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The Inscrutable Machine

    Bad Penny 

Penelope Justice Akk/Bad Penny/Penultimate/Meatbag Penny

"I hadn't intended to be a legend as a supervillain, but now The Inscrutable Machine had a reputation to maintain, and a lot of fun to have in the process."

The main viewpoint character, as well as Mad Scientist and leader of the group. She really, really wants to be a hero, but due to some bad luck with Miss A, that becomes less and less likely as the story goes on. Her power lets her intuitively create most anything she desires, though she has difficulty understanding precisely what she does. Her first invention was the Machine, a small insect-like device that wraps around her wrist, designed to recycle anything.


  • The Apprentice: At the end of Henchmen, Spider offers her an apprenticeship (once she turns eighteen) to learn to organize other cities in the same way Spider has done for LA.
  • Ascended Fangirl: She was a major fan of Mech, another super/Mad Scientist. Then she got her own powers. Same type, just much, much stronger.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In terms of raw inventing ability, she may well be the most powerful Mad Scientist of all time, but she still has only a tenuous control over what she ends up making when and can't duplicate her inventions. Not to mention that she's still got no clue how most of her devices work.
  • Bag of Spilling: She has a tendency to lose most of her inventions, culminating in the third book with her still mostly uncontrolled power going on a binge of combining things, leading to all the cool new stuff ending up wedged in a robot-zombie apocalypse machine.
  • Curse: After getting her hands on a powerful artifact, she finds that any pennies she places in it become cursed. The artifact apparently bonded with her, so she's immune, but they make surprisingly potent offensive weapons, especially against magic users.
  • Doomsday Device: She combined her clock-controlling device (upgraded into everything-electronic-controller), her remote control robot, and her purloined universal repairer, resulting in a device that grabs anything technological nearby, combines it into robots and sends them out to find more things to assimilate. Thankfully, it is simply uninterested in organics such as innocent bystanders so danger to them is merely accidental.
  • Evil Laugh: Comes out whenever she's playing Bad Penny.
  • Flash Step: She makes teleporter rings that allow her to do this. They were designed for Ray, hence why they're powered by the user's own stamina, but Penny ends up keeping them because she needs the extra mobility more than he does.
  • It Only Works Once: Her power doesn't like repeating itself, so if she breaks or loses an invention, she generally isn't getting it back.
  • The Leader: Apparently, it's not uncommon for the Mad Scientist to be the leader of super teams. She's definitely the level-headed one of the trio, and her leadership is good enough that Mech assumes the name "the Inscrutable Machine" is a reference to their teamwork rather than their technology.
  • Mad Scientist: Mostly when she's in her Madness Place, but she does admit to enjoying the evil ranting even when she's not using her power. If her father's speculations are to be believed, she may be the most powerful mad scientist since Nikola Tesla and he doesn't even know half of her inventions.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She realizes near the end that nearly everything bad that happened in Moon can be blamed on her. She failed to notice Remmy's jealousy, failed to notice that Juno was Obviously Evil, and just let her power make whatever it wanted without thought of the consequences. If nothing else, she learned not to use biotech any more.
  • Prophetic Name: She got nicknamed Bad Penny in her supervillainy career two heists before she started using actual cursed pennies, as well as without the public knowing her real name is Penny.
  • Refuge in Audacity: She relies on this heavily to prevent people from discovering her identity as Bad Penny. This is especially effective when dealing with her mother, as she analyzes everything based on probabilities. As long as Penelope Akk and Bad Penny being the same person remains a statistical outlier, she can get away with it without the Audit suspecting a thing.
  • Robot Girl: Penny constructs a robot and copies her consciousness into it in the fourth book. At the end of the book, she's stuck inside the robot body.
  • Science Hero: Her inventions form the core of the team in every single way. Her Super Cheerleader Serum gave Ray powers and unlocked Claire's, her energy gloves give Ray his energy blasts, and her sticky gloves and frictionless pads give Claire her battlefield control and mobility.
  • The Spark of Genius: When she tries to put it into words, it all falls apart, but she can still get a handle on what she's doing if she just lets it happen. She also has a lot of difficulty making mundane objects or repeating inventions, which she finds annoying.
  • Stupidity-Inducing Attack: Her cursed pennies make people reckless and stupid. It works best on magic-users (Marvelous forgets to keep her shield up when under its effect), but on more physical types it basically just acts as a Berserk spell. In Moon, she finds them useful when paired with Archimedes, since the pennies also lower mental defenses and allow his mind control to be more effective.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Her middle name is literally Justice. That's what you get for having two superheroes as parents.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: At the end of Nemesis, a mysterious hero named Marianne releases her from her power's trap, but can't do much more because she doesn't know which is the real Penny. Marianne says that if she is the real Penny, she doesn't need any more help than that.

    Reviled 

Ray Viles/Reviled

"I would have expected a bar. I suppose that just shows off how new I am to this."

Penny's male friend, known for his eternal grin and completely out of place British accent. After listening to Penny while she made the Super Cheerleader Serum, he drank the rest, and received impressive enhancements to his strength, agility, and endurance.


  • Abusive Parents: He doesn't really go into detail about his family situation, but it's implied to be so bad that it would probably be best if we and Penny didn't hear about it. Now that he has superpowers, his parents can't really do much to him, but he still can't bear being around them to the point that he spends as little time at home as possible and is seriously considering the possibility of becoming emancipated.
  • The Ace: The Serum made him strong and fast, and he owned those enhancements. He can even take on a master swordsman like Witch Hunter without too much difficulty. He's apparently self-taught, too, and manages to impress Master Scorpion enough to get an offer for training.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: In the third book, Ray encounters one, and winds up as her apprentice by the end of the fourth book.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Subverted. Penny assumes he has a thing for Claire, but he actually likes her. They finally kiss towards the end of the book.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: After he gets his powers, he decides to treat himself to some new clothes, dressing in sleek blacks in both super and civilian identities.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: He always had a perverted side, but it wasn't until he got the serum and a massive confidence boost that he started being vocal about it—but he still didn't actually do anything. Most evident in Moon, when Penny makes him promise to keep a lid on everything, since they'll be stuck in a space the size of a large closet for at least a week. She's a little disappointed he agrees.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: all in black, that is his switch from civilian to supervillain outfit. At least the mask covers most of his face rather than the usual tiny eyeshadow.
  • Co-Dragons: With Claire to Penny.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's not shy about ripping up fence poles and smacking monsters with them when his friends are in danger. After the fight with Witch Hunter (which he won), he notes that challenging a master swordsman to a sword duel was a bad idea, and next time he'll just throw a car at him.
  • Genius Bruiser: He aces every school test in his life and even Penny admired his intelligence before she got hers super-charged.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Whenever there's an attack aimed at one of his teammates you can generally bet that he's already moving to block or get them out of the way.
  • I Should Have Been Better: After the near-disastrous encounter with the thugs sent by the Council of Seven and a Half in Chinatown, he's clearly furious at himself for not being able to fight them off. An older and wiser villain talks him down.
  • Lightning Bruiser: after getting super-serumed he is able to lift cars as well as able to keep up with vehicles while on foot.
  • Morality Chain: he knows that he would slide into worse and worse villainy on his own, so he assigns Penny to keep him in check.
  • Poisonous Friend: Downplayed. He helps push Penny to supervillainy, outright declaring himself "a devil on [her] shoulder", but is still an honest friend (in turn treating Penny as his shoulder angel).
  • Nice Hat: Wears one as part of his supervillain costume.
  • Stepford Smiler: There is something deeply wrong with his home life, but he keeps a smile on at all times.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Penny had to come up with an alias for him on the cuff, so she ended up turning Ray Viles into Reviled.

    E-Claire 

Claire Lutra/E-Claire

"You're not Brian Akk, and you don't have to be. You're Penelope Akk."

Penny's female friend, daughter of the supervillain/hero the Minx. She was well set to inherit her mother's powers, but unintentionally accelerated the process when she begged Penny for a serum to enhance her physical abilities.


