dinsdag 27 december 2011

Godling #2: True Hero


GODLING #2: TRUE HERO?
By Jochem Vandersteen Artwork by Huy Hoang

Professor Quentin Alexander was sitting in a diner with his colleague
Monica Sawyer. They were having a cup of coffee together on their lunch
break.
"Wade encountered something very weird yesterday," Monica told
Quentin. Wade being her fiancée, and a sergeant with the New Troy
Police Department. "There was this muscular guy in weird clothing
taking out the Speed Demons."
"That does sound weird," Quentin admitted. He was thinking how much
weirder it would be to Monica if she knew she was sitting across the
muscular guy she was talking about. "Does the guy have a name?"
"He called himself Godling. Sound pretty arrogant, right?"
Quentin shrugged. "If he took out the Speed Demons maybe he has a
reason to be a little arrogant."
"Maybe. But what's so weird is that according to Wade this Godling
character had all sorts of superpowers."
"That sounds only weird to a degree. There've been a growing number
of superpowered villains appearing all over town. Maybe it was time a
superpowered hero appeared."
"Yeah, but where are all these people coming from? Everybody wants to
know but nobody seems to."
Monica was right of course. Quentin knew where his powers came from,
but he didn't think the villains got those from the Greek gods. Up
till then no reporter, detective or whoever had unraveled the secret of
those powered villains. They almost never got captured and whenever
they did they were keeping their lips zipped.
Suddenly there was a lot of noise outside which sounded like
"KRA-KA-KOOM!"
"What was that?" Monica said and looked through the window.
Across the street there was smoke coming from the bank that was
situated there. When the smoke cleared a large hole in the wall was
visible.
Monica shifted her view from the window back to Quentin but to her big
surprise he was gone.

*


What Monica didn't know was that Quentin had used the speed of Hermes
to quickly leave their booth and head for the bank, changing into
Godling. He passed citizens staring shaken up at the bank with such
speed some of them lost their hats and had to hold on to their glasses.
Inside the bank were to garishly clothed characters. One was dressed in
a blue and white skintight outfit and a ski-mask, the other was dressed
in black armored plating, which made him look like a human tank.
"Hello everyone," the man with the ski mask said. "My name is
Icepick and this is my partner in crime Panzerman. If you relieve
yourselves of all your money nobody gets hurt."
A security guard went for his gun. He'd been working at the bank for
years and he'd be damned if someone would rob it just before his
pension.
Icepick created a large icicle out of nothing in his hands and threw
it. He hit the security guard in the chest. The guard went down,
clutching his wound.
"I warned you," Icicle said.
A female bank employee sat down with the guard, trying to stem his
bleeding. She looked up at Icepick. "You monster!"
The villain just smiled. "Sticks and stones. I'm too cool to be
bothered with that."
"Well maybe you can be bothered by this?" a voice said and Icepick
was knocked across the room. Godling had arrived, having used his
Heracles strength to take the villain out.
"The boss warned us about you," Panzerman said. "He'll reward
me very nicely for taking you down."
"Give it your best shot," Godling said, while wondering who exactly
Panzerman's boss was.
Panzerman did. His best shot was a punch that sent Godling flying into
one of the walls, so hard the plaster came down from the ceiling. If it
hadn't been for his Achilles invulnerability he would've been dead.
Rubbing his neck Godling got up again. He understood there was no
reason to hold back against this foe. Time to go full speed ahead. With
Hermes speed he came at Panzerman, like a bullet from a pistol. Just
before he connected with the villain he channeled the strength of
Heracles and hit him with a roundhouse right. The speed combined with
the strength had the effect for Panzerman of getting hit by a F-16. He
was hurled through the air, through the wall. He bumped into a police
car that had just arrived, almost breaking it in half.
In front of the bank more and more people had shown up, including a few
photographers. A SWAT team had the bank surrounded, guns drawn. Among
them was sergeant Wade Hudson, asking himself what the hell was going
on.
Godling ran towards Panzer again and started to strip the still dizzy
villain of his armor. He then wrapped it around him, trapping him in
his own armor.
"Sergeant, he's ready to be driven to the station," Godling told
Wade, recognizing him.
"It's you again, huh?" Wade has his arms crossed and looked very
annoyed. "What do you think you're doing? This is our work, I told
you that before."
That ticked Godling off somewhat. He'd just risked his own health
fighting those villains and now he was getting his ass verbally kicked.
"Come on, sergeant! You guys are heroes, fighting the good fight
against these superpowered thugs with just your wits and guns but
you're largely outmatched by them. I'm just trying to help out, do
what's right and get this city safe."
Wade made a gesture with his hand at the bank behind him. "Take a
look at that building! You trashed it! You're not a hero, you're a
vandalistic hazard."
"Think what you like," Godling said. "There's a guy in there
needing medical attention and I'm going to see to it that he gets
it." With those words he hurried back into the bank.
The female bank employee was still sitting with the wounded guard.
Godling kneeled next to them. He was no doctor but he could channel the
powers of all Greek gods, right? So he should be able to channel those
of Asclepius, the god of healing as well. When he tried to he felt his
hands start to tingle and glow. Gently he put them on the guard's
wound. The icicle had already melted, but the wound still was there and
looking very nasty.
It was as if he felt his own life energy coursing outside of him,
through his hands, into the wounded man. Before his amazed eyes Godling
saw the wound close.
Coughing, the guard sat up suddenly. "What happened? I was in
incredible pain, and now it's all gone?" In awe he looked at his
rescuer. "Did you do that? Did you heal me?"
"I guess I did," Godling answered, still pretty shook up himself.
So far, he'd only just his powers in an offensive, aggressive way.
But this, this was fantastic. With this power he could help so many
people. He had to think this over. But first he had to get back to
Monica. She'd probably be looking for him, the sudden way he
disappeared. Quickly he ran off.
But Monica wasn't looking for him at that moment. She was in the arms
of her fiancée, Wade Hudson. She looked to be a little shook up by
what happened. That figured, she'd be more interested in the strong
arms of that macho cop than in those of a weak professor in mythology.
He decided to just leave. Using the powers of Perseus he flew off.


