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Comic Book / Brat Pack

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Brat Pack (also sometimes called Bratpack) was a miniseries created by Rick Veitch and published under King Hell Press, his company. Originally released as five issues, it was later collected as a graphic novel with a rewritten ending.

When the four most infamous teenage sidekicks - Chippy, Wild Boy, Kid Vicious, and Luna - are all killed by Dr. Blasphemy, four "lucky" kids are chosen to replace them. Unfortunately for them, the heroes they're partnered with have massive dark sides.


This series contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: King Rad is persistently wasted. His drinking habit rubbed off on the first Wild Boy.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Midnight Mink is the only explicitly gay character in the entire book, and he is also a pedophile.
  • Americans Are Cowboys: Kid Vicious's weapons and patriotic attire have a cowboy vibe.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the original Chippy.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: At the beginning of the series, Cody wants more than anything to be a sidekick. By the end of the story, he's an emotional wreck.
  • Becoming the Mask: According to King Rad, True-Man took to his fake superhero identity too well and eventually went rogue from the military Super Soldier program that spawned him.
  • Berserk Button: Each of the 4 has a particular type of criminal that they particularly hate. Midnight Mink hates violent homophobes, Moon Mistress hates rapists, King Rad hates terrorists (his father was tortured to death by one particular group) and Judge Jury hates illegal immigrants (he also hates legal ones too).
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  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Out of all the (anti)heroes, King Rad is the straightest example of this trope, since he is neither sexually deviant like Moon Mistress & Midnight Mink nor openly xenophobic like Judge Jury, but behind the mask of a cool old adventurer he is actually an alcoholic psychopath with no regard for human life.
  • Blatant Lies: Despite her hideously withered body and missing teeth, Celeste Beno claims that she's only 27. It is nearly impossible to square this with her origin story, which suggests that at the very least, she's in her forties.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the original ending, the sidekicks die again, and it seems like Black October will get away with it again until True-Man finally returns and kills them all, Dr. Blasphemous seems to get away but with an actual hero having finally returned his life won’t be very easy going forward. The revised ending is a lot sweeter, the sidekicks survive the attempt on their lives with the help of Cody’s healing factor, and though it’s unlikely they’ll be able to go back to their old selves, they have at least have a chance at recovering their lives, especially with their abusers finally permanently gone.
  • Body Horror:
    • The previous Chippy managed to survive the explosion that killed the other Bratpackers, but was left horribly disfigured as a result.
    • Beneath the makeup and the costume, Moon Mistress is a hideously withered old woman
    • Midnight Mink's healing factor heals his wounds, but doesn't prevent scarring. Beneath the costume, his torso is covered in nasty scars and exit wounds. When Cody receives his healing factor, it allows him to survive a crowbar to the chest, but still leaves a truly ugly scar.
    • Kid Vicious' steroid regime builds up his body, but doesn't provide accelerated healing, and since Judge Jury regularly beats him senseless, his face is just a mass of bruises. He's also missing quite a few teeth.
      • Also, the first Kid Vicious is introduced in the story when he is pissing blood and making painful moans, all probably due to the same steroids that his successor also consumes later.
    • One of the most extreme examples of this (as well as a Kick the Dog moment) is when Wild boy is going to great lengths to rescue a child hostage, only for that child to get blown up by an explosion caused by King Rad. Despite getting half of his body obliterated, the boy still smiles and thanks Wild boy.
  • Book Ends: The original ending was this, since the story started with a group of mean degenerated sidekicks encountering Dr Blasphemy, then brutally beating up the quickly-regenerating Chippy and finally activating a pile of explosives that blows them all up – and it ended with another group of mean degenerated sidekicks doing all the same things and meeting the same demise. However, later editions had different endings in which the 2nd group of sidekicks has a different fate.
  • Break Them by Talking: How Dr. Blasphemy defeated True-Man and chased him off of Earth.
  • The Cape: True-Man is Slumberg's answer to Superman, the pure, all-American hero.
  • Captain Ersatz: All of the main characters are based on established superheroes.
  • Captain Patriotic: Judge Jury stands for the white supremacist side of extreme patriotism.
  • Closet Key: Midnight Mink claims that he was this for True-Man.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Cody, Beau, Shannon, and Karlo all happen to lose their parents just before being recruited as sidekicks.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: The titular teen-hero team are expies of famous sidekicks, with Chippy being Robin, Luna being Wonder Girl, Kid Vicious being Bucky, and Wildboy being Speedy. It quickly becomes clear why Rick Veitch used expies, as Chippy is being molested by his adult partner, Luna is a borderline nymphomaniac, Kid Vicious is virulently racist, and Wildboy is a severe drug addict.
    • The superheroes themselves also qualify: Midnight Mink is a Depraved Homosexual who molests his sidekicks, Judge Jury is a racist steroid junkie, Moon Mistress is violently misandrist, and King Rad is an alcoholic adrenaline junkie more concerned with getting wasted and getting a rush than helping others.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Unknown to their sidekicks, each of the 4 are under private business contracts.
  • Crossover: With Maximortal in Bratpack/Maximortal which helps provide context and closure to many of the mysteries of both books while laying the groundwork for Boy Maximortal.
  • Dark Parody: The whole miniseries is a vicious Take That! towards Young Allies and the Silver Age Teen Titans. The Robin analogue was molested by the Batman analogue as a child, the Wonder Girl analogue is a promiscuous airhead, the Speedy analogue is a drug addict, and the Bucky analogue is a racist steroid abuser. Their mentors are also horrible degenerates who regularly abuse them and intend to kill them just so they won't have to share royalties once they turn 18.
  • Deconstruction: An extremely brutal one of the very concept of a Kid Sidekick. To quote ComicTropes:
    —"Buying into the idea of a superhero is one thing, but the idea of a teenager operating in that world becomes especially absurd if you apply some logic to the situation. They would have to grow up and lose their innocence if they had to fight crime everyday. Their minds would be shattered."
  • Depraved Homosexual: Midnight Mink takes sexual advantage of his young male sidekicks.
  • Descent into Addiction:
    • Kid Vicious goes from a nice rich kid to a steroid-crunching bully.
    • Wild Boy becomes so addicted to drugs that he can barely speak a full sentence.
    • Luna goes from a sweet, church-going virgin to a jaded nymphomaniac.
  • Disappeared Dad: Karlo's dad is not really a part of his life. It's implied that he was living on the street.
  • Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product: True-Man's blood is capable of curing HIV and bestowing a healing factor.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted hard; by the end of the miniseries, Luna has gotten pregnant at least once, and Moon Mistress has forced her to get an abortion.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Midnight Mink received a blood transfusion from True-Man, which gave him an accelerated healing factor, which is good, considering that so many people want him dead. He also shares this "gift" with Cody, enabling the kid to survive a crowbar to the chest. Cody then shares this with the other Bratpackers, allowing them to survive Black October's attempt to kill them.
  • Groin Attack: Part of what makes Moon Mistress so feared is her penchant for castrating men and collecting their testicles as trophies.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Luna attempts this on a crowd of men. It doesn't go her way.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Judge Jury is basically The Punisher but as a Klansman.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Just when it seems like the four heroes are going to once again get away with killing their kid sidekicks, True-Man returns finally and kills all four of them.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Moon Mistress and Luna both wear a Leotard of Power, and Luna's comes with low necline.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The fifth issue mentions "Gay Neilman" and "Al Enmore". Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore have collaborated with Rick Veitch in the past, and Gaiman wrote the foreword for one of the collected editions. There's also a mention of "Tom Roymas", which is almost certainly a shout-out to Roy Thomas, a prolific writer for both Marvel and DC.
  • No Ending: The original ending was pretty much this.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Dr. Blasphemy has one of these. It's fake, and is just part of his mask.
  • The Paragon: True-Man was a genuine hero who sought to help people and actually uphold justice before he left. Needless to say, he is not happy with the other four "heroes" when he returns at the end.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero:
  • Precision F-Strike: Cody of all people gets one in, even though it isn't an f-bomb, it's used to the same effect.
    Cody: (Responding to Dr. Blasphemous) That's total BULLSHIT!
  • Punny Name: One of the radio commentators is "Stanley Burr", as in Stan Lieber, better known as Stan Lee.
  • Queer People Are Funny: When Midnight Mink's homosexuality isn't being played for horror, it's being treated as a joke, with him prancing around and giggling.
  • Rabid Cop: Judge Jury is a cop who indulges in police brutality, especially against migrants.
  • Really Gets Around: By the end of the series, Luna has slept with so many guys that she's not sure who knocked her up this time. True-Man's biggest flaw is he's a bed-hopper for both sexes (he was sleeping with Moon Mistress and Midnight Mink at roughly the same period of time).
  • Sociopathic Hero: The defenders of Slumberg are all self-serving sadistic psychopaths with no redeeming qualities; this series is all about how they torment and break their sidekicks, both physically and mentally. Averted with True-Man, who is just as much of a beacon of goodness as his inspirations - and when he learns what the other heroes of Slumberg were up to while he was gone, he proceeds to slaughter the lot of them.
  • Straw Feminist: Moon Mistress is an extreme parody of radical feminism, complete with constant lectures, conspicuously scrotum-shaped pouches hanging on her belt, and a costume so yonic that had to censor it while selling it. Seriously.
  • Superman Substitute: True-Man, a being of godlike power and Slumburg's only genuine hero.
  • Super Soldier: The origin of True-Man, he's one of the prototypes of a gov't weapons program done by King Rad's father. The super soldier from the program, creeped out a lot of people so the gov't game him a fake super-hero identity.
  • Touched by Vorlons: It turns out Midnight Mink is almost immortal. Back when he was lovers with True-Man, Mink contracted HIV. To save Mink, True-Man donated his blood and the hyper-immune cells cured him and made capable of surviving someone emptying a submachine gun at point-blank range into him. Mink also does the transfusion with his sidekicks.
  • Training from Hell: Judge Jury's idea of training Kid Vicious is to beat him senseless and then force him into grueling labor.
  • Ugly All Along: Moon Maiden's appearance is all an illusion created by heavy makeup, a wig, and a good corset. Without all of it, she's hideous and withered, her body having been ravaged by years of drug abuse, venereal disease, and the rigors of trying to fight crime without any actual powers.
  • The 'Verse: Part of the writer's King Hell Heroica cycle. It's Book Four. Book Three came after.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: None of the vigilantes like each other and it was only by adopting certain codes of conduct (such as whoever arrives first to the crime scene gets to handle the case, instead of fighting amongst each other to deal with it) that they keep from coming into blows with each other and they'll rarely help each other even then.
  • We Have Reserves: How King Rad feels about civilian casualties and even his own sidekicks. He sees them all as cannonfodder that at best deserve only the bare minimum of consideration, citing that there's always going to be casualties and any schmuck can replace anyone who died.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: King Rad inherited his gear from his weapon developer father and Moon Mistress got her NASA lunar lander from an ex-boyfriend and her biological suit from another boyfriend. Mink is at least as rich as King Rad. Additionally each of them have contracts with private businesses for big payouts.
  • Wonder Woman Wannabe: Moon Mistress is an expy of Wonder Woman, being a heroine claiming to embody feminism with an alliterative codename (with Luna being the equivalent of Wonder Woman's sidekick Wonder Girl.)
  • Wretched Hive: Slumberg is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a city overrun with crime where even the local heroes are awful. The pollution is also unusually awful in Slumberg, there are waste ponds around the city so thick with heavy metals that migrants can go there and pan it for gold.