Hi, guys! This is Nicky, from “So Super Dead” – y’know, the young-adult paranormal novel of Danielle’s, coming out in just one week, ohmygosh! (Although you can already pre-order the e-book here and here, if you wanna support an author early.) Anyway, I’m here because Danielle and I figured that maybe, before the book’s release, you’d like to get to know some more of the story’s power players.
So far, you’ve had a chance to chat with me, Brenna, and Thackeray Kyle, back in the three-part Q&A we did a little while ago (here, here, and here). Today, I’ll give you the stats on another important character group – Second Earth* superhero team Gravity Assist! – *(Second Earth, perhaps better known to you as ‘the moon’) – complete with individual portraits, courtesy of the Powerpuff Yourself character generator. (Since, hey, the Powerpuff Girls fall into the superhero category, and the generator came with a way lower cost of time and aggravation than Danielle drawing everybody herself.)
Y’ready? Then here come the heroes!
Civilian Name = Maxima “Max” Kent-Reagan
Superhero Name = Gravity Max
Age = 19
Power = Can increase her weight and correlating gravitational force/attraction. Is actually pretty forceful/attractive in general. (If Max wants it, you can bet it will come to her.) Also, some minor super strength.
Origin Story = Max’s powers manifested during a tantrum at the age of two, much to the consternation of her parents, now forced to maneuver a 300-pound toddler through the farmers market. Mercifully, she was quick to learn that there were better ways than screaming and falling down hard enough to produce extra moon craters to get what she wanted – e.g. persuasive speaking, politic favor-trading, throwing money around or, if all else failed, physically pulling it to her.
Raised in a philanthropic household, Max grew up seeking ways to use her manifold influence for the good of the less fortunate – and who, she figured, could be considered less fortunate than the superpowerless people of First Earth? Of course, her neighboring planet was one of the few things she couldn’t simply pull into her keeping. For the mission she had in mind, Max would need to go on location.
And she didn’t plan on going alone.
Civilian Name: Zoe Kent-Reagan
Superhero Name: Gravity Zero
Power: Can reduce her weight to nothing, along with any object (or living creature) carried on her person. Modes of travel include walking on air, floating, and flying. Was the most effortless Peter Pan ever to grace her elementary school stage.
Origin Story: Born weighing zero pounds, zero ounces, it wasn’t until age four that Zoe learned she could turn her power off and live on the ground without her twin sister helpfully holding her down. Even so, the sky is ever as likely a place to find Zoe as the library, the mall, or any of the odd jobs she takes around town to keep busy.
While many people compulsively contrast the Kent-Reagan twins with each other – dark and golden, butch and feminine, heavy and light – Zoe prefers to focus on what she and Max share in common: A drive to have the cake of their Bruce Wayne-level wealth, and eat bad guys for breakfast like Batman, too. Max’s initial suggestion was that the sisters fight for First Earth together, just the two of them. But Zoe argued that if a fight was indeed to be found, it couldn’t hurt to beef up the numbers on their side. (Less glory to go around, sure; but on the other hand, less danger of deadly defeat.) So she browsed her network for a glowing addition to their heroic collective.
And that’s just what she found.
Civilian Name: Bettrix “Trix” de Gallowen-Yang
Superhero Name: The Luminatrix
Power: Can absorb light into her body and beam it back out – slow ‘n’ steady glow (full-body or localized), brilliant burst, whichever. Can also turn my best friend into putty, but that’s all on him.
Origin Story: Unlike the founders/leaders of Gravity Assist, Trix never considered herself a particularly altruistic person. (Perhaps, being only half as insanely rich as the Kent-Reagans, she felt she had, at maximum, half as much to prove.) Her power manifested in reaction to a kindergarten classmate dumping purple paint on her head. Trix would go on in junior high to unlock the trick of making her hair look any color she wanted through photo-illusion. In other news, that other kid’s eyesight that’d been light-blasted to Kingdom Come did eventually return to normal.
The invitation from her sometime English tutor Zoe to join a super team was timely, a guidance counselor having just given notice that Trix needed to come up with some community service points over the summer if she wanted to graduate in time to snag a coveted fashion world internship. The idea of facing down a robotic crime boss or whatever did not greatly appeal, but getting tapped by a Kent-Reagan was no small thing. So sure, she’d put up with Robo-Crime Boss or Whoever.
…And other annoyances.
Civilian Name: Not only never mentioned in the book (because nobody important in his life ever calls him by it), but wow, I don’t know whether Danielle has any idea what his real name is. I mean, going back through her pre-drafting notes from NaNoWriMo 2012, it looks like she was thinking of calling him Gerry Ottovon. But that can’t be wholly right, because Second Earth surnames are traditionally hyphenated. Welp, that’s a puzzle she can try to work out for herself on her own time, if she wants. Or, hello, she could ask me. He’s my best friend. I obviously know his name.
Superhero Name: The Boomerang
Power: Timed teleportation. Can materialize in any location he can see for up to five seconds before returning to his starting point. Hair displays similar bounce-back properties if you sproing it. (Ask first; don’t be awful.)
Origin Story: Unlike the rest of Gravity Assist, who finalized their superhero names in the weeks leading up to their mission, he was already going by Boomerang when we met in first grade. Other kids didn’t always know what to make of me. Boomer instantly made me his friend. In perfect keeping with his power, I wouldn’t say he’s there for me 100% of the time, but it’s guaranteed that he always comes back.
Half the time he’s gone, it’s ‘cause he’s chasing after his crush. If Zoe was the first to know about Trix’s trip to First Earth, Boomer was probably the second. Begging a spot on the team from Max was easy; the response, if I rightly recall his retelling of the conversation, was, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a token boy in the mix.” It would in many ways be a big step up from playing superheroes on the playground, but saving the day is nothing new for Boom.
He’s done it for me on the regular.
Civilian Name: Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones
Superhero Name: Xtra-Medium
Power: If you haven’t yet, you can read about it here!
Origin Story: The short story I linked to above covers part of it. As for the rest, I guess you could say “So Super Dead” is as much my origin story as it is a ghost’s tale of revenge and an account of a Vampire Hunter’s deception. You guys should read it, for so super sure.
The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.
The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…
The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.