There is a notable lack of sexism in the Worm Universe. But it is extremely obvious why this is because while the number may be close, a background lecture revealed that more women than men have trigger events. Trigger events have been going on since the 80's and the larger number of women parahumans has probably caused a Cultural Effect that translates into the lack of sexism.
Coil's power almost certainly created at least two Offscreen Moments of Awesome for Skitter when she ended up facing off against him after he didn't free Dinah:
As has been pointed out on the Awesome.Worm page, there is only one real reason for Coil to insist that none of his troops use grenades: in one of his cut-off timelines, she must have used her bugs to bounce the grenades back at them.
At the burning house, Coil went and hid in the car, rather than lead his troops. In other words, in the timeline when Coil didn't hide, he must have lost so badly that letting Skitter go was better.
In Interlude 15 (Donation Bonus #2), Brian is amazed at how calm Taylor is when she's within his darkness — but there's a good reasons why she is, even ignoring her innate sangfroid and the way her power allows her to sense her surroundings without sight. She trusts him. It's an aspect of love which is too often not shown in works of fiction, and it adds a whole layer to the heartwarming nature of the scene.
What's more, given her Trigger event Taylor is likely somewhat claustrophobic. Grue's power makes people feel like they're in an empty void.
Additionally, Skitter doesn't have the best social skills—she is constantly shown to be stressing over every step of any basic conversation. When she's in the darkness like this, she can pretend she's alone and just talk without worrying about if she's misreading social cues.
18.1: Dinah's predictions about the apocalypse: Skitter will be there. Other people might be there. Holy. Crap.
This is only amplified by Interlude 18, in which Noelle's power picks out a few rare capes whose powers have an intensity that, to her superpower-detecting sense, "set them apart from the other parahumans in the same way that the other parahumans were set apart from the people who could have powers but didn't". The three she names? Eidolon — generally considered the single most powerful member of the Protectorate — Grue ... and Skitter. And that's in reverse order.
The suggestion of Interlude 18 is amplified in Interlude 24: when Chevalier looks at Taylor (now Weaver), he describes her as "surrounded by the nimbus of her power, which glowed with an intensity that surpassed any and all of her teammates."
There's a reason for this: Taylor received the Administrator shard from the Entity, a shard so powerful that before releasing it the Entity had to weaken it to the point that it was nearly useless by Entity standards.
It's more likely that the aura simply identifies people who've had a second trigger event (since there's no real suggestion, at any point, that Grue is unusually powerful or has an inherently unusual shard.) We eventually find out that Skitter had a second trigger before the story began; we don't know about Eidolon for sure, but it's very likely, especially since we know that Cauldron is capable of causing them and Eidolon is one of their aces.
In Skitter's fight with Mannequin from 12.6-12.7, Mannequin is able to see individual insects in her swarms ... but not that Skitter didn't bleed from his attempt to cut her neck. Skitter doesn't understand it, but there's one obvious suggestion: Mannequin — a tinker, you may recall — specifically intended to go after Skitter, and therefore calibrated his vision to act as a Super Sense as far as tracking swarms of insect-sized objects, and sacrificed normal visual capacity at other tasks to do it!
After Skitter gets the pistol from Trickster in 14.05, she is rather astounded to discover that she can actually hit people with it. Four things, though: first, she's never all that far away from her targets; second, the shots she hit, she aimed carefully; and third, she has Nerves of Steel.
And her bugs give her a spatial awareness of her surroundings that allows her to gauge the distance to her target much more accurately than a normal person could manage without rangefinding equipment.
Tattletale has seemed like an awfully ironic name for a girl who keeps a lot of secrets — but leaving aside how many of those she was forced to keep: what good reason is there for a cape to tell people what her powers are anyway? It is to her advantage to be coming from an unexpected angle as far as what she can do.
Some readers have commented that Tattletale tends to reveal the information she knows even when it would be more prudent to keep her mouth shut in certain situations. It has been theorized that her power has altered her brain so that she is compelled to talk about what her power tells her no matter what. However, after learning her backstory in Scourge 19.7, it makes sense for her to firmly believe that it's always better to reveal what she knows, in order to warn everybody about bad things that might happen later on and prevent disasters.
In Interlude 18 (Donation Bonus #2), the TA calls out social isolation as a key component in trigger events — and, simultaneously, a key component in driving parahumans to become villains. And social isolation is exactly what drove Taylor down that route. She stayed with the Undersiders because they were the only people other than her dad who offered her any kind of support since her mother died — her only friends, her only allies, her only defenders. It's not surprising she would choose that over the abstract principle.
