Note: Spoilers for events prior to and during individual Moments of Awesome below are unmarked.
- In 2.8, Bitch had just ordered her dogs to hurt Taylor to scare her off from joining the Undersiders, but despite being bitten bad enough to need stitches, and despite knowing Bitch has the ability to turn her dogs into huge monsters, Taylor refuses to back down. Instead, she charges across the room, knocks Bitch over before she can give a command to her dogs, and kicks the crap out her.note Something that actually earns Bitch's respect for the sheer guts it took to do that. In 2.9, Regent agrees.Alec: That was awesome, you know. I didn't think you had it in you to kick someone's ass.
- Taylor endures severe bullying at school, made worse by the fact that one of her chief tormentors is her former best friend, who inexplicably turned on her and made her life hell. Finally, in 5.3, she encounters Emma with her dad at a store, with Emma putting on a fake smile and pretending like nothing is wrong. What does Taylor do? Thinking back to all of the fake smiles she was given by her, she shocks herself by instantly punching her in the face and knocking her on her ass!
- During the fight with Oni Lee at the warehouse in 5.7, Oni Lee takes advantage of the temporary nature of his duplicates to pull Coil's sniper off the roof of a three story building — and the sniper breaks his leg upon landing. And, shortly afterwards, takes advantage of Skitter's ability to track Oni's teleports to nail him twice before Oni flees.
- In 5.9, Taylor has a rematch with Lung, a villain who becomes more powerful and harder to beat as he fights and has already taken down her allies. Lung is extremely pissed at her for terrible injuries in their first encounter. He begins to toy with her, not taking her or her power seriously. Taylor tells him not to underestimate her, and has a cockroach smash a caterpillar covered in a very powerful hallucinogen in his eye, briefly incapacitating him. Before he can recover and attack, she slowly and methodically CUTS OUT HIS EYES WITH A KNIFE knowing that it will take weeks for him to regenerate them.
- The Forsberg Gallery ambush had a series of these.
- In 6.5, Armsmaster and Miss Militia stopping the Undersider's ambush-them-and-foam plan cold."You were moving like you could see in my darkness," Grue spoke, a note of wariness in his echoing voice."I've studied your powers," Armsmaster told us, tapping the butt of his weapon on the ground. Every bug within fifteen feet of him dropped out of the sky, dead. "This was over from the moment you stepped into the room."
- In 6.6, after the Undersiders use Tattletale's tip to maneuver Armsmaster into letting Regent disable Miss Militia, Skitter takes out Velocity ... and Armsmaster takes on Bitch, Grue, and Tattletale simultaneously, and wins.
- ...whereupon Bitch passes the ball to Skitter, who lures Armsmaster onto the balcony and gives him one last chance to cooperate with her undercover-hero plan.Armsmaster considered for a moment."No," he answered me."No?""Don't expect anything other than a prompt arrest for you and your companions for your antics tonight," he shook his head, "A bird in the hand, after all..."He gave me a little shake, as if to make it clear just who the bird was.I took a deep breath, "You were right, Armsmaster.""Of course," he spoke, absently, pushing me against the railing with one hand. His grappling hook released me, reconfiguring into what I suspected was the same setup that had fixed Lung to the ground with bars of stainless steel, back in my first day in costume. It was shaped like a rectangle, and there were two 'u' shaped bands of metal with electricity arcing around them, the tips of each 'u' glowing hot enough to melt against any surface."This was over from the moment we stepped into the room," I finished.Nearly seven hundred hornets exploded from underneath my panels of armor, all latching onto him, biting and stinging relentlessly, flowing underneath his visor, into his helmet, his nose, mouth and ears. Some even crawled down beneath his collar, to his shoulders and chest.
- In 6.5, Armsmaster and Miss Militia stopping the Undersider's ambush-them-and-foam plan cold.
- In 7.3, Bitch's hideout is threatened by the Empire Eighty-Eight and Taylor is caught without her costume. So she surrounds herself with carefully directed insects, which not only conceals her identity but intimidates her opponents with a creepy-looking bulletproofnote human-shaped swarm and scares them off.
- In 8.3, Clockblocker — a seventeen-year-old kid with no Healing Factor, Super Toughness, Super Strength, or even, you know, range to his powers — puts the freeze on Leviathan. Unstoppable force? Congratulations, you are now an immovable object.
- To elaborate on "no range"; he had to touch Leviathan. He had to touch the house-sized, bullet-fast Leviathan.
- In 8.4, Armsmaster's one-on-one fight against Leviathan, in which he uses his fighting style HUD and his nanotechnological cutting blade to deal more damage to Leviathan than any other hero had ever done. That he lost, not knowing what Tattletale did about Leviathan's anatomy, and that he set up the duel by arranging for a host of local villains, including Skitter, to die, doesn't change how badass what he accomplished truly was.
- Leviathan feigns weakness while bringing water in through the storm drains - coming up with a new tactic to overcome its movements being predicted.
