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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters
The Specials

The Specials are a super-hero team featured in "The Specials", a feature film released in the year 2000. This is an R-rated comedy (rated this way for vulgar language) about a day in the life of a second-rate super-hero team. The team is, according to a title card shown at the beginning of the film, the sixth or seventh greatest super-hero team in the world.

This is a relatively low budget film. In the first commentary track (actually, the second commentary track made, but the first track featured on the later DVD release), writer (and star) James Gunn notes (timecode: 23 minute, 40 seconds) that the film was made for about $1 million. Also of interest is Gunn's comment that he is a huge comic book fan. He regards The Specials as sort of a comedic version of Alan Moore's Watchmen.

The Specials has a surpisingly large amount of overt religious content for a live-action super-hero movie. A number of the characters are overtly religious and refer to their faith in God.

Specials (2nd-rate super-hero team)

Perhaps most unusual is the fact that two members of the Specials were married in the United Church of Christ. These are "The Strobe" (Ted Tilderbrook) and his wife Emily ("Ms. Indestructible"). The Strobe is the team leader. In an important speech near the beginning of the film, the Strobe recounts his origin story and ascribes his calling as a super-hero to inspiration from God. The Strobe believes that he is literally "a part of God." The official website of James Gunn (writer, producer and star of The Specials) notes that Ted Tilderbrook is a devout Christian (and a Republican as well).

Ted's brother Tim ("Minute Man", sometimes spelled "Minuteman") is also on the team, and is apparently also a member of the United Church of Christ. After researching the religious affiliation of literally thousands of super-heroes, these are the first super-heroes we have found who are Congregationalists or members of the United Church of Christ.

Having said all this, it should be noted that this is not intended as a movie for young people or church groups or anything of the sort. The film's R-rating is well-earned through many uses of the so-called "F-bomb" and other vulgar language. Some of the dialogue has crude sexual content (all played for laughs). Finally, although this might not have contributed to its R rating, some of the Specials are fairly unsavory human beings.

[WARNING: The rest of this article, in describing content from The Specials, contains material that some readers may find objectionable.]

It should be emphasized that although The Strobe, his brother Minute Man, and his wife Ms. Indestructible are apparently all members of the United Church of Christ, only the Strobe is a devout and sincere church member. Ms. Indestructible may have only married into the faith. Nothing in her dialogue or behavior suggests that she is a "devout Christian," which is how screenwriter James Gunn describes the Strobe and how the character is portrayed in the film. A key plot point involves Ms. Indestructible having an extramarital affair (with her husband's friend, the Weevil). This is clearly a violation of her vows, even given the exceptionally lenient sexual ethics of the United Church of Christ. After being caught by her husband, Ms. Indestructible is portrayed as feeling very guilty about this, however. She weeps while she watches a video of their wedding in the United Church of Christ and she decides to remain with her husband, even though she isn't very happy in the marriage.

There is also nothing to suggest that Minute Man is devout, either. He shares the same origin story as his brother, the Strobe, but he doesn't recall anything like God calling them to be heroes. The Strobe and Minute Man appear to have been raised together in a churchgoing family, and Minute Man is now less observant. At one point in the film, Minute Man visits his teammate Deadly Girl at her home late at night. They aren't even dating, but after watching television together they end up sleeping together for the first time. They next morning the arrive at Specials headquarters together, prompting their friends to ask if they slept together. Deadly Girl replies by asking if oral sex counts as sleeping together. On the commentary track, the filmmakers suggest that Deadly Girl would have been willing to go "all the way," but that Minute Man retained some reluctance and so held back (but not by much). Minute Man's behavior here suggests a character who is not devoutly religious or deeply committed to all aspects of Christian ethical behavior, yet he remains slightly influenced by his upbringing in a devout Christian home.

