The Whateley Universe is a Cape Punk / Teen Drama Shared Universe Web Serial Novel series, in a Superhero School scenario with elements of the Cthulhu Mythos comprising the main Myth Arc. It was inspired by an X-Mennote fanfic written by one of Whateley's many authors, and retains many similarities to the Marvel Universe, but a reasonably well-developed universe was created before the first stories were released.
People in their early teens are manifesting mutant powers. They are widely hated and feared, but there is a place that will take them in, shelter them, and teach them how to control their powers: Whateley Academy in Dunwich, New Hampshire. Whateley is fairly large (nearly 600 middle school through high school students in six grades); has support from superheroes, supervillains, and super-neutrals (so it is not being constantly attacked); does not have a high school aged superhero team flying around and fighting crime despite what Team Kimba seems to think; and puts heroes and villains together in everyday situations (just like a real high school). It also hosts demons, magical creatures, monsters, demigods, gods, and Jericho.
In one of many twists, between a sixth to a third of the students have a subconscious image of the form that their body ought to take, known as their Body Image Template (BIT). Mutants with a BIT generally gain either a physical or mental package of powers, frequently both. The physical package usually includes both beauty and brawn, the mental package usually includes major intelligence boosts as well as memory, etc. However, a BIT may change any aspect of a person's body in order to fit their self-image, including their sex. In some cases the transformation may turn them into inhuman whatevers right out of a horror movie.
Most of the main characters are transgender in some way, shape, or form, so the school placed them all in Poe Cottage, an LGBTI dorm. All the main characters have their own origin story, in which their powers began to manifest, and there is a great deal of grief within their families about their gender change. Of course, there is almost always grief associated with simply being a mutant, but for those involuntarily transformed, the problems are all the greater. Not all transgender characters were involuntarily forced into their present form by their mutation. Some of them changed their own sex using their powers, and some were changed by outside forces.
Whateley Universe is not a pastiche or a direct parody, although it is often written in a tongue in cheek manner, putting superhero themes on common things. For example, Whateley Academy has the high school cliques any normal high school would have, the elitist Alphas, the Fashion Police, and the grungy losers (the Rat Patrol). However, they also have other cliques that only a Superhero School would have, such as the Mastermindsnote , the Ninjas, the Robo-Joxnote , the Gruntsnote , the Bad Seedsnote , and of course, the Cape Squad (the 'Future Superheroes of America', who are very enthusiastic about being future superheroes). Ironically, school administration is quite insistent that Whateley is not a Superhero School, though they don't deny being an Academy of Adventure.
Here is a link to the stories. Until February 2012, when Diane took over updating the main site, the authors made their new stories available at the Authors Corner section of the forums. The front page also contains links to the forums and a fan-maintained Wiki. Be forewarned: the Whateley Universe now encompasses something like 14 Canon authors, 21 fanfic authors also hosted on the site, and something close to 150 novels, novelettes, and short stories (NOT counting all the fanfic). It is also somewhat NSFW, with rather frank discussions of sexuality in several of the stories.
Around 2014, the Canon Cabalnote started developing plans for a second generation of Whateley stories, and recruited several fanfic authors for a new Cabal. The first of these stories were released in late 2015. While they take place at Whateley, they occur several years after the main cast would have graduated, with an all-new team and new plotlines. As of April 2016, the first story arc has ended, though the students have yet to reach Whateley, and two of the Superhero Origin stories have gotten underway.
Because of the sheer size of the series and every-growing Loads and Loads of Characters, most of the character descriptions have been moved to the (multiple) character sheets. Only the initial main characters of the two periods are summarized here.
The original six characters, Team Kimba, are:
- Chaka (Toni Chandler), Genki Girl martial artist who controls Ki.
- Fey (Nikki Reilly), elven Wizard of unusual power, possessed by an ancient elvish queen.Due to her Glamour, she subconsciously makes people attracted to her whether she wants it or not.
- Tennyo (Billie Wilson), flying blasting slicing regenerating Warper extraordinaire; looks rather like Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo! (intentionally, as a result of how she gained her superpowers).
- Generator (Jade Sinclair), who "generates" Jinn, psychokinetic copies of herself by animating inanimate objects for a limited time. When the effect wears off, Jinn's memories merge with Jade's.note She was fourteen at the start of the series, but appears to be ten. Between having been abused as a child, and the psychological effects of her powers, she's somewhat unstable mentally, but mostly this results in her behaving as an overly-cutesy prankster.
- Shroud (Jinn Sinclair), Jade's invented persona when Jinn takes human shape. Using props, she can appear as everything from an ordinary teenage girl, to a spooky eeriness and chains undead, to an empty black cloak. She pretends to be the ghost of Jade's elder sister.
- Phase (Ayla Goodkind), a density-changer who can become intangible or super-dense. Comes from a very rich family, but unfortunately that family is the Whateley Universe version of Fred Phelps's clan, and reacted very poorly to his mutation.
- Lancer (Hank Declan), a twist on the classic super-strong invulnerable Flying Brick hero type, in that he actually uses a form of personal-ranged psychokinesis to enhance his physical abilities. Military Brat. The only Team Kimba character that's gender bending the other way, and also was the only Team Kimba character without his own series of stories. Now, he has Phoenix Spiritus as a writer.
The new characters for the 2nd Gen stories include:
- Okami (Hikaru Myoujin) — Member of a cadet branch of Japan's Imperial family who was trained from birth to serve as a Shinto priestess, only to find herself the object of worship when she becomes the Paladin of Amaterasu.
- Kenshin (Taka Ono) — A young man who manifested the martial arts skills of a shonen fighting anime protagonist (and unfortunately the attitude to match) sent off to America after causing too much trouble at home.
- Dragonsfyre (Morgana Jones) — a formerly nerdy kid imbued with magical powers in a horrific experiment by a cult that wanted to create a living magical battery and who still bears the physical and mental scars.
- Glyph (Bianca St. Claire) — Legacy Character whose Avatar mutation allowed him to inherit an Always Female role - but with the result that she became a Gender Bender as the power adapts her to the role.
- Eisenmadel (Erica von Abendritter) — the Jewish product of Nazi Super Science who was imbued with powers in her grandparents' lifelong battle against Nazi deadenders seeking to establish a Fourth Reich.
- Lapin (Lucretia "Tia" del Bosque) — The victim of a mutation ray that his Mad Scientist former girlfriend used on him in a fit of jealous rage, which gave her the Body Image Template of a well-known retired superheroine...which unfortunately included the appearance and proclivities of a Playboy bunny girl... ears, tail and all.
- Invictus (Tanya Wright) — another Legacy Character who is a bit disturbed to have manifested her deceased mother's exact appearance as well as her powers.
- Cerulea (Laura Samuels) — Devisor and Gadgeteer, whose manifestation included bright blue skin and hair and broke up her parent's marriage.
- Calliope (Fiorella "Cally" Persico): A receptive and projective empath who projects by singing, giving her a limited subset of siren powers.
- Charger (Nicholas Brennan, Jr.) — second-generation member of a genetically-engineered race, he is the oldest of the Horse Animen to be born that way, and the first to learn that their creator, Dr. DNA, had left an extra gift in their genome in the form of the Mutant Meta-Gene Complex.
- Dragonblade (A.J. Blackstone) — Child of a superhero and a supervillainess, AJ was already receiving magical training when his mutation kicked in.