For the first time in the five years, the Burnmax Deadly Acid Factory whirred to life. After OSHA found out that none of the catwalks over the coverless vats of acid had guard rails, the factory had been shut down so fast they never even drained the tanks, which still burbled threateningly. Murderize wasn’t sure if it was actually still dangerous. It made sense to him that Deadly Acid left out in the open would turn bad, like milk, but if the new boss wanted the mayor’s daughter slowly lowered into a vat of acid, he wasn’t going to say no to a paycheck. Times had been tough for henchmen ever since the new crew of masks hit town. His old crew, Mutilate and Comeuppance, were stuck in the Asylum now, and he was lucky to get a C-list criminal like Doctor Funkenstein to work for, even if the pay was worse and the bell-bottoms looked dumb and the free-love orgies had to be cancelled because there weren’t any girls. Still beat working for Catboy.

The mayor’s daughter, Barbara Whatsherface, was doing a good job of being tied up and screaming, though. Sometimes you’d kidnap a woman and she’d just cry or something and sticking her in a deathtrap got awkward. Non-consensual actors rarely stuck to their roles, not that Muderize cared, but the bosses always got mad when it happened. God forbid a big dramatic crime have victims who didn’t resist being murdered in a fun way. “MMMMM! MMMMM!” screamed the mayor’s daughter through her gag. It was real convincing, which was one of the advantages of using real victims and actually trying to kill them.

Doctor Funkenstein flipped the switch. “It’s Alive! Alive! But soon, my dear, you won’t be!” he said, which was a bit weak. He was clearly more committed to the “Funk” than the “enstein” of his gimmick. A tall lanky man in a purple suit and labcoat with a large disco ball for a head, Funkenstein was kind of a terrible boss to work with. Not deadly enough to be thrilling, not funny enough to be a good time, not quite thematically cohesive enough to get the good headlines. He’d been working on this rebrand for weeks, and hoped it would get him the success so many had expected of him two years ago. Murderize was unconvinced, but he wasn’t paid to think. The mayor’s daughter was halfway down. Murderize flicked his cigarette into an acid vat and unbuttoned his shirt. If the good guys wanted to save dear sweet Brenda or whatever, they were running out of time. Sometimes you actually got away with crimes and then you got to go home early.


Glass rained down from the broken skylight as the Wonder Five dropped in to save the day. Damn it.

Wonder Red landed on the catwalk before him. The founder and the leader of the group, he was still a dork in his red spandex onesie and motorcycle helmet. Wonder Red had hoped the other Wondernauts would change their names to be Wonder Blue and the like, but none of them did, and he just looked like a cosplayer who wandered into an actual superteam by mistake.

“Disco is dead, Doctor Funkenstein”, said Wonder Red, “And so are your plans for world domination!”

“You’re the one who’s dead, Dunder Red”, shouted Doctor Funkenstein, “For you’ve walked straight into my Saturday Night Deathtrap!”. He leaned back, and lasers spewed in all directions from his disco ball head.

Muderize let the leaders have their fun. With hero teams as with villains, the henchmen were the ones doing the real work. Already Snakes flew into the mayors daughter, cutting the ropes with his teeth and he carried her off to safety. When Already Snakes flew off with your girl, you were never getting her back, so Muderize fired his Disco Gun (which was just a glock with glitter on it) at Animal Cracker, who cracked some birds into existence in the path of the bullets.

The birds disappeared in a puff of smoke, which hid Animal Cracker, but Murderize had fought these guys enough times to know AC liked to land an elephant on people, and ran out of the way. The elephant slammed into the ground, broke its legs, and poofed out of existence. AC dropped gracefully to the ground, and threw up a Gorilla Shield fast enough to block the second and third bullets Murderize fired, but not the first one, which grazed his arm. As the gorilla poofed, AC jumped behind a one of the acid vats. Shooting a giant vat of acid was a rookie move, so Murderize took cover himself. The two women members of the Wonder Five were busy with the other henches. Pink Moon had managed to pick out the rookies and was doing the “Oh no, I’m a poor defenseless girl what will I do” act, which every henchman fell for the first time. The smarter henches were left to Sorcera.

Murderize suddenly realized that a whole entire hero was dedicated to fighting just him. He tried not to get emotional about it, but if the Wonder Five had elevated him in their minds from henchman to miniboss, that could open up all kinds of career opportunities for him, especially having scored a wound.

Of course, scoring a kill, even against Animal Cracker, would do even more. He shook himself a little to get his head back in the game. AC had been hiding behind that vat for too long. He was up to something.

He barely had time to finish thinking before a murder of crows shot out from both sides of the barrel. He knew that Animal Cracker’s animals got weaker the more of them he summoned, and that just the sound of a gunshot would be enough to dispel them. This was a distraction, AC wanted him to fire wildly at the birds from a distance. He was too smart for that. He waited for the birds to get close before firing, and made sure to aim his gun away from the acid tank while keeping an eye on it to make sure Animal Cracker didn’t bail. Bang. One shot, and all the birds poofed into a big cloud.

A big cloud directly on top of him, obscuring his vision. Shit. He coughed, and tried to see which way the inevitable charging rhino would come from so he could dodge it. He didn’t see it. He felt it, though. Hurt just as bad as the last time he got Rhino’d. He flew into a piece of machinery, and collapsed to the ground in pain. He blindly groped for his gun, but the only thing he felt was Animal Cracker slapping the cuffs on.

“I tagged you, though”, said Murderize, as AC finished handcuffing him. AC said nothing, but there was no denying the nasty gash on his shoulder. “Gotta report that”.

Animal Cracker sighed. “Yeah, yeah”. Above them, the music stopped. Seemed like Doctor Funkenstein’s Dancing Queen’s Gambit had failed. He’s barely lasted longer in a fight than Murderize himself did, even if it was against the star.

“You gotta tell ‘em. Come on! You gotta tell ’em Murderize tagged you!”

“I’m not your PR guy, man”

“Come on, make me look cool and it’ll make you look cooler for beating me. We both win!”

“You know how you could really win? By giving up a life of crime”

“Bro. C’mon. Bro”.

There was a long pause. Socera broke it, swooping down with six experienced henchmen tied up behind her in magical ropes. Pink Moon was with her, carrying eight rookies in a net. “Yo, AC. You only got one?”, Sorcera said, smirking.

Animal Cracker looked at Murderize for a moment, then at Pink Moon, before turning to Sorcera. “This isn’t just a henchman, Sorcera. This is Murderize. He’s…..he’s a mini-boss”. He pointed at the gash in his arm “Tagged me and everything”

Murderize looked down at the ground, trying not to let Sorcera see him smile