The Sinclairs never made it to Dunsborough. Not that they tried. They just got Mrs Sinclair’s arm splinted and fled from Perth as fast as their wheels would carry them, imagining DDHA cars and trucks lying in wait off every exit in the road.
News of the attack at Boans still beat them back to Kalgoorlie. The papers were quietly jubilant at the death of Fey of Femurs—always one of the more cruel and gruesome of the Coven—though much to Adam’s offense, they speculated her defeat was the final outcome of a turf-war among the city’s supervillains.
“I’m not a baddie!” he had protested when he first saw the headline, standing behind his father at the petrol station line.
His parents had just looked at him like he’d said a dirty word. When they finally made it home, they didn’t let their son out of their sight. The few neighbours who asked after him or the family’s unexpected return (or the plaster on Mrs Sinclair’s arm) were told they were driven back by Jenny taking a bad fall and Adam coming down with pneumonia. Adam tried protesting the situation exactly once, the lies especially. It was the first time his father had ever shouted at him. It had been a shock, to say the least. He’d looked to his mother for help across the dinner table, and she’d just stared back as the man beside her bellowed. He’d hidden in his room for hours, after that, doing his best to ignore the man’s awkward, stumbling apologies through the door. When the man came in and tried to hug him, he’d fought. He didn’t want to forgive.
Unlike at Boans, however, he couldn’t escape his father’s arms.
Ernest Sinclair felt his son’s struggles, and clung to him tighter still. There were tears in his eyes.
Adam was crying, too. His sun was gone, and that strange strength with it.
Not that that was the end of his parents’ fears. It seemed unlikely the DDHA would accept that their son’s superpowers cleared up overnight. The Sinclairs spent most of their holiday in their lounge room, one eye on the television and the other on the road out front, with the volume knob on the radio set just low enough that they would hear sirens three streets away.
Eventually, though, the holidays came to an end, and soon Mr and Mrs Sinclair ran out of plausible excuses for not sending Adam back to school.
He just barely managed to convince his mother to let him walk the two blocks over to North Kalgoorlie Primary. She still fussed over him all the way to the front door, though.
“You brushed your teeth, right?”
Adam made a face. “Yes1, Mum.”
“Packed your cricket gear?”
“And have you got your pencils so they won’t rattle around the bag and get marks all over your new—”
“I’m fine, Mum!” her son whined, exasperated. “Just let me go, I’m gonna be late!” It was the first time he had ever complained of such a thing.
Jenny Sinclair relented. “Alright, alright. But you better not dawdle after all that fuss.”
Before her Adam could step out into the high summer morning, his mum put a hand on his shoulder. He was turning to complain when he saw the renewed fear in her eyes.
“I know you might be sad how things have turned out, Adam. I think I would have been to, if that had happened to me. But it really isn’t like how it goes in the cartoons.”
Adam was going to argue, to tell his mum she just didn’t know what it felt like. To ask what would happen if people like the Coven came to Kalgoorlie.
But she kept looking at him like that.
“Yeah,” he said, hollowly. “I know.”
He came in April.
Adam was lying awake in bed, as he often did these days, listening to his parents’ hushed conversation seeping through the thin plaster walls.
“You still look at him odd,” he thought he heard his father say.
“And he still flinches when you speak too loud,” his mother replied. “There are some things we can’t help, love.”
“Do you think he understands? You know, what he did?”
“He’s nine. I think he knows he killed someone, I just don’t think he’s aware of it. You know?”
Adam could suddenly smell barbecue. He remembered Fey of Femurs’ eyes. Had she known she was going to die then?
“You wouldn’t call him a murderer, would you? I know it was hard for my mum to look at dad when he came home from the War…”
“… No. I’d call him a little boy who wanted to help his mum. Do you think he knew what that power would do when he used it?”
A space that might have been a sigh. “I don’t know, Jenny. There aren’t exactly books on this sort of thing.” Unhappy laughter. “Cholic, puberty, and superpowers. I’ll tell you what, though, I’ve never heard of them just going away.”
“Then it was a miracle,” he heard his mother whisper, her voice only barely audible through the wall. “It happened, and it went away, and as long as no one ever finds out about it, then he’s safe, okay?”
If his father agreed, Adam did not hear it. What he did hear was a shout. It took him a second to realize it wasn’t coming from the kitchen, but outside.
