Unfortunately, super powers run in our family.
That’s what I think, anyway. My dad was sort of a superhero when he was younger. He wasn’t one of the big, famous ones like Mighty Man. He didn’t have super strength or x-ray vision, and he couldn’t fly – not on his own, anyway. He was a science hero, which means he could make all sorts of technologies work, even if he didn’t really understand them.
You might think that would be a pretty cool power to have, but when all the other superheroes can smash buildings or grow to giant size, or travel at super-speed, it’s not that impressive to take stuff apart and put it together again in a new way.
My dad never appreciated his power. He wasn’t the most creative guy, so rather than building cool, crazy robots or constructing gravity ray projectors or designing new artificial intelligences, he usually just fixed stuff for the other heroes.
They called him Tek Kid, and he ended up being a sidekick for a big, dumb blonde superhero called “Mighty Achilles.” They got along OK in public, but dad never liked that Achilles was always calling him “little buddy” and “little pal,” and he thought his partner was kind of a jerk. I think dad always wished he had been the one with the super strength instead.
Dad met my mom when she was working for a big, bad supervillain called “Bruiser.” I think she might have some kind of power, because regular people don’t last very long around supervillains, and she was with Bruiser for awhile.
Mom doesn’t talk about those times. She just says she had a “bad girl” phase, and she wanted to put all that behind her when she and dad both decided to retire from the superhero/villain lifestyle and raise a normal family. As far as she was concerned, that stuff was something to forget from a long time ago.
But then my older brother Matt had his 14th birthday.
Matty was always a small, sickly kid. He was born premature, and mom says he almost died a couple of times in the ICU. While he grew, he was usually the smallest in his class all through school, not too good at sports, and he got picked on a lot. My dad tried to help him with that, but he always wanted Matty to stand up and fight back, and Matty came home with a lot of bruises.
So when the growth spurt finally came, it was amazing. Like I said, I think super powers run in our family. Almost overnight Matty became big Matt. A week earlier, he was shorter than me, and all of a sudden he was almost eye-to-eye with dad. He looked like a different person. And he was strong. Not just healthy teenage boy strong, but superstrength-level, car-lifting, building-breaking strong. And he’s still growing.
Mom was worried. She was afraid that the dramatic change would cause problems and call a lot of attention to Matty and to the family. Mom didn’t want anything more to do with the superhero life, and certainly didn’t want Matty to be involved either.
Dad reacted differently to Matt’s change. I think he was thrilled. Matt looked like the tall, athletic son that little Matty had never been. And even better, Dad thought that with proper training (by Dad), Matt could be a better superhero than Mighty Achilles, and maybe even better than Mighty Man himself.
Matty’s change came during summer break, so we ended up moving to someplace where nobody would wonder why a different Matt was showing up on the first day of school. It’s been hard moving away from our friends and familiar surroundings, but that hasn’t been the hardest part.
Mom and Dad are always fighting about what to do about Matt’s powers. Dad thinks that we can’t hold Matt back from living up to his potential. He thinks he can train him to be a great superhero. Meanwhile, mom wants Matty to have nothing to do with superheroing. She says terrible things can happen to people involved with superheroes and villains.
I’m worried that this super-power stuff is going to tear our family apart.
And I haven’t even told them about my powers.