, the host and co-editor of Pseudopod, and is currently the host and creator of the podcasts Geek Fu Action Grip and I Should be Writing. Visit Mur online at www.murverse.com

Playing for Keeps is still available as a free audio production at Podiobooks.com.

Geekstuff: Superheroes in the News

My finger is, as always, on the pulse of entertainment newsTechnically, my RSS feed reader is on the pulse., especially where it pertains to all things superheroic. A couple of things have recently caught my eye:

Stan Lee has signed on to create superheroes for Disney. I love Stan Lee as much as the next guySo long as the next guy is a huge superhero geek., but I’m wondering if Disney has taken a good look at some of Stan’s more recent creations. Mosaic was decent, but Lightspeed (starring Jason Connery) was positively abysmal. I haven’t seen The Condor yet, but the trailers prominently feature a half-pipe and Tony Hawkish skateboarding sounds, all of which reminds me of Night Thrasher from the New Warriors, and that’s not a good thing (sorry Night Thrasher).

City of Heroes

Tom DeSanto (producer of the upcoming Transformers movie) is reportedly working on a live-action City of Heroes movie. City of Heroes is the MMORPG that sucked up massive quantities of my time a couple of years ago until upgrades to the game surpassed the capabilities of my computer and puny dial-up Internet connectionI’ve switched to a cable Internet connection, but my computer is still only barely capable of running the game.. One of the things I really liked about the game was the massive backstory NCSoft built around Paragon City and the surrounding area. Quotes from DeSanto lead me to believe that the movie will cover the alien invasion that takes place before the game begins. Color me interested.

Soon I Will Be Invincible @ Amazon.com

Soon I Will Be Invincible is Austin Grossman’s first novel, and there are already rumors that it is being adapted to film. Grossman is a game design consultant who has worked on two of my favorite video game franchises: Thief and Deus Ex. According to the official site, Invincible is “[a] wildly entertaining first novel, brimming with attitude and humor, featuring a cast of dozens of super-heroes and super-villains…” The buzz I’m hearing is very good, perhaps even good enough to make me break my “no hardcovers” rule.

Game Night: 15 May 2007 – Marvel Heroes (Part 1)

Marvel Heroes
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I think I’m going to build a Gamesignal and install it on the roof above the garage, with a switch downstairs in my office. Then when I want the Game Night crew to assemble I’ll just flip the switch, a powerful beam of light will bisect the sky and our emblem ((Note to self: we need an emblem; and a theme song.)) will shine brightly in the darkness for all to see, ((Projected on the … uh… stratosphere, I guess; or perhaps a giant screen in geosynchronous orbit.)) signaling Chris, Gus, Jeff and Miscellaneous G™ that the time of the gaming is upon us.

Yeah, that’s definitely the way to go.

As it stands, Game Night is coordinated via e-mail, which seems pretty mundane by comparison. Unfortunately, due to some manner of SMTP wormhole or IMAP confuddlement, Jeff didn’t receive confirmation that Game Night was go for launch on Tuesday and he was understandably absent. I’ve got to believe the Gamesignal would be far more reliable.

Miscellaneous G™ and Chris arrived at the International House of Johnson shortly after 7:00 and gaming commenced around 8:00, following consumption of various snacks and chitting of various chats. We decided upon Marvel Heroes, foolishly thinking that we could complete an entire game before Gus’ scheduled 9:00 arrival time. As it was, we hadn’t quite managed to finish an entire game round before Gus arrived. We briefly considered switching to something else, but then decided to simply deal Gus into the game already in progress.

The idea behind Marvel Heroes is fairly simple: each player commands a team of heroes who troubleshoot mysterious occurrences (called Headlines) in and around Manhattan. Successfully troubleshooting a Headline means collecting Victory Points; failing means the heroes get sent home with their web-shooters or adamantium claws between their legs (embarrassing and uncomfortable).