- In 8.5, Leviathan has shrugged off the damage dealt by many of the strongest parahumans in the setting and is now attacking a shelter full of civilians. Nobody else is around and her tracker is broken. Skitter is heavily injured, already considered a villain and the civilians include a teacher who stood by as her life was made a living hell. She refuses to be like the teacher who stood by and attacks, saving many lives.
- After she discovers Shadow Stalker's true identity, Taylor refuses to seek revenge. So in Interlude 10, after Regent has taken control of her for a mission, he fakes driving her out of town for his team. In actual fact he puts her through a Humiliation Conga by exposing all her misdeeds that he can to the police and teachers,revealing her nature to her family, and then culminating in nearly having her kill herself, all because she messed with his teammate (including nearly slitting her throat) and he knows she'd never do it herself.
- Better, Regent's actions are what finally gets Emma Barnes hers
- In 11.3, how Skitter drives off the Merchants invading her new territory. She could have taken them out in an instant, but takes her time to freak them out to show what happens to anyone stupid enough to attack her territory. They didn't take her power to control bugs seriously, and laugh at a figure made of bugs until it dogpiles one of them, and he starts screaming hysterically while being mauled by the swarm. Then they realize that they are surrounded by creepy, humanoid figures made of bugs, that are completely immune to their weapons. Epic ass kicking ensues with highlights including letting one of them "escape" before cornering him and very slowly advancing her bugs on him. He lets out a primal scream just as they attack. Another involves a Merchant that intended to use gasoline to burn the buildings of her people, who she scares her into spilling it all over herself and moves a slow moving army of beetles carrying lit matches toward her as she desperately tries to get away. Cut back to Skitter in her lair calmly drinking tea as the Merchants are getting torn apart.
- In Interlude 11b, Theo Anders, a dumpy fifteen-year-old kid with no powers, is trapped in his stepmother Purity's apartment with Jack Slash, who is casually making conversation while he waits for the chance to kill Theo and Aster right in front of Purity. Theo convinces Jack Slash to let them go so Theo can become a hero capable of facing Jack Slash in battle.Jack Slash: What would you do to people like me, then? Let's say you got powers. Would you right wrongs, lecture schoolchildren on doing what's right, and see bad guys like me carted off to the Birdcage?
Theo [looking Jack dead in the eye]: People like you? I'd kill. Sir.
- Armsmaster's "The Reason You Suck" Speech at Mannequin's Not So Different implication when the latter tries to recruit him.You want to compare us, freak? Maybe we both had bad days. Days where nothing went right, days where we were too slow, too stupid, too weak, unprepared or tired. Days well look back on for the rest of our fucking miserable lives, wondering what we would have done different, what we could have done better, how things could have played out. The difference between us is that I actually did something with my life, and Im still trying to do more while I serve my sentence! He stopped and took a breath. You started your big projects, got every fucking person in the world to get their hopes up, and then you failed to finish anything because you couldnt hack it when your fucking family got killed! You insult their fucking memories every motherfucking second you exist like this!
- In 12.5, Skitter warning everyone her power will reach — hundreds of people at a time — that Shatterbird is about to sing at the same time she tries to run home to protect her dad.
- In 12.6 and 12.7, Skitter fights Mannequin of the Slaughterhouse Nine, a tinker who has drastically modified his body, a tinker whose specialty is in ecosystems (which, naturally, includes insects), a tinker who is so nimble he can dodge between the insects in her swarm, a tinker who has just murdered two paramedics and a doctor in front of her. Skitter, Taylor, unbelievably angry at her people being hurt, tells him that she will make him pay, and the most grueling, vicious, and nail biting fight yet seen in the series ensues. Even though she is obviously outmatched—her bugs being unable to do anything to him, and her hand-to-hand skills being able to do less—she spends two full minutes fighting him mano-a-mano, with her costume being the only thing keeping her alive ... because keeping him occupied for those two minutes was the only way to execute her real plan: binding his limbs with spider dragline silk, covering his joints and sensors with glue and dyes, and jamming his blades with spare scraps of spider silk cloth. A plan which works so well that it costs him a head and an arm before he, trying to lunge at her, falls over in a heap as his joints seize up. Skitter, broken, beaten, in extreme pain, and so exhausted that she can barely stand, promptly asks him if he wants to keep going. He—one of the most feared villains in the setting—looks at her, weighs his options, and runs the fuck away.
- Mannequin's body modifications are so extreme that he is a nine-foot-tall robot with fairly tough armor, an ungodly range of motion and limbs he can launch dozens of feet away, no blind spot to speak of, superhuman strength, and retractable blades absolutely goddamn everywhere. Skitter, armed with only a knife and no stronger or faster than any normal human, fights this abomination for two minutes, hand-to-hand.
- And an extra moment of pure awesome for a completely normal human man—no powers, no military training—who, rather than scrambling to stay out of harm's way with the rest of the terrified civilians, steps up to help Skitter by dragging Mannequin's head towards a tangle of metal beams so Skitter can secure it. And a few moments later, when Skitter picks up a cinder block to use on the head, and is forced to drop it by another of Mannequin's attacks, this guy steps his awesome up again by grabbing the cinder block and starting to smash the head to pieces with it.