“Are the Michelsons going at it again?” he heard his father say, hushed tones forgotten.
The boy rolled over and tugged at the cord of his window blind.
A war elephant was treading slowly down the road, its flesh (so to speak) completely hidden under plate upon plate of intricately carved golden armour, its silver inlay flashing back the pale yellow light of the street lamps2. Armed, shimmering skeletons flowed past it like the sea around a rock. Adam thought they looked like they were running late to audition for Jason and the Argonauts.
At the head of the procession were two skeletons that would have been giants in life, carrying between them a banner of woven sunlight. In neat, Times New Roman, it bore the message:
PEOPLE OF KALGOORLIE, LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS, SURRENDER YOUR GOLD, AND YOU WILL NOT BE HARMED—AU
Despite this warning, some of Adam’s neighbours were in the street trying to fight the golden host—every man who lived even remotely near a gold-field imagined themselves defending home and family from AU at some point. Best case scenario, they drove off the strange, Oriental menace with their Australian grit. Worst case, they were knighted posthumously for their noble sacrifice.
What the men of Butterfly Street’s heroic fantasies didn’t account for was the horde’s indifference to their blows. It wasn’t that the golems were tough—they were made of gold, after all. But whenever a man managed to bend a clavicle or dent a skull, they sprung back into shape as readily as rubber. Their mortal strength could not overcome the beauty of AU’s weapons.
A few of the men had pushed and shoved their way to the centre of the mass and started hammering at the feet of the elephant, like puppies snapping at the heels of a St. Bernard, their wedding rings slipping off their fingers and melting into the behemoth’s side, tiny raindrops lost in the ocean.
Adam couldn’t help but giggle. Some villains, like the Coven, were cyclones. You lashed mattresses to your walls and boarded up the windows, praying all the while it would pass you over. Others, though, were great thunderstorms. You battened down the hatches, made yourself a hot drink, and listened to the world be a little more than it normally was.
When morning broke, Adam wasn’t sure which kind AU was.
The raid on Kalgoorlie left no casualties, bar a few broken bones and wounded egos.
And the local economy.
The gold-fields had been sucked dry of everything accessible from the surface without a year or more of new excavations, at least. Miners were laid off in droves, their newfound poverty trickling down to everyone in Kalgoorlie whose livelihoods depended on their comfort. The Sinclair Family Deli barely clung on. Their haberdasher aunt had to take an unwelcome early retirement.
And as Adam’s father kept reminding his son, they were the lucky ones.
Kalgoorlie never copped well with the Other. The mere presence of Indigenous was enough to stir up resentment in her white residents. But at least blackfellas bled when you shot them.
The paranoid hum the Flying Man had inspired two years earlier became a cacophony. DDHA posters multiplied around town like fungi. Beneath the usual graffitied calls to “castrate all niggers”, Adam kept seeing the post-scriptum “…castrating the demis is too good for them!3”
One morning, a girl from his class didn’t turn up to school. Nobody saw her again for over a month. When she returned, there was a dullness to her eyes. Neither Adam nor anyone else ever managed to get much information out of her, but the rumour in town was that someone had called the freak-finders on her after she made an unusually accurate guess as to the number of jellybeans in a jar.
Some claimed the DDHA received so many reports from Kalgoorlie, they stopped following up on any calls from the town. Maybe things might have turned out differently if they hadn’t.
One morning, when long after summer had succumbed to winter, Adam ran into the kitchen to find his mum and dad waiting around the honey oak table, scratched and scuffed by over a decade of domestics, each with a glass of something amber in front of them. Neither bid him good morning. His mother seemed to be trying to avoid looking at him
“Sit down, son,” his father ordered gently.
Adam obeyed. “Is something the matter?”
Mr. Sinclair nodded. “Do you know a boy named Peter James?”
Adam thought about it. “I think his little brother is in my class?”
Fingers rapping against wood. “Well, you might not be seeing him at school for a little while. Last night, there was—”
“Cut the shit, Ernest,” Jenny said, shocking both husband and son. “Last night, some of our neighbours got blind drunk at the York, decided the James boy was a demi4. They kicked down their door, dragged a fourteen year old out of his bed, and cracked his head open with a rock.” She drained her glass like they were sitting in the middle of a desert and got up from the table, stalking out the kitchen. Before she left, she turned back to Adam and said, “Never tell anyone.”
