Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

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More comic stuff.

Ot her, younger heroes have different relationships with their secret identities. Here, I think the poles are best represented by two very different young men - different from the older heroes and from each other.

One is Wally West. Flash III. Nephew of the Silver Age Flash. Wally has no secret identity. Everyone knows who he is. He doesn't subordinate Wally to the Flash, nor has he carved out a separate career/identity for Wally. He has no other job - he gets supported by a foundation so he doesn't have to earn a living and, as he's been a superhero since he was a teenager, "Kid Flash", he really knows no other existence but a superhero. In that he's not alone - many of the other "Teen Titans" have had similar fates, those who had other options at all. And they also do not keep their identities secret - not Donna Troy/Troia, not Roy Harper/Arsenal. because that's really all they are. They never really had a chance, I think, to think of themselves as anything else. About the only one of the original Titans who does have a "secret identity" is Dick Grayson/Robin I/Nightwing, and that's more for Batman than anything else.

The other is Kyle Rayner. Kyle didn't grow up as a superhero, nor did he grow up wanting to be one. He read comics as a kid, he drew them later and he draws them now in his *real* job as an artist, but he became a hero because he was the right guy at the right time. He's not as obsessive as Batman or Clark Kent about his secret, but he doesn't let it be known who is he publicly. However, the two halves of his life are intertwined. His artistic abilities feed his superpower - the ring that works on his imagination and will. With that, he's perhaps more powerful than any other Green Lantern. He's also dating Jade, the daughter of the Golden Age Green Lantern and a superhero herself. And he socializes with the other living former Green Lanterns - and the shadow of the Silver Age one hangs over him as his power grows. Most superheroes grow up that way, or become one out of training and discipline. Green Lanterns are exceptions to that rule, and Kyle is an exception as a Green Lantern. He knows fear, and he's all alone - no Corp and no Guardians to help him out.

Yet, these two have much in common. For one, they are both twentysomethings - the youngest in the current Justice League. For another, they are successors, carrying the name and legacy of past heroes on their shoulders. For that reason, the older heroes routinely call them by their first names, not their "code names". Actually, so do their agemates. Even with their identities known, none of them think of calling Superman "Clark" or even "Kal" in the heat of battle. But Wally is Barry's nephew and Kyle seems to be the kid brother.

In between these two is Connor Hawke, who is both a legacy and a successor. Like the other archers, he doesn't have meta abilities. He's just highly skilled and highly trained, the same as his father and (possible) half-sister. So he's been planning to be a hero and, as his father's son, he's a good one to wear the mantle, especially as his adoptive brother has chosen to go his own way. However, Connor never knew his father and he became a hero for real as a young adult.
Snippet II

Kyle stretched his back. "There is nothing happening today. Why are we even here?" He leaned back to watch the monitors again. "I just might fall asleep out of sheer boredom." Wally, who had been checking the other monitors at top speed, turned into a red blue. A moment later, he handed Kyle a hot cup of coffee.

"Sorry, dude. The Watchtower espresso machine takes too much time." He leaned back in his own chair, pushed back his cowl and began to sip his own coffee.

"Thanks, Wall. Good idea about the masks." Kyle let his mask dissolve. "Ain't nobody here but us superheroes. Us *bored* superheroes." He took a drink. "But the coffee's good."

"You know. I could be back on Earth with my wife who misses me and who sometimes forgets what I look like and who is going to school with cute and smart future doctors. All I got is cute."

Kyle grinned. "At least you got the wife. Jen turned down *my* proposal. Also, um." He took another sip of coffee. "She's not waiting for me. She's taking a breather. She said she needed some space."

"Ouch, man. I'm sorry. You and Jade were tight. You even got her back in the Green Lantern biz."

"It's not that bad." Kyle shrugged. It wasn't bad at all. When Jen made her announcement two days ago, it had hurt for all of a few minutes, and then he realized she was right. They made love once more and then she took off. Maybe she'd be back and they'd be better than before, maybe she wouldn't. Either way, they were friends. "I'm cool."

"Okay. But if you need someone to talk to...before I met Linda, I was the king of dump."

"Hah, fat chance. See, I like smart chicks. The problem with smart chicks is that they do eventually figure out that they're smarter than I am and go bye-bye."

"Yeah. I'm still waiting for Linda to figure that one out." They laughed. "Why won't something happen? I could be back in Keystone. There's stuff happening in Keystone."

