Literature: How to Succeed in Evil
- Edwin: So Doctor Loeb, tell me a little bit about your business plan.
Dr. Loeb: World domination!!!
Edwin: That's really more of a goal than a plan.
Dr. Loeb: Domination!!! Domination!!! Domination!!!
Edwin: I'll just put down 'Mergers and Acquisitions'.
This show provides examples of:
- And Then What?: This is how Edwin manages to make Dr. Loeb to realize why he really wants to build an orbital laser: to get back at his mom.
- Badass Normal: Edwin and Gus fit. Superlative Man didn't have any powers, but it's anyone's guess whether he was badass or not.
- Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: It's not extortion...
- Breaking Speech: At the end of the series reboot when Edwin manages to get Excelisor to consent to being Buried Alive in concrete by appealing to his guilt and his desire to be a hero.
- The Brute: Barry's purpose is to break things because he's not qualified for anything else.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Topper, and Edwin to a lesser degree.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Applies to almost all of Edwin's clients; they make a lot of money if they weren't so focused on being evil.
- Depraved Dwarf: Topper, a man of short statue but grand appetites. He is heavily into bodybuilding and hedonism, eating an entire jar of whey protein and washing it down with a pony keg. He likes custom-built muscle cars, guns, and cheating at golf.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?
- Dumb Muscle: Barry is really dumb, and has a lot of muscle.
- Evil Versus Evil:Edwin is evil but he's fighting evil-er people.
- Expy: usually with a deconstructive twist:
- Excelsior: Superman (powers, Midwestern origin) and Captain America (red, white and blue costume, patriotic symbol)without the ability to think independently
- Barry Banister: Bruce Banner without the genius
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Heroes aren't likable people, especially if you're asking the local police who have to clean up their messes.
- Hero Insurance
- Hulk Speak: Barry, again.
- Invisible to Normals: Averted. Not only do people notice the super people around them, the majority dislike them because of all the damage they cause.
- Lord Error-Prone: Every hero/villain in the story; a career with these guys is what drove Edwin over the edge to evil.
- Mad Scientist: It is the itch that drove him mad, the phantom itch.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: It's hard to tell whether Excelsior has this naturally or it was brainwashed into him by Gus, but it plays a very important role throughout the book
- Reality Ensues: Played with. Excelsior, in his attempts to stop the crash of Flight 206, discovers to his horror that while he is a man of steel, neither the plane he is saving nor the people on it are. He ends up managing to save the Captain's arm.
- Secret Identity: Amazingman has one which is revealed pretty early.
- Shoo Out the New Guy: Edwin 2.0 qualifies. Mr. McLean decided to re-write his main character by turning him into a Affably Evil, Lex Luthor-esque, Evil Brit complete with a suit that turns him invisible. Almost immediately afterward, Mr. McLean realized that his Reboot was a horrible idea and dedicated an entire episode to deconstructing him.
- Smoking Is Cool: Deconstructed with Gus, who is seen coughing during the first half-to-two-thirds of the story, and then he has a stroke, and it turns out he's had cancer since before the story started.
- Something Person: Names like 'Amazingman', 'Powerboy', and 'The Jusitnator'. Done on purpose.
- Stock Evil Overlord Tactics: Deconstructed; Edwin points out the flaws in these methods and suggests better uses of these resources.
- Superhero and Supervillain: Edwin toes the line between the two, as noted in the description.
- Superheroes Wear Tights: though some of them really shouldn't and those who can pull it off annoy the sensible characters.
- Supervillain Lair: With a sign out front so the pizza man can find it.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Inverted. Edwin's company and henchman are all very competent; he doesn't hire idiots. Double subverted when you consider the world he lives in. In that case he is surrounded by idiots.
- There Was a Door:
- Superlative Man!
- Exelsior was dissuaded from using the three story window while going in. Going out, on the other hand...
- Vapor Wear: Cindi with an I.
- Villain Protagonist: Edwin is The Protagonist and also a super villain.
- Visionary Villain: His clients averting this is why Edwin became a villain; if evil is to be done it should be done efficiently.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Edwin delivers a truly magnificent one of these to Powerboy.