Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / Polarity

Go To

Polarity is a Spider-Man fanfic featuring small-time villain and engineering genius Herman Schultz, aka the Shocker, who takes up the role of Accidental Hero as he saves a French woman from a zombie. The story follows the Shocker and his partner Aleksei (also known as the Rhino) as they seek to protect themselves and the disparate grouping of folks they pick up from both the undead horde and the seemingly incompetent government, gradually becoming more and more heroic as they go along.


This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Eric Williams, aka the Grim Reaper, was more of a recurring thug in the comics, who's only real major connection to the Avengers was through his brother Simon. Here, he's responsible for the entire zombie plague, summons Dormammu, and manages to take on several Avengers at once.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Electro was pretty much a petty thug with magnificent powers in his home comics. In this fanfic? A sadistic megalomaniac who gleefully brags about committing matricide, tortures the Shocker, and decides to throw in his lot with Dormammu and help him destroy other dimensions, starting with his own.
  • Amplifier Artifact: When fighting against a zombified Rhino in a museum, the Shocker gets his hands on a Stark-designed NASA air compresser, allowing him to vastly increase the power of his vibro-blasts.
  • Advertisement:
  • Anyone Can Die: Rhino, Electro, Vulture, the Hulk, Baron Mordo and Norman Osborn are among the more major characters who die within the story, the first's death being particularly shocking.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Darkhold, which was used by Grim Reaper to reanimate the dead, and by Baron Mordo to control them.
  • Badass Normal:
    • The Shocker takes on zombie hordes, superheroes and supervillains, all without superpowers.
    • The Punisher survives attacks from zombie hordes with limited firepower, and is later extensively tortured by Grim Reaper till he nearly dies from blood loss, and still manages to kick ass and scare the Shocker in this weakened state. The Shocker may do more, but he's got the advantage of highly advanced gadgets; the Punisher just has guns.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The canonical Bar With No Name. In the epilogue, Boomerang becomes co-owner, and it's instead upgraded into a reformed villain bar.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Applesauce: The whole story could be considered a love letter to New York City. Herman himself is a born-and-bred New Yorker, along with being a diehard Jets fan. Plus, the author not only gets the layout and geography of the city right, but uses outright fictional places like Yancy Street to great effect.
  • Big Bad: Eric Williams aka Grim Reaper may lead and have created the zombie horde, but his boss is Dormammu.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lampshaded by Blizzard after over fifty supervillians, led by Molecule Man and the Wizard, show up in Central Park to help the Avengers fight Dormammu.
  • Bilingual Bonus: After rescuing a little girl from a horde of zombies, Batroc the Leaper tells her, "Venez, enfant. Je vous prendrai a la maison," which translates to "Come on, child. I will take you home." He then turns to the man hiding behind a closed window who had been filming the whole thing on his cell phone and tells him, "Dissimulation derriere l'acier tandis qu'un enfant est mis en danger. Vous n'etes aucnu fils de la France." Translation - Hiding behind a closed door while a child is in danger. You are no son of France."
  • Boom, Headshot!: It's a given in a zombie story. Luckily blasts of vibrated air do as good a job as bullets on zombies' brains.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The story is written as if it is being told to the reader by the Shocker himself.
    • Deadpool's cameo naturally ignores that the wall should even exist, to the point Deadpool expects his presence will cause the readers to leave positive reviews.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The Shocker's vibro-smashers and protective suit, which make him a very effective zombie-killer; the vibro-blasts make headshotting zombies a breeze, and the costume's contact plates make it very hard for zombies to get a hold of him.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Norman Osborn is ripped apart by zombies from the original Marvel Zombies universe, including the zombie of his own arch-enemy; Spider-Man.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: In the epilogue, many of the super-villains that decide to go legit find new, meaningful employment based on their superpowers or special gear. Explicitly mentioned are Speed Demon using his Super Speed to become a courier, and Aqueduct & Hydro-Man getting involved in the water & irrigation side of reconstruction.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • At one point the Shocker faces off against a undead Hulk, using his vibro-smashers at maximum to dissolve the floor beneath him and drop the creature straight onto an exposed piece of broken pipe. This then sets him up to use Hydro-Man to worm his watery limbs into the Hulk's skull-cavity and crush his brain to a pulp, killing him for good.
    • The final epic battle in New York between Dormammu and every hero and villain in the city. They manage to knock him down and banish him to Limbo in his weakened state.
  • The Dragon: Dormammu's lieutenant was at first Eric Williams aka Grim Reaper, but once he is defeated in battle with the Avengers, Dormammu replaces him with Electro, after giving him a power boost.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Shocker ends up fighting alongside the Avengers against the most dangerous threats. He even has a cordial chat with Spidey. The supervillain and superhuman communities collectively have this reaction to the zombie threat, although with some exceptions.
