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31 January 2013 @ 10:46 pm
Writing Wednesday: My Man Max  

I'm sorry this is eight days late! And that I've been kind of sucking on Writing Wednesdays lately overall! I've just needed to focus on other things, and with a semester full of research papers and job-hunting ahead of me, I think I'm going to temporarily cut Writing Wednesdays to every other week. Lowering my standards means less chance of disappointment for all!

I made the wait worth it, though, as I finally finished the Magna-Man profile I spent all month writing. Almost 1400 words! Some details aren't set in stone (there are a lot of ways his relationship with Dr. Parasite can progress and I'm not sure which one I like best yet) but this is the best guide I can give right now and it helped me a lot to get this all written down. Max is my favorite of all my characters right now and I hope you'll take the time to read about him!

In a town full of courageous, clever, and strong superheroes, metal-controlling Magna-Man stands above the rest as Arch City’s golden boy. He was one of the first to emerge after the legalization of the superhero system and the teenager made his mark with non-lethal uses of his powers, cooperation with the city’s law officials, and a hard-working attitude that inspired citizens of all ages. Now in his mid-thirties, he is still a beacon of protection and compassion and a powerful force ready to take down all criminals, as well as a regular topic for the city’s fawning news media. He is a household name and a role model to thousands, but who is the real person behind the mask and trademark red M?

His name is Max Morales and he serves as another one of the city’s prominent figures: mysterious bachelor son of the beloved mayor. His powers displayed themselves early and his parents saw his potential to be a hero and help save the city from the madcap villains that were beginning to overrun its society. They instilled in him the values of responsibility and service, grooming his moral abilities as well as his physical ones. His stay-at-home father Ric took on the role of supportive trainer, encouraging Max to use his gift to keep others safe. His politician mother Carlotta began pushing the pro-superhero movement to ensure a welcoming environment and successful career for her son.

But no one ever asked Max if this was what he wanted. It’s true that with great power comes great responsibility, but how much weight can you put onto the shoulders of a confused little boy? Max’s initial excitement over becoming a superhero quickly dissipated when he realized it meant training sessions after school every day and no time to see his friends or have any playtime to himself. Ric tried to make the superpower practices fun, but Carlotta told her son that his work was serious and that the whole city would soon depend on him. Max was forced to think of himself as a career man before he was even out of elementary school.

As Max grew older and more in control of his powers, Ric started taking him out for exercises in the city. One night when Max was sixteen the two got separated in a dangerous neighborhood and Ric was caught in a fatal encounter with a mugger before Max could find him again. As he and his mother reeled from the devastating loss, she worried that the unfound mugger had targeted her husband because she was the mayor. She feared the same thing could happen to Max, and in turn could happen to her from the enemies he would make in his crime-fighting.

She intensified the grieving Max’s focus on justice and made him swear to create a heroic identity and keep it secret and separate from his personal one. He was to be called Magna-Man, less for his powers with magnetism and more for the concept of magnanimity, of giving all you have to the people that need it. Exactly the sort of behavior a superhero should be known for, Carlotta believed. The Morales Act, in honor of her husband, was passed and superheroes were legalized to fight crime, stop injustice, and improve the morale of the city. Magna-Man was the poster child for the act and quickly outshone every other Arch City hero with his practiced skill, passion, and humility.

But while Magna-Man thrived, Max wasn’t faring so well. Even if his mother avoided bringing it up, he felt at blame for his father’s death and was pressured with the whole city watching his every move as both a superhero and as the son of its leader. Busy as he was with heroics, the public couldn’t know what he was doing and Carlotta refused to let him be seen as lazy and unaccomplished, and so his time and energy were further taxed by keeping up appearances as an assistant in his mother’s city hall office.

He had some help with this from Justine Jost, a young reporter with the superpower to instantly create as many copies of herself as she wished. Her focus was on rising in the ranks of the city’s TV news station, but since she could be everywhere doing everything at once, she was happy to help Max with completing office tasks, locating criminals, and trying to keep his life in order. She was his only confidante, a risk Carlotta permitted because of the benefits of her power. She also hoped that the two would become an item, to keep colleagues from getting suspicious about her son not acting like other young men his age, but Max and Justine were never anything more than close friends.

Max wanted a relationship with somebody, but it’s hard to meet people when all you do is fight crime, sleep, and make the occasional appearance at political functions. Tense and lonely as he was, he knew that his work would always have to come first and that it was too dangerous to let someone into his life. To follow through on any romantic interest would be selfish, he told himself. That’s not what Arch City needed of him. It needed him to protect its citizens and defeat its criminals.

He devoted his life to thieves and thugs, murderers and malcontents. His rogue’s gallery of recurring villains ranged from megalomaniac geniuses bent on city domination to simple men in simple costumes bent on capturing him for petty purposes. The latter of which was one Dr. Parasite, a villain that had been assaulting Magna-Man weekly since he was barely in his twenties. He had no powers, no skills outside of knot-tying, no well-crafted weapons, and no intents to harm or frighten the public. He would try to kidnap Magna-Man, explanations were vague as to why, and Magna-Man always punched him and escaped within a matter of minutes. Max didn’t take him seriously and found him annoying a lot of the time, but Dr. Parasite persisted and eventually Max warmed to him. It was nice to have a break from the strain of fighting, and being tied up to chairs at least gave him a chance to sit down in the middle of his active work day. Sometimes he would even let Dr. Parasite bring him to his evil lair (a spare room in his apartment) just so he could get out of rough weather or take a short nap while his foe left him alone to “lament about the perils awaiting him in the near future.”

Their meetings slowly became less about trading threats and more about lively conversation. Dr. Parasite was intelligent and funny and Max so rarely got to converse with anyone except his mother and Justine. Dr. Parasite was the first person to take an interest in who Magna-Man really was, not seeking to reveal his secret identity, but to get to know him as a person and not a superhero. That’s what he had been after the whole time. The supervillain persona was just an act - it seemed like the only way to get close to him. Max had to admit this was true. He was confused but grateful.

As encounters between the two become more mutual and stray into date territory, Max’s increasing comfort with Dr. Parasite (really Dr. Eric Woodson, partner in a free clinic for injured henchmen) seems to bring him more trouble than pleasure. Is the time he puts into this relationship more worthy than time spent on the streets patrolling for evil? How will Eric react when Max is always rushing off to save the day? When he can’t tell him who he really is? What if his mother finds out? What will the public think of him if they learn he’s seeing a former nemesis? And the more malicious villains of the city keep coming at him and his mother keeps pressuring him and there are always new superheroes to watch out for. Magna-Man, the stalwart icon of Arch City, stays as strong as ever. But behind that mask is Max Morales, an exhausted man just trying to keep more of his loved ones from getting hurt and to do the right thing but never completely how to accomplish either.
Current Location: Bed (Dorm)
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac
flossiepotsflossiepots on February 6th, 2013 06:33 am (UTC)
I Love the idea of pushy parents wanting their kid to become superhero, haha

I love the potential vulnerability and angst of the the relationship between max and Eric too, and the Fan-to enemy-to lover transformation is going to be AWESOME
Master Wilky Quizgirl: Doofenschmirtzwilky_wit on February 6th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
I originally had it that Max was completely oblivious to Eric's crush on him but as I developed Max more and learned how lonely and isolated he was, I thought he would start to see the consistantly attentive and non-threatening Dr. Parasite as a sort of friend, then an actual friend, and then eventually as a boyfriend.