I thought it was a little odd for a moment that Bitch's friends on the Undersiders were specifically listed as Grue and Skitter and not Tattletale, especially given that Tattletale is the one who gave Skitter the key to reading Bitch in the first place, but I realized two things:
First, Tattletale never actually went to the effort to be a friend to Bitch — her attitude toward most of the team is on the professional level, and there's nothing in particular about Bitch that would motivate her to go to any effort otherwise.
Second, Tattletale grins all the time — i.e. bares her teeth, all the time. She talks, all the time. She plays all those human social games, all the freaking time, and gets a huge kick out of playing them. Literally nothing about that would endear her to Bitch.
When Lisa explains her trigger event to Taylor in Scourge 19.7 and how, because of the background of it, she had gone to such lengths to rescue Taylor from being Driven to Suicide, a whole hell of a lot of disparate facts — things which had been set up for the whole story — locked together:
The way bullying was such a focus for so long in the story.
The way Tattletale i.e. Lisa goes to such lengths for Taylor for so long — taking her shopping, helping her woo Brian, boosting her confidence, supporting her plans (even when, like Stringbean, they screw with the status quo), and so forth.
In Interlude 18, we discover that the reason that the superheroes of Earth Bet are calling Noelle Meinhardt (a displaced inhabitant of Earth Aleph) "Echidna" is because a PRT agent named Meinhardt has a three-year-old daughter named Noelle. A weird and strange coincidence — but not so much as I initially thought. In all likelihood, Noelle's father exists on both worlds, wanted a kid named Noelle, and on Earth Bet he simply took a lot longer to settle down with someone.
Looking over the archive, despite the fact that both of them are pretty girls who use what they know to say exactly the right thing to mess with their target's heads, there's only one actual time that Taylor explicitly compares Tattletale to Emma Barnes in her mind, and that is in Scourge 19.2. When, as she reveals in 19.7, Lisa was realizing that saving Taylor didn't fix the way she felt stupid for not saving her brother Rex, and trying to outsmart all the smartest capes in the world as a way of dealing with that. Which, in point of fact, is a direct parallel to the way Emma reacted to feeling insecure about her emotional stability by tearing down Taylor — the emotionally-strongest person she knew — as described in Interlude 19.
Tattletale wanted to take down Coil from the start. Think about it: one of the prime incidents she names as a time she snuck off with extra cash from a job was well before she had any idea about Dinah — the bank robbery. What happened on the hillside near the monument is that Tattletale let Taylor in on it when Taylor said she was willing to come back. (Plus, it gives Tt a second motive to recruit a hero into a supervillain team - Taylor was exactly the sort to back Tt's eventual play.)
Furthermore, in Lisa's bonus interlude 8.I, it's revealed that she was aggressively recruited by Coil and never presented with a real choice. When this is taken into account she probably has more of a reason to be pissed with the Dinah situation than Taylor, since she was essentially brought in to be Coil's pet too.
When the Slaughterhouse Nine — including Shatterbird, who is famous for trashing all the glass across the entire city every time she shows up — arrive in town shortly after Leviathan struck, Coil finds out quickly ... yet keeps large quantities of computer equipment and all the data he just had the Undersiders steal from the PRT in town, and within range of Shatterbird's power. This bothered me to the point that I posted a comment to that effect on the chapter in question, to which the author replied, "Can't answer without spoiling, but it should be evident if you think about it." Said thinking reminding me that this is "can split into two timelines and remember both" Coil that we're talking about, and Coil would obviously send one timeline's team out of town with the data as insurance while the other team got a head start and tried to finish before Shatterbird sung.
I just realized: Rachel's trigger event came when she was fourteen, and when she left that house she had no resources, no allies, no training, no personal superpowers — nothing but (probably) that one dog. She evaded the combined forces of the police, the PRT, the Protectorate, and the Wards for two years. That's just insanely badass.
Why do powers that affect the mind work best on Butcher? She's got thirteen more minds in her, so they have thirteen times the effect.
Why is Dragon so much better a Tinker than everyone else? No, it's not because she's an Artificial Intelligence. It's because her creator was a Tinker — second generation capes tend to be more powerful, and she's second gen!
Also, the age where someone get powers plays a role in the strength of powers. If we treat her creation date as her birthday, she's actually quite young!!
