Mar 11 2009

Stefan’s Review Forum

Published by at 1:13 am under Review Forums

What I’m writing: Either a comic book or a novel (I haven’t decided yet) about a team of superheroes known as the Lords of the Impossible. They are the world’s greatest heroes and they have to save the day when the world goes to hell. At the same time they come into conflict with another superteam over issues like morality. Is it  alright to kill supervillains?

My target audience: Fans of comic books or people with new interest in comic books or superheroes, aged 16-25.

How thick is my skin?: I’m happy to hear all comments about my work, good and bad, so spare nothing.

48 responses so far

48 Responses to “Stefan’s Review Forum”

  1. Stefan the Exploding Manon 21 Mar 2009 at 2:04 am

    First things first – introductory information.

    What I’m writing: Either a comic book or a novel (I haven’t decided yet) about a team of superheroes known as the Lords of the Impossible. They are the world’s greatest heroes and they have to save the day when the world goes to hell. At the same time they come into conflict with another superteam over issues like morality. Is it or isn’t it alright to kill supervillains?

    My target audience: Fans of comic books or people with new interest in comic books or superheroes, aged 16-25.

    How thick is my skin?: I’m happy to hear all comments about my work, good and bad, so spare nothing.

  2. Stefan the Exploding Manon 21 Mar 2009 at 3:46 am

    The feel I’m going for is epic superheroics. These guys, the Lords of the Impossible, only get drawn out during full-scale threats to Earth. The fights they get into are to save all of humanity. They are the first line of defense for Earth.

    A little bit of background history of the world I’m creating is probably in order. In the closing days of World War II, an alien ship crashed on Earth, containing a humanoid alien much like Superman, who becomes a hero in very much the same way, helping civilians on both sides of the Cold War.

    The ship he was in, however, reacted in a strange way with the Earth. It warped the Earth’s sphere of reality and probability, making it a more viable home for superhumans. Think of it as a way for the Superman-like character’s species to continue to survive on an unknown planet.

    As a result, supersoldier programmes in the Soviet Union and in the U.S. became unexpectedly successful. At the end of the Cold War, even after the supposed death of the Superman analogue (I’ll need a name for him eventually), random chance resulted in a superhuman boom. Laboratory accidents were more likely to produce superpowered individuals, for example.

    That’s my take on the whole world-full-of-superheroes thing. It’s all history in the setting of my book/comic and I’ll be referencing it as I go along.

    Anyway, here’s the team roster of the Lords of the Impossible:

    Nuclear Man
    He’s one of the oldest superheroes on the planet. He was in the Russian special forces, the Spetsnaz, and was selected to be part of a Cold War Soviet supersoldier programme. After the collapse of the Soviet Union he was one of the first superheroes to go public and he’s had a very long career as a contemporary superhero.

    He’s the field leader of the Lords of the Impossible. Due to his military background he’s got an air of authority about him. He is deeply resentful of the ex-Soviet Union and what it put him through as part of the supersoldier programme. This has affected his decision to make the Lords of the Impossible autonomous and free from control by any individual government. He’s passionate about making the world a better place; an idealist, in other words, but he tries to remain as practical as possible. Since he’s radiating nuclear energy all the time, long-term interaction with normal humans is a no-no, but that doesn’t bother him.

    Appearance-wise, I’m modelling him on Radioactive Man from the Thunderbolts (not the Simpsons parody hero), in terms of his green skin, lack of hair and containment suit, which is his costume and is more for asthetic purposes than anything else. He speaks with a heavy Russian accent because he only recently picked up English. I read the article on accents on Superhero Nation and I based most of his dialogue on that post. The Klay stuff, not the Hagrid stuff, I mean.

    He has power over radiation, mostly nuclear radiation, and he has energy blasts and things. His powers have grown over the years and he’s one of the only surviving supersoldiers, so he’s reasonably strong and resistant to harm as well.

    The Green Knight
    Alfred Tanaka a British computer programmer, of Japanese descent. His powers manifest unexpectedly and for an unknown reason. He suddenly becomes a being of pure energy. He doesn’t have a corporeal form, but he also gains telepathy and technopathy. He can possess things, in other words.

    Desperate for a cure for his condition, he turns to a reclusive mad scientist, who cannot help him. Instead, the scientist sends him to an alternate universe, hoping he will have better luck there. He arrives in a world in which Victorian England has colonised the rest of the world, and the status quo has remained until the present day. Everything is powered by steam. It’s a steampunk junkie’s paradise.

    Long story short, he finds and steals a suit of armour called the Green Knight Armour. It’s a building sized robot, like the Sentinels from X-Men, but it has room for a pilot and it’s powered by thought. Visually, think of a giant green steampunk robot, complete with an arsenal of steampunk weaponry. He escapes and arrives back in the normal world. He lives in the suit, possessing it and using it to fight the forces of evil and save the world.

    He’s outwardly sarcastic and carefree, but that’s a facade. Inside, he’s insecure about not having a body, and he knows he can’t have a proper relationship with anyone. Saving the world is all he has left.

    Monster
    Gunnar Halldorsson is a struggling rock artist and bassist from Iceland. Like all good musicians he knows only sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. He’s been largely unsuccessful, until a Jewish spirit known as the Aleph finds him and declares him to be a worthy host. This was an accident, because the spirit doesn’t take into account the fact that he was completely high at the time.

    He becomes the host of the Aleph, and he can transform into a monster at will. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde thing. In human form he’s reserved, creative and precise at the same time, a true artist. In Monster form he’s violent and cannibalistic, not beyond eating his enemies. He looks the part, too. My visual inspiration is Venom, the Spider-Man enemy. Not the one in the movie, but the scarier one, the hulking monstrosity, gnashing teeth and all.

    Aside from this, everytime he transforms he becomes cosmically aware. He gets a thousand times smarter, with the experience of all the previous hosts of the Aleph. He can see ice cracking in Antarctica, he can hear a spider yawning in Madagascar, he can sense electrons crackling as they spin around atoms. Mind-boggling cosmic awareness is what I’m going for.

    Since he doesn’t actually have the willpower needed to experience this cosmic awareness without foaming from the mouth and going completely nuts, he has to get high every time he transforms, or he will eventually lose his sanity. As a result he’s a bit unstable. The fact that his dual personalities are vastly different doesn’t help things, either. It’s like a Bruce Banner-Hulk dynamic.

    Horus
    The Egyptian god of the sun. This is a whole new realm of superheroics. Gods are powered by belief, so these polytheistic gods like Thor and Odin and Ares and Hermes and Poseidon and all of them are fading away. With the last of their power they decide to manifest themselves in the human world, taking advantage of the age of superheroes, and they are helped by the distorted reality field I mentioned earlier. The best and most famous gods are sent down to help humanity.

    The more successful these gods are, the more powerful they get, because people start to believe in what they see. When the more well-known gods get recognition, people start to believe in some of the lesser gods as well. The immense power of all these gods continues to build up and it gets so extreme that the Earth’s magic field starts to collapse on itself. The sorcerors of the world team up, summon all the gods and basically go, “Right, enough is enough. You get to pick one god from each pantheon to stay on Earth and that’s it.”

    Horus wins the tournament of the Egyptian gods and joins various superteams, eventually settling with the Lords of the Impossible. He’s the champion of the Egyptian people and spends much of his spare time in his homeland, helping people whenever possible. He’s slightly aloof and detached and he obviously doesn’t understand modern human behaviour all that well, but he has a fascination with humanity and that’s what drives him to save the world.

    For his powers he’s basically Thor from Marvel Comics, but without the hammer and the weather manipulation. His strength increases during the day. He has a godly aura of light that he can use to permanently blind anyone who has their eyes open when he activates it.

    Godforce
    Theresa Doumbia is an independent South African woman who is a fan of superheroes. She became a field journalist and covers most of the superfights that go on in South Africa. Her powers are activated by random chance when she gets hit by a stray energy beam from an extraterrestrial conqueror. The beam vaporises everyone around her, but her skin absorbs the energy.