- In 13.3, Mannequin has just returned for a rematch with Skitter and the Undersiders, this time with his body designed to counter everything Skitter used to beat him the first time. He loses, hard, again.
- In 13.7, when Cherish starts revealing chunks of her past to screw with her, Tattletale responds by calmly reading her opponent for every single piece of information Cherish intended for use as leverage and smirks at how stupid she was.
- In 13.9, when the rest of the Undersiders and some of the Travelers have been captured by the Nine during their rescue attempt, Bonesaw is picking out ones to keep and ones to kill when Grue — paralyzed, vivisected, and almost helpless — has a second trigger event, kills Burnscar, and rescues them.
- An offscreen one for Marquis in Prey 14.10, as Jack Slash admits that he was unable to break him the last time he was in Brockton Bay.
- In Interlude 14, Skitter rescues Sierra and Charlotte from some traitorous minions and we finally see an outsider perspective on Taylor. She is described as a terrifying figure with a face covered in a shifting mass of bugs, who speaks in a voice of the legion, and casually describes how she can rot the flesh off of people. We know that Taylor was bluffing, but you realize just how scary she can be when she casually asks "Hand or knee?".
- In retrospect, this becomes more awesome. One of the aforementioned thugs helped cause Emma's start of darkness, which in turn led to Taylor becoming Skitter. Taylor indirectly got revenge on one of the people who helped make her life hell and she doesn't even know it.
- How the PRT took down Crawler: they told him they were going to hit him with everything they had, including weapons that Bakuda had designed, and Crawler laughed and stood there and took it. Only it turned out that there are some things even Crawler can't regenerate from.
- In 15.2, the Undersiders take on the Chosen and kick their ass so badly, they force them to pay a tax for daring to enter their new territory — i.e. the entire city. Special mention goes to Imp, who intimidates the hell out of the Chosen. You know you're scary when you can freak out a woman who can turn into an unstoppable monster.
- In a display of resolve and awesome from 15.7, Skitter is seen casually administrating her territory and conversing with Parian through a swarm clone (successfully persuading Parian to join the Undersiders)... All while she is receiving surgery without the proper tools, operating room, or surgeon, to remove a spike that Flechette had stuck through her arm and fused to the bone.
- While a few don't agree with how far she went to get the Mayor to support them, no one can deny how amazing Skitter was when she, Trickster, and Genesis were sent to intimidate him.
- In 15.8, right after she uses Atlas to steal the phone that Rory Christner (the son of the mayor) was using to try to signal for help, she realizes that the people they're threatening aren't reacting correctly, channels Tattletale's approach, and with minutes deduces that Rory and his girlfriend are both superheroes.Whatever it was, he must have looked up at the words I'd written, because Rory noticed. He whipped his head around to see, and I couldn't disperse the bugs fast enough.
'Triumph' written on the wall with bugs with a triangle beneath, pointing at his head. Above his 'girlfriend' were the words 'Prism or Ursa'.
- In 15.9, after Triumph has taken out both Trickster and Genesis, Skitter — with no advance warning that any superheroes would be present — calmly comes up with clever strategies and tactics on the fly in response to the powers of Triumph and Prism both, easily winning what should have been a tough fight and giving Triumph an absolutely brutal takedown.
- In 15.8, right after she uses Atlas to steal the phone that Rory Christner (the son of the mayor) was using to try to signal for help, she realizes that the people they're threatening aren't reacting correctly, channels Tattletale's approach, and with minutes deduces that Rory and his girlfriend are both superheroes.
- In 16.1, the heroes have begun a counterattack against the Undersiders and the Travelers with seven massive armored suits designed by the greatest Tinker in the world. In 16.2, Skitter makes her amazing debut as the new leader of the Undersiders by bringing the fight to the heroes. Using a great synergy of powers and tactics, they take on the entire Protectorate team with Skitter and Trickster taking out half of them by themselves. Her plan culminates in the kidnapping of the director of the PRT and temporarily shutting down the Dragon suits, giving them leverage to get their teammates back.
- In 16.5, Skitter takes on the Azazel suit. The most sophisticated machine ever devised by both Armsmaster and Dragon to fight the Slaughterhouse Nine and the Endbringers, armed with nanomachines that can turn steel into vapor. She beats it with a lighter by using its own programming against it.
- In 16.11, when Skitter has just been betrayed by Coil, who teleported her into a building surrounded with a small army of heavily armed mercenaries, shot her, and set the building on fire. In agony, choking on smoke, and with the only escape covered by soldiers - oh, and having been blinded by an explosion she'd been caught in that very same day - she forces herself to think calmly and plan out a attack. She uses cockroaches to eat the wires of their lights, has her bugs form into humanoid figures to act as decoys to draw their fire, uses bugs and spider silk to pull the pins of grenades of soldiers, and engages in psychological warfare by talking through her swarm to freak out/disorient the soldiers creating complete chaos. She then attacks a solider from behind (after having her bugs whisper "Behind you", just as they have been for the past several minutes), forcing bugs down his throat and nose while she beats the crap of him, steals his keys, and escapes in all of the chaos. Special mention goes to the fact that Coil has to specifically order and remind the soldiers not to use grenades, implying that in another reality she caught them with her bugs and threw them back. She probably already killed Coil in another reality and she doesn't even know it!
