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Superpowered Mooks

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Now that's a firing squad.

"If it's any consolation, they look like cheap knockoffs."
Nomad, commenting on enemy Nanosuit soldiers in Crysis

So, the heroes are mowing through your legions of Mooks like they were nothing. Even your Giant Mooks and Elite Mooks barely slow them down for more than a couple seconds. You see, the heroes have an edge that not even your best Elite Mooks can hope to match... not only are they better fighters, they're also fighting on a whole different level than your minions. Maybe they're Jedi skilled in The Force, or they see the world in bullet-time and wear superpowered nanotech suits. Maybe they have a gravity gun, grappling hook pistol, or some other special weapon your troops have no equivalent of. Perhaps your enemies are straight-up superheroes, or they could just be average guys who only win because your Mooks are blind, deaf, mentally impaired or physically challenged.

Any way you cut it though, no matter how much firepower your mere mortal Mooks try to bring against them, they'll simply be completely outmatched, with the heroes often being a full class or higher than them in Super Weight. Sure, you've got your Quirky Mini Boss Squad or The Psycho Rangers, who have powers of their own, but you have only five or six of them at most, and they can't be everywhere at once. What you need are Mooks with some sort of special abilities (preferably similar or identical to the hero's). Enter the Superpowered Mooks.

These guys are equipped with the same or similar powers as the heroes but produced in large enough numbers that you can use them as elite infantry and field several at once, rather than (as with a Quirky Mini Boss Squad member) merely tossing one out as an end-of-level Boss encounter. This allows you to outnumber the heroes while simultaneously fighting them with their own tricks! There's no way it can possibly fail! Unless, of course, that pesky Law Of Conservation of Ninjutsu pops up... and let's not even think about the inevitable drop in quality of these Evil Knockoffs due to mass production, or the effect it will have on their physical and mental stability.

Not to be confused with video game mooks that are just unreasonably powerful. Distinct from Elite Mooks in the fact that while elite Mooks are merely just a more powerful kind of enemy compared to regular Mooks, their power does not necessarily come from similarity to the hero's capabilities.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece;
    • During the Buster Call on Enies Lobby a horde of Captain-ranked Marines attack the Straw Hat pirates. Since Asskicking Leads to Leadership, each one has their own superpowers, ranging from being a giant with an axe to the ability to rust metal with a touch. All are dispatched quickly despite the diversity of power.
    • After the Time Skip, we learn that Kaido, one of the Four Emperors is building an army empowered with the fake Devil Fruits Caesar Clown produces; It's already at the 500 mark. From what we've seen on the flashback on Zou, these fake Fruits are technically Zoan-types, but don't follow the typical rules of a normal Zoan as they turn random parts of their users into random animal parts (like a wolf hand or an elephant head in chest) and very few are actually capable of changing their bodies at will, meaning most are permanently stuck that way. Later on, we see the drawbacks of these false fruits, as the powers they grant are incredibly random and inconsistent and capable of backfiring on the user (such as having an animal growing out of you that attacks you), and more often than not leave their users horrifically (or hilariously) deformed. Adding onto this, the chances of actually getting powers from them are just a mere 10%, with the other 90% not only failing to get powers, but also losing their ability to swim and get stuck as Perpetual Smilers. Even the successful ones are notably far less effective than the average Devil Fruit user, but they also aren't bound by the rule of 1 regular Devil Fruits follow, putting special emphasis on quantity over quality. ''
  • The Ple Clone Army from Gundam ZZ, hundreds of identical psychic girls piloting telepathically controlled Humongous Mecha.
  • Near the end of the first season of Gundam 00, the newly formed UN-alliance between the three power blocks starts fielding the GN-X mobile suit. Said mobile suit has the mass-produced engine of the Gundams, enabling them to go toe-to-toe with the Thrones and actually defeat the protagonists in the final battle. Of course, by the next season they are obsolete against the new Gundams; even the newer GN-XIII is merely a mook.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • This applies to most Frieza Standard Mooks, who can cast energy from their hands, without relying on weapons.
    • The Metal Coolers in The Return of Cooler. Unusually for this trope, a single Metal Cooler is much stronger than any of the protagonists, dealing out curb stomp battles to a Super Namek and two Super Saiyans. In fact, depending on when this movie is supposed to be set, a single Metal Cooler is on par with the first or second forms of Cell.
    • Cell Jrs. They can use their father's techniques, and individually they were as strong as Vegeta or Trunks.
  • In Smile Pretty Cure!, the Bad End Pretty Cure are the Evil Knockoffs of the Pretty Cures, created by Joker. They are introduced in the end of episode 45 and are killed in episode 46. And what kills them? By the new, upgraded individual attacks of the Pretty Cures, that couldn't finish the Hyper Akanbes before.
    • The said Hyper Akanbes are at least tougher than the Bad End Pretty Cures, but they are only Elite Mooks.