The Strobe is the most devoutly religious member of the Specials. He openly acknowledges his faith and his creator explicitly labels him a "devout Christian" on the official Specials website. But the Strobe is far from perfect. The vindicative and uncaring way he speaks to his wife in one of the film's last scenes will strike viewers as the way that some real-world Christians may act, but certainly not the way anybody with a genuine understanding of Christian teachings should act. Having said that, it is important to remember that this scene takes place only hours after the Strobe witnessed his wife cheating on him with his best friend. His emotions are still raw. The Strobe's wife, Ms. Indestructible, begins this scene with great hope in her heart that her husband will show her forgiveness and understanding. Presumably the Strobe often acts better than he does in this scene, which is why his wife has such high hopes of a better outcome. In fact, only minutes later, we see the Strobe and Ms. Indestructible jointly show great kindness and compassion toward new team member Nightbird.

Among the many ways that the behaviors of the Specials is decidedly "less than perfect," the language and behavior of Amok can be particularly offensive. Before "reforming" and becoming a "super-hero," Amok was a super-villain. In fact, he was a member of the Society of Super-Villains, during which time he and the villainous team he was a part of plotted to give everybody in the world scabies, which is a rash caused by an infestation of the skin brought on by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. At one point in the film, frustrated with how things are going with the team, Amok decides to return to super-villainy and sets a goal to rape people's pets. Fortunately his teammate, Power Chick, talks him out of this plan. Amok apparently has few (if any) boundaries with regards to his sexual activity and he frequently talks about using women as if they were mere objects for his pleasure. He has apparently lost control of his anti-matter powers while having sex with some anonymous person, resulting in serious bodily harm to the other person. Amok acknowledges that early in his career he tried to kill people when he fell in with a bad crowd, but apparently he never actually killed anybody. Amok was originally written to be rabidly racist, but most of his most offensive racist language was cut from the screenplay or edited out and does not appear in the final cut of the film. On the official website of James Gunn, a page purportedly written by Amok makes it clear that Amok is freely blasphemous and openly anti-Christian.

Most of the other members of the Specials are not nearly as bad as Amok. Deadly Girl nonchalantly recounts getting drunk at a Bat Mitzvah and accidently using her powers to summon a demon, which ate a kid. She hardly seems remorceful about this, but this is a comedy and the lines in which she recounts this story constitute a joke. Deadly Girl is fairly surly and sometimes intentionally rude, but she is meant to be sympathetic and likeable.

In some ways the most "unlikeable" member of the Specials is Weevil, who is portrayed as the most popular member of the team among the general public. Weevil is apparently a genuinely good super-hero, but the storyline of the film has him acting as a "sell-out" because he leaves the Specials in order to join the very popular team of super-heroes known as The Crusaders. In a TV interview conducted immediately after joining the Crusades, the Weevil speaks dismissively of his former teammates, which naturally causes them to feel bad and makes him look like a jerk to film viewers. Weevil is also incredibly vain. He is proud of the fact that in the last Rolling Stone poll about super-heroes he was voted "Most Witty." Nevertheless, the Weevil never killed a kid at a Bat Mitzvah or tried to kill anybody as a super-villain.

Despite having recently attended a bat mitzvah (a Jewish celebration of a girl's coming of age), there is no indication that Deadly Girl herself is Jewish. The film never identifies Deadly Girl's real name, but the official Specials website identifies her name as "Angela McCary," a decidedly non-Jewish name. Out of all the Specials, Deadly Girl is the member whose super-powers most obviously have religious implications. Deadly Girl literally crosses over into the land of the dead and she can command demons. Deadly Girl's name and the imagery invoked by her origin story (on the official website) and her in-film description of her powers suggest demonolatry or Catholicism more than Judaism or any other religion. Deadly Girl's origin is strongly Lovecraftian.

