Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer
Fanzing's Current


Current Topic:
The Vile Vial

Due Date:
May 31, 2001

Here's the challenge:

Read "The Vile Vial: Release" to get the full idea here.

All superheroes and supervillains have been gathered together at Belle Reve, where they were infected by a virus. The supervillains begin acting like superheroes, while the heroes are now acting like villains. Superman informs the world as to what's happened and provides lists of which heroes should now be guarded against and which villains should be considered "okay" for the time being.

A temporary Justice League forms, led by the Scarecrow, with the objective of tracking down and containing the former heroes. They are also charged with stopping the release of the vials by the other agents of Ra's. To make matters worse, the virus is mutating amongst the bodies of the aliens trapped in the Watchtower, and unforeseen results could occur.

The challenge is to tell the stories of the new encounters between the characters. I realize it's kind of confusing to understand how this virus works, since it's just a deus ex machina explanation for turning the heroes into villains and vice versa. Don't get TOO radical in its application to a character. For instance, the Scarecrow now becomes a man who uses fear toxins to fight for the common good…he DOESN'T become a hater of fear toxins.

Understand? Some characters will be more confusing. As a plant-woman who defends plants, I'm not really sure what Poison Ivy's ideals would be after the infection.

As for the heroes, they should be uniformly interested in themselves over society (instead of using their powers to help society). For some, this means robbing banks; for others, its using their powers over others. Don't have them commit murder and rape, though, although you can have them threaten such evils.

Most heroes (whatever their personal motivations) are engaged day-to-day in concern for the safety and well-being of others, going so far that they would risk their lives for others. Thus, the reversal involves the valuing of the safety and happiness of the self and a neglect of others.

Most villains are concerned for themselves over anything else. They want power and wealth and they don't care what happens to others. The reversal similarly reverses these concerns.

Of course, there are some interesting individual effects of this virus.

  • Two-Face is mostly the same, except that his scarred side is now his good side. Thus, Two-Face is more good than evil. (It's wrong to think he's evenly split; if that were true, he wouldn't be a criminal.)
  • Ventriloquist's dominant personality (Scarface) is now good, whereas his nebishy wimp side is evil.
  • Trickster is unaffected(!) as he was never too strongly one or the other.
  • Wonder Woman is strongly evil, since she was so good before. She now hates men for what they did to her people and hates women for not being like her fellow Amazons. But she's also not all that concerned about society; she cares more for her own happiness.
  • Black Manta is horrified at his past as a child killer and tries to make up for it by being as strong a defender of the oceans as Aquaman was.
  • Joker is still insane, but he seems to be working for the good.

I can't go over all of the possibilities, but there is a wild card: namely, everyone is affected differently by mental aberrations. Therefore, when dealing with the element of "What does this person care for?", don't go overboard. They will still like food and money and watching TV, and some people might rebel against the things they used to fight for and others might not. Whatever you want to do is okay. And if a different writer comes up with some other interpretation, we'll simply say that the effects of the virus are fluctuating.

Infected and quarantined:
Aliens (Superman, J'onn, G'nort…but Guy Gardner is switched)
Future men (Captain Comet, Hector Hammond)

Robots (Red Tornado, Metal Men)
Spectral characters (Spectre, Deadman, Gentleman Ghost)


  • Prose form please. Comic script style won't be rejected, but many people don't like reading them.
  • Do your own editing and spell-check, please.
  • Send your story in HTML if possible. (Fanzing does have a tutorial on HTML which many have found easy to use.) Otherwise, either Word format or Rich Text Format (.rtf) is fine.
  • As always, It Must Not Suck.
  • E-mail it to by May 31.
  • The winner will receive a $10 gift certificate for OR a Fanzing t-shirt.

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This piece is © 2001 by Michael Hutchison.
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