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.
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.
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.
Alec offered the slightest roll of his eyes as I introduced myself, while Brian just grinned. Lisa, though, put one of her arms around my shoulders and gave me a one-armed squeeze of a hug. She was a little older than I was, so she was just tall enough to be at the perfect height to do it. What caught me off guard was how nice the gesture felt. Like I had been needing a hug from someone who wasn't my dad for a long time.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As Daniel pointed out in the comments to Interlude 19 (Donation Bonus #1): when Dragon and Defiant were hunting the Slaughterhouse Nine, why weren't they armed with, say, heavy machineguns? A burst of .50-caliber fire would likely have made mincemeat of Bonesaw, reinforced spine or no — after a certain point, the sheer momentum transfer associated with the gunfire will paste a human body.
Reinforced everything, more like - remember Imp slitting Bonesaw's throat, after which she screams? That plus the sheer agility of many of the Nine (any of them with Super Strength could just jump out of the way, Jack could use his cheaty Thinker power, Bonesaw could run and hide) means that heavy machineguns could cause heavy collateral with only a small chance of actually hitting them. Of course, paying for the collateral may be negotiable given that we're talking about the Slaughterhouse 9, but it's something to consider.
The other reason that comes to mind is that heavy machineguns are heavy. Even a semiautomatic .50 BMG rifle usually weighs more than twenty pounds — given the breadth of options Defiant could incorporate into twenty pounds of equipment space, he may have decided that such a weapon didn't provide enough benefits to justify replacing other Tinker equipment with it.