Mighty Real

An alien civilization called the Chu’kar has been secretly spying on Earth. But they made a teeny-tiny mistake. Instead of paying attention to the important stuff, they got hooked on tokusatsu movies and He-Man cartoons. When they finally show up, they’re expecting to see giant robots and mighty barbarians. How disappointing! No Gamera, no Kikaider, no Ultraman, no She-Ra. Nothing but a fake allegiance of superheroes and supervillains battling each other on top-rated reality TV programs.

But no matter. The Chu’kar have come all the way across the galaxy and they’re ready to rumble. They demand a bout with the best fighters on the planet. And if they don’t get what they want, they’ll flatten designated cities around the world. Now it’s time for the “fake” superheroes to stop playing games and get serious. “Time to save the world, kids,” says Jo Tanis, the leader of a hastily assembled crew of super misfits.

Yes, the setup is silly. And it gets even more preposterous when Tanis and her gang capture one of the Chu’kar warriors. Dressed in pressed black slacks and a neat blue oxford, Kol’tak looks more like a upscale barista (or Michael Rennie) than an alien invader. Plus he’s got a strange Nipponese code of honor to uphold. Even though the superheroes of Earth are a sham, he’s duty-bound to destroy them anyway. “It’s a matter of honor,” explains Hunter Dillon, a rogue superhero guardian. “The Chu’kar can’t return home and say they totally misjudged our planet. They would lose face.” It’s interesting to discover that space invaders have embraced a cultural concept unique to Japan. For better or worse.

The good news is that our celebrity superheroes work out an equitable solution with the Chu’kar. The Earth is saved and the Chu’kar save face. Peace is once again restored to the universe. And if there are any more crazy aliens out there who want to demolish our planet, they’ll have to answer to Tanis and the Protectors, a newly christened league of “real” superheroes. “We’re going to do what we’re supposed to do,” she says. “We’re going to keep saving the Earth.”

[Blaze of Glory / By Sheryl Nantus / First Printing: February 2011 / ISBN: 9781609280123]

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