Smoke rolled out of a blasted hole in the wall of the Lentilville prison.
Several prisoners gleefully escaped through the hole.
One of which was a muscular gentlemen who had been known months before as Peerless Person.
His liberator handed him his folded costume, and led him to a getaway car.
PP's liberator was a statuesque figure of womanhood standing exactly six feet tall, with black hair, bare arms and shoulders, metal gauntlets with masonic green pyramid eyes on them, a silver tiara bearing another pyramid eye, blue chest armor with white stars on the tits, and the preamble to the Constitution written down the belly, red spandex pants, and blue boots.
She was Phenomenal Female.
Peerless Person's pen-pal, turned fiancee, turned accomplice.
Now, together, they planned to get some revenge on the one known as The Jade Shade.
Eidolon and Dwindle were walking down the street towards Hannalee's.
They got bored with the party, and bailed at midnight.
Dwindle stood a couple inches taller than Eidolon, and had shoulder length reddish brown hair in natural wavy curls, light brown skin, blue eyes, a single lip ring on the left side, and wore a yellow blazer with rolled up sleeves over a khaki v-neck t-shirt.
Also, grey postal shorts, white tights, and black knee high biker boots.
The yellow blazer was Dwindle's only concession to her family's super-team colors.
They walked side by side, and bitched about their parents like any pair of average teenage girls.
When they made it to Hanalee's, they sat at the picnic table intended for employees who smoked to take their break, and continued bitching, and joking, and mocking passersby until sunrise.
All the while, Dwindle puffed on a nicotene-free vape-pipe.
It was her one indulgence into hipster territory.
It was about then that Peerless Person and Phenomenal Female pulled into the parking lot.
Eidolon mistook them for more applicants for The New Freed Radicals, rolled her eyes, and called them over.
"Look, you guys are really late, the big shindig our folks are having is probably over by now".
Phenomenal Female scowled, and said "that's Jade-Shade's sidekicks's little bitch daughter, get her!!".
Peerless Person ran toward them, and got Eidolon by her jacket collar.
Dwindle swore, and auto-dialed her parents on her smartphone.
Eidolon wiggled out of her jacket, and got free of Peerless Person.
Dwindle threw a smoke capsule at PP's eyes, which he blocked with his wrist, but bought Eidie valuable seconds.
Eidie ran behind a dumpster, and auto-dialed the first alphabetical name in her contacts list on her watch, and got Chokecherry.
Between both of their calls, the cavalry was coming.
That suited PF and PP just fine.
From the wall behind the dumpster, Eidie heard Dwindle's voice say "excuse me, you're standing on my neck".
She started, and reeled around, and saw nothing.
Suddenly, a hole in reality seemed to open up on the wall.
"Get in here, stupid", Dwindle's voice said.
Eidie did so, and hopped into the hole.
Once inside, she could see they were under some kind of tarp laced with tiny cameras, and projectors, and the image of the wall behind them was being projected over them rendering them almost perfectly camouflaged.
The tarp was transparent enough on their side they could see events outside, only slightly obscured by the projection.
Eidie quickly assembled that this was Dwindle's "power", and the source of her code-name.
She went to say something, but Dwindle shushed her, and held up her smartphone.
Eidie nodded, and they texted each other.
Eidie said "sorry, don't wanna be a monkey wrench".
Dwindle said "boy, are they taking everlong to get here".
Finally, Chokie arrived on the Cherry-sicle.
Eidie texted "there goes my hero ;)".
Phenomenal Female sneered at Chokecherry, more-so than she had at Eidolon, and hissed "you little piece of biker slut white trash! How DARE you imagine yourself worthy as the successor to Ms. Pique! Your whole team is a bunch of runaways, dirtbags, and fuckups!".
With that, she ran up, and punched Chokecherry in the face full force.
Chokecherry stumbled back a couple steps, but recovered quickly.
Her lip immediately began to fatten, and blood rolled out of her nose like a leaky faucet.
Un-phased by this, she reached into her purse, and pulled out the Cherry-popper, and unloaded a round into each of PF's kneecaps, and dropped her like a sack of potatoes.