- Most impressively, Coil had this house specifically prepared ahead of time to be the ultimate deathtrap for Skitter. He had weeks of prep time at least to set up the house and arrange for the other parahumans in his employ to get ready to drop her. He had his men specifically drilled in how to lock down the building and how they were to fight, retreat, and seal it off to prevent Skitter from escaping. He was so prepared that he even took special spider antivenin because he knew Skitter would try to poison him, and had things set up so that the Undersiders wouldn't notice when he teleported Skitter out of sight. All of this preparation, training, and buildup, and Skitter still beat his men and escaped.
- The most astounding part of this ordeal is that this was the worst possible outcome for Skitter of two possible universes. Implied by Coil's power which allows him to effectively split reality into two parallel timelines, and pick which one persists and which is voided at any time.
- In 16.13, after she reunites with the other Undersiders and briefs them on what happened, their attempted ambush is turned and they are surrounded by Coil's other villains and his entire army of mercenaries. Taylor negotiates for Coil to show them Tattletale to prove that he hasn't killed her. Then he orders his men to fire. Cue the Reveal:
- Tattletale and Taylor always knew that he would betray them and planned for it. Tattletale used her ability to manipulate Coil to gather large amounts of money that he knew nothing about and lead him to spend a large fraction of his funds on rebuilding the city and buying info from the Dragonslayers. Then she simply went to all of his mercenaries and offered to double their fee for simply doing nothing and working for her. She only wanted to wait until he used his ability to split off realities in front of them where he couldn't escape. When Coil offers to triple their funds, Tattletale gleefully points out he doesn't have it and he should have remembered that mercenaries always follow the money...
- ...and Taylor takes advantage of the discontent of the Travelers to turn Ballistic to their side, and he and Imp incapacitate the rest of his former team. The confrontation ends when Taylor, always knowing that this might happen and mentally preparing herself for it, shoots Coil in the head and finally rescues Dinah. With a single bullet, the Undersiders officially become the complete and utter rulers of the Underworld in Brockton Bay.
- Taylor's Batman Gambit to prove to the Undersiders she didn't betray them. When Brian asks her why, she tells him to use his powers on her. Brian does so, and in doing so learns that Coil was artificially replicating Taylor's powers with technology.
- When the Undersiders discover that Noelle has been set loose, Skitter is coming off the wake of being caught and blinded in an explosion, shot thrice (admittedly while wearing her bullet-resistant spidersilk costume), being trapped in a burning building, falling out the window of said burning building, and getting kicked in the chest by Imp. In the words of Saintsant commenting on 19.2, she then "proceeds to give not even the vestigial shadow of a fuck." Quick stop at a hospital for a checkup, quick dropping off of Dinah at home, and then she leads her team right up to the Protectorate and Wards to volunteer for the fight against the second-deadliest opponent she's ever faced.
- In Interlude 18 (Donation Bonus #2), Peter Gosley, a lowly grad student studying parahumans, gets cornered by a pair of supervillains and told that if he doesn't solve the problem of how to induce trigger events — a problem which has been studied for thirty years without real fruit — right then and there within the next five minutes, he will be killed. And then he does.Peter: I can't even think straight under this pressure!
Justin [i.e. Crusader]: I imagine you feel very similar to someone about to have a trigger event. Maybe that will inspire something or fill in the blanks for some half-baked idea you had once.
Peter: I don't... There's isolation.
Justin: An isolation chamber?
Peter [shaking his head]: No. More basic. Its a common trend. People who have trigger events, they don't usually have a good support system. Their family, their friends, they tend to fail them, or be the cause of the problem. I... I wrote a paper a while back about how Masters tend to have loneliness as part of their trigger events, and how maybe that was why Masters tend to be villains. Because you need support and social pressure to be more of a good guy. My professor then, the guy who I work for now, Dr. Wysocki, he tore me to pieces. Too many other parahumans have it as part of their history. Isolation. It wasn't enough to suggest a correlation. He said you could call it a common theme for nearly all of the trigger events out there.
- In 19.1, Weld taking advantage of being made of metal to let him literally slice and force his way inside Echidna's monster body to not only save the human hostages but also to rescue Bitch's dogs.
- In 19.6, Echidna and her hero-clones have killed, injured, or captured the majority of the heroes on hand to fight her. The Eidolon-clone has just broadcast to everyone in the field all of Cauldron's dirtiest secrets to distract them from the fight. But Skitter has run into Clockblocker being evacuated from the field ... and comes up with a perfect, multi-layered bluff to fool Noelle into charging into a Clockblocker-frozen floating line of spider-silk that acts as an airborne Razor Floss, which she also uses to help destroy the Eidolon-clone. Quite possibly her biggest CMOA of the series.
