Rage, grief and guilt have fueled Doctor Fid's endless quest to punish the unworthy, and he has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. For more than two decades, the sight of the villain's powered armor has struck fear into the hearts of hero and civilian alike! But when a personal tragedy motivates Doctor Fid to investigate a crime, he uncovers a plot so heinous that even he is taken aback.
Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must race against time if he's to have any hope of confronting the approaching threat. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.
In the end, it may take a villain to save the world from those entrusted with the world's protection.
"It's simply a delight – smart, funny, engaging, and with satisfying plot twists that even surprised a jaded reader like me. Superheroes can be tough to do well in prose, and he nailed it."– Locus Magazine, Feb 2019
"A humorous and intelligently-written take on the superhero genre that's well grounded in adult thriller and conspiracy fiction."– Readers’ Favorite
"An engaging anti-hero story that balanced fascinating character work with clever plotting and cool action scenes."– Novel Notions
"It's tough to create an original perspective on superheroes, but Reiss has done so here, establishing an entertaining and multi-faceted character in Dr. Fid, and a solid foundation for a new series."– the Self-Publishing Review
The news broadcasts, I was amused to discover, were quick to declare that the Guardians had forced the notorious Doctor Fid to escape empty-handed with all materials stolen from AH Biotech safely returned, and that—thanks to the Guardians' valiant efforts! —the battle resulted in not even a single civilian casualty. Property damage had been restrained to the mostly-abandoned city block surrounding Doctor Fid's secret lair and even the heroes themselves suffered no significant injuries. The event was being treated as a clear win for the Guardians despite the fact that Doctor Fid had, once more, eluded capture.
But the footage of Titan and Brute being blasted through a wall was replayed over and over again, as well as a beautiful shot of the remaining Guardians watching helplessly as Doctor Fid flew off to safety. One camera drone captured a glorious image of the Red Ghost dropping to his knees, shoulders bowed in defeat. His red cowl hid his eyes, but his lower face was visible, and the setting sun cast deep shadows upon the lines of his face; it was an illusion, but in that moment he looked terribly old and weary.
Technically speaking, the Red Ghost was among the most dangerous of my regular opponents. Titan's greater experience and calm under fire made him an effective leader, tactically, but the Red Ghost was a more creative thinker. He'd begun his heroic career by making a name for himself as an investigator, fighting crime while wearing a highly protective (but unpowered) crimson and black tactical armor of his own design. Over the years, he'd added to his arsenal using equipment reverse-engineered from villains who he'd fought (It'd been one of my own shaped-plasma gauss cannons that wounded me. My own invention, painted red to match the Ghost's costume! Damn the man.) and he maintained an impressive regimen of acrobatic and combat training. But those factors weren't what made the Red Ghost dangerous to my current plans.
Before fate granted him the power to shroud himself in blood-red mists and become incorporeal, the Red Ghost had been a forensic accountant.
Doctor Fid's dastardly plan may have been foiled by the heroic Guardians, but Terrance Markham was (through dozens of shadow holding companies) heavily invested in construction and real-estate firms that stood to earn a fortune from the properties damaged by the combat. Also, as the founder of AH Biotech, my shares and stocks would surely gain a boost from the media coverage surrounding the supposedly 'foiled' crime.
Sometimes, I wasn't certain which identity was my mask and which one was real. Or perhaps both identities were masks; if so, I wasn't sure what lay beneath.
Doctor Fid had never before committed a crime that intersected with my civilian life, but in this case the ruse had been too tempting to discard. The success of AH Biotech was crucial for other long-term plans and the publicity was particularly beneficial at that moment. Among the media elite and policy wonks, it was accepted as fact that Doctor Fid deigned to steal only the most dangerous, most advanced technologies...and suddenly every potential customer or investor would be curious as to what wonders AHBT was hiding. There were government contracts to be acquired, and a receptive Senator had recently been maneuvered into place. Public goodwill always served to make lobbying an easier task.
This latest incident could not, however, be labeled as a complete success; the scenario had originally been intended to test Veridian's willingness to follow orders when Titan was absent and the Red Ghost was leading the Guardians into battle. In past confrontations, I'd seen hints that the slender, emerald costumed Veridian resented taking orders from anyone whose offensive powers did not rival his own. Confirmation of that character flaw would have opened up further avenues of attack in the future.
Titan and Brute's unexpected presence had thrown the original plan into immediate disarray. Still…several secondary goals had been accomplished, and the new force-field design was successfully tested against a more powerful physical attack than expected.
It was remarkably tempting to send the Guardians a "thank you" card.