    She takes the most obvious course of action – become a superhero. She has flight and super-strength, which are secondary powers. Her main power is energy absorbtion. She can take any kind of energy thrown at her, even kinetic energy from punches, and channel it into her secondary powers, so she can become stronger and fly faster. I talked about this a little on the page about naming superhero characters. Her name is a suggestion from Ragged Boy, which I am very grateful for, because I was stuck with names for her.

    She’s relatively new to the superheroing field, but she was asked to join the Lords of the Impossible because she’s extremely powerful and she’s also shown capability to work well in a team. She doesn’t have much in the way of combat experience, but she is very unselfish, looking out for her team mates, sometimes to the extent that she’s unaware of potential dangers to herself.

    Her major fault is relying too much on her powers to save her. She would rather absorb than dodge an energy blast, for example. It is possible to overload her with energy, but this has not happened. Yet.

    Right, those are the Lords of the Impossible. I originally imagined a team of seven, because seven to me is a magical number in superhero teams. The first and best Justice League lineup had seven members, for example. But several articles on this site convinced me that it would be very difficuilt to juggle seven characters at once with my level of writing experience.

    What do you think about my characters? Most of what I’ve written is character origins, which I will reference during my book/comic, but not in great detail.

    Whew, that was a long post. I hope it isn’t too long.

  3. Tomon 21 Mar 2009 at 4:06 am

    Wow, those are awesome ideas. I love how you gave a plausible explanation for a million lab accidents giving people superpowers!

    One thing: If Horus won the Egyptian contest, who won the Greek, Norse, Mayan, Aztec, Native American, Roman etc. contests?

  4. Anonymouson 21 Mar 2009 at 5:21 am

    You got a really good concept there, Stefan. Have you decided on a title for your novel/comic? Is it titled ‘Lords of the Impossible’? Well, if you haven’t decided a title yet, the words ‘When world goes to hell’ from your first paragraph makes a good title if you want it to be a novel. Otherwise, ‘Lords of the Impossible’ is just fine.

    One more thing I learned from this site is : when you have more than 3 main characters in your story, it is difficult to give them all roles in a fight. Also, you may need to change your POV character often, which is not good. For eg., When 2 heroes are fighting a super-villain, what are the other heroes doing? They might be doing anything, but you got to tell the readers what they are doing [which will be very difficult and intrusive].

  5. Avi Arunon 21 Mar 2009 at 5:22 am

    Sorry I forgot to include my name in my last post, so I reposted.

    You got a really good concept there, Stefan. Have you decided on a title for your novel/comic? Is it titled ‘Lords of the Impossible’? Well, if you haven’t decided a title yet, the words ‘When world goes to hell’ from your first paragraph makes a good title if you want it to be a novel. Otherwise, ‘Lords of the Impossible’ is just fine.

    One more thing I learned from this site is : when you have more than 3 main characters in your story, it is difficult to give them all roles in a fight. Also, you may need to change your POV character often, which is not good. For eg., When 2 heroes are fighting a super-villain, what are the other heroes doing? They might be doing anything, but you got to tell the readers what they are doing [which will be very difficult and intrusive].

  6. Ragged Boyon 21 Mar 2009 at 5:24 am

    I love that superheroes have affected the setting in your story. I think that adds a whole level of dimension to the generally cliche superhero story.

    Generally, I like your characters. Horus is my favorite, because of my love of egyptian mythology. An observation that I made was that the characters all seem to (in some way) have the same powers. However, I guess this is a necessity in order to save the world on a regular basis.

  7. Tomon 21 Mar 2009 at 6:00 am

    The whole ‘Superheroes shaped the Cold War’ thing reminds me of Watchmen in an awesome way.

  8. Fitzon 21 Mar 2009 at 6:35 am

    Nice Stefan. I really like it. It seems like you have a good grasp on all of your characters and their personalities and powers and such.
    One thing I might change is instead of making them the “first line of defense for Earth”, make them the last line of defense. It will raise the stakes and can show just how powerful your villains are (they can defeat the armies throughout the whole world).
    With what Tom said about the other tournaments of gods, I think it would be cool if you make some of the other winners turn into the villains of the story.
    Anyway, the whole thing sounds awesome! Can’t wait to see more!

  9. Stefan the Exploding Manon 21 Mar 2009 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for all the comments. I’m going to try and give replies to all of them.

    Tom:
    The tournament, the way I’m imagining it, would have gone something like this. The sorcerors of Earth would jointly moderate the tournament, and the various gods protest that it would be unfair, since some gods are more powerful than others. The sorcerors agree, and temporarily strip all the gods of their celestial powers during the tournament.

    This is a bit of a problem. As a result, all the war gods from across the pantheons win their individual tournaments, because war gods would naturally be skilled in fair combat. Horus is also an Egyptian god of war. The other winners would be Ares from the Greek gods, his counterpart Mars from the Romans, Tyr from the Norse gods, Huitzilopochtli from the Aztecs, Ogoun from several African pantheons, Hachiman from the Japanese, Guan Yu from the Chinese and so on.

    The other gods would naturally be ticked off by the exploitation of this loophole and this could be a potential storyline.

    Avi Arun:
    I don’t have a working title yet, but if I had to choose now the two that you suggested would be at the top of my list. If or when I finish this project (hopefully when), I’ll try to come up with a title that describes my work as a whole.

    I agree with you about the fight scene thing. I’ve written a sort of fight scene and I found it intensely difficult to choreograph. It would work better in a comic book, I think.

    Ragged Boy:
    I’m glad you noticed that. I’ll try and emphasize the powers that make each character unique. You’re right that they need the generic super strength and durability to save the world all the time. Some of the characters could have vast mental powers, of course, but I wanted this project to be more flashy and bold, so even telepathic characters like the Green Knight have more visual, tangible powers.

    Fitz:
    The “last line of defense” thing could work quite well. Thanks for bringing it up. It’s worth considering that heroes who save the day at the last minute always seem the most super.

    I’m glad everyone liked my tweaks to the twentieth century as a result of the presence of superheroes. More stuff to come soon.

  10. Wadeon 21 Mar 2009 at 11:40 am

    You mentioned that the Lords of the Impossible were going to come into contact with another team. What if you made the other team a government team that bettered their own country rather than the rest of the world?

  11. Chi.Rhoon 21 Mar 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Yo, I’m really feeling this concept. I’m excited to read it when you finish it. If you need any help with ideas or wanna collaborate or something, you can email me. Anyways…

    I can give some ideas as I hear more about the world you created. Cool idea, though. Keep it up.

  12. Gurion Omegaon 21 Mar 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’m probably late about commenting this, but maybe they don’t necessarily have to be the ‘Worlds Greatest Heroes’.

    Another reply:Maybe the Government has there own sort of Superhero, and on some mission, the Lords of Impossible save them. The other team (Not the Lords of Impossible) mentions them to there government. They slowly become the worlds greatest heroes.
    There growing popularity completely overshadows the other team, and they become envious of them.

    Just a suggestion.

  13. Stefan the Exploding Manon 26 Mar 2009 at 7:43 am

    Right. I suppose I’d better update this review forum. My plot is still wobbly at best. I’m having a bit of trouble ironing out inconsistencies but I’ll post when I get something more concrete.

    Anyway, themes!

    Whatever direction the story goes in, I’d like to work in the idea that the Lords of the Impossible are kind of distanced from the real world they’re fighting so hard to protect. I mean, just look at them. They’re about as far removed from humanity as they could be.

    Monster has two personalities, one of which is homicidal and cannibalistic. Horus is a god. He’s living in the Dark Ages, or before that. He doesn’t have a clue when it comes to modern humans. Nuclear Man has the radiation thing, so he can’t risk prolonged contact with anyone who isn’t immune to harm. The Green Knight doesn’t even have a proper body, which will screw him up a little. Godforce can’t get involved with people, either, because of differences in biology. Consider Larry Niven’s essay Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. It has the idea that there’s no way Superman could possibly mate with a human woman. That’s what I’m going for.

