Monday, June 08, 2009

"Never Special," Costume Concerns, pt. 8, 378 words

Alter Ego eyes me for a moment, and I swear I can feel him spidering around inside my brain. I have to remind myself that’s not how his powers work, unless they changed since his time with Hat Trick. He’s a mentalist, not a telepath.

The first means he can only project his thoughts, imposing them on others. The second, meanwhile, means someone who can just send and receive thoughts, without being able to exert control. It’s like a two-way radio – you can tune in and chat back, but others don’t have to listen to you just because you’re talking.

A lot of the people who can do one can do both, by the by. Alter Ego’s just one of those few who didn’t get the package deal.

“Well, alright,” he says, a shade doubtful. “I’ve got something I think could work for you. Nothing too fancy, and doesn’t draw a lot of attention to the, uh, the assets.” He clears his throat and gives a weak chuckle at his own comment. “Let me just go get it. Wait here.”

He straightens up and lumbers out from behind the counter back into the store. It’s not exactly fair to call the man fat, not really. Most of it’s that he’s just built heavily, tall and broad-shouldered and as thick in the middle as he is at the chest, like an oil drum. But he’s got a decent paunch on top of that, and a wobbly extra chin, like a college football player who got lazy once he graduated.

The comic book on the counter catches my eye while he’s gone. I glance down at it and recognize Count Mesmer and his enthralled legions overwhelming Kali Yuga in glossy full color. It’s been years since I last read a Kali Yuga comic book, and I don’t recognize the artist’s work at all. On impulse, I flip over to the cover and see it’s only numbered as issue 1 – “Back in a new monthly feature! The Incredible KALI YUGA” proclaims the cover, just above the title, and I realize it’s a re-launch of the series. When did they cancel the old series? I wonder mournfully, only missing that bit of my childhood now that I realize it’s been cut away.

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