I decided to post a sequel to The Hero, last seen here, but this time focusing on a different character. I had been thinking a bit about this universe and entertained a few ideas for flashes.
Here's one of them:
Count Corpse could not help but admire the man sitting across from him. So far, he had answered each of his questions expertly. As the thought crossed his mind, the man was going into an example of his latest accomplishment. His words were as well-selected and eloquent as a professor’s.
On top of that, he had the look. In a black suit and tie, his hands, wrapped in black leather gloves, were pressed against each other nonchalantly. Greying slicked back hair and a matching moustache stood in-between a black domino mask that rested comfortably on his nose.
It was classy and simple. Most hopefuls were too prone to garish and elaborate costumes or fanciful swimsuits. Younger generations in particular took pride in dyed hair, black coats, and scores of belts.
This man was different, a veteran through and through, and setting him against the Liberty Legion would be a treat.
There was one question left. He had to word this carefully; the scorch marks from the last interviewee still stained the wall behind him. “It’s no shame to say that you have an impressive resume, Mister Stanford.”
“Please, my good Count, I would prefer to be called by my...” he paused for effect; a good sign if ever there was one, “stage name, if you will.”
Running his dried tongue across his teeth, the lord of the living dead nodded, “But of course. Now, Venom, I’m going to be frank: The Bleak Consulate sees a great many applicants every month. Terrorists, serial killers, extortionists, racketeers, and many more come through here wishing to take advantage of our services.
“My question is this: why, of all the other qualified people coming through here today, do we need someone like you?”
Venom took this in. Folding his gloved hands over themselves, he craned his head back and sighed, thoughtfully. In seconds, he had an answer.
“People want villains.
“People feel they need villains in their lives to make sense of things. This desire goes above and beyond the desire for scapegoats. This is about putting a face to chaos. People flock to the idea of terror cells or global conspiracies, regardless of its tangibility, because it means the world to them, because it means they have someone to blame for when life goes awry.
“Here’s where I come in; I provide a public service, and the world knows it. My resume has already covered it, but my career in the U.K. showed this well. I had organized four crime syndicates into one, The Golders Gangers; I had amassed forty-five million pounds through a series of blackmails, protection rackets, insurance frauds, and prostitution rings; I had agents in the British parliament; and, on top of all that, succeeded in murdering three prominent members of Master Control.
“I have been arrested twice, and I have been released twice. Imagine that, if you can:” he requested, lifting a finger in the air, “A criminal legion nearly two-thousand strong, forty-five million pounds in stolen money, and more than a hundred people, including three superheroes, dead at my feet. Anyone else would be in prison for life, and here I am.”
He looked to the side. “People will always find something to blame for their miseries: acts of God, gangsters, the Illuminati, poor luck. Do you know what makes us so special?”
His eyes locked with those of the Count. “We take credit.”
Count Corpse’s lips cracked and curved into a sickly smile. Rising to his feet, he extended his decaying hand to the newcomer. “When can you start?”
In my head, the parts of Count Corpse and Venom were played by Paul Sorvino and Timothy Dalton, respectively.
...Oh dear god I'm planning the movie already. Send help.
See you next time,
EDIT: May 17, 2012. Edited to tighten it.