    The Lords of the Impossible have a queer little relationship with the Earth. They save the world all the time, but very often this happens off-planet, in another solar system or in another dimension. And when they do stay on Earth they remain in their headquarters for the most part. I don’t want them to get involved in every single emergency. When the Lords of the Impossible show up there should be a feeling of everyone realising how much it has hit the fan.

    Everyone’s a little bit scared of them, or creeped out, or intimidated, at least. The man on the street thinks they’re awesome and hypercool heroes for the twenty-first century, but he is also a bit uneasy with people wielding godlike powers appearing whenever they please to step in.

    The world’s governments seem to have a “don’t bother us and we won’t bother you” attitude towards the Lords of the Impossible, because the Lords are definitely doing the world plenty of good, but God knows lots of governments are hiding plenty of covert superweapons designed specifically to take them out if they overstep some undefined boundary. It’s logical that world leaders would be pissed as hell that an autocratic superteam with enough combined might to flatten whole planets is running around unsupervised. They’re a global loose cannon that the politicians are extremely wary of.

    And then there’s the view of the other superheroes, which leads to yet another theme. On one hand everyone sort of worships them because they are the best superheroes on the planet, bar none, which is why Godforce joins in the first place. It’s the fangirl in her, the bit that really loves the superhero stuff.

    The usual plan of action for the Lords of the Impossible is to show up at ground zero of the crisis at hand, try to negotiate with any hostile threats to the planet, and kill every possible enemy in sight if that option fails. They follow up by following the hostiles, be it aliens or interdimensional creatures or robots from a parallel universe and make sure that nothing like that happens again. It’s like taking the idea of saving the world to another level. They change things up in other worlds as well, for the good of Earth.

    This isn’t cool with lots of other superheroes, and it could be a point of conflict within the Lords themselves, because the general opinion is that saving the world means maintaining the status quo, not radically altering it, other worlds or no. In Grant Morrison’s run on the JLA comic (which was brilliant) he has Superman present the idea that humankind should be allowed to progress and develop on their own, and that the Justice League were there to catch them, should they ever fall. That’s the attitude of most superheroes.

    There’s also the killing thing. Superheroes try to abide by the unspoken no-killing rule, as they do in comics, because superheroes are supposed to be role models. The Lords of the Impossible find this ridiculous, because their mission is to save the world, whatever the cost. For this reason I’m guessing that Nuclear Man would sacrifice the lives of his teammates, even, to ensure the safety of the Earth, which says a lot about his character. So there’s a very real possibility that the roster of the Lords of the Impossible could rotate quite a bit, though I’m planning on keeping Nuclear Man a constant.

    It would be silly to assume that the world’s governments and the UN were against killing. The superteams that they control have to be media-friendly and hence have to abstain from killing as far as possible, but they do have covert strike teams with no such restraints. I have plans for one of these teams, possible in another book, but I thought it was worth mentioning here, and possibly in my book/comic as well as an offhand remark.

    So there you have a little more information about the world I’m creating and the place of the Lords of the Impossible in it.

    Sorry if my thoughts are all over the place. I really appreciate all the comments and I’m greatly pleased that you guys are feeling my concept. Any thoughts so far? Any inconsistencies I need to address?

  14. Holliequon 26 Mar 2009 at 10:22 am

    When you said “distanced from humanity” I immediately thought of Dr. Manhattan. (I’m reading Watchmen). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s pretty interesting, in fact.

    Hmm. You have to wonder, if their aim is to save the world whatever the cost, how much would they be willing to sacrifice? Other team members? How about less powerful superheroes? Innocent people? How many innocent people would it take for them to draw the line?

    I think that’s a really interesting question, which could lead to some dubious moral decisions. (“We’ll save the world . . . but we’ll have to sacrifice most of South America to do so.”)

    The only thing I can think of is this: Godforce doesn’t strike me as someone who would be out of touch with humanity. She was a journalist, who I think have to have at least a basic understanding of people. Also, if she’s pretty new to the Lords, it seems more likely she’d understand them less than normal people, at least for a while.

  15. Chi.Rhoon 26 Mar 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Yea i think that you could use Godforce as the voice inside of the team that disagrees with certain decisions but she understands the reasoning behind it. She could be like that one person that finds alternative solutions. Does that make sense?

    I really like this idea though.

  16. Ragged Boyon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I think at least one member would vote to maintain contact with the people. It’s human nature to want to be around people. I can definitely understand the government’s view on the unsupervised superhero.

    Gotta go. I’ll say more later.

  17. Stefan the Exploding Manon 27 Mar 2009 at 7:46 am

    Yes, I think that’s a solid suggestion. It’s logical for Godforce to be the most “human” character because of her being new to the team. She also doesn’t really regard herself as a high-profile hero. She feels like she needs to prove herself to the rest of the team, so she pretty much goes along with their decisions and things. But she’s definitely the most relatable character.

    I think all of the Lords desperately want to be among normal people. But it’s so sad that they can’t be with anyone except themselves. They try to ignore their problem for the most part, but most of them, Green Knight especially, have serious issues that are worth developing. Except for Horus, of course, who doesn’t have to worry about that sort of thing.

    I like Horus. He’s the god of the sun, so I don’t think he’d be the brooding type. Aloof but without being totally detached, if that makes sense. He should have an almost childlike innocence about him. He’s noble and regal and commands respect as a god should, but in accordance with his nature as a benevolent deity he helps people because it’s the right thing to do and for no other reason. He doesn’t really get anything out of the superheroics and everyone somehow feels that everything is just a phase for him. You can’t really tell with immortal characters, can you?

    Then again, this would make it all the more scarier when he kills the bad guys without mercy. It’s definately going to be a challenge to nail his character voice.

    I think their decision to only appear during full-scale threats to global safety says a lot about their attitude to the Earth. The Lords are all about the big picture. If a supervillain was holding the Earth hostage and made them decide between saving the world or the lives of, say, 10,000 people, they would choose to save the world. They’d have to deal with lots of guilt, though, because choosing to sacrifice thousands of innocent lives is never easy.

    Regular superheroes, or even normal heroes and generic protagonists would more often than not choose to save the people over whatever other important option existed. This is the same for the superheroes of my world. The Lords of the Impossible have a mission, which is to save the world. They don’t just punish the wicked and protect the innocent.

    Maybe that’s why they’re called the Lords of the Impossible. They have to make the impossible choices. They have to make the choices that matter and they have to do it all the time. And maybe the other heroes can’t deal with the fact that they can do this without totally drowning in guilt. Perhaps being distanced from humanity is not so much of a disadvantage in this regard?

    I think moral choices are sometimes the most interesting thing about superhero stories. They provide endless fascination for me and what I really love about working on this project is that I get to mess about with these things and try to use them to help my characterisation. Thanks for your comments, guys. They really help to get my thoughts flowing. This comment is basically the direction of my train of thought after reading the comments from my previous post, so keep ‘em coming!

  18. Chi.Rhoon 28 Mar 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Hey, what kind of villains are you gonna have in your story?

  19. Stefan the Exploding Manon 28 Mar 2009 at 11:44 pm

    I’ve hit a bit of a block with villains. I especially have problems with the motivations for the villains. Heres one of the ideas I’m playing with.

    I’m imagining a villain like Lex Luthor here. Someone who’s powerless but uses his money and his brilliant mind to give a real challenge. He’s an anarchist and a terrorist, which is a really bad combination. Has anyone watched V For Vendetta? It’s a bit like that, but on a global scale. This book has to be all about the big stuff.

    There’s one scene that came to me from absolutely nowhere featuring this guy. It’s when he’s captured the Lords of the Impossible somehow and he is revealing his masterstroke. It goes something like this.

