Author Topic: "Anatomy of a Superhero" - furry superhero story  (Read 110 times)

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Offline animagusurreal

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"Anatomy of a Superhero" - furry superhero story
« on: February 14, 2018, 10:04:42 pm »

I wanted to write a more character-based story, about how my superhero team interacts with one another. This story focuses on Remi “Dammage” Vitoux, when he was first learning to be a superhero. Basically, the idea is to parallel a problem with Remi's civillian art training with one in his superhero training.

There's just a little flirtation between the characters and there's only one action scene near the beginning, in which Dobes fights powers-stealing leopard supervillain The Black Mark.

Further notes below story...

“Anatomy of a Superhero”


Brent M. Parker

“Part 1 – Training Montage”

* * * * *


“One million, Idey,” said Bruce. “Final offer.”

“500 thousand's still the posted bounty for The Hive Queen,” said Identity. “But you're welcome to keep talkin'. I can listen to that delicious accent of yours all night.”

“Right back at'cha, darlin'. But I could get a million from yer competition, easy. That Mind-Eatin' Lion'd love to wrap his jaws around her head!”

Of course the crafty bounty hunter wanted to negotiate by video chat. The bloodhound wished she could smell him right now...for more reasons than one. The massive red kangaroo on the video screen was wearing a leather “Down Under” hat, a bandana, and an open outdoorsman's vest.  She wondered if he could tell that she was staring at where his bare pecs peeked out.  *Alllllll...niiiiiiiiiight*

“Allright,” she said. “One million – if you won't take that contract from Dynamite to capture The Shielding Shell.”

Bruce's eyebrow subtly raised, which said to Identity, “How'd you know 'bout that?”

“Didn't even know Dynamite was in the market for mercs!” he said casually. “Thank for the tip! So, ya think The Shell can't handle us, then?”

“Oh, I know she can. But I'd rather see what you and she and we can all handle together. C'mon, Brucey. Y'know I'm more fun to work with.”

“Right then. It's settled. One million.”

Identity shot him a glare.

“With strings attatched,” he went on. “But only cuz yer Roxie's mate.”

“Aren't I your,” Identity leaned forward, “mate?”

“Strictly business,” said Bruce. But he winked with his scarred eye just before the feed cut off.

“A million huh,” came a deep voice from behind Identity. “That's not bad. For the Roolans.”

“Oh! Hi, Dobes!” She spun her chair around to see him standing in the doorway. “You're early!”

*Don't worry, Dobes,* she wanted to say, *You've got an advantage. You're in the room, and you don't wear a vest.* But Bruce must have been pretty captivating if she hadn't smelled Dobes coming...

The bloodhound leaned far forward on her desk, and sniffed him intently. She smelled the pheromones she was hoping for...but there was something else.

“What's botherin' you?” she asked. “Is it the fight with Black Mark? Losin' your powers?”

“Perp's in custody. I got my powers back. What could be wrong?”

“Well, what else happened different today? You trained Champion Cheetah...”

“Oh, no! That was great! Racehorse is lucky to have him as a protege. You know, I'd tell him to do somethin'...and he'd actually do it! You know what Remi does?”

He did an impression of a far-off dreamy expression. Identity laughed, in spite of herself. It looked very out of place on his face. 

But underneath the laugh, she was thinking, *A-ha!*

“Ya know,” she said, “I had you train Remi 'cause I knew you'd be the hardest on him.”

“That, and you love to play good cop to my bad cop.”

“Well...yes,” she admitted. “But only 'cause you're so good at bein' bad.”

Dobes grinned, but it quickly faded from his face.

“Great. Now how do I make Remi better at bein' bad? When I think about how Black Mark got the drop on me this mornin'...what if it had happened to him? What would he have done?”

* * * * *

Dobes' Day:

Dobes “Guard Dog” Gillis was in an alleyway in Prague, fighting a crazed leopard who had stolen his powers. And it wasn't even dawn yet! Dobes had been tracking The Black Mark, but the criminal (damn his silent feet and jumping ability!) caught him off-guard and pounced on him from a rooftop. (And “Guard” was part of his name!) As he was knocked to the ground, their bodies momentarily fused, and Black Mark...sucked out his essence or something, he wasn't sure how it worked. All he knew was that when the leopard re-emerged, he snarled and his teeth glowed blue. Meanwhile, his own body was covered in dark gray leopard spots, and he could feel that his his own teeth had been de-energized. Immediately, Black Mark lunged to give Dobes a parylizing bite.