Power Chick is an openly gay but embarrassingly geeky and poorly-dressed supeheroine. She is very, very nice and supportive, but she is the very opposite of "cool." She helps take care of the bizarre alien team member named "Alien Orphan." With her many undesirable or annoying traits, she seems to be designed in part to shatter lesbian super-heroine stereotypes. Power Chick is a recovering alcoholic and sometimes annoys her teammates (particularly Amok) with her reference to Alcoholics Anonymous-style Twelve Step philosophy.

Nightbird (whose real name is Shelley Madden) is the newest members of the Specials. Nightbird is fairly religious, although more quietly so than the Strobe. She tells the Weevil how she used to pray every morning that she would gain super powers. (Apparently her prayers were answered, because she did indeed gain super powers.) Given Nightbird's stated disapproval for the sexual immorality and general mindset of the Specials, she clearly comes from a more traditional, ethically-minded or "conservative" religious background. She may be a Latter-day Saint, Seventh-Day Adventist, Evangelical, member of the Assemblies of God, etc. At the beginning of their first date together, Minute Man tries to kiss Nightbird, but she deftly prevents him from doing so. Nightbird seems cast very much in a "Mary Marvel" role - a sort of "Molly Mormon" character type.

Nightbird's enthusiasm and wide-eyed naivete recall Mary Marvel's initial introduction into the Justice League. This was later darkly echoed by Starlight's introduction into the clearly vile "superhero" team "The Seven" in the Garth Ennis series The Boys. With regards to their values and respectibility, the Specials occupy a point midway between the Justice League and that team's twisted analog, the Seven. Nightbird's introduction to the team she so admires does not go as well as Mary Marvel's introduction into the Justice League, but goes far better than Starlight's introduction to the Seven. Starlight, an Evangelical Protestant Christian, allowed herself to be sexually violated and cruelly used in order to stay on the team. Nightbird would never have allowed something like to happen to her. So strong are Nightbird's convictions that despite having wanted to be in the Specials her whole life, she resigns after her first day with the team after seeing their reprehensible behavior. Nightbird decides to leave the Specials purely based on her disappointment in their behavior. The behavior and language Nightbird witnessed would actually be considered rather mild by the standards of most contemporary state college campuses. None of the Specials ever affronts her personally or asks her to violate her own standards. After giving her decision some thought and after speaking to her long-time hero, the Weevil, Nightbird later returns to the Specials, which is trying to pull itself together and make a new start.

The Specials (2000)
Directed by: Craig Mazin
Produced by: Mark A. Altman, Dan Bates, Rick Mischel
Written by: James Gunn
Starring: Thomas Haden Church, James Gunn, Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, Judy Greer, Sean Gunn, Paget Brewster, Jordan Ladd, Jim Zulevic, Kelly Coffield

Below we present a partial transcript of The Specials. It was our intention to include here only those portions of the film which pertain to religious-themed content and the religious affiliation of the characters. But so much of the film actually touches upon such content, or helps put these elements and the characters' religious beliefs and ethics into context, that we ended up including a considerable proportion of the film. This is not however, a complete transcript.

[Timecode: 8 minutes, 3 seconds. Scene: Specials HQ (Headquarters), which, as the establishing shot shows, is simply a nice two-story home in the suburbs with a small sign hanging in front of the porch that reads "The Specials." After establishing shot, we see the meeting room of the Specials: All of the team members (except the multi-body being known as "Eight") are seated at a large table. This entire film takes place within the space of about 24 hours, focusing on the day that the Specials attend a reception honoring them as part of a toy company's roll-out of the team's first-ever action figure toys.]

Specials meeting

The Strobe (Ted Tilderbrook): In light of tonight's reception, I think it's only appropriate that we discuss some of the public behavior of some of the group's members, which, as of late, has been lacking a certain, shall we say, tact. Witness: This photograph of Amok and Weevil smoking cigarettes in a bathroom stall. Appeared in the L.A. Daily News

[The Strobe (the leader of the Specials) holds up a black-and-white photograph that shows Amok and Weevil smoking cigarettes in a bathroom stall.]

