Secret Headquarters – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Secret Headquarters.


A very simple and effecient story that uses everything that it sets up. It’s not groundbreaking writing but it is solid and well thought out.

Score: 1


An impressive young cast that balances comedy, action, and drama extremely well. I really enjoyed the evolution of the soldier. I liked the pseudo villain being a rich dude with too much greed. Although the Kill a Minion to show I’m a Jerk trope was a little overdone.

Score: 0.5


The movie leaned heavily into comedy and has a lot of great lines. The comedy was balanced well with beleivability.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects were amazing and the locations suitibly YA. I found the camera work excellent and it emullated other hero movies excellently.

The music was significantly better than I had expected.

Score: 1


Despite a few awkward moments the movie is fun from start to finish. Everyone in the family loved it and the kids forgot to ask for snacks.

Score: 1


A light YA movie that meshes the humour of 80’s kids movies with the action and special effects of modern superhero films. A lot of fun with some amazing kid actors.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Eternals – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Eternals.


The epic scale and complexity of characters wasn’t well served in the format of a movie. I think it would have worked better as a miniseries. I think some of the characters didn’t get enough screen time to show their motivations and evolution. That being said, I really enjoyed the non-linear aspects combined with the fascinating weaving into history.

Score: 0.5


There wasn’t enough time for all the characters and because of that, they seemed underdeveloped. They were very well acted and directed.

I think you were supposed to sympathise with all of them, but there were three that I didn’t like even before the twist. Maybe that’s a sign of a complex character.

Score: 0.5


The humour was extremely well-placed to balance the epic drama that was unfolding and even the info-dumps were very well placed.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Even with our state of the art 4K television, there were a lot of very dark scenes. It ruined the beautiful scenery and shots by forcing us to squint for no reason.

Beyond that, the cinematography was absolutely amazing and the amount of background detail is completely worth a rewatch.

The music was suitably epic and felt coherent with the MCU.

Score: 0.5


I’m surprised that the kids sat through the entire movie. It was fascinating, but not always action packed or accessible for kids.

I enjoyed it, but it was long. Oddly enough, I do think it would hold up better as 6 episodes. I was never bored though.

Score: 1


An extremely strong attempt at bringing the epicness of Lord of the Rings to the Marvel Universe. Too many characters and too little time for them to shine hurts the movie, but a brilliant script and excellent acting make it more than worth watching.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Barbie in Princess Power – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2015 film Barbie in Princess Power.


They tried really hard to mush together a superhero plot and a fantasy plot. Both are derivative with little of interest beyond a forced moral of cooperation. There were some pretty major plot holes that made the whole movie not make sense.

Score: 0


A princess, her cousin, and her personal inventors? an evil adviser to the king, overbearing parents, and adorable kids. Every character in this movie is a cliché. I’d also say that the Rube-Goldberg physics of the world are practically a character.

Mostly it’s a bunch of really whiny privileged people whining.

Score: 0


The best part of the movie was dialogue borrowed from superhero movies. There were some nice nods to Christopher Reeves and other movies.

Other than that, it was pretty clipped and shallow.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

I’ve watched about six of the Barbie movies at this point and I understand they are supposed to be dolls and that the animation isn’t fantastic. I’m willing to forgive that mostly, but the physics in this are pretty bad, clothing doesn’t move, hair does odd things, and jewellery looks painted on. Worst was their faces, every female character looked like they’re faces were collapsing in on themselves. It was disconcertingly like the late stages of an eating disorder.

The music was a nice surprise; the pop track was catchy and not too bad. I also liked the score, it had a lot of influences from superhero movies and made the scenes significantly better than they should have.

Score: 0.5


The movie wasn’t a lot of fun. It was frustrating and made me want to scream at the characters.

That being said, the silly physics and pratfalls were entertaining. Especially to my youngest, who just loved Bruce the Frog.

Score: 0.5


One of the weaker Barbie movies. It tries too hard to be cute and not hard enough to fun. The character development is as hollow and vapid as the characters themselves. The music was good and there were some ridiculous moments that weren’t bad.

Final Score: 1.5 Stars out of 5

Secret Society of Second-Born Royals – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.