Frantically, Dobes tried to think of everything supervillains did while trying to keep him from biting them. But they had other powers. His right hand shot up to grab Mark's muzzle, while his left delivered a stomach blow. So, no powers, and fighting with one hand. Perfect. The villain grunted, but he quickly grabbed Dobes' wrist and tried to wrench the hand off his muzzle, while his other hand defended against further blows. Thank goodness Dobes' strength seemed to be the same as normal, but his opponent was just as strong as he was. Both got nowhere for several moments, until Black Mark suddenly leapt backwards, pulling free of Dobes' grasp. He landed, cat-like, on all fours. If not for his archer-like uniform, he might resemble a feral leopard. His shoulderblades shifted, and his tail swayed, as though he were preparing to pounce.

“I've already disarmed you, Gillis,” he snarled. “Why not turn yourself in?”

Dobes wasn't about to play into Black Mark's “I'm not the bad guy, you are!” shtick. He was gonna be prepared this time.

But instead of pouncing,  Mark leapt straight up and grabbed the bottom of a fire escape overhead. Then, he swung himself feet-first towards Dobes, delivering a powerful double flying kick to Dobes' mouth – exactly where Dobes wasn't used to taking a hit! Dobes didn't remain on the ground for long, though, as the leopard picked him up with both hands. He then leapt straight up – with Dobes in tow. Three quick leaps later, Mark was balancing on the edge of the top fire escape railing. If Dobes attacked him now, they would both fall. But if he didn't, Mark would bite him, and it would all be over. As the leopard's head lunged forward, Dobes answered with a head butt. As their skulls knocked, the duo fell, but Mark did an acrobatic flip, and landed gracefully on the ground with both feet. Dobes meanwhile slammed face-down into the pavement.

“Now that I have you in custody,” Black Mark growled as he peeled Dobes out, “the bloodhound will come for you! And when she does, I'll commandeer her powers so I can scent out all of your fellow supervillains!”

Dobes tried to think -- if he were about to bite a bad guy, how would he screw it up? He twisted around in the blathering villain's grip. He swung his right fist. The leopard easily dodged it, and the fist came far too close to his mouth. Just before the glowing teeth could close on it, Dobes twisted his body the other way and sucker-punched the leopard in the cheek with his left. The leopard slammed hard against the brick wall and flopped to the ground. His spots glowed blue and the energy flowed from them, back into Dobes' body, washing away they gray spots. Dobes growled, and his teeth glowed blue again. Then, just to be safe, he reached down and picked up Black Mark with his teeth. The big cat's limp body flashed blue twice and then glowed steadily.

* * * * *

“Hey! What's eatin' you, Vitoux?”

“Oh, it's nothing! Nothing!” Remi quickly relplied. “Art stuff.”

“Oh, well...” said Dobes, sounding relieved. “I'm sure you can handle it. You're so good at that stuff! Now, show me that muzzle-grabbin' manuever one more time! Mmmmf! Grrrrrrrr! No, no! I broke outta that far too easy! Now let's try it again.”

Standing there in the climate-controlled training room, looking down at the beaver's blank stare, Dobes was starting to miss that lovely dank alleyway and the variety and intensity that The Black Mark had provided him earlier. How many times did they have to go over this crap before the kid got it right?

“Where's your energy today, Vitoux? I wanna see 110%!”

“Permission to speak freely, sir?”

Dobes guessed Remi was mocking him, but said “Granted” anyway. Remi barely pushed the words past his big beavery teeth:

“Perhaps the training would be more...conducive? energy...if it wasn't so repetitive and...and...”

“Boring?” supplied Dobes.

Remi grinned sheepishly. Dobes bit back about a thousand withering remarks and said, with as little growl as he could manage.

“Well, I don't know what to tell you. You HAVE TO know this stuff in order to do the job!”

“I have to know the rules...before I can break them?”

Dobes didn't know what Remi was getting at, but from his bitter tone and scent, the kid clearly had no respect for training.

“Maybe...” Dobes took a deep breath, “Maybe you think me and Identity are always gonna be there to protect you. I mean...of course, we got your back, but these guys are tough! What if we get knocked out? What if you gotta save us? What if we're vampires, for chrissakes, and you gotta fight us?! Are you ready to do that today, Vitoux!?”

He found that he was standing over the beaver, leaning in close, getting all up in his face. His teeth were glowing blue.

“, sir?” Remi responded.