    • Shocker's brief team-up with Frank Castle, who previously in the story had tried to kill him on three separate occasions. This is far less cordial and more about giving Frank a bigger target than Shocker.
    • This is a major point of the story- heroes and villains fighting together to survive and defend humanity.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The reason why Shocker and Rhino head out to save a group stuck inside a store assaulted by the undead. They may be criminals, but they can't sit by and watch on TV others suffer a horrific death when they can help. The Shocker also considers rape as a particularly disgusting act.
    • As in the normal 616 universe, The Hood considered a zombie virus too dangerous to use.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Grim Reaper is a very charming individual on the surface, trying to act buddy buddy with the Shocker in order to sway him on his side with tempting offers of power and pleasure. But it doesn't take long for him to lace his kind words with threats, before having him tortured for refusing to join him in his villainous crusade.
  • Five-Man Band: The main characters, once they start working together:
    • The Hero: Shocker.
    • The Lancer: Rhino, Ms. Marvel
    • The Big Guy: Rhino, again.
    • The Smart Guy: Boomerang, Mach IV.
    • The Chick: Ms. Marvel, Speed Demon
  • Gentle Giant: The 8-ft. tall Aleksei is surprisingly good with children.
  • Good Feels Good: One of the factors that influence Shocker going on the straight and narrow.
  • Hard Light: The Living Laser is one of the very few super humans who cannot be harmed by the zombies in any way. Their bites and scratches have no effect on him, as he is no longer organic — this is one of the reasons that he volunteers later to help the heroes.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Norman Osborn lacks a lot of his cooler qualities in the comics and is a smug, slimy, petty little bureaucrat with a chip on his shoulder who is repeatedly noted to only be sane-ish due to a cocktail of anti-psychotics, and is also willing to put thousands of lives in danger in order to look like a hero for saving them, and goes as far as killing The Rhino for the sake of salvaging his bruised ego.
    • Frank Castle gets similar treatment. Even Spider Man, whom Shocker admits that he considers Spider Man to be the closest thing he has to a personal archenemy, is treated with reluctant but sincere respect; Shocker treats the Punisher as just a homicidal lunatic little different from Norman. Even when they do team up at one point in the story, it's a spur-of-the-moment thing, pure necessity, and Shocker makes it clear that he'd probably be happier putting a level-10 vibration blast into Castle's brain. Frank, for his part, has used the zombie apocalypse to declare open season on all criminals, which includes the Shocker; even with Shocker becoming a beacon of hope, Frank repeatedly tries to murder him at every opportunity.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Many supervillains either retire or join the side of good during and after the invasion, seeing this society as a chance for a new start, and realising that supervillainy is now pointless in a now largely lawless world where superheroes will react more harshly. By the epilogue of Polarity, some have even joined hero teams, including Shocker in the Avengers, Speed Demon in the Thunderbolts and Hydro-Man in SHIELD.
  • Hero Ball: Averted largely. The heroes are always shown acting intelligently, and it is clear that without their aid New York would be overwhelmed easily. But they do allow Norman Osborn to take emergency leadership of the US, as he does so legally and the public need to see their leaders as united. However the heroes aren't happy about it, keep a close eye on him and would happily remove Osborn, so this is understandable.
  • Hybrid Monster: Several superhumans come back to life as zombies during the story. The more important ones include the Hulk, Electro, Dormammu's servants and Rhino.
  • Hypocrite: At one point, Punisher reveals he has an agreement with Rhino not to go after him so long as Aleksei "keeps his nose clean". Shocker, who A: has never been any worse than a thief who meticulously avoids killing people to his own detriment, B: caused the villains to spontaneously rise to saving people through his own instinctive heroic act, and C: has been repeatedly attacked and brutalized by the Punisher, furiously calls him out on this exemption.
  • Improvised Weapon: In order to breach a magical force-field of the highest order in a museum, the Shocker needs to use an ancient weapon of great power. So he stabs it with a bone from a nearby barosaurus skeleton.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Once the whole ordeal is over, Herman says it almost word-by-word to Nick Fury himself when the Colonel asks for a full report of everything that happened in the Marvel Zombies dimension. Captain America convinces Fury to allow Herman to go have a drink and relax before the debriefing; Fury complies as long as Herman brings him a bottle of whisky.
