Funeral of Rubberfist
The funeral of Rubberfist
- See also: Vanguard
"...in what's being called the most brutal defeat of a superhero group in history. This again was the scene this afternoon at the Audobon Park. This is so difficult to watch; the cold-blooded brutality of the killers is sickening as they stand gloating over their victims..."
The film quality is poor -- grainy, black and white. Digitally enhanced videotape, obviously, probably from a security camera. Another stunning crime of senseless savagery on display for the viewing public. The tape shows a half-dozen figures, one apparently riding a horse. Dark shapes move among them, but it's not clear whether these are people or just shadowy shapes. A glaring figure, like a renegade piece of the sun, flies overhead.
The ground seems to be littered with colorfully-attired bodies. As the camera watches, one of the bodies -- a woman in a cheerful blue uniform -- is lifted in the air by snakelike black tentacles. She struggles feebly. One of the moving figures, a man in a red and gold costume, holds out his hand, and something black and sinister drips from it. He puts his hand on the woman's midsection, and it starts to smoke. After a moment, a ragged hole has been burned or dissolved through her body, and daylight shows through from the other side. She isn't struggling anymore.
"...calling themselves the Doomguard. Who are these Doomguard, and what do they want? We take you now to Dr. Phil..."
"...funeral for the fallen hero Rubberfist, who was brutally murdered earlier this week in a tragic battle at Audobon Park. Here are gathered some of the nation's most powerful superheroes, gathered to pay their respects to their fallen comrade. At the side of the grave we can see the chrome black armor of Starmass, the only member of Vanguard to survive the attack. His teammates were all killed: Blue Star, Dryad, Nemesis, even the nigh-indestructible Hercules. We have attempted to contact Starmass, but thus far he has not granted any interviews. Wait, something's happening. Pete, zoom in --"
Around the grave are gathered thirty or forty people, a few in garish costumes, but most of them in tuxedos or black dresses. The camera zooms in on a young man in a tuxedo who is lunging at a figure in chrome black armor: the hero Starmass. Starmass doesn't move or speak as the young man breaks free of those trying to hold him back, hurling himself against the hero.
"You killed him! You made him become a superhero! Why are you alive, you should be dead and my brother should be alive! God damn you, you freak, you freak of nature! My brother's dead because of freaks like you! He's dead! You...."
Starmass doesn't move; the young's man's fists beat against the armored chest, but they are no more than gentle raindrops falling on a statue made of black chrome. Eventually the young man's family pulls him away. He is still screaming. Starmass doesn't move.
"...announced today that he intends to rebuild the group Vanguard. Civic leaders across the city are denouncing the action, saying that enough blood has been spilled in New Orleans..."
- FOX News
"Obviously these so-called 'superheroes' and 'supervillains' are more concerned with fighting each other than anything else. I say, fine, but let them do it somewhere else. In the last twenty years, what has Vanguard done for New Orleans? Did they do anything to keep Katrina from hitting Louisiana? Did they keep the levees from breaking? Have they rebuilt the destroyed neighborhoods? Have they done anything tangible for the Crescent City? Or the entire United States, for that matter? Get rid of them, I say. I'm as sorry as anyone else that the paranormals in Vanguard were killed, but I say they made themselves a target; they practically invited this Doomguard to come attack them. Allowing this Starmass person to recruit new members is just asking for another bloodbath."
- Michael Moore
"The Lord our God clearly shows in His Word that we are to depend on Him to solve our problems, not on some supernaturally empowered so-called 'super heroes.' These so-called 'heroes' are nothing more than an attempt of the forces of Satan to distract us from the True Light of Jesus Christ..."
- Pat Robertson
The faceplate of the obsidian armor reveals nothing as it stares from the television screen. The black chrome entity known as Starmass could as well be a statue standing behind the many microphones clustered in front of him. The voice that emanates from the armor is entirely synthetic, a hollow monotone with no emotion or inflection. It sounds like a cross between Darth Vader and Stephen Hawking.
"WE FORMED VANGUARD TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF NEW ORLEANS. MY TEAMMATES GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THIS CAUSE. I WILL NOT ALLOW THE CRIMINALS KNOWN AS DOOMGUARD TO DESTROY THAT CAUSE. VANGUARD WILL CONTINUE. I WILL REBUILD THE TEAM, AND WE WILL CONTINUE THE FIGHT MY TEAMMATES STARTED."
"VANGUARD WILL CONTINUE."
Reporters babble questions, clamoring for explanations, apologies, denials from the chrome black hero.
"THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY. THANK YOU."
He turns to leave, wading through the paparazzi. He is implacable, unstoppable, moving through the media vultures as if they were strands of wheat.