An interesting mix of Kingsman and Sky High with very little original content. It’s fun but neither complex or original. I called the twists way before I should have and felt disappointed rather than proud that I did.

It also suffered from excess world building, making it feel like a pilot episode rather than a movie.

Score: 0


The characters were pretty much a mixture of superhero and high school stereotypes but they were very well played. The actors made some awkward character arcs seem more believable than they should have.

Score: 0.5


Neither bad nor memorable, the dialogue was passable. There were a few standout moments between the kids and the narrator/teacher and a great scene between the main character and her future queen sister.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects were okay, but the scenery was great. The camera angles and cinematography were good but not great.

The music was mostly pretty bland until there was someone playing on screen, then it was great. A weird mixture of styles and feels like they’d originally made this a musical and then changed their minds but couldn’t let go of some of the music.

Score: 0.5


I enjoyed myself and liked watching the characters develop, but it wasn’t gripping.

Score: 0.5


Bogged down by world building and a derivative script, the movie felt like its goal was to set up the characters and world for a TV show. Nothing about it was terrible, but it wasn’t very good. I’d watch it again for the rock music and impressive actors.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

Point Zero – Chapter 8

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 8: Shocked and grounded

The storm, once started, gained its own agency. Building on what Mel had drawn, the storm became self sustaining. As hard as Mel tried to draw or erase her way out of it, the storm raged beyond her control.

Lightning struck all over the city, mostly hitting the CN Tower, but also plenty of other places causing fires and the kind of destruction that only a major storm could.

The giant balls of faux-alien gelatin were forgotten as soon as the first droplets melted them away.

“Do I create a dome over the city? A giant fan to blow it away?” Mel was in a guilt induced panic.

“No. Concentrate on small things that will help people. Coordinate with the others.” I said it as I started to fly up.

“What are you going to do?” Mel’s question was punctuated by a hundred blasts of lightning hitting the city. 

I could hear sirens at a distance. This storm wasn’t going to give up until all its power had dissipated. I suddenly wished I had watched more weather documentaries or paid better attention in science class. “Something shockingly stupid,” was my reply and even the pun didn’t soften the worry lines on Mel’s face.

I flew up above the city in the centre of the storm and took a deep breath. When the first bolt of lightning struck me, it tickled, giving me a false sense of security. One tickled, ten itched, a hundred stung. I lost count of the strikes as every part of me started to sing with electricity. 

The storm was relentless and I couldn’t keep up with the energy. I had never channeled anything like this and It hurt deeply, like my cells were screaming in pain.

When I couldn‘t handle any more, I thought of Frank and all my friends and family that I had lost. They gave me the strength to carry on. When I lost that, I concentrated all that lightning into pure heat and shot it into the storm. 

I passed out. The last thing I remember was my own screaming.

I woke up tied to a bed with rubber restraints. My skin felt raw and was covered in some sort of jelly. I lay there staring at a white ceiling and institutional fluorescent light for what felt like ages but I had no way of knowing if it was. I heard the telltale beeps and other noises of an IV and heart monitor.

“Oh good. You’re awake,” A male voice said from out of my eyeline. I tried to turn and see who it was but my neck was held in some sort of brace. “No no. Don’t try to move, you seriously hurt your neck.” That didn’t sound very medical.

The man stepped into my sightline and I asked in a hoarse voice, “What happened?”

“You were hit by a lot of lightning. You broke your neck, back, legs, and most of your ribs.” That explained why it hurt to breathe. “You also have burns over 90% of your body. When you came in, you fried every piece of equipment in the hospital.”

“Sounds bad,” I croaked, feeling a little stronger.

“That’s the thing, Electric Knight, you’re going to be fine. You’re healing faster than humanly possible. You’ll be as good as new by the end of the week.”

“How—” My question was interrupted by a horrible sounding and feeling cough. “Long,” I managed to croak out.

Bringing me water and putting a straw to my lips, he answered, “You’ve been here for a month.”

I spit some water out, my surprise turning into another bout of coughing. When I finally recovered, I tried to sit up. The restraints around my chest and arms stopped me. “I need to see my friends. Why am I tied down?”

“No one could touch you and you were thrashing. We had to insulate you and ground the room.” 

“Okay… Can you release me?”