Then, she calmly marched up, and delivered a field goal kick into her stomach.
Dwindle texted "well...that escalated quickly".
All of this happened in a matter of seconds, before Peerless Person could even react, and now he roared with rage, and ran at Chokie fist cocked to strike, woman or no.
Chokie dropped, rolled, and flipped him judo style.
He landed badly, and road-rashed his face on the macadam.
The girls cheered behind their duck-blind, and then realized, and silenced themselves.
Chokie heard, and smiled.
Just then, Dr. H's van arrived, pulled up, parked, and JS got out.
He pulled out his kama with the blades retracted, and using them as regular Billy clubs, began to whale on Peerless Person like an unarmed drug suspect in LA.
Then, when he got tired of that, he pulled from his trench coat pocket, a disk about the size of a smoke detector, and placed it on PP's back, and adhered it with a peel off sticker.
Then, he pulled from the same pocket, a remote control the size of a car alarm key-chain, and began to punch buttons, causing PP to writhe around in visible pain.
"A new toy from the Doc, a Portable Agony Inducer".
Chokie acted kind of turned on, so he tossed her the remote, and let her play with it for awhile.
Eidie and Dwindle felt safe by now, and turned off and look down the duck-blind.
Dwindle began to fold it up, and in a little over a minute, when she was done, it was the size of a piece of bread, and she tucked it into her blazer.
Phenomenal Female reached out to PP, and sobbed "Johan!! Johan!! My love!".
Hanalee's had an outdoor plant display, and Chokie had already taken a pot of flowers, dumped out the flowers and soil, and had the pot ready to strike.
"My heart bleeds, twat", she said, voice laced with bored contempt, as she smashed the pot over PF's head, and knocked her cold.
JS put on his knuckle dusters, and delivered a final knockout punch to PP which also crushed his cheek and eye socket.
The turf war was over, JS and Chokie had earned the right once and for all to be the true successors to Danny Hugo, and Ms. Pique.
None of them said it, but all of them felt it.
Popcorn Girl and Mr. Inconceivable had gotten out of the van, and had been watching.
Mr Inconceivable was built much like Peerless Person, but even taller, was a black man of full blooded African descent, wore a classic costume very much like PP's, but all yellow (the same yellow as Dwindle's blazer), and with a mask and cowl, and three question marks on his forehead, and a confused looking emoticon on his chest with a word balloon saying "WTF???".
Popcorn Girl was pale, blonde, short haired, dressed like an old style usherette with a pillbox hat (in yellow with red trim), jacket (ditto), white gloves, black capri leggings, and black heels.
Mr. I woefully mumbled to JS "dammit, you left me nothing".
JS apologetically said "sorry 'bout that bro, I get too excited sometimes, you know how it is".
"I can still leave my calling card", Popcorn Girl said.
And with that, she plugged an electrical skillet into the van's cigarette lighter plug, melted a couple sticks of butter until they sizzled, unplugged the skillet, and poured half of the concoction each onto the unconscious bodies of PP and PF.
PF woke up for a moment during this, but PG whacked her with the skillet, and knocked her back out.
"There we go", she said, nodding in satisfaction.
A tall gaunt man in a baby blue raincoat and fisherman's cap got out of the van next.
It was The Slicker.
If Commander Continuum had been there, he would have recognized his haggard unshaven face as that of Nick Rainey.
Which was a shame, because he could have explained much to Eidolon about her biological lineage.
But, such was not to be.
At least not today.
"I've got an idea for an art project", he said with an eerie gravel in his voice when he saw the two unconscious villains.
And with that, he asked for JS's and Mr. I's help in dragging them into the van.
Round about lunchtime, the customers of Phileens department store in the back entrance to the Lentilville Mall saw a wondrous sight.
Peerless Person and Phenomenal Female tied up with zip ties and tightened lines to be in all fours positions, and made to took like they were kissing the asses of mannequins done up to look like Jade-Shade and Chokecherry.
They were kissing their asses under Phileen's bay window.
The symbolism was ham-fisted, but The Slicker was proud of it nonetheless.
