The Legion Of Nothing is a Web Serial Novel (and also a book) about the Grand Lake Heroes League of Grand Lake, Michigan, a team of teenagers with superpowers. It is written by author Jim Zoetewey.They are the children and grandchildren of the members of the original Grand Lake Heroes League, a group of former World War II soldiers who were part of an elite unit of superpowered soldiers. They came home after the war and continued to use their powers to combat organized crime and other villains, powered and otherwise in the 1950's.The lead character, and the one through whom the story is told is Nick Klein. His grandfather was the Gadgeteer Genius known as The Rocket. Among his inventions, a suit of Powered Armor equipped with numerous weapons and a rocket pack (yes, fans have noted the similarity to Iron Man). Nick isn't really sure he wants to take up the superhero mantle, but a group of his friends decide to revive the League, and Nick in turn dons his grandfather's armor.As a part conventional Super Hero story, part Coming of Age story, Legion is highly effective. Its big selling points are its sense of humor and its very effective pacing. Cliff Hanger endings are not uncommon, but this is okay due to the timely update schedule.Provides examples of:
Alliterative Name: Chris Cannon, Kayla Ketchem and Martin Magnus, it wouldn't be a superhero story without this one.
Animal-Themed Superbeing: Larry likes this, of the Animal Alias variety. He wears Powered Armour and normally goes by the name Rhino, as his armour's strong and durable, but also goes undercover in green jumping armour... as Frog!
Also Night Wolf and Night Cat
Awesome yet Practical: One of the new Rocket's inventions is a Guitar Hero controller... that also generates lasers, blinding lights and fires explosive charges.
Back Story: Considering that main characters are the descendants of a famous Superhero group and that many of them have assumed their forebears' identities and abilities (and it some cases their enemies), this is a given.
Badass Crew: Every super team seems to qualify for this.
There is a team of superhero assassins called The Executioner, which managed to murder several superheroes and their families. Evil? For sure. Badass? Most definitely.
Subverted with Three, a trio of teenaged supers in California. The group themselves are pretty badass in a fight, but their nominal leader, Alex aka Paladin, seems to excel at getting them in trouble. In particular, one ill-advised prank almost gets them and several other people killed. Brooke (Alex's girlfriend) and Nick stepping up is what keeps them from being obituaries.
Badass Bookworm: Nick is a stereotypical nerd in classic Peter Parker-style. However his smarts are the basis of some his best ass-kicking.
Badass Grandpa: The original Rocket was active from at least the forties and didn't retire until the eighties. If he was in his twenties when he started, he was in his sixties when he quit.
Remarkably, most of the super-villains in the story are un-powered folks who use cunning and technology to give the supers hell. One team, the Executioner(s), succeeded in murdering several supers and their families before the Legion took them down. Or did they??
Badass Unintentional: Brooke, aka The Portal. A teenage superhero and the girlfriend of Alex, and, a member of 'Three'. On the surface, she talks and acts like The Ditz. When her boyfriend's dumbass prank and even dumber-ass counterattack get himself, her, Nick, and Jenny captured; it is she who steps up to the plate. For starters, while everyone else gets stunned with paralysis rays, she fakes it, just so that she can get a drop on the bad guys. And then she helps Nick come up with the plan to not only escape but to beat up the bad guys on the way out.
Cape Busters: In Three, The Rocket goes up against Syndicate L, a non-superpowered organisation with capebusting potential, and a Humongous Mecha (which being the Rocket, he can't resist trying to get his hands on).
In one serial, Nick kind of jumps out to the lead in helping another group of supers when a prank goes wrong.
Captain Ersatz: The Rocket is very similar to Iron Man, just more likable.
Car Fu: Two distinct types. The first is characters wondering where heroes learn offensive driving. The second is the regularity with which cars are flung around as weapons.
Chekhov's Gunman: Sean first appeared in Lighting Strikes Twice as someone Vaughn owed money to only to appear later in Bullies and Counselors as Haley's ex.
City of Adventure: A lot of things seem to happen in Grand Lake, but this is hand-waved as being due to the high concentration of supers in the area, which in turn may be partly due to a sinister breeding program started by Red Lightning.
Grandfather Clause: A literal grandfather clause (possibly an example of the author reading TV tropes) results in the League being part of the FBI's National Hero Program.
Handicapped Badass: The Rocketsuit unsurprisingly gets banged up a lot in battles, leaving it with less than full capability. The standout example is the Alternate Universe chapter, "The Omnishpere" (by guest author Robert Rodgers, based on Jim Zoetewey's original characters) where Nick fights the supervillian War. By the time the battle climaxes, the Rocket has no jetpack or flight capability and completely loses function in one arm.
Although even he has one temporarily while under the effects of Alex's power. He tells his girlfriend to enjoy it while it lasts.
Hero Insurance: "I hope this building's insurance covers rampaging giants".
Hot-Blooded: Captain Commando is more then happy to fight the most dangerous supervillains.