That day Adam learned how readily love and resentment flowed into each other. He also learned that the men judged to be the ringleaders of the mob got off with a reduced sentence. As the defense argued:
“Asking an ordinary man to behave rationally in the aftermath of demi-human attack is like expecting a fish to react calmly to the hook dropped into their world.”
Nobody saw the Jameses again in Kalgoorlie after that.
Sunday School after that, Adam got canned. The old nun who ran it out of the chilly backroom of St. Mary’s Church was regaling the young Catholics of Kalgoorlie with the story of Lazarus.
“And that, children,” she said in a voice scorched by nearly a hundred outback summers, “proves just how merciful God really is.”
Adam raised his hand. “Excuse me, Sister?”
“How was that merciful?”
Silence. Enough smartarses5 had passed through the class that everyone knew full well how these digressions played out.
Sister Scholastica6 smiled with tested patience. “Because Jesus was willing to preserve this one man from death, even though he had done nothing for him.”
“But he’s Jesus. He can do anything, right?”
The nun nodded.
“So it would have been dead easy for him to do.”
Sister Scholastica wasn’t sure whether it was more blasphemous to concede or object, so she took a third route. “The point of the story isn’t the ease of it, but the grace.”
“…Why did Jesus pick Lazarus?”
The Sister smiled wryly. “I think you’ll have to ask him that yourself, Adam.”
Laughter, though not from Adam. “Did nobody else deserve it more? Really, really nice people… little kids?”
Scholastica’s smile flattened. She silently prayed none of the other children chose that moment to—
The Carmichael girl piped up with, “Doggies?”
Shit. “It’s important to remember, children, that Christ will save us all from death, by giving us eternal life in Heaven. Lazarus was one way of showing us this.”
Adam was growing flushed. “So what, Jesus only went around doing miracles because he wanted to show off?”
The Sister scowled. Right. She’d given the serene teacher tact a try, now it was time to fall back on the bulwark of her vocation. “Do not blaspheme—”
Adam shouted over her. “Your lot are always telling us how great Jesus is and how he’s always looking out for everyone, but awful, bad things happen all the time, and you say it’s all part of the plan! But then sometimes he brings people back to life or cures their diseases or gives them food! Why do some people get saved and other people don’t? How does he choose?” Blood had rushed to the boy’s face by the end of his tirade, along with tears.
The nun gave him a canny look. “You sure you’re talkin’ about Jesus, son?”
Maybe Adam was imagining it, but afterwards he thought the whacks across his knuckles were a bit half-hearted.
God (or whoever) wasn’t the only one whose innaction Adam cursed. He was sure that if he had been there, he could have made the sun rise again in his hands. Been able to do something.
Like what, he kept asking himself, put holes in our neighbours?
He could do more than that, surely? He’d been strong, too, back in Boans, he knew that. But where had it all gone?
And so, Adam became the youngest scholar of his own kind, if his kind they even were. Not daring to ask any adult, he first fuelled his studies with the most abundant resource he had: old comic books.
They were harder to find than he expected—most had been confiscated by antsy parents after the Cuban Crisis, with many of the survivors outright burned in an enthusiastic demonstration of panic after the gold raid7. Every issue was hard won by favours, swapped lunch treats, I.O.Us, and all the other coin the grey market of childhood rests upon.
All completely useless. Even forgiving the expected air of falseness, the comics for the most part concerned themselves little with the lived experience of superhumans. What it felt like being one, where their powers came from, and, most importantly, what might snuff them out.
To be fair to the medium, the boy did come across a fair few stories where the hero lost their powers. By the 1960s, they were nearly the only stories you could tell about Superman unless you relied on his patient, boundless sadism towards his loved ones. But Adam couldn’t recall being bathed by any weird space rays, and he doubted the jewelry department of Boans was hard up enough to resort to using gold kryptonite in their wedding rings.
So, with a heavy heart, Adam Sinclair resorted to checking his local public library. This too proved not to be the easy route he had hoped for. Much to his surprise, there wasn’t enough publically circulated scholarship on superpowers to justify its own shelf. It would have been even more surprising if he had known there was even less of it than before the Flying Man’s world debut, not that he risked asking the staff about it. Superheroes especially occupied an odd place in the literature, their wartime contributions acknowledged, but in the same tone of grudging haste as the Soviets.