    “All around the world, in every single country, behind the leader, the president, or the prime minister of each and every nation on Earth, there is an invisible man with a gun. And they have just been given the order to fire. All of them. Good luck, my dear Lords.”

    Something along those lines, anyway. I started constructing the character just from this scene. I’ll have to build up to this moment, of course, because I want to emphasise his genius and his perfect planning. There is no way the Lords of the Impossible could rescue all the world leaders, and the world would pretty much descend into chaos. The Lords have to deal with the fallout of this, which could in turn raise interesting questions because the Lords of the Impossible don’t know if they should get involved in sticky political messes.

    But like I said, the motivations for this guy aren’t very clear. The best I could come up with, other than the hardcore anarchist thing, is that he firmly and rigidly believes that superhumans will end up destroying humanity and he’s bent on stopping this. Since many governments employ superhumans as part of strike teams and things, his above plan might make a bit more sense.

    What do you think?

  20. B. Macon 29 Mar 2009 at 12:12 am

    I’d recommend having him frame his enemies for the assassinations. “Superhumans are a threat to humanity… look, they just tried to kill our leaders!”

    Your villain might also be make something of the fact that the Lords of the Impossible will be nearby when a leader gets attacked. (They’re there to save the leader, but it may look like they were helping the attackers).

    Also, I think the leaders themselves almost don’t matter. It doesn’t really matter that the leaders of many countries employ superhumans. What matters is the masses. These assassinations will cause total chaos and will disrupt national governments. This will give your villain the opportunity to foment a panic and rally humans against the superhumans. Perhaps he himself is planning a way to give himself superpowers and wants to make sure that he’s the only one that has them.

  21. Chi.Rhoon 30 Mar 2009 at 11:22 am

    I like that idea. Ok, this might sound crazy. What if he doesn’t hate superhumans but he hates the Lords of the Impossible because he believes that superhumans are the next step in the evolutionary process? But the Lords of the Impossible keep stepping in and saving everyone, which allows for the human race to be dependent and content with the current state. Does that make sense?

    So basically he wants the humans to reach a new level but the heroes keep bailing them out. What do you think?

  22. Holliequon 30 Mar 2009 at 11:59 am

    I think after your supervillain delivers that line, he should then find some way to escape – I’m thinking of a Joker-styled “everything is going according to plan!” Perhaps he invents a machine which temporarily boosts his power of thought, so he gains control over the Green Knight’s armour for a while and uses it to cause chaos. Lords solve the problem and bang, he’s disappeared.

    Not sure on motivations, though. I’ll just say that if he thinks superheroes will ultimately end up destroying the world/humanity, despite all the good they do, I think he needs a solid backstory to back that up . . . what Batman might’ve been if his parents had been killed by superheroes, I guess.

  23. Stefan the Exploding Manon 04 Apr 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I’ve written a chapter for the Lords of the Impossible. It was mostly for me to get a feel of handling a big superfight and to juggle five different characters, but if I can work the demons into my story I might use it. It’ll be up for review in about five minutes, once I finish fiddling around with the HTML.

  24. Stefan the Exploding Manon 04 Apr 2009 at 8:31 pm

    “Transdimensional demons are invading,” said Nuclear Man. “It’s time to save the world again.”

    “That’s affirmative,” said The Green Knight, from inside the building-sized Knight Armour.

    “About time,” hissed Monster, gnashing his teeth. “I was getting hungry.”

    “Horus,” declared the falcon-headed god in a deep, echoing voice, “concurs.”

    My name is Theresa Doumbia. I am known as The Godforce. There are over a million superhuman men and women on Earth, and I am among five of the most powerful. We are the Lords of the Impossible.

    We are everywhere. Literally, I mean. The Impossible Sphere, our base of operations, is located in the nanoverse. Imagine something so incalculably small, something that would make atoms seem as large as galaxies, something that’s tinier than the tiniest physically possible thing conceivable. That’s the Impossible Sphere, floating aimlessly around in the spiraling infinity of the nanoverse. It’s so fantastically minute that it exists everywhere and nowhere at once. We’ve anchored it to the Earth’s gravitational pull, which means we can instantly appear at any location on the planet we want. And today, we’re going to save humanity, yet again.

    “Bring it on,” I said, an almost childlike grin spreading across my features. I fastened a plain black domino mask onto my face and gave the field leader a thumbs up.

    Nuclear Man pulled a lever purposefully. I blinked. When I opened my eyes again, we were in the Sahara Desert. The landscape was dreadfully empty. There was nothing but sand for hundreds of miles in all directions, except, of course, for the jagged rift that had formed about a hundred metres away. It was a portal to another dimension, but you could be forgiven for assuming that it was a door from hell, or perhaps a giant uterus. Seven-foot horned monstrosities were spewing out of the rift by the hundreds, belching fire and acid into the arid desert air. At the risk of overextending a metaphor, I thought it looked rather like childbirth on fast forward. Or menstruation on legs.

    The Green Knight, who could read my thoughts even from inside his power suit, started snickering in my head. I tried to get the disturbing imagery out of my mind, and gave him a two-fingered salute. Nuclear Man, meanwhile, was trying the diplomatic option. It had saved us at least a hundred large-scale fights so far.

    “Attention, tourists,” said Nuclear Man from inside his red containment suit. “We are the Lords of the Impossible, representing the planet Earth. Please state the purpose of your visit immediately so that we may lead you to the nearest transdimensional hotel.”

    The demons, eyes blazing crimson, collectively raised eyebrows. Nuclear Man, for some reason, chose to repeat himself in Russian. One demon, obviously the commander, gave a cry, something that started out a high-pitched, throaty warble and fluctuated in frequency, ending in a low rumble. The hellish creatures plunged their claws into their own chests, pulling out otherworldly firearms. Behind them, the portal expanded, and zombie tanks made of dead flesh rolled out, covering the flanks of the demon army.

    “Green Knight,” said Nuclear Man, “telepathic link. Now.”

    And suddenly I could feel the thoughts of the other Lords bouncing about in my head. It was different from hearing, because it was coming from inside my head. It was like thoughts colliding with one another, and it seemed both familiar and foreign at the same time. I’d been on the team for at least a month, but I could never get used to the sensation. Our leader’s thoughts sprang up without warning in our minds, and we processed them far faster than we would have been able to comprehend spoken orders.

    “Tanks are for my own handling. Monster is to be taking the ground troops. Knight is to be covering him on his back. Godforce and Horus are the support in the air. Move!”

    Monster, flapping leathery wings, barreled into the front line of demons, licking his lips. He grabbed two of the demons and crushed a spine with each hand. He stuck their heads into his gaping mouth and ripped them off, looking a little happier than he should. The Green Knight, several yards away, weapons chik-chaking into action, began vomiting forth bullets, spraying them at the demonic cannon fodder. Nuclear Man accelerated, sprinting for the tank advancing along the right. The Green Knight casually let loose a missile at the other tank. It exploded harmlessly against it, and the tank continued its inexorable advance.

    “Bloody hell! N-Man, those Frankentanks are tough! You need backup?”

    He was soon answered. Nuclear Man blasted into the air, a pulsating green aura surrounding him. He raised a fist and rocketed straight for the tank, headfirst. There was a sonicboom loud enough to give several nearby demons brain hemorrhaging. The blast whipped up a cloud of sand, which whirled rapidly around before settling onto the desert ground. Where the Frankentanks once stood, Nuclear Man crouched, radiating nuclear energy. Horus, behind me, levitated up into the air, arms outstretched, as if he were being crucified.

    “I would suggest that everyone cover their eyes.”

    Horus started glowing white. I rammed my eyelids firmly shut, knowing what was coming next. We called it the Sunwash. Horus would, for a split second, assume his true godly form and become pure light. The resulting brightness would cause the demons’ retinas to shatter. Most of them would become instantly blind and they would experience whole new worlds of pain.

