|You like that bench? Depends!|
|What: A bank robbery comes to naught as Shazam, Superman, and the mysterious hero known as the Tick|
Despite the heat, people are going about their business in Brooklyn. Billy Batson is hanging out on the steps of a building and flipping through his phone. All in all, it could pass for a normal day.
Or it could up until a bank some eight blocks down the way detonates from the inside out. It seems a gang of heavily armored goons is pulling a heist in town. Panic begins to take over as people dodge for cover.
Billy frowns as he sees the people running for their lives.
"And here I thought today was going to be slow." he mutters, before looking for an alleyway clear of anyone just around the corner from where he was sitting. Luckily for him, it's clear, and covered by shadows from the buildings on either side. He darts in, makes sure nobody is watching from either end of the alley, and then focuses. He wants to do good. He wants to stop the robbery....
"SHAZAM!" he calls, and a massive bolt of lightning strikes him from on high, leaving the six foot five, muscular form of Shazam where Billy Batson once stood. He lifts off into the air, heading for the bank. He just hopes he's in time. And that there might be more experienced heroes to help out. He's only recently gained his powers after all, and not the best fighter yet....
"Mr. Councilman," asks one of the reporters with long brown hair and bright red lipstick. "Sir, you haven't answered the question. /Is/ the child, the one referred to in the Daily Bugle, is baby Thomas your child?"
Councilman Adams straightens the microphone in a move that's more a fiddle than anything else, "Miss Harkes, that's an extremely difficult question. I. . ." The councilman leans over to the lawyer on his left and whispers something.
Clark Kent meanwhile is looking distant. His teeth pinches his bottom lip as he moves away from the press conference quickly but calmly and heads into the men's bathroom.
The Tick stands one the side of a building, a bit of rubble at his feet from the bricks he knocked loose when he landed on the roof moments ago. Gargoyle-ry citywide has already begun to suffer as a result of the Tick's arrival on the scene. Not that he noticed, mind you. Before the explosion, Tick was engaged in one of the most important tasks any superhero can ever do: go through his pockets to see if he has enough money to buy a soda from the YUM YUM COLA machine, "Let's see here...ball of twine, no...a ladies' hairpin?!? How in the world...mmmmmm, bubblegum!...I think this is a doggy treat *chomp* *nosh nosh* Yup, yup, definitely a doggy treat *urp*...Ah, two quarters! At last, sweet silver, your beveled edges promise me...wait, does that say SEVENTY FIVE cents?!? SON OF A--"
"EGADS! That sounded...explosiony! It's the kind of sound that's made when a large bank is detonated bya team of no good robbers out to do no-goodery, usually under the cover of shadows from other buildings, with no thought of the superheroic intervention that might result! That, or it was a gas leak! EITHER WAY! That explosion is the siren call of Justice, and, lemme tell ya, buddy, Justice has this mama jama on speed dial! NO TIME FOR COLA NOW! I CAN ONLY BE QUENCHED BY JUSTICE! SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON! he cries, leaping into the air with all the aerodynamic flair of a large and very blue ball of dough.
Inside the bank, our heavily armored goons are smashing their way into teh vaults, and grabbing everything they can in large capacity dufflebags. Their tech seems ridiculously high grade though. Either these guys are working for someone who has access to high tech, or they made it themselves.
"C'mon, c'mon already! Who knows when the damn superheroes in this town are gonna get here!" one says.
"Calm down." Says another. This one seeming to be the leader and wearing a custom armor job. "We drilled for this. Just grab whatever you can and go. We'll be gone before any hero even knows what's going on here happened."
"Wanna bet on that?" Shazam asks as he flies into the bank, dropping the hood from his face as his cape swirls about his feet when he lands. "I don't know who you are, but I do know you don't belong here."
"Who the hell is that?" One of the other armored robbers asks.
"No idea. But one cape is as good as another." the leader says. "Take him down!"
And with that, they begin opening fire on Shazam, who begins dodging at superhuman speed, trying to get people to cover before he can counterattack. He's got no intention of letting anyone get hurt on his watch if he can help it.
There's a longview of the robbers and their exposed weaponry as it fires on Shazam and puts the citizens in harm's way. There's a slight movement from the shadow of the hallway and Superman appears in a whoosh of air. Analyzing the situation he moves quickly.