    Comic Books 
  • The Gamorran supersoldiers, and later Dr. Krigstein's goons, in The Authority.
  • The Prime Sentinels during Operation: Zero Tolerance in X-Men.
  • The terrorist organizations at Marvel Universe sometimes do this to their men. Pym particle and Hulk-powered HYDRA mooks were part of Viper's latest world domination plot, alongside Norman Osborn. But they don't get to do much aside from thrashing jeeps and helicopters belonging to an US diplomatic mission sent to negotiate the release of Captain America, who had been taken hostage.
  • The O.M.A.C. Project in the DC Universe.
  • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor had literally millions of these guys in his Shadow Demon army.
  • Yet another DC event Crossover is Our Worlds at War which has a Galactus Expy sending hundreds of mechanical probes to fight the heroes.
  • In Savage Dragon, there is a superpowered gang of roughly two hundred members called the Vicious Circle. Usually, they fight the Dragon en masse. It's usually not enough to beat him unless they use their elite members.
  • Legacy Darth Krayt had a secret army of Sith Troopers that can take on Sith/Jedi.

     Fan Works 


  • Source material notwithstanding, the ending part of the Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novel Necropolis sees Gaunt, and his Ghosts fight non-Codex daemons known as Darkwatchers that could teleport.
  • The Cosmere:
    • Larger noble houses in Mistborn have enough allomancers to field strike teams of them. Though they're almost all Mistings rather than full Mistborn, they're still much more dangerous than ordinary humans would be in their place, and even have a decent shot at fighting a proper Mistborn by combining all their powers. The Lord Ruler also has armies of Koloss (giant blue nonhuman berserkers who which are superhumanly strong and durable) but rarely uses them because because despite being incredibly effective in battle, they are very difficult to stop once they're whipped into a battle frenzy and have tendency to just kill anything and everything they can find.
    • In The Stormlight Archive the Fused are this for the Voidbringers. Each one is actually a long dead Singer the god Odium can repeatedly resurrect via sacrificing commoner singers, so they are numerous and incredibly difficult to actually kill. They have a variety of magic which seems to be very similar to the Surgebinding abilities that the Knight's Radiant used, meaning they can do things like manipulate gravity or create illusions.
    • In the same vein, the Regals (singers who have bonded with a Voidspren and gained limited powers). Their powers are considerably more limited than those of the Fused, but they can also be created in much larger numbers.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko and Nick Perumov's Wrong Time for Dragons, the first major threat that Victor encounters in the Middle World are the Punishers, squads operated by the Water Clan to kill those whom the higher-up Water mages want dead. They are usually composed of dedicated battle mages of lower ranks lead by a third-rank mage. They are quite adept at using water whips with deadly precision, frequently slicing people in half. The third-rank mage can summon a Water Spirit, which is invincible to normal weapons (unless you kill the mage controlling it). In fact, any steel weapon that passes through the Water Spirit instantly rusts and crumbles. It turns out that the Punishers are only there to secretly initiate Victor with Water magic on his path to becoming The Dragonslayer.

