When you think “hockey,” do you also think, “creator of the Marvel universe Stan Lee?” No. But you do think, “vengeful, blood-spraying violence,” and from there to comic books is not that far of a leap (or rocket-propelled jet booting) away.
Which is probably why Lee and the NHL are pairing up to bring you a superhero based on each of the 30 teams in professional hockey. So, who do we have in store for us?
“The Broad Street Bully,” writes itself. In fact, his origin story is happening right in front of us:
BROAD STREET BULLY:
A Philthy Blog and Stan Lee* joint
*Stan Lee not affiliated at all with this project
Ian Leperriere’s face hurt so much he thought about quitting his job.
After a delightful smack to the eye via a hockey puck going 100 mph, Lappy took a second to collect his thoughts. And some of his blood and a few pieces of his eye. Undoubtedly, the cracked orbital bone and leaking brain the shot left him with would be a sideliner. And it has been. Despite “blurred vision” and a sensitivity to lights, both of which experts say are “…pretty fucking detrimental to someone trying to play the sport of hockey.”
Thus, the Flyers opened their 2010-11 campaign Lappy-less, in an attempted Penguins-slaughter that ended in more of a successful Penguins-maiming. A rookie goalie celebrated his debut, their enemy’s new home was soiled; the Opening Day win was immensely satisfying.
But not for one man.
“I’m sorry, Ian,” the team physician said. “It just hasn’t healed the way we hoped.”
“Oh, come om,” Ian replied, slamming his fist down on the doctor’s lunch.
The doc eyed his flattened sandwich mournfully.
“MAYBE if this were the first time this had happened to you. Or if you were wearing a protective face mask. Or had bones made of adamantium. Only then would I recommend a return to the game you love,” the physician went on. “I just cannot in good conscience allow you to play again. You crashed your car twice on your way over here.”
“That’s just because my head filled with blood and my vision blurred up,” Ian explained, sniffing the bottom of his fist and licking off the sandwich-bits.
“I’m sorry, Ian.”
The doctor watched in mesmerized awe as Ian picked up his lunch and ate in right in front of him, a contemptible gaze never breaking from his face. He’d show them. He’d play again. And this doctor’s midday feeding would go devastatingly unfulfilled.
THREE MONTHS LATER
Philadelphia’s night knew the The Red Suit well. Criminals from Fishtown to Fairmount Park strayed from the street lights because of his manic sprints and skin tight spandex suit. Some wondered just how well he could see with a red mask stretched over his entire body, including his face, but he was precise, relentless, and amongst you within seconds of a criminal act. Muggers and crackheads had fled to their sewers, knowing the rush of wind and quick padded steps indicative of the Suit’s approach. He was six feet of agile justice, crammed into a layer of spandex.
Phil the drug dealer knew he was taking his chances being out on a street corner with two pockets full of Quaaludes, but the money was too good. Plus, if there were any promising young high school students out at this hour, he would have a chance to corrupt them with drugs. Which, as everyone knows, would make his powers as a criminal grow even higher.
“Drugs… anybody want some drugs…” he whispered to an empty alley. Phil was never the greatest salesman.
The WOOSH above his head was the most terrifying noise he’d ever heard. A glance upward revealed absolutely nothing. Phil began to walk at an increasingly quick pace toward Broad Street, whyere the greater foot traffic would put him at ease. For some reason, this darkened alley where he often tried to masturbate was creeping him ou–
A red blur slammed him into the side of a dumpster. “What are you doing in my alley, shitball?” the calm voice slithered out from behind the mask. Phil shook his head and wet himself. This was exactly what he feared would happen.
Which was why he’d had his buddy Cyrus hide in one of the dumpsters. As luck would have it, the at very dumpster was being used to abuse Phil.
A “click” just above got the attention of Phil and the masked vigilante terrorizing him. The Red Suit realized he was face to nozzle with a sawed-off shotgun and Phil realized that he was not about to be destroyed.
“F-Fuck you!” Cyrus shrieked, and fatally blew the Suit’s skull into a collection of fragments.
The hero’s body slid across the alley floor in a most undignified manner. The safety bubble in which Philadelphia had lived for the past few weeks was unceremoniously popped; Phil and Cyrus looked at each other, knowing the streets were to once again be flooded by the weak and petty.
Unlike the stealthy footsteps on the wind with which The Red Suit had stalked his prey, three thunderous curb-stomps echoing down the alley were all the criminals had to be warned of their next threat.
He was a human wall, if indeed human. The tattered hockey gear adorned on his torso had a picture of a skull drinking whiskey and giving the finger to a sobbing baby penguin; with his hockey stick fashioned into a wooden machete and his bloodied mask, he resembled an even more terrifying sports-themed Jason Voorhees.
But none of these little descriptive details were noticeable in the two nanoseconds it took him to reach the pair. He connected with Cyrus so hard, he went spiraling into the street, a bloodcurdling scream let out as he sailed into oncoming traffic. The amount of vehicles that connected with his fragile body had reached the teens by the time this masked being had finished punching Phil repetitively in the neck.
“I AM THE BULLY,” he growled, in a much more effective way than Christian Bale’s Batman. “AND THESE STREETS ARE MY VICTIMS.”
Phil could do nothing but gurgle a reply. This was deemed not good enough and the Bully hoisted Phil up into the air with the brazen strength of a Masterton Award nominee.
“I just wanted to sell drugs and maybe rape a person…” Phil whispered desperately.
They would be the last words uttered by the unfortunate miscreant.
As quickly and furiously as he had appeared, he was gone, as if he was somehow able to glide smoothly out of sight like a former hockey player. One career may have been over but another had presented itself with frightening fury.
The Bully walk passed the ruptured remains of The Red Suit. The timeframe with which the man had protected the city was small, and full of confusion. Who had he been? What was his name? Why was he doing this? An ill-fated attempt to rally the people of Philadelphia behind his cause had ended in humiliating defeat at the hands of Atlanta Braves right fielder Matt Diaz; respect for the vigilante had long since been extinct. His foolish, frantic “protection” had never been much comfort, but now, the city would learn…
They were in no need of a protector, earnest and true. There was no room in Philly for brotherly love nor the feel good story of the year. They needed a trash collector; an eraser of messes and a stomper of skulls; a ruthless antagonizer with one existing passion.
They needed a Bully.
And they now had one.