City's superhero search still largely unsuccessful

Crime in Richmond is hovering at its lowest levels in decades.  

And while police officers and citizens are doing their best to keep it that way, the position of the man or woman to guard the city against thugs, robberies and inevitable supervillain attacks is still open, the mayor and police chief said today.

Several near-mortals and mutants from various crime-fighting syndicates have already been interviewed for the job.  The Justice League of America’s Aquaman has been one of the strongest candidates, Mayor L. Douglas Wilder and police chief Rodney D. Monroe said, though his powers  have been limited largely to the James River banks and Byrd Park lake areas. 

“His ability to converse with dolphins or summon a blue whale from hundreds of miles away was also of no help to us,” Monroe said.

From there, the leaders said, options get worse.

During his extensive four-hour job interview, Spider-Man was able to fill the crime-fighting void away from the water and river banks where Aquaman was strong.  But Wilder said the superhero’s web-slinging abilities were only effective in a six square-block radius of downtown, where the tallest buildings, anywhere from eight to 28 stories, are located.  “We found when he got to the low-lying levels of the Fan [District] and North Side areas that, instead of the really crucial web-slinging, there was a lot of running on foot,” the mayor said, “which our cops can do already.”

Superman, Wilder said, was the strongest of the applicants – and the best to walk among the general public while in secret identity mode as reporter Clark Kent.  However, Monroe noted, the “Man of Steel” – as he is known in his home town of Metropolis – already has a rather full plate, making better the course of humanity throughout all the various countries on Earth.

“He fits us in when he has time – nabbing a dealer or killer on occasion – but you have to understand that Richmond cannot be exclusive to Superman,” Monroe said. 

“This is a guy who, remember, is able to spin the planet backwards to reverse time, as we saw in his 1978 movie,” he added.

The search for a costumed crimefighter comes as Richmond dropped to the 29th most dangerous U.S. city in 2006 after ranking in the top 10 just two years earlier, according to a study.  While murder, rape and drug offenses have fallen considerably, Richmond has been warned by a man calling himself Mr. Malfeasance that a Nuclear Death Gamma Ray has been pointed directly at downtown and could wipe out a large swath of Central Virginia if a large red button is pressed.   

Batman, Monroe said, possessed great skill in covering the bulk of the city’s corruption with the ability to hunt down Malfeasance, though the caped crusader had high demands.  “[Alter ego] Bruce [Wayne] wanted a personal butler, majority stake in an industrial conglomerate, a jet-powered bat-car, a bat-boat, bat-motorcycle with front-end mounted bat-machine-gun, and a large country home with an attached basement bat-cave,” Monroe said.

The move would have been cost-prohibitive, with the closest possible location for the secret headquarters being in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wilder said.  “And we need city employees living within the city,” he said.

Iceman was denied because of Virginia’s temperate climate, Banshee’s high-pitched scream was ruled “overly obnoxious” and The Punisher’s “questionable” ways of fighting bad-guys with numerous forms of violence raised immediate red flags with city officials, Wilder said.

And after a caveat that there is nothing wrong crime fighters who may or may not be homosexuals, Wilder said the Ambiguously Gay Duo’s Ace and Gary had their inverview cut short.  The mayor called the consistent butt-slapping, mounted flying technique, ability to give home-decorating advice while in the middle of a fight and suggestively-shaped car “wholly inappropriate.”

Monroe and Wilder said the brutish Wolverine would have made a great hero for the city, though they felt the X-Men team member – with his high aggression levels, rebellious nature and string of failed relationships with women – would not be a positive role model for children. The Incredible Hulk was denied for similar reasons, in addition to being “way too frightening,” Monroe said.  Both agreed that the beauty of ninja assassin Elektra and Wonder Woman would have been distracting residents, particularly among young, adolescent, middle age and elderly males.

Not being considered, Wilder said, were Captain Planet and Robin.  The city is conducting an interview tomorrow with Link, though he is only on leave until Princess Zelda is kidnapped again.

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