How To Give A Character Superpowers: A nice range. Many of the heroes have genetic powers that emerge in puberty (Night Wolf, Night Cat), some have had them since childhood (Accelerando) and some gain them by other means (Captain Commando it stated as having "had surgery for normality" and Storm King zapped himself with the Power Impregnator).
I Believe I Can Fly: The League is split about half and half between those that can fly and those that can't, but no two flyers use the same method.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Nick isn't so sure about being a hero, but events keep forcing him to take up the Rocket Suit.
Legacy Character: Most of the Grand Lake Heroes League are the descendants of the original League (Rocket, Captain Commando, Night Wolf), including those whose predecessor's names are still in use (Night Cat, Accelerando).
Don't forget Rachel, Nick's older sister, as Ghost.
Magic Versus Science: A literal case occurs when the Storm King (whose powers seem to stem from electromagnetic manipulation of the weather) and the King of Storms (an ancient avatar and weather magician) fight it out in King of Storms.
Mecha-Mooks: Syndicate L fields these in an attempt to keep up with the various super-powered factions.
Mirror Universe: One serial written by guest author Robert Rodgers based on the original characters created by Jim Zoetewey titled "The Omnisphere" deals with these, and even features an evil version of the heroes.
Only Sane Man: Nick, the main character, is usually the one who comes up with the most sensible plans to fighting villains.
Outdated Outfit: The Rocket Suit is described as being 'Art Deco', an art style that was outdated by the 40's, when the Rocket came into existence. That's ok, though, because the Rocket has made it Classic.
Parental Obliviousness: Most of the parents have no idea that their children are heroes, because of the Mentalist's block.
Personality Powers: Storm King is broody and unpredictable, Accelerando is always in a rush and Captain Commando is irrepressible.
This is also inverted with Nick and Alex in Three. Nick's Powered Armorcauses a lot of damage but he worries about hurting people, even the ones he's fighting. On the other hand Alex has the power to heal others but doesn't think about the consequences of his actions.
Refusal of the Call: Nick started out no wanting to become the Rocket and felt pressured by his late grandfather. Ironically, after the war his grandfather also tried to refuse the call, and focus on being a husband and a father.
Required Secondary Powers: Mostly averted, as the author describes most powers pretty accurately before they become useful, but Accelerando's catching a skin-eating acid bomb without harm due to her necessary super-strength still came as a surprise.
Arguably, most of Accelerando's powerset are these with respect to her super speed. She has the strength to push herself that rapidly, reflexes fast enough to react at that speed, and is tough just to survive the punishment her body undergoes to run that fast.
Rogues Gallery: We're slowly learning about the original Rocket's recurring foes, just as the new Rocket develops his own.
The Ruins I Caused: A massive battle took place at the mansion of Red Lightning, aka Giles Hardwick, a former Heroes League member turned arch-villain. Nick's grandad, the original Rocket, Joe Van Der Sloot, defeated him but only after the mansion was completely destroyed. In the present, the current Heroes League, including Hardwick's grandson, Vaughn visit the ruins and comment on how fresh the damage looks.
Secret Identity: All the League have secret identities, but some are better at hiding them than others. This is a point of friction with the many detractors of vigilante justice in the story.
Secret Keeper: Kayla discovers the identities of the Rocket, Storm King and Captain Commando, which gives the League a nice opportunity to consider the morals of using a phychic block like the original League used and come up with a new solution of their own that isn't so morally dubious.
Serious Business: Superheroes are serious business, with their own radio, TV and historians, but it's justified considering what they can do.
Sidekick Graduations Stick: Both Mindstryke and The Rhino were sidekicks to the original Rocket and The Mentalist before assuming their superhero identities.
Super Hero Speciation: There's Night Wolf and Night Cat, rarely do they both appear at the same time. This troper would be surprised if one of them doesn't undergo a Face-Heel Turn at some point.
Superhero Trophy Shelf: As well as awards, the League HQ contains relics from villains, numerous versions of the Rocket Suit and the other assorted plot points not yet defined.
Super Serum: Variously called 'Power Elixer', the 'Drink of the Gods' and 'Super Juice', apparently it is no longer addictive and dangerous, but who knows what to believe. Either way, it's turning into a very major plot point.
Super Team: Tons of them. The Grand Lake Heroes League isn't even the only one in Michigan.
Others include Three, The Elementals and The Defenders.
Supervillain Lair: Ranging from the secret area in Man Machine's garage to the sprawling underground deathtrapped palace of Red Lightning.
Technical Pacifist: Nick doesn't like hurting people (an interesting perspective for someone who once 'just punched them until they stopped'), and is always concerned that he's killed those he defeats. Expect real problems when this eventually does happen, despite his belief that he could do it if required.
Tempting Fate: Both Cassie and Alex target Syndicate L because they don't allow super-powered members. While including the Rocket in their own plans.
True Companions: The New Heroes League grew up together. May also apply to the original team seeing how Rocket get mad when someone shot Night Wolf in 1953
Utility Belt: Captain Commando and the Rocket both have well stocked belts, and they both need them, too.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Man Machine was famous for these. It wasn't until after Nick defeated him that anyone but Nick's grandfather even knew who he was.