*


"I'm worried about Quentin," Monica told Wade. "He suddenly
disappeared when the bank robbery started. I was looking outside at the
noise and when I looked back at where he was sitting he just went up in
smoke."
"Come on, baby, don't worry about the professor. He's a grown
man, he can take care of himself. He's just a little cowardly.
Probably ran off for his mommy when he saw what was going on."
"Quentin is not a coward! He stood up for me against the Speed Demons
[editor's note - it happened in #1]!"
Wade held up his hands in defense. "All right, all right. Forget I
said that. He's a true American hero. Speaking of which, where's
that longhaired terrorist Godling?"
One of the SWAT officers pointed to the sky, "He flew away."
Wade grunted. "Typical. Leaving us to clean up the junk. Load those
baddies into the van. Keep them sedated. I don't want them to use
their crazy tricks on the way over to the station. I want some answers
from those guys. It's time we found out where they get their powers
from." He gave Monica a quick kiss and told her he'd call her in
the evening. He had work to do.
Monica watched the cops load the villains into their armored van and
drive off. She stayed there looking at them until they disappeared
behind the horizon, wondering why Quentin just left her alone like
that.


*


Quentin was back in his office at the University. He was sitting behind
his desk, his head resting in his hands. He was feeling so many things
at the same time he didn't know what to think about. He felt elated
he'd just discovered another power he could use to help mankind but
also felt sad and jealous about Monica's love for Wade. Were those
the thoughts of a hero? Those of petty jealousy? Wade was an honest,
upstanding cop. A real hero to the city. He'd been protecting New
Troy long before Quentin did. And he didn't need superpowers to
persuade him to put his life on the line. Feeling disgusted with
himself he got up and swept his books of his desk with one move of his
arm.


*
In his computer-filled room the mysterious man with the spear clenched
his fist. On one of his monitors he saw Icepick and Panzerman being
hauled off by the police. "Damn that longhaired do-gooder!"
Two Asian females dressed in long purple dresses came in carrying trays
of food. "Master Destiny, please let us take care of your sorrows. We
bring you the finest food of our country."
"What do I care about your stupid food? That Godling is taking out
all my men!" The man the women called Master Destiny aimed his spear
at one of the trays. A red beam shot from it and destroyed the tray.
"Leave me!"
The women hurried off. Leaning on his spear Master Destiny talked to
himself. "I can't let him interfere with my plans. The city of New
Troy has to be mine if I am to carry out the rest of my plans. He needs
to be taken out. I need more villains."


*
Icepick was being interrogated by Wade Hudson at the station. He was
seated in a crummy old chair in a dark interview room. Wade was leaning
into him, shouting. The only thing separating them was a table between
them. "You'd better tell us how you came by those powers, you thug!
It's the only way to get a shorter sentence!"
"I'm not telling you anything," the villain said decidedly, his
arms crossed.
Wade hammered his fist on the table. "If you don't your buddy
Panzerman will. And then it's too late for you as well!"
"Whatever you've got planned for me it won't be as bad as what
will happen when I squeal."
"Squeal? You're protecting someone? Someone who'll kill you if
you tell me anything? I can help you get protection. Get you set up in
a witness protection scheme."
"Forget it! I'm leaving!" Icepick said and got up. He formed two
icicles in his hands. He trusted them back, ready to strike at Wade.
The sergeant however, kicked him between the legs and punched him in
the face. Icepick stumbled back and fell over his chair.
Wade rubbed his fist. "Don't try that again, punk. But okay, if you
want to play it that way that's fine with me. You're going to be
locked away."


*


"Quentin?" a voice sounded from professor Alexander's door. He
was still standing in his office, looking dazed at the books on the
ground, thrown there in an outburst caused by the inner conflict
between jealousy and heroism.
Quentin looked at the door. "Monica?" Every time he saw her he was
struck by her beauty. That shiny hair, those lustrous curls and full
lips, her pale unblemished skin.
"Quentin, are you all right? You look troubled? And where did you
suddenly go to at the diner?" Monica asked. She didn't seem annoyed
at his leaving. Just worried. One more reason to love her.
"I went out to phone the cops and noticed I'd be too late for my
next lecture when I wouldn't leave soon. I passed a taxi and decided
to catch it." Great, now not only was he a jealous hero, but also a
lying one.
"Don't ever do that to me, Quentin. I was so worried about you."
"I'm sorry, Monica. You know me, sometimes I mess up a little."
Quentin shrugged helplessly.
Monica shook her head. "It's just impossible to be angry with you,
professor. But let me tell you what happened while you were gone. I saw
Godling! He was just amazing!"
Quentin sighed. Another hero to compete against for professor
Alexander.


NEXT ISSUE:
Master Destiny strikes!
The gods are unhappy!

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