    I felt my skin absorb the energy from the light and I could feel the energy surge through me and spread. As soon as Horus gave the all-clear I propelled myself downwards, pulling up just before I hit the ground and I flew right through the assembled ranks of confused demons. I collided with them, one after another, with such force that they splattered against me, exploding into sticky messes of blood and demon guts. I zigzagged through the stumbling, blind creatures and flew back into the skies when I had had enough.

    “That,” I projected, “was very disgusting.”

    Monster glanced up at me.

    “Yes – puke all over the demons, that’s a good girl.”

    “Let’s wrap this around,” cut in Nuclear Man. “We’re going to follow these sons of dogs back into their dimension and tell their leaders to leave Earth the hell alone.”

    We were winning. The hellfire bullets of transdimensional demons tickled. We herded the demons, those who were lucky enough to be blinking during the Sunwash, back into the rift to the other dimension. Nuclear Man, pausing only to aim a homemade nuclear blast at the last zombie tank, led us into the portal. Instantly the atmosphere changed. The Saharan air seemed frigid by comparison. We were in a place best described as hell, although Nuclear Man would probably give us a more scientific term during the post mortem.

    It stretched on forever, a bleak wasteland that was flecked with deep pits, in which more demons, smaller than the ones we had fought, lived and died. It seemed ridiculous that an entire civilization could survive there. There were fights to the death raging in every pit, with bigger demons killing smaller demons for food. And then the demons noticed us and everyone froze. They saw their horde, reduced to a fraction of what it once was, beaten and broken. They shrank away, retreated to deeper within the pits.

    “Take us to your leaders, little demons,” said Nuclear Man. “Now.”

    The ground shook. Several miles away a massive crack appeared in the barren ground. On either side of the fault, the land itself, hundreds of miles long, moved apart. Something huge rose gradually out of the chasm. At first all we saw were spikes. From where we stood they were needles, but presently they were revealed to be the tips of buildings of a sort. Eventually an entire citadel, ethereally breathtaking, arose, and continued climbing. Before long the fortress was hovering a full two miles off the ground.

    “Let’s be flying.”

    We took to the air and burst into the largest building in the floating citadel, its spires looming ominously over us. An impressively creaky gate was raised, and we followed the fleeing demons to the throne room. Well, we assumed it was a throne room.

    “Bugger! The evil bastards are a bloody republic?”

    It was chaos. Smaller demons, with more pronounced foreheads, clothed in ceremonial armour, engaged in political discourse. It was almost comical to see the warlike creatures so obviously fighting their baser instincts to rip out the throats of the opposition. I was impressed at their restraint. But the disadvantage of this parliament of hell was that we had no idea who the leader was.

    It appeared to be a council of war, and there was one demon, with a deformed right arm, who seemed to be doing a lot of talking. He would do. I flew up to him, and he fell silent. I grasped him by the neck and lifted him into the air. He clutched helplessly at my fingers and gave an elongated squeal. I brought him down to the rest of the team.

    Nuclear Man said what he had to say.

    “You came, you saw, you lost. If you try anything like that again, we will come back and kill your world.”

    Ripples of murmured conversation broke out here and there, as the demons, not understanding the words, began to comprehend the intent. It was time to hammer the point home. At a nod from Nuclear Man, I plunged my hand into the demon’s trembling body and ripped its heart out.

    ————–

    And that’s a possible first chapter, which I’m calling “To Hell and Back”.

    What do you think? What worked and what didn’t?

  25. Ragged Boyon 05 Apr 2009 at 7:36 am

    Generally, I like it. My main concern is that it kind of plunges us into an action scene almost immediately.

    I think you did a great job of establishing that they would save the world at all cost. However, I don’t get the end. Did she kill the demon to reiterate that they would kill them if they attacked Earth again?

    “‘Take us to your leaders, little demons,’ said Nuclear Man. ‘Now.’

    The ground shook. Several miles away a massive crack appeared in the barren ground. On either side of the fault, the land itself, hundreds of miles long, moved apart.”

    I found this a little hard to follow. Did the ground open up in Earth, or in another dimension? If it could have opened up Earth in the first place, why didn’t the demons do that in the first place? Or in an area that is heavily populated?

  26. Stefan the Exploding Manon 08 Apr 2009 at 8:44 am

    Yeah, it didn’t really advance the story very much, but mostly I wanted to try to choreograph an action scene with more than five fighters in it. If I were to use it as the first chapter the idea would be to grab the reader’s attention and maybe slow down a little in the second chapter to properly introduce the characters. Would that work?

    That’s exactly what I wanted the end to show, but I’ll make it a bit clearer.

    I’ll work on that ground-opening bit as well. I was imagining a sort of huge mechanism that opened a hole in the ground for the citadel to rise up. I was hoping to show that the demons were subterranean with the pits and things but I’ll have to show this better.

    Thanks for your input RB. I’ll have a second draft in a couple of days. And this is also the daily reminder to have a look at the chapter above. Tell me what you thought, anyone!

  27. Tomon 08 Apr 2009 at 9:15 am

    In my opinion, Green Knight is overly British. I can count the number of times I’ve heard the word ‘bugger’ in my entire life on one hand. I’d replace that with a swear word, it’s far more likely a British person would say that than ‘bugger’. The ‘bloody hell’ thing was fine though, keep that.

    Also, was that one chapter? It felt very short. I don’t know if that’s what you were going for but it should’ve been a bit longer than that. The demons come, they fight them, they win, they go to demonland, they speak to the government, they kill the leader, they win. That’s it?

    Other than that, very good. It introduced the characters well.

  28. B. Macon 08 Apr 2009 at 10:05 am

    “Transdimensional demons are invading,” said Nuclear Man. “It’s time to save the world again.”

    “That’s affirmative,” said The Green Knight, from inside the building-sized Knight Armour.

    “About time,” hissed Monster, gnashing his teeth. “I was getting hungry.”

    “Horus,” declared the falcon-headed god in a deep, echoing voice, “concurs.”

    My name is Theresa Doumbia. I am known as The Godforce. There are over a million superhuman men and women on Earth, and I am among five of the most powerful. We are the Lords of the Impossible.

    I don’t think these ~100 words do a good job of gripping prospective readers. In particular, I think the lines of Nuclear Man and GK need to be more stylish. Nuclear Man makes the interdimensional demons sound so banal, and there’s no conflict here. I’d recommend rewriting this with more passion. NUCLEAR MAN: Interdimensional demons are attacking again. TGK: Are you sure? They’re easy to confuse with [another exotic menace, like mutant bats or something] *Nuclear Man whips out a demon’s body from somewhere bizarre like his coat.* NUCLEAR MAN: I’ve never seen a mutant bat with soul-sucking tentacles. –Ok, so obviously I’ve taken the characters in a totally different direction, but I think your characters can act more interesting in this scene without personality overhauls.


    This might be an American vs. British thing, but the comedy here is not working for me. When you use the phrase “Nuclear Man” in the first line, it sounds more like an inept name than a comically inept name (like Dr. Evil). Likewise, the Impossible Sphere: it feels cheesy. Is it meant to be deliberately, comically cheesy or are we supposed to appreciate it at face value? I don’t feel like it’s wacky enough to work as comically inept.

    I don’t think we need to know Theresa’s last name. Also, I’d recommend against capitalizing “The” in The Green Knight or The Impossible Sphere.

    “And today, we’re going to save humanity, yet again.” This makes the endeavor feel mundane. Blah. Just another day at the office. Personally, when I open up a superhero story, I want to experience an extraordinary, unforgettable story.

    “or perhaps a giant uterus.” Eww! Haha. I like this phrase quite a lot; I’d recommend playing up this style at the beginning.

    The demons raise their eyebrows? That seems like such a bizarre action for a rampaging army of demons. It feels too subtle and urbane.

    “For some reason, chose to repeat himself in Russian.” Is the narrator trying to suggest that this is a bad idea? If so, then I’d recommend playing up why it’s obvious these demons are here for no good. Show us that they’re not here to talk.