Meanwhile, at about the same time, Eric Tucker, his face gnawed down to the skull by Faust the dog, was being loaded into a rescue unit.
He was still alive.
His neighbor, still watching from his bedroom window, still sipping from his mug, watched in rapt fascination.
The new recruits were all gathered in the gymnasium off the hallway to the Den Of Seclusion.
JS (with Chokie at his side) gave an uplifting speech about their mission, and declared their new team name as The New Freed Radicals, after the original team name of Danny Hugo/Combatant, and Elisa Jack/Ms. Pique.
All of JS's recruitment drive were there.
Commander Continuum (the man from 2014), The Excruciationizer, Sigma-Max, Bog-Gob, Avian Louse, Captain Descrambler, Vick Vivisection, and Xed Of The Undead.
Chokecherry had done her own recruitment drive, and her recruits were Blood-Orange and Purple-Pepper (natch), Zoria Bacillus (ditto), The Slicker, Nut Crush & Lopper Lass, Baken & Pornne, Upholdor, Commander Vindication, Palupulam & Plawnee (the latter being a dog), Mister Impregnable, The Bogey, Zettabit & Pixelmistress, and a family team called The Inconceivables made up of Mr. Inconceivable, Popcorn Girl, Spurt, and Dwindle.
Chokecherry had obviously had way more luck.
Also there where Dr. Herbert, Eidolon, Omneron via hologram drone, and Eidolon's kitty, Alfredo.
Avian Louse had found a dwarf sidekick called Offal, and had brought him.
Mike Meggison was live-streaming via another hologram drone, and was going to record and transcribe all this for Shmegalamonga.
And lastly, to Chokie's revulsion, somehow, Mage-Shiv had snuck in.
Chokie made a mental note to deal with her later.
After the speech, which was received with unanimous agreement and warm applause, every one broke up and mingled for a party that doubled as JS & Chokie's first wedding anniversary.
Mike Meggison promised to commemorate that for the blog too.
More on that later.
Fold out tables were spread all out in a circle covered with food, and a mini fridge in the corner stored the drinks.
The party cake had a computer printed image off of Shmegalamonga of the Streetsweepers team with Jadie & Chokie front & center.
JS, Chokie, Dr. H, and Eidolon would still consider themselves Streetsweepers on solo and family missions, but with anyone else, it would be a Freed Radicals operation.
Under the frosting was chocolate chip cake, to jokingly commemorate the bag of grocery store cookies JS & Chokie had scarfed down in lieu of wedding cake.
The rest of the food consisted of a crock-pot of chili with a baggie of cheese (Cheese Of Freedom) next to it to sprinkle on, hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, hot sausage, a bowl of egg salad, a bowl of pasta salad, chips (Rumpty Pumpty), dip (Sunuvabidgen Good), and of course, ice cream to go with the cake (Okeen brand, in cherry-vanilla, and Pistachio to represent the anniversary couple).
Every bowl of ice cream was served with a cherry on top.
The mini fridge was filled with Chokecherry sodas.
Chokecherry had actually become the official mascot of her favorite brand, and got lifetime free cases.
It was a long story, and would take another chapter.
Xed Irish-ed up his Chokecherry Soda with a dash from his pocket flask of Floongold's.
On the third step of the pulled out wooden bleachers, sat JS's MP3 boombox from the day Chokie showed off her Mark 2 costume.
Plugged into it, was a flash drive made to look like a mini version of the JS mask.
Dr. H could whip up all kinds of trinkets like that with his 3-D printers.
The drive contained, and the boombox was playing, a mix of 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and 10's.
The 80's selection had also played when Chokie Mark 2 premiered, so there was double nostalgia there.
Eidolon was hanging out and hitting it off with Mr. Inconceivable's daughter, Dwindle, who shared a similar dress sense, and appreciation for computers, and they seemed to be digging the tunes.
Especially the nu-metal one that went "all the drugs in meee, all the bugs in meee, how can I liiive without yooouu??".