Weevil (Tony): Ted, look, it's not like we were walking down Main Street. We were crouched down in a stall. A guy came in with a camera.

The Strobe: And you don't see the Crusaders smoking cigarettes.

U.S. Bill: What if they were doing "number two"?

The Strobe: Let me tell you something, my friend. When I first gained my super-powers.

Amok: Here we go again!

The Strobe: Some of us may not think this is trivial, pal. Some of us may want to hear this. Note the new member, for instance: Nightbird.

Power Chick (Nancy): I want to hear it.

The Strobe: Thank you, Power Chick.

Power Chick: You're welcome, Ted.

Mr. Smart (Seymore): Someone's playing with Play-Doh. [He says this while his newly-intented cybernetic smell-enhancer device, attached to his face and nose, moves and makes sounds.]

Weevil: Is this necessary?

The Strobe: Yes! Tonight's reception hurls us into a new era. Superheroes dont' get Oscars. We get action figures.

Minute Man (Tim Tilderbrook): Kosgro Toys are the third largest manufacturer of action figures in the world, and we get eleven percent royalties.

Mr. Smart: That's eleven out of every hundred dollars.

The Strobe: Yes! And at long last, we can transform this into a real H.Q. First, Cinema-Visionn widescreen television, to map out battle plans.

Deadly Girl: What's "sonar"? Let's get that.

The Strobe: And don't forget, the widescreen television . . . When I first gained my super-powers--

Amok: Oh Jesus! Nobody wants to hear your borin' [Expletive] origin story! Let's take a vote.

The Strobe: Let me ask you something, my friend--

Amok: You're not my [expletive] friend! Maybe every once in a while I want to go out and have a beer and bang some slutrag till her eyes bleed. And maybe I don't give a sh-- if it gets in the L.A. Daily Post! I save lives! I don't think I owe anybody anything other than that!

Deadly Girl: You also tried to take lives.

Amok: Oh, you know what? That was a long time ago, okay? I was a kid. I got caught up with the wrong bunch of people.

The Strobe: You got caught up with the wrong bunch of people, Mister. And now you're getting caught up in some pretty sick ideas.

Amok: Forget it! Forget I said a thing!

Power Chick: Nobody's saying that, Amok. I like you. It's just . . . sometimes I think you must be hurting so much inside because you're so . . . aggressive.

Amok: You're twelve-stepping me to death here, bitch.

The Strobe: [Pointing at Amok, yelling] Not appropriate! Back off!

Nightbird (Shelly): I-- I'd like to hear the story. It wouldn't be boring to me because I've never heard it.

The Strobe: Okay. Amok suggested that we take a vote. Let's vote. Emily.

Ms. Indestructible (Emily Tilderbrook): Everyone in favor, raise your hand.

[Minute Man (who is the brother of The Strobe) raises his hand, as do Deadly Girl, Nightbird, Power Chick, the Alien Orphan and The Strobe himself. Eight does not raise his hand.]

The Strobe: Eight's only one vote.

Amok: It's still only six. There are twelve members in the group.

The Strobe: Emily. [The Strobe says this without looking directly at his wife, but clearly he thinks his own wife should vote with him, to allow him to tell his origin story. With a total lack of enthusiasm, Emily slowly raises her hand.]

Amok: Oh, jeez.

