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Fanfic / Glow-worm

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Glowworm is a Worm fanfic written by redshirt. Can also be found on Sufficient Velocity here.

The story begins with Taylor encountering a homeless man in the rain and offering her umbrella to keep him dry. The old man notes that this is the first time anyone offered him the use of their umbrella, or kindness on such a level as her. Taylor asks the man if he had ever lost a friend because of a terrible falling out. This leads to her bringing up Emma's betrayal and how much she missed their friendship. The old man leads her to a factory that she doesn't recognize. Once inside, the old man questions Taylor on if she knew why she was brought here, and his response is simple, but powerful.

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"Taylor Hebert,"

"You have been chosen".

This story is a crossover between Worm and Shazam, where Taylor gains the powers of Shazam rather than the Queen Administrator Shard like she did in canon. What has drawn many readers into this story is how lighthearted it is compared to canon (though to be fair, this isn't really hard to do). It so far explores Taylor having the powers the wizard has granted her and using them for good.


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Tropes Describing Glowworm:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted. Taylor's much more chipper and upbeat. Justified because this takes place recently after Emma's betrayal, so her and Sofia's bullying hasn't reached the borderline sociopathic level it was in canon. Considering recent events and Taylor standing up for herself more, it probably never will.
  • Adaptational Badass: Taylor has the power of Shazam rather than the Queen Administrator shard. Naturally, this is in full effect.
  • Adapted Out: Madison is nowhere to be seen, and the bullies amount to just Sofia and Emma. Since this takes place early in their antagonism of Taylor, it's likely that Madison simply hasn't joined yet.
  • Age Lift: In-universe, whenever Taylor activates her powers, she goes from a 14 year old girl to a 25 year old woman.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The powers Shaz gave Taylor combines the abilities and attributes of multiple deities.
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    • Solomon: Wisdom, which she typically uses for complex calculations, understanding other languages, or dropping a random factoid that completely floors whomever she's facing (i.e. When Fangloria rhetorically asks how much bread she's eaten in her lifetime, Taylor casually states how much and even asks if she wants that answer divided into brands).
    • Hercules: Incalculable strength, obviously. This makes her the physically strongest hero in the world.
    • Atlas: Unending stamina. As Taylor points out to herself, strength only means so much when holding the damn sky.
    • Zeus: The electrokinetic aspect of her powers, letting her blast and control lightning as well as amplify other aspects of her powers.
    • Achilles: Complete invulnerability, though she humorously hoped that her heel wouldn't be a blind-spot. At this point, she has yet to find anything that can legitimately cause her any pain.
    • Mercury: Super speed of the highest order, given that he's Hermes's Roman counterpart.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: The superhuman members of SAFARI are animal themed.
    • Pandamonium, a panda-like Case 53 with Prehensile Hair.
    • Fangloria, a bat-like Case 53 with the power to drain blood by touch.
    • Laserdream is mutated into Monsterdream, a human/sheep beast.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: SAFARI has a desire to protect and "save" animals from captivity, but they go about it by performing what amounts to terrorist attacks, though a good deal of them are shown to have moral standards. Their leader, however, is only using this as an excuse for her ulterior motives.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Many of Beast-Ruler's subordinates in SAFARI genuinely believe in their cause and do go out of their way to mitigate bloodshed. One even made it clear that she does not hurt children.
    • Mr. Grant only targets bullies and is motivated by the death of his daughter.
  • Asshole Victim: The bullies that drove Rowan to attempt suicide pretty much deserved to get tortured and have their life energy sucked out. Grant even points out that even as he tortured and killed them, they showed no remorse for what they did and outright blamed Rowan for everything.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Mr. Grant seems like an upstanding teacher since he's pleasant and is shown to be the only teacher at Winslow to actually be doing something about Taylor's bullying problem, but then we learn that he really only does this as a means for revenge against all bullies for his daughter's torment.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Goofy as Pandamonium is, he does a pretty good job keeping Captain Marvel at bay. Nothing he does hurts her in the slightest, but considering he's fighting someone powered by literal gods, it's still impressive.