Adam wasn’t a naturally bookish boy—he seldomly read anything less than fifty percent illustration when left to his own devices—but now he forced himself to be. He scoured over anything that even tangentially mentioned supers. Patchy newspaper archives; stray sentences in history books; dusty travelogues and biographies in half-formed English detailing chance, dreamlike encounters on lonely roads.
Most science books, it turned out, felt the need to bring up supers at least once, if only to acknowledge their eternal exception to the laws of physics. Almost every treatise on any mythological figure you might care to name included a sidebar on theorized superhuman inspirations8.
What he soon learned to avoid was anything put out by the DDHA. Especially Introduction to Demi-Human Neurology:
‘It is the conclusion of the gathered evidence (Horatin et al, 1958; Reinhardt and Sumere, 1956; Puce, 1960) that demi-humans lack the same basic faculties of empathy and interpersonal awareness to pain that is possessed by their human counterparts. This is hypothesized to be the result of their neurological deviations rendering them incapable of developing to the same standard of experience as human beings, thus rendering them generally incapable of caring for their evolutionary kin.’
It was all couched in words Adam hardly understood, but he knew when he was being insulted.
His parents, unable to perceive the patterns in their son’s reading, were glad to see it. Adam, however, felt ripped off. He was getting smarter for nothing. He was about to give up and… he didn’t know, divine the flights of birds for omens (and at least be done with Greek fairy tales forever) when he found the book.
It was sandwiched between two volumes of a new mother’s handbook. The only reason Adam was even looking in that section was a rumour he heard about a furred baby born down in Albany. A thick hardback bound in maroon leather, faded gold leaf finches rested below the legend:
The New Child: An Inquiry Into the Race to Come
Dr. Herbert Lawrence, Ph.D
Adam glanced around himself like he had suddenly stumbled onto The Killers. The only other souls in the library was the librarian bustling about the shelves and a mother reading to her toddlers, but it was still far too crowded for the boy’s liking.
He risked a look at the book in his hands. He had subjected himself to enough pulps in his studies to recognize the buzzwords, but this didn’t look like a pulp. It looked like a textbook.
It had to be a mistake. Some librarian got lazy and didn’t look too hard at the cover. It definitely didn’t look like anything the DDHA would put out. Slipping it into his hessian library bag, he trotted up to the counter and rung the boy.
“What have we got today? A Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls, Tanglewood Tales, The Greek Myths9…” A smile. “Will you be leaving us any books, Mr. Sinclair?”
“I try, ma’am.”
Adam didn’t know if you could steal a library book, but he was going to try.
He read The New Child the way older boys read dirty magazines: snatched pages in the bushes behind school and beneath his bed covers in the dead of night, the beam of an awkwardly balanced torch flickering across age-blotched paper like candlelight.
Herbert Lawrence, at least from what Adam could glean from the book, was one of those old baseline adventurers that hovered around the edge of superhumanity, like Tim Valour or Doc Savage10. The main difference was that while those sorts tended to spring from the military, or the East India Company, or the unorthodox educational schemes of their widowed scientist father, this one began as a psychology student at Oxford.
Dr. Lawrence wasted little time on his biography—just a couple cursory pages bashfully explaining his boyhood as the only son of a prominent Perthite gentleman, shipped off to boarding school to inoculate him with proper Anglo-Saxon values from their very source:
Thetis11 tried to burn the mortality out of her son in the fire of the hearth. The mothers and fathers of my crowd meanwhile send their boys to Eton to scour the colonial out of them. As silly and insecure as that is, for me, it worked all too well.
By the end of the first chapter, Lawrence was a fresh-faced psychiatrist returning to his native Australia in search of superhumans, or posthumans as he was calling them by page fifty. It skipped over how exactly the good doctor had come to this fascination, but then Adam had no idea why anyone wouldn’t be interested in superhumans.
It was page twenty-one that that gave the boy all the reason he needed to keep reading:
For the sake of his privacy, I will only refer to my first student by the nickname he went by at the Institute: AU.
Adam had to put down the book for a moment. The bloke who wrote this knew AU, had taught and took care of him for years. More shocking still, AU had been a kid.
His parents told me their son was pulling the wedding rings off of passersby when he wasn’t a year old. Even with all I’ve learned—From John12, from Żywie, from all the posthumans I have ever known—I still can’t begin to guess the whys and hows of AU’s power. More things in Heaven and Earth and all that.