“Um. I’ll go ask the doctor.”

I was left alone again. Something about him bothered me. Didn’t nurses or orderlies usually use more medical jargon? If they couldn’t touch me, how had they managed to tie the restraints?

I sneezed; like all sneezes it was sudden. It was also violent but it didn’t hurt as bad as I’d expected. It felt more like I was bruised than broken. My nose tickled and I tried to place the smell that was now assaulting my nose.

In a hospital, or any public building, I should be smelling cleaning products. But this wasn’t that, it reminded me of something. 

Before I had the chance to place it, the doctor came in and he looked familiar. I couldn’t place it until he started to speak, he had a deep melodic imitation of a theatre voice. “Ah. The patient is awake. How nice to have you with us again Electric Knight.” 

“Why do you keep calling me Electric Knight?” I asked.

“Your face was burned and we had no other way to identify you.”

“Can I be untied?”

The doctor made a tsking noise and said, “Until we’re sure you’re not going to electrocute the building, we’re going to keep you as you are.” I was going to object, but he didn’t give me a chance instead he continued, “Do you have any idea who created the storm or those things that attacked the city?”

If the smell and the weird voice hadn’t been enough to make me suspicious, that question raised a red flag. The police would want to know, but a doctor? He hadn’t even asked me if I was feeling okay.

“I assumed it was the Puppeteer that sent those things.” I was lying.

The doctor’s eyes bulged and he said with forced calm, “That’s not possible, these things had cameras inside. They were crude and in no way up to the standards of the Puppeteer.”

“I don’t know, these things were pretty high tech. I mean they had quadcopters and gelatin controlled by radio waves.”

The doctor turned red and shouted, “High tech for the early two-thousands maybe, but it lacks artistry, nothing like—” he cut off and then smiled. “I’m impressed, you got me monologuing. How did you know?” asked the Puppeteer pretending to be a doctor.

Read Chapter 9

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Stargirl – Recommendation Monday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It must seem really strange that I’m recommending Stargirl after my scathing review. I’m not, I still dislike that movie.

No, I’m recommending the TV show DC’s Stargirl.

This isn’t a review, I’ve only seen 12 of the 14 episodes. What I have seen is wonderful. It’s highly dramatic, like most modern superhero shows but it also doesn’t fear going into the cheesy.

It’s a superhero in small town high school type of show. The show could have easily devolved into angst, but the show avoids the usual tropes. The cast is really good and the mysteries are interesting.

The action in it is also top notch and makes me believe we could easily see them crossover with the other DC shows.

Today the first of the two part season finale comes out. I’ll be watching it next week as one long episode.

Have you seen Stargirl? What did you think?


Point Zero – Chapter 7

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 7: Great Balls of Slime 

The thing that crashed into our living room looked like a two metre ball of gelatine; dark green, wobbly, and smelling vaguely of lime. The differences were the giant eyes and the mouth. 

“Oh, you picked the wrong apartment,” I said, happy to have a problem I could punch or electrocute. 

“Wait!” yelled Mel. “We should get out of here and let the police or superheroes deal with this. I gave her a confused look and she pointed at her eyes. We all decided it was best to not argue with her as the ball started to slowly move towards us.

We made our way into the stairwell and Mel said, “If those things have eyes and if the Puppeteer sent them then he can probably see everything they do.”

“That’s a lot of if’s,” Jane started, “But I guess we need to be careful. Let’s suit up. I’ll take James and we’ll come in from the roof to throw off suspicions. You two, go this way.”

Mel drew on our suits and we moved back towards the apartment. The large gelatin Pac-man was stil there and still moving slowly towards the door. I looked at it and then looked at Mel. “What do we do to fight this thing?”

“Why would you fight me,” boomed the deep accented voice of the gelatin.

“You crashed into our—” I cut myself off and paused before continuing, “city and your friends seem to be eating parts of it.”

“We are peaceful creatures from Alpha Centauri. We’re here to establish peaceful relations with your people.” It sounded like a slow speaking movie trailer voice.

“I can see your peaceful people eating our people outside.” Mel stuck out her hip and gave him her best unimpressed voice.

“Those are not your people. We’re here for those you call superheroes. They are the superior species. The rest are only good for food.”

“Thank you for making this an easy decision,” I said and threw a bolt of electricity at the thing. It absorbed the electricity and started to move faster.

I formed a sword and got ready to attack it when James arrived and started shooting it with water. Every jet of water shrunk the gelatinous mass until there was nothing left but the eyes.

“Aliens that are taken out by water. Now that’s just silly.” Jane sounded amused.

I walked over to one of the eyes and sliced it in half. It was hollow inside with complex looking electronic parts. I looked them over and saw that they were a combination speaker, microphone, camera, and control chip to move the eyes.

Before I could inspect it more Jane said, “We should really get out there and stop this.”

I looked out the hole in our wall and saw the destruction this was causing. The ships were still shooting out gelatinous creatures and the creatures were eating people and things but mostly causing property damage. “Plati-Power and Tele-Porter, get out there and splash those things into oblivion. Animator and I are going to go visit those ships.

When they’d left Mel asked, “How do you plan to get to the ships? Should I draw us some jet packs?”

“Nope. I’ve been working on something. Hold on.” I motioned to my back. Mel held on in a piggy back ride style. I concentrated my power on my hands and feet and pushed. We took off a lot faster than I’d expected.

“You can fly?” Mel sounded excited and amazed.

“I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction and I thought maybe I could use electromagnetism to fly and it worked, but the more I think about it the more I think I’m actually generating ion thrust.”

“I have no idea what that means but yay.”

We flew towards the first ship and it started firing gelatinous balls at us. I was more maneuverable than they could shoot and we made it to the ship without being slimed. 

The ship felt like cheap plastic and I could hear the whirring of some sort of fan. It was probably just a really large drone.

I touched my helmet and changed what I could see. It wasn’t X-ray, but it let me see into the electric workings of the ship. I had been right, it was just a giant version of a quadcopter with a rotating gun that shot out gelatinous balls with eyes.

“Do you know of any way to trace these things? They are being remote controlled.” Mel asked.

“That’s radio or light waves, not electricity. I wonder why the Puppeteer would go to this much trouble.”

 “And why hasn’t he demanded his pile of gold?”

We both shrugged and I started shooting powerful blasts of energy at the other ships. The first exploded and released all of it’s balls at once. I gave it more power and the next was disintegrated but we still had the problem with the gelatin.

Mel started sketching something and suddenly the sky above us was filled with clouds. The air smelled of dust and pepper. The wind started out feeling warm but quickly turned to biting cold. I could feel the energy in the air before I saw the first lightning. The thunder struck as soon as I saw it and the city trembled. 

As the rain started to fall in large droplets, I saw Mel desperately trying to erase her paper. The sky was filled with light, water, and sound. Over the now deafening roar of wind and constant thrum of thunder Mel tried to say but only managed to mouth, “I can’t stop it.”

Read Chapter 8

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Point Zero – Chapter 6

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 6: Frank or Not Frank? What’s going on?

We were captured. The Puppeteer had us surrounded by an unknown number of gunmen… gun-puppets? and I was fairly certain he was Frank. It was the only thing that made sense. There were too many coincidences. 

The Puppeteer had named us and was getting ready to show himself and dramatically said, “I am the Puppeteer but you can call me…” he trailed off and stopped talking. Stepped back into the shadows.

“Gah! I can’t stand this I need to know,” Mel started to draw on her pants and a comically large lamp appeared in the middle of the warehouse. 

I expected to see a platoon of the Dudley’s with guns but there was no one there at all. Just a couple dozen portable speakers. 

I thought the shadow that had called itself the Puppeteer was gone until I saw him running down the stairs. He wore a dramatic looking cape and black suit. 

The frustration, sadness, and especially anger that had been building in me since I started to suspect it was Frank exploded out in an arc of lightning. It exploded the closest speaker and arced to the next and the next and the next in quick succession, and soon the entire system was on fire. 

Before it was half way done, I ran after the man. I tossed a lightning bolt at him and it hit the wall next to him, the electricity singing as it hit the metal wall and traveled down. He ran for the back door. I thought I was going to miss my chance at seeing who he was, but at the last second before going through the back door of the warehouse he turned to me and smiled. He was wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask but I could see most of his face and it was pale white, where Frank had been the dark olive of his Greek ancestry. 

