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Literature / The Perils of Enhancegirl

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Enhancegirl - drawn by LostOneZero

The Perils of Enhancegirl is a sixteen part adult superhero-fantasy series published on Deviantart. It stars the eponymous Enhancegirl, the alias of eighteen-year-old political science student Sophie Scott, a relatively novice superhero working out of the fictional city of Seacouver. Enhancegirl has Daredevil-esque super senses, plus superpowered eyesight and uses these to make her an effective close-range combatant - though her hearing is normal even when using her powers.

Though she starts out merely battling some non-powered kidnappers, Enhancegirl's foes eventually include cyborgs, insane spider-women, mesmerists, and power-mad businessmen. As well as enemies, she gains a variety of allies, from the light-wielding Spectra to the meek telepath Insyte.

The series, much like Empowered before it, has a heavy focus on bondage themes. Indeed, one of Enhancegirl's weaknesses is that her superpowered sense of smell makes her very vulnerable to being drugged or chloroformed, and she is routinely captured and tied up in a variety of ways. Despite its heavy focus on fanservice in this manner, it is not without its elements of genuine characterisation. The sixteenth chapter concludes the story.

The series can be found here

A spin-off prequel named The Perils of Valora which starts the superheroine Valora, was released shorty after the final chapter of Enhancegirl. Set 10 years before the events of The Perils of Enhancegirl, it describes Valora's rise to fame in the west coast and focuses of the business and PR side of superhero-ing. Another series, set between Perils of Enhancegirl and Perils of Valora, stars Hypatia, a secondary character from Valora's story.

In recognition of the series' tenth anniversary, a from-the-ground-up remake of the second Enhancegirl story was released. The old version remains up, but is no longer canon. The remake of the second story finishes with an epilogue set after the rest of the main series.

The Perils of Enhancegirl provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Most of the heroines are this, even Enhancegirl, especially in later chapters.
  • Alternate History: Yugoslavia is still a country, and Japan was never nuked. Additionally, there hasn't been a plane-crash since 1987. It is fairly clear that these changes are a result of the presence of superheroes in this world.
  • Anti-Hero: The Pariahs all fit this mold.
  • Badass in Distress: All the heroines except Enhancegirl and Aerogirl are considered this in and out-of-universe when captured.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Often said by villanesess who claim this to compliment their helpless bound and gagged captive heroines.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Frequently. Enhancegirl herself plays this role on a number of occasions.
  • Big Bad: The series doesn't have an actual major antagonist in the story due to the villain-of-the-week format, until Hades is introduced.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Thrice, the first time was in chapter 3 when Enhancegirl was subtly brainwashed by Mesmeridith, then Mesmeridith brainwashed Spectra before the events of chapter 5 and finally Enhancegirl and Ocelot are brainwashed by a cult dedicated to a self-proclaimed goddess in chapter 7.
  • Bridal Carry: Usually happens to captive heroines, specifically unconscious or Bound and Gagged ones. Aside from that, it's generally how the heroines carry each other out of peril.
  • Bound and Gagged: Of the Fanservice variety, the heroines are bound and gagged at least once per chapter.
  • City of Adventure: Seacouver. As well as being the setting for all of Enhancegirl's adventures so far, there are a great deal of superheroes and villains operating here: there are a great many we never see, but hear about from time to time.
  • Covert Pervert: Some of the Villains and heroines are this. However, there are some that are honest of their intentions with the heroines.
  • Damsel in Distress: One of the main themes of the stories. Every heroine gets bound and gagged at least once per chapter.
  • Dating Catwoman: Sophie and Ocelot attempted to form a romantic relationship. However, it didn't turn well as Sophie is a heroine and Ocelot was a criminal and kind of unstable.
  • The Dreaded: The armored villain Hades, whose hobby is collecting superheroines as trophies.
  • Faux Action Girl: Sophie a.k.a Enhancegirl has been close to this, though her combat record in recent chapters is better.
    • Aerogirl is this to the point of being considered a failure by most of Seacouver. however...
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Sophie and Mariko are always described wearing these on their civilian life.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • After defeating Hades and proving his deception to the world, Sophie is nicknamed the Kingslayer by the people of Seacouver, finally being treated with respect and adoration.
    • Mariko/Spectra forms her own superhero team; The Sentinels with Sophie as a honorary member and begin training a new generation of heroes.
    • The Pauldron eventually recover the trust of the people after the villain Hades was revealed to be secretly their leader.
    • All of Hades' "trophies" are freed from their stasis tubes after years of captivity and return to superheroining or normal life.
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Sin-Eater does this to an unconscious and de-powered Sophie, using a darkness-infused tendril to lift her overhead and show her off to her cultists.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Invoked much of the time when Enhancegirl and company are captured by someone.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Catastrophe. The guy can't catch a break, until he joins the Pariahs.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Most of the villains are treated with a degree of seriousness, but Hades' entrance into the story alters the tone in a fairly dark direction.
  • Leg Focus: The author frequently draws attention to the heroines' legs, especially Enhancegirl's and Spectra's.
  • Made a Slave: Most of the villanesses either kidnap the heroines for themselves or to sell to someone else as a slave.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Almost all the heroines and villanesess are described as highly attractive.
  • Noble Bigot: Sophie's dad has shades of this. While he doesn't hold any negative feelings towards Sophie's relationship with Mariko, he makes some insensitive remarks.
  • Official Couple: Sophie and Mariko become this at the end of chapter 10.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Happens frequently to captive heroines. The fetish aspect comes from the physical dominance of it, the lack of modesty said damsel often has when draped over a shoulder, and the potential for the carrier to use her spare hand to chastise the victim as she's carried off.
  • Power Parasite: Adrienne. Sophie, Mariko and Yumi fall victim to her.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Fiendish Five and the Catastrophe Gang.
  • Sensual Spandex: Sophie, Mariko and Valora's superheroine costumes are described as shiny and form-fitting.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: From bondage fanservice with smatterings of story, to character driven psychological thriller.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Originally between Sophie and Ocelot and later Sophie and Mariko but they become a couple at the end of chapter 10.
  • Shout-Out: A bizarrely frequent number to Highlander. The city is named after the setting from the Highlander from the TV series, there is a 'McLeod Avenue', a 'Methos Institute', even a 'Kortan Industrial Park'!
  • The Reveal: The great hero Imperion, a.k.a Jackson Morrow, is the heroine-collector Hades.
  • Yandere: Ocelot becomes this towards Sophie, eventually attempting to kill Spectra.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Aerogirl. Not that she's evil, but the public see her as completely useless as a superheroine.