"We should be grateful for boredom. It should be our greatest desire." Both young men looked up at the harsh, raspy voice.

How did he manage to find shadows in the Watchtower monitor room? Did he just manufacture them himself? Because he was standing in the shadows, with only his white lenses glowing at them.

"S...sorry, Batman." Wally swallowed audibly. Kyle couldn't say anything. Those lenses were looking at him. He could feel it. Why was the Batman looking at him, and why did he feel like his spandex was invisible?

Then he was gone, taking his shadows with him.

"Eek!" Kyle mimed wiping sweat off his forehead. "How does he do it?"

"You mean, how does Mr. No Powers make even Supes shake in his boots? I wish I knew." Wally's laugh was nervous.

Kyle wasn't nervous. Kyle wasn't sure what he was right now. "If I didn't know he was Bruce Wayne, I'd say just needed to get laid or something."

"What does being Bruce Wayne have to do with anything?" Wally tossed off his coffee and began to pace. Next to Wally, Kyle actually had an attention span.

"Oh, come on, Wally. I don't exactly follow the Gotham society pages, but he's a single, handsome billionaire who dates a different girl every night."

"Dude. Think. Just *think*. Whatever Bruce Wayne does, the Bat is prowling the rooftops by midnight. That doesn't leave much time for the ladies. Besides, you really think Bats is going to let himself go that much?"

"Oh. Good point." Kyle saw something odd over in Quaraci, but it turned out to be a minor fire that they managed to control all by themselves. Wally started to chuckle.

"You know. Sometimes I wonder if he *ever* has."

"Oh, God. You mean...Bats is a ... a ... hey. What about Catwoman?"

"I asked Nightwing once. He said it's all been looks and nothing else."

"Nightwing. Hmm." Kyle grinned. "You think those rumors were true?"

"Nope. I know better." And why did Wally look so smug?

"How do you know? Did you ask Nightwing *that*?"

"Yep. And he said they weren't true. And I believe him."

"Why? It's not something a loyal former sidekick would talk about."

"I was in bed with said loyal former sidekick at the time." Once again, Kyle's mouth dropped wide open, while Wally took a turn around the walls just for fun. "I knew that would get you, GL. I knew it!"

"You and Nightwing?"

"When we were Teen Titans."

"Oh, God."

"Come on, Kyle. We were a bunch of kids and there were no adults around, and we were spending all our time together. Of course we experimented. What do you think? Or does the idea of two guys shock you?"

Kyle shook his head. "That part makes sense. And I did go on the road with Connor, remember?" Now, that was an adventure. It was Kyle's first time with a guy and Connor's first time ever. "We should start a bi superheroes group. Get that new Starman in. Connor'd be out, though."

"Can you imagine the public's reaction to an out gay or bi hero?"

"I don't want to think about it. You know. My assistant, the one for my job, is gay. He's just a kid, maybe sixteen. I found out when he developed a crush on me. I told him I was straight, and as I was all but living with Jen at the time, I think he believed me." Kyle shook his head. "I hated lying to him, but it killed the crush so I guess it was a good thing."

Wally shrugged and began running around the room and speed checking the monitors.


There was that rasping voice again, and those eerie white lenses peering out of the shadows.

"Yes?" Kyle made himself breathe.

To his surprise, Batman drew a deep and nervous sounding breath, then hesitated. "Um. Bruce Wayne would greatly enjoy Kyle Rayner's company for lunch tomorrow afternoon, if circumstances permit."

Wally slammed to a stop, nearly stumbling over a chair. Kyle swallowed a couple of times.

"W...what would...why?"

"Social reasons."

Kyle knew he'd get no more of an answer. He steeled himself. "Yes. Er. I would be honored to join...Mr. Wayne...for lunch. When and where?"

"1PM Gotham time. At Bruce Wayne's office. You'll meet there."

Kyle nodded. "Okay."

"Excellent." Batman faded into the darkness again.

"Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man!" Wally flung himself down.

"I know." Kyle stared at the monitor screen and saw nothing.

"Did Batman just ask you on a date?"

"Yeah. Too weird."

"Dude. You own a suit? One that's not green?"

"Yeah." He looked at his screen again.. "Masks on, Flash. We got trouble in Paris. Big snake attacking the Louvre. Call out the troops. And he'd better not mess my hair. I got a date with a billionaire."

Under the jokes and the adrenaline, Kyle felt alternately hot and cold.

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