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Literature / Metro City Chronicles

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The Metro City Chronicles is a series of online stories focused on the lives and adventures of the eponymous Metro City's local Super Heroes as they fight crime and deal with life. Each story is a first person narrative with a different character viewpoint for each arc.

The first story can be found online. This one follows Atlas and sets up the Metro City backdrop.

The Metro City Chronicles provides examples of the following tropes:


  • Alien Blood: Squid Kid has black blood.
  • Alien Invasion: An alien race called the Thrugs invades Earth during the Express storyarc. Invasions are apparently not uncommon either.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Gamma Girl has blue skin. Strych-9's hair and skin are green. Jonni Rotten also has green skin, but that's less because of pigmentation and more because of decomposition.
  • Amicably Divorced: Hypothermia and his wife are divorced, mostly because his powers make it almost impossible for them to have a normal family life. They still meet weekly so they can spend time together with their son. Hypothermia is still miserable about the situation, though.
  • Apocalypse Day Planner: Over the past few decades, evil wizard Maximillian Mortis has apparently made a habit of this.
    "He reversed the planet's rotation in the 1950s, sold the Earth's soul to Hell in the '70s. (...) He actually blew up the Earth twice in the '60s, and he and Tiamat destroyed the whole universe in the '90s."
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  • The Atoner: Penitente began his superhero career because his mother and brother were injured by gang rivals during his youth.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Hello, Chrome Cobra.
  • Badass Driver: Wheelman's powers revolve around this. He can drive clear across the country in a few hours, drive up the sides of buildings, and perform literally impossible stunts, no matter what car he's in.
  • Badass Normal: Penitente doesn't have any powers, but he still kicks a lot of butt as a hero.
  • Ballet: Hybrid is a ballerina in her civilian life.
  • The Berserker: Hybrid. She's gotten better at controlling herself, though, and now uses her reputation to intimidate bad guys.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Atlas is a Gentle Giant. Hybrid is chirpy and part of a dance troupe. Squid Kid is a Perky Goth college student. All of them can and will kick your ass.
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  • Big Brother Is Watching: Chrome Cobra Is Watching You.
  • The Blank: Hypothermia's face is a solid block of ice, with only a hint of eyebrows.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Penitente uses hot sauce as part of his crimefighting arsenal. He seals his mother's homemade sauce in small packets, throws them in his opponents' faces, and blows them open with his bullwhip, spraying them in the face with hot sauce.
  • Body Horror: Squid Kid, due to some meddling with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know has nearly indestructible tentacles that sprout from her back at will. If she leaves them out too long, her skin turns inky black and she starts looking like a more threatening version of the Heartless.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Penitente briefly gains omniscience, he directly addresses the readers and derides them as "a bunch of voyeurs in a completely separate and intensely boring alternate universe."
  • Calling Your Attacks: Silver Protector Kumiko's spells work this way.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Penitente
  • The Cheerleader: Beelzebambi is described as "a psychotic succubus in a cheerleader outfit who can make herself burn with super-hot hellfire."
  • Christmas Episode: Polyphemus' story arc is set prior to Christmas.
  • Combat Tentacles: Squid Kid can turn her arms into black, elastic tentacles and sprout more tentacles from her back. They're useful for tying up bad guys and flinging them all over the landscape.
  • Cool Bike: Penitente's preferred mode of transportation.
  • Creepy Monotone: Gearbox's voice is described as sounding like Douglas Rain, the actor who voiced HAL in 2001.
  • Cyborg: Defender, Piledriver, and Synthia.
  • Dance Battler: Hybrid converts her ballet training into a fighting technique at one point.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters.
  • Demonic Possession: Unpowered wannabe superhero Demonica briefly gets demonic superpowers that let her possess other superheroes and use their powers.
  • Divine Parentage: Wheelman is the son of Hermes, god of travel.
  • Domino Mask: Hybrid, Miss Mega, and the Star all wear them.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Sugarplum broadcasts a message to everyone in Metro City using magically-created TV sets.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Polyphemus and his family didn't get along together long before he got turned into a giant monster.
  • Electric Torture: Yan Sin does this to Squid Kid.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Daphne Diller does not like being called Daffodil.
  • Energy Being: When Star goes "full cosmic".
    Star: I emit heightened degrees of heat, blindingly intense light, and extreme levels of stellar whupass.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: The specialty of Khaoss from the Lords of Villainy.
  • Evil Gloating: Evoked and lampshaded. Villains can't resist a good monologue.
  • Eyeless Face: Polyphemus. And Squid Kid gets like this if she uses her powers for too long without a break.
  • Face–Monster Turn: This briefly happens to both Polyphemus and Phantasmo. In Polyphemus' case, it's how he got his powers — a mad scientist rewrote his genetic code and subjected him to mind control. Phantasmo goes through it after he's bitten by a vampire.
  • Face Your Fears: The fear demons force Defender and Beelzebambi to deal with a number of phobia scenarios, ranging from monsterized superheroes and piano teachers to bullies, bear traps, and haunted houses, before they'll let them escape.
  • Fanboy: Phantasmo loves all kinds of geeky activities, including playing Magic: The Gathering, watching Star Trek, and playing Pathfinder. He is also thrilled when Piledriver, one of his favorite pro wrestlers, moves to town.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sentient A.I.s are supposed to be captured and sent to government facilities so they can be dismantled and used as weapons. Most heroes cover for them because all metahumans used to be seen that way.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: You've got Ridiculously Human Robots and mechas right along side the Cthulhu Mythos and outright magic.
  • A Father to His Men: Despite not being the team's leader (as there is technically no team) Atlas still manages to dance the line between this and Team Dad.
  • Foundling: Hybrid was found abandoned as a baby and later adopted by one of the police officers who rescued her.
  • Frozen Face: Gearbox's face is mostly immobile. And Hypothermia doesn't have any visible facial features at all — in addition to his face being made of ice...
  • Functional Magic: Some people have it. Other people think it's annoying.
  • The Fundamentalist: Purity of the Alpha Alliance.
  • Fun with Acronyms: S.K.U.L.L. picked their name first, then had to come up with something to fit the acronym. They went with "Society for Konquest, Unlawfulness, Larceny, and Lying." They also mention driving around in a S.K.U.L.L. T.R.U.C.K. and celebrating with a S.K.U.L.L. P.A.R.T.Y.
  • Gaslighting: Polyphemus suspects this is being done to him when he starts seeing literary ghosts.
  • Genius Bruiser: Atlas and Miss Mega are both very strong, and they both hold professional jobs. But Polyphemus really carries the trope — he's a 12-foot-tall superstrong monster with the brain of a pompous, elderly English professor who prefers to teach classes in his custom-made tweed jackets...
  • A God Am I: The alien villainess Princess Nebula after she gets possessed by Zeus.
  • Great Gazoo: Sugarplum, a nigh-omnipotent fairy in a pink party dress who likes to play games with reality.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Polyphemus may look like a musclebound monster, but mentally, he's still an 84-year-old grouch.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Hybrid, although it turns out she's only one third human, to her devastation.
  • Halloween Episode: Defender's storyarc takes place over a particularly hectic Halloween night.
  • Hard Light: The Chrome Cobra's suit generates hard light swords and other hand weapons.
  • Healing Factor: Gamma Girl, Hybrid, and Squid Kid.
  • Hell Gate: The fear demons open one up in the middle of one of the local parks.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Hybrid finds out that she isn't a mutant human, but an entirely fabricated genetic experiment.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Captain Metro, Super-American, Fedora Man, Princess Kitty Kat, Demonica, and the Woman of the Future are a bunch of dorks who dress up as superheroes and call themselves the League of Real-Life Metro City Superheroes.
  • Hulk Speak: Penny Dreadful talks like this.
  • An Ice Person: Hypothermia.
  • I Know What You Fear: The fear demons torment everyone in the city by taking the forms of whatever each person is most frightened of.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Radiation is behind the origins of Gamma Girl, Strych-9, and Professor Kaboom.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Daphne Diller tells everyone that she's not a superhero, she's a private investigator. Polyphemus insists that he's an English professor, not a superhero, though he's more accepting of the label than Daphne is.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Once Penitente and Sugarplum start using magic to fight each other, they start conjuring laser-guided shuriken, giant whiffle bats, origami dragons, fragmentation lollipops, jet-propelled attack llamas, and more.
  • Improvised Weapon: Penitente. His fight against Khaoss involves throwing everything from pushpins to a rubber band ball to a live rattlesnake at the bad guy.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Iota can shrink down to an eighth of an inch tall.
  • I See Dead People: El Phantasmo can see and talk to ghosts.
  • Kid Hero: El Phantasmo and Calypso.
  • Lesbian Jock: Piledriver used to be a pro wrestler and currently works as a sports reporter at the local newspaper.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Gearbox measures almost everything out this way.
  • Magic Pants: Costumes made from Futorium atoms are immune to damage from their wearers' powers, so they can stretch with stretchy heroes, won't burn up when worn by fire-wielding heroes, transform along with shapeshifters, etc. And civilian clothing can also be treated with a Futorium solution, making it possible to fold up a change of clothing and hide them in your utility belt rather than leaving them wadded up in an alley.
  • Magical Girl: Silver Protector Kumiko
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Cosmo the Astounding, a low-rent criminal wizard for hire.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Polyphemus has a very, very loud voice.
  • Masked Luchador: El Phantasmo wears a luchador mask.
  • Mass Hypnosis: The alien invaders and the Greek gods use this to take over the Earth.
  • Monster Clown: Mr. Punch. He's not really a monster or a particularly rotten guy, for a supervillain, but Squid Kid really does not like clowns.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Hybrid was abandoned as an infant, found in a dumpster, and adopted by completely normal parents long before anyone realized she had any powers.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Hybrid can break herself out of her berserker rages by thinking about dancing.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Chrome Cobra gets one.
    [she] yelped when she hit the pavement in the alley. Yelped like a wounded puppy.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Most superheroes and villains have costumes made of shapeshifting Futorium Atoms. In fact, the costumes are provided by an organization called the Futorium Support Foundation.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: The Metal Militia, a team of supercriminals, have all taken their superhero names from heavy metal bands — Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Pantera.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: S.K.U.L.L. is the most prominent one the series has included, though they're generally pretty unsuccessful. Others that have been mentioned include le Conservatoire Malefique and the Ophidian Union.
  • The Necrocracy: Draculopolis, a nation of vampires, located in the territory formerly known as Transylvania. A spell cast over the city makes it night all the time, and faucets dispense mystically-replenishing blood. Dracula is the democratically elected president. It's not a particularly evil place — Dracula is focused on making vampires into productive world citizens, though there are still plenty of evil vamps out there.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Daphne "Daffodil" Diller, to the annoyance of every villain who's ever broken a weapon or wasted a bullet on her.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Squid Kid is one of the few people able to resist the paralyzing fear powers of the fear demons. She's still terrified out of her wits, but she's able to keep functioning because she loves being scared so much.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
    • "[Shadow Shinobi], a ninja with shadow powers. Yes, that's exactly as irritating and frustrating as it sounds."
    • There's also the global terror organization S.K.U.L.L., which has a bunch of robot ninjas in their arsenal.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Gamma Girl is the only person who can see or hear Sparky Isotope, the relentlessly cheerful Spirit of Radiation.
  • Old Shame: In-universe, there was a popular cartoon a few years back based on Silver Protector Kumiko's exploits. All the younger characters in the series watched it and loved it. Kumiko is not fond of it at all.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Iota and, to a lesser degree, Hypothermia.
  • Opponent Switch: The Metro City heroes do this on a pretty regular basis.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Domina Maleficus of the Lords of Villainy, and Beelzebambi of the Architects of Ruin.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Phantasmo's power has him being followed round by a bunch of kickass Spirit Advisors.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Jonni Rotten is in a constant state of decomposition. She's also a weapons master who can puke worms on people.
  • Perky Goth: Lenore a.k.a. Squid Kid.
  • Police Brutality: The Metro City Police Department can be a little quick with the tasers.
  • Powered Armor: A kind of hero colloquially referred to as Battlesuits. Chrome Cobra is a prominent battlesuit who is unofficially the one in charge of the Metro City heroes. Defender is one as well.
