Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The League of Super Villains

They are ordinary men in extraordinary costumes.
We are extraordinary people in ordinary costumes.

This mantra is continuously repeated to me during the time I have spent with The League of Super Villains, a group so exclusive and so powerful that for centuries their existence has been but rumor.

Forget what you've heard, what you've read and what you've seen.  These are not your comic's villains.  These people, are much, much more terrifying.

Daddy issues.

I'm still not sure how or why I was granted access to their ranks. With the resurgence of the Real-Life Superhero Movement, headed by Seattle's Phoenix Jones, I suppose there must have been some desire to tell the other side of the story.  I know I wanted to hear the other side.

And then I got the phone call. 

I was flown by private jet bussed to an undisclosed location.  It was hard to judge how long I was on the road, because I fell asleep rather quickly after the glass of wine they gave me.  Odd, because wine never affects me in that way.  The taste, though, was delightful.

They did me the courtesy of carrying me into their headquarters rather than wake me from their nap.  This caused me to miss not only the way to get to their lair, but also the chance to identify the location from any of the surrounding topography.  I assume I was either deeply underground in Arizona, or in one of the top floors of a skyscraper in north Jersey.

However, they had cleverly disguised their location to resemble the storage rental facility of your local neighborhood UHaul.

A well-dressed woman offered me some water, and then escorted me into a cavernous office, which was decorated sparcely with just a large desk and two chairs before it.  I managed to catch a glimpse of one of the computer screens on the desk before it was shoved away from my line of sight.  On the screen were multiple views from security cameras, presumably from around the world.  "From our own buildings," I was assured.

I settled into a chair and prepared to meet the Super Villains.  I would be accompanying them on their treks of evil that very night.

The Pyramid Schemer

The first Villain I meet is The Pyramid Schemer, who is carried in on a wagon pulled by two dogs.  The red plastic wagon starts to take me back to my childhood, but then I am distracted by the regal presence that The Pyramid Schemer commands.  She looks like Cleopatra....an evil Cleopatra.   

 Her mission, she tells me, is to steal the world's grandest antiques and even monuments.  She hints at grand heists that have yet to be detected by even the most careful and discerning of curators.  She boasts that while many have tried to duplicate her evil ways, none of had her success. 

 She often works with Artmageddon.

Artmageddon's eyes are eerie, as though they have simultaneously seen too much and yet are still searching for more.  I find myself wishing that I had sunglasses just to block her stare.  She is an artist, she tells me, both of paint....and time.   She has the ability to paint the future, not as it will be, but as she wants it to be.  She is the most powerful of villains, she explains, because she simply can not lose. 

 She will paint our future for the night.  I will have a front seat view to true evil.

I find myself getting very cold all of a sudden.

 She begins to draw and then turns the pad around.  I look.

 She has painted a Monopoly game board.  

And she has acquired both Boardwalk and Park Place.

We set up the game for the night.  I go for the shoe, my favorite.

It is already missing. 

So are the thimble and the man on horseback.

 The Pyramid Schemer manages to look evil and innocent at the same time, while her pockets jingle.

 I must settle for playing with the iron.

 After three hours of play, the game is over.  I have lost.

And Artmageddon has acquired Boardwalk and Park Place.

Although I don't recall her ever having landed on them.

Sinnister Fein

Sinnister Fein makes me nervous.  She's the one that other villains whisper about, whose escapades are rumored to have caused wars and wrecked havoc, leaving a trail of destruction wherever she wanders.  When she walks into the room, I am mesmerized by her tattoos, which I suspect are fake, bearing the brands of nationalistic fervor all over her body:  26 + 6 = 1; Georgia for Georgians; Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité; Patria o Muerte; Save the Bay.  Her mission is to implant the seeds of rebellion into a population and then walk away.  The people, she said, take it from there.  She often works with Dillusional.  


Dillusional with one of her minions.
 It is Dillusional who finally explains to me the paradox of super-villainy: while super heroes appear in full costume while at work, which are usually bright and designed to be noticed, true super villains must disguise their natural bright plumage and wear the garb of an ordinary person when they are being most villainous.  "Clark Kent stole the idea from us," says Dillusional.  "Although he got it all wrong."

Dillusional's gig is to give her targets delusions of grandeur that will, she assured me, ultimately lead to their downfall.  She works in the shadows, whispering choice words, tempting the most true to their demise.

They invite me out with them that night.

Where would we end up, I wonder.  The United Nations?  The White House?  The Capitol?

We wind up at a bar downtown.  A nefarious bar, I assume.  Sinnister Fein and Dillusional are dressed like normal women, all the better to deceive.  I notice that Sinnister Fein's tattoos are somehow missing.

They survey the room.

Perhaps we are looking for a politician just a nudge away from true evil, I think.  I scan the bar, looking for a face made familiar from CNN. 

But the two make for a group of college kids, comprised mostly of girls and one couple.  They start buying shots and whispering in ears.

After about an hour, the couple is arguing.   Sinnister Fein and Dillusional have encouraged three of the girls to dance on the bar.  The return to me, triumphant.

"It'll be all over Facebook tomorrow!" Dillusional crows. "It's going to be so embarrassing."

The two hop into a cab and leave me on the corner, waiting for Super Ego to show up.

Super Ego

He arrives promptly on time.   The Super Ego, he primly tells me,  can be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt.  He will not allow me to take his picture (something about lighting and the tendency of the camera to add 10 pounds) but gives me an artist's rendering to publish. 

I ask him about his exploits, and he tells me stories of shadowy high figures who, driven into guilt by their exploits (often encouraged by his compatriots in the League), throw everything away and hide.  He hints at lives lost, either to madness or suicide.

I thrill to be so close to such evil.

So what will we do tonight, I ask.

"We will make someone pay," he says threateningly.  "I know just what to do."  He takes a final bite of the apple he's been carefully eating since we met, and then rushes up to a young man standing on the sidewalk.  All of a sudden, he tosses the apple at the man. 

"You touched it last!" he screams, and then runs away.

Into the darkness.


  1. I drew this before it existed.

  2. This is the best thing I have ever seen on the internet since your wedding party biographies.