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Web Original: Academy of Superheroes
aka: The Academy Of Super Heroes
You all know about the so-called Godmarket from your history studies. You also know the rumors that the various pagan gods and demons seeking worshippers in 1997 and 1998 ignited the Causality Wars. This is wrong. Oh, it's close to the truth, and it assigns the blame to the right party, but the Godmarket didn't ignite the Causality Wars. They've been raging throughout time and space for millenia. What we experienced was merely a very minor battle in a very large war, a war which involved powers as far beyond our comprehension as we are beyond that of a stone..
The Professor, Academy #0

The Academy of Super-Heroes Universe is a Web Original imprint on rec.arts.comics.creative (see also Legion of Net.Heroes), owned and maintained by Dave Van Domelen since 1994. The setting is mostly in the 2020s, a generation after a massive disaster (1998, in-setting) wiped out nearly half of humanity and took with it all but a handful of the world's superhumans.
Relevant tropes:
  • The Ace/Renaissance Man: Dan "Grind" Tracey is omnicompetent. His superpower is canonically that he's better than 99% of mundane humans at — pretty much everything, including learning.
  • A God Am I: Rebus's plan during the "Pyramid Scheme" arc.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Pranir are organ traffickers and generally all-around dicks. The Santari, while not all-around dicks, legally consider anyone with artificial replacement parts as property rather than people.
  • An Ice Person: Ymir of the European superteam Europa. Cockatrice has what amounts to freeze vision.
  • Anti-Magic: Anchors are completely immune to superpowers and supertech fails around them. The more skilled/powerful ones (like Rebus) can dilate or contract their radius of effect at will.
  • Anti-Villain: Derek Radner to a certain extent, Yvan Viau completely. It's the entire reason Derek Radner recruited him.
  • The Archmage: The Wanderer and Tymythy Twystyd, pre-1998. Peregryn seems to be headed in that direction.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Lightfoot started as a fanboy of paranormals then lucked into powers of his own.
  • Badass Normal: Princess Ursula of Monaco.
    • Morgan Adams.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Skin Crawl in Khadam.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Khadam's stock in trade. The crimelord Rex Umbrae is a product thereof, as is the former president-for-life of Khadam, Arnold Zugmann.
  • Brainwashed: Rebus does this to Agent Ridley, riddling her mind with "thetan bodies."
  • Brought Down to Badass: Warden when he was kidnapped by Anchors. Turned out he still remembered all the martial arts he'd telepathically stolen when he still had his powers.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In-setting, it is fairly well known that paranormal abilities tend to work the way the user expects them to rather than the way science would suggest. The Tesla Index is a direct measurement of the degree to which a paranormal or mundane can do distort reality with their will. Mundanes who have a tiny - but nonetheless greater than zero Tesla Index - can learn to do ritual magic.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Princess Ursula is very good at what she does.
  • Complexity Addiction: Rebus, as his name indicates, is obsessed with puzzles, riddles and elaborate schemes. Radner and Grind are very good at unraveling them.
  • The Cowl: Warden, in attitude if not attire.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Derek Radner, more and more so throughout the series - with good reason. Dr. Huang Sheng too.
  • Cyborg: lots of 'em. The Cyber-Nostra gang, Khadamite cyborgs, various militaries worldwide, Robert Coulter.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Terrastar.
  • Emperor Scientist: Derek Radner, ruler of Khadam, Gadgeteer Genius, all-round genius.
  • Evil Genius: Huang Sheng is primarily a bioengineering expert but dabbles in nanotech too.
  • Expy: Just as Huang Sheng is an expy of Fu Manchu, Jiang Sheng was an expy of Shang Chi.
  • Famously Mundane, Fictionally Magical: The Worldmaze, Yvan "Labyrinthe" Viau's Portal Network, was created using the globally-scattered pieces of the Berlin Wall as foci.
    • The Great Pyramid at Giza was revealed to be a power accumulator that after five millennia had enough juice to make one a god.
      • Magellan's oceanbound route around the world is used by Q'Nos in a magical ritual to summon Jorumngandr. Peregryn bases his counter-ritual on the flight path of the Lucky Lady II, the first airplane to circumnavigate the globe.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: The Onyx Way, practiced by the Onyx Eye Tong, grants even its Badass Normal practitioners the ability to fight blind, kill superhumans in single combat and, for the most advanced, negate telepathic assault.