Unlike Arkham Horror, another Fantasy Flight title we’ve played at Game Night, players in Marvel Heroes aren’t cooperating with one another to overcome a common foe, they’re competing against each other for Victory Points. It wouldn’t do to have the heroes battling one another, though, so to aid in foiling their opponents each player controls a Master Villain — the nemesis of the team to his or her right.

We began by assigning Hero teams and Master Villains as follows:

  • Miscellaneous G™: The Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk). The Avengers’ nemesis,The Red Skull, was controlled by Chris.
  • Chris: The Marvel Knights (Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Daredevil and Elektra). The Marvel Knights’ nemesis, Kingpin, was controlled by KJToo.
  • KJToo: The Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Thing and Human Torch). The Fantastic Four’s nemesis, Dr. Doom, was controlled by Miscellaneous G™.

Teams assigned, it was time to get cracking. The basic unit of the game is the Game Round, which is broken into three phases: Setup, Planning and Mission.

During the Setup phase, the game board is prepared. In the first round, six new Headlines are placed on the board (one for each area of Manhattan), four Story cards are dealt onto the Story track, and various tokens — indicating such things as the current Game Round, Victory Points for each team and Trouble Level — are placed on their appropriate tracks. In subsequent rounds, the Story track is advanced, the Game Round advances, and Headline cards are dealt into locations that were investigated in the previous round.

The planning phase is where all the strategy takes place; well, in theory, anyway. Team receive Plot Points based on a number of factors and spend those points to activate heroes and play Ally cards. The idea is to activate heroes whose skills and troubleshooting levels best suit one or more of the available Headlines.

Right. Boring. Where are the epic battles? Where are all the shield-throwing, web-slinging, Hulk smashing, eyebeam-shooting beatdowns?

Fear not, true believer! Once we get past all the setup and strategery…it’s clobberin’ time!

The Mission phase is all about applying boots to the posterior and taking note of monikers. Okay, there’s some other stuff going on (like moving heroes, healing heroes and such), but it really boils down to action. In fact, each Mission phase is broken into five Action Rounds. Typically, the first action is to move your team to a location and the second action is to introduce your heroes’ fists to some villains’ faces.

In the first round, Miscellaneous G™ sent Thor and Iron Man to Lower Manhattan, Chris sent Elektra and Spidey to Brooklyn, and I sent Mr. and Mrs. Reed Richards to The Village. Instead of troubleshooting in the second round, Miscellaneous G™ chose to take a Story Action and build up his hand. The real action started with Chris’ turn when Elektra investigated rumors of mutant monsters prowling the sewers beneath Brooklyn.

Any time a player troubleshoots a headline, all the other players have an opportunity to play cards (Villains and Agents) that make it more difficult for the hero to triumph. When Elektra descended into the sewers, she didn’t find mutants waiting for her there; she found The Vulture, a Villain card that I played from my hand. Once a Villain has been played, he or she becomes the Lead Villain for that encounter, and the other players can play additional cards as backup effects — cards that allow the Lead Villain to use sneaky tricks during combat to gain an advantage or otherwise inhibit the hero.

Unfortunately, The Vulture is an old man, and apparently senile to boot. Why he chose to confront Elektra in the confines of the sewer rather than engaging in an aerial battle amidst the towering skyscrapers high above is anyone’s guess, but the end result was a trip back to Codgerville Prison and Chris picking up several Victory Points.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, the ever-elastic Mr. Fantastic investigated the origins of a mysterious column of energy, only to find that it was yet another fiendish plot by Latverian dictator and Darth Vader wannabe, Dr. Doom.Never mind that Dr. Doom made his first appearance fifteen years before Darth Vader. Though the bad doctor wasn’t actually present, his machinations were felt in the form of an increased Trouble Level — one of several ways in which a Master Villain can attempt to alter the outcome of a Mastermind Headline. Miscellaneous G™ (controlling Dr. Doom) could also have opted to arrange a direct encounter between Mr. Fantastic and the Master Villain, but chose not to; instead, Chris played Avalanche as the Lead Villain and Miscellaneous G™ threw the Crimson Dynamo into the mix as a backup effect.