- In 19.7, Tattletale uses the combined powers of Scrub and Labyrinth to tear open a hole between universes. In one stroke, she locates a safe place to dump Echidna where she can't harm anyone, helps the Travelers go back home to Earth Aleph, and saves Brockton Bay from being condemned by creating the opportunity for the city to become the first major interdimensional trade center, which will make the city famous, improve the economy and motivate the government to help restore the city, give people jobs, and incidentally make the Undersiders tons of money because they own the land the portal is based on. Oh, and by doing so, she's outsmarted the Protectorate and some of the most famous superheroes in the world, including the legendary Alexandria.
- In Interlude 19, Blasto is stuck in his lab with Defiant and Bonesaw, who are intent on killing the other. Bonesaw tells Blasto that if Defiant kills her, Blasto will certainly die. Blasto's response?Blasto: Okay.
- In 20.3, Emma Barnes — back in town, back at school, and with a brand-new Girl Posse at her back — steps in Taylor's way and tries to re-establish their old relationship of bully and victim by attacking all of Taylor's old vulnerabilities, climaxing with a claim that her father blames her for causing her mother's death. In the face of which Taylor not merely keeps her cool, but needles Emma so badly that Emma is left resorting to what by Taylor's scale is a pathetically weak show of violence to try to regain the upper hand. Game. And. Match. When Emma tries to play the "my daddy's a lawyer" card, the principal just says "Then I guess we'll have a great many discussions in the future" before telling her to get the hell out of her office.
- In 20.4, Taylor sets up her escape from the school, taking out two superheroes in the process — an escape which would have gone perfectly were it not for the sudden arrival of Defiant. One of the heroes in particular seems to have been brought in to specifically counter her power, and she still captures him with pathetic ease.
- 20.5. Taylor is cornered in front of a cafeteria full of high school students by Defiant, Dragon, and Clockblocker. Dragon has just outed her to everyone present (including Emma). Defiant is wrecking any bugs she tries to bring into the room. She doesn't have her costume, and against Defiant, having the costume probably wouldn't even help. Then she notices that they are being extremely cautious, to the point that Defiant doesn't let Clockblocker approach just in case she has something up her sleeve. Involuntarily, despite having no idea how she will escape, she smiles (to Clockblocker's dismay). She then lays out for everyone how morally debased the Protectorate's orders to the heroes are and asks those who side with her to stand. A third of the students in the room — over a hundred people — stand up. Finally, she escapes via peaceable protest: the students walk with her en masse out of the school, preventing the heroes from stopping her exit for fear of injuring them. With, according to Defiant, the odds having been ninety-six point eight percent against her escape.
- A subtle one in the subsequent interlude: When the PRT are debriefing and watching the news report on what happened, the Director points out that Defiant and Dragon could have contained some of the damage if they'd cut off the press and deleted phone footage of the incident. Defiant, once a man so obsessed with image and glory and looking good that he broke the hero-villain truce to give him an edge against Leviathan, simply says "We won't ignore people's First Amendment rights." A marvelously subtle burn for the PRT that also shows how far Defiant has come.
- In Imago 21.1, Skitter takes Bitch and Tattletale (who doesn't even help fight) to go make a point to the PRT about the inadvisability of screwing with the Undersiders. Four superheroes and an entire building full of people trained to deal with capes, and the trio make the lot of them look like total chumps. On purpose.Skitter: There are heroes on their way back from patrol, your guys called them in. But there's also news teams on the way here. We called those guys in. They'll find your employees covered in welts, every PRT van damaged or trashed. Your employees won't be able to get any cars out of the parking lot, so they'll have to walk, which will make for some photo opportunities. A handful of heroes will be a bit the worse for wear. You can try running damage control, but some of it's bound to hit the news.
- In 21.3, Skitter, Regent, and Imp head out to deal with the Fallen and Haven. Eligos? Dropped three stories. Rosary? Forced to Kneel Before Zod in exchange for being allowed to take the Fallen prisoners after the Undersiders captured them. Valefor? Well, his power works through his gaze, right?Skitter: It's about using fear as a tool. The unknown is always better than the known. Silence is better than almost anything we could say. For example, you can leave them wondering just why Valefor's power didn't work on you. And consider the reaction when they realize just why he's blind. Maggots packed into his eyeballs.
- In 21.6, defeating the Teeth, including Butcher — a villain whom one dares not kill because killing the current Butcher means becoming the next ... and being driven insane by the voices of all the prior Butchers in your head. So: they kill her using Cherish.
- Interlude 21 (Donation Bonus #1): The Number Man — previously known as "the supervillain's banker" and "the predictor of effects of Cauldron doses" — fighting the prisoner whose blows destroy concrete and steel like it was nothing ... by predicting every region in which said blows might fall and being not there, every time.
- In Cell 22.1, a casual mention is thrown out that Skitter is rated as a Master 8, Thinker 1. Bear in mind that this is pretty much a 10-point scale. Then Tagg mentions that he's warned all his officers to treat her as two points higher across the board. Brute 2, Mover 2, and so on... and Master 10. When Skitter's on the loose, the PRT are concerned about her. When she surrenders to them, they become terrified.
- And (according to this official PRT document) what do they consider an appropriate response to anyone with a Master ranking of above 9? "Inter-city missiles and other large-scale munitions may be authorized, depending on the situation."