  • Functional Magic: Peregryn, Glyph and others all wield their separate magical styles.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Essay, Gimble and Derek Radner. See The Spark of Genius.
  • Gang Bangers/Gang of Hats: the paragangs are a prominent part of the ASH universe, especially in Warden.
  • Genre Savvy: Derek "Triton" Radner is a fully genre-aware deliberately mustache-twirling supervillain.
  • Gravity Master: Solar Max.
    • Jen Kleinvogel's flight is a result of extremely specialized gravity control.
      • The supervillain Devastator has power over many different physical forces. Gravity is just one of them.
  • Having a Blast: Arin Kalsey's power.
  • Heroic Sacrifice / I Did What I Had to Do: Tymythy Twystyd and The Wanderer sacrificed their own lives as well as those of nearly all of Earth's paranormals at the time to remove the gods from Earth. The alternative would have been every worshipper of every god dying to fuel the Causality Wars.
  • Human Aliens: The Santari are almost exactly human. Though nobody realizes it in-setting, this was due to one of the gods, Santarus, moving his worshippers to another planet long ago, only to be removed from history.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Teller does this via weak telekinesis and a superhuman grasp of angles and geometries. Dan Tracey (Grind of STRAFE) is just that good.
  • Intrepid Cyborg Reporter: Robert Coulter. Briefly "Challenger" of the CSV.
  • Jerkass Gods: The "massive disaster" mentioned at the top of the page? It was all their fault. Fighting each other with ridiculous collateral damage, violating causality, soul-draining their millions of worshippers to fuel their efforts ...
  • Legacy Hero: Solar Max, Brightsword III, Gauntlet II, Red Widow II, Lady Lawful II and III. Centurion was a Legacy Immortality example during World War II, with a more traditional legacy taking up the role in the Fourth Age. Weapons Master claims this, but he's actually the original, rejuvenated by an immortality potion.
  • Legion of Doom: The Conclave of Supervillains. Leadership fluctuates between Rebus and Radner until the Pyramid Scheme arc.
  • Light Is Not Good / Light 'em Up: Doublecross became a photonic lifeform and one of the most dangerous supervillains in the ASH universe as a result. Several other supers with light-based powers became his followers/cultists. The pre-1998 Solar Max had solar powers.
  • Master of Your Domain: Aaron Zander of ASH and Warden have total control of all their bodily functions and can amplify their physical abilities/senses to superhuman levels at will.
  • Made of Iron: Tony Drake is completely invulnerable to physical harm. Unfortunately, he still feels pain.
  • Meat Puppet: Mr. Strings' raison d'etre. He/she/it is a telepath with near-global range, able to control and manipulate hundreds of people worldwide.
  • Meta Origin: Most people get their powers from the Magene but there are also aliens, alien-modified humans, human-modified humans, powered armor and so on.
  • Mugging the Monster: "Popper" i.e. the template-assassin that replaced him, should have known better than to try to soul-drain Devastator.
  • Nanomachines
  • One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce: Gimble is the only gadgeteer in the ASH universe to whom The Spark of Genius does not apply; everyone from supernormals to mundanes to Anchors can use her tech.
  • Playing with Fire: C.J. Brown and Scorch.
  • Portal Network: Sort of. Yvan Viau, a mage with a spatial affinity, created a teleport network of sorts by sympathetically binding every piece of the shattered Berlin Wall to every other piece worldwide. Anyone with a piece could teleport to the location of any other piece, until the network was destroyed.
  • Power Copying: Warden's other superpower is a very specialized form of telepathy that lets him instantly learn the physical skills of anyone within range. As a result, he has learned an absurd number of martial arts.
  • Powered Armor: several examples at varying levels of technology. Derek Radner is a big fan while Solar Max uses it in addition to his gravitational talents.
  • Power Incontinence: Aegis has the power to send other supers into "burnout" while borrowing their paranormal talents for himself.
  • Psychic Block Defense/Psychic Static: All versions (technological solutions, training, friendly telepath, magic, mundane brainwashing, sheer force of will)
  • Public Domain Artifact: DIY variant. Peregryn creates his own version of Tyr's Boot (made from the shoe leather of soldiers), using bits from the footwear of his superhero teammates.