    Live Action TV 
  • At the end of Season 6 of Smallville, Lex reveals what the purpose of his secret lab called 33.1 is; to experiment on the powers of meteor-infected individuals and combine their powers into a single body as part of Project Ares. The further implementation of this plan seemed to be a mass-produced superhuman army until the main facility was destroyed in the finale by Bizarro.
  • Since most of the suits used by the protagonists inKamen Rider originate from villain's power source anyway, the villains can easily mass produce cheaper versions of said suit. specific examples include the Shocker Riders from the original show, the Riotroopers from Kamen Rider 555 and the Kamen Rider Mages from The Movie of Kamen Rider Wizard
  • In the episode 'Mighty Morphin Mutants' of the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, this trope overlaps a bit with Psycho Rangers as a bunch of Mooks receive the power to transform into Rangers themselves.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dragon-Blooded in Exalted are essentially meant to be this. They are the weakest of the Exalted but can pass down their powers to their children (unlike the Celestial Exalted, who exist in fixed numbers and go through Reincarnation).
  • Princess: The Hopeful has a semi-heroic example in the form of the Stormwracked, normal humans recruited en masse by the Queen of Storms to fight under her Princesses in the endless war against the Darkness and given access to the same Invocation and Practical Magic as Princesses of Storms.

    • The Bohrok. They're an army of Mecha-Mooks that come in six types, each wielding a different elemental power.
    • Later came the Rahkshi, Elite Mooks who could field one of forty-two different powers depending on the type of Kraata piloting them. Only six were fought by the heroes when they were first introduced, but in later material entire armies of them started showing up.

