“Villains!” Bolt blurts out as the group of POW! employees immediately launch into fighting stances. The black-clad rogues drop their boxes and pieces of office furniture, readying themselves to battle with the elevator invaders.
Before any punches are thrown, a confident and calming voice emanates from inside the untidy office. “Salutations! Welcome!” a man in a sharp black business suit, slick sunglasses, and gelled hair coolly exudes while making his way to the front of the villainous group. “You must be the welcome-wagon from the sixth floor.”
The two opposing groups stand stunned, not quite sure of how to proceed. “Come in! Come in! This is no way to treat guests,” the man says as he motions for Politenessman and the others to exit the elevator. They cautiously glance at each other before slowly moving out of the lift, prepared for anything.
“Ahem. We are employees of POW! Entertainment, located one floor below our current location. Might you be the proprietor of this facility?” Politenessman politely asks.
“BOSSMAN is my name around these parts, fancy fella. Welcome to our company: DELIGHTFUL GREETING CARDS.”
Bossman gestures to a flowery sign that’s leaning against a reception desk, waiting to be hung on the wall. The sign confirms that they are indeed called Delightful Greeting Cards. The team from POW! appear perplexed. “Huh? A bunch of super villains who make greetin’ cards?” Zip bluntly questions.
Bossman man smirks, “Yes. Why not? Villains have passionate feelings that can be expressed in the form of sentimental stationery. We are people too, after all.”
The POW! group all nod, considering Bossman’s point of view. “Well, when you put it that way…” Bolt relents.
Bossman struts over to his crew, who are posing together in a sinister cluster. “Let me introduce you to my people.” He first motions to a mountain of a man with a shiny bald head and a pencil in his ear.
The giant wears a black leather jacket over a black wrestling leotard, with black boots snug on his cinderblock-sized feet. On the back of his jacket is a bright yellow unhappy face. “This is our artist and strong man, DECIMATOR,” Bossman explains. “He can illustrate anything we throw at him, but he specializes in baby animals.” Decimator growls hello.
“Next, let me introduce you to our head writer, ICE QUEEN.” Bossman moves down the line to a beautiful, porcelain skinned woman in a black gown that shimmers with sporadic specks of ice. Her frozen, jagged black hair reaches toward the floor like veins extending across an appendage. She holds one hand up to her mouth, breathing cold air into her palm, where a ball of ice is forming. “Icey is the most ruthless and cruel member of our tribe, yet somehow she writes the most heartfelt and touching greeting cards.”
Without missing a beat Bossman signals to a tall and lanky figure who floats about two feet off the ground next to the Queen. He wears a black, one-piece, ninja-style outfit with stern eyes peeking out of a thin slit in the suit. “Ice Queen’s direct underling is WHISPER, our staff writer and teleporter.” Whisper suddenly vanishes, leaving distorted air in his wake. He reappears behind the POW! group, startling them.
Whisper mutters something incoherent under his breath, before teleporting back to his own group. Bolt shivers, unnerved. “He only speaks in whispers,” Bossman explains. “We never know what the heck he’s saying,” he adds, chuckling.
“Last but not least, we have our own IT guy, KILL-SWITCH,” Bossman says as he attempts to place his hand on Kill-Switch’s shoulder but is driven off by a large static shock. Kill-Switch’s entire body is composed of pure electricity. A blue sputtering current of power in a human-like shape crackles before them. Covering the figure of energy is a black hooded sweatshirt with the words “Bad Boy” across the chest and black skinny jeans.
“Bzzz… Hello…bzzzzz,” Kill-Switch sizzles and waves.
The four POW! employees back toward the elevator completely unsettled. “Yes. Well. Welcome to the neighborhood,” Politenessman says.
“Leaving so soon?” Bossman chides, following them to the elevator door. He leans in the frame, preventing the door from closing.
“My compatriots and I were just investigating the uncommon clatter originating from above our heads. And now we know,” Politenessman answers.
“Is that a villain I see in the company of heroes?” Bossman asks, nodding toward Count Nemesis.
“So, you can see through those shades,” Count Nemesis rebukes while locking eyes with Bossman. The suave villain flashes a devilish smirk in response. He steps back and lets the elevator doors close, never breaking eye contact with The Count.
Rest assured, there will be more run-ins with the villains! Check back each Tuesday and Thursday for a new chapter of STAN LEE’S WORK FORCE!
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