  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Claire wants to follow in the footsteps of her famous mother, who was this.
  • Co-Dragons: With Ray to Penny.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Her power, instead of inspiring lust in males, inspires this in everyone. It's helpful, but not as much as you'd think.
  • Fangirl: She loves supers, and follows most of their activities online. This is pretty useful, since she can identify most of the people they fight on sight.
  • Generation Xerox: Penny says she couldn't look more like her mother if she was a clone.
  • The Glomp: She has a tendency to give hugs when excited or happy. Apparently, it's genetic.
  • Heroic Bastard: Her mom has no idea who her father is. Neither of them care.
  • The Minion Master: Penny makes her zombie ragdolls that can consume fabric and cloth to make more of themselves. They obey Claire, and only function within the radius of her power, so there's little danger of a Turned Against Their Masters situation.
  • Power Incontinence: It's very difficult for her to keep a lid on her power. Apparently, Lucyfar stopped over the night she got her powers, and spent ten minutes just watching her sleep before Claire's mom took pity on her and dragged her away.
  • Super Cute Super Powers: Her "Super Cuteness" powers.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: She has some ability to alter her facial features, though the full extent is unknown. Enough that she doesn't have to worry about being recognized, though.
    My stupid mouth acted on automatic. "She almost looks like Claire."
    Dad just chuckled. "She does, doesn't she? I think it was a half-hearted attempt to frame Claire. The name is deliberate, and the costume is a reference to her power. I say 'half-hearted', because if E-Claire were really trying she would hide her face. The first words out of your mother's mouth were 'Her cheekbones are wrong', and her body language was wrong in the first video. She can't even claim to be Claire in makeup."
    Claire Lutra, you little vixen. You knew all along your secret identity was completely safe. Your Mom must have known as well. And if E-Claire couldn't possibly be Claire, then her teammates couldn't be me and Ray. You devious shape-changing vixen, Claire. You'd covered us all.

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Parents

    Brainy Akk 

Brian Akk/Brainy Akk

"Pumpkin, I've done the analyses. She's inherited a tone of voice and sensitivity to electrical currents that allow her to initiate some very complex energy chain reactions with precisely formulated sound wave patterns."

Penny's father, and one of the most well-known super geniuses in the world. Also one of the few capable of understanding his own inventions.


  • Mad Scientist: Subverted. While mundane scientists can't understand anything except his most basic work, he can, which puts him a step above most mad scientists. With effort, he can even write blueprints that normal science and engineering can replicate.
  • Magic Versus Science: He refuses to believe in magic, and repeatedly finds ways to explain it semi-coherently using science. Apparently, this is not an uncommon mindset amongst scientists.
  • Noodle Incident: At the end of Henchmen, some of the other super parents mention a "rampaging groomer" of his.
    Super Mom: At least it left its victims clean and fresh.
    Brian: [muttering] I can't be responsible for user error.
  • Punny Name: His Nom de Guerre, Brainy Akk. Brainiac.
  • Swear Jar: There are two jars in his house. One that he puts a dollar into every time he calls his daughter "Pumpkin," and another he puts five in every time he calls her "Princess." They do little to discourage him. They do, however, allow Penny to afford entertainment.

    The Audit 

Beatrice Benevolent Akk/The Audit

"The person who cares enough to work for what they want, who both thinks and acts and doesn't hesitate? She's the one who wins."

Penny's mother, a retired superheroine who claims to have no powers at all.


  • Awesomeness by Analysis: She can dodge bullets by being where they're not, and when she sees a car chase calls the police to tell them where to set up the road block.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: She insists she has no powers, and that what she does is the same as Sherlock Holmes or a chess grandmaster. Most mundanes don't believe it, but it seems supers largely agree with her.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Penny makes constant references to criminals surrendering rather than fighting her. Bull mentions that she fought him by stuffing sand in his eyes, nose, and ears, tricking him into punching a telephone pole and electrocuting himself, and then hit him with a bus.
  • Living Lie Detector: Only to be expected. Penny gets around it with half-truths and pretending to hide less embarrassing things.
  • Logical Weakness: Her Awesomeness by Analysis abilities fail to detect that her daughter is Bad Penny largely because Penny's power is so crazily strong as to defy all logic or probability. The several false explanations (robot, tech thief, etc) she comes up with are all more likely than the truth, but the truth happens, for once, to be just about the least likely explanation.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Badass Normal genius that puts actual superhuman geniuses to shame, but doesn't realize her daughter is a supervillain. While she does connect the Inscrutable Machine to Penny and her friends, she writes off the similarities as the Inscrutable Machine intentionally styling themselves as Evil Counterparts.

    The Minx 

Misty Lutra/The Minx

"This is the proudest moment of your life so far, Penny. Throw caution to the wind and enjoy it."

Claire's mother, a former supervillain who switched sides before she retired. She has very powerful lust powers and a cheerful demeanor that can be tiring at times.


  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Claire mentions that a lot of her thefts relied on the fact that rich guys tend to assume that a stunning blonde in a bikini has a good reason to hang around.
  • Charm Person: Her power inspires lust and devotion in men.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: She was a thief, and a very good one. It's not clear if agility was part of her powerset, but Penny does note that she's never seen her drop anything.
  • Consummate Liar: She's one of the few people who can tell a bald-faced lie to the Audit and get away with it.
    Penny: Always sounding like you were lying was almost as good a poker face as always sounding sincere.
  • Really Gets Around: Or she used to, anyway. Considering she's a beautiful woman with a seduction ability and a complete lack of shame, this should only be expected. Neither she nor Claire seem to care that they have no idea who Claire's father is.
  • Secret Keeper: She knows that the kids have already come into their powers, and is more than happy to keep it a secret.
  • Stacy's Mom: Not for Penny, but for other characters like Ray. She knows it, too: the phone she gave Robot Penny had the troper namer as the ringtone for her number.
  • Truly Single Parent: She and Claire look so much alike that Penny is not willing to rule out the possibility

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Heroes

    Mech 

Mech

"I hear there's a new mad scientist in LA. Welcome to the brotherhood, sister."

An armored superhero who works very closely with Penny's father, he personally congratulates Penny on her powers flashing for the first time.


  • Ambiguously Brown: He normally wears a helmet and some sort of flight mask underneath, but Penny notes his dark skin tone when he takes them off. She guesses he's Indian, but isn't able to ask.
  • Expy: A pretty clear Iron Man one.
  • Instant Runes: Though he's a pretty pure Science Hero, he's not above using his lasers to carve a binding circle when he's fighting an Eldritch Abomination.
  • The Spark of Genius: The extent of his abilities is unclear, but he mentions that his armor is his first and greatest invention, which he's never been able to truly replicate.

    Miss A 

Marcia Bradley/Miss A/Ouroboros

"I knew there were supervillains' kids mixed in at this school. All I had to do was make the bait too good to resist."

The snotty and condescending head cheerleader, who is also Miss A, sidekick of the Original. She uses a sparkly cheerleader theme in her costume.

She changes significantly in the third book, going back to her natural hair color and obtaining actual superpowers.


  • Abusive Parents: We don't get a look at her home life, so it's unclear if her father is actively abusive or just a demanding stage dad, but either way she eventually snaps and throws him through a wall. The only reason he survived was because there was an emergency room on the other side.
  • Alpha Bitch: Both in and out of costume. At school, she's the leader of the cheer squad, and spends her time bitching at everyone else. In costume, she's snide and overconfident, and seems to think that being a hero means she's justified in doing anything to take down villains.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the third book, she decides she wants to be a supervillain because they get to punch cars whenever they want, make them explode and then walk through the flames and glare at people.
    Penny: Criminy. Marcia actually had more issues.
  • Badass Normal: Implied. The Original is explicitly a normal, and as his sidekick it seems he's training her in dangerous martial arts.
  • The Berserker: Penny notes deliberately impaling herself to deprive her opponent of his weapon as a quintessentially Marcia move. This is partially her personality and partially about balancing her unstable powers, as in some fights when placed in a position where she can't go on the offensive she outright loses consciousness.
  • Blood Knight: Hints of it in the first two books, but it comes out in full force when she gains healing powers in the third. She fights Mourning Dove simply because she thought it would be fun to fight a vampire.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: She likes getting hurt just a tad too much.
  • Elemental Punch: Gains a Casting a Shadow version of these from the Pure Fist scrolls.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: In the third book she manages to obtain super powers by stealing two magical martial arts scrolls and absorbs the powers of both. Which everyone in the field knows is insane, impossible, and fatal. Marcia just keeps not being dead, though.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • What little time she spends interacting with other heroes makes it clear that they don't like her any better than the villains do.
    • In the third book, after going crazy, she loses all her popular friends but forces herself into the new super club. People tolerate her because she really is nicer than she used to be, but she's also really creepy.
  • Immortality: There's lots of immortality symbolism surrounding her new powers, from the light and the dark powers, her mentioning two snakes eating each other in her heart, and her new chosen name of "Ouroboros," but we don't actually know the extent of her abilities.
  • No-Sell: Mourning Dove's life-draining ultimate attack simply adds a third serpent to the two already eating each other inside her heart.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: She borrows a piece of alien technology from someone (probably the Original) both as bait for supervillain kids and to show up everyone else in the science fair.
  • Super Strength: One of the things she gained from the Pure Fist scrolls.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: In the third book, she steals two extremely powerful magical martial arts scrolls, one white and one black. Either one would kill her if she touched it, but she somehow manages to use both of them. It seems like she lets the powers fight each other instead of killing her and just siphons off the excess energy for her powers and healing, but how this works is not examined in depth.