  • Informed Ability: Subverted. In the comics, Shocker is said to be a master safecracker and expert on security systems, but normally, he's just shown blasting his way through walls. In the story, Shocker uses his security skills to crack open a Tony Stark-designed vault in the middle of a blackout, using Electro as the power source, not to mention the numerous times he uses his lockpicks in other instances.
  • Irony: Norman Osborn's death in the finale of the story; after years of torturing and hurting Spider-Man in his own dimension, he gets killed and eaten by the Marvel Zombies version of Spider-Man. To say nothing of how he was beaten by Shocker, a "B-lister" Spidey foe, all because his Powered Armor wasn't designed for protection against Shocker's vibro-blasts.
  • It's All About Me: Norman Osborn's selfish need to be "in charge" leads to his growing hostility towards the Shocker, especially since the Shocker instantly earns some level of respect from the heroic community whilst nobody trusts Osborn. Naturally, he never admits that this probably has something to do with his being a known psychopath who has a huge kill-count to his name. This comes to a head in the finale, when he almost dooms the world again by trying to throw the Darkhold through the portal himself in order to claim the glory and good publicity, refusing to listen to Shocker's warning that only the book's current bonded owner can do that without it going right into Dormammu's hands.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shocker and Rhino may be criminals, and the Shocker may have considered killing someone for money during his his villainous career, but they can't sit by when they know innocents are in trouble. Indeed, both state later that they wish to be heroes.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Electro and the Vulture demonstrate in this story exactly how dangerous they can be, once they no longer hold themselves back.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The amount of Marvel villains in this story is impressive. Once you start to count the heroes too, you realise the scope and detail of this story, with characters as diverse as Black Talon to Nick Fury, with really obscure villains like Blizzard and Whirlwind playing supporting roles.
  • Made of Iron:
    • The Shocker has this in spades. Over the course of the fic, he's shot, stabbed, slashed, electrocuted, punched, tortured, falls, is "flicked" by the Hulk (which sends him through a wall), and dropped from several stories. Partially justified, since his suit makes him incredibly difficult to grab and literally deflects physical blows and insulates him from energy, but still, the sheer amount of punishment he endures would be enough more than enough to kill most people. His Determinator status helps, as well as the fact that he is patched up on two different occasions from his injuries (one even puts him out of commission for three days).
    • The Punisher, who is flung like a discus by Thor into the Hudson, tortured by Grim Reaper for two days, and is injured in a fight with Black Talon.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Shocker's basic power — his vibrosmashers shake air molecules and explode the air as vibration pulses, with higher levels being able to theoretically knock down a building. This makes him particularly adept at killing zombies, as his vibro-blasts pulverise the brain entirely inside the skull.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ms. Marvel, who Shocker is absolutely smitten with, leading to him to wax lyrical about her curvaceous body in the narration.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: After the Shocker is poisoned by Norman Osborn and Trapster and left to die in the streets, he is rescued by undead Electro to recruit him to Grim Reaper's alliance, allowing him to be rescued later by Spider-Man and Boomerang.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability:
    • Zombie Hulk simply shakes off any damage Thor and Ms Marvel land on him, barely being stunned by their most powerful hits. This is because once he was bitten by a zombie, he just kept on getting more and more angry when the wound didn't heal, getting stronger all the time right up until he died.
    • The red-eyed sentient zombies, such as Black Talon, are really difficult to kill. He simply pulls himself back together after having his head smashed into little chunks of meat.
  • No-Sell:
    • Part of the zombies' threat is that they bypass magical heroes' defenses. As the zombies are of a magical origin, their bites and scratches can bypass the invulnerability or heightened durability of most super humans. Zombies manage to cut and draw blood even from Thor and Rhino. However armour is not affected by the quality of the zombies, so heroes and villains who rely on power suits etc. for protection are harder to bite.
    • Living Laser, who is flat-out immune to zombification altogether.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • B-List and C-List villains such as Electo, Vulture, Grim Reaper and the Shocker himself are shown to be powerful and quite savvy fighters, only kept from being really dangerous threats due to their issues, physical health, or their rival hero keeping them down. Electro in particular shows the logical danger he poses with his substantial powers.
    • Lampshaded by Herman himself, who often makes a pause in the narration to describe a villain's abilities and powers, and how they make him a serious threat that shouldn't be underestimated. Sometimes it's a quick explanation that only takes a few lines, while some villains (especially those who're antagonizing him) get a very detailed summary.