He blew me a kiss and I heard him say, “We’ll flirt later.” I should have been disgusted or at the very least annoyed, but instead his voice sent a little shiver up my spine the way Frank’s had. I’d been thinking about him too much.

“He got away,” Mel said as she caught up with me. 

“Did you see his face?” 

“I saw he was wearing a mask and was totally white.”

“Not Frank.”

“Why do you sound disappointed?”

“I… miss him.” I said, trying not to cry. “And him being a supervillain is better than dead.” It started as a question but ended as an admission.

A final explosion from above marked the downfall of the last speaker. Suddenly my earpiece was filled with screaming.

“—THE HELL ARE YOU TWO!” James’s voice sounded panicked.

“Platy-Power, what’s happening? Animator and I were just in the presence of the Puppeteer.”

“Well we’ve been in the presence of Mer-Bears… and they’re literally taking a bite out of the harbour nightlife.”

“Can Tele-Porter come get us?”

“She’ll be there in a moment. She’s trying to move an oil tanker before they breach the hull.”

The Mer-Bears were the first Puppeteer stunt to cause casualties. Despite our best efforts the Mer-Bears managed to chew through more than one boat. The real surprise was them jumping onto shore to bite people.

What had been treated as an entertaining spectacle by most people suddenly became real and dangerous. It had the side effect of having us treated like accessories instead of heroes.

As we waited for more attacks we tried to plan for what the Puppeteer would do next.

Mel paced as she talked, “This sucks.” She was staring the picture she’d drawn of the Puppeteer.

Everyone nodded and James added, “All we’re doing is reacting. We need to find out who this guy is, and stop him.”

“I’m a barista, not a detective or plucky reporter.” I sighed, realizing what Mel would say.

“No you’re the hero. We all are. We’re the Thorns!” Mel said it and I could tell she was trying to be uplifting, but it didn’t help.

“Electric Knight and the Thorns, according to the news.” Jane shook her head and added, “Sounds more like a 70’s punk rock cover band.”

“How do we find this guy if we don’t have any idea how he does what he does?” Mel waved at the picture in her hand and a copy of the Puppeteer appeared in front of her. She punched it really hard and it flew across the room.

“Feel better?” I asked.

“No,” Mel pouted as she spoke. She dismissed the fake Puppeteer. 

“What is he? Why gold? How does he do all these things?”  James asked, splashing a little as he talked.

Looking around at each other, we all sighed. I was the first to say something, “I don’t know, but the answers aren’t just going to appear in front of us.”

As if the universe was out to embarrass me, I heard screams from the street, “The aliens are coming, the aliens are back, it’s the end of the world!”

A whistling noise overtook the screams and something crashed into our living room, something big, green, and terribly well-timed.

Read Chapter 7

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Point Zero – Chapter 5

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 5: What’s in a Name?

The supervillain coined Puppeteer continues to futilely attack the greater Toronto area. Each set of attacks escalating from previous, this week the mayor will present a key to the city to Electric Knight and their friends.

“Electric Knight and their friends? Oh come on, that’s what they’ll call us?” Mel was incensed. 

“Can you think of anything better?” I asked as we waited in full costume behind a makeshift curtain. 

“Four… fantas… Quartet of Quality? Wow this is hard.” Mel sighed as she pulled out her sketchbook and doodled little fairies that flew around us and the protest going on in the park. 

They were the usual sort that could be found all over the world. Protesting something about aliens. No one could get them to answer straight, they either feared, loved, or both our alien visitors. The aliens could go probe themselves for all I cared, but the protestestors were the same as usual… except for a man that I saw out of the corner of my eye. He had a thicker beard and was more tanned but those eyes… they looked just like Frank’s. A fairy flew by my head and the man was gone. I must have imagined it. Frank was dead. I felt his cold lifeless body.

The fairies were joined by tiny angels and it quickly devolved into something that would give the news station editors a really hard time blurring out. An assistant that looked awed and horrified gestured them towards the stage. As the mayor said nice things about them Mel asked, “Why are we the only two here?”

“Because if this isn’t a trap, it’s a perfect target.”

Mel nodded and started to look out over the crowd, squinting in the midday sun.