  • Red Right Hand: Mr. Strings' hosts tend to hum when he/she/it is pleased. Usually the only way to identify one of them.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Justified in that supertech only works for the gadgeteers that made it and, to a lesser extent, superpowered people. That said, there are lots of people with useless powers who find gainful employment in keeping the supertech working. Also, plenty of experimentation has been done to integrate normaltech components into supertech enabling it to be used by normals.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Devastator that ate "Popper".
  • Self-Duplication: * Manson Haight, small-time paragang member, has the power to make one duplicate per day. There's a psychic link between them all so it's not entirely a useless talent.
  • Sentai: The Otakuza warriors.
  • Sharing a Body: Aaron Zander and Paul Mahler. Subverted in that Paul Mahler was actually dead and it was really "just" a complete snapshot of his consciousness.
  • Shapeshifting: Myriad of the CSV. She is just one of many manufactured in Khadam.
  • Shock and Awe: Derek Radner aka Triton uses his electrical powers to power his technological inventions.
    • His wife, Sultry, being a weather manipulator, can throw lightning around, too.
  • Space Master: Yvan "Labyrinthe" Viau lives and breathes this power.
    • Solar Max built up his gravity powers to the point where he can manipulate space fairly well, doing things like creating wormholes with one end in the sun and the other in front of his foes.
      • Devastator demonstrated this ability too by redirecting one of Solar Max's spatial warps to manifest in exactly the wrong place.
  • The Spark of Genius: Many forms of supertech created by Gadgeteers will only work for gadgeteers and other paranormals. A lot of research, some of it successful, has gone into integrating as much normaltech into it as possible so non-supers can use it too. Gimble is an extraordinary exception because her supertech can be used by anyone — even Anchors.
  • Speak In Unison: In this case, hum in unison. When Mr. Strings is happy, its puppets start to hum all at once.
  • Stock Superpowers: Just about all of them.
  • Superhero School: The members of ASH and STRAFE all went to the Academy of Superheroes.
  • Super Speed: Meteor.
    • Lightfoot has a peculiar form: he can make anything he's touching go faster. This, naturally, includes his own body.
  • Super Team: ASH is the premiere "big gun" superteam. STRAFE and EUROPA are more into covert operations and espionage. The Conclave of Super Villains is more of a Legion of Doom. The Freedom Alliance is a patriotic team with sinister overtones.
  • Telepathy
  • Time Master: Christopher Kelsey is a baby with crazy time powers. Given this, Future Badass and Future Me Scares Me are inevitable.
    • The current Solar Max, by distorting gravity just so, can distort space and time in useful ways — such as semi-accurate time travel.
  • Time Travel: The reason why the Causality Wars were so messy; the gods fought each other all over time and (to a lesser extent) space.
    • Chris Kelsey again.
    • Lightfoot, a pre-1998 superhero, survived to the current era by relativistic travel from and to Earth.
    • The original Solar Max did the same thing.
  • Token Good Teammate: Yvan Viau aka "Labyrinthe" of the CSV. Radner made him his right-hand man precisely for this reason; he's trustworthy, genuinely nice and only a supervillain because he's unflinchingly loyal to his evil sister. Radner has an image as a hardass supervillain to maintain but, with Yvan at his side, can get away with showing mercy by "letting" Yvan persuade him.
    • Challenger was later recruited for this role when Viau was missing for a time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Conflicto after the Pyramid Scheme arc, specifically in CSV #19.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The Onyx Eye tong are simultaneously a crime syndicate and an evil martial arts school.
  • Unobtanium: Collapsinum is a functionally indestructible metal. Its existence is permissible by mundane physics but its creation requires Violation Physics.
  • Wretched Hive/Vice City: Khadam is a vice country. Mad scientists, their even madder creations, bastard aliens, supervillains and criminals of every stripe can all be found there.
  • Yellow Peril: Dr. Huang Sheng started out as an Expy of Fu Manchu, albeit with a greater focus on science than mysticism.

    Science Fiction Web OriginalsThe League of S.T.E.A.M.
    The VerseAvatar: The Last Airbender
The Young ProtectorsSuperheroBad Days
Legion of Net.HeroesThe NinetiesNeopets
A World of Laughter, a World of TearsWeb Original FictionBrennus

alternative title(s): The Academy Of Superheroes; The Academy Of Superheroes Universe; ASH Universe; The ASH Universe; Academy Of Superheroes
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