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Web Original / Blackburn

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"There are good, strong people in this world who spend every day trying to do what’s right, even though it hurts, even though it’ll kill them in the end. And if that’s what it takes to be a good person, you know what that makes the Mavericks? A goddamned miracle. They’re the only thing standing between Blackburn and Eris. That’s strength."

Blackburn is the first in a series of web novels created by a group of writers led by a user named "Joker". Set in 2030, the book explores the genre of the superhero through a fresh lens that combines both deconstruction and reconstruction, story-telling aimed at adults and a lot of Black Comedy.

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The eponymous city of Blackburn is a Florida metropolis with an abysmal crime rate, an overworked police force and a team of superheroes who may just be the only thing between Blackburn and anarchy. The Mavericks, as they're known, consist mainly of superpowered humans called anomalies. The first book deals with their reunion and fight against nihilistic terrorist Eris.


This series provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The book comes with a map of the world. This will factor in later in the series.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Eris launches a deadly attack on the BCPD headquarters.
  • Alternate History: This is hinted at for future books when the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are mentioned as still existing.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The book ends with the assurance that the Mavericks will have plenty more enemies to fight in the future despite Eris' death.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Shade asks Eris one that sends her into a rage.
    Shade: You wanted to get rid of the scum in this city? Then why didn’t you start with yourself?
  • Big Bad: Eris, a ruthless misanthropic terrorist.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Onyx holds off Eris' henchmen while Shade defeats her before Eris can destroy the city.
  • Break Them by Talking: Eris does this to everyone she can, including Jay. It worked on Quinn.
  • Cardboard Prison: Implied to be the case with Redwater Penitentiary. Martha is easily freed from it when Eris threatens to destroy Blackburn if the prisoners are not released.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Somewhat literally. All seems to be lost when Eris beats Shade for the second time and is preparing to execute her. In a moment of brilliance Shade finds an unusual use for her grapple gun - yanking Eris off the building with it.
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  • Crapsack World: Blackburn is absolutely crawling with thugs and gangbangers, has one of if not the highest murder rate in the country and at the start of the book even the Mavericks have been disbanded.
  • Darker and Edgier: Ooooooooooh yes. Blackburn relies heavily on reality ensuing and the tropes of the superhero genre being brought into a world where people react to them realistically.
  • Dawn of an Era: Eris' riots are implied to be this, bringing Blackburn's status as a Crapsack World into the national spotlight and reviving the long gone mythos of superheroes and villains.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Blackburn starts off with a sharply critical view of superheroes, painting them as ineffectual, unstable outcasts who can't do anything to stymie the massive crime wave plaguing Blackburn. The Mavericks have disbanded and been all but forgotten. By the end the group has reformed, and, knowing they can only do a little to truly change the city, do so anyways because it's better than leaving criminals to do as they please.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Both the Mavericks and Eris utilize one of these.
  • Eye Scream: Jay loses her left eye in a Curbstomp Battle with Eris.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Eris, as she notices Shade's grappling hook lodged in her armor: No one is innocent, Jessica. No one... What in the-?
  • Handy Remote Control: Eris carries one during the finale which is the detonator to the bombs to destroy Blackburn.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Averted. While superheroes and villains wear unique outfits, they're still practical.
  • Kick the Dog: Eris savagely beating her own daughter near to death.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Chief Doyle does this at one point.
    It was like he was living in a damn comic book.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jay comes to regret her entire life after realizing that Eris is no savior, but a mass murdering psychopath.
  • Our Founder: The city of Blackburn has a statue dedicated to the original Maverick, the Blue Paladin.
  • Police are Useless: Averted. While the BCPD is stretched thin, most officers are honest and competent thanks to the leadership of Chief Doyle.
  • Precision F-Strike: Mouse, who is too classy for a potty mouth, drops one in stress during her Wham Line.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
    • 1935, the year that the Blue Paladin first appeared in-universe, is the year of the debut of More Fun Comics, the first American comic-book series to feature solely original material rather than reprints of newspaper comic strips.
    • The climactic fight between Shade and Eris drew inspiration from the final duel between the Joker and Batman in Batman '89. In both cases the main villain meets their end when, having the hero on the ropes, they get distracted and yanked to the ground hundreds of feet below.
    • The passcode to the abandoned Mavericks bunker is 2187, Princess Leia's cell number on the Death Star.
    • Chapter 4, Evil Angel, is named after a Breaking Benjamin song.
    • Chapter 6 is called The Golden Age.
    • Chapter 10 is another reference to Batman '89. Specifically, the Joker's line about "there will be a hot time in the old town tonight".
    • Chapter 11 is a play on words of a famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards.
    • Chapter 15 is a famous line spoken by Rorschach in Watchmen.
    • Vaid plays Ding Dong the Witch is Dead on his phone at the book's end.
  • Wham Line: Mouse drops one in Chapter 9.
    Mouse: The gas was just a distraction," Mouse groaned, putting her forehead into her hands. "She's making bombs. Fire bombs, it looks like. I'd thought she was using the nitroglycerin as an aerosolizer, not a fucking explosive. The situation is much, much more dire than we'd thought…
  • White Gang-Bangers: There are plenty of white thugs, even female ones.
  • World Building: Blackburn is heavily based on worldbuilding. Much of the story is dedicated to the lore of the city, and introducing tons of characters who will be more important later.
  • You Monster!: Jay indirectly says this in her inner monologue, referring not just to Eris and Martha but to herself.
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