“And for your service in saving the fine citizens of Toronto. I award you, Electric Knight and friends, the key to the cit—”

The mayor was interrupted by a large quantity of RCMP officers in full riot gear. One of them screamed, “Electric Knight. You and your friends are under arrest for vigilantism, endangering the public, and extensive property damage. Come peacefully or we’ll have to use force.”

“What is the meaning of this? I was not informed. You have no jurisdiction here. Those aren’t federal crimes.” The Mayor was angry. The fury coming off of her scared me more than the hundred or so RCMP in front of me. 

“We need evac here…” Mel started but trailed off. Her jaw dropped before she said, “They’re not getting the civilians out of the way.”

“Where are they all coming from?” I asked not catching on to what Mel’s words meant. “They only have batons out. I’ve never seen RCMP with only batons. This is the Puppeteer!” I turned to the mayor. “Teleporter, get the mayor and her people to safety and then start on the crowd. Mel, we need to play along.”

As much as I wanted to just start beating up the puppets that looked like police, I didn’t want anyone to be hurt. Thankfully most people were running away or being taken by Jane.

“We’re coming, officer. Just please don’t hurt anyone.” 

I walked slowly with my hands up towards the puppets. I looked warely at the crowd of RCMP. Now that I was closer I could tell they were fake. All their faces looked the same and vaguely like Brendan Fraser. That made me think of Frank, he’d loved old movies from the turn of the millennium, especially comedies with Brendan Fraser. I think we watched Dudley Do-Right ten times in a row once. Although I spent more time watching Frank and wishing I could tell him my feelings.

“How far are you taking this?” whispered Mel.

“I’m tired of waiting for another attack. Let’s find out who’s behind all this,” I whispered back. Loudly towards the puppets, I said, “We can’t get the others.”

In a dull and lifeless imitation of Dudley Do-Right, one of the puppets replied, “That will have to do.”

We were directed towards a black limo and we were gently pushed into the back seat. “Be ready to pull us out if this goes sideways,” I said to Jane, through the coms. She swore at me and told me I was being irresponsible.

“That won’t be necessary, I just wanted to meet my adversaries.” The voice came from an old speaker on a table in the middle of the limo. It looked like something familiar. 

Charlie’s Angels? Now that’s retro,” Mel said. 

“Thank you. Enjoy the ride. It’ll be your last.” He burst into a theatrical evil laugh and then added as an afterthought, “Have a snack or a drink. Minibar is fully stocked.” And the speaker exploded in a little fireball that wasn’t big enough for us to feel the heat.

“Does this all feel very familiar?” I whispered to Mel.

“Yeah kinda. Why?”

“Who had a poster of Charlie’s Angels in his room?”

Mel’s eyes grew wide and she shook her head, “We saw him die. He can’t be.”

“I’m not so sure.”

The car slowed down and stopped. We were at a warehouse near the lake. Something that was so stereotypical that if I’d rolled my eyes I was worried of spraining something.

As the Dudleys marched us towards the warehouse I thought about how each of the puppets had made me think of Frank, I thought I’d seen him at the park, the Dudleys, and now Charlie’s Angels. It couldn’t be just a coincidence. Could it?

The warehouse was empty except for a large group of Dudleys and a man standing on a tall balcony, in the shadows where we couldn’t see. “You’ve been a thorn in my side for long enough. It’s time I introduce myself and then we can talk about a ceasefire or you can die. I heard several guns and something that sounded mechanical cock.

“The Thorns,” Mel said loudly. “That’s our name.”

“Not the time Animator.” I tried to keep the manic giggle from my voice. The situation was dire, I didn’t think I could stop that many bullets, and the man I loved might be back from the dead as a bad cartoon villain. It was so absurd it almost hurt.

The man walked out of the shadows and said, “I am the Puppeteer but you can call me… ”

Read Chapter 6

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Point Zero – Chapter 4

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 4: Obligatory Super Suit Episode

“Mel, have you been drawing superhero comics?” I asked as I got home that night. Turns out that a lightning sword versus a cardboard dinosaur wasn’t a fair fight.

