Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lord Sorrowstorm Questions His Life Choices

The problem with scars is, if you go that route for your evil look, you're stuck with them for life. It's one thing to get them naturally, but there's no guarantee you'll get ones that look cool, as opposed to merely unpleasant. So if you want a classic like the “down one eye,” the “half-face burn,” and the always popular “claw marks,” you have to either get them inflicted yourself, or spend a good hour every morning getting the makeup done.

Lord Sorrowstorm chose that last option, which would be one of his many regrets. He was just about to put the finishing touches on the eye scar (including the milky white contact lens) when he just couldn't be bothered. He sighed. He used to love Scar Time. The skin-dying to give him his trademark blue pallor was automatic, and the purple and white hair just needed to be touched up every week or so. The scars were where he could be an artist. A touch of blood there? Would bringing it up to his forehead make him more or less fearsome? He would even practice the supervillain cackle, or the smirk he used when taunting the world's leaders. Maybe even practice the speech he would give captured heroes. It was a fantastic way to boost the confidence before bursting out of his master-chamber, greeting his minions, and enacting his latest scheme against the world. Oh yes, he used to think, he'd show them. He'd show them all.

These days, he can't even get started on a doomsday device without at least three cups of coffee. And even his lair had gotten stale. Same fanatics willing to kill and die in his name, same walls of a semi-dormant volcano, same giants robots. And the heroes? Same things EVERY time! It was Captain Jet and Redfern the Mystical over and over again. It didn't seem fair. Heroes get massive rogue's galleries. Why couldn't the rogues get hero’s galleries?

He looked back at how it all started, almost twelve years ago now, back when he was Lazarus Soros, brilliant but unpopular high school nerd. Ah, that Career Day. No, Career Day didn't feature supervillain as an option, that would be stupid. It was, however, the last day he at least considered an honest job. He had his plan ready to go, his very first doomship set to vaporize the gym at the press of a button. But he hadn't quite worked up the nerve. And so he wandered the booths, ignoring the usual taunts from his so-called “peers,” trying to talk himself into every job they offered. Surely a job as a non-mad scientist wouldn't be so bad? He would only have to go through four years of college (which he thought would basically be just like high school with more drinking,) then probably a Masters and a PHD, when work as a lab assistant for who knows how long, and then … nope. He couldn't even get through the fantasy without wanting to blow something up. Probably a lot of somethings. Maybe an engineer? Using to his incredible mind and skills to … update music players. Or create a new operating system that would be obsolete in six months. Just another cog in a mundane machine.

And so, on that fateful day, Lazarus Soros died (ironically,) and Dr. Sorrowstorm had been born. A quarterlifetime of desperation and loneliness fueled a spree of chaos like the world had never seen. From light gags like pouring Jello into the rivers of Venice to the more sinister plan to turn Disney world’s animatronic presidents on their masters, he had done it all. The world trembled before him. Everyone he know in his past life cursed his name. Especially that jock Vinny Esperanto. Though to be fair, Sorrowstorm did inject him with chicken DNA, so he had more reason than most to do so.

That was the problem, Sorrowstorm reasoned. He was a victim of his own success. There was nowhere else to go. Well, he could make a serious attempt to conquer the world, but honestly, he didn't need that kind of headache. But now he was respected. They may hate or fear him, but nobody looked down on Sorrowstorm. And he was, in an evil kind of way, popular. The rest of the Axiom Nefarious cheered his schemes on. His minions saw him as a lesser god. And then, of course, there was Viceroy Vixen.

On paper, VV was just Sorrowstorm's chief officer, his number 2, the dragon to his final boss. And that's all she had been to him at first, just another lost soul who refused to let the status quo exist. Sorrowstorm gave her the chance to shine, and shine she did. Sorrowstorm made the plans, but VV was all about the action. Whether she was firing experimental rays at the accursed dogooders or laughing maniacally as she bounded across a city seeding mind-control spores, her enthusiasm was infectious. Just like the mind-control spores. She brought out the best of his worst, and he always worked harder to surprise her. Sorrowstorm may have the core of pain needed to fuel a life of supervillainy, but VV showed that there could be joy in hatred, and that love was just evil spelled backwards. And with one letter changed, fine.

Of course, the leather outfit didn't hurt either. Even if he knew she was lying when she claimed it was made of puppies. He knew it was at least 85% weasel.

Hell, one of his favorite recent days had been when he had to cancel his plans when a pinkeye epidemic hit the minions. The two of them spent most of the day on the couch, catching up on Netflix. And just talking whenever the screen went dark. He learned more about her in one day than he did in the last decade (he never even knew her real name was Judy Vixon.)

Frankly, he would be happy retiring, but he knew he wouldn't dare making the attempt. Oh, it would be easy enough to be Lazarus Soros again. A few erased records, some bribes, maybe make up a “true villain” that he could team up with the heroes to fight in exchange for a pardon. But what would his friends think? Would all of his evil buddies turn their backs on him, rejecting him as a sell-out? Or worse, would they turn on him, picking on him the same way the bullies in high school did? And what of his minions? They don't have any appreciable job skills! They would just cling to some other crazy death cult, or worse, Scientology.

But he could live without them, he admitted. It was Judy … err, Viceroy Vixen that he couldn't stand to lose. Could she learn to love Lazarus as he was, without the plans and terror? Maybe. But if she couldn't, she'd just drop him to fixate on some other villain. She already looks a bit too fondly at Dapper Dirk, Gentlemen Thief and Sky Pirate. He couldn't risk her hooking up with that steam-punk poser.

No, Sorrowstorm sighed. Better to keep things as they are. More Scar Time. More standoffs with the UN, more ranting about the hated Jet Squad. Wasn't that always how life was, anyway? Putting on the role that others expect of you to live the life you think you want? At least this route didn't require student loans.


Judy Vixon grunted in her Abode of Vice, also known as her bedroom. The leather outfit seemed harder to put on every morning. Well, you get what you pay for. Weasel just doesn't hold up to regular use.

As she stumbled out for another day of evil, she cast a glance at Sorrowstorm's door. He was taking forever this morning, too. What if this was finally the day, she hoped? The day he FINALLY took all the hints and announced he was quitting the evil business, or at minimum going on a long vacation? But she knew it wouldn't happen. Sorrowstorm was a consummate pro, the villain's villain. He wouldn't ever give up on his quest to conquer the world; it was just who he was. Still, she would keep on trying. Unleashing pinkeye on the minions didn't do it. But maybe a plague of dysentery would keep him home and within her grasp.