We all know Tattletale is a certified badass, but I recently realized one more facet of it: Tattletale uses her superpower with incredible economy. Read her interlude — her limit was "an hour or two every few weeks" less than a year before the story started, and was increasing only very slowly. Tattletale has been kicking ass and taking names on an average of less than ten minutes a day of actually using her power. Ninety-nine percent of the Tattletale magic is just her.
In Interlude 19, one of the posters muses over why the term 'Cauldron' is specifically blocked, unless it's obscured with an asterisk or the like. Later on, it's revealed that Dragon is behind many of the sockpuppets on the Parahumans Online message boards, and that she herself runs the website. If Cauldron was meant to be kept hidden, and she was ordered to block discussion on it... then she accomplished a white mutiny via the Streisand Effect.
The fact that Scion turned out to be the cause of the apocalypse was terrifyingly unexpected ... but if you notice, from almost his introduction, it was pretty clear that Scion was bad at being a superhero. What makes it particularly clear is Kevin Norton's interlude, where it becomes clear that if it weren't for Norton telling Scion what to do, Scion wouldn't do any of the heroic stuff he spends all his time on — and that Norton had to explain really basic stuff about helping people, like "if one of the Endbringers attacks, don't ignore it to come talk to me."
Now that we now why the entities were really here, it makes sense that he wouldn't be any good at the whole "saving people" deal.
Tattletale's friendship with Taylor is parallel to Sophia's friendship with Emma. Emma was attacked by the ABB and Sophia saved her. Emma, after spending time in despair, went back to the site of the attack and found Sophia waiting for her, and the two became friends with Sophia helping her build herself up as a survivor. Lisa and the Undersiders save Taylor from Lung, leader of the ABB and Lisa notices that Taylor is in despair and close to suicide. Taylor meets Lisa at the site of the attack and the two become friends, and Lisa helps build up Taylor's confidence and becomes her best friend. The difference is that at the end of the day, Emma abandoned Sophia when she went to juvie (becoming a victim in Emma's eyes) whereas Taylor and Lisa remain the best of friends.
It's established early on that its both hard and dangerous to even mess around with a Tinker's technology, and very difficult to mass-produce said technology. But we also learn that Dragon's lost technology to Saint before, and he's reverse-engineered it to form his Dragonslayers. How does that work out? Because Dragon's tech isn't Tinker tech. Its technology devised by an AI created by a Tinker, so it can be understood and reproduced more easily by non-Tinkers.
More likely, assuming Defiant's theory about her trigger event and Taylor's assumption about her specialty being using other Tinker's specialties being true, is that she channeled Masamune, who is the only Tinker to have "mass reproduction" not only not be an obstacle, but a specialty.
Actually, while Dragon's specialty appears to be using other Tinkers' specialties, it could be that Dragon's specialty is actually making other Tinkers' tech understandable/reproducible. This would explain why her specialty appears to be both understanding other Tinkers' tech and mass production: she makes other Tinkers' technology into something that can be understood without a Tinker shard, and thus anyone, including Saint, can learn how to build and using Dragon-processed Tinker-tech.
The reason why the Protectorate is so powerful and well-organized to the point that it supplies 25-50% of the foreign capes involved in any Endbringer attack, and why most cape teams go to the Protectorate for support and training? They're the first real hero group, and are backed by Cauldron and have three of the most powerful capes in the world as members. With Cauldron basically selling powers to anyone who wants them, and beefing the numbers of American capes - American capes who don't have the myriad issues that naturally-triggering capes require to trigger in the first place - then naturally they'd be able to form the largest, most organized, and sane superhero group.
The Yangban has a disproportionately large number of English-speakers in their ranks, forming a significant minority in a force that is otherwise made up primarily of Chinese. The reason why there's so many English-speaking Yangban members? Accord, an American villain, has been selling capes to the Yangban.
The reason why Militaries Are Useless when it comes to the Endbringers: no conventional weaponry short of strategic ordnance can do any real damage to an Endbringer. Infantry would be completely useless and little more than Cannon Fodder at best and subverted by the Simurgh at worst. Tanks and infantry fighting vehicles would be flooded out by Leviathan, vaporized by Behemoth, and their crews subverted to horrible ends by the Simurgh. Helicopters would be shot down by Behemoth and the Simurgh and the storms that surround Leviathan when it attacks would knock them out of the sky. Ditto for jets and bombers. Artillery would singularly ineffective because of the Endbringers' durability. The only things that can really slow the Endbringers down and survive fighting them for any length of time are the very powerful, heavy-hitting capes, and even then all they're doing is holding on until Scion arrives.
Tattletale notes that the entire fight between heroes and villains is basically a kabuki play; as long as you don't kill people or radically disrupt society, you're mostly left alone or put in a Cardboard Prison. This makes more sense in light of Cauldron's ultimate goal — Cauldron, which founded the PRT and the Protectorate, wants as many parahumans as possible to survive to fight Scion, so the actual purpose of those authorities is to channel the natural parahuman conflict interest into a shadow war where none of them die, while preventing destructive conflicts with normal humans. This also explains why the Worm universe seems to completely lack any sort of death penalty despite having villains who can't be stopped by any normal prison — even the most horrific villain might prove to be decisive against Scion, so Cauldron has ensured that no capes ever get executed, fullstop.
Even without direct involvement of Cauldron, the "cops and robbers" cape interactions could also be seen as a sort of Xanatos Gambit to get as many anti-Endbringer fighters as possible. Parahumans who are on good terms with authorities become heroes, get a chance to practice using their powers in combat by fighting villains, and become part of a culture where fighting Endbringers is the norm. Parahumans who aren't on good terms with the authorities become villains, get a chance to practice using their powers in combat, and give the heroes opponents to fight. Villains know that there will be crackdowns if they cause too much disturbance (giving them an incentive to take out the really dangerous parahumans that otherwise might run rampant - look at what happened to the ABB when Bakuda went too far) and that they will be treated more leniently if they participate in Endbringer fights. Results: almost everyone with parahuman powers has the incentive to step up against the most dangerous enemies and the experience to do so effectively.
Interlude 29's "flash sideways" to the scenario where both Zion and Eden arrived intact on Earth, Richter is mentioned but not Dragon. This implies that her creation was never part of the plan. His creations would be similar to Dragonís — weak minded, non-sentient AI. The Endbringers pushed him into creating Dragon. We have plenty of evidence how paranoid & fearful he was of doing it, but the world going so wrong made him desperate enough that he risked it.
At the time of Weld's introduction, he's worried about how his superiors will react if they find out he's embezzling his personal food & clothes stipend. He makes the very good point, at least in his narration, that he doesn't need to eat, and uses his Voluntary Shapeshifting powers to mimic clothing, so why shouldn't he spend the money on things that actually make him happy? Much later, during the battle of the oil rig, we find out that he was spending the money on music, and his worries start to look like The Paragon feeling bad about overindulging on ice cream. But we also find out that, because his glands are also metal, he has trouble experiencing emotions. And who do we know that's a singer with emotionmanipulatingpowers that work over recordings, who's also in serious trouble with the law? Canary.
Why can Contessa avoid the Scry vs. Scry lockout? In Interlude 26, it's mentioned that the shards containing precongitive abilities were given strict limitations to prevent them from being used against the entities. However, Contessa got a shard that got knocked loose from Eden in the crash, so the limitation wouldn't have been installed. This also explains a lot about Caldron capes and by extension the Endbringers in general; their shards come from Eden's corpse, so they wouldn't have been prepped for distribution, meaning they lack the safeguards to keep the powers from damaging the user, resulting in physical mutations. It's possible everyone who can bypass the Manton effect with non-biological powers is a Caldron cape. Presumably, the stuff they mix in to reduce mutations and variability contains some of the safeguards.
All the Endbringers have a theme; Land, Sea, Sky for the initial trio, Time for Khonsu. Tohu and Bohu? Their theme is humanity. Bohu fuses with a city and fills it with inhabitants. Tohu becomes capes that protect the city.
With the revelation that the Triumverate work with Cauldron, the majority of heroes might owe their powers to them and be under their control.
Emma is going to be terrified and paranoid for the rest of her life after finding out that Taylor is Skitter. From her perspective, she deeply hurt someone with a terrible reputation and who can torture and kill her in SO MANY different ways. She doesn't know that Taylor doesn't care about her at all. From now on she'll have to live in fear that every insect she sees could be Skitter coming to get revenge. Sucks to be her.
Not anymore, instead she just gets to live with knowledge that the friend she betrayed and nearly drove to suicide killed a God and saved all of humanity.
Unless she died in Scion's rampage.
When Taylor comes back to Brockton Bay and goes through the portal, she sees the Barnes (Emma's family) missing Emma, and they are upset. They look at Taylor accusingly. Then when Taylor goes and sees Sophia, Sophia says Mr Barnes had already told her Emma was dead. Except why would Mr Barnes do that with the world ending around them? Implication is she died before Scion began his rampage. Popular theory is that she couldn't live with knowing Taylor is Skitter
It ... probably wouldn't have happen, but can you imagine the consequences if Noelle cloned Imp?
How would we know if it had?
I can only think of two ways: either Imp getting rescued or released and passing the word, or someone with an Imp-detecting power (like Tattletale) spotting the copies.
Shatterbird 'wears' a costume of stained glass. The implication is obviously that she specifically hits churches to resupply.
Dinah had a trigger event, probably, given her Thinker power, over some sort of mental trauma. At age 11 or 12.
Its stated that the first of the third generation parahumans have begun to trigger as young as five. Considering some of the dangerous, destructive, and disgusting powers we have seen, how well do you think a five year old is going to use such parahuman abilities?
Plus, what kind of trauma are all of these 5 year olds receiving to cause them to have trigger events?
Second-generation parahumans sometimes require much less traumatic circumstances to trigger powers (for instance, Glory Girl triggered after being fouled in a basketball game), so third-generation parahumans might be more sensitive still (that would also explain why they trigger so young - with a lower level of stress required to trigger, they have more opportunities to gain powers from day one). That just adds more Fridge Horror, though: imagine a little kid instinctively responding to some mundane problem with all the power of a newly triggered cape (see 11.6 and Snare 13.9 for an example of how strong powers can be in the immediate aftermath of a trigger event) and no control.
Worse, one of the second generation capes? Aidan, one of Taylor's orphan kids, who got a copy of the Administrator shard. There is a good chance of any children he has getting Khepri level powers as a child.
Also, Aiden's only the we see triggering with powers in canon, but there's no indication that he will be the only one. Imagine a dozen kids with Skitter-level control over the animals around them, who are generally a tight-knit group.
Both are impossible, fortunately. Skitter double triggered - even for a third gen cape you'd need something hellish for that. And Khepri-level power seems unlikely outside of Cauldron capes and jailbreak events like Khepri herself - neither of which can occur naturally.
Leviathan has the power to literally sink islands and shatter coastlines. In Interlude 24, there's an incomplete list of past Endbringer attacks. Out of those, Leviathan has hit at least ten different locations besides Brockton Bay. Exactly how much of Earth Bet's geography has been defaced by this one creature?
Remember how Panacea had intense romantic feelings for Glory Girl — feelings which led her ultimately to break down and mind-mojo GG into loving her back? Some time after the unhappy resolution of that relationship, comment thread poster Mrmdubois pointed out that Glory Girl's awe aura — an aura that presumably kicked in at puberty, and that she used all the time — would, naturally, be affecting Panacea all the time at a ... suggestible point in her sexual development. It is, in fact, possible that Glory Girl brought it on herself.
Confirmed by Wildbow
Simurgh is not actually blocked by other precogs. When we see through her eyes in Doc Mother's interlude, she only mentions one blind spot — Scion. She is perfectly capable of incorporating even Contessa and Dinah into her plans, as seen in the final chapters. And since her only senses are precog and post-cog, she therefore isn't being jammed. Yes, everyone who made plans based on precogs countering Simurgh was exploiting a fake weakness.
Uganda is at one point referred to as the People's Republic of Uganda. This is not Uganda's real-world official name, meaning that something happened there to change its administration (possibly to a communist government, given the name). Since parahumans are more common in third-world countries, whatever it was almost certainly had something to do with parahumans. This means that multiple countries may have undergone radical political changes, possibly for the worse, as a result of being plunged into a world where superpowers are real.
Depending on particulars, Simurgh ought to actually be able to track things in real-time. As one story (where neutrino and gravity physics were involved in handwaving remote post-cognition) pointed out, post-cognition of "one millionth of a second ago" is essentially indistinguishable from real-time viewing, except when we're talking about high-speed electronic responses. Combine it with remote viewing ability, and you have claircognizance in all but name. Welcome to the world of glass kiddos.
In the Agnosia arc, why can't Skitter (or anyone else) guess what peoples powers are from their names? They still have background knowledge, and that should be enough to remember "You are likely to be eaten by a grue" and similar reasons for codenames.