“Not until tonight. I have to document this.” She looked up from her drawing computer and gave me a dirty look, “Give me more credit Sam. If I drew a monster for you to fight it would have more tentacles.” She illustrated, pun intended, the point by drawing something with an obscene amount of appendages and then erased it. “This was more like cheap theatre. Kinda like the godzilla Frank built for a school play.”

I laughed and said, “How he expected to add a cardboard Godzilla to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I could never figure out.”

That night marked the one year anniversary of Frank’s death and our return to the world. We celebrated by staying in our apartment and drinking until we forgot. It was juvenile but we were only twenty-one and we’d lost three of those years to an alien abduction.

The cardboard dinosaur was followed a few days later by a paper maché robot army. Still over-dramatic and demanding gold. I easily defeated them again but it took more of my energy and I had trouble keeping my glow.

“Is this going to be a regular thing?” James asked, soaking in his tub while we all ate pizza.

Simultaneously Mel and I spoke. I said, “I hope not,” while she said, “I hope so.”

“What?” asked Jane. “We can’t fight a supervillain. Sam’s the only one with offensive power.”

“Bullshit. All our powers can be used for combat,” Mel countered.

Looking sceptical with one eyebrow raised James asked, “What am I going to do? Breath water at him?”

“Well if you’d just try to talk to fish…” Mel drifted off mid sentence before continuing, “The Puppeteer is going to come back and we can all help. I’ve designed you costumes.” She pulled out four sketches from her sketchbook. 

“I’m not wearing something under my regular clothes,” I warned.

“You don’t have to.” Mel gestured for me to stand up. I did and she pinched the costume on the page and it looked like she tossed it at me. As easy as that, I was in superhero spandex. The suit was comfortable and a great cross between the modern dark aesthetic and the bright colours of the golden age. My suit looked like it was a black skin-tight suit with holographic full plate armour outlined in golden yellow around me. The helmet covered my eyes but also gave me a readout of things around me.

Jane’s suit was made for stealth, it was pale blue and skin-tight. She made Mel get rid of the boob-window. The suit could become translucent, making it hard to see Jane when she teleported.

Mel’s suit was another skin-tight outfit, but it ended in a revealing corset. It was a massive pastiche of superhero and other comic illustrations. It was bright and gaudy and she refused to make it more conservative. “If I’m going to be a superhero I might as well show off my curves.”

The last suit was the most impressive in my mind. The suit itself made James look like the Swamp Thing or Creature from the Black Lagoon; I always get them mixed up. But then it created a bubble of water that let him swim around in the air like he did underwater. It was like a flying bouncing hamsterball.

As we all stood there I felt equal parts ridiculous, sexy, and awesome. Jane was the first to say something after we were all  suited-up, “We look great, but we don’t look like a team.” She blushed and added, “What? I read comics too.”

“What if we add a logo of some sort?” James suggested. 

Mel looked down at her drawing computer and started to draw. What she came up with was a five point green star, with wavy points, where one of the points was, nearly, completely faded out. The symbolism was perfect.

It wasn’t long before the Puppeteer returned and this time he brought creepy human shaped and featureless sand-filled purple-fabric puppets. They made a sickening scream when they were hit and crumpled like a bad interpretation of the wicked witch of the west.

We should have been able to take them easily but we sucked at working together. We each tried to take out the enemies as if we were discount versions of Gimli and Legolas. I was swinging wildly, Jane was jumping around doing almost nothing, and they were literally cleaning the streets with James.

I was getting worried when I saw James get swarmed but Mel’s voice boomed in our ears. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she had decided to sit on top of a tall building and direct us. We’d ignored her and she was pissed. “Jane get James.” When she’d gotten the three of us together she said, “James get them as wet as you can.” She giggled at her innuendo. “Jane get Sam up here.”

From above it was impressive to see James throwing water balls at the puppets. “Okay they’re wet enough. Jane get James.”

“Okay fearless leader… we now have mud puppets. What next?”

“Do you know what happens to mud when it’s struck by lightning?” Mel asked.

I understood and charged as much power as I could into a lightning blast. The arc of power struck the foot deep of water and dispersed, coursing through the water into the puppets. When I was done there were no more puppets but there were fantastic fulgurite statues. I replied to Mel with, “We kicked it’s glass.”

Jane and James groaned.

Read Chapter 5

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories: