Magnificent is one of the heroes that started off this whole venture. He’s old. Not as old as some think; but probably a bit older than most suspect. Think Captain America; but without all that well-adjusted Apple Pie attitude. The Erudite, on the other hand came to me while driving home for lunch one day. No clue where he came from; but I’m glad he showed up for the party.
“What do you hate?” The Erudite screamed, face darkening as he struggled to keep his grasp on the hero. He shifted, appearing to Magnificent as a young Hispanic man, covered in gang tattoos, cigarette hanging from his lip.
Magnificent turned and walked away, The Erudite following as he changed to a rotund Baptist preacher, belly straining against his Sunday-best white shirt, thick hair styled to a silver peak. “What do you hate?”
Magnificent paused and frowned at the man, as if trying to place him. He shook his head and started to move on.
The Erudite struck, clenched fists bouncing off Magnificent’s invulnerable chest. “What do you hate?” He was Doctor Geiger, wheezing with the effort, glowing unhealthily, lab coat flapping weakly as it decayed in a steady wash of atomic particles.
Magnificent walked on. Black leather boots never faltering in their cadence.
The Erudite stepped in front of Magnificent one last time. Clad head to toe in a red-and-white banded costume. Black domino mask drawing attention to brilliantly shocking azure eyes. Sky-blue cape fluttering in an unfelt breeze. Colonel Flagg. Magnificent’s father.
Magnificent stopped. Clenched his fists.
When The Erudite spoke it was with a voice culled from countless news reels and interviews. A voice that demanded immediate attention as its timbre cut through all background chatter. A voice that did not belong to him. “What do you hate?” Even at a whisper it could be heard miles away.
The Erudite shifted, slightly. Now less barrel-chested, he sported the build of an Olympic swimmer. Broad back and shoulders. Toned, but not overbuilt arms. Abs that were visible even through the black and silver nano-weave costume that Magnificent wore. No mask here, Magnificent didn’t harbor any fear of his identity being used against him. No cape either, the showy things only got you killed. There. At the temples. A touch of grey. “What do you-“
Magnificent leapt forward, arm back, before The Erudite could complete the taunt.