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Minister Faust

BOOK: Minister Faust
From the Notebooks of Doctor Brain
Minister Faust
Random House
Copyright Š 2007 by Minister Faust







Hey! You in the Cape! Why Are You Reading This Book?


Operation: Cooperation!

Facing the Ultimate Archenemy

Clash of the Icons

Iconoclastic Means “I Can!”


Limited Series

Up Is Down: The Path Inside Is Outside

Who Are You, Really? Secret Origins and Secret Shames

Unrequited Hate


Paranoia: It
Destroy Ya

The Battle of All Mothers, the Mother of All Battles

Self-Distraction Is Self-Destruction

Superheroes Need Superegos

Be a Phoenix, Not a Dodo











For my very own Mary-Jane Watson,
my beloved wife, Michelle



Why Are You Reading This Book?

ou can wrap a steel I beam around your neck with
your bare hands and wear it like a tie. You can swim so quickly that you can go back in time to offer Columbus correct directions to India. You can climb the outside of a building, regurgitate the ton of paper you’ve eaten, and weave a beautiful multilevel hive while not paying a cent in downtown rent.

But are you happy?

There was an innocent time not so long ago when most people assumed that the flamboyant adventurers whose stories emblazoned the front pages of our newspapers and whose exploits ricocheted across the six o’clock news must really have had it all: fame, good looks, public adulation, and seemingly godlike powers.

But as our society has matured, many of the greatest heroes of our time have come to the numbing epiphany that invincibility and immortality simply aren’t enough. The war of Götterdämmerung was finally concluded in victory, the worst ultra-menaces were locked inside the maximum-security force fields of Asteroid Zed, and the rest of the misguided offenders are being cared for by the finest psychiatric facilities for the atomically insane.

But while superlawbreakers are being profiled in movies of the week, fêted for their (sometimes literally) ghost-written autobiographies, and cared for to the price of millions of tax dollars, who will care for

Who will care for you, the brave men and women who put the menacing malefactors away? Who will care for you, the courageous crusaders who risked your headquarters, your magic bracelets and diadems, your proprietary technology, your connection with your subdimensional xeno-souls and even your lives? Who will care for you, who jeopardized every relationship you were forced to put on hold or which you allowed to wither while you were fighting to preserve our freedom?

Far too often, the sad answer has been
no one.

You men and women who kept our world safe from the likes of the Infinity Farmer and his Time Tractor, from X-Stacy and the Ravers, or from the technopurges of Robot-Stalin, have too often defined yourselves solely by the existence of your foes. But what are you supposed to do now that those foes are gone and the ungrateful world no longer applauds from the safety of its decorative balconies?

What are you supposed to do now that you’re trapped in a safe world of your own making, a world that offers you no challenge, no role, no identity, no external enemies?

Yes, the supervillains of old are gone. But there’s a new group of them around today. And they’re
No, not psychic like Sarah Bellum, Menton the Destroyer, or the Specially Relative Einstein Baboons.

Nor are the poisons of these villains green glowing crystals hidden inside lead strongboxes or poisonous prions murdering you one DNA helix at a time. Instead these poisons are locked inside your head and your heart, revealing themselves as depression, paranoia, rage, guilt, performance anxiety, psionic decay, dimension-shifting, impotence, imomnipotence, or any number of other impairments of the soul.

Perhaps now you’re forced to recognize that
is equal part curse to the blessing of your glory days.

But if you’ve been suffering due to HH, the time to suffer without help is no more.

Meet Your Mentor

y name is Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman, but to thousands of superpowered individuals like you I’m simply known as Doctor Brain. For twenty years at my Hyper-Potentiality Clinic in the refurbished Mount Palomax Observatory in sunny Los Ditkos, I’ve been helping the extraordinarily abled to adjust to a life beyond heroics, and to feel alive again even when there are no more neutron bombs to defuse inside the UN building and no more Treemasons to burn out of our forests, banks, and government offices.

The book you’re holding in your hands is the summation of two decades of advice I’ve dispensed as balm to heroes across North America at lectures, seminars, and clinical sessions.

But it’s more than that. It’s also the case study of the most spectacular group session of my career, whose destructive dysfunction culminated in the diabolical July 16 Attacks, which are even now reshaping our world.