    Video Games 
  • Later parts of the Star Wars: Dark Forces Saga used this to add more opponents with lightsaber skills and Force powers, making them more integral to the gameplay compared to Jedi Knight, which had only offered such fights with the bosses.
    • The main plot of Jedi Outcast involved the Empire mass-producing Reborn troops, Imperial soldiers artificially infused with Force abilities and given lightsabers. They ranged from the basic orange Reborn, who were limited to simple lightsaber skills, to the red Reborn, who had the same Force abilities as the player (only at a slightly weaker level), to the elite Shadow Troopers, who wore black lightsaber-resistant armor and helmets (which looked like lower-tier copies of Darth Vader's own Sith armor) and had the same Force ability and lightsaber skill level as your own character, and could turn invisible.
    • The sequel, Jedi Academy, featured Sith Cultists who were infused with Force powers via an Artifact of Doom called the Scepter of Ragnos. The cultists were extremely specialized; some fought only with a lightsaber, some were unarmed but fought using high-level Force powers, and the rarely seen (read: less than 10 in the entire game, all in a single level) Cultist Commandos use Force-assisted jumping combined with blasters to pull off some Max Payne-like firefight action. A little later, you'd be introduced to the New Reborn, the leftovers of the Reborn from the previous game (actually there are at least as many of them in this game), who were about the same as the most powerful old Reborn, clearly superior to the Cultists.
    • Jedi Academy also featured elite superpowered mooks called Reborn Masters — as the name indicates, the elite among the New Reborn, and easily about as powerful as real Jedi Masters in the game. There were only a handful, and they would have counted as bosses if they weren't nameless and placed at only somewhat critical junctures. They had seemingly been designed to be as difficult to beat as possible, possessing every Force power at highest level except for those limited to the player, superior lightsaber skills, and AI that made the other enemies look like idiots — you wouldn't catch a master trying to fry you with Force lightning while you were protected against it, nor would they let you jump on their heads Mario-style without retaliating, although at least they couldn't slice off three of your limbs in one go like in that one movie.
  • The Force Unleashed featured the Emperor's Shadow Guards, black-armoured warriors who wielded lightsabre-halberds and attacked with a variety of powerful Force abilities. Just one of these guys constituted a whole miniboss battle. Worse yet, they were always accompanied by cloaked Shadow Stormtroopers, who would conveniently phase in and start shooting at you just when you had the Guard on the ropes.
  • Many Castlevania games feature enemies, usually skeletons, who wield whips in the same manner as the Belmonts'. They tend to be up there on the threat scale compared to most enemies.
  • In TimeShift, the player has the ability to slow down or stop time (while continuing to move at normal speeds themselves), allowing them to slaughter basic Mooks left and right. The enemy army's trump card was the Quantum Guards, cyborg soldiers equipped with similar time-bending abilities as the player (Flash Guards could slow time and thus move at super-speeds, and Warp Guards could teleport around by stopping time. Storm Guards are the only Quantum Guards without actual superpowers; they instead use impenetrable, riot-gear-like energy shields that are rather reminiscent of those used by the Jackals from Halo).
  • In Project: Snowblind, General Yan Lo's Elite Guard have the same nanoaugmented powers as the player character. There are 3 different types of Elite Guard, each one has 1 of the player's nanotech powers... 1 type can move at super-speed, 1 type has a full-body energy shield, and 1 type is equipped with a cloaking device (although, due to A.I. issues, they mostly just use the cloaking device, which is by far the least useful of the 3 powers). The General himself has all 3 powers, although he's nice enough to only use them one at time (with his boss battle being split into 3 different phases, with 1 phaser per power).
  • Crysis had North Korean Nanosuit soldiers, whose Nanosuits gave them the same superpowered abilities your own character had (increased durability, a recharging energy "shield" reactive armour, regenerating health, a cloaking device, and super-strength for enhanced punches and jumps). While Nomad quips that they're "just cheap knockoffs", they're actually pretty much identical to your own suit, other than a lack of speed mode and fairly average enemy A.I.
  • In the F.E.A.R. expansion pack Perseus Mandate, you fought against Nightcrawler Elites, who had the same Slo Mo ability as the player (which they used to zoom around at superhuman speeds in short, split-second bursts).
  • In Far Cry Instincts: Evolution, you face off against native Feral Warriors, who possess the same Feral powers as the player (which mostly involve enhanced jumping ability, enhanced speed, and a really mean melee attack).
  • In Halo, the player's only actual "superpower" that distinguishes them from the standard disposable Redshirts is a regenerating energy shield and a useful melee attack. However, even the standard version of the alien enemy officers, known as Elites, have the same regenerating energy shield and hard-hitting melee attack as the player, with the Brutes also being similar in Halo 3.
    • In Halo: Reach, the higher-ranking Elites such as Ultras, Zealots, and Generals can also use the same armor abilities (e.g. Armor Lock) as the player, with all three bordering on Boss in Mook Clothing.