I can’t blame the boy for being willful at the start. Pulled from his home, dragged around the country by an old Englishman like a puppy on a tether; a life chopped up into hotel rooms and guest bedrooms. I can tell you, it took me some getting used to as well.
I can’t stress how glad I am we both pushed through it, though. I never had children of my own, nor a wife; not uncommon in academic circles, regretfully. So many men like me cut themselves off from the young, from women, from anyone remotely different from ourselves. It can have, I fear, a calcifying effect on the soul. Our personalities run the risk of becoming settled, fossilised.
That’s not to say that childishness was the only virtue in AU’s company. Even as a boy, he had a way of cutting to the point of things. Fond of a barb, for certain, but never I think entirely without kindness.
If AU ever reads this, I hope he understands I never meant for things to turn out the way they did.
Adam checked the book’s copyright: 1958. AU wouldn’t make his supervillainous debut for another six years. He felt vaguely cheated, not that the book didn’t offer other attractions:
I had never heard the word “superhero” when AU and I first encountered them. To my recollection, that term only started being bandied around in 1940 or so. Looking back, it feels strange it took so long for someone to come out and say it. For decades, we called men like the Crimson Comet “adventurers” or “masks” or even, God bless us, “mystery men”. Then two Jewish cartoon writers took the word from the tip of our tongues, and the dialogue became much less tortured, if very loaded.
It must have been 1936 when we first met Ralph Rivers13 I had been told of a Sydneysider super calling himself Jack Jupiter—doubtless derived from his fascination with lightning strikes.
From that trivia, you good readers might already have surmised that Jack was what many laymen in their ignorance call “mad scientists” those posthumans whose gifts manifest as impossible insight into scientific theory and praxis. Historically these remarkable individuals have enjoyed a great deal of scorn and ostracization from regular folk, even more so than other posthumans; likely for the same reasons the public has been wary regarding scientific advances. So often I have seen such miracle workers14 caricatured as manic, bitter souls, smothered in layer upon layer of malicious ego.
Sadly, poor Jack very much lived up to the stereotype. I had managed to arrange an interview with the man at his workshop in Padstow, and the next thing AU and I knew, we were trussed up in a drafty warehouse, listening to Jupiter threaten the Lord Mayor over the phone with the detonation of every wireless set in the city.
“Jupiter,” I tried imploring him after he slammed the receiver down, “This is a dire waste of your powers.”
Protests. He had no powers, he insisted, just a scientist. A sadly common delusion among his breed, I’m afraid, but a child playing at Einstein would have produced more coherent equations; and been able to explain why the great bronzed spider he had curled up in the centre of the warehouse specifically needed a bolt of lightning from the actual sky to come to life.
I kept trying to get through to Jupiter, despite AU’s continual imploring for me to keep my peace (perhaps the wiser course of action, I will admit) which only resulted in that addled soul raising the offspring of a trident and a tesla coil to my throat.
I was fairly certain I was facing death, then. Part of me thought there was a fittingness in dying at the hands of my life’s study. The much larger part was screaming.
That was when the wall exploded.
Photos, or even those ghastly comics they put out, can never capture the weird, lurid glory of the Crimson Comet. The ridiculous red of his costume, still bright even with the layer brick-dust and drywall. And those great, gold-cast wings, scalding the air with their glow. The man was where giant met archangel. But most amazing of all was his face. Mechanical men were closing in around him on all sides, their eyes aglow with their master’s spite, and it was as if he didn’t know what fear was. In fact, I could swear he was smiling.
You’ve no doubt seen the newsreels, or the pictures. I don’t need to tell you how he fared against Jupiter’s machines.
If Adam had one bone to pick with this Herbert Lawrence, it was his clear disinterest in action.
In this book, I will say many things about the superheroic tradition. You might come away with the impression that I consider it a… maladaptive institution, or even a waste of posthuman potential. And you’d be right. But that’s not to say that many superheroes aren’t fine men or women. And none more so than Ralph Rivers.
Over the years, we grew quite familiar with each other. Even before the Institute, where he was always welcome, his humble flat was similarly open to me and AU.
It was Ralph, over a few pints at his local, AU safely stashed with his sister at home, who first told me about what John Smith would later call “the Asteria presentation”:
He was nine years old, when he became a posthuman, he told me. Asthmatic and runtish, his classmates smelt weakness the way our kind’s young are wont to. One day, they had him against the wall, and then:
“There was a man.”