- Also in Cell 22.1, Director Tagg tries to threaten Dinah Alcott into cooperating. She responds by by stating, "The last thing I want is another arrogant dickface telling me what to do," and telling him his chances of dying painfully within the next 20 years — about 22.813%. Which leads to...
- "Not a promise, not an oath, or a malediction or a curse," I said, sounding calm, probably inaudible in the midst of Tagg's screaming. "Inevitable. Wasn't that how she put it? I told them. Warned them." —Cell 22.4, spoken while Taylor Hebert takes down freakin' Alexandria, in what is arguably the biggest CMOA in the entire series.
- In Interlude 22 (Donation Bonus #1), Lung, the very first villain that Taylor beat, shows us why he was so feared: he was at Kyushu, where he fought Leviathan and drove him off, something that normally takes Scion.
- 23.1 — When meeting some of the Wards and Protectorate, Weaver gets mocked by Jouster, the captain of the New York Wards. Clockblocker finds this amusing. Simultaneously a Crowning Moment of Funny and Awesome.Jouster: A lot of hassle for a little girl.
[Clockblocker starts chuckling.]
Hoyden: She beat Alexandria. He's laughing because you're putting down the girl who killed Alexandria.
- Later, Weaver gets sent out on a mission with other members of the Wards as a trial run to assess her powers. The other Wards arrange things so that they knock out all opposition before she can enter the room, specifically so she couldn't show what she was capable of. Unfortunately for them, a villain with soporific powers had disguised herself as an unpowered civilian, just waiting until the entire attack team was in the room. Fortunately for them, Weaver was on the attack team.Clockblocker: You kicked their asses with butterflies.
Weaver: I cheated. The butterflies are superficial, decorative.
Clockblocker: No, no, no. If anyone asks, you kicked their asses with butterflies.
- Number Man mentions in his Interlude that his power works better at range, and he proves it in Drone 23.2 by defeating the heroes, including Weaver, by keeping them down with his sniper skills, even incapacitating Rime.
- In Crushed 24.2 Weaver and Contessa meet face to face and have a confrontation, with Contessa curbstomping her and the Chicago Wards.
- In 24.4, there is an entire series of these:
- First, Weaver's Patrick Stewart Speech convincing Phir Sē to work with the heroes when he fires his "time bomb" instead of just ignoring them.Phir Sē: You are asking me to have faith.
Weaver: Let me go, Phir Sē. You said you have to stake something that matters on a gamble. Stake your doubt.
Phir Sē: I do not understand this. My English—
Weaver: It's not your English; what I'm saying doesn't make a lot of sense. But your doubt, your lack of faith, it's something safe. No disappointments, no fear things won't work out. Risk that. Risk losing that. I did, when I became a hero.
Phir Sē: Not such a hero. Bargain with the madman, turn on an ally.
Weaver: I'm realizing I'm a pretty lousy hero. But I'm trying. I made a leap of faith. I'm asking you to as well.
- In response, Phir Sē gives her a teleport back towards the action with a fifteen minute deadline. In that fifteen minutes, she unites the Chicago Wards, the Undersiders, and the remaining members of both the Protectorate and the Yàngbǎn to deliver the blow needed to distract Behemoth and to give Eidolon the chance to set up the field to contain Phir Sē's blast.
- ...during which Regent, seeing that Imp has been caught almost out in the open rescuing a member of the Yàngbǎn and is about to be killed by Behemoth's flamethrower, decides that just won't do.
- Finally, the result of the blast. Behemoth, the herokiller, the first Endbringer ... reduced to a skeleton, stripped of everything outside his core.
- First, Weaver's Patrick Stewart Speech convincing Phir Sē to work with the heroes when he fires his "time bomb" instead of just ignoring them.
- In Interlude 24:
- As the heroes prepare to make their last stand, Chevalier recovers consciousness, struggles to his feet, enlists Tattletale's help to put his armor back on, and goes out to take one last shot at Behemoth — gambling on Usher's power to protect him as he closes. He breaks the Endbringer's injured leg back off before his final strike at the core hits some kind of anti-power effect.
- But after Chevalier's final desperate attack is thwarted, Scion finally shows up, just in time to intercept Behemoth before he can vanish. The rest of the fight can be summarized with Endbringer. Down.
- In Interlude 24 (Donation Bonus #1) and Scarab 25.1, Glenn Chambers, former Head of Image, sacked for leaking Weaver's Behemoth footage, lets Weaver know that it will be down to her to be the harbinger of the new Protectorate and Wards — a Protectorate freed from its corrupt foundations, free to be the force it needs to be — and he tells her that it will be down to her to find an opportunity to make a high-profile play, one that won't get her sacked but will still shake the status quo ... and then to follow up on it, again and again, until the metamorphosis of the organization is won.
Six months later, in 25.3, she makes her move.
- Target: the Folk, a criminal organization predating capes and still running strong, existing as a middleman allowing inimical gangs to still do business, and making stacks of money doing it. An organization that had crossed the lines fighting back when the Chicago Protectorate got in its path. The goal: Curb-Stomp Battle.
- Step 1: an eight-hour stakeout, tracking the members of the organization from late afternoon towards midnight, with the Director watching for any excuse he can use to pull the plug, waiting for Revel to get on duty and force the Director to allow the go-ahead. Done.
- Step 2: a soft entry to the apartment building housing the Folk's operations, carrying a supply of bugs in an insulated box. As soon tried as accomplished; dial the number for an apartment, let her bugs push the necessary buttons for the entry code on said apartment's phone.
- Step 3: infiltrate the Folk's apartment with the insects and cut off all enemy comms. Simple: every time a cell phone was left unattended, insects would sweep out and deposit it in the most convenient inaccessible location, concluding with the leader, Topsy's, phone being thrown in the sink full of water.
- Step 4 (contemporaneous with Step 3): deny the use of winter clothes, prepatory to driving the Folk out into the cold. Insects, spider silk, little bit of capsaicin ... straightfoward.
- Step 5: Wreck their stores until caught, then harry them until they attempt to evacuate (without, of course, the benefit of aforementioned communications or winter garb). Again, straightforward.
- Step 6: Render their transport useless. With Cuff and a piece of chain, spike strips tear up the tires of their trucks. Done.
- Step 7: Evade their attempt to counterattack, circle around, prevent the use of powers to remobilize the trucks for leaving. Assigned to Cuff with Weaver's flight pack; she one-shots the truck that Folk cape Mockshow had converted into golem form, escapes before the others can take her down.
- Step 8: Block their escape when they give up on moving their merch and attempt a retreat. Combination of Golem hands and Tecton walls blocking off the entire streets they would use.
- Step 9: Prevent them from finding shelter. Accomplished with a single phone call to the Folk-affiliated restaurant they hid in, a flood of insects into the first storefront they broke into, and Annex, opening the doors of the second ... and accepting their surrender.
- Step 10, after their detention: take advantage of the empty interrogation room to warn Mockshow — the youngest, newest, most susceptible to influence — of the upcoming apocalypse, and to drive her towards joining either the Wards or the Undersiders.
- Step 11: use the Mayor's interest in the good PR associated with eliminating local villains to maneuver the Director into allowing an entire series of followup strikes that just so happen to have already been planned out by Weaver and Tecton, strikes which surely can be coordinated with the Protectorate and local police, strikes for which funding can undoubtedly be found given the strong precedent set by the night's operation ... and strikes which, by pure coincidence, give Taylor a chance to recruit more Mockshows into the teams preparing for the apocalypse.
- Taylor calling out Doctor Mother on Cauldron's actions in Scarab 25.5.
- Contessa subverting Bonesaw with two sentences, two years before Jack can even wake up in Interlude 25
- In Sting 26.1, Imp murdering a Stranger member of the Nine with the power to make people ignore him and think of him as a bystander.Imp: My schtick.
- In 26.2, Golem and Wanton taking on Crimson of the Slaughterhouse Nine and distracting him for long enough that he was unable to stop Golem from crushing the building that Cherish and Screamer were in. Then Golem uses Kaiser's forest of blades technique to entrap Crimson until Foil can arrive and kill him.
- In Sting 26.3:
- Weaver needs to keep Eidolon from interfering with their attack on the Slaughterhouse clones inside a building full of hostages. How does she keep him busy? She threatens him. And one of the most powerful capes in the world stops and listens.
- It's just one line, easy to skim over, but Golem announcing that he's about to singlehandedly take on multiple Slaughterhouse clones - any one of which would be a grave threat to whole teams of heroes - sets up an Offscreen Moment of Awesome. We never learn how he did it, but he obviously did.
- There are several in Sting 26.5:
- The New York and Texas teams are suffering horrific losses at the hands of Nyx, Psychosoma and Night Hag. Until Number Man and Contessa appear out of nowhere and shoot them all dead.
- We finally see what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object as Siberian and Clockblocker's powers short each other. The Thanda then proceed to drop a skyscraper on top of the Mantons.
- The Harbinger clones curb-stomping a good chunk of the main cast in Interlude 26a.
- In that mess, we briefly get a mention of one Dragon's Teeth officer holding his own even as the capes around him are getting beaten.
- In Interlude 26b:
- Foil throws her rapier through Hookwolf's core to kill him.
- The anonymous member of the Dragon's Teeth, chosen specifically to be the one hero sent in to be the crucial distraction to Jack Slash and Gray Boy.
- Foil using her Required Secondary Power of super-timing to bluff Gray Boy into dropping his guard so she could kill him with darts from behind.
- All throughout, Golem using Dinah's predictions to make a successive of moves, culminating in his final defeat of Jack Slash.
- Interlude 26.
- The above-mentioned Harbinger clones? Contessa and their original show up and easily take three down, causing the remaining five to give up.
- A particularly horrifying one: Jack, caught in an endless repetition of torture and pain, casually talks Scion into ending the human race by understanding how his alien mind works.
- Extinction 27.3. Pretty much all the surviving heroes, villains and most of the Birdcage inmates gather to fight the end of the world. They all stand there letting old grudges go just to do one last thing.
- Taylor's confrontation with Sophia. Sophia tries to needle Taylor, claiming credit for what Taylor's become. Taylor holds her own against Sophia, for once being in a position of power over her tormentor. Eventually she manages to persuade Sophia to work for her. Yes. Taylor gets the social darwinist jerkass to work for her.
- Extinction 27.5. When Scion makes a sphere of destruction over the oil rig where the heroes were stationed, Taylor is cut in half while falling after throwing herself off the platform. She manages nevertheless to sufficiently break her fall not to die hitting the water, activate Lab Rat's Emergency Transformation device, and rejoin the fight — and still try to keep fighting even when the transformation is wearing off and her organs are falling out of her abdominal cavity.
- Also in 27.5, Glaistig Uaine and Eidolon actually being able to fight Scion.
- In Eidolon's Interlude, Eidolon and Glaistig Uaine continue fighting Scion and Glaistig Uaine is finally able to get Eidolon to realize how to restore his powers by draining those of living capes. Now at full power for the first time in years, he and Glaistig Uaine force Scion to retreat, jumping to parallel worlds and continually damaging him, until finally Scion is forced to manifest Contessa's ability at great cost to himself in order to win.
- Cockroaches 28.4 Taylor and Tattletale have formed a ragtag gang of pretty much everyone they can to help fight Scion, and when that isn't enough, they go convince the Endbringers to join the cause.
- The Undersiders direct the Simurgh to attack a settlement containing the Yangban. There is precisely one civilian fatality, because she was told not to kill anyone and decided to show the Undersiders she wasn't taking orders from them.
- In Interlude 28, Chevalier shutting down Ingenue's attempt to seduce him into giving her free rein.
- In Venom 29.3 the Dragon's Teeth are able to evade all of Scion's usual attacks, forcing him to pull out a whole new power to stop them.
- The fight in Venom 29.6 against the Case 53 lynch mob includes Taylor killing Mantellum, who had defeated Contessa offscreen.
- In Venom 29.7, Scion not even bothering to notice the Siberian's attacking him, and then popping her as easily as a child might a bubble once he gets annoyed enough.
- Taylor's group actually pissing Scion off and escaping death by crushing in Venom 29.8
- In Interlude 29, Contessa and Doctor Mother (a mentally crippled little girl and a normal, unpowered human) kill Scion's counterpart with a pocket knife, saving every possible Earth.
- In 30.5, Taylor putting Scion on the ropes through the intelligent use of her thralls' powers.
- Also, Foil being able to damage even Scion with her powers.
- In Speck 30.6:
- Scion killing Leviathan despite all the Endbringers attacking him.
- The combined forces of the parahumans killing Scion.
- By pure psychological warfare - he's made himself so human he has human weaknesses. They create so many reminders of his dead partner that he goes catatonic and stops defending.
- Ms. Yamada putting herself alongside the likes of Contessa and Khepri as the third person to personally save the world, by talking Glastig Uaine all the way from casually threatening to kill everyone to becoming a hero - callsign Valkyrie.
- Heck, there are a few hints that her passenger also paid attention to the "living on after your disappointing parental figure has shattered that pedestal" suggestions in the therapy sessions. It certainly grew rather smug about what Riley, Nidbolg, Amy and Valkyrie could do in the future when working together. Worm-shards don't usually manage to wrap what passes for their heads around even nominally non-violent and cooperative group activities. Yet, happy, purring Smugness has done just that to a remarkable extent. And, seems to have plans which may not be centred predominantly around fight-murder-death-kill. Awesome therapist is awesome.
- Imp giving Shadow Stalker a "The Reason You Suck" Speech by pointing out Stalker's Ironic Hell.In the rest of your years, even if you try, which you wont, you wont make a fraction of the difference she made. Youre going to keep living this solitary little hunter-stalker existence, picking off a few bad guys, getting your jollies, and people are never going to wear a badge on their sleeves for you.That badge is not for Hebert.Maybe not for everyone, Imp said. It means different things for different people. A planet they lost, an ordeal they survived, I dunno. But its a reminder of Taylor to me, and its a reminder for you, too. Every time you see it, now, its going to make you think of her, remind you that she did something big.Shadow Stalker drew the crossbow, aiming it, but Imp was already using her power.Shadow Stalker stood there in a daze for a moment, then holstered her crossbow. She fidgeted, pacing back and forth, then snarled aloud, kicking at a lump of snow at the edge of the roof, sending it up in a relatively pitiful flurry.Anger with no outlet.Imp smiled.
- Imp and the Heartbroken 'declawing' a sadistic tyrant. Also counts as Heartwarming, as she specifically did it in a way that would honour her friends' legacies.
- Also a Funny Moment, because it involves the teapot song.
- Defiant freeing Dragon from Teacher's shackles.
- Pandora's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Taylor's evolution throughout the story. She starts out a nervous, bullied, insecure girl who wants to be a hero and slowly turns into a smart, terrifying, badass villain with a code of honor and a fearsome reputation.
- Skitter's management of her territory. Benevolent Boss is too tame a term to describe what she accomplishes — within a couple months, it is by far the best place in town to stay. The in-universe wiki literally rates her five stars.