  • Oddly, this is both used and averted in BioShock. While the background fluff describes Splicers using the same Plasmid abilities that the player can use (e.g., Incinerate! to set people on fire), in the actual game many Splicers are mostly limited to normal weapons, such as clubs, guns, and makeshift grenades. Early exceptions include the Spider Splicers, who seem to have some form of enhanced speed and agility, then Houdini Splicers, who can throw fireballs and teleport. Later chapters include Thuggish (melee) splicers acquiring a passive version of your electric attack, Houdini splicers occasionally employing a version of your Winter Blast plasmid, and the final boss (who throws various elemental projectiles).
    • Given that most of the splicers rather overdid things and went off the deep end it isn't totally surprising they just charge at you in a berserk rage.
    • Meanwhile, Bioshock Infinite has Firemen and Zealots of the Lady, who use the Devil's Kiss and Murder of Crows Vigors against the player, and are immune to the same attacks.
  • City of Heroes has many cases, but a clear example are Crey's Paragon Protectors, who are clones of dead heroes.
  • In Mirror's Edge, you spend most of the game being pursued by slow but heavily armed cops and SWAT soldiers. You then learn that the bad guy's master plan is to train Ninja Parkour Cops to chase and eliminate Runners at their own game. You face off against these Ninja Parkour Cops in a few of the later levels; they have the same Le Parkour skills as your own character, allowing them to pursue you across the rooftops in ways the standard cops are incapable of.
  • You can find almost the exact same pattern in Mark of the Ninja, minus the Parkour references. You spend most of the game fighting regular soldier-type rank and file guards and, occasionally, more badass elite guards, and then you face the result of the Big Bad's master plan, which is evil elite high-tech ninjas who have more or less the same aptitudes as yourself.
  • Ace Combat has antagonist ace squadrons who in their first appearance (at least on a first or fresh playthrough) are "boss-level" pilots flying endgame planes before they're unlocked for the player. Fortunately, if they're not invulnerable, you get plenty of points for shooting them down, regardless of difficulty and even if you're by now using the same or better planes.
  • Most enemy types in the later Wizardry series pick up spellcasting or other special abilities as you encounter higher-level varieties, which results in fire-breathing crows and psionic robots, among other things.
  • Metroid Prime has the Space Pirates that have copied your beam weapon technology, in the form of Power, Wave, Ice, and Plasma Troopers. Even though they had weapons basically equivalent to yours, they lack the slow rate of fire you have for most of them.
  • The unit of engineered psychic soldiers encountered close to the end of Second Sight. They can use almost every single power that the protagonist has earned over the course of the game- largely because the stem cells used in their creation were extracted from both the Zener Children and the aformentioned protagonist, John Vattic. Interestingly enough, after you kill every last one of them, the Big Bad reveals that not only were the soldiers just one unit of several hundred spread across the United States, but the reason Vattic met them in the first place was to measure the strength of his powers, to justify using more of his cells in the next generation.
  • The five "Special Infected" super-zombies from Left 4 Dead. More than the usual "berserk feral ex-human trying to tear your face off", they get extensive mutations that give them long razor-claws (Hunters, Witches), a tongue like a flying-catching lizard (Smokers), a bladder of disorienting bile that attracts hordes of regular zombies (Boomers), or muscles that make them the size of a car (Tanks).
  • In Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, in the last level you fight "avatars", essentially multi-player characters being controlled by the Big Bad's programming staff. They have the same abilties your character has, such as regenerating health and the ability to switch weapons. Amusingly, many of them are non-gamers, and say stuff like "which button do I press to shoot stuff?"
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 had the Fire Bros. that only appeared twice in the entire game; as a pair on the World 2 map, and as singleton in a World 8 Hand Trap stage. There were also fire-spitting Nipper Plants in one level of World 7.
    • Super Mario World had Super Koopas—Beach Koopas with Superman-style capes that let them fly. One stomp made them lose the capes and revert to normal, while some drop Cape Feathers.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii onwards introduces the Ice Bros., which fight the same way as Fire Bros., but their iceballs would freeze those that get hit by them.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: After a storm blows many Super Leaves off the Tail Tree, Bowser uses them to power up his Goombas, Big Goombas, Boos, Bullet Bills, Bob-ombs, and Thwomps into Tail Goombas, Big Tail Goombas, Tail Boos, Tail Bullet Bills, Tail Bob-ombs, and Tail Thwomps, most of which attack Mario with their Tanooki tails or slow their descent in the case of Tail Bob-ombs and Tail Thwomps.
    • Super Mario 3D World: The game features Cat Goombas, Cat Bullet Bills, and Cat Banzai Bills, the latter two of which home in on Mario and his friends similar to Bull’s-Eye Bills and Bull’s-Eye Banzai Bills, while the former pounces just like Cat Mario.
  • [PROTOTYPE] gives us Hunters and Blackwatch Super Soldiers who have similar powers to Alex, in contrast with the base Infected who are all punching bags and standard Marines or Blackwatch troopers who only have weapons but no innate powers.
  • Wolfenstein (2009)
    • The Nazi Scribes fulfill this role, using a variety of Veil powers similar to those of the players, such as bulletproof shields and super-speed.
    • The Veil Assassins also count, though to a slightly lesser degree; they can also use the Veil, but not in as many ways as the Scribes.
  • inFAMOUS had conduits, Elite Mooks armed with powers similar to whichever boss they happen to work under. The Reapers can teleport and create a traveling explosion. The Dust Men are either heavily armored guys who spawnankle-biters while launching rockets at you or guys who can telekinetically build a giant mecha suit out of debris. The First Sons have cloaking or the ability to project a giant ghostly figure around themselves.
  • By ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL, Harbinger in Mass Effect 2 can turn any of its Collectors into one of these. The Eclipse Vanguards have similar abilities to possessed drones (throwing balls of biotic energy and casting a damage absorbing barrier), but their barriers and attacks are much weaker and they lack his exploding fireballs and melee attacks. Numerous biotic enemies in the first game would also possess Throw and Warp, and in the case of Asari Commandos, Throw, Stasis, Warp, and Barrier.
  • Dishonored gives us Assassins, ninja-like Gas Mask Mooks who can Blink around just like you, as well as Pull you towards them.
    • The DLC and the sequel also contain Witches, who also posses the teleportation abilities of the player, as well as a sonic scream attack, a ranged missile, and can summon vines to tie you down.
  • Gears of War features Theron Guards, enemy elite units who chant ominously, wear an enemy variant of a Badass Longcoat, and wield one-kill Torque Bows. The first time you meet them, they outnumber your squad and are already dug in. Expect to die a lot.
  • Saints Row IV gives the player superpowers, but they're not exclusive to you alone. Zin specialists can use the Super Sprint and Super Jump abilities in the same way that you can and are immune to being knocked down, as they can simply flip to recover. Another example would be Wardens, who possess all of your abilities save for Buff, in addition to an energy shield that protects against conventional damage until it is removed by a super power.
  • The Ubersodier features members of the titular Super-Soldier unit as Elite Mooks, some with insane mental abilities like creating an impenetrable purple force-field around them, moving at superhuman speed, enhanced durability, and telepathy where they send entire walls of debris at you. They're borderline Demonic Spiders if not for the fact that you are a supersoldier with telepathic skills yourself.
  • The Gravelord Servant Covenant in Dark Souls operates by cursing other players with Superpowered Mooks. The regular enemies in the area will be accompanied by more powerful red phantom versions of themselves until the afflicted players find the Gravelord Servant's soul sign, invade their world, and kill them.
  • Quantum Break features enemies who can continue to move around while time is frozen and use several time-based powers of their own, such as moving at incredible speeds.
  • Certain members of the Brotherhood in The Darkness II can warp around the battlefield with Darkness-enhanced speed. This appears to be the only Darkness power that the Brotherhood have mastered, besides the Darkness armor that each Brotherhood member wears to protect them from executions.
  • The Octolings in the Splatoon series have all the same abilities as an Inkling, including the ability to wield ink weapons and subweapons and shapeshift into an octopus form. Later entries even let you play as an Octoling yourself, though enemy Octolings remain an example either way.
  • In Genshin Impact, Fatui Skirmishers use advanced technology to manipulate the elements, something only those with Visions (i.e. playable characters) are naturally capable of. Elite troops such as Agents and Cicin Mages instead wield Delusions, Evil Knockoff Visions that grant vast power at the cost of the user's health.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dai Li, of Avatar: The Last Airbender, are "The Secret Police" of Ba Sing Se and prove to be some of the most formidable advisaries the gaang has to contend with. In the "Lake Laogai" episode, not only were they able to hold their own versus the gaang and Jet's group, in "The Day of Black Sun pt.2", a lone pair of Dai Li agents were able to stall Aang, Sokka, and Toph, by themselves!
    • Additionally, many, many fire nation soldiers can firebend, as seen in the page image.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • The third season's Big Bad, Brother Blood, builds a small army of copies of Cyborg, which turn out to be some of most effective mooks in the series along with Mad Mod's giant nutcracker soldier robots.
    • All of fourth season Big Bad Trigon's mooks are also superpowered demons. These die fairly easily, all told — too bad there's a literally endless supply of them...
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • Cadmus sends Galatea to attack the Watchtower with an army of Ultimen clones. Although the original Ultimen had a fair amount of characterization, it's implied that the mass-produced clones have more rudimentary mental conditioning.
    • In "Hearts and Minds", Despero empowers his soldiers using the Flame of Pytar that also gave him power. These soldiers are far from cannon fodder — they are introduced curbstomping a bunch of Green Lanterns. The heroes only win by channeling the Pytar itself, who actually doesn't approve of what Despero is doing with its power, but couldn't stop him until now.
  • In the Young Justice (2010) episode "Alpha Male", the Brain uses Kobra-Venom infused animals to guard his base. These include elephants, crocodiles, vultures, monkeys, and wolves injected with a serum that makes them larger and gives them Super-Strength. Fortunately the Team learns that destroying their inhibitor collars frees them of the Brain's mind control and renders them neutral.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Super Powered Mook



Larger-than-average and packing psychic powers to boot, a single Retainer utterly trounces Hank in his latest trip to Hell.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / SuperpoweredMooks

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