I cannot tell you how many times I would hear those words, good readers. He was a giant, Rivers said, with stars for eyes, whom the night sky followed half the day too early. He tried warning his menacers of the giant, but they laughed it off, a half-simple boy trying to make them turn around.
“I thought he was God. Still not sure he wasn’t.”
And when the giant looked at him, he was filled with what felt like the Holy Ghost.
“Except I don’t think the Holy Ghost would’ve let me break Pete Jenkins’ jaw with a slap.”
So he wasn’t alone, Adam realized. No less than the Crimson Comet had seen the giant, had been changed the same way he had.
“I’m not proud of it, Lawrence. I think, in the end, these powers are for us to help people. Killing—I’m not going to say it never needs doin’—that’s a job for guns and bombs. A mystery man, they shouldn’t have to resort to that.”
We sent this man to war. God help us.
Oh. So that was why. He had failed. Taken the easy way out. Killed when he could have done anything—literally anything—else. The man with the stars in his eyes had found him wanting.
Adam closed the book, hurled it back under his bed, and finally started trying to forget his sun.
Spring had revived well by the Saturday morning Jenny Sinclair roused her son early.
“Did church change days?” he asked blearily.
“No, no, nothing like that” his mum answered, an anxious smile playing across her lips, “we have guests. They’re here for you.”
That was all she would tell him till he was up and presentable, and pushed, still on autopilot, into the kitchen.
Around the table, a large, bearded man in a green suit and tie sat waiting, flanked on either side by a beautifully carved blonde woman with eyes like shards of ultramarine, and a young man whom adolescence seemed to cling to like cobweb. Next to his uneasy looking father, meanwhile, were two sullen children, their eyes unmistakably those of the woman’s.
Like the sea in summer.
It was like hearing a word he had only seen written. “…Dr. Lawrence?”
As the doctor’s eyes widened at the recognition, the younger man to his right leapt up from his chair, strode over to the young Sinclair, and shook his hand, all smiles.
“Tiresias! Pleased to meet ya, Adam.”
1. But not well.↩
2. Perhaps reflecting the theatricality that afflicts most of his kind, AU was prone to building specialized “showcase pieces” for each of his gold raids. The fact the Kalgoorlie Elephant included silver—an element AU was known to have no special power over—shows the trouble he was willing to go to. ↩
3. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most calls made to the DDHA from Kalgoorlie concerned Aboriginal persons.↩
4. Peter James’s status as a demi-human would later be confirmed via autopsy by Dr. John Smith, a medical advisor for the DDHA. “Yep, link present and accounted for. Would’ve been easier to tell if they had left me more of his brain.” ↩
5. Also known in one southwest church as “Kinseys”.↩
6. There were no known nun supervillains at the time. At the time. ↩
7. Which was strange, as most of the comics burned were at least ostensibly opposed to supervillainy. ↩
8. Despite the keen edge of Occam’s razor, suggesting a mythological hero or monster was simply a superhuman often earns one sideways looks in academia. As Dr. Bartholomew Finch, a prominent voice in superhuman studies put it, “When ya specialize in anything, whether you’re talkin’ medicine or history, you run the risk of putting everything a little interesting down to your own bugbear. Sometimes, sensory overload is caused by autism, not telepathy. And sometimes, our great, great-whatevers just had functioning imaginations… or they really pissed off Athena.”↩
9. By Robert Graves.↩
10. Adam was always a little foggy on whether Doc Savage was real or not. ↩
11. She was interrupted at the last second by her frighted husband, and explaining your actions and getting on with it had not yet been invented. Others say Thetis dunked the infant Achilles in the River Styx, bar the heel by which she dangled him. This is generally considered apocryphal, as even forgetting that Achilles’ nigh-invulnerability was an invention of the poet Statius, the anecdote implies the notion of turning the baby around was beyond the goddess. ↩
12. Lawrence was too polite to not use the Physician’s proffered name in anything meant for public consumption.↩
13. The identity of the Crimson Comet was quietly revealed to the public in 1951. Given that the hero mostly worked in construction in his civilian life, this was not met with much fanfare.↩
14. Lawrence would always regret never finding a “mad scientist” for the New Human Institute, but such powers tended to escape the notice of the DDHA.↩