Not All Heroes by Rhodeworks is a Web Serial Novel that follows three very different individuals. Set just over fifty years into the future, the Earth has been altered irrevocably by the sudden emergence of individuals with superpowers or, as they became known, the empowered. The world enjoyed a decade of peace and prosperity before the emergence of supervillains and other apocalyptic events led to a worldwide series of cataclysms dubbed The Collapse.
Both the Golden Age and The Collapse came to an end ten years before the story begins. Superheroes and supervillains exist but the series mostly focuses on a street-level story of three individuals: idealistic Sabra Kasembe, cynical ex-cape Pavel Fisher, and a mercenary known only as Leopard. The series updates twice a week and chapters rotate the three perspectives, which quickly become intertwined. Additionally, there are chapters at the end of each part that provide insight into other areas of the world and historical events that led the world to its present state.
Not All Heroes launched in September 2017, with its final chapter posted in August 2019.
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Sabra Kasembe prefers to punch her way out of her problems.
- Aerith and Bob: The Golden Age led to something of a classical Greek renaissance, leading to people to name their children Achilles among others.
- After the End: The Collapse didn't end the world entirely but did end many parts of it. Many countries no longer exist and the ones that do have been devastated or otherwise changed.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The setting has a general ban on intelligent A.I.s after a series of bad events during The Collapse.
- Anti-Hero: Leopard the mercenary thinks he is one but could be considered more of a Villain Protagonist - or is he?
- Artificial Limbs: Pavel Fisher has a pair of artificial hands and limb replacements are not uncommon in cape-related work.
- Berserk Button: Sabra has one when it comes to protecting her family, whereas Leopard's berserk button seems to be on more of a hair trigger.
- Beware the Superman: The world has not benefitted from the emergence of the empowered.
- Cape Punk: Not All Heroes fits firmly within this genre.
- Colonel Badass: Aegis fits this description.
- Crapsack World: The world of Not All Heroes is very much one where it is teetering on a tightrope and many heroes are just hoping for it to continue for one more day.
- Divided States of America: The socialist Neo-American Front occupies the western part of the former United States, which still exists but is locked in a cold war with the former.
- End of an Age: The Golden Age was a time of fantastical innovations and advancements, a hope for a bright and shiny future... and then it ended.
- Fictional Document: Many.
- Hindu Mythology: Three Golden Age supercomputers named after three Hindu deities: Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu.
- History Repeats: A recurring theme.
- Inherent in the System: Many of Not All Heroes' characters act the way they do because of their circumstances. Superheroes can be divided down the lines of wanting to change the status quo or wishing to preserve it.
- Job-Stealing Robot: Automation has progressed to the extent that many jobs no longer need to be performed by humans. Popular opposition to automation was one of the points of tension for The Collapse.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Pavel Fisher.
- Meaningful Name: Many.
- Rule of Three: Many. The most obvious is that the story follows three protagonists with three viewpoints and that there are three perspectives on what to do with the world: preserve it, save it, or destroy it.
- Super Powerful Genetics: The reigning theory is that whatever process grants empowered their abilities is something genetic. However, some understand that even this theory has significant holes...
- Super Registration Act: The United Nations has instituted a version of this.
- Super Soldiers: The USA had these and they were seemingly 'too good at following orders'.
- The Butcher: Aegis, a superhero with the United Nations, is seemingly known by some as 'the Butcher of Arusha'.
- Tragic Villain: Taurine
- United Nations Is a Superpower: The United Nations came out of The Collapse with vastly more power than their real-world equivalent, including seemingly a monopoly on the most powerful superheroes.
- Unreliable Narrator: Each of the three protagonists is unreliable in their own way, as is each fictional document.
- Villain Protagonist: Leopard, although he thinks he's an anti-hero.