The Strobe: When my brother and I fell into the vat of mysterious radioactive chemicals at the photo-processing plant, and woke up in the hospital three weeks later with powers no other human had ever known before us, a phrase came to mind . . . seemingly the words of God: With super power, comes super responsibility. And I realized at that point that I was blessed, and would not be afforded the capriciousness of other men, common men, little men. Thousands of children would see me around the world as a part of God. If a recovering alcoholic sees me in a bar, drinking alcohol, and he has a poster of the great Strobe on his wall at home, and he says to himself, "The great Strobe can share a beer, have a shot, why can't I? Who am I? I'm a little man." And he gets drunk, and he goes home, and he beats his wife to death with a crowbar! That may as well be my hand beating that woman to death!! Or if I'm caught by a tabloid reporter, urinating on a prostitute for pleasure . . . (It's disgusting, but it really happened to Captain Osiris in Milwaukee) And then a little boy urinates on his sister, and she has a cut on her arm, her little, tiny arm, and the cut becomes infected, and the infection goes to gangrene, and eventually the arm is removed. That may as well have been me, urinating on that little girl. With super powers comes super responsibility, damn it. Laugh at my manner if you must, but please, please . . . head my words. Thank you.
The Strobe (Ted Tilderbrook) tells his origin story and how he is a part of God.

U.S. Bill: Wow. That is a good story! I'd like to change my vote. I'd like to change it to "Yes, I would like to hear that story!"

[U.S. Bill is a very dim person. He is speaking sincerely when he says this. He doesn't stop to think that changing his vote at this point is irrelevent because Ted has already finished telling his story.]

[Cut to interstitial "interview room" scene, in which a member of the Specials, in this case Deadly Girl, directly addresses the camera. She sits in a blank room with a "Specials" flag on the wall, talking as if to a documentary film crew or a reality TV show.]

Deadly Girl: Ted may have been right about some things. Like drinking. Last week I got drunk at a Bat Mitzvah . . . unthinkingly summoned forth demons and . . . they ate a kid.
Deady Girl talks about the Bat Mitzvah she went to, where she summoned a demon that ate a kid.

[In the next scene we see Ms. Indestructible (Emily) and Weevil in the laundry room, where Ms. Indestructible is doing laundry. Weevil expresses his negative feelings about Ted reprimanding him. He then expresses interest in a mid-day dalliance with Emily. The Weevil is having an affair with The Strobe's wife.]

[In the next scene Minute Man and new team member Nightbird discuss their rather humble powers. Nightbird has "bird powers," and Minute Man can shrink. Minute Man tries to bolster Nightbird's confidence about her powers and her status as a superheroine. He then shyly asks her if she wants to go to the reception with him, like a date, and she accepts. Minute Man is sincere and nice, but socially awkward, which is a good description of Nightbird as well.]

[Timecode: 15 minutes, 4 seconds. In another room, Amok and Mr. Smart are playing a card game, gambling with poker chips. Hard rock music plays in the background. The Weevil enters the room and sits down nearby, to read.]

Weevil: Hi, guys. Raisin?

[Weevil holds up a small box of raisins. Mr. Smart waves his hand "No thanks." We see U.S. Bill sitting nearby. He would like raisins, but Weevil doesn't offer any to him.]

Amok: Hey, Tony, what do you think of the new chick?

Weevil (Tony): 's okay, I guess.

Amok: I kind of want to [expletive] her. [Amok here that he wants to fornicate or rape Nightbird. Amok is by far the most vulgar and socially "coarse" of the Specials. Before joining the team he was a super-villain.]
Amok, a former super-villain who joined the super-hero team the Specials.

U.S. Bill: She's a fox.

Amok: Shut up.

Weevil: 's a little young.

Amok: But [expletive]. [Amok here means that despite Nightbird's young age (she appears to be in her late teens or early 20's), he still considers her a person he could gladly have sex with.]

U.S. Bill: Raisins come from vines.

Amok: [Speaking to Mr. Smart] She's cute, though, right?

Mr. Smart: Yes, but I wish her breasts were larger.

Weevil: Like what, Zeppelins?

Mr. Smart: [Looking at his cards, he calls out a word as part of the card game he is playing with Amok] War!

[Cut to interstitial interview room scene. Amok looks directly at the camera in a blank room with the Specials flag in the background.]

Amok: Sex? It's difficult. I get charged up. Anti-matter starts flyin'. Next thing you know, I'm humpin' a chick without an ass. I shoulda' just stayed home.

[End of scene. Timecode: 15 minutes, 45 seconds.]