  • Big Good: The Wizard, Shazam, or Shaz for short.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Piggot likes to think of getting Captain Marvel to join the Protectorate when things go downhill for her as "influencing her options skillfully, possibly in an unfair manner" rather than manipulation. Dauntless points out that what she said is literally the definition of manipulation.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: SAFARI is disbanded following the revelation of Beast-Ruler's motives and her defeat.
  • The Champion:
    • Taylor - AKA Captain Marvel - is the champion of Shaz. Tawny refers to her as this, much to Taylor's annoyance.
    • While he's never seen, Shazam makes the occasional allusion to Black Adam, his former champion.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Pandamonium and Fangloria are both very bombastic villains that are practically on a full-time scenery diet.
  • The Chooser of The One: Shazam decides who his Champion will be, provided that they prove themselves worthy of his power.
  • The Comically Serious: Tawny is relatively stoic, and boy do his interactions with Taylor make for a comedy gold mine.
  • Composite Character: Taylor combines aspects of different versions of the Big Red Cheese. She takes up the identity of "Captain Marvel" like the Post-Crisis incarnation, but also has the hood of the New 52 incarnation.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Shaz is very fond of these, much to Taylor's frustration. He points out that when you live as long as he does, you'll eventually find yourself doing it to.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tawny's default sense of humor.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Since Taylor's powers are derived from magic rather than a Shard like everyone else in Earth-bet, people tend to be shocked both by her abilities and her transformation when she chooses to reveal her identity to them.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Emma asks why Taylor would go out of her way to save her from Mr. Grant after all she did to her. Taylor responds, "You looked like you needed help". Emma... didn't take it well, at all.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Taylor doesn't recognize Dauntless when he comes to arrest Pandamonium after she defeats him and instead mistakes him for Armsmaster. This is justified however since this takes place a couple years before canon, so Dauntless isn't a household name and is still relatively new.
    • Averted and even inverted with Captain Marvel. She gets a great deal of respect and notoriety for her heroics. After saving Laserdream from her mutations and stopping SAFARI, however, she worries that she's getting too much respect when Laserdream embellishes the story to make it seem like Marvel did way more than what actually happened.
    • Mr. Grant acts insulted that Taylor insinuates that he did something wrong to Emma, as he's helping her with her bullying problem when all the other teachers refuse to, he thinks Taylor should be grateful to him and not treat him with suspicion.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Fangloria was able to track down Captain Marvel's residence, but was under the assumption that Taylor was Marvel's daughter. One transformation later and she's realized they're the same.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Sofia is a major jerkass and is one of Taylor's main bullies, but her friendship with Emma is a genuine one by all appearances.
    • Mr. Grant's entire motivation is revenge for his daughter, whom he deeply cherished.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The members of SAFARI make it a point to avoid hurting civilians if possible.
    • Mr. Grant's entire reason for his actions is because he utterly despises bullies.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Mr. Grant can't understand why Taylor is so against what he does to Emma, as he sees himself as doing her a favor by actively trying to stop her bully problem regardless of the methods used.
  • Evil Former Friend:
    • Emma is this for Taylor.
    • Shaz briefly states that he also had friends that he lost this way. It's clear that he's talking about his previous champion.
  • Get Out!: Emma's reaction to Taylor trying to comfort her at the hospital. She felt like Taylor was pitying her.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Emily Piggot runs the PRT, but she fully intends to manipulate Captain Marvel into joining the Protectorate once things start going south for her.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Laserdream is mutated into a Human/Sheep hybrid by Beast-Ruler called Monsterdream.
  • Hero Does Public Service: During chapter 11, Laserdream and Captain Marvel help the elderly at a soup kitchen.
