The Legion was not evil.
Their exploits were never evil.
Up until this point, the Legion had never known evil
for evil now stood before them."
The Legion of Doom, having suffered constant defeats at the hands of the Superfriends, faces a crisis most of members are tired and consider leaving the organization. Lex Luthor, in desperate attempt to keep the team from falling apart, performs an experiment to travel outside the Universe, to the Bleed. There he meets a being called The Benefactor, who claims to have come from an Alternate Universe that he conquered, and offers Luthor to provide Legion with everything they need to conquer theirs. Luthor, believing the Benefactor to not be as powerful as he makes himself look like, but still possibly be in possession of useful knowledge, technology and the like, convinces his teammates to pay him a visit.
It doesnt end well for them.
The story is notable for its blending of lurking dread and building action, as well as its attention to detail with the Superfriends Continuity (nearly every single character and episode is referenced at least once).
Rated T for violence and disturbing material, including Body Horror, Eye Scream, Mind Rape and general Cosmic Horror Story elements. According to the author, first and second acts are now done and he is now working on the third act. He also plans doing a sequel.
Tropes associated with the story:
- Affably Evil: The Warlord, The Dragon to the Benefactor. Alone among the Benefactor's minions, he is the most conversational. The Benefactor is more Faux Affably Evil.
- A God Am I: Benefactor has many understated lines where it implies this, and later Lex Luthor does also after he apparently steals the Benefactor's power in chapter 22.
- Aliens Speaking English: Lampshaded. The Benefactor, despite being from another dimension converses with Luthor in English, though it states that "it is a dead language on this side." Later Luthor wonders where the Benefactor learned it, but dismisses it after thinking back to all the other aliens that have spoken English in the past.
- Explained partially in the case with the Warlord, who has a yellow power ring with a translator function. Now how he got it is still a mystery
- Arc Words: "The End".
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Lex and Legion wanted to defeat the Superfriends. Benefactor is going to let that happen by...improving them.
- Big Dam Plot: One of the giant toyman robots threatens a dam in the on-going crisis.
- Body Horror: Let's just say that this story reminds many people of Event Horizon and Hellraiser.
- Brain Uploading: The Benefactor uploads Toyman's consciousness into an army of gigantic puppet robots.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Benefactor openly acknowledges that by most of the definitions he is indeed evil.
- Chekhov's Gun: Readers should pay attention to background details, some of them come into play later.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Oh so very much.
- Continuity Nod: Several nods to both cartoon continuity as well as to DC Universe. The Monolith of Evil, Toyman's artificial planet, Bizarro's enlarger ray — all make appearances.
- The Five Inversions from the Green Lantern comics "Tygers" is mentioned, as is the emotional spectrum.
- Cheeta's dreams in her chapter 'A Feral Child,' mirror her Golden Age origin story.
- Brainiac learns of a "Master Programmer."
- Maxwell Lord, an infamous supervillain from the mainstream comics, appears as a cameo in chapter 18, reappears as an ongoing character in chapter 25 when he helps arrest Mirror Master, who is the Silver Age version.
- Superman is mentioned to be making a speech to the United Nations about the worldwide removal of all nuclear weapons, just as he did in the fourth Christopher Reeve Superman film. As in that film, he's told that he needs a sponsor to speak to the UN, at which point every single delegate volunteers.
- Solomon Grundy, upon returning to life, internally monologues about how he was almost intended to become a member of the Parliament of Green seen in Swamp Thing but was turned down because he didn't die in a fire. Grundy's new body also bears some resemblance to Doomsday.
- Dark Fic: In spades.
- Day Dream Surprise: In chapters 21 and chapter 22, Lex Luthor escapes his confinement equipped with the warsuit. He then rampages through the Benefactor's citadel, killing guards and fighting his way through all obstacles all the way to the chamber where the decrepit physical body of the Benefactor lies. He then re-configures his power suit to absorb the energies of the Benefactor. What follows is a A God Am I moment, followed by Class X-4 universal destruction of the Benefactor's universe as Luthor is unable to handle the power. After several days of floating in a void, and unable to kill himself, he awakens to find himself back in his cell. He never escaped. He's still trapped in a heavy power armor that he can barely move in, and a year has passed. The worst part is that the scenario has been repeated over and over a million times, and each time he has forgotten that it was a dream. This is all part of an extended fantasy as destroying the universe and being alone was preferable to being trapped in cell with his mind constantly violated by the Benefactor.
- The Benefactor used this to "improve" Luthor. As of chaper 23, he's able to move in the armor.
- Dawn of an Era: Superman makes one at the United Nations.
- Deconstruction Fic: Takes many of cartoons elements and explores them, sometimes to terrifying conclusions.
- Gorilla City has been experimenting on human children to develop their psychic powers. Something which not even Gorilla Grodd considered doing.
- The Timeline-Altering MacGuffin from the episode "Conquerors of the Future" is described as being a Tome of Eldritch Lore, bound in human skin and foretelling a horrific future set in 1980. This horrifies El Dorado enough that he burns it.
- Drunk with Power: Seems to be a case with the Super Friends.
- Dynamic Character: The very thin backstory of the various members of the Legion of Doom are fleshed out.
- Priscella Rich's Cheeta in particular. Her chapter, "A Feral Child" is around 50 pages long, and we see glimpses of her past, her jealousy of Wonder Woman, her reflections on the things that led her to be there, and her struggle with having a split personality. There is probably more Character Development for this version of Cheeta in this one chapter than there ever was in the original comics.
- Eldritch Location: The Benefactor's Citadel is described this way with labyrinths of corridors, shifting rooms, wide expanses of space, with rooms that vary from surgical theaters to insanely luxurious settings.
- Every Things Better With Dinosaurs: These appear in Cheeta's chapter "A Feral Child." Subverted in that the Tyrannosaurus rex doesn't immediately attack her when encountered, instead it ignores her.
- Evil Is Bigger: Lex Luthor mentally remarks that everything the Benefactor possesses is greater than what the Legion possesses.
- Eviler Than Thou: The moment Legion sees Benefactors servants they immediately realize that the beings in front of them are more evil than they can ever hope to be.
- And then the Benefactor begins remaking them in his image.
- Eye Scream: Eyes are frequently... damaged, for lack of a more inclusive term.
- Faustian Rebellion: In chapter 21, Lex Luthor uses the very power armor that the Benefactor gave to him to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, smashing walls, killing guards and worshipers of the Eldritch Abomination that had thought to Mind Rape him, until finally fighting his way into the very chamber where the Benefactor's body is, to which he smashes.
- Turns out it was all part of his "training".
- Faux Affably Evil: Its unsettingly how nice Benefactor seems, even when performing the most cruel of acts.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: By chapter 23, it is revealed that the Legion of Doom have become far, far more powerful tormented, insane, horrific beings than their previous laughably incompetent selves.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Appears to happen to El Dorado after he reads the Timeline-Altering MacGuffin which fortells the future. A year later he still suffers nightmares about what he read.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Benefactor's disciples.
- Also Mister Mxyzptlk's appearance in chapter 26.
- Humongous Mecha: The fifty foot Toymen robots in chapter 27.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Wildstorms Bleed, dangerous space between the worlds, exist there.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: Lex Luthor insists that the Benefactor is this. Whether or not he is correct will be revealed in the next chapter.
- Master of Illusion: Lex Luthor insists that the Benefactor's powers are illusionary in nature. In at least some occasions they are, other times its powers are definitely material.
- Medium Awareness: True to form, the Joker's brief appearance in chapter 30 has Aside Comments with references to different continuities and metafiction conventions, including the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, One More Day and Comic Book/Flashpoint.
- The Millstone: Luthor considers the Riddler to be this during the meeting in Chapter 2, musing over the best time to have Bizarro snap the jackass's neck and get it over with.
- Mind Rape: All over the Place. Its safe to say that in the few chapters that it isnt happening is a breather.
- Mysterious Benefactor: Benefactor acts as this in the beginning.
- Obviously Evil: Benefactors servants have a different look, but all feature traits marking them as bad guys: spikes, whips, etc.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Secret Department of Investigation (SDI)'s scenes are done this way.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Solomon Grundy's status as a re-animated corpse is brought into the forefront, though like his cartoon version he doesn't have any desire to eat people. The Benefactor fixes that.
- Powered Armor: Fans of Lex Luthor will be happy to know that he gets his trademark warsuit in chapter 21, and uses it to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Turns out to have been part of how the Benefactor was "training" him. His actual battlesuit was "improved" in much the same way as the rest of the legion.
- Red Herring: Sinestro believes that Benefactor and his servants are the legendary Empire of Tears, prophesied to destroy the Green Lantern Corps. To his surprise the Benefactor never heard of such a thing.
- Religious Horror: The Benefactor sometimes quotes or paraphrases lines from the Bible.
- His servant, the Warlord in one scene appears descending from a fiery chariot.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Cheeta goes through all seven, either in a dream vision or in reality.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: Happens to Bizarro, Scarecrow, and Sinestro to some degree.
- Shout-Out: Chapter 27 makes several references to the Justice minseries (itself an attempt to make a serious version of the Superfriends), including:
- The giant toyman robot, and the line "All these toys must be broken."
- Luthor's actions during chapter 22 mirror Doctor Doom's actions at the end of Marvel's Secret Wars, with the Benefactor in place of the Beyonder.
- In Chapter 32, Lex is walking through the Legion's base, remarking to himself, "It's bigger on the inside" and is uncertain where he heard it. We're given a brief paragraph informing us that somewhere The Doctor is marking this particular universe off his list of ones he'd like to visit.
- Shown Their Work: The author clearly has a very vast knowledge of not only the cartoon but also the original comics.
- Split-Personality Takeover: After being in control for much of a year Priscella Rich finally succumbs in the end and allows the savage Cheeta personality free reign.
- Subverted Kids Show: It may have looked like the same y goofy kids show in the beginning but by the end of the chapter it shows it definitely not the same.
- Supervillain Lair: The Hall of Doom features prominently in the story. The Benefactor's Citadel could also count.
- Ultimate Evil/You Cannot Grasp the True Form/Eldritch Abomination: Implied with the Benefactor.
"Now. A solid thing now, emitting the ghostly brightness of morning fog; for the Benefactor was not a being of darkness, not a creature of the shadows. No. Not darkness. Never of darkness. The Benefactor was a being of the brightest light, and it was here in the chamber with him, standing within arm's reach of him."
- Also Light Is Not Good:
- Villain Protagonist: Like the original Challenge of the Superfriends, the main characters are Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom, and not Superman and the Superfriends, who are reduced to background characters until the third act.
- Villain World: The Benefactor's dimension is implied to be an Alternate Universe where evil has won and faces no opposition.