Price, by Tana Nari, is a superhero setting where a mysterious force grants superpowers at a terrible, well, price. The first book follows Zach Parker, a high school student trying to avenge his sister's dead friend. The second book follows Domenic, Chloe, and Cora.
For crazy-ass theories, Price also has a WMG page.
This story contains examples of:
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Vertigo holds on to her power with fear and by killing disloyal members of her own (criminal) organization.
- Badass Pacifist: Anima. Though Zach wishes that she'd really be more 'badass' and less 'pacifist' when dealing with Kitten.
- Break Them by Talking: Sympathy does this to Zach so successfully that he dies eight times
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Powers in Price tend to generate red, blue or yellow light. Stronger Imbued have two colors and sometimes a blend of those colors (red and blue makes purple- or possibly magenta or some other shade of purple). The really strong ones have black or white.
- Cute and Psycho: Kitten, the main villain in Death of a Hero, is a sadistic rapist and serial killer, can figure out how to kill someone just by looking at them (she has a power and everything) and looks 14 years old.
- Death Trap: Both averted and played straight. One villain from the 20s created a hundred-and-fifty-mile chain of death traps that never killed anyone. This was by design. It's a museum now.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Zach refuses to let people see him vulnerable and doesn't want attention to be focused on his weakness or mistakes. Kitten used this to press his Berserk Button. With other people, Zach usually uses humor to deflect concerns until the other party drops it.
- Flat "What": Starting variants early with "Bwuh."
- Genre Deconstruction: The story lives on this trope. Despite superpowers being a thing, every supers trope is looked at and often deconstructed. Supers patrolling the city for crime almost never actually find crime. Property destruction results in fines and possible jail time. Supervillains act like normal criminals.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap: Zach regenerates from anything, including not normally fatal injuries like getting cold enough to shiver sets off his Resurrective Immortality. Even Anima makes a casual comment about killing him. She feels remorse immediately after realizing what she said.
- More than Mind Control: Ferne is a master of this. She has tons of "friends" who she has granted powers too in return for favors. Eventually, you learn that even Alex was basically her slave, and that she pretty much ran the school before her death.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified. In setting known as a 'Surge', all supers have the ability to change their powers. At a Price. Due to this, most supers would rather lose than use that feature, and their enemies know not to push them hard enough to change their minds.
- Furthermore, Surges don't simply add a new power to their powerset. They take new traits related to the reason for the Surge and use them to remix the original powerset. New powers are generally more potent than old however they may be more situationally limited.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Kitten takes Zach's cavalry sabre, she promises him that she will kill people with it until he comes to take it back.
- Older than They Look: Muwth has been active since the 1950s. She looks around ten, she stopped aging when she got her powers.
- Person of Mass Destruction Averted: Unlike most superhero stories, Price is strictly street level, with the strongest characters in the setting not being able to do much more than destroy a tank
- Power at a Price : Duh.
- Second Super-Identity: Anima, as White Lady. It is common enough in the setting that it's known as 'moonnighting'.
- Sword Drag: Zach does this. Justified because his power heals objects he's holding, so the blade can't be damaged.