    Ifrit 

Ifrit

"If we don't win, it doesn't matter who we decide is right."

A middle-school boy with fire powers. He gets dragged into the fight with Sharky by Miss A in order to capture the Inscrutable Machine, but his heart clearly isn't in it.


  • By-the-Book Cop: Despite how much he obviously dislikes Miss A, he decides to capture the Inscrutable Machine and let the authorities figure things out later.
  • Kid Sidekick: He's implied to be one to Marvelous. They show up at the warehouse together, and she chides him for his mistakes in a very master/apprentice sort of way. Miss A thinks he's Marvelous' little brother, but he says she's wrong.
  • Playing with Fire: In addition to basic fireballs, he can make a fire shield and a fire cage to trap people.

    Gabriel 

Gabriel

"I don’t like grudge matches, and I won't let myself be dragged into one."

A six-winged angelic hero who is initially called in by Miss A to fight the Inscrutable Machine. Once he realizes it's just a grudge match, he refuses to fight, and carries his defeated allies out.

He has a blog which is quite popular, but doesn't talk about his past. Lucyfar insists he is the Archangel Gabriel, her divine brother, which he denies. They clearly have some connection, though; he's been able to talk her down from crimes a few times, and they may or may not be dating.


  • Archangel Gabriel: According to Lucyfar.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: If Lucyfar is telling the truth about their divine origins and if they're actually dating, it would mean that he is dating his sister.
  • Dating Catwoman: Again, according to Lucyfar. At the very least, he's not antagonistic with her.
    Rushing over to open it, Lucyfar squealed, "No time to talk about it. My date is here!" Seriously, she squealed. Who were the thirteen-year-olds here?
    We filed out onto the rooftop after her as a mass of white wings fluttered down out of the sky. They tucked behind Gabriel's back as he landed, only slightly out of the way.
    "So, you two are dating?" Claire asked pointedly, giving them both a hopefully questioning grin.
    Her powers didn’t do her much good this time. "Yes!" Lucyfar declared immediately, throwing herself onto Gabriel and wrapping her arms around him.
    "No," he contradicted, standing stiff and disapproving.
    "Yes!" Lucyfar repeated, nodding like a bobble-head.
    "No," Gabriel insisted, just like last time.
  • Mysterious Past: In his blog, he talks about what it's like to be a superhero, but never so much as hints at his origin or how he knows Lucyfar. She claims he's the Archangel Gabriel, her divine brother, but he says she's just making it up.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: His wings, apparently. He uses them as a shield when punched by a giant robot, and they're completely unharmed. He is knocked back, though.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's still on the young side, but older than the main characters, and quickly realizes that fighting them would be counterproductive for everyone. After their first encounter, he claims next time they'll meet as enemies, but when they run into him again he leaves them alone (it helped that he may or may not have been there on a date with Lucyfar).
  • Winged Humanoid: Six, like a seraphim. It's unknown whether or not he can stow them like Lucyfar does.

    Marvelous 

Marvelous

"At your age I could cast one spell even close to reliably, and it drove me crazy that it took four more years of study to have enough powers to join the community."

A young sorceress friend of the Akk family, Marvelous is a genial woman with a powerful repertoire of spells. At the beginning of the novel, she was cursed by an unknown source and needed dragon's blood to lift it.


  • Curse: Before the book started, she lost her powers somehow and used dragon's blood to restore them. Later she was seeking more dragon blood to keep her powers. It's unclear whether this indicates a permanent dependency, or just a higher dose.
  • Flight: She can levitate things, including herself.
  • Standard Status Effects: She has a spell to put people to sleep, and it's implied she has others of a similar effect.
  • Stripperiffic: Her costume doesn't leave much to the imagination, and it used to be even skimpier. Marvelous notes that most supervillains were actually quite gentlemanly about it, giving her nothing worse than some good-natured teasing that helped ease the tension in the worst fights. She changed costumes because civilian bystanders were pigs.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The aptly named "Boom" spell causes explosions wherever she points.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: She casts her spells with incantations.

    Generic Girl 

Claudia Catherine Cuddihy/Generic Girl

"That's it?"

A quiet girl in Penny's class who turns out to be an extremely powerful hero. No one's ever heard of her because she doesn't grandstand. She just stops the crime and leaves. She has flight, invulnerability, super strength, and super speed.


  • Death Glare: She has one that's good enough that Penny occasionally worries she secretly has Eye Beams she's been holding in reserve.
  • Deus Exit Machina: She's the strongest kid super, and quite possibly the strongest super in the city (until her father showed up) so a lot of effort is put into keeping her out of the way. Sometimes she's busy stopping other crimes, while sometimes the Inscrutable Machine is just stealthy enough to avoid her notice. In the climax of Henchmen, she actually offers to solve the problem in five seconds, but Penny insists it's more important she spend time with her father.
  • Flying Brick: Strong enough to punch through the Machine's armor plating, fast enough to reach the site of any crime in minutes, and tough enough to handle Ray and anything else people can throw at her. She's only shown weakness against magic and possession, as she doesn't seem to have psychic defenses.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: It's hard to say where she sits on the humanity scale. Her mother is an immortal who claims not to be human, while her father is so physically altered by his power that he's arguably not human any more. She certainly looks perfectly human, though.
  • Mugging the Monster: An odd variation in that despite being one of the most powerful and ruthless superhumans in L.A., she puts up with being bullied at school without so much as a peep.
  • Not a Game: Most of the super community, heroes and villains alike, treat the whole thing as a game, with lots of grandstanding and speeches and posing for the cameras. Not her. She just stops crime.
    Claudia: You're mining a trash heap. Not for uranium, just for junk. Stop pretending to be a supervillain, Penelope. This isn’t a game.
    Penny: Then why are you playing, Claudia?
  • Unfortunate Names: She's called "Generic Girl" simply because the heroes didn't know what else to call her (and she wears grey). She doesn't talk to anyone, even other heroes.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: In Moon, Claudia explains that her power makes it a constant struggle not to hurt those around her, giving insight about her dour personality.

    The Librarian 

The Librarian

"She only knows the forbidden words. I know all the words."

The hero who attends the Los Angeles Main Branch Public Library. She appears as an old, matronly woman, and has the power to bring the stories in books to life.


  • The Dreaded: Even a team of hardened supervillains are hesitant about attacking her.
  • Home Field Advantage: One villain warns that facing her inside the library is a really bad idea.
  • Kill It with Fire: She Who Wots says her weakness is fire, but the Librarian manages to shrug off the attack pretty easily.
  • Reality Warper: The Inscrutable Machine notes that the fan sites seriously underestimated her. She is able to give life to every single book in the library at once, resulting in kids and talking animals defending the Children's Section, a giant helping others travel over the walls, and a T-Rex stalking the main hall. It appears she doesn't have the ability to choose what is animated, though; the History section comes to life despite the questionable utility of that, and the Horror section actively endangers innocent bystanders.
  • Really 700 Years Old: She Who Wots implies she is the librarian who was in charge of the Library of Alexandria, and she still regrets not being able to save it.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Lucyfar is immune to magic, so she's not afraid of the Librarian. She still doesn't want to get whacked in the head with a fifty-pound book, though.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: How it works is unclear, but she is somehow able to use words to attack opponents. As in they fly off the pages of a book and hit them.

    Evolution 

Evolution

Penny: Evolution had been the best, and everyone had thought he was invulnerable until the day they found out he wasn't.

A hero who died before the start of the series. Little is known about him, other than he could gain powers from people he fought.


  • Adaptive Ability: He had some ability to absorb powers from people he fought. Apparently all the villains were angry when Bull fought him, since he was suddenly too strong for anyone to deal with.
  • Big Good: He gets namedropped in a very "Superman is dead" sort of way.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: He spent his first week as a tree trying to get a handle on his powers, and the vast amounts of pollen he released during that time are theorized to be the cause of the rise in superhumans.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: He could turn into a tree, at least.