Much to Doom’s dismay—not to mention Miscellaneous G™’s, as his disdain for Mr. Fantastic is the stuff of legends—Avalanche proved to be no match for the leader of the Fantastic Four, and I collected the sweet, sweet Victory Points. It was a promising start for me, but little did I know how quickly my fortunes would take a turn for the worse.

When Thor arrived on the scene in Lower Manhattan to investigate reports of a UFO crash, instead of little green men he found a big green-and-yellow man: Electro. For those who may not know, Electro’s claim to infamy is his ability to manipulate electricity, while Thor is the Norse god of thunder who wields the enchanted Uru hammer, Mjolnir, and says “thee” a lot. Smart money was on Thor, and the son of Odin did not disappoint, leaving the only real question whether I should say that he hammered, nailed, or pounded Electro.

Chris, meanwhile, had moved Elektra to Queens, where she found several horribly mutilated bodies… and Hydro-Man. Now, Hydro-Man is essentially made of living liquid and can control nearby bodies of water. Even so, he’s still a second-rate villain in the Marvel Universe. Elektra, on the other hand, is a Greek ninja assassin ((No, seriously, Elektra is a Greek ninja. And an assassin. A Greek ninja assassin. Oh, and her last name is Natchios, which doesn’t sound at all like “nachos”.)) who was killed by Bullseye and then came back from the dead. That’s pretty badass. On the other other hand, Hydro-Man was being assisted by one Mortimer Toynbee, also known as The Toad. The combination of Hydro-Man and His Amphibious Friend proved too much for poor Elektra, and the villains (wait for it) mopped the floor with her.

Elektra’s ignominious defeat marked the end of Game Round One, as well as the arrival of Gus. Rather than abandoning the game in progress, we decided to give Gus the X-Men, shuffle the nemeses around a bit, and continue the ongoing battle for truth, justice, and a slogan that didn’t belong to a competing comic book company. Excelsior!

Gus sat to my left and took Dr. Doom’s green hoodie from Miscellaneous G™, who in turn donned the maroon-and-purple helmetAbsolutely not double entendre. of Magneto, the Master of Magnetism. Our musical chairs mini-game complete, we proceeded to Game Round Two.

To be continued…

Moviestuff: Where’s the Spidey 3 Review?

I haven’t seen Spider-Man 3, yet. I could have gone on opening weekend, but I didn’t; I could probably find some time this weekend, but chances are I won’t. I’ll see it in the theater, but I’m clearly not rushing out, which — given my love of all things superheroic — is incredibly unusual.

So where’s the excitement about Spider-Man 3? I’m pretty sure it was snuffed out by Spider-Man 2.

See, I really enjoyed Spider-Man; it wasn’t perfect, but as superhero movies go it was pretty darn close. Then Spider-Man 2 was released. It had amazing action sequences and I loved the way Doctor Octopus was brought to the big screen, but — as I wrote in my 2004 review — the little annoying things I didn’t like about the first movie were amplified tenfold.

I own Spider-Man 2 on DVD, but I’ve never watched it. I watched a lot of the special features, but I haven’t sat down and watched the movie from beginning to end again. I know there’s a lot of really cool stuff in it, but I don’t want to sit through the syrupy melodrama to get to it. I suppose I could fast-forward through all the angst and preaching, but that feels like cheating somehow.

So I’m not in a big hurry to see Spider-Man 3, because somewhere along the line Sam Raimi decided that along with the proportional speed, strength and agility of a spider, Peter Parker also has the proportional melodrama of a daytime soap opera.

Podcast: The Round Table, Episode 04-02

The Round TableMick Bradley and Julia Sullivan went AWOL recently, leaving Chris Miller and I to record the latest episode of The Round Table. Undaunted, we interviewed Tee Morris, co-author (with Lisa Lee) of MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana, co-author (with Evo Terra) of Podcasting for Dummies, author of Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword and host of The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy podcast.

Chris and I also had a discussion about Marvel Comics’ Civil War crossover series and the death of my favorite super hero, Captain America.

Mick will be back for the next episode, but Julia will likely be absent for much of Season Four as she carves a bloody swath of carnage and destruction across northeast Ohio. In the meantime, give The Round Table a listen, won’t you? For the children?

Non Sequitur: The Superhero Quiz

My co-hosts over at The Round Table have all taken the superhero quiz and posted the results in their personal blogs (except for Julia, who is a mystery even unto herself), so I figured it was high time I followed suit.

Before I get to my own results, let’s have a look at my co-hosts’. Mick Bradley is Spider-Man, though I tend to think of him as a kinder, gentler Green Arrow. Chris Miller is Batman, and any smartass comment I have about that would be superfluous at this point.

I should point out that there are some obvious gaps in the possibilities (no Captain America, no Matter-Eater Lad), but I’m not at all surprised to discover my own alter ego…
Continue reading Non Sequitur: The Superhero Quiz

RPG: With Great Power… (Part 1 – Origins)

With Great Power...When Chris Miller returned from GenCon last month, he brought me a copy of With Great Power…, a roleplaying game from Incarnadine Press. The title is taken from a classic line spoken by Peter Parker’s uncle, Ben Parker. “With great power,” Uncle Ben told his nephew, “comes great responsibility.” This, perhaps more than anything, is what drives Peter to don the mask of Spider-Man day after day and put himself in harm’s way to protect the innocent from all manner of malevolent villains.

With Great Power…, as you might have guessed, is a superhero roleplaying game, in which players create their own heroes to battle evil and injustice in the world. Unlike so-called “traditional” RPGs, characters in With Great Power… are not defined by a series of ability scores like Strength, Dexterity and Charisma, but rather in more abstract terms, such as their relationships, convictions and sense of duty.

Wednesday evening I walked through “The Origin Process” with Chris and his friend, Matt. With Great Power… is all about collaborative storytelling right from the start. Players (Chris and Matt) and GM (myself) first decide what the overall theme of the game will be. This is expressed in terms of a struggle that each of the characters must face throughout the story. Chris latched onto “Justice vs. Vengeance” almost immediately, and we ran with it.

After the Struggle has been chosen, character creation begins. As with everything else in With Great Power…, character creation is a collaborative process. Players do not create their characters in a vacuum, armed with a set of dice and some general parameters provided by the GM. Instead, each player answers a series of questions about his or her character and the other players are encouraged to add details as the hero is being fleshed out, a process referred to as “penciling”.

None of us were used to this type of character creation, but after spinning our wheels for a few minutes we started to have a lot of fun with it. The characters began to take form as ideas about their origin, powers, relationships and responsibilities came from all directions, some concepts blossoming and others withering on the vine.

Chris’ probability-altering hero is the twentysomething son of a wealthy defense contractor. Young and idealistic, he wants to see the family’s wealth and influence used for more humanitarian purposes, a goal that is directly contrary to his twin sister’s bloodthirsty ambitions. While their father lies in a coma (thanks to an “accident” arranged by the sister), the conflict between the twins will likely escalate from sibling rivalry to a full-fledged familial war.

Halfway around the world, Matt’s hero—struggling to understand and control his newly-emerging superhuman strength—mourns the murder of his Lebanese fianceé and begins his quest for vengeance against those responsible for her death. Little does he know that the trail of her killers will lead him back to the United States, and the arms-dealing daughter of a comatose billionaire…

At this point, The Origin Process isn’t quite complete. We still have to boil the characters’ aspects down to their essence to make it easier to gauge how much they suffer during the thematic Struggle. Suffering is key to the conflict-resolution of the game, which is accomplished through negotiation and playing cards rather than dice rolls. Scenes are built much like characters are created, through a collaborative effort by everyone involved. How well this storytelling concept works for us will be discovered over the next several weeks as we complete The Origin Process and move into enrichment, conflict and the story arc.