Xed had brought his bike in through a secret back entrance, and was showing it off to Excruciationizer, Bog-Gob, Captain Descrambler, Vick Vivisection, Blood-Orange, The Slicker, Baken, The Bogey, Mr. Inconceivable, Spurt, and Offal.
Chokie also had her Cherry-sicle there, which was being admired by the fellow gals Purple-Pepper, Zoria Bacillus, Lopper Lass, Pornne, Pixelmistress, and Popcorn Girl.
All the geeky electronic wizards hung together, and Dr. Herbert and Commander Continuum showed off what Omneron could do.
That got a bit competitive at one point, because they had both contributed to his makeup.
Mage-Shiv kind of hovered around trying to phonily get in on everything, but was still wise enough to steer clear of Chokecherry.
Mr. Impregnable was sleazily trying to get laid, and kept striking out.
Alfredo and Plawnee weren't getting along well to put it mildly.
Eidolon finally took Alfredo back to her room, and Dwindle followed.
Avian Louse had far better luck than Mr. Impregnable, and was flirting up Zoria Bacillus something fierce.
Chokie observed this, and half-whispered to Pixelmistress "I know there's something going on".
Pixelmistress shook her head at the odd pairing, and mumbled "people are strange".
The whole shindig went on for 6 hours, but Xed bailed a couple hours early to dole out punishment to someone.
(It would of course turn out to be Eric Tucker, and Faust).
He grabbed his cheese off the chili table as he went.
Everyone exchanged e-mail addresses, and social media links.
JS smiled behind his mask drinking it all in, admiring the culmination of it all, and mentally noted that once again, it all felt so right.
Mike's holo-drone hovered above it all, and he took notes.
He definitely was not going to screw this up.
July 3rd, 2014.
Mike Meggison posted a photo from an upcoming superhero movie on Shmegalamonga.
"I know I'm forgetting something", he kept saying to himself.
Finally, it clicked.
"FUCK!!", he exclaimed.
"Well...I'll make up for it next year", he said to himself.
July 1st, 2015.
JS & Chokie's second anniversary, and first anniversary of the New Freed Radicals.
Mike Meggison posted "QD:Season 2, Chapter 6. (Jade Shade meets Sigma-Max)", on Shmegalamonga.
July 2nd, 2015.
Mike Meggison posted another photo from that same long developing superhero movie.
Then, a memory clicked, and he exclaimed "FUCK!!!!!".
He started busting his ass on chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.
Bullshit waylaid him anyway.
August 18th, 2015.
Mike Meggison finally posted "QD:Season 2, Chapter 12. (Rise of The New Freed Radicals)".
"The Crow", got here.
There's always that last one that stalls in the postal-zone somewhere.
Anyhoo, great flick, cool bonuses.
None of which dwell too much on the death of Brandon Lee.
But it would be awkward if they didn't discuss it all, and the director saves it for the end of the commentary in how they decided to complete the film, and dedicate it to him and his fiancee.
Great interview with James O'Barr, creator of the comic that was both touching an inspiring.
Some deleted/extended scene stuff left to peruse, but I think I've seen the best of it.
Ten year old Corey Heath was screaming at, and being screamed at by his teacher, Mr. Harris.
Both were red faced from the effort, and inches away from each other's faces.
It looked like a fucked up wrestling promo come to life.
No one standing outside of this exchange could make out what was said, but Harris said something that hit Corey like a knife, and made him cry like a baby.
It must have been nasty, because Corey was a tough kid.
Harris covered his ass with a mountain of lies, and Mr. Pacer, who wasn't even there, backed him up, and Corey was quietly expelled.
Wayne Vance felt even worse about the "Corey's trap", tape.
It haunted him from then on.
A man named Xed drove a motorcycle.
Xed Of The Undead.
Xed sported a black leather jacket, black leather pants, black leather work-boots, a spiked collar, black gloves, long black hair, a purple t-shirt with an orange "X", and a purple motorcycle helmet with a similar orange "x" on the forehead.
In his wallet was a fake ID that named him as "Strafe Tumult".
It was one of many aliases.
The bike he rode was green with yellow piping, and had a yellow seat to match the piping.
He drove his motorcycle away from the gaudy neon Hellhole of Vega$, and across the Nevada desert.