    “Tanks are for my own handling. Monster is to be taking the ground troops.” Could be smoother. “I’ll handle the tanks. Monster, get the ground forces. Knight, cover his rear. Godforce, Horus, take the air.”

    “Looking a little happier than he should.” This could probably be shown. Is he smiling? Laughing gleefully?

    TGK: “Those Frankentanks are tough! You need backup?” This comes after TGK has already shot a missile, right? If he’s going to ask if his friend needs backup, wouldn’t he do so before providing backup?

    “He was soon answered.” This is passive and a bit awkward.

    “Nuclear Man blasted into the air, a pulsating green aura surrounding him.” This is also a bit awkward. It feels like a comma splice. The easiest way would be to rewrite the second clause as something like “surrounded by a pulsating green aura.” But I’d recommend just getting rid of the second clause altogether. I don’t feel it adds enough.

    Sonic boom is two words.

    “give several nearby demons brain hemorrhaging.” I love the hemorrhaging detail. However, the word nearby could be removed. You might want to consider replacing brain (noun) with cerebral (adjective). I think an adjective will fit in better there.

    I think you’ve got a lot of good details here, but I’d recommend making this more interactive. For example, “the blast whipped up a cloud of sand.” How does that affect Godforce? Maybe her eyes start tearing or she chokes on the dust.

    If Horus has a nifty move like that, why doesn’t he use it sooner?

    “We were winning.” I feel like that’s fairly unnecessary. Judging by how little description we get of the demons fighting back, I think we could imply that.

    I’d recommend replacing postmortem with “debriefing” or “mission debriefing”. Given that the characters are in hell, I think the double meaning of postmortem might be a bit confusing.

    “kill your world.” I feel like this is a very effective (if bloodthirsty) phrase. I would recommend playing up this ruthlessness before.

    I like the last paragraph.

    I feel like NM and TGK overlapped considerably in this chapter. TGK could probably have been removed. Monster had a one-liner, fought briefly and then disappeared. He, too, could probably have been removed.

  29. Stefan the Exploding Manon 14 Apr 2009 at 3:36 am

    I’m doing a bit of editing, taking into account most of your concerns, because they all seem quite logical. I have to clear a few things up, though.

    Comically inept wasn’t exactly the feel I was going for in that first sequence. Maybe the name threw you off, but I guess I wasn’t really sure of what I intended the reader to feel. I think I’ll keep the Nuclear Man name, though. I could have easily given him a sleeker, one-word name like Fallout or Nuklear or something, but he’s one of the older superheroes so I wanted a name that felt more dated.

    I don’t really mind him being presented as slightly inept based on his name at first. His less than perfect English gives this image. Speaking of his English, did anyone find his accent too cliche? I tried to play around with the grammar and word choice to make him sound foreign, but not too foreign. The “kill your world” line was an example of his slightly strange word choice, but considering the context it worked well as a threatening line. Did his accent in general work?

    I’m also considering removing TGK, mostly because I can’t quite get a proper character voice for him. I also realise it’s best to have as little members on the team as possible. This way, the other members get more screen time.

  30. Stefan the Exploding Manon 17 Apr 2009 at 10:00 am

    Oh, yes. I need a name for the headquarters of the Lords. The idea I have now, the microscopic universes interconnected into a nano-infinity, is an idea I think I’ll stick with. It’s one of those mind-boggling sci-fi concepts that come from weird conversations with your friend during Geography class. That and recently rewatching the first Men In Black film. Or maybe it’s just me.

    Either way, I have to come up with a better name than the Impossible Sphere. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it doesn’t.

    The rewrite’s coming soon. I promise! I’m not very good with deadlines, that’s all.

  31. Tomon 17 Apr 2009 at 10:28 am

    Firstly I’d like to question the science behind it. Unless you know more about science than me, which is a very good possibility, I don’t see why being infinitely small would allow you to exist everywhere at once. But that’s neither here nor there, it sounds plausible so really, who cares? And again, you may know something I don’t.

    Just off the top of my head:
    The MiniHub
    The Base of Perpetual Smallness :P
    The Nerve Centre
    The Batcave (wait…)
    Fortress of Solitude? (damn…)
    The Watchtower (hold on a second…)
    Titans Tower (perfect! :P)
    The Microlair (you said you were going for really cheesy with Nuclear Man)
    The Hideout
    The Den
    The Place where the Lords of the Impossible Live and Sleep and Stuff
    The Impossible Base
    HQ, if you’re going for really generic
    IHQ (Impossible Headquarters, if you’re going for really cheesy)
    The Hub (Too bad Torchwood took it)

    I like the Impossible Sphere by the way.

    Oh, and don’t remove TGK, I like him! Maybe make him smaller…

  32. Ragged Boyon 17 Apr 2009 at 10:37 am

    How about just The Sphere?

  33. Stefan the Exploding Manon 29 Apr 2009 at 3:40 am

    There was a short story written by Jorge Luis Borges a long time ago which presented a semi-sci-fi theory about a point in space from which all other points in the universe can be perceived, called the Aleph. I found it during one of my wikipedia linkage sprees. Does anyone else have those, by the way? Like when you find yourself clicking on other wiki articles and time passes really quickly?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aleph_(short_story)

    So I was thinking of renaming the Impossible Sphere the Aleph or the Aleph Sphere or something like that. But I really love the Microlair, Tom. I won’t forget that one. I’ll find a way to fit it into my story somehow.

  34. Stefan the Exploding Manon 30 Apr 2009 at 7:39 am

    Also, I’m going to remove TGK. I have plans for him. He’s going to be downsized, like Tom suggested, so he’ll look more Iron Man-like, but I want him to still have steampunk robot thing going on. He’s going to become a more magical hero since the real Green Knight was from Arthurian legend. He’ll be part of the team of magic heroes who battle in the god conflict I mentioned somewhere above.

    The fact that the Lords of the Impossible are mostly heroes created by science (Horus, even though he’s a god, is more of a warrior than a magician) is going to be a larger theme in my story now. I’m going to tweak Monster’s origin to make it a little more scientific and remove the mystical elements, but that shouldn’t be too hard. The main threat in the story will be magical.

    I remember that Superman always had a problem with magic. It’s the idea that there are science heroes and there are magic heroes, basically. Their jurisdiction doesn’t tend to overlap, but when it does, you know it’s bad. The Lords of the Impossible have always been science heroes, mostly, but I think there could be interesting implications if they have an epic fail trying to stop a magical threat that they are simply unequipped to deal with.

  35. B. Macon 30 Apr 2009 at 7:52 am

    I’d be careful on the scientific heroes vs. magical villains front. I’ve never heard anyone say “I wish Superman faced more magical villains!” and Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite are two of the most hated characters in the DC Universe. Personally, it feels weird to me when a scientific hero takes on a magical villain.

    On the other hand, it worked passably well in Justice League. I personally disliked the episodes with magical villains (Mordred, Mordru, Morgaine Le Fey… I’m noticing a distinct trend here). But I could see how readers could like such a story.

  36. Stefan the Exploding Manon 30 Apr 2009 at 8:07 am

    That’s a good point. I don’t particularly like those two imps either. It’s difficult to balance science heroes and magic villains too, because sometimes the heroes feel like they’re out of their depth and have to be rescued by a deus ex machina or the power of love or something like that.

    My idea is for the Lords to have to go up against an eldritch horror or some elder god like something out of a Lovecraft book, something fundemental that threatens the fabric of reality or something like that. A force of nature, in other words.

    I will have to think about how to juggle the science vs magic thing. Thank you for the comment.

  37. Stefan the Exploding Manon 30 Apr 2009 at 8:19 am

    Oh, I didn’t see that edited bit. In the Justice League cartoons that had magic villains they had to have guest stars like Etrigan the Demon and Dr. Fate help out, which is probably why it worked, with the magical heroes doing the magic stuff and the Justice League doing regular fighting.

    If I make my story’s central conflict centre around the fact that the magic heroes and their villains are distinct from the scientific heroes and villains, would that make it less weird? I think I could pull that off decently.

  38. S.V.T.on 09 May 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I’m liking your idea so far. But I’m a little bit confused. Whose the main antagonist in this story? The Lex Luthor guy (you seriously need to give him a name unless you want me to keep calling him that)? The rival superteam (more info on this, please)? Or the magical threat?

  39. Stefan the Exploding Manon 15 May 2009 at 8:52 am

    Ack, sorry I didn’t notice your comment, SVT. I’m currently trying to tie all my possible plot elements together in a smooth way. It’s taken a while because of my procrastinatin’ ways, but I’ll have something in a few days. As for a name for the villainous guy, I’m currently toying with Josiah Klay or some similar variant. Might have to change his last name, though, because he was going to have the codename Golem, and having Klay as a last name might be a bit contrived.

    I’ve edited the first chapter, and I’ll be posting it in a few. There’s a new character to replace TGK, who’s been relegated to my ideas pile for now. This won’t be the last you see of him, though.

    The new character is Nanonaut. As the name implies, he’s a shrinker, with the obligatory strength and durability tacked on as well. He’s a science hero more than a superhero. He was essentially inspired by Adam Strange from DC, as well as the pre-WWII science heroes, with a bit of Silver Age craziness in between. He’s really old in real time, but he died early in the eighties, just before “everybody started cussin’ and wearin’ trenchcoats”.

    He’s recently come back to life via a comic book-style ambiguous cosmic retcon. He feels temporally displaced because of that and he currently has two groups of friends: the Lords of the Impossible and strong alcohol.

  40. Stefan the Exploding Manon 15 May 2009 at 8:59 am

    We are the Lords of the Impossible. We’re the eleventh hour cavalry. The people of the world look to their superheroes to save them. When all hope is gone, when all of Earth’s defenders fall before an external threat, they look to us, because we don’t save the people. We don’t save the superheroes. We save the world.

    “Is invasion by transdimensional demons,” said Nuclear Man. “World is in trouble.”

    “And the superheroes?” asked Nanonaut, as he grew back to human size.

    Nuclear Man pulled the hood of his radiation suit over his head and clicked his gas mask into position.

    “Are assembled and fighting, but I am betting that they will retreat before we are getting there.”

    Nanonaut nodded in agreement. He slotted a fuel cell into his jet pack.

    “About time,” hissed Monster, morphing painfully into his inhuman form and gnashing his teeth noisily. “I was getting hungry.”

    “Well,” declared Nanonaut, “the world isn’t gonna just save itself, now, is it? Let’s roll.”

    “Horus,” declared the falcon-headed god in a deep, echoing voice, “concurs.”

    My name is Theresa Doumbia. I am known as the Godforce. There are over a million superhuman men and women on Earth, and I am among five of the most powerful. We are the Lords of the Impossible.

    We are everywhere. Literally, I mean. Our base of operations is located somewhere in the nanoverse. Imagine something so incalculably small, something that would make atoms seem as large as galaxies, something that’s tinier than the tiniest physically possible thing conceivable. Every such infinitely small thing contains its own universe. At such hyper-microscopic sizes, the laws of physics become obsolete and give way to absurdity. All of these absolutely miniscule universes are interconnected. Collectively, they are the nanoverse.

    The Aleph, a marvel of imaginary physics, floats aimlessly around in the spiraling infinity of the nanoverse. Nanonaut discovered it on one of his micro-adventures and reverse engineered it to act as our headquarters. He wanted to call it the Microlair, God forbid, but thankfully Monster found the fancier name in one of his old books. It’s so fantastically minute that it exists everywhere and nowhere at once. We’ve anchored it to the Earth’s gravitational pull, which means we can instantly appear at any location on the planet we want. After all, when there was a catastrophe major enough to warrant our attention, we had to get to ground zero as quickly as possible.

    “Bring it on,” I said, an almost childlike grin spreading across my features. I fastened a plain black domino mask onto my face and gave the field leader a thumbs up.

    Nuclear Man pulled a lever purposefully. I blinked. When I opened my eyes again, we were in the Sahara Desert. The landscape was dreadfully empty. There was nothing but sand for hundreds of miles in all directions, except, of course, for the jagged rift that had formed about a hundred metres away. It was a portal to another dimension, but you could be forgiven for assuming that it was a door from hell, or perhaps a giant uterus. Seven-foot horned monstrosities were spewing out of the rift by the hundreds, belching fire and acid into the arid desert air. At the risk of overextending a metaphor, I thought it looked rather like childbirth on fast forward. Or menstruation on legs.

    The bodies of several costumed heroes were littered somewhere between us and the portal. There were even a few I recognised, like Captain Alpha and the A-Team, as well as a couple of other reckless American heroes, who had been, typically, the first to rush in and the first to die. Nanonaut, the only one of us who was actually involved in the superhero community before he died the first time, noticed the bodies at the same time as I did. His face hardened and he clenched his fists, making impatient cracking motions with his neck. Nuclear Man, meanwhile, was trying the diplomatic option. It seemed like a pointless gesture, judging by the reception Earth’s assembled heroes had previously received, but the diplomatic option had saved us at least a dozen large-scale fights so far.

    “Attention, tourists,” said Nuclear Man from inside his red containment suit. “We are the Lords of the Impossible, representing planet Earth. Please state purpose of visit immediately so that we lead you to nearest transdimensional hotel.”

    The demons, eyes blazing crimson, howled their disapproval. Nuclear Man, not taking the hint, chose to repeat himself in Russian. One demon, obviously the commander, gave a cry, something that started out a high-pitched, throaty warble and fluctuated in frequency, ending in a low rumble. The hellish creatures plunged their claws into their own chests, pulling out otherworldly firearms. Behind them, the portal expanded, and zombie tanks made of dead flesh rolled out, covering the flanks of the demon army.

    “Telepathic link,” said Nuclear Man, “Now.”

    Our brains were wired to a neural network that we could switch on at will. I mentally activated mine and suddenly I could feel the thoughts of the other Lords bouncing about in my head. It was different from hearing, because it was coming from inside my head. It was like thoughts colliding with one another, and it seemed both familiar and foreign at the same time. I’d been on the team for at least a month, but I could never get used to the sensation. Our leader’s thoughts sprang up without warning in our minds, and we processed them far faster than we would have been able to comprehend spoken orders.

    “Will kick tanks’ asses myself. Monster; eat ground troops. Nanonaut; shock tactics. Godforce, Horus; into air. Move!”

    Monster, flapping leathery wings, barreled into the front line of demons, licking his lips. He grabbed two of the demons and crushed a spine with each hand. He stuck their heads into his gaping mouth and ripped them off, smiling widely as he chewed. The claws on the ends of his wings disemboweled the demons who tried to flank him and attack from his rear. He pushed forward, crushing demons underfoot with every step, allowing the creatures to attack him en masse.

    “God, I love being an eight-foot killing machine.”

    He served as more of a distraction, though. Nanonaut blasted around with the jet pack strapped to his back, weaving in and out of the demons. He shrunk to microscopic sizes and grew again several times in quick succession. To the demons he seemed to vanish, only to appear again suddenly to blast them into oblivion with one of his ray guns or a negasonic grenade. He was precise and robotically efficient with his kills, which just went to show how much mental fortitude he had, considering that he was absolutely furious and was screaming at the top of his voice.

    “You bastards!” he roared, over the buzzing of his ray guns. “Captain Alpha used to be my teammate and you killed him, you goddamn demons!”

    Nuclear Man sprinted towards the nearest zombie tank. He waved a hand at the demons who got in his way, disrupting their brainwaves with lethal radiation. The Frankentank was an actual undead organism which pulsated slowly, like a heartbeat. Before the main gun could swivel around, Nuclear Man blasted into the air, leaving his distinctive green energy trail. He raised a fist and rocketed straight for the tank, headfirst. There was a sonic boom loud enough to give several demons cerebral hemorrhaging. The blast whipped up a cloud of sand, which whirled rapidly around, flaying the skin off the surviving demons.

    Invincible or not, I still had to breathe, so I stayed well clear of the pocket sandstorm until it settled onto the desert ground. Where the Frankentank once stood, Nuclear Man crouched, radiating nuclear energy. Horus, behind me, levitated up into the air, arms outstretched, as if he were being crucified.

    “I would suggest that everyone cover their eyes.”

    Horus started glowing white. I rammed my eyelids firmly shut, knowing what was coming next. We called it the Sunwash. Horus would, for a split second, assume his true godly form and become pure light. The resulting brightness would cause the demons’ retinas to shatter. Most of them would become instantly blind and they would experience whole new worlds of pain.

    There was a catch, though. Horus had to shift out of his god-form after every Sunwash and revert to a more human shape. Shifting from near omnipotence and omniscience to a comparatively far weaker state would be no walk in the park for him. It was going to hurt like hell, and our friendly neighbourhood sun god would be vulnerable for at least a few minutes. As soon as it was safe to open our eyes, the rest of the Lords had to cover him.

    I felt my skin absorb the energy from the light and I could feel the energy surge through me and spread. As soon as Horus gave the all-clear I propelled myself downwards, pulling up just before I hit the ground and I flew right through the assembled ranks of confused demons. I collided with them, one after another, with such force that they splattered against me, exploding into sticky messes of blood and demon guts. I zigzagged through the stumbling, blind creatures and flew back into the skies when I had had enough.

    “That,” I projected, “was very disgusting.”

    Monster glanced up at me.

    “Yes – puke all over the demons, that’s a good girl.”

    “We wrap this up,” cut in Nuclear Man. “Are going to follow these sons of bitches back into home dimension and tell leaders to leave Earth the hell alone.”

    We began the final push once Horus was back in the fight. The hellfire bullets of transdimensional demons tickled. We herded the demons, those who were lucky enough to be blinking during the Sunwash, back into the rift to the other dimension. Nuclear Man, pausing only to aim a homemade nuclear blast at the last zombie tank, led us into the portal. Instantly the atmosphere changed. The Saharan air seemed frigid by comparison. We were in a place best described as hell, although Nuclear Man would probably give us a more scientific term during the debriefing.

    It stretched on forever, a bleak wasteland that was flecked with deep pits, in which more demons, smaller than the ones we had fought, lived and died. It seemed ridiculous that an entire civilization could survive there. There were fights to the death raging in every pit, with bigger demons killing smaller demons for food. And then the demons noticed us and everyone froze. They saw their horde, reduced to a fraction of what it once was, beaten and broken. They shrank away, retreating to deeper within the pits.

    The loud, primary colours of our costumes, standard superhero fare, seemed positively foreign in this dimension. We represented hope for the survival of our planet, but for the demons the colours we wore would forever symbolise death and annihilation. I stopped and lingered at the edge of one of the pits. Scores of demons, frozen with a fear of the unknown, gazed at me in awe. I looked down on them. I could swoop down and kill them all before they even realised what was going on. They seemed so insignificant for such fantastically monstrous creatures. I realised, with a cold shudder, that I couldn’t care less about their worthless existences. I was an omnipotent, alien goddess to them. I glanced at Horus. His posture was aloof, his face unreadable, and I wondered if he felt this way about regular people back on Earth.

    “Take us to your leaders, little demons,” said Nuclear Man. “Now.”

    The ground shook. Several miles away a massive crack appeared in the barren ground. On either side of the fault, the land itself, hundreds of miles long, moved apart, a vast, hellish mechanism built deep into the ground. It was similar to the other pits that littered the landscape, but it was far larger. Something huge rose gradually out of the chasm. At first all we saw were spikes. From where we stood they were needles, but presently they were revealed to be the tips of buildings of a sort. Eventually an entire citadel, ethereally breathtaking, arose, and continued climbing. Before long the fortress was hovering a full two miles off the ground.

    “We fly.”

    We took to the air and burst into the largest building on the floating citadel, its spires looming ominously over us. An impressively creaky gate was raised, and we followed the fleeing demons to the throne room. Well, we assumed it was a throne room.

    “They’re a republic,” said Monster, coming to a halt in mid-step. “Shit.”

    It was chaos. Smaller demons, with more pronounced foreheads, clothed in ceremonial armour, engaged in political discourse. It was almost comical to see the warlike creatures so obviously fighting their baser instincts to rip out the throats of the opposition. I was impressed at their restraint. But the disadvantage of this parliament of hell was that we had no idea who the leader was. Nanonaut fired one of his ray guns into the air and the demonic beaurocracy became aware of our presence. I suddenly realised that Nanonaut had been uncharacteristically silent for a while. His upper lip was still twitching, meaning he’d been drinking recently, which couldn’t have been good for his self-restraint.

    It appeared to be a council of war, and there was one demon, with a deformed right arm, who seemed to be doing a lot of talking. He would do. I flew up to him, and he fell silent. I grasped him by the neck and lifted him into the air. He clutched helplessly at my fingers and gave an elongated squeal. I brought him down to the rest of the team. Monster, having gotten over his initial shock, narrowed his eyes at me. He looked positively jealous.

    Nuclear Man said what he had to say.

    “You came, you saw, you lost. You are trying anything like that again, we come back and kill your world.”

    Ripples of murmured conversation broke out here and there, as the demons, not understanding the words, began to comprehend the intent. It was time to hammer the point home. At a nod from Nuclear Man, I plunged my hand into the demon’s trembling body and ripped its heart out.

    “We are Lords of the Impossible. Is not wise to screw with our planet.”

    ————————

    I know it’s been pretty quiet in terms of comments recently, but I’m hoping to hear what people think, good or bad.

    I’m also less concerned about Nuclear Man’s accent after seeing Chekov in Star Trek. Does anyone think it might be a problem?

  41. Tomon 15 May 2009 at 8:59 am

    I like him, kinda like if Hank Pym or The Atom got some serious attitude.

  42. Stefan the Exploding Manon 15 May 2009 at 9:07 am

    Yeah, I’ve always thought that the people with the shrinking powers should be the most badass, but it’s never turned out that way in comics.

  43. Tomon 15 May 2009 at 9:09 am

    Funnily enough I’ve just watched an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold with the Atom, and he was acting pretty badass at one point.

  44. Ragged Boyon 15 May 2009 at 9:30 am

    I like it so far, I think the action is really good. However, I would have liked to see Horus in his weakened state a little. You made mention of it, but didn’t follow up. It’s pretty gritty, but I’m quessing that was intentional. Still it could raise some marketability issues (I don’t think it will, though). My senses are too dulled to give a more in-depth review, but so far it good.

  45. Ragged Boyon 15 May 2009 at 9:38 am

    My only other concern is that I still don’t get the best sense of personality from all the character. Some I get, Nuclear Man (smart, leader type), Godforce (personable, somewhat youthful type), and Monster (a monster). But I’m not so sure about Horus and Nanonaut. I’d recommend expanding upon their personalities.

    I find it a little weird that Monster reads books. It doesn’t seem to match up with his attitude and style that he shows later. I think Godforce seems most likely to read often, being that she’s the most human one.

  46. Stefan the Exploding Manon 17 May 2009 at 6:17 am

    Ack, it was Monster in his human form. I didn’t make that very clear. His human self is quite different from his monster half, but it might be a bit confusing to bring it up in the first chapter. If I elaborated in the second chapter would it be clearer or is it wiser to change it completely for clarity’s sake?

  47. Ragged Boyon 17 May 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I do think it’s worth later elaboration, seeing as it’s an important part of his character concept. I think you could add a line that distinguishes Monster from his reserved human form earlier on to avoid character inconsistency.

  48. Roon 20 Oct 2009 at 8:21 pm

    What’s up? You still writing?

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