The Liberty Gang

Just finished watching the last of Extras. I’m a big fan of Ricky Gervais from The Office, and Extras does not disappoint. I think the scene of Ian McKellan explaining how to act might be one of the funniest moments in television history.

Writing exercise: Write a story about a superhero with an embarrassingly mundane power.

This one ended up a little long, so I’m just going to post the first half of it. It’s a pretty stupid last half anyway, so you’re not missing much. I actually really like the concept of the Liberty Gang; obviously, a patriotic-themed supergroup is nothing new, but I dig the concept that, if something were to befall the core team, or any single member of that team, there are sleeper agents, if you will, among the citizenry who can step up to take their place. It seems very appropriate, power to the people and all that. With some tweaking, I might work them into the Scarlet Ranger’s story, as they have a very Silver Age feel to them, which is about when Kelly would have spent her formative years. They’ll probably have disbanded by the time we reach the “Shades of Red” era.

About 560 words.

The Reserves

Luis Jennings stared at torn up bits of chicken as they cooked in a puddle of olive oil. He poked at the meat occasionally, jerking back to avoid getting spattered by hot oil. He wore boxers and a white t-shirt. White socks with yellow stripes padded his feet.

Luis lived in a small, cave-like apartment. He could see his television and his bed from the stove. A set of shelves against the wall held numerous battered paperbacks and textbooks. The walls lay bare. Other than the bed, the only furniture was a faded old couch with more than its fair share of rips and tears.

When the chicken finished cooking, Luis piled it onto a plate with some white rice—he rarely cooked anything but the simplest of meals. He settled in on the couch and started flipping through the channels.

Local news immediately broke in on some game show, and Luis paused in his channel surfing. A pretty young reporter crouched beside a shaking car, holding her hat down against a heavy wind. She had to yell into her microphone to be heard.

“It is an awful sight here by Central Park! The Liberty Gang has engaged Thunder and Tornado here at 5th and-“

She yelped as a thunderclap split the air. The image flickered. Luis glanced at a backpack in the corner. He started to sweat, as he always did whenever the Liberty Gang fought someone genuinely dangerous.

The news camera shifted to peer around the car’s bumper and give the viewers a shot of the battle. Luis caught sporadic glimpses of Thunder and Tornado at the center of a grey funnel cloud. Lady Freedom lay unconscious on the ground nearby, and Partisan struggled against heavy winds to reach her. A break in the funnel cloud afforded a quick scene of Thunder grappling with The Senator. Luis let out a breath of relief—The Senator would have little trouble with a pipsqueak like Thunder.

Suddenly, lighting lit up the inside of the funnel cloud. A bolt struck The Senator directly in the chest. The big man staggered, but kept a tenacious grip on Thunder’s wrists. Thunder shouted, but the winds drowned everything out. Tornado gestured, and a gust of wind ripped a trash can free of its moorings to hammer it into Partisan. Partisan crumpled and rolled out of the camera’s view. Luis began to sweat again. He noted that the battle took place only a few blocks from his apartment.

“Partisan…yes, it appears that Partisan has been taken out of the battle!” the reporter shouted. “And with no sign of the Gang’s enigmatic Entrepreneur, it appears that it falls on The Senator’s shoulders to win the day!”

The funnel cloud lit up again as another lightning bolt crashed against The Senator’s body. The hero fell to his knees.

Luis’s leapt in terror as the door to his apartment crashed open, his dinner flying across the room. Entrepreneur, the fourth member of the Justice Gang, stood in his doorway, his perpetual scowl in place. A dwarf, Entrepreneur’s costume was covered with tools and bulging pockets.

“Luis Jennings?” Entrepreneur demanded. “The Rigorous?”

“I-I-I…um, yes,” Luis stammered. Entrepreneur lifted up a small device and pressed a button. Luis’s backpack beeped and vibrated as the signal device within activated.

“You’ve been called,” Entrepreneur said, his mouth a grim line. “Get your costume on.”

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