  • Hypocrite: Mr. Grant claims to be as much a victim of bullies as his daughter was, but Taylor is quick to point out that he was never their target and that he used his powers to effectively bully them, making him no different from the people he tortured.
  • Insistent Terminology: Tawny only refers to Taylor as "Champion", never anything else. Taylor gets very frustrated with this and none of her attempts to get him to stop have worked.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Mr. Grant is played a lot more seriously and realistically than the goofy villains that came before him in prior chapters.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Played for Laughs. When Taylor was imaging herself saving people, fighting villains and Endbringers, she accidentally yelled out "KNEEL BEFORE-"... and that's where her dad walks in.
  • Lighter and Softer: Besides Taylor not being an Undersider, this fanfic also has goofy villains that wouldn't be out of place in a 60s comic, several comedic moments, and Taylor being overall much more chipper and upbeat (In large part due to Emma's betrayal being recent). All in all, it's a much more pleasant place than Canon was.
  • Loony Fan: Certain hero teams have some pretty nutty fan-bases. Shielder notes that one is selling a strand of his hair for five thousand dollars.
  • Mangst: Taylor and Crystal joke about Armsmaster using tall roofs with Gargoyles to brood.
  • The Mentor: Shaz, the wizard, serves as a mentor to Taylor and provides guidance when she needs it. Tawny also functions as this.
  • Never My Fault:
    • The bullies that drove Rowan to suicide refused to take the blame for their actions as Grant killed them, and instead blamed Rowan for being so weak as to attempt suicide over their bullying in the first place.
    • Mr. Grant isn't immune to this either. He tries to rationalize why he wasn't paying more attention to his daughter's behavior instead of confronting her about it.
  • Omniglot: When Taylor first activates her powers, she goes into shock and tries to find a word in different languages that can describe her situation... only to stop and realize that she actually understands all the languages she was thinking of.
  • Pet the Dog: Sophia can be somewhat lenient every now and then:
    • By all accounts, her friendship with Emma is shown to be a genuine one. She also shows a good deal of concern for her.
    • When Taylor accidentally pushes her Berserk Button by mentioning her parents, she doesn't blow up at her and just leaves to clear her head.
    • When Taylor leaves the hospital after checking in on Emma(with less than pleasant results), Sophia doesn't antagonize or confront Taylor in any way. She just steps aside and lets her leave.
  • Poisonous Friend:
    • Downplayed. Laserdream's friendship with Captain Marvel is genuine, and she does care about her, but she is also using her to boost New Wave's credibility following the past death of one of their members in civilian identity. Her intentions are wholly noble and she is a kind-hearted person though.
    • Sophia is this for Emma, being the reason why she became a jerkass bully.
  • Red Is Heroic: It's Captain Marvel, so this is in full effect.
  • Secret Test of Character: Taylor gives her umbrella to an old man she didn't know despite it raining hard. She did this because he looked like he needed help and she sought to help him. This convinces Shazam that Taylor is worthy to be his champion.
  • Superpower Lottery: Taylor as Captain Marvel has got it made, having all the powers that the Big Red Cheese is associated with, such as Super Strength, Super Speed, Flight, Nigh-Invulnerability, Shock and Awe, and Super Intelligence. Having all these abilities makes her one of the strongest beings on Earth Bet, if not the strongest.
  • Third-Person Person: Pandamonium always refers to himself in the third-person.
  • Tragic Villain: Mr Grant's daughter, Rowan, was bullied until she tried to commit suicide, leaving her in a vegetative state. This resulted in him triggering with the power to drain a person's life energy, a power that he used to gain revenge on her oppressors. He wanted to use this ability to heal his daughter, but found that he could only drain life energy, not give it. Not wanting his daughter to live the rest of her life strapped to a table with tubes, he felt he needed to put her out of her misery.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When Taylor, as Captain Marvel, runs into a convenience store to throw up from using her powers for the first time and talks to the Janitor about the experience, she gets a "whatever" reaction from both the janitor and the cashier.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The members of SAFARI, aside from it's leader, genuinely want to help the animals and go out of their way to avoid hurting civilians.
    • Mr. Grant only targets bullies, and tries to protect their victims.

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