  • Oh, Crap!: Shocker's reaction when he sees Rhino's face has a cut as a result of a fight with a zombie. The cut isn't bad, but what keeps it from being a case of Minor Injury Overreaction is the emphasis that an ordinary person, dead or not, should not be able to do that to the Rhino. This helps them realize that ordinarily Nigh Invulnerable supers have no protection against the zombies.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • The core zombies are based on the fundamental "Romero" design, in that they are slow, dead, rotting and unintelligent. As well, anyone who dies without the brain being destroyed becomes a zombie, and their bites infect, kill and reanimate the victim. Although they lack Super Strength, they have a strange ability to penetrate Super Toughness, allowing them to bring down even supers who should be utterly impervious to them. They're also produced by an unidentified virus. Which is magical in nature; Dormammu created the Zombie Plague and the Grim Reaper, his servant, introduced it into the world by making the Hood into a Human Sacrifice.
      • Some zombies have glowing red eyes; these zombies can act with far greater intelligence, and super-human zombies even retain their super powers. These zombies are being directly controlled/possessed by the Grim Reaper.
    • A second type of zombie appears late in the story, who are fully intelligent and free-willed. These are servants of Dormammu granted immortality-through-undeath to serve his will.
    • The super-zombies from Marvel Zombies make an appearance in the finale.
  • The Paragon: Shocker himself becomes a more grounded version of this, inspiring many supervillains to band together with the rest of humanity against a common enemy, rather than selfishly acting for themselves.
  • President Evil: Norman Osborn has been effectively placed in charge of the USA in order to deal with the zombie threat, after the previous President was found wanting. Surely nothing bad can happen...
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Throughout the story, Herman repeatedly talks about that he considers his bank heists to just be his job, along with what he does when he's not saving the world from zombies. Such activities include drinking, tinkering with his gear, and even going to a planeterium laser-show with fellow villains Speed Demon and Blizzard.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ares gives Norman Osborn a quick one towards the finale of the story.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: This is a sign that a zombie has been magically preserved with its original mind and will heal from damage, or that it's been possessed by Grim Reaper. Deliberately invoked by Grim Reaper as he, quote "knows from horror films the terror that red eyes holds for others".
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: The only way to take down regular zombies is to destroy or damage the brain, which Shocker's vibro-blasts do nicely. Superhuman zombies are naturally harder to put down, requiring more inventive attacks on the brain, such as Hydro-Man flowing into Zombie Hulk's head through his orifices, and then crushing his brain with water pressure.
    • It doesn't work as well on the sentient red-eyed zombies though, as they can use magic to pull themselves back together if just shot in the head. Or smashed. Or blown up.
  • Science Hero: In order to put down all the zombies in the world for good, Herman applies his knowledge of science to laws of magic to have them all Rest in Peace.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Boomerang states that the idea of Shocker going legit is about "two-thirds plausible".
    • Deadpool makes so many in his brief appearance that it would take half to page to list them all here.
    • Nick Fury makes a Snakes on a Plane reference.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Shocker gives a few of these to Electro, Vulture, Norman Osborn, and several other villains. Usually with his vibrosmashers.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Whilst some bias is understandably present, given that the Shocker is our viewpoint character, The Punisher is depicted as this. Shocker makes it very clear he considers Frank Castle nothing more than a homicidal maniac who happens to prey on criminals. It's even mentioned at one point that amongst his list of super-villain kills includes the Stilt Man, which Shocker finds particularly horrific, since Stilt Man is a classic Minion with an F in Evil character who has openly considered reforming, and Stilt Man was using his specialized Powered Armor to save people before the Punisher killed him. Even other superheroes make it clear that they loathe the Punisher, most openly when Thor saves Shocker from him and, upon being assured that the Punisher wasn't bitten, casually hurls him across the city to land in the Hudson River (Thor's only concern was that the Punisher would become a zombie, not that he was fine).
  • Smug Snake: Electro, Vulture, Norman Osborn, Grim Reaper, Baron Mordo... a lot of villains think far too highly of themselves, with their boasting, bragging, and smugness more often than not completely blowing up in their face.
  • Technical Pacifist: Herman is stated as being this prior to the Zombie Apocalypse, because he plans all his criminal jobs in order to minimise civilian casualties. It doesn't stop him from putting zombies back in the ground though.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Who in their right mind would consider Norman Osborn, an insane lunatic who needs anti-psychotic drugs to feign normality and who has a huge list of victims due to his casual disregard for human life, fit not only for a high-ranking government job, but also fit to have authority over the Thunderbolts, a team of reformed super-villains? This is lampshaded shamelessly throughout the story, with Shocker at one point noting that studying the report of whichever suit came up with the idea so he can trace their logical chain of thought to be sincerely fascinating.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The entire story revolves around a zombie apocalypse pushing everyone to their limits. However as the zombie attack does not last very long, when it ends a couple of billion of people survive, albeit scattered around the world with billions more dead.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: