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Comic Book / The Order

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The Order.

The Order was a Marvel comic-book miniseries written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Barry Kitson, featuring California's post-Civil War team, called, well, the Order, and their struggles to deal with a superpowered all-girl vigilante gang, a Cold War sleeper cell, and a conspiracy to undermine the Initiative, among other things.

This series contains examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Order gets almost no respect from the people of California, and is mostly seen as Tony Stark's vanity project. The fact that it's run by his ex and his AA sponsor probably doesn't help.
  • An Arm and a Leg: James Wa lost both his legs to a drunk driver, ending his baseball career. He went on to invent a versatile set of prosthetic legs and made a fortune.
  • Bare Your Midriff: All the female members, as seen in the page image. Justified, as they're supposedly a celebrity team and the series was published in the 2000's, at a time when this kind of look was practically compulsory at all times for any female celebrity under forty.
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  • Bury Your Disabled: Quadriplegic Heavy dies horribly after Stane disables the nanites that keep his damaged lungs functional.
  • Bury Your Gays: In the end, Henry Hellrung is forced to kill Mulholland Black after her powers go out of control.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Several of the Order's members lost their previous careers to injuries.
    • James Wa was going to be a professional baseball player before an accident cost him his legs.
    • Milo Fields was a soldier-turned-anti-war protester before getting shot in the spine.
    • Dylan Michael Murray was a warrant officer who was critically wounded during the incident that led to Tony Stark becoming Iron Man.
  • Celebrity Superhero: All the team are celebrities endowed with superpowers because of their celebrity status.
  • Comically Missing the Point: As Henry Hellrung struggles to locate Becky, Milo, and Mulholland Black and deal with a sudden invasion by Atlantis, Tony Stark is too engrossed with trying to buy a fancy new headquarters.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Kate Kildare can be very deadpan when she wants to be.
  • Downer Ending: The whole team gets curb-stomped by Ezekiel Stane, whose actions force Henry to kill Mulholland Black to prevent her Stane-induced Superpower Meltdown from destroying LA. To add insult to injury, he only did it to piss off Tony Stark, and none of the Order members get to play a role in taking him down when he turns up in Iron Man.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Becky Ryan was initially kept off the team because her psychiatric evaluation suggested that there was a good chance she might try to kill herself. Naturally, her first mission ends with her trying to absorb a nuclear explosion. Thankfully, she survives.
    • Mulholland Black alludes to having been suicidal in the past, especially after M-Day took away her powers.
  • Former Child Star: Before becoming a superhero, Becky Ryan was a child country star.
  • Fusion Dance: Milo and Becky manage to fuse into a single hybrid form after Milo's Supernaut armor is disabled.
  • Genius Ditz: Mulholland Black may not be terribly refined, but she is a huge expert on the history of Los Angeles.
  • Handicapped Badass: Milo Fields, the Supernaut, was a former soldier who is wheelchair-bound after being shot for protesting America's actions in the Somali Civil War. At one point, his armor craps out in the middle of a desert, and he still manages to fight off a giant scorpion.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Order retains the services of one of the best PR firms available, but S.H.A.D.O.W.'s machinations and the ensuing destruction tests the limits of this firm's abilities.
    "I ran two press conferences today... One explaining that California is safe in the hands of these maybe-dubious super-celebrities, and another explaining that the Teenager Of The Year personally absorbed a 20-kiloton nuclear blast, but, really, everything is fine now... It was a little rough.''
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Samual Softly, the M.A.N. from S.H.A.D.O.W., completely freaks out after hearing Becky and Milo's combined voice.
  • Home Porn Movie: One of these nearly ruins Becky's career.
    Kate Kildare: You don't happen to have some dirtbag ex-boyfriend out there somewhere that might have cam-phone footage of you two rutting? And he wouldn't happen to be the kind of dirtbag ex-boyfriend that might try to sell that footage, would he? Because, guess what? You do. And he is.
  • Hypocrite:
    • The Black Dahlias were founded as a vigilante group dedicated to fighting the exploitation of women. Their leader, Wendy, sexually exploited Mulholland Black and intended to use her powers to further the group's goals, regardless of whether or not Holly was willing..
  • Idiot Ball: In the first issue, Henry is forced to fire four recruits for drinking. The replacements include one recruit who was previously flagged for suicidal tendencies and another who openly admitted that she would use her powers to "go even some scores". And lo and behold, the first one tries to kill herself, and the second goes on a rampage. Who the hell signed off on those?
  • Mama Bear: Magdalena Marie is a devoted advocate for orphans and the homeless. She is deeply offended when S.H.A.D.O.W. sends an army of zombified homeless people after the Order.
  • The Man Behind the Man: S.H.D.O. is being bankrolled by Ezekial Stane.
  • Meaningful Name: Mulholland Black. She used to be one of the Dahlias.
  • Naturalized Name: Magdalena Marie's full name is Magdalena Marie Neuntauben. She dropped her last name because she got tired of having to explain to people how to pronounce it properly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the very first issue, a third of the team manages to get fired after they decide to celebrate their first victory by getting wasted. This creates a publicity problem for the rest of the team.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In deactivating Holly's Soma-provided powers, the Dahlias accidentally manage to reactivate her mutant powers, which are much, much stronger.
  • Power Incontinence: Holly has a lot of difficulty getting her Soma powers to work properly.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Played with. Wendy isn't really insane. She was, however, a terrible girlfriend who took advantage of Holly in the hopes of having someone with superpowers in her gang, and she appears to harbor delusions that Holly still loves her.
  • Psycho Lesbian: The Black Dahlias. According to Mulholland, they used to be more benign, just roughing up pimps and rapists, but it's clear that gaining superpowers has greatly changed their methods.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Dahlias were given powers based on the Order's initial roster, with Wendy being a counterpart to Avona, Lisa being a counterpart to Pierce, Marie being a counterpart to Calamity, and Rae-Ann being a counterpart to Heavy. Presumably, they expected that Mulholland would rejoin them and serve as a counterpart to either Maul, Anthem, or Corona.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Henry delivers one to Mulholland after finding out that she withheld information about her past with the Dahlias.
    • He also delivers one to Tony Stark after Stark won't shut up about the Demeter.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Holly's mutant powers come back, she exacts her vengeance against the Dahlias.
    "I suppose I'd exact my slow and unholy revenge on everyone that ever did me wrong, one wretched soul at a time, until the sounds of their screams slaked my unnatural thirst for their sorrows." (next panel) "Ha ha. Just kidding." (next panel) "But not really. I'd totally go even some scores. That's cool, right?"
  • Recovered Addict: Henry Hellrung used to be a nasty drunk, the result of his playing Tony Stark on a TV show and becoming the real Tony's wingman. After his career went down the toilet, he got heavily into AA, and became Stark's sponsor when he got sober. Incidentally, upon becoming the leader of the Order, California's post-Civil War official team, he instituted a strict no-alcohol policy.
  • The Remnant: One of The Order's first battles is against a nuclear-armed team of Russian supervillains who are completely unaware that the Cold War has been over for two decades.
  • Romantic Wingman: Back before he hit bottom, Henry used to be Tony Stark's wingman, which he gleefully exploited in order to keep his job, even as his drinking problem became well-known.
    "Hell, after we'd slept with everyone in town, the papers tried to pair the two of us up."
  • Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: The Black Dahlias used to be an all-female group that beat up sexist men.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: The series takes elements of two earlier Marvel titles, X-Statix (C-list celebrities as superheroes), and Strikeforce: Morituri (volunteer normals given time-limited superpowers), but is much lighter-toned than either - unlike in X-Statix the characters actually care about doing good, and unlike in Morituri the process won't kill them at the end.
  • Stepford Smiler: Becky has a tendency towards smiling even when she's not happy. Kitson actually makes a point of making her genuine smiles and forced smiles look distinct.
  • The Teetotaler: Henry Hellrung used to be one of Tony Stark's drinking buddies. After it ruined his acting career, he became a sober celebrity and ended up helping Stark get sober.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: Henry still attends AA meetings when he can, and tries to get Tony to do so as well.
  • Vigilante Militia: The Black Dahlias were originally a gang of vigilantes who attacked pimps and rapists in the Los Angeles area. After the events of Civil War, they turned to assassinating current and former members of the Order, realizing that they would not be able to continue their former non-lethal activities as long as California had a government-sanctioned super-team running around.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: This is essentially Pepper Potts' power - she is connected to a computer network that allows her to communicate with the team in the field.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Becky Ryan can be anything she wants to be...
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Black Dahlias were originally founded to protect women in Los Angeles from exploitation, and their opposition to the Order is based on the notion that it's unfair to restrict the right to be a superhero to a bunch of well-connected C-list celebrities. That said, their methods of fighting back against this system are very, very wrong.
  • Younger Than They Look: Becky's asshole dad illegally passed her off as one year older than she actually was in order to enroll her in pageants.

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