His eyes begin to glow bright red just before a pair of superheated beams of energy erupt from the top half of his face, aimed at the goons weapons. His goal is to melt them straight away.
The Tick finally does arrive on the scene, planting his feet firmly as he lands. The fire hydrant that he demolished in the process lessens the dramatic effects, blowing a massive geyser of water up in between his legs. Never one to let the vagaries of reality impede on a good arrival, The Tick declares, "AH HA! *GURGLE* I KNEW *SPUTTER* THAT THERE WAS *COUGH COUGH*," the Tick finally pull shimself from teh stream of water, "Great Lakes, but the fiends seem to hae left some sort of...water bomb! The overprepared fiends! That's not what the Boy Scout Motto was meant to teach you, kids!" he cries at a few kids being quickly pulled away by their mother, "STAY IN SCHOOL! Now, let's see...Ah ha! The Bank! Justice waits for no man, and the TIck isn't a man...he's...well, I'm sort of a man, but I'm also an insect, but I'm not really a...we're getting bogged down here! WHICH WAS PART OF YOUR WICKED PLAN, I KNOW! Confusion begone, I hear the pitter pat of little machine guns calling for my attention! Have at you, knaves!" he says, throwing himself forward and calmly plowing through one of the remaining brick walls, leaving a large Tick-shaped hole in it as he emerges, covered in dust and, once again, sputtering, but conveniently right behind the goons so that they release the superheated weapons and back into the Tick. One turns slowly at him, and the Tick calmly spits a shard of brick into his forehead, knocking him out, "Taste the backwash of my righteousness, punk!"
Shazam has managed to get the people clear and is dartign back in to retaliate, since he's capable of sustaining those hits. By sheer luck, he spots an almost universally recognizable red and blue color scheme and smiles, nodding to Superman as the Last Son of Krypton's heat vision begins melting away some of the goons weapons.
"Oh crap! It's Superman!" the panicking goon says. Right as he backs up and turns to find himself facing the Tick.
"What in the hell....?"
- THUD!* And then he goes down from the brick spat at him. Well, not completely down. But the unexpected attack did send him to the ground from the force of the brick.
"Great. Last thing we needed was Big Blue on the scene." The leader mutters as he spots Superman. He changtes from a gun to a high powered black light laser and opens fire on Superman as another goon changes over to missles to fire on the Tick as his own machine gun went down.
"Anyone have a clue who these guys are?" Shazam asks of his fellow heroes as another goon takes a swing at him, trying to go hand to hand. Though Shazam's not a great fighter yet, he's decent enough to meet the blow with a block and punches the armored thief. Not too hard. Both because he doesn't want to splatter the guy inside the suit and also because he doesn't know how much punishment the suit can take yet.
Superman shakes his head at Shazam. "No clue," he responds as he begins walking towards he who'd hit him with the laser. Two new heroes to Metropolis, he thinks to himself as he strides towards the robber. More show up each day. Some good, some not so good. Some great. Superman is interested to see what sort of chops these two have.
When he's fired upon, the Man of Steel lifts up his hand towards the laser blast, trying to block it from hitting his face.
The Tick cries out, "THey're miscreants! Brigands! Highwaymen! Thievey type persons! That's all we need to know, Lightning Chest! And you, Super..." Tick pauses, in the middle of being about to punch at the nearest robber, "HOLY STARS AND GARTERS, It's Superman! I can't believe it!" He grabs a robber by the throat, pulling him up to go forehead to forehead with him, screaing in his face, "CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!? SUPERMAN'S HERE! Those scumbags won't know what...oh...You scumbags are in trouble now, Mr. Naughty Pants!" he says, casually tossing the robber back over his head as he wades in.
Does Tick get shot? BOY HOWDY, does he get shot? Bullets pelt away at his back, flattening into little coiny pellets that fall down behind him, making his shoulders wriggle, "Woooooooooooo, I'm startin' to get the willies! Hey, wait...are you shooting me?!? Stop that!" he says, turning around just in time to take a laser into the face, rocking his head back and leaving him covered with what appear to be singe marks running up and down the length of his jaw, "Ow. Double ow. HEY! You could've put my eye out with that! Or given me corrective eye surgery! EITHER WAY, I didn't sign a consent form for that! So, Dr. Laserpuss, you're about to have to read the teensy letters on the bottom line. Let me spoil it for you: they spell JUSTICE!" he cries, leaning in and throwing another swing at a robber.
"The name's Shazam." says Shazam, as a rocket launches into his chest from teh guy he was just duking it out with, who seems to be of the belief that getting into a fistfight with the World's Mightiest Mortal isn't a good idea.
The leader of the thieves sees Superman trying to avoid his eyes being hit by the attack, and changes tack, throwing a black light flashbang at him, hoping it will disorient him. Or at least give him time to escape.
"Fall back, fall back!" he calls. "Everyone who can, grab what you can and get back to base!" That said, he turns and jets off into the air, trying to put distinace between himself and the three seemingly invincible heroes.
By a chance of luck, two thugs get slammed together as Shazam punches the guy he was fighting and sends him flying into one of the thieves being thrown around by the Tick.
"We got a runner. I'm on him!" Shazam calls back to his fellow heroes, launching into the air to give chase.
Meanwhile, the remaining thieves are in something of a blind panic, trying to get what they can and get out while trying to hold off Superman and teh Tick with suppressive fire. ....Which is likely to be about as useful as spitting into the wind in the long run.
Superman brings a hand in front of his face as the flashbang goes off. His eyes close suddenly and his face scrunches a bit, as the blast momentarily disrupts his vision. The trick won't work for very long, but the distraction gives the robber some much needed time.
The Tick finds his face pelted with bullets which, for him, is rather like having gravel thrown in your face by a dirt bike, especially when it's being ridden by that dirty punk, Luke Parker, who revs it up intentionally just to make sure he gets you right in the face, as if it wasn't bad enough that he stole your girlfriend and made you look like a putz at the dance when he put that sign on your back. NOT THAT TICK KNOWS WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE. He does, however, find it very irritating. "That is enough! I am finding your...repeated shooting of me...very...annoying! That's it! What is it that big rocky guy in the blue underwear always says? Oh, right! It's SLOBBERING TIME!" he cries.
Tick snatches up the padded bench that elderly people use to wait for that damn banker to tell them why they can't access their deposit box right away, the smell of filled Depends and Grandpa's Old Spice clinging to the slimy leather as he gives it a nice, long swing. That swing, baseball style and with a bit of snap to it, is largely meant to hit two or three or maybe four robbers all at once,perhaps to knock them all the way into next week, next month or, barring any conflicts, into the nearest federally recognized non-religious holiday of their choosing. "That's it, you're going over the fence! I'M PINCH HITTING YOU STRAIGHT TO JAIL! JUSTICE DOESN'T USE WALK ON BALLS!"
Several of the thieves go down as Tick's strength combined with the very disturbing small of that bench is enough to knock them out. A few manage to launch into the air themselves. Meanwhile, Shazam is pursuing the group's leader, who is firing in a pattern to keep the young hero at bay.
"I worked too hard on this! Months of planning, weeks of casing the target, hacking into the records for security systems..." he rants. "The plan was PERFECT!"
"Yeah, well no plan survives first contact with the enemy." Shazam quips. A rocket is laucnhed at him as he gets close, which allows the leader a few seconds to kick on the afterburners and put some distance between them.
"Oh no you don't!" Shazam says with a smirk and he increases his own speed, moving up behind the thief to shred teh rockets with his hands and then catch him before he starts falling.
Superman wipes a hand over his eyes as they once again become accustom to the lighting in the room. There's a slight grimace, and a blink of the baby blues, but soon enough he's back at it and eager to help finish the fight that seems to have clearly turned in the heroes direction.
As villains scatter, Superman straightens. He leans back just a bit and sucks in as much air as possible before letting it out in a quick, accelerated manner, creating a gale wind force in hopes of knocking some of the runners down. "We got a handle on them all?" he asks the other two, makeshift allies.