Stay tuned.

Podcast: Fist Full of Comics (and Games)

Fist Full of Comics by The Round TableFriday night, the hosts of The Round Table donned their superhero guises to host Fist Full of Comics (and Games) as part of a crossover event currently taking place among several gaming podcasts. It seems that the wizard Weirdbeard, powerful-but-clumsy mascot of the Does My Geek Look Big in This? podcast, managed to bugger up his latest spell, which should surprise no one. The result of his mangled magick is that eleven of Weirdbeard’s favorite gaming podcasts have been jumbled together. Mick, Chris, Julia and I wound up on Fist Full of Comics, while the regular hosts of that show (including JJ “Working Man” Lanza and Victor “Tangent” Cantu) were off reviewing beer on Does My Geek Look Big in This?

The show was a lot of fun to do, and we managed to apply our trademark mythic twist on comic books and superheroes, topics we only occasionally discuss on The Round Table. The episode should appear on the regular Fist Full of Comics feed as well as the special Shaken Not Stirred feed sometime in the next week or so.

SciFi: Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Season Finale)

All good things must come to an end, as must all things that started out good but then turned bad after an attempt to use lizard DNA to regrow an arm. Who Wants to Be a Superhero? falls somewhere in the middle of that particular spectrum, and it, too, has come to an end.

The episode began with Stan Lee sending the two remaining contestants to “Stunt School”, where they bounced on a trampoline, kicked a fella in the stones, and “flew” in front of a green screen. You’d have sworn it was Feedback’s birthday and he’d just gotten the best present imaginable, as I don’t think the grin left his face once during stunt school. Fat Momma wasn’t quite so enthusiastic; not only didn’t she have a permanent grin affixed to her face, but she didn’t do backflips on the trampoline and opted not to be flung through the air in front of a green screen, either.

Later, each of the heroes had a little face time with Stan Lee. When speaking to Stan Lee, Feedback’s super power is sniffling and hero worship. He once again reiterated that Stan was his hero, while Fat Momma got all misty when talking about her own personal hero, her father.

The final elimination took place on Universal CityWalk before throngs of fans. Fat Momma and Feedback were both featured in their own video montage, where they fought Dark Enforcer and leftover footage from SciFi Original movies. Finally, Stan Lee eliminated Fat Momma, which should have surprised exactly no one but seemed to catch Feedback off guard.

As is standard practice for reality shows, all of the contestants eliminated in prior episodes returned to congratulate Feedback. Then, for the first time in the series, Stan Lee appeared in person to offer his congratulations as well.

The first episode Who Wants to Be a Superhero? impressed the hell out of me, but by episode four the show had become everything I dreaded it would be from the beginning. By the final episode, there was nothing surprising, innovative, or even amusing about it. Feedback’s victory was pretty much a given, and everything about the finale leading up to the elimination of Fat Momma was just filler.

Now that the show is over, Feedback can take his wife to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. He will also be featured in his own comic book developed by Stan Lee and published by Dark Horse Comics. Finally, his character will be featured in a SciFi Original movie on a Saturday night in the future.

The Feedback movie will not be the first time that Stan Lee has collaborated with The SciFi Channel. If their previous movie collaboration (Lightspeed) is any indication of what we can expect, Feedback may want to turn in his own costume before Lee and SciFi destroy the character he created.

SciFi: Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Episode 5)

The penultimate episode of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? was a mix of good and bad, with a heavy dose of ugly.

The Good

The challenges were actually decent this week.

First, the heroes made an appearance at an elementary school, where they were presented with a poster-sized version of the cover for their own comic book. After the unveiling, each hero spoke to the youngsters and answered their questions. Feedback explained how he got his powers, Fat Momma told the kids that their differences make them special, and Major Victory expounded upon the aerodynamic qualities of his hair.