[Timecode: 20 minutes, 52 seconds. A short film is being shown which describes the history of the Specials. A cheerful Power Chick is telling this segment, while a picture of Deadly Girl is shown.]
Deadly Girl, super-heroine member of the Specials who enters world of the dead.

Power Chick: Next came Deadly Girl, who has the ability to enter the world of the dead, and then reappear anywhere she wants.

[At the conclusion of the "history of the Specials" video, Weevil mentions Stretchie Boy, the only team member who has died. Stretchie Boy died from a type of mouth cancer that is common to people from his part of the country who have stretching powers.]

Weevil: And, so now, we boldly enter a new chapter in Specials history. I, for one, have a feeling that Stretchie Boy is smiling up above. Or he would be, if-- if he had a mouth.

[At the conclusion of the history film, we cut to the home of Ted and Emily Tilderbrook, otherwise known as the Strobe and Ms. Indestructible. It is evening and they are preparing to go to the reception of Kosgro Toys. The establishing shot shows the outside of the Tilderbrook's hoome, which is actually the house that is used for the Specials H.Q., so apparently the couple uses their home as the team's headquarters. The text on the screen reads: "7:00 P.M., Specials HQ". Timecode: 21 minutes, 55 seconds.]

The Strobe (Ted): It just would've been nice to have gotten a little backup from my wife, that's all.

Ms. Indestructible (Emily): I didn't want to hear the story. I've heard that story more than anyone in the world. And Amok didn't want to hear it either.

The Strobe: Well, here's a newsflash for you. Amok . . . he's a [expletive] a--hole.

Ms. Indestructible: You should watch out, Ted. You know, someone could be secretly recording this. They could sell it to Inside Edition and then children all over the world would start saying "[Expletive] a--hole." Only, it would really be you saying "[Expletive] a--hole." Or would that be God? Since you're a part of God?
Ms. Indestructible, getting dressed, criticizes her husband, the Strobe.
Ms. Indestructible, getting dressed, criticizes her husband, the Strobe, ridiculing what he has said about being a part of God.

The Strobe: Why do you mock me?

Ms. Indestructible: Because . . .

The Strobe: What you're doing is mocking me. And everything that I am. My whole world view.

[Ted and Emily argue for a few more lines, and then Emily tells Ted to just get ready, because the reception is at eight o'clock. Then she tells Ted that he needs therapy and he says she is the one who needs therapy.]

[Timecode: 34 minutes, 4 seconds. Later in the film, during the action figure rollout reception, Ms. Indestructible and Weevil sneak out for a tryst in a car in the parking lot. Because everybody will soon be needed on stage, the Strobe goes looking for them, and he sees them from afar. Their extramarital dalliance is filmed in a mild "PG-13" way, but it is clear what is going on. The Strobe is deeply hurt at seeing his wife cheat on him with one of his best friends. Later, at the reception, all of the Specials are gathered when the toy company's marketing people show the TV commercial for their new line of action figures. The team feels shocked and dejected when they see the toys, which feature many inaccuracies. The action figure toys use many "weapons" that they don't actually use, for one thing. Minute Man is an African American, instead of white. Ms. Industrictible's breasts are grotesquely huge. The commercial shows Amok dressed as a Viking, which seems completely inexplicable. Alien Orphan is portrayed as a villain. Deadly Girl's action figure is hardly like her at all: a clown-themed super-villain.]
TV commercial for The Specials action figures

[After seeing the commercial, Minute Man complains to the marketing executive sitting next to him.]

Minute Man: I'm black?

Toy Company Marketing Executive: We had to take a little more of a multicultural approach.

Minute Man: But I'm not black.

Toy Company Marketing Executive: I-- I think you have vaguely African features. We could probably pull this off--
Minute Man says he's not black
Toy Company Marketing Executive says Minute Man looks vaguely black.

[Minute Man angrily grabs the executive and starts pushing him. The two of them move away from the main room and Minute Man commpains about other problems with the toy line. Next we see the Strobe standing at the podium in the front of the room. Cameras flash, taking pictures. The Specials stand behind him on stage.]

The Strobe: I'd like to thank Kosgro Toys for honoring us with these action figures. They are without a doubt hugest pieces of crap I have ever seen. I was going to take this opportunity to introduce our newest member, Nightbird, but when you create her action figure, you'll probably make a giant tit coming out of her forehead.

[The crowd murmurs angrily. The members of the Specials are shocked and dismayed.]

The Strobe: A Viking?! As of today, I'm announcing the disillusion of the Specials. We are no longer.

[Much of the rest of the film deals with the repercussions of the Strobe's speech. The rest of the team members do not agree with this decision. The Strobe took these sudden and unexpected steps for a mixture of reasons: He was angry at having seen his wife having an tryst with his teammate, and he was apparently a little drunk from drinking spiked punch. The reception, press conference and verbal fight that ensued outside, as well as Deadly Girl's jab to Ms. Indestructible's vulnerable eyes, was soon broadcast on the news for all to see.]

[Timecode: 40 minutes, 17 seconds. Interstitial "interview room" scene. Weevil speaks directly to the cameras.]

Weevil: My old man used to say that love is what happens when you fail at living life on your own. He was gay, so what did he know?
The Weevil mentions his gay father

[Timecode: 45 minutes, 57 seconds. Night time, after the reception. Deadly Girl is about to enter the gate to her her home. A super-heroine dressed all in yellow with a headdress that looks like a sun walks toward her.]
Sunlight Grrrl, a Feminist super-heroine

Sunlight Grrrl: Hey. You're Deadly Girl?

Deadly Girl: You're . . . Flower . . . Head?

Sunlight Grrrl: "Sunlight Grrrl."

Deadly Girl: G-R-R-R-L?
Deadly Girl, member of the Specials

Sunlight Grrrl: Right. We saw on the news. You and the losers called it a day.

Deadly Girl: We?

Sunlight Grrrl: The Femme Five. I'm here to ask you to join.

Deadly Girl: Then you'd be the Fem Six.

Sunlight Grrrl: There're already eight of us. Traditional counting is an oppressive patriarchal tool.
Sunlight Grrrl, Feminist super-heroine
Deadly Girl, member of the Specials

Deadly Girl: [Smiles and sighs, apparently thinking that Sunlight Grrrl is a Feminist buffoon.] I'll think about it. But in the meantime, get off my [expletive] lawn, whore.

[Deadly Girl enters her gate and Sunlight Grrrl frowns briefly and then walks away. Cut to interstitial "interview room" scene, featuring Deadly Girl speaking directly to camera. Timecode: 46 minutes, 46 seconds.]

Deadly Girl: I always thought I didn't need a family. I mean, I had the demons and the walking skeletons, but the difference between a kid and a walking skeleton is, a kid won't eat the soft parts of your face while you're sleeping.
Deadly Girl wants a family.

[Timecode: 47 minutes, 49 seconds. Scene: Interior of the Specials HQ. Ms. Indesctructible walks down the stairs just in time to see Nightbird's folded uniform being slipped through the mail slot on the front door. She opens the front door and sees Shelly, wearing "civilian clothes" (jeans and a sweatshirt) and walking away.]

Ms. Indestructible: Shelly.

Nightbird (Shelly): I'm turning my suit in.

Ms. Indestructible: It's not a badge.

Nightbird (Shelly): I have to go.

Ms. Indestructible: Maybe we can convince Ted to forget this.

Nightbird (Shelly): No. I don't want to. I came here to fight evil. And all any of you people ever think about is having sex and your egomanias and selling your toys. I have to go.
Nightbird (Shelly) talks with Ms. Indestructible (Emily) about super-heroism

[Shelly runs away into the night.]

[Timecode: 49 minutes, 44 seconds. Scene: Emily Tilderbrook's bedroom. She is playing the video from her wedding to Ted ("The Strobe"). A title card flashes is displayed on the TV: "Ted & Emily Tilderbrook." Nice music plays. The next title card reads "Wedding Day: 4/22/95". We see Ms. Indestructible is drinking a glass of wine while she watches this video, alone in the dark. The video shws a church with a cross on top of it. The scene fades to show the church marquee: "11:00 AM: Tilderbrook Wedding Today." The sign above the changeable marquee area shows the name of the church building followed by the name of the denomination it is affiliated with: "Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship: United Church of Christ". The word "Congregational" in the name of the church honors the historical roots of the church as part of the Congregationalist denominational family. Nearly all Congregationalist churches in the United States eventually re-united and joined the denomination known as the United Church of Christ. The sign on the church where The Tilderbrook's were married explicitly and overtly identifies the church as both Congregationalist in heritage and a part of the United Church of Christ in current polity. Previous and subsequent scenes establish the fact that the Tilderbrooks not only were married there, they also have sincere, overtly expressed religious feeling and are apparently congregants there. Watching the wedding video, Ms. Indestructible weeps, thinking about what she did today and about how much she really does love her husband and wants to stay in this marriage.]
Video of wedding of the Strobe and Ms. Indestructible at United Church of Christ (Congregationalist)
Video of wedding of the Strobe and Ms. Indestructible at United Church of Christ (Congregationalist)

Lyrics for song played during Tilderbrook's wedding video:
Now when you are knee-deep in Aeneid's footnotes and your eyes are closing
I will take your hex out of context and we will stop this posing
I'm looking at the ceiling and thinking about nothing really
The Church Song

So come down now.
Remove your bandage.
So I can see your damage.
More than the Lord knows.

So come down now.
Remove your bandage.
So I can see your damage.
More than the Lord knows.
More than the Lord knows.
More than the Lord knows.

[Timecode: 57 minutes, 13 seconds. Scene: Inside a dance club in the city. Power Chick, Alien Orphan, Amok and Mr. Smart have come here. Amok is intent on getting drunk to forget the discouraging events of the earlier evening. Alien Orphan gets up to dance, leaving Power Chick sitting at a table with Amok.]

Power Chick: Amok. Listen. You're a good person. I like you.

Amok: Do not.

Power Chick: I do! Your contrary-ness keeps us from resting on our laurels!

Amok: "Laurels"? Quit making up words.

Power Chick: And Tony tells me you're a terrific artist.

Amok: He did?

Power Chick: He said your van paintings are, like, amazing.

Amok: I did one, one time. It had a big painting of a bowl of fruit on it. It said, "Van Go." You know, Van G-O?

[Power Chick laughs loudly and hysterically.]

Power Chick: That is so great!

Amok: You wanna go back to my place? I shoulda saw it sooner. We're like yin and yang. Magnets.

Power Chick: Amok.

Amok: What?

Power Chick: I'm gay! I was on the cover of Out Magazine.

Amok: You're gay?!!

Power Chick: But I think you're great!

Amok: Mother-[expletive]!

Power Chick: I'm sorry.

[This leads into an extended dance scene, featuring Alien Orphan dancing on a stage in front of the entire crowd at the dance club. He is soon joined by Power Chick, and eventually by Mr. Smart and Amok. Amok later tries to kiss Power Chick again, forcing her to exclaim once again: "I'm gay!" (timecode: 1 hour, 3 minutes 22 seconds.)]

[Timecode: 1 hour, 0 minutes, 13 seconds. Scene: Inside Deadly Girl's home. Minute Man came here, even though it was late at night, to ask Deadly Girl to help him formulate a plan for keeping the team together despite the Strobe's declaration that they were dissolved. The ended up watching a comedy show on TV.]

Minute Man: What's it like summoning demons?

Deadly Girl: