"Weird Adventures": In Slaughter Swamp, Tom Dalt, the legacy villain known as Alias the Spider, has been recruited by a shadowy group. He thinks he knows what's happening, but as the journey goes on, his ideas of time, space and reality become fungible. In the end, the seven people he is meeting
- How do you know you're a super-hero and not a crazy fetish person with a death wish? Is it when the dream becomes real?
Appearing in "Weird Adventures"
Synopsis for "Weird Adventures"
In Slaughter Swamp, Tom Dalt, the legacy villain known as Alias the Spider, has been recruited by a shadowy group. He thinks he knows what's happening, but as the journey goes on, his ideas of time, space and reality become fungible. In the end, the seven people he is meeting convince him to wash away his identity, promising him "cool new clothes"
Shelly Gaynor was a columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper, run down by the mundane nature of her life. A quest to train her body turned into a best-selling book, and alerted her to a family history of heroics. So, she became the Whip, the leather-clad adventuress of New York, and supported herself by writing about her adventures for her newspaper.
But now, she thinks she needs to take it further. Her adventures seem stale, and she wants to battle mad gods on alien moons. When 1940s adventurer the Vigilante posts an online ad recruiting a super hero team, she immediately makes contact and goes to meet him.
She is not initially impressed. The "Seven Soldiers of Victory" are short a member, and the nature of what Vigilante calls the 'super-cowboy lifestyle' attracts some singular people: Dyno-Mite Dan, who seems to be living in an idealised past; the television-obsessed Boy Blue, Gimmix, a venom-tongued woman with little heroism to her name... and the rockabilly archer known as I, Spyder. Shelly instantly dislikes the man, but ends up sleeping with him.
The next morning, the Vigilante makes them breakfast and explains that there is a local legend of 'the hunting ground of the gods', a butte in the desert that only exists sometimes. He encountered it in the 1940s, and then again on a time-travel adventure in the 1870s. Both times he encountered a giant spider that killed people and then escaped. He wants his final act of heroism to be the death of the giant spider. Over his long life, he has acquired advanced technology to aid him, and tonight, the six of them will finish the job.
On the job that night, Dyno-Mite Dan rattles off a lot of ancillary numerology on the significance of the number 7, but the others tune this out. I, Spyder, in preparation for the job, arranged for a truck full of cattle to be passing by the place where the butte sometimes is, to act as bait.
Despite the differences, despite the arguments, despite being a man down, the heroes come together as a group and bring down the beast. Shelly ties its legs together, and the other members use every trick at their disposal to shoot it dead.
What they did not expect was for the spider to fall apart on death, revealing advanced machinery. As the group realises they were set up, I, Spyder spells it out: what else would the gods hunt, but super heroes?
The beings who emerge, the Sheeda, are led by Neh-Buh-Loh, the Huntsman. The slaughter is swift and bloody. There are no survivors.
In their secret home, the Sen Unknown Men who first hired Tom Dalt realise that they too are being set up. They leave their base just as Sheeda forces breach the doors, loudly proclaiming that nothing can stop the Harrowing!
- This book was first published on February 23, 2005.
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