Thursday, June 21, 2007
Legion of Substitute Costumes Bonus: Plant Lad
Kidding. Plant Lad is a mighty hero with the somewhat useful power of turning into any kind of plant. Which is awesome when the plant is some giant alien number that can move around and eat people, but somewhat less awesome when it's, say, one of your lame immobile Earth plants. Although I suppose that'd be useful for stealth missions. ("I don't remember seeing this potted fern here before--! Oh, well. As I was saying, the new secret codewords for our terrorist operation are...")
Historians will argue that Plant Lad never got rejected for membership by the Legion of Super-Heroes. They're actually correct. Kind of. Technically, he never even got to try out! See, many years ago Plant Lad and I were brunching at that Tartarus-style breakfast joint, the Infernal House of Pancakes. (Try ordering a "Devil's Dozen" donuts there. They'll give you four donuts, every time. Tartarusians, they're not so good with the math.) I believe I'd ordered the sulfur-roasted ham slab-wich, while Plant Lad was enjoying a nitrogen smoothie. Well, you'd never guess who tottered in, blitzed off her royal ass after a long night of partying, with her platinum hair mussed, one white opera glove missing, her magenta collar askew, and a tell-tale vomit stain down the front of her purple bustier. Yeah. Her.
So Plant Lad, bless 'im, was perpetually agog over celebrities back then -- he must have subscribed to twenty different holomags on the subject... People, Pod People, Pod People en Español, Popular Mechanics (featuring page after page of various mechanics who are popular), The Bismollywood Reporter, you name it! And before I could warn him about what a massive skank she was, Plant Lad rushed over to her and started gushing, and she was having none of it, and the words were just pouring out of his mouth at lightspeed and part of me wanted to grab him and drag him away from her before he made an even bigger fool out of himself. But another part of me wanted to grab my Omnicom, sit back, and record their conversation for posterity.
Their talk went exactly like this:
Plant Lad: --just an incredible inspiration for me, I mean I watch all your holotapes and I buy all your biographical supplements as soon as they come out and I even bought your limited edition line of shoes, like in every color and every size, of course they're not for me, I mean I don't wear them or anything, I mean I'm not a freak, ha, ha, heh, but I have them on this wall of shoes I made, because it's just a really interesting design element for my apartment, they're all like on little floating platforms, I mean "platforms" as in places to put shoes on not "platforms" as in platform shoes, heh, I guess it would be pretty silly of me to put shoes on top of more shoes, ha, uh, I mean how ridiculous would that look, although if anybody could pull it off it'd be you, you're just so elegant and regal and stylish and I think you give the Legion a lot of class which I think is so important, don't you, and by the way I'm a superhero myself, my name is Plant Lad which I guess I should have said before, heh, ha, ha, oh, er. and I can turn into all kinds of plants, and I know that sounds kind of useless, heh, um, but it's really not, I swear, like for instance there are actually a lot of plants that can move around, and they can grab things and they're like really strong and CAN I TRY OUT FOR THE LEGION?!!
Princess Projectra (bored): Aren't you supposed to be dead?
Plant Lad: Heh, ha, no, see, that was--
Princess Projectra: Yeah, I'm pretty sure you died. Who are you?! Do you work here?
Plant Lad: No, heh, what happened is I faked my own death, ha, I guess that's where you're confused, but--
Princess Projectra: Yeah, so I'd like to order the Satan Scramble with Faust Fries...
Plant Lad: I don't work here, ha, ha, but anyway I think I'd be a really valuable addition to your team, um...
Princess Projectra: ... and could you get me one of those cardboard Prince Evillo crowns? I'm gonna make my boyfriend wear one the next time we do it.
Plant Lad: Oh, heh, ha, I said I don't work here, I'm a superhero, er, oh, um...
Princess Projectra: So you're out of crowns?
Plant Lad: Heh, oh, er, huh?
Princess Projectra: Forget the food. Your service sucks. I'm going to tell my daddy to buy your restaurant and atomize it.
Then she left. Plant Lad stood there gaping for a moment, and then he s-l-o-w-l-y ambled back over to our booth. He slumped down in his seat. "Was it everything you dreamed it would be?" I asked.
He just stared down at his placemat for about a minute. Finally, without looking up, he mumbled, "She smelled like drain cleaner."
Poor dope. To be honest, he probably wouldn't have made it into the Legion anyway. Y'see, Plant Lad's people go through "active" cycles and "dormant" cycles. The "dormant" cycle, which lasts about four months out of every Earth year, begins with them getting kind of logy and dull-witted, and then they just stop moving altogether and become as stiff as boards. (But not in the good way.) So he's basically useless 1/3 of the time. Unless you're me, and you're clever enough to put him to work as a figurehead on your pirate ship!
But I dunno. Maybe he could have impressed certain skank-like royals (who then would have sponsored him for membership) if he'd dressed flashier. Like he does now! I convinced Plant Lad that his tall, lanky frame can pull off any look, and especially the look of a rock star! Check him out!
And the rest of the known universe evidently agrees with me! I'm happy to report that Plant Lad now enjoys thriving careers as an intergalactic New New Wave musician and two-time Beat the Living Crap Out Of You League champion... when he's awake, anyway. For the present, though, he's securely strapped to the prow of the H.M.S. Exquisite, scaring the holy bejeebus out of enemy ships.
Not a bad life, if you ask me.