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Literature / The Science of Supervillainy

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Can Gary save the city from himself?

Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy (TM) returns in the fourth volume of the popular The Supervillainy Saga by C.T. Phipps.

Having discovered the world's greatest superhero slain by his doppelganger from another reality, Merciful: The Supervillain with Mercy (TM), and the arrogant President Omega, Gary dedicates himself to overthrowing both. Unfortunately, this is harder than it looks since Merciful has all of Gary's genre savviness while President Omega has the entire brainwashed United States military behind him. In the end, though, there can be only one ruler of the world and two of these three feuding villains will have to go.

The book was published on April 11th, 2017.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Other Gary a.k.a Merciful, Gary's Silver Age doppleganger from a previous universe, is the chief bad guy this time.
    • Other Gary is also the Big Good for the entire world now, having cured cancer and turned the Society of Superheroes to improving the life of the average citizen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Other Gary is killed Deader than Dead while President Omega is banished for a time from the universe. Gary has also regained his lost powers, healed Diabloman, restored Earth-B, as well as found himself a new daughter. Unfortunately, Cloak is Deader than Dead along with new heroine Starlight Maiden. Mandy has suffered two centuries of living through Retgone futures. The world also lost 12 million people and the Society Of Superheroes may have made a Face–Heel Turn to become tyrants. Gary has also decided to devote himself to conquering the world with Mandy deciding to help him do it.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Black Witch and Human Tank play a substantial role in the story despite the fact they haven't played a big role since The Rules of Supervillainy.
  • Bread and Circuses: Other Gary rules Falconcrest City with a combination of this, a mercenary army, and low-level brainwashing.
  • Co-Dragons: Starlight Maiden and Shadowman serve as this to Other Gary. They're Ultraforce-powered androids based on his dead children. Both believe he loves them like his biological children. They're wrong.
  • Counter-Earth: Gary harnesses all the collected magical energies of Big Bad Other Gary to create an alternate Earth on the opposite side of the solar system. This is a resurrection of the Silver Age of Comic Books universe where Other Gary originally hailed and his primary motivation for trying to destroy Gary's universe. Gary then kills Other Gary, giving him one look at the world he'd sacrificed so much to create.
  • The Coup: Other Gary was manipulating Gary all the time to take out President Omega so he could take over.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: Twelve million people died in World War 3 (fought against President Omega and his alien mercenaries). According to Other Gary, it was originally over a hundred million. He's an Unreliable Narrator, though.
  • Crapsaccharine World: What Falconcrest City has become. It's no longer crime-riddden but has a lot of low-level brainwashing going on, drugging the water, and is an oppressive police state. It's also economically prosperous and seemingly happy (except for all the people who disappear).
  • Cruel Mercy: Gary has a particularly effective one where he harnesses Other Gary's collected magical energy to rebuild his lost planet, his original goal in the first place, which Other Gary was never able to do. This is due to the presence of Cloak and the fact Gary is a servant of Death so resurrection is part of his portfolio while Other Gary serves Life. After seeing his world returned to life, Other Gary is then executed by Gary and burned to atoms that are promptly scattered so he can never rejoin his loved ones or regenerate.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Gary emerges five year after President Omega's defeat to discover Falconcrest City has been taken over by Other Gary. Played with as Other Gary is a benevolent dictator despite keeping the city as an oppressive surveillance state.
  • Evil Counterpart: Other Gary is this to regular Gary. Despite being a benevolent tyrant, he's an oppressive totalitarian dictator and Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar at best. He's basically a total inversion of Gary's lovable anarchism. The public thinks he's Gary's Good Counterpart, though.
  • Fallen States of America: Happened briefly after WW3 before Gary rescued the economy and government. It's part of what propels him into power.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Defeating President Omega just results in Other Gary becoming dictator of Falconcrest City, who is a much subtler and more capable villain. Subverted since as far as the public knows, Merciful is the same guy as the one who beat President Omega but they are not the same person.
  • Genius Loci: Club Inferno is a building-shaped demon who provides supervillains with equipment, funding, and other Offscreen Villain Dark Matter to serve the cause of evil.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: Unusual for this series as Other Gary actually has done a lot of good and is popular with the citizens. The characters in-universe comment overthrowing him isn't about making the world a better place but revenge.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The public thinks Gary made one of those, which allowed Other Gary to take over his life.
    • Arguably, the Society of Superheroes given they turn a blind eye to Other Gary's tyranny due to his Repressive, but Efficient way of handling things. This despite the fact he's powering the Eastern United States with an imprisoned Ultragoddess.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Both Starlight Maiden and Cloak make this in order to defeat Other Gary.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Tropenamed by Gary Karkofsky at one point. Other Gary is ruling over an economically prosperous and crime-free Falconcrest City. Subverted when we find slums which are patrolled like Baghdad.
  • La Résistance: Amanda Douglass a.k.a Nightgirl is the last remaining survivor of one of these. Diabloman, Mister Inventor, and Red Riding Hood turn out to belong to another small branch.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Gary discovers Cindy had a super-genius child from their time together after Mandy's 'death' named Leia Buffy Ripley Wakowski Karkofsky. Cindy just nicknames her Gizmo due to being a miniature Wrench Wench.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Starlight Maiden qualifies as this to Other Gary. Gizmo is stated by Word of God to be someone who will grow up into this.
  • Mundane Utility: Gary used his time-machine to find out how A Song of Ice and Fire ended. Apparently, Jon and Sansa hook up.
  • Oppressive States of America: The Society of Superheroes has taken over the United States after World War 3. The civilian government is still there but cities are now controlled by First Citizens with all major decisions going through the SOS. Subverted by the fact the Society of Superheroes are doing a better-than-normal job.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Other Gary's Repressive, but Efficient dictatorship versus Gary's colorful anarchy.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: It turns out the massive amount of super-technology Other Gary has brought to the world is powered by the deaths of those around him, accumulated with his necromantic powers as well as Ultragoddess, who he has set up as a living battery to power the United States with cheap green energy. Gary puts a stop to this.
  • Released to Elsewhere: How Other Gary is described getting rid of his political enemies. They're actually placed in Village-esque underground prisons and brainwashed into compliance.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: Other Gary is doing an excellent job of running the world despite being utterly ruthless.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Gabrielle a.k.a Ultragoddess turns out to have been imprisoned as a living battery for Other Gary to give to the public. Once Mandy and Gary figure this out, freeing her becomes their primary goal.
    • Both Gary and Mandy become this as they're imprisoned in Undertown by Other Gary for five years.
  • Shout-Out: Rogue One, They Live!, The Prisoner, and Pleasantville all get referenced as part of the plot.
    • Gary references C.T. Phipps' other novels as in-universe fiction.
  • Starter Villain: President Omega gets dealt with in the beginning of the book, successfully starting World War 3 but failing to bring about his Final Solution for Supers.
  • Take That!: President Omega is referred to a "Big Giant Cheeto" at one point.
    • Other Gary states his Start of Darkness was not only due to losing his world but the realization the American people would voluntarily elect someone like President Omega.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Where to begin with Gizmo, Gary's daughter? She's a super-genius technician who builds a Cockney-accented machine called Murderbot and has psychic powers that cause her to know everything everyone else around her knows. Gary even compares her to Saint Alia of the Knife.
  • Trumplica: Gary makes numerous references to this during his fight with President Omega that causes the latter to get really-really ticked off.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Other Gary takes over Falconcrest City and the Society of Superheroes. He claims he's in place to take over the Presidency and eventually world.