  • Powers via Possession: A group of the heroes get their own powers temporarily turbocharged after they are possessed by the Greek gods.
  • Private Detective: Daphne Diller insists that she's a private detective, not a superhero.
  • Professional Wrestling: Piledriver used to wrestle as a heel in the American Super Wrestling Association. She has a tendency to monologue during battles as if she were recording an over-the-top pre-match promo.
  • Public Domain Character: Dracula and Varney the Vampire show up during Phantasmo's storyarc.
  • Reality Warper: Penitente temporarily becomes omnipotent and omniscient during his storyarc.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Gearbox doesn't want to be human and often doesn't like them very much. But he's got serious rage issues and is a master of sarcasm.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Miss Mega claims her tears are the result of allergies after Hybrid is reunited with her family.
  • Secret Identity: Most of the heroes have one. Some like Squid Kid and Gamma Girl don't because their Super Hero Origins happened publicly. Express doesn't because he openly advertises his services as a hero.
  • Secret Keeper: Occasionally, heroes will accidentally learn each other's secret identities.
  • Secret Public Identity: Daphne Diller is invulnerable and is more or less immortal. She also refuses to be a crime fighter, instead opting to keep her job as a private investigator. As such, when she does get sucked into crime fighting, everyone knows her name.
  • Shapeshifter: Hybrid and Gearbox.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: The Chrome Cobra has to do this to fight Emperor Charming.
  • Shoryuken: Squid Kid does this to Yan Sin.
  • Sizeshifter: Iota specializes in shrinking. Penitente temporarily grows taller than a skyscraper during his storyarc.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: El Phantasmo.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: From clown themed thieves with giant toy hammers to cults of evil, to Lovecraftian Eldritch Abominations.
  • Space Police: The Intergalactic Defense Patrol.
  • Statuesque Stunner: The Chrome Cobra is 5'8", Jonni Rotten and Piledriver are both 5'10", Silver Protector Kumiko is 6'0", and Miss Mega is a staggering 8'2".
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Two of Phantasmo's ghosts, the Terrific Tucker Twins, particularly love making themselves look like this.
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: Squid Kid falls into a dumpster twice.
  • Stun Guns: Defender and Iota.
  • Super Speed: The Express isn't the fastest person in the world, but he can run across the country in a matter of hours, beat up supervillains in a matter of seconds, and reads dozens of books a day.
  • Super Strength: Miss Mega, Atlas, Calypso, Polyphemus, and Piledriver.
  • Super-Strong Child: Atlas has three kids and they all take after their dad.
  • Super Team: If you ask any of the heroes in Metro City, they will insist that they are all freelancers who just happen to work together. Played straight with the defunct Assembly of Order and the Alpha Alliance.
  • Technopath: Black Hat is a villain whose powers focus on mentally controlling technology.
  • Technical Pacifist: Defender's weaponry is all technically nonlethal. That won't stop her from shutting down your jet boots when you're a thousand feet in the air.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted. It's stated that superheroes avoid killing anyone, but if it's a choice between killing a villain and letting the villain kill others, the heroes will err on the side of saving innocent lives.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Subverted with Squid Kid. She tries to go badass with a new costume, new name, and new attitude. The results are less than ideal.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Miss Mega vs. Splatter. They're two of the strongest people in the world. When they start fighting, everyone backs off, keeps the civilians out of the way, suffers through the inevitable property damage, and waits for them to wear each other out.
  • Voice of the Legion: Squid Kid gets this occasionally.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Apparently, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI labeled all metahumans "Human Subversives" and subjected them to immediate capture and dissection. Sentient A.I. also still get this treatment if they're caught by government officials.
  • Whip It Good: One of Penitente's preferred weapons is a bullwhip.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The League of Real-Life Metro City Superheroes, a bunch of resentful wannabe superheroes, are given powers by Sugarplum. Once empowered, they try to kill all the other superheroes in the city.
  • X-Ray Vision: Squid Kid, though the power only lets her see through masks and clothing.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Polyphemus' story arc casts him as Scrooge.


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