Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Hughes High: Absense of Malice

Roldavia has always been a tumultuous country. Even those people that aren't a fan of history or current events could tell you what was happening in Roldavia. Whether you speak of its time under the iron fisted rule of Malice, the late Cold War chess games played by his heirs, or its current state as a free haven for capes and masks of any type, any student of history and its relation to superhumans will discuss Roldavia. Of course, Roldavia has the distinction of being the first sovereign nation ruled by a costumed superhuman.

Malice was allegedly active as a secret super during World War II. While the Allies and Axis powers made big displays of their capes, encouraging patriotic names like Captain Patriot and Das Eisenfaust, most of the men and women manifesting powers in Russia found their way into dirty government work. If his own tales can be believed, Malice was Stalin's right hand man, kept close to his vest when the war with America would need him to lead his country into battle. Malice first appeared to the general public in the early 1950's. Clad in his battlesuit, he defeated Captain Patriot time and time again, only to to have the Greatest American Hero take the fight to him as the Soviets expanded their influence over what would come to be known as the Eastern Bloc.

"Malice was a real son-of-a-gun," said Jack Massey in an early Signal Magazine interview. "That's not to say that any of the German masks we fought during the war were walks in the park. But whenever we'd see that red suit clanking towards us, we knew we were going to be sore for the next few days."

Malice and the Patriot would stay on this course of tit-for-tat one-upsmanship until it was revealed that Premier Ivan Brakov, dictator-for-life of recently-renamed Roldavia, were one in the same on March 18, 1953. Many cape conspiracy theorists believe that Patriot and Malice had a secret meeting shortly after this revelation, and Patriot left Malice alone, so long as he did not directly interfere with American interests.

Malice had two children during his time as Premier of Roldavia. His son, Piotr, has forgone a flashy life in the public eye. He was often the target of other cloaks' schemes and found himself a kidnapping victim or worse. His whereabouts are unknown today. Rumors suggest that he was a participant in the Event, stopping the final plot of his sister.

That sister, whose full name is Dahlia Romanov Sabrinski Illyitch Brakov, is more often called by her mask name: Lady Malice. Her alluring beauty (despite the loss of an eye in a mysterious incident) and her forceful personality made her one of the stars of the pre-Event mask culture.

What few of her fans and detractors remember was her time at Hughes High. Lady Malice, calling herself Black Dahlia at the time, led Varsity for a time and dated many of the prominent heroes from the school. Some suggested she was a spy acquiring information for her father. Others suggested just the opposite, that she, like many fellow communists, wanted a taste of the American lifestyle, and that acting as the Roldovian ambassador to the school was the best way she knew how to escape. Was the time at school responsible for her declaration of mask sovereignty when she wrested control away from her father?

I saw her once at Glitterdance. She was striking even then, and was shooting down boys left and right. Somehow, in my teenage mind, it didn't faze me. She had turned everyone else down; why would she say yes to me.

But she did.

It still amazes me to this day that I danced to "99 Luftballoons" with one of the most powerful women in the world.