He had just left a biker's convention that had gone way south.
Davey's Biker Extravaganza it had been called.
"More like Dracula's bigass abattoir", he thought to himself gloomily.
For indeed, the convention was held at a casino made to look like a black Gothic castle.
Behind him, miles away now, almost vanishing in smallness, timed explosives went off, and the castle imploded, and collapsed into a plume of dust.
"Good riddance", he grumbled.
Speaking of good riddances, he had an anniversary to observe.
He headed towards Lentilville.
Three days later, he arrived.
He'd gone virtually non stop, stopping only for gas, and caffeine.
He turned down a back country road on the outskirts, and then down a wooded trail on that road.
The wooded trail between Bog-Gob and his neighbor.
The same neighbor who saw Xed drive by as he mowed his back lawn on his ride on mower.
The neighbor simply looked confused, then shrugged, and kept mowing.
The trail eventually took XED back out at the hill with the Den Of Seclusion house, which he drove past oblivious to its secrets.
Xed needed to wet his whistle, so he stopped off first at The Groylan Bar.
Xed stepped through the doors.
Jerry looked at the pale stranger, fully and calmly aware that he was a vampire.
“Say, that reminds me of an old joke”, he said to Vinnie, who sat on the opposite side of the table from him.
“Let’s have it”, Vinnie said.
“Okay, vampire walks into a bar, and he asks the bartender for a cup of blood.
Bartender goes out, kills a rat, drains the blood into a glass, brings it to the
vampire. Vampire drinks it, goes on his merry way.
Next night, same thing.
Third night, different vampire, says his friend told him about the place, asks for a cup of boiling water.
Confused, the bartender obeys.
Vampire pulls out a tampon, dips it in the boiling water,
goes ‘I like mine instant!’”.
“Stupid”, grumbled Vinnie.
“Oh yeah? Well fuck you too, man! Let’s hear your jokes, you’re such connoisseur of humor!”.
Vinnie had been squinting at the vampire up at the bar the whole time.
Finally, he muttered “I think I went to school with that guy!”.
“No shit!?”, gasped Jerry.
“You gonna go say something?”, Jerry then asked.
A long pause from Vinnie and then “nahhh, he was kind of a dick”.
“Yeah, well people can change”, Jerry offered.
“Nah, not this guy. Trust me”, grumbled Vinnie who then permanently shifted his attention to his over-sized fancily decorated drink.
The vampire walked up to the bar.
“What can I get for you, stranger?”, the bartender asked.
“Ah, Christ, I dunno, you got anything blue?”.
“Well, there’s this”, the bartender said, producing a bottle from behind the bar.
“No, I don’t want that”.
“Label looks gay. Got something else?”.
“Um, how about this?”.
“That’s got float-y things in it. What are the float-y things?”.
“Um...says here, um...yeah, it’s in some funny language, so I dunno”.
“What do you mean funny language?”, the vampire asked.
“Well, like not Chinese or Japanese...like, I can’t read ‘em or tell ‘em apart, but I can at least tell if it’s in that neighborhood, but this is like, some weird...y’know, a funny language. Like advanced math or flying saucer markings or something”.
“Um, yeah, I’ll have the alien juice with the float-y things”, the vampire finally decided.
The bartender set down a shot-glass, and tipped the bottle, about to pour.
“No, I can tell that’s not gonna be enough, give me a big glass”, the vampire said.
“Oh, alright then”, the bartender said, pulling out a big duralex glass.
“Yeah, fill that up to almost spilling, there you go”, the vampire mumbled.
Then, the drink being poured per his instructions, the vampire leaned down, sipped down the excess until he could pick up the glass without spilling, and downed the rest like it was soda.
The vampire could’ve sworn he saw a guy he went to high school with off in the corner.
Xed paid the bartender, and left, pulling from a jacket pocket a copy of "The Man Who Should Not Be", and tossed it into the trash can outside.
He then pulled a 40 watt laser rifle from the side trunk of his bike, and set the book, and thus all of the trash can's contents, alight.
Xed took off, and headed towards the errand he came here for.
He went to the Bateman Cemetary Hill, and found the grave he was looking for in the spot it had always been.
The gravestone marked "Charles Edward Harris".
Xed unzipped, produced his penis, and urinated heartily onto the grave.
"Drink it, you evil old pile of shit", he whispered.
He zipped up, and mounted his bike again.
The gas gauge was low.
"Fuggin' gas guzzler", he mumbled.
It was virtually the bike's official nickname at this point.
He headed towards the nearest gas station.
He arrived at Big Tomato, a gas station/mini-mart that advertised under it's main banner "Candy, Comix, Gas".
It was one of the few full-service stations left in Lentilville, and the attendant, whose name tag read "Jayce", started filling up the tank while Xed went inside the store for a snack.
As Xed walked off, Jayce mumbled "ass clenching excitement", sarcastically to himself.
Just then, a van full of superheroes pulled up.
Jayce, being a bore, and a dimwit, didn't appreciate what he was seeing, and died alone and forgotten just 20 years later.
Meanwhile, Xed bought a pack of gum, and a bag of shredded pizza cheese with a corny superhero on the bag exclaiming the product name in a word balloon, which was "Cheese of Freedom!!!!".
He had a use for it bubbling in his head.
He paid for the gas and food, and stepped out in the parking lot where he saw a photo booth with some pictures still sticking out of the slot.
He grabbed the strip, and saw a guy in an orange bug suit making goofy faces.
He then looked up, and saw the bug suit guy with his arms crossed tapping his foot, wordlessly expecting the photos back.
Xed handed them over casually without a hint of surprise at Avian Louse's appearance.
He'd seen crazier shit in his days.
Avian Louse saw Xed holding the bag of "Cheese of Freedom!!!!", and got an inspired look on his face.
"Hey, man!! There you are!! I've missed you so fucking much!! How come you never call anymore? Nevermind that! Do you wanna join my superhero team? Of course you do!! Get over here, you big lug!".
JS and the other heroes gathered.
Xed was simply confused, but was assessing the situation moment by moment.
JS introduced everyone, and gave him the sales pitch.
Xed thought about it, and figured "what the Hell?".
Avian Louse caved in, and admitted he didn't know Xed, nor indeed did he know a guy period.
But, he'd found a guy, so all was well.
Excruciationizer recognized him as Corey Heath, and Commander Continuum played him the MP3 version of the "Corey's trap", tape.
Xed just let out a bored nostril exhale laugh, and said "that's what the big federal case was over? That school was so fucking lame. This town is a fucking toilet, it really is".
And with that, years of psychic damage vanished for Commander Continuum in a puff of smoke.
Minutes later, Xed was on his bike following the van back to the Den Of Seclusion house.
Four hours after that, it was nightfall, and Xed was back on the road by himself.
He still had solo errands to run.
He was back on Bog-Gob's street, and a dog was getting in someone's trash.
He put out a paper plate, and put a wad of Cheese of Freedom on it as bait.
The dog went up to it, and started to nibble.
Xed pulled out his laser rifle, and lased the dog.
The dog let out a yelp, and ran back towards his house.
Xed drove off.
The dog only received a slight fur singe, but it scared him as was intended.
The owner of the dog ran out, shouting "Faust, what's a-matter, boy?", and inspected him.
The owner's mailbox read "Tucker".
Of "fuck Tuckers, Tuckers suck".
Xed turned around, and came back, and sped past Mr. Tucker, smashing him in the face with a chain, and knocking him flat on his back, and out cold.
Xed emptied the rest of the Cheese of Freedom onto Mr. Tucker's face, and sped off once and for all.
Faust proceeded to eat the cheese, then his master's face down to the skull.
Mr. Tucker's wife looked out the window, mistook him laying in the street for him being passed out from a drunken bender, and said "tch, fuckin' Eric", and pulled the blinds shut, turned out the lights, and went to bed.
Eric Tucker's neighbor, the one who had been mowing the lawn previously that morning, saw the carnage slowly unfolding, took it in for what it was, smiled, and casually sipped soda from his 40th birthday mug.