“And you plan to get there from”

“Another six months of mind-numbing repitition?”


“Remi, it wouldn't be like this if you'd give yourself over instead of thinking of what...filigree to put on your latest sculpture the whole time!”

Remi didn't answer.

“Look,” Dobes continued, “if you can't handle me, how are you gonna handle supervillains out there in the real world! They're a lot worse, believe me!”

Remi didn't say another word. Dobes finally gave up and said, “Dismissed!” As Remi walked out the door, he said “adieu” instead of his usual “au revior.”

* * * * *


“Remi, it's Identity. D'you wanna talk?”

“Come in,” he replied, distantly.

The automatic door to Remi's quarters opened. The chunky beaver was revealed lying on his bed, drawing feverishly on an ordinary piece of paper, with a fine tip pen. He didn't look up. The bitter scent Dobes had described hit her hard as she entered the room. But under that was the moldy scent of frustration. How could Dobes not smell it? She had to remind herself, that'd be like Dobes asking “Why doesn't Identity have a parylizing bite?”

Identity noticed Remi had made a lot of inconcequental little changes to the sculpture he'd brought with him today. The odor of frustration seemed to linger strongly around it, as well. Going on a hunch, she asked, “Is there a problem at school? A professor?”

This clearly wasn't the question Remi was expecting, and he thought for a moment before answering.

“Another student, actually.” The frustration scent spiked.

* * * * *

Remi's Day

He was rescued! No grueling and fruitless morning session with Dobes today! Identity had interrupted and asked him to come with her. The bloodhound superheroine always made him feel welcome. Her black-and-glowing-violet uniform – complete with cape! - made it clear she was as big a comic book geek as he was.

Apparently, some other poor soul was to be fed to the Doberman this morning. As they walked through the gym's automatic door, Identity held out her hand in a theatrical manner.

“Dammage, I'd like you to meet Champion Cheetah.”

On the far side of the room, a yellow-black-and-gray blur hovered over a treadmill.The instant after the words had left Identity's mouth, it shot across the room and skidded to halt in front of them. It was a cheetah, as huge and muscular as Dobes. He wore a gray training uniform, similar to Remi's.

“Nice to meet you,” said Remi, in shock.

“Likewise,” said the cheetah, seizing Remi's hand. His grip was like a vice, and he shook it about 50 times in the space of two seconds. “You can call me Nunzio, or Nunz! Nice to finally meet a fellow rookie around here. Well...I gotta get back to my training.”

And in less than the blink of an eye, he was back on the treadmill.

“Uh, Nunzio,” said Identity, “Hon', we don't expect ya'll to train every moment you're here.”

“Oh, I know! I know!” said the blur. “This is just part of my regular regimen. I wanna get it done before my session with Mr. Gillis. And by the way --”

He suddenly dashed over to the weights and began pumping iron.

“This is the best gym I've ever seen, so this is kind of a treat for me!”

*Well,* thought Remi, *There goes the grading curve.*

* * * * *

Remi walked down the hall, which was bustling with fellow art students, toting a wide variety of projects. It was bizarre to think he was at a secret underground superhero base just minutes ago -  who would suspect?! But Remi had to admit he was relieved to be back on campus. He wasn't a rookie here – he'd been making art practically since he was born! It even felt good to be out of his gray, form-fitting training uniform, and back in his usual garb of khaki slacks, a newsboy hat and a geek-franchise T-shirt.

He was particularly excited today, because the Fantasy and Sci-Fi Art Club had finally gotten permission to do an art show in the campus' main gallery. They were invading the realm of traditional artwork! And today the selections would be announced.

As soon as Remi entered the meeting room, he dashed to the corkboard where the roster for the show was posted. Aaaaaaaaaand....rejection. His work wasn't on it. Neither paintings nor sculptures. He read it five more times just to make sure.

At the end of the meeting, the club's secretary handed him a stack of index cards with the judges' comments. Well, at least he'd get some interesting feedback on his work. In the middle of the first card were written two words, written in red ink, in large, bold letters. “STUDY ANATOMY.” He flipped through the other cards.




“On painting #3 – where is your light source? Also, STUDY ANATOMY.”

As the group dispersed, Remi approached a ground squirrel a few years older than he was. This was Piers Yerflander, president of the club and author of Study Anatomy Card #1. Remi was about the same height as Piers, but while the squirrel was on the skinny side, the beaver had an intimidating muscle gut build. Remi tried to slouch a bit in the hopes of making himself less imposing. He really didn't want to give the impression that he was trying to lean on this guy.