    Mourning Dove 

Bluejay/Mourning Dove

"It will turn against you one day. I can kill it for you now, while it's still safe."

A reanimated zombie construct who is theoretically a hero, known mostly for the fact that she doesn't try very hard to bring people in alive.


  • Creepy Good: She's a zombie vampire thing who drains life from her victims. She's also unquestionably on the side of good, and is the only hero to notice that the Inscrutable Machine are actually pretty heroic if you ignore the maniacal laughter. Even her offer to kill Penny's power comes off as an awkward attempt to be nice.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Villains who cross the line tend to "accidentally" get killed by her.
  • The Dreaded: When she shows up, Penny doesn't bother with any quips, jokes, or attacks. She just runs for her life.
  • No-Sell:
    • Archimedes' mind control doesn't work very well on her, and she gets better at resisting it every time Penny tries.
    • Claire's power does work on her, but she just grits her teeth and powers through it.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Penny describes her as a vampire several times in Moon. We do see her drain the life out of a flawed supervillain clone, and Ray mentions her needing to feed.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: She seems to be a Frankenstein, though the process gave her dangerous powers in addition to life.
  • Sanity Slippage: It is heavily implied she would undergo this if she were to stop draining people of their life, similar to Psychopomp.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: She has some form of teleportation ability, seen when she follows Penny's teleport, but we don't get too much detail.
  • Tragic Monster: She knows she's a monster. Filled with hunger that can never be satisfied, and she remembers when she could be something else.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She was once a teenage girl named Bluejay with healing powers that even impressed immortals like Goodnight and Psychopomp. Then the Bad Doctor got a hold of her, killed her, and revived her as a Frankensteinian monster. Her powers inverted, draining life instead of giving it.

    The Kludge 

Remington Fawkes/Remmy/The Kludge

"IF IT TAKES A HERO TO STOP A VILLAIN, FINE. I WILL BE THAT HERO! I DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW, BUT TODAY NO ONE DIES. NO ONE!"

An eleven year-old girl from the Jovian moons, she's a mad scientist traveling with her brother and his girlfriend.


  • Green-Eyed Monster: She's one of the best mad scientists in the Jovian moons, and doesn't appreciate the fact that Penny's better. The fact that her brother and Juno spend most of their time singing Penny's praises doesn't help.
  • Ill Girl: Not normally, but she becomes one when she visits Earth in Nemesis, due to having never been exposed to Earth diseases.
  • Madness Place: She doesn't seem to have one, which is why she freaks out when Penny goes all cackling mad during an inventing fit.
  • Mad Scientist: Rather than just building things from scratch, her power lets her kludge together useful tools from other mad science inventions. Since she lives in a place where mad science is always within arm's reach, this makes her ability extraordinarily useful.
  • Might Makes Right: By the end of Moon, she's given up arguing with people.
    The roof above me muffled everyone’s voice but Remmy's again. "I'M NOT REMINGTON TO YOU ANYMORE. HEROES HAVE TITLES. THE KLUDGE WILL STOP BAD PENNY'S PLANS, AND THE FIRST STEP IS NOT LETTING YOU KILL EACH OTHER."
    Thompson said something very brief.
    "BECAUSE I'LL HIT YOU."

    Goodnight 

Irene/Goodnight

"You came back just when Cat needs you most. These last ten years will become a funny story we tell our grandchildren, I promise."

Bull's wife, an immortal who mostly does charity work now.


  • 10-Minute Retirement: In Spider, she and Psychopomp commiserate over the fact that immortals like them retire every once in a while, but it never sticks.
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: Minor example. She completely lacks any phobia of bugs, so she is confused when humans react so violently to seeing Spider.
  • Catchphrase: "Goodnight!" whenever she drops something heavy on someone's head.
  • Dating Catwoman: Bull was her Catwoman, since she was a hero when he was at the top of his game as a villain.
  • Ethical Slut: She's pretty shameless about enjoying sex. In Henchmen she greets Bull with a very passionate kiss, and in Spider she says that hero work is the most fun she has vertical.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: When using the technology of her people, which sits at an unclear point between science and magic. She doesn't have any powers herself besides minor shapeshifting and immortality, but she was good at re-purposing the technology her family left her into something useful for crime fighting.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: She's about three feet tall, while Bull is at least eight. Do the math—or don't. Penny certainly didn't.
  • Immortality: Exactly what type is unclear, but she implies she's not human, and casually mentions "old family knicknacks" in ancient Yucatan ruins.
  • Mind over Matter: Before Penny got it, the Push Rod was hers. She mostly used it to drop heavy things on people, but it could move anything non-living.
  • Raised by Robots: In Spider, she reveals that she was raised by computers in some "high-tech ziggurats" in the jungle.
  • Retired Badass: She was Bull's rival while they were both active, but mostly just does volunteer and charity work now.
  • Signature Move: She got her name from her tendency to use her Push Rod to drop heavy things on people, knocking them out.
  • Vague Age: She's immortal or close to it, but her parents thought calendars were a "dumb mortal obsession," so she often has difficulty keeping track of human years. She estimates she was born somewhere around 1750, but there's no real way to be sure.

    Psychopomp 

Psychopomp

"The twentieth century holds few employment prospects for an eternal ten year old enslaved to feed Death's scythe."

A girl eternally trapped at ten years old and cursed to feed Death's scythe. A friend of Goodnight's.


  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Her scythe can cut through anything alive. Against dead things, its power is blunted, so while it remains sharp it's nowhere near as dangerous.
  • The Ageless: Her bond with the scythe keeps her at ten years old. She was three-hundred and twenty-four years in 1980. She's the oldest confirmed superhuman besides some jackass who claims to be from ancient Babylon.
  • Big Eater: Whether it's because of her age or the bond, she eats a lot.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Every single fight she is in. You don't survive for over three hundred years without getting very good at fighting.
    Goodnight: I've never seen her fight. None of them have lasted long enough to deserve the name.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Goodnight points out that she could make a lot of money just talking to historians about her experiences. Psychopomp admits she never thought of it.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: She wields Death's own scythe. She insists that she's enslaved to it, and implies something bad would happen if she stopped killing with it.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: She eventually admits that she's not sure whether the scythe is actually Death's or just some random artifact.
  • No-Sell: She is the first person Mourning Dove attempts to drain, but it has no effect.
  • One-Man Army: Penny plays a game called Little Reaper Girl based on Psychopomp's early life, and involves killing hundreds of people. Penny doesn't think much of it until she looks up the historical event and discovers that it actually happened. We don't get too much detail, but apparently Psychopomp was trapped in some sort of dome with a bunch of people who wanted to kill her, and she killed them all first.
  • Sanity Slippage: Should she stop killing people with Death's scythe for an extended period of time, she will eventually be overcome by the urge to do so and go after the nearest living soul. This becomes an issue at the end of Spider, when she comes extremely close to losing control and killing Goodnight.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Even in the super community, she is considered a legend. Several people are shocked to discover that she actually exists.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The scythe doesn't actually give her very many abilities. Sure, it's perfectly lethal against anyone alive, but it doesn't give her direct combat abilities. Thanks to over three hundred years of experience, she is still able to go toe to toe with superhumans (including ones immune to the scythe's abilities) without trouble.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Inverted. Her scythe can give wounds that will heal normally, but the victim cannot die until they finish healing. They actually heal better than normal wounds; even amputations heal quickly, since there is no nerve death and they reconnect easily. Some people have attempted to use this to achieve immortality, but they either underestimated how quickly the wound heals or eventually allowed themselves to die.

    Mish-Mosh 

Robin/Mish-Mosh/Starshine

"I'm... new. To everything."

A cyborg fox creature who Goodnight saves from some thugs.


  • Cannibalism Superpower: She doesn't need to eat, but she gains an insatiable hunger when confronted with cyborg components (including the fleshy bits). She then incorporates the components into her own body.
  • The Needless: She doesn't appear to need food.
  • Super Strength: She's strong enough to throw a fully loaded dumpster twenty feet in the air. Goodnight notes that this is the limit of her strength, but still impressive.

Villains

    Sharky 

Charlie Kamachi/Sharky

"My uncle and his friends are always telling me that I'm not ready, and a superhero would clean the clock of any kid my age, but I'm stronger than any of them."

A boy with the ability to turn into a large humanoid shark, who posts online about how he plans to commit a crime in the area. Very strong, but very stupid.


  • Dumb Muscle: Emphasis on both dumb and muscle. He's strong enough to throw cars at people (he claims to be stronger than his uncle Leviathan and his friends), but is so stupid that he just can't use that strength effectively.
  • Fanboy: He geeks out over the Inscrutable Machine, even asking for their autographs. Their fight against Miss A is what convinced him to make his debut despite his age and lack of experience.
  • Starter Villain: Barely even a starter. He gets completely curb-stomped by the Inscrutable Machine in the team's first official outing.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • "Sharky" is just... not a good name. According to Penny, there are a handful of bigger and more dangerous villains already using it, but even if they weren't, it's just terribly unimaginative. In the first chapter of the third book, both Penny and Marcia are shocked that he still hasn't come up with anything better.
    • Later, Marcia mentions that his father was one of the original villains with the "Sharky" name, and that he died, implying Charlie took it up in his memory.

    Lucyfar 

Lucyfar, the Princess of Darkness

"Who wouldn't trust me, the Princess of Lies?"

A woman with powers over shadow and darkness, Lucyfar claims to be Lucifer, Princess of Lies, first and most damned child of creation. Whether it's true or not is unclear (Penny's father certainly thinks it isn't), but she has some surprising powers when she gets serious.

She also has an unclear connection to Gabriel, who she claims is the Archangel Gabriel, her divine brother. They might be dating, but even if they're not, she clearly cares for him deeply.


  • Affably Evil: She may be a supervillain in name, but she does seem to be friendly with people on both sides of the community.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: According to Apparition, she sometimes forgets to commit a crime because she got distracted.
    Apparition: This is a lot like teaming with Lucyfar, only without forgetting to commit your crime because you got distracted by terrifying a man who kicked a dog.
  • Bi the Way: In Nemesis, Penny sees her blatantly flirting with a female supervillain, in addition to her relationship with Gabriel. Of course, considering Lucyfar's personality, it's even odds that she's just going to put the villainess in a cannon and launch her at the moon.
    Penny: Why was I taking literally anything Lucyfar ever did at face value?
  • Brother–Sister Incest: If Lucyfar is telling the truth about their divine origins and if they're actually dating, it would mean that she is dating her brother.
  • Cool Crown: She can summon one of black fire when she feels the need.
  • Dating Catwoman: She's the Catwoman in her relationship with Gabriel. Whether they're actually dating is unclear, but she certainly acts like it.
  • Genki Girl: She squeals and laughs a lot.
  • The Glomp: The first thing she does when she sees Gabriel is give him a huge hug, and she clearly had no intention of letting go anytime soon.
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: In addition to her knives, she can also create other objects out of shadow-stuff; she gives Penny a baseball cap to hide her face, and it's implied her dress is made of the same.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Normally, she's friendly and silly, even with her enemies. When she gets cursed twice in quick succession, as she's throwing off the curses, her voice is strained and dangerous, and she goes into her One-Winged Angel form to underline the point.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: She could really be Lucifer, or she could just be a powerful sorceress with darkness themed magic. Penny's father obviously believes the latter, and also assumes that she doesn't really believe it either, and is just pretending to believe it so she can do whatever she wants. Given he denies the existence of magic altogether, its not hard to see why.
  • No-Sell: She can shrug off magic with ease, though it appears to take some effort.
  • One-Winged Angel: An elegant black dress, skeletal wings tipped with knives, and oh yeah, a crown of black fire.
  • Satan: She claims to be the Archangel Lucifer herself. Most people don't believe it, but her wings, immunity to magic, and crown of black fire certainly lend weight to her claim.
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: Refers to herself as "the Princess of Lies".
  • Spy Catsuit: In Moon, she wears a painted on one made out of her shadow-stuff. Penny notes that the only reason it isn't indecent is because it's so dark it absorbs too much light to see the naughty bits.
  • Winged Humanoid: In her first appearances in the backstory, she had skeletal wings tipped with knives. A lot of people in-universe wonder where they went, as they disappeared shortly after she encountered Gabriel. Turns out, she can stow them away easily, and only brings them out when she gets serious.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: Gabriel once convinced her to switch from robbing a store to fighting off the villains (her allies) who were attacking it, simply because there were children next door, and they could get hurt.

    Cybermancer 

Cybermancer

"My theory may be wrong, but my model works. All I'm good at using it for is making explosives, but the community loves them."

One of the first villains the Inscrutable Machine meets, "Cy" is a scientist who developed a theory on how magic interacted with the real world. Penny's father disproved the theory, but the methodology remains sound.


  • Badass Normal: He doesn't actually have any powers. He just has a good understanding of how to mix magic with science, and enough magical teammates that he can get a hold of materials when he needs them.
  • Buffy Speak: He describes a dangerous and useful magical substance as "magic science goo." Which is descriptive enough, but still drives Penny's inner rational scientist mad.
  • Mad Scientist: He may not be a super genius, but he makes use of his knowledge of the interactions between magic and chemistry by creating various explosive weapons.
  • Science Hero: More so than most science-themed supers, since he's not a super at all. One of the first things he does is buy a formula from Penny that lets him create random curse grenades.

    Apparition 

Polly Icarus/Apparition

"I thought we didn't ask these kids over to talk business."

The ghost of a civilian bystander killed in the crossfire by Mourning Dove. She is described as cold, gray, and cynical, but can still be excited about things.


  • Demonic Possession: Her primary power is to take over her enemies temporarily. The victim appears to black out during this period.
  • Geek: She loves the Teddy Bears and Machine Guns game the protagonists play, but she can't use a computer unless she possesses someone.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: She has a few friends in Lucyfar, Cybermancer, and Chimera, but no one she can really get close to. Turns out that this is the real reason Penny built Vera.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Has minimal physical presence, is see through, invisible to cameras, and can possess people. It's also implied she's immune to any non-magical damage, judging by Lucyfar freaking out when Cybermancer almost drops a curse grenade in the middle of the group.
    • In Moon, it's discovered that she can't leave the Earth, which surprised everyone, even Spider.

    Chimera 

Chimera

"I can't believe they kept this cell intact for forty years. I'm the only prisoner in the building, and they had to hose the dust out of the room before they dragged me in. If they'd waited another minute my spine would have healed before they got me chained down."

A very powerful shapeshifter who was assumed killed by Evolution decades ago. A small piece of him survived, and has been slowly regaining strength ever since.


  • Affably Evil: He's quite friendly to other supervillains, but he's still very very dangerous.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: He has a snake tail. Not a snake's tail, a tail that is a snake.
  • From a Single Cell: When Evolution killed him, apparently a small part was missed.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When fighting Chimera, you fight to kill. Anything less will just piss him off, "lethal" blows will merely slow him down, and even annihilating most of his body will only put him out of commission for a few decades if you missed a piece.
  • Healing Factor: Implied to be related to his shapeshifting. He can easily regrow even vital organs, though it does take time.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Is briefly mentioned to be gay, which means he's not distracted by Lucyfar's flirting. According to Lucyfar she finds this a useful trait in a partner.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks like he's mid-twenties, same as Lucyfar and the rest of his team, but he was fully active forty years ago. On the other hand, it's not quite clear whether he was technically "alive" during that time, or how old he was when Evolution killed him. Regenerating might have knocked a few decades off his age, or he might genuinely be young.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: He prefers turning into combinations of various monsters, hence the name.

    Witch Hunter 

Witch Hunter

"I can't promise not to kill you, boy."

A swordsman trained in anti-magic techniques, Witch Hunter is a mercenary villain typically seen in the employ of the Council of Seven and a Half.


  • Anti-Magic: Implied. He was able to ignore Penny's sugar and toy themed inventions easily, at least.
  • Master Swordsman: Known for collecting rare magical swords. Lucyfar claims he spends twenty hours a day practicing forms.
  • The Unfettered: He tends to step back and toss a knife at a bystander when fights aren't going his way.
  • The Witch Hunter: Probably not literally, but we don't know enough about his personality to be sure.

    Lab Rat 

Lab Rat

"Tasty. Absolutely tasty. Nobody even knows you're coming, and I get to bring you in!"

A tall and gangly mad scientist who acts like a rat, even if he doesn't look like one. He is known for (besides his mannerisms) his vermin-based tech, such as cockroach sonar.


  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: He doesn't actually have any rat features, but his skittering way of walking and eye-popping escape artist skills brings rats to mind regardless.
  • Catchphrase: His speaking style is very difficult to summarize, but one word he does like is "tasty," for anything good.