Many banks use a series of railed, barred shields to separate their tellers from the filthy general public, partially for safety during a potential robbery, but largely just to remind the people coming to take out twenty dollars that they are dirty, dirty outsiders who don't belong there and should just leave their money where it is, accruing interest. The Tick has found a new use for these barriers, as he begins to tear them off and build a makeshift jail cell around several unconscious robbers, driving the metal pylons down into the concrete floor. Sure, he had to rip them off the previously unharmed teller line first, causing ten to forty thousand dollars in damage along the way, but HO HUM, nobody said Justice was cheap, bucko!
"There we go!" Tick cries, having managed to build a makeshift prison around five already unconscious people, completely ignoring the two or three that would have managed to escape entirely while he was doing it (if not for Superman and, in one case, Old Leon, the eighty-two year old security guard. You might remember him from the smell of that bench!). Sure, Leon stopped the guy by virtue of laying in the guy's pathway and getting tripped over, but it's still going to count as a citizen's arrest! Superman's wind got the rest of them (as it usually does, especially when he's been hitting the chili dogs...or maybe that's just what Jimmy Olsen says?!? WHO KNOWS?). "Handled, stuffed, boxed and ready for take out, Superman! Let's make it a value meal...of JUSTICE!"
Shazam lands as the runners go down from the high force winds and the efforts of the Tick. He nods.
"Looks like it. Still no idea who they are, but this seems to be all of them." Then he blinks at The tick. The guy's a hero, sure. But he also seems...a bit weird. He drops teh leader of the group in a pile on the ground, as his armor has powered down from the damage done to t he rockets. Shazam moves to offer Superman a hand to shake. "Thanks for the help you two. I'm not sure I could have handled them all on my own. Between the three of us, it looks like none of them actually escaped. I'm Shazam, by the way."
Superman's face folds into a grimace as the Tick sheers off the better part of the teller booths and uses them, creatively, as a tool for apprehension. He gives a pained look to Shazam, then back to the Tick.
Once things are looking like they're coming to an end, Superman nods in response to Shazam and takes the hand. "Shazam, it's a pleasure. People call me Superman." He looks over to the Tick, offering the hand that just shook Shazam's. "And what about you?"
The Tick stands with his hands on his hips in heroic-pose style for a long moment, as if awaiting for the clamoring reporters to capture him in the moment with the wonder of flash photography, his smile wide and beaming and kind of eerie and a little vacant and...oh, okay, there, he finally blinked. PHEW! At least, satisfied that any souvenir pictures of him and the super ingenious little jail thingy he made, he finally responds to the other heroes.
Tick is only a little hurt that he's not immediately recognized. Isn't he, after all, the great hero who brought down the Man-Eating Cow?! Didn't he, just last month, bring an end to the reign of terror caused by the Man Who Looks Like Joseph Stalin? Didn't he keep Chairface Chippendale from carving his entire name into the moon, sticking with only a big C? Isn't it possible that most of these things only happened in his mind and Superman and Shazam would have no idea what he was talking about?
"It's a pleasure to meet you! I'm...THE TICK!" Thumbs up. Pull back. Wait for waving American Flag to be photoshopped into background. "I'm glad I wasn't the only one who heard that siren going off. Last week, I showed up to stop a bank robbery and it turned out to be some guy with bagpipes. Oh, that reminds me," He pulls a notebook out of his pockets...HEY, he found a notebook, "Must...remember...to...find out...what...new bagpipes...cost."
Shazam chuckles, knowing that Superman's look in regards to the Tick is one that he'd probably have himself if it weren't for the fact that he's not entirely sure what to MAKE of the guy. Then the bug wonder begins speaking again.
.oO(Do I even WANNA know?) Shazam thinks to himself as the Tick begins to ramble on, giving Superman a confused look, hoping he can make sense of what he's going on about.
Superman lets out a soft chuckle and smiles at the Tick, "Well, I'm pleased to meet you, Tick. I'm also glad you two were here. And thanks to each of you for your heroism today. I'm sure these bystanders really appreciate it. They owe you their lives, potentially." Superman doesn't mention the insurance folks, who will likely be cursing Tick's name. Nope. Leaves them right out. "How long have you both been doing this sort of thing? Usually I'm very up to date on these matters, but I can't recall meeting either of you."
"Well, I'm kind of new at this, honestly. Only been at it a few weeks. Maybe a month or so tops." Shazam says with a sheepish smile. "I didn't ever expect to wind up getting super powers or anything, so when I did...well, I figured I should use'em to help others."
The Tick grins, clapping a hand on Shazam's shoulder firmly, sending up a big waft of brick dust which is still clinging to pretty much every part of the Tick. Probably not good to soak yourself in water before going through a wall. "I can't speak for Shazam here, although I'm betting he's a rookie from that faraway gleam in his eyes, from the way his rosy cheeks glow with the picturesque, dreamy profile, because if this guy had been around for a while, he'd have been on some magazine covers already, AM I RIGHT?" he declares, turning around to find no one in particular is listening to him other than the two heroes.
"As for me...my story is deeply personal. A long time ago, my parents looked at me and they said...well, I'm not sure what they said, because I never met them and I was way too young, but involved sending me on a journey. Maybe it was in a rocketship. Maybe it was on a boat, down a river. Maybe it was through a sewer or some sort of industrial heating duct. All I know is that, at the end of that long, long journey, I came out, the doctor slapped me on the butt, and the world said, "Here comes JUSTICE!". I'VE ALWAYS BEEN IN THIS FIGHT, SUPERMAN! But, if you mean, since I left the hospital, I guess, like, maybe a month or two? I admit, I don't have a calendar. My landlord does, but it's got NAUGHTY LADIES on it, and I only check it to find out when the Fourth of July is!"
To this, Shazam can only respond to a blank stare. A completely blank, uncomprehanding, thousand mile stare.
.oO(How does this guy FUNCTION?) he thinks to himself. He's not sure where the Tick came from, and while he's glad he's on the right side....there's just no denying it.
This guy may be crazier than the Joker.
Superman nods at the Tick but has trouble coming up with the proper words. He's been around the block quite a few times and is known for his grace in social situations, even in the worst sorts of encounters with villains, aliens, and politicians.
But it seems that The Tick sort of takes the cake.
"I see. Tick. Well, we were glad you were in this fight today with us," he says about as awkwardly as Superman can get.
"Yeah but I'll be the bad guys weren't." Shazam jokes. Trying to make things far less odd than they feel right now.
The Tick beams broadly, "We really did make a great team, huh? Almost a League. A League of Justice. Y'know, if they ever formed something like that, I'd really have to think about joining. It would be tough. I'm a lone wolf, by nature, if a wolf were an arachnid and that arachnid had somehow become a massive blue superhero dedicated to fighting crime...I'd be that kind of lone wolf. But even lone wolves sometimes join packs. A pack of lone wolves, lone-wolfing together. SOMEDAY! In the meantime, we'll have to make due with these completely incidental run-into-each-others...for Justice! Although, if you guys wanna go around the corner, there's a diner there that makes a really mean Monte Cristo...MY TRE..." checks his pockets, "Er...I mean...Maybe the bank's got something good in the employee lounge? I'M CRAVING A COFFEE CAKE, what say you, Shazam?"
Annnnd cue the blank thousand mile stare again for a few moments. Yep. He's weird. Noooo doubt about it. He shakes it off as he's asked a question. "Not really, Tick. I ate about fifteen minutes before this all started." Which is actually true, thank God. He has no idea what the Tick would be like at a meal. One thing's for sure, though. Whoever he has meals with, they must have some...interesting...if incoherent....conversations.....
As the Tick discusses the League, Superman shoots Shazam a glance and can't help but chuckle. "Well, I'd love to have some grub, Tick, but I just ate and I have to get back to my day job." Superman makes an eek face as Shazam has much the same excuse. "But if you ever need my assistance again, don't hesitate, gentlemen."
"No problem, Superman. It was an honor meeting you." Shazam says with a grin as he lifts off. "Hope to see you around." he says, and flies off.
The Tick says, "I never hesitate, Superman! Hesitation is for atomic bombs and horseshoes!" he blinks. Something about that analogy didn't sound right. OH WELL. "And the same goes for you...if trouble calls...if danger strikes...you need only wait a moment and when you hear my battle cry...SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!" he yells at full volume, likely deafening anyone within a few feet, "You'll know that blue-firsted justice is near!""
"Right," Superman says as he chuckles at the Tick before lifting off. "Take care of yourself," Superman says as his final remark before floating out of the bank and up into the sky.