“Um...hey, Piers? I was wondering if I could talk to you about my work...and the gallery show?”

“Oh, yes,” said the squirrel, “I hope you're not too upset.”

“Oh no, no, no – I understand!” Remi quickly replied, “I just wonder if you could elaborate on why?”

“Well, you need to study anatomy.”

“Oh yes, I'm sure I do! But is there anything else?”

Piers sighed.

“Remi, how can anyone see anything about your work until you've got the technical skills to convey it?  I mean, look at this one...” He pointed to one of Remi's sculptures, which was on display in the room. “The anatomy is just terrifying!”

Piers took out his cell phone and pulled up a picture of a highly realistic anatomy sketch. Then, he held it up next to Remi's sculpture.

“Look at it next to this!” he exclaimed. “Some of these muscles aren't anywhere NEAR where they should be, and the head is ridiculously small compared to the body!”

He flipped through more ref sketches on his phone, until he came across a painting of a bowl of fruit.

“Ah!” he said. “This is what you need! Before you start drawing complex bodies, you really should take a still life class.”

“Um,” said Remi, “that isn't really my style,”

Piers clapped his free hand on Remi's shoulder.  “See, this is your problem, Remi. Every artist has to paint that. You have to learn the rules before you can break them. The rest of us did it ages ago. This one was painted by the professor. Look at the light bouncing off that apple! It's so perfect, it looks like a photograph!”

Piers' voice broke a little as he said “PHO-tograph”...he was almost getting choked up over the beauty of this image.

*It's a (bleep) apple,* thought Remi. But he didn't say anything.

“Look,” Piers went on, “don't worry! If you work at it, you won't believe how quickly you'll improve!”

“You know,” said Remi. “It's supposed to be a little disproportionate The sculpture, I mean. See, the head's not small, the body's --”

“Hey, don't get mad!” said Piers. He took a step back and held up his hands, as if Remi had suddely pulled out a hatchet and lunged at him. “I'm just trying to help you!”

“I'm not mad! I'm just trying to explain what I was trying to --”

“If you don't want advice, don't ask for it!”

“But I do want advice!”

“It sure doesn't seem like it. I must say, I don't envy your professors. I'll bet you're difficult to teach. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the gallery show.”

As Remi turned to go, Piers called after him.

“Oh, one more thing. Try coloring things the color they really are, instead of the over-saturated color you think they are!”

Piers specialized in paintings of gryphons. What color were they, really?

Remi was relieved to be back at the base that evening. Piers Yerflander wasn't a superhero. And Remi's powers had only manifested six months ago, so nobody could accuse him of being years behind the curve on that training.

He'd just been teleported through the internet by the otter superhero, Streamline. Now, he was back in an environment that resembled a retro-futuristic space station. Back out of his street clothes and into his sleek, smooth training uniform. Although he was carrying the unfortunate sculpture from the meeting room, which he'd taken with him.

His afternoon session with Dobes went...same as usual. The towering Doberman, looking like something out of an 80s action movie, staring down at him with intense blue eyes, showing him the moves effortlessly, barking orders in a booming, Bronx-accented voice. The one difference was that this time, Remi also hearing Piers' words echoing back in his mind...Most art students probably would have taken that class by now. This semester, he was only taking a couple of classes he was interested in because...well, because he was training to be a superhero. Piers Yerflander wasn't a superhero...but he wasn't trying to be one, either.

A voice suddenly cut in:

“Hey! What's eatin' you, Vitoux?”

It was Dobes.

“Oh, it's nothing. Nothing. Art stuff....”

* * * * *

“I want to improve,” said Remi to Identity, “but I don't want to be like Piers! Literally the only thing he can say about any artwork is if it's technically accurate! And Dobes...of course, I admire him, but I'm not a super soldier. But what if they're both right? Dobes and Piers? What if their way really is the only way...and I...can't...”

“Now Remi,” said Identity, “if we wanted a clone of Dobes, we wouldn't have arrested that mad scientist who was trying to make a clone of Dobes. Look, if you just want to...if you'd rather focus don't have to join our team, you know.”

“Of course I want to be a superhero!” Remi burst out, looking up into her eyes. “What kind of sad sack actually gets superpowers and doesn't want to at least try being a superhero?!” He looked back and the drawing and made one final flourish.

“Here. Take a look.”

He handed her the piece of paper. Identity smiled, then laughed out loud, and finally, stroked her chin thoughtfully as she looked at it.

* * * * *

“How is he?” Dobes asked Identity, across midnight snacks on the break room table.


“Fine?!” said Dobes. “Fine?! I thought he'd get mad! Maybe put a little fight in him. The most I got outta him was light sarcasm...”

“Well...” Identity began.

“What? He do somethin' after he left?” Dobes sounded hopeful.

“I guess you'll find out, anyway. He did a really angry drawing of you.”

“So...he's gonna carricature his opponents into submission?”

“You're dressed as a cartoon drill sergeant. He made you all pointy...Eyes bugged out, steam comin' outta your ears...”

“Wait. How was I gonna find out about this?”

“I had it framed.”

She moved out of the way, so Dobes could see it hanging prominently on the wall. When he saw it, he had to laugh.

“Well, I guess I should be relieved,” he said. “It's not like he's done anything foolish like runnin' off and fightin' supervillains before he's ready.”

“That's true,” said Identity. “He's avoided that cliché. Though it would make for a more exciting story.”

“And it would show some initiative,” said Dobes.

“Hmmmmm...” said Identity.

She took off running down the hall towards her office, her cape billowing behind her.

When she returned, smelling triumphant, Dobes asked,

“Alright, Idey. How'd you solve the problem in under 15 minutes?”

“Well, it was what you said about him running off and fighting real supervillains. He taught himself to draw by doing it, so I figure --”

“You're NOT sendin' him up against a real villain!”

“Oh, of course not, Dobes! Don't be silly! I called the Roolans and asked Roxie to come have a boxing match with him.”

“So, just to made me feel bad for going too hard on the kid, and then you hired a mercanary to come beat him up.”

“Well, she's not a villain, but she's also not his teacher, not his teammate, and not gonna go easy on him.”

Dobes sighed.

“Alright...Nunzio'll be here for more trainin'. Have him go up against her first, to take the edge off. He's at least boxed before! Did you see what she did to my punching bag the last time she was here?”

“Oh, for goodness sakes, Dobes, let it go! You have, like, fifty punching bags!”

“That one was my favorite!”

* * * * *

Remi entered the gym and looked over at the training ring...where he'd somehow agreed to have a  match against “Boxin'” Roxie Roolan in two weeks. Boxin'...was part of her name!

Nunzio, big surprise, was already in the gym...he was standing over a weight, but not lifting it, and he too was staring at the ring. He walked over to Remi at a disturbingly normal pace and asked,

“Have you ever been in a fight?”

“Not really,” the beaver replied. “My brother wanted to teach me once...but I didn't know I was going to be a superhero someday, so I said 'no thanks.'”

“Yeah,” said the cheetah, “I haven't either.”

“WHAT?! Dobes told me you've done boxing and wrestling and...probably a lot of other things, but I think I tuned out after that.”

“Well, that's true, but I've never been in a fight fight. I was always pretty popular, know, looking like this, everyone prob'ly assumed I'd win. But Roxie Roolan...she's a real super. Like, who knows what she's gonna do?!”

“Don't worry,” Remi found himself saying, “Identity tells me she still takes the rules of boxing very seriously.”

“Really?” said Nunzio, looking hopeful.

“Yeah,” said Remi. “Maybe you could teach me?”

“I'd love to!” said Nunzio, who was already across the room, standing in the training ring.


Further notes:

I find that when I try to write this kind of stuff, it tends to get very long and exposition-y. So I revised it a million times, and finally settled on it being mainly from the perspective of Identity, the team leader, piecing together what the problem is and trying to solve it. I wanted to show her using reason and understanding to achieve her goal, not just superhero violence...of course, the solution itself involves superhero violence...but she does at least use reason and understanding to get there :D.

There's a character named Piers Yerflander in the story, who represents a “technical perfection above all else” artistic mentality. So I really, really don't want this character to be a strawman villain. Most of his dialog is either paraphrased or directly quoted from comments I've actually seen online. Or received myself. Also, if I ever get around to writing Part Two, I am going to mention that he's a good artist himself and picks good work for the art show.

One of the things I wanted to show is how, in Dobes' experience, aggression is required to survive, while in Remi's experience, even disagreeing politely can be viewed as overly aggressive.

The setting of the fight scene is “Prague” for only one reason – I liked how it sounded there :D.

Part of me thinks this might work better as a “B plot” to a more traditional superhero main plot. But for now, here it is.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:17:44 pm by animagusurreal »

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