After each hero had been given their moment in the spotlight, Stan Lee asked the kids to stand behind their favorite costumed crusader. Fat Momma had the most fans, while Feedback — whose presentation was a bit complex for young children — came in a distant thirdWord of advice to Feedback: You get your powers from video games. Pong shouldn’t even be on your list of favorite games, much less at the top..

The second challenge took place on the Universal CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood. The heroes were informed that Dark Enforcer was loose somewhere in the vicinity and only by following a series of clues could they locate him and foil his fiendish plan.

The first clue led the heroes to a woman wearing high heels with a tattoo above her ankle, who provided the next clue and a bottle of lotion. The second clue led to a heavyset man with a diamond earring; the third clue was written on his belly and back and could only be revealed by rubbing the lotion on him (or else it gets the hose again). The third clue led to a woman with a fancy purse containing thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents and the final clue, which revealed the location of Dark Enforcer.

Major Victory, as always, was hilarious as he ran through the CityWalk in search of each clue. Of all the heroes, Victory has been the most fun to watch since day one. From his mannerisms to the way he moves to the way he interacts with the citizens he seeks to protect, Major Victory has always been a consistent, colorful and dynamic character.

Feedback took the challenge very seriously and even though he’s not as fun to watch as Victory, he’s got the right attitude about being a hero. Upon finding the final clue, Feedback had an opportunity to win the time trial (though he wasn’t aware of it at the time) but stopped to pick up the coins he’d dropped and put them back in the woman’s purse before running off to find Dark Enforcer.

Major Victory and Feedback both completed the challenge in a little over fifteen minutes; Fat Momma, on the other hand, wandered around the CityWalk bumming french fries and chicken strips from various people while searching for the clues. Later, Stan Lee reported that it took Fat Momma forty minutes longer to locate Dark Enforcer than the other contestants.

The Bad

The challenges only lasted about half an hour.

Previous episodes generally consisted of a challenge followed by an elimination in the first half hour, followed by a second challenge and another elimination. With only three heroes left at the beginning of the show and another episode yet to come next week, there was only room for a single elimination in episode five. The elimination, of course, occured at the end of the episode. Unfortunately, both challenges had been completed by about 9:35, which left twenty-five minutes for…

The Ugly

As I mentioned last week, my theory of reality television is that the amount of drama is inversely proportional to the number of contestants remaining. The final half of episode five of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? certainly reinforces that theory; all three of the remaining heroes brought the melodrama to levels that would make your average daytime soap opera wince with embarrassment.

First, Fat Momma locked herself in the bathroom and refused to come out until she could speak with one of the show’s producers. It seems that Fat Momma was concerned that Feedback would not handle losing well, so she wanted to withdraw from the show. Eventually, Major Victory and Feedback came in for a big, weepy hugfest and Fat Momma decided to remain in the contest.

Then came the elimination. Stan called all of the heroes forward onto the red blocks, citing each of their failures: Feedback didn’t communicate with the children on their own level, Fat Momma didn’t take the CityWalk challenge seriously, and Major Victory — for all his enthusiasm — was not so much a hero as he was a parody of a hero. In the end, Major Victory was eliminated for the traits that made him so much fun to watch.

In a final fit of orchestrated tear-jerking, Stan arranged for a phone call between Major Victory and his estranged daughter. The “reconciliation” was almost as painful to watch as Fat Momma and Feedback holding hands as they waited to see which hero would be asked to leave or Lee’s “breakdown” at having to eliminate Victory.

And so the final episode will be a showdown between Fat Momma and Feedback. I don’t know if I can handle a full hour of their sob-sodden interactions and I’ve given up hope that Dark Enforcer is going to manage anything more dastardly than short-sheeting the heroes’ beds; but I’ve made it this far and I’m committed to watching the finale, even if doing so makes me want to burn every comic I’ve ever read in the hopes of eradicating the taint of what Who Wants to Be a Superhero? has become.