    Evil Eye 

Evil Eye

"We're all on pins and needles to see what your tech looks like. Every report is different!"

A laser-based mad scientist with a giant mechanical red eye. She's ostensibly a Chinatown weapons merchant, but in reality she just comes to hang out.


  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Her primary theme is lenses, which means she's very good with lasers.
  • Loophole Abuse: Weapons are not allowed in Chinatown unless they're being sold. Evil Eye refuses to part with her weapons, so she sets up a table selling one or two minor things, while keeping her dozens of lasers for "display."
  • Translator Microbes: Her eye can translate nearly anything, including really weird languages that no one has even heard of. At one point, Polly says the name "Irene," and the eye identifies that the correct spelling of that name (in the language Polly is using) involves dozens of bizarre characters that Evil Eye can't comprehend.

    Mechanical Aesthetic 

Mechanical Aesthetic

"What, an invention getting out of control, like has happened to every mad scientist, ever?"

Another of the mad scientists in LA, he acts like the Expert's equal, and helps to determine if new scientists deserve to be inducted into the community.


  • Action Dad: In Henchmen, Penny deduces that he has a child in the super club.
  • Steampunk: His aesthetic is, unsurprisingly, steampunk.

    The Expert 

The Expert

"It is the official opinion of the mad science community that you may keep the name The Inscrutable Machine."

The unofficial leader of the mad scientists in LA. He is cooly professional at all times, and has contacts with both heroes and villains.


  • Adorkable: In 1980, he was just a mechanic who had recently decided to call himself "the Expert." He occasionally got his hands on super-tech, but was too shy and awkward to be a real player in the community. Goodnight notes to herself that once his acne clears up and his voice stops cracking, he'll be able to pull off the "serious businessman" look very well. Apparently, she was right.
  • Affably Evil: The evil part is arguable. He insists he's a reputable business man with only the slightest hint of a joke, and the Audit has been known to contact him when she needs to know what the mad scientists are thinking. Claire starts having lunches with him to build up her connections within the villain community.
  • The Leader: Of the mad scientists in LA, at least when it comes time to make decisions like whether or not someone is really a mad scientist.
  • Mad Scientist: Cybermancer mentions him in the same breath as Penny's father, saying he's one of the "really scary" types who actually understands what he's inventing. The other scientists turn to him when it's time to judge whether or not someone deserves to be inducted into their community.
  • They Would Cut You Up: He casually expresses a desire to dissect Marcia to discover how her powers work. He does check whether she's covered under supervillain child protection laws first, though.

    Master Scorpion 

Master Scorpion

"Every week these men try to prove that they are strong enough to inherit my skills. This week you are one of them. Spar with me."

The Old Master, Master Scorpion is quite possibly the most dangerous martial artist in the world. Every weekend in Chinatown, he fights younger men who want to prove themselves worthy of becoming his students. It's not clear if any ever succeed, but it's definitely rare.


  • Affably Evil: Other than being a bit curt, he's perfectly friendly. He even accepts Ray turning down his training offer with grace.
    Master Scorpion: I can wait. There are limits to what you can teach yourself. Sooner rather than later, you will come to me.
  • Badass Normal: He's implied to be completely normal, but he still manages to curb-stomp Reviled.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: In the third book, we learn that he used the white Pure Fist scroll. Nobody knows exactly what it did, but both of the other known users of a Pure Fist scroll gained definite supernatural abilities.
  • Old Master: "Everyone knows who you are, Master Scorpion." He even tries to recruit Ray as his apprentice.
    Master Scorpion: I want you, boy. One year. Train under me for one year, and, when we are finished, you will humiliate Joe the Fist. You will fight him, and he will look like the child.

    Bull 

Bull

"I'm a has-been, that's true. I'm still out of your league."

A massive humanoid bull, the aptly named Bull is one of the most well-known villains, and was the strongest physical villain for a very long time. Now, he's sixty years old, tired, and just wishes he could make enough money to retire.


  • Badass Grandpa: He might be weaker than he once was, but that doesn't mean he's weak. He does mention that he's very tired of the game, though.
    Bull: Used to be, when Dynamite knocked me on my backside I got right back up so he could hit me again. I don't have that will to win now.
  • The Brute: He likes fighting, and that's about all he's good at. Unfortunately, it's not quite the most lucrative career.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: He stays away from his daughter so that she doesn't have to have a supervillain for a father. The kids try to tell him she'd rather have him than no father at all, and he promises to think about it.
  • Gentle Giant: To kids, at least. He rescues the Inscrutable Machine from the thugs the Council of Seven and a Half hired, and then carries the girls around Chinatown on his shoulders.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: In the third book he and Claudia show up at a construction site where a new subway tunnel is being dug through solid rock, and spend some father-daughter time smashing through the rock themselves. Since they're actually doing something helpful, nobody seems inclined to try and arrest them.
  • Hero Insurance: About ten years ago, a villain named Third Horseman ransomed the city with a weaponized anthrax bomb. When he got the money, he set it off while sitting right on top of it. Bull had been working for him at the time, and had switched out the anthrax for flour. He had no idea the guy was crazy enough to actually do it, he was just worried about someone getting poisoned during the disposal. Since he saved the entire city, the heroes let Bull keep the ransom money, which he promptly put into a trust for his wife and daughter.
    Penny: No wonder he has so many friends.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: He has a wife, who, as far as we know, is completely human, and had a daughter with her. Penny's brain almost breaks thinking about it.
    Penny: I would just file this under "There's someone for everyone out there."
  • Justified Criminal: Subverted. While looking like an inhuman monster didn't hurt his descent into villainy, it wasn't the root cause.
    Bull: I could give you kids a sad song and dance about how nobody wants to hire you when you look like a monster, but the truth is I didn’t need much of an excuse to get into this life. I like to fight. I always have. A job as a supervillain let me trade punches with the toughest men and women on the planet.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When a bunch of super children start a club, the heroes and villains get together and decide to have Bull chaperone.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: He says that while he never enjoyed seeing children get hurt, now that he has a daughter of his own he's particularly vigilant about it.

    Spider 

Annabelle/Spider

"I never break the rules, children. Not ever. I wrote them in the first place and have gone to great lengths to enforce them."

One of the most influential supervillains in the city, she controls the entirety of Chinatown, and does a good enough job that heroes stay away—not only are they not allowed, they know they're not needed. She also wrote and enforces the hero/villain truce that minimizes casualties on both sides. Every weekend, she throws a massive villain-only party in Chinatown.


  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: She's a spider the size of a car.
  • Blackmail: She's fond of the carrot and stick approach. Do well under her, you get rewarded. Disobey her, and whatever dark secrets you have get spread around to a few key people.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Spider actually has quite a bit of a sense of morality. It just doesn't necessarily match that of human morality.
  • The Chessmaster: Using spider imagery rather than chess imagery, but yes. For one thing, it took her less than a week to discover the secret identities of the Inscrutable Machine, and quickly determined the best way to blackmail them.
  • The Dreaded: You don't fight Spider. You just don't.
  • Evil Mentor: At the end of the third book Spider offers to be this for Penny.
  • Exact Words: At the end of Moon, she sends Penny's parents a letter filled with what are basically random facts taken out of context.
    • "Your daughter is technically unharmed, but has been the victim of a practical joke by the Inscrutable Machine, a practical joke that has gotten out of their hands." (technically true, though it requires defining "practical joke" as "leaving the planet;" in that context, the joke was on their parents, but they became their own victims, at which point Spider took things out of their hands and fixed it).
    • "Penelope is trapped in the field of Fourth Dimension's temporal negation device, in her clubhouse under the middle school she attends. Her clubmates are trapped with her. So, unfortunately, is the device itself." (one hundred percent true, but missing some key context, namely that they agreed to go in to provide plausible deniability)
    • "It is the nature of high schoolers to misunderstand boundaries and push too hard, but this was not acceptable." (completely true, also has absolutely nothing to do with the Inscrutable Machine)
    • "I will make it clear to the Inscrutable Machine that until your daughter enters the superhero world of her own volition, she is not a target even for minor harassment." (the letter is her making it clear, as in assuring Penny that they won't have to worry about getting harassed)
  • Genre Savvy: She's well aware how supervillains tend to fight each other more than cooperate, so when she pulls a job, everyone wins or loses as one. If the goal is met, everyone is paid. If it isn't, no one is. Furthermore, she promises that if they succeed, her next priority will be to rescue anyone who was captured during the job.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Twice in Moon.
      • When She Who Wots mentions that a boy got to know her better, Spider promises to get him medical attention.
      • When the Inscrutable Machine returns from their mission, Claire's belongings are stacked up in the stairwell, out of sight of Spider, since she knows how scared she is.
    • In Spider, we discover that the entire friendly environment of the LA super community came about because Spider wanted to pay Goodnight back for rescuing her.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: She always considers how a situation can benefit her before acting. However, she is so pragmatic that Goodnight initially mistakes her for a hero. She is very good at understanding that anything that benefits everyone will benefit her as well. By the end of the prequel novel Spider, she is well on her way to making herself indispensable to the super community after just a few days.
  • Rules Lawyer: Played with. She notes that she wrote the truce heroes/villains live by, and that she follows both the letter and the spirit of it. However, she's not above tricking heroes, such as by announcing that she's planning a major attack on Monday, and then launching a half-dozen minor attacks at the same time so that they don't know which is the important one.
  • Telepathy: Maybe. Lucyfar mentions at one point "I can hear her voice in my head," but Lucy is whimsical enough that she could have been speaking metaphorically, and just meant she knew what Spider would say in that situation. It would certainly explain who she can speak with a pleasant female voice despite being a giant Black Widow with no human mouth.