When first contacted by the board of directors of the Fantastic Order of Justice to assist its six most contentious and confused members in conquering their intercommunal conflicts, I leapt at the opportunity to assist. Which heroes among Earth’s foremost fighting force for freedom, I wondered, were so bent on antagonizing one another and destroying themselves that their own leadership was threatening to terminate them unless they solved their problems in group therapy?

To my astonishment, my lineup was a list of legends

Omnipotent Man,
AKA Wally W. Watchtower, seventy-one-year-old refugee from the destroyed planet Argon, and Earth’s mightiest man,

Flying Squirrel,
AKA Festus Piltdown III, seventy-year-old billionaire industrialist and scourge of the criminal underworld,

Iron Lass,
AKA Hnossi Icegaard, the immortal Norse warrior-goddess and the planet’s leading martial strategist,

AKA André “P-Fly” Parker, twenty-six-year-old wall-crawling, wisecracking, bluebottled ladies’ man,

Power Grrrl,
AKA Syndi Tycho, the nineteen-year-old dynamic diva and pop music sensation, and

AKA Philip Kareem Edgerton, the thirty-four-year-old detective supreme and militant rabble-rouser from the ghettos of Los Ditkos.

While numbering only six, these individuals had afflictions galore: SID (Secret Identity Diffusion), narcissisism, Savior Complex, ODI-CFFB (Obsessive/Defensive Ideation and Compulsive Fight-or-Flight Behavior), Icon Trap, Mortiquaeroticism (death-seeking urges), and RNPN (Racialized Narcissistic Projection Neurosis), among others. Added into this miasma of mental maladies were group dysfunctions: Rudolphism and the Uranus Complex. And pervading all their disturbances, the leading malaise of our times among hyperhominids: MILD (Mission-Identity Loss Disturbance), also known as PPSD (Post-Power Stress Disorder).

My Mission…and Yours

y examining the three-week travail-to-triumph odyssey of the most extraordinary assembly of patients—or as I prefer to say, “sanity supplicants”—I have ever treated, you will put yourself on a trajectory out of the magma pits of mediocrity and into the metropolis of mental health.

Unmasked! When Being a Superhero Can’t Save You from Yourself
will give you back the ultravision you once had—but stronger, so that you can perceive not only threats like MicroCrip and his Nanogangstas, but also the ennui that destabilizes the superego ions of your self-respect.

Reading this book is the first step in rearming yourself with the ultrapower necessary to rescue the only innocent person you’ve so far failed to save:




Operation: Cooperation!

FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 1:43 P.M.

There’s No “I” in Team, but You Can’t Spell “Teamwork” Without “Me at Work”

mnipotent Man,” shouted Iron Lass, “help me knock
ziss monster off balance!” Her cloak exploding like coal dust and transforming itself into huge black wings, the Valkyrie streaked into the sky with Omnipotent Man behind her as a red, blue, and white flash.

The rest of the team scrambled in the badlands sands, narrowly escaping being crushed. With ever-increasing speed, the mile-high metal wheel of mayhem rolled its juggernaut path northwest toward the ten million people of Los Ditkos.

that thing?” screamed Power Grrrl.

Buzzing above us and almost silhouetted by the flaming sunset, the Brotherfly whooped, “Muss be Codzilla’s hula hoop!”

“Don’t either of you know a kot-tam thing? That’s CycloTron!” yelled the X-Man, gaping at the terror wheel rolling its long arc to merge onto the interstate toward its target. From this distance, CycloTron’s twirling lights resembled an ultramassive Ferris wheel, but only for a carnival of destruction in which the cotton candy is made of pink insulation and the corndogs have sticks of dynamite inside them. “Nearly destroyed Houston in ’78,” yelled X-Man, “until—”

“—until Captain Alamo and the Confederate Wrecking Crew turned it into the world’s largest spare-parts yard,” said the Flying Squirrel, focusing his Squirreloscope on the retreating spectacle of Iron Lass and Omnipotent Man failing to knock over the unicycled behemoth. “Well, X-Man? We need a vehicle!”

The X-Man closed his eyes. Slowly, carefully, he enunciated the word

A geometry of shadows—onyx curves, lines, and planes—congealed in front of me, composing themselves into the finned sleekness of a shining 1955 Ford Fairlane. X-Man and his elder jumped inside, rocketing down the cracked and splintered highway. Meanwhile, Brotherfly wrapped his arms and legs around Power Grrrl to fly her away, scraping the ground occasionally with her dangling boots from bearing the additional weight.

Clicking forward several miles, I found Iron Lass and Omnipotent Man swirling like chaff in a dust devil, desperately dodging deathbeams from the sinister spokes of the CycloTron. The wheel’s blinding neon rays slashed mile-long smoking scars into the badlands, the rubble reeking of sulfur. Omnipotent Man was virtually invulnerable, but Iron Lass lacked the protection of her impregnable wings while airborne, and was ignitable as a chicken breast marinated in ethanol.

After witnessing CycloTron nearly incinerate the Brotherfly and Power Grrrl, Iron Lass swooped down to where they were flying mere inches above the badlands floor of cactus and purple sage. “Get her out uff here, you
ik-noramus!” she yelled.

“Like, we have every right to be here?” shouted Power Grrrl, clinging to the Brotherfly’s midsection like a baby possum to its mother’s belly. Even while furious, she intoned her statements like questions, as if expressing uncertainty or seeking the permission of some unknown agency.

“You cannot do any goot here, Broderfly!” yelled Iron Lass. “Get aheadt to Los Ditkos—get ze civilians out of ze way!”

“But damn, Lass,” said the Brotherfly, “you c’n fly faster than I can, specially with this lil girly-girl weighin me down!”

“Omnipotent Man unt I vill slow CycloTron down—now you get her out uff here!”

Off flew the two youngest members, and Iron Lass shouted to her partner to follow her lead. Zooming miles ahead on the highway and then hovering low, she swung her black long-sword
toward the road.
-fire belched from her blade, turning a hundred-yard stretch into a hundred-foot-deep flaming crater.

Streaking back another mile, the valorous Valkyrie dragged her white
shortsword with her, the entire distance crackling into ice in her wake. “Vally, rip it up!”

Sweeping low like a stealth bomber, Omnipotent Man dug his arms beneath the skin of the road, ripping it into the air like grass clippings.

CycloTron rolled right through their speed bump, slowing slighty but not stopping.

Iron Lass: “Odin damn it!”

Omnipotent Man: “Hnossi, I unnerstand y’upset, but there’s never any need for that kinda language, even if y’are invokin’ your heathenish blasphemy again—”

“Vally, for ze love of fuckink Loki, just

“Roger that, Iron Lass, ma’am,” he said, streaking off.

Clicking over to Route 22 on the outskirts of Los Ditkos, I found the Brotherfly and Power Grrrl struggling to evacuate a Squirrel Burger drive-in franchise.

“Yo, my peeps,” yelled the Brotherfly, crawling along the ceiling and yelling down toward the customers, “you gots to get your Squirrelly Fries and Nut Shakes on an turn yo highways to bye-ways, cuz danger is biz-anging on the door and briz-anging hell with it, kwamn sayin?”

Apparently none did know what he was saying, for staring back at him were nothing but blank eyes, while mouths kept chewing and seam-popping polyestered legs remained motionless beneath the bright pink furry tables.

“I got this one, Brotherfly!” said Power Grrrl.
“Hear ye, hear me,”
she called out, disco lights streaming out of her bustier, a dance track thumping out of her Power Pumps. She sang:

“You got to get the move on, your groove on! It’s time for PG’s smooth song, the lube song! And o-o-o-O-O-uh-uh-UH-UH-UH—”

she intoned, rippling in her trademarked R&B/gospel trill,

“—can you think! slink! and JINK like ME?”

In a Squirrel Burger blink, sixty diners of all ages, body shapes, races, and genders simply disappeared.

Replacing them instantly, in the same chairs and the same poses, were threescore uniformed Power Grrrls, “booty-shaking” their way behind the original as she dancebeat them to safety outside and away.

A moment later, a gray-haired man in plaid slacks shuffled his way out of the restroom, reclasping his eagle-shaped “Elvis” belt buckle. Swooping down on him, the Brotherfly plucked him up and out of the restaurant an instant before CycloTron flattened the diner into an inch-high greasy crust of flaming rubble and burning food products.

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