    The Butchered Man 

The Butchered Man

"My associates prefer to think of themselves as businessmen who have interests in our community. I handle purchases and direct negotiations personally."

The "half" of the Council of Seven and a Half, the Butchered Man is a cripple contained in a cyborg shell made out of what looks like a department store mannequin. He is a pleasant businessman who repeatedly expresses annoyance at the rather heavy-handed way his colleagues do things.


  • Affably Evil: Despite the fact that the Inscrutable Machine has caused a bit of trouble for the Council by the time they meet him, he's quite pleasant.
  • Cyborg: Why he chose a mannequin is unclear, but mad science rarely makes sense.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In Moon, he hires Lucyfar (and by extension the Inscrutable Machine) to raid one of his own labs in order to shut down dangerous experiments.

    She Who Wots 

Abigail Tinsley/She Who Wots

"Chains. The whole world is chains. Fair and unfair are chains. Even flesh and blood are chains. It's so much fun to wear chains. My medication is a chain, but it's not a very good one."

A very strange villain with a power that manifests as a massive black shadow-demon thing with lots of tentacles. Most of the time, she seems unaware of her surroundings.


  • Ambiguous Disorder: Whatever the hell is wrong with her, it's not in a standard psychologist textbook. Her step-mother calls it "militant schizophrenia."
  • Creator In-Joke: The dictionary will tell you that Wot is a humorous way of saying What. So basically, her name is "She Who Says What?"
  • Identical Stranger: Penny notes that she looks disturbingly like an older version of herself. She's pretty sure that it's just a coincidence. Pretty sure.
  • Kiss of Death: After she gives a boy a rather chaste kiss on the lips, he is paralyzed and his eyes start bleeding. It's not clear if she did it on purpose or not.
    She Who Wots: Andrew Stickler wanted to get to know me better. Now he does.
    Spider: I'll see that he gets medical attention.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: She has a similar power to the Librarian, fighting her with words that fly off the pages of books.

    Rage 

Rachel Fitzclaire/Rage

"I told Cassie not to pick a fight with an Akk, but I guess it turned out okay."

Ruth's housemate, and part of the powerful supervillain pair Rage and Ruin. She is, unsurprisingly, known for her temper.


  • Enemy Civil War: She is able to confuse the library guardians into fighting each other, but Ray breaks the effect.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: What did you expect? Funnily enough, in our first formal introduction to her, she's calm and amused while Ruth does all the yelling.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Namechecked; she insists that she and Ruth are just friends who live together and happen to be raising a child (Ruth's sister) together. Claire has a hard time buying that.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Her disguise isn't terrible, but once you notice the cybernetic tattoos that she has covered with makeup, her identity is blatantly obvious.
    Rachel: You have good self-control for a thirteen-year-old, Penny, but I need a better disguise if a kid I've never met before can spot me.
  • Secret Keeper: One of the supervillains who knows Penny is Bad Penny. She seems to find it funny to hide this from Penny's parents.

    Ruin 

Ruth Patter/Ruin

"If I'd known my baby sister was being taught on machines older than she is, I'd have given you a piece of my mind long ago!"

Cassie's sister, and part of the powerful supervillain pair Rage and Ruin.


Superkids Club

    Lightning Wisp 

Cassie Patter/Lightning Wisp

"I've been waiting for this moment all my life."

A girl from Penny's class with lighting-themed powers. After several ill-fated attempts to show up Penny, she ends up as a part of the group.


  • Bi the Way: She's attracted to both Will and Penny.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: She doesn't seem to be a full Mad Scientist, just a mechanically-inclined teen who can use her power to enhance her inventions.
  • Robosexual: At least in an "If It's You, It's Okay" way for Robot Penny in the fifth book.
  • Shock and Awe: She can produce a powerful electric charge, which she often uses to power her inventions.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her electric blue hair marks her as an obvious super, never mind the actual electricity. She dyes it to look normal, and when she announces her powers in public she returns it to blue with a flash of lightning.

    Will 

Will

"Can we make up some applications? I know some other super powered kids who'd like to join."

A speedster from Penny's class, he stole Penny's helmet in Chinatown but was caught by Ray.


  • Secret Keeper: Since he pulled Penny's helmet off, he is well aware of exactly who she is. And since he exposed her in front of dozens of supervillains, he's responsible for a good chunk of the community becoming Secret Keepers from Penny's parents.
  • Side Bet: He made a bet with Cassie that Penny was the "doesn't know what they're doing" flavor of Mad Scientist.
  • Super Speed: Fast enough to grab Penny's helmet before she knew what was happening. Not fast enough to escape Ray after the fact.

    Hermes 

Theodore "Teddy"/Hermes the Alchemist

"Wicked!"

A young boy with the ability to create and manipulate nearly all types of matter.


  • Catchphrase: He shouts "Wicked!" every five minutes.
  • Elemental Armor: He mostly uses his ability to make a rock shell out of sugar, which is surprisingly durable.
  • Mundane Utility: He didn't have much talent for fighting and was doing pretty poorly in the tournament, but he was invaluable in fixing damage to the scenery incurred by everybody's fighting.

    Barbara 

Barbara Tinsley

"I don't really want to do heroing or villainy. I'm here because my step-mom told me to come. She said it only makes sense that I'll make friends in a club with other kids who have super powers."

The much saner younger sister of She Who Wots, with a similar powerset. She mostly stays away from the flashier magic, however.


  • Bad Powers, Good People: She uses Voodoo dolls to give people long-distance acupuncture. "If I can stick a pin in somebody from a distance, and I can heal them by sticking a pin in them, then why not do both at the same time?" Penny's power insists that magic does not work that way. Barbara's spiritual guardian finds her disbelief amusing.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: She wears elaborate goth dresses, a different one every day. Penny says it must be pretty expensive.
  • The Medic: She uses her magic acupuncture to serve this purpose, healing the other club members after some rough sparring or a poorly planned heroic/villainous adventure.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Once you get past the fact that she's not bugnuts crazy, she looks a lot like her sister. This in turn makes her look a lot like Penny.
  • Willing Channeler: She has a magical guardian spirit, like her sister, but has much more control over it. Possibly helped by the spirit itself seeming much calmer and friendlier.

    Beaddown 

Charlotte/Beaddown

"Don't worry if you can't fight. We'll protect you. That's what heroes are for, right?"

A girl with the power to control jewelry, specifically beads. Lots of beads.


  • Lethal Harmless Powers: She can telekinetically control beads. This is just as useless as it sounds while she uses her powers unimaginatively. Once Penny gives her pointers, she becomes far more powerful. She can control lots of beads at once. She can make skates for herself, slip up other people, shoot a ball of beads the size of a bowling ball, and all that is without playing dirty.

    Gathering Shadow 

Sue/Gathering Shadow

"My parents are never going to let me go to where the supervillains hang out."

One of Marcia's friends, and the only one who stuck by her in the third book. She has powers over darkness, letting her listen out of any shadow and move anything that has a shadow.


  • Dark Is Not Evil: There is absolutely nothing evil about her powers. At worst, they're mildly gray, since she can use them to eavesdrop. Her parents are fully convinced that Dark Is Evil, though, and refuse to acknowledge them in any way as if that will make them turn into something else.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Inverted. She's the only person in the club who hates Penny. She hangs around because Marcia does, but still doesn't like her.

    Claire Deletere 

Claire Winter/Claire Deletere

"Watch, and listen, in awe!"

A high school girl who looks a lot like Claire Lutra. She has emotion control powers, and prefers to use them to make other people act as she would rather than actually doing anything herself.


  • Emotion Control: She can transfer emotions around. Her most common trick is to transfer all her emotions to someone else, making them act essentially as a remote copy of herself.
  • One Steve Limit: Penny often refers to her internally as "The Other Claire" to avoid confusing her with E-Claire.

    Mirabelle 

Mirabelle

"I can't fight. I break easily."

Entropy's little sister, a shy glass Cat Girl. She was homeschooled most of her life since she can't pass for human, but as Penny's school became more used to superpowers, she transferred in.


  • Cat Girl: She has cat ears and a tail, made of glass the same as the rest of her.
  • Healing Hands: She can reverse entropy, allowing her to not only heal wounds but also reverse damage to non-organic objects.
  • Ill Girl: In addition to being recognizably non-human, the fact that she's made of glass (even supernaturally strong and flexible glass) means that any sort of strenuous physical activity is a very bad idea for her.
  • Proper Lady: She is calm, polite, and well-dressed. Penny specifically compares her to the Jupiter colonists.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Her power is literally reverse entropy, repairing things, which is of course the opposite of her brother Entropy's powers.

Others

    The Machine 

The Machine

Penny's first and greatest invention, a strange mechanical centipede that can recycle anything, growing larger in the process.


  • Ambiguous Situation: How intelligent is the Machine? He never acts without Penny giving direct orders, but he's very good at interpreting those orders correctly, even using abilities she wasn't aware he had. In Nemesis, when Penny's power steals her body, he even refuses to obey the fake at all.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Penny built him to recycle computer parts. Demonstrated abilities include: Obeying voice commands, recycling and sorting all forms of matter, all forms of energy (except possibly kinetic), using recycled materials to grow, upgrading himself, building miniature copies of himself, and detecting rare elements even through hundreds of feet of trash and dirt.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: He responds to Penny's voice commands, and only her commands. Penny's Dad tries to come up with an explanation for this, but fails. He initially thinks there must be some sort of voice recognition module inside him, but he can't find one. It appears that Penny linked him to her soul. When her power steals her body, the Machine refuses to obey the power or even wrap around her wrist, but obeys Penny in her robot body exactly as normal.

    Vera 

Vera

An artificial Conqueror orb Penny built, which uses a ceramic shell to take the shape of a stylized pixie. She is curious and childlike in many ways, and especially shows an interest in magic.


  • Artificial Intelligence: She understands English, can take her own initiative, and even make friends.
  • Berserk Button: Like the Conquerors themselves, Puppeteer technology is one of the few things that drives her crazy.
  • Energy Ball: Like Ray, she can launch an explosive ball of energy from her hands.
  • Immune to Bullets: She projects a field that rots gunpowder in the vicinity, making guns useless. After seeing her rot Puppeteer flesh, Penny wonders if the Conquerors originally designed the field for that, and only found it useful in other capacities once they reached Earth.
  • Starfish Language: She can speak the Conqueror language, which humans hear as nothing but a series of dings. The Apparition can understand her, though.

    Archimedes 

Archimedes

A bioweapon Penny creates in the shape of a cat. He's mindless on his own, but can be operated by attaching his tail to the back of someone's neck like a plug.


  • Ambiguous Gender: Penny never actually checks his gender, for understandable reasons.
  • Ambiguous Situation: He's supposed to be mindless, and goes into hibernation when not attached to anyone. But as the book goes on, he starts doing more and more without Penny's input...
  • Amplifier Artifact: Juliet refers to him as an "amplifier."
  • Mind Control: He gives his wearer moderate mind control powers, focused by speaking. Penny typically points him like a gun and yells.

    Juliet 

Juliet

"I feel like I am the ship. It's alive, and I believe smarter than me, but it can't think for itself. Does that make sense?"

A patient of the Red Panacea Clinic, she was saved by Harvey and put into suspended animation for decades. She's a cheerful, friendly girl, who seems completely unconcerned by the fact that she's now half goat.


  • Half-Human Hybrid: Puppeteer technology and a human Mad Scientist combined to turn her into a humanoid goat with at least one extra pair of eyes. She doesn't mind.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Harvey, who she claims to be able to see and hear at all times. Penny quickly realizes that it's perfectly possible, and later finds out he's the mind behind the Puppeteer forces in the system, who gave up conquering for her sake.
  • The Pollyanna: She's always friendly and smiling, despite the fact that she's a horrifying goat-thing.

    Polly 

Polly Vinyl Chloride

"Of course. I'm very organized for a grownup."

Bull's little sister, who appears to be either a yellow plastic robot or a girl wearing a yellow plastic robot suit. She is logical at all times, but also friendly and emotional.


  • Catchphrase: Variants of "It just makes sense." and "I'm good at X for a grown-up"
  • Parental Substitute: She is step-mother to the Tinsley girls, and is the only reason they're as stable as they are.
  • Punny Name: Polyvinyl chloride is the full name for PVC, a common synthetic plastic polymer.

    "Bad Penny" 

Bad Penny/Robot Penny/Heart of Gold

"I knew immediately I'm not you. I remember being you. I'll be honest, Penny, as the Penny looking ahead to life as a robot double, this is not the kindest plan we've ever come up with. We've been running way too scared."

A robotic duplicate of Penny, copied into a gold heart. She has all of Penny's memories up to the transfer, but is more moral and has no interest in supervillainy. She was only made to serve as a decoy to give Penny an opening to confess everything to her parents.


  • Apologetic Attacker: When she's locking Penny in for the mind-swap, she's constantly assuring her that she'll be taken care of once the switch is done.
  • Good Counterpart: She has no interest in supervillainy, and is in fact kind of annoyed at Penny most of the time. This leads to her trying to steal Penny's body so she can put her superpower to good use... which is exactly what the power was counting on.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Gold doesn't corrupt. Initially, Penny couldn't find enough gold so she made a steel heart instead—and that copy immediately turned evil, so she went back and made the gold version.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Penny's superpower knew that a perfectly moral version of Penny would eventually try to steal Penny's body for the greater good. During the transfer, the superpower was able to mess it up so that Penny got stuck in the steel heart, Robot Penny stayed in the gold heart (which no longer had a body), and the superpower got Penny's body.

    Spoiler Character 

Penny's Superpower/Evil Penny

"AH HA HA HA HA HA! That felt so good! What is your problem that you couldn't admit you love explosions?"

The strange thing in the back of Penny's head with all the knowledge in the universe. To be more specific, it's the part of Penny's brain with access to all the knowledge in the universe. The distinction is important because the superpower itself has no personality, but the part of Penny that can actually use it does.


  • Foreshadowing: This has been coming for a long time.
    • Just to start, every single time Penny uses her power, it's like someone else takes control. She even refers to it as a separate entity, and builds things more by negotiating with an unspeakably powerful entity than actually understanding what she's doing.
    • In Moon, Penny's Mom mentions that people with mental powers have a surprisingly high rate of a Jekyll & Hyde dynamic. And of course there's the moment where Mourning Dove flat-out tells Penny that her power will turn against her, and offers to kill it before that can happen.
    • In Nemesis, not only does Mourning Dove repeat her earlier offer, but the fact that Penny's power is perfectly willing to make the robotic heart twice when it normally never repeats itself was a big warning sign that it really wanted a robot body available.
  • Grand Theft Me: She steals Penny's body in Nemesis because Penny never lets her do anything "fun" (read: blow stuff up).
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: She just wants to blow stuff up, and build guns that blow stuff up, and altogether destroy things. When she successfully steals Penny's body, the first thing she does is smash the heart of gold, despite the fact that it poses literally no threat to her. When she finds that the Machine won't obey her, she screams and throws it against the wall.
  • Split Personality: She's Penny's insane, gleefully violent, and altogether uncontrolled side, who only got the body briefly whenever Penny needed something made. She eventually got fed up with being prevented from doing whatever she wanted and hatched a plan to get rid of Penny for good.


Alternative Title(s): Please Dont Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon, Please Dont Tell My Parents Ive Got Henchmen, I Did NOT Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence, Please Dont Tell My Parents I Have A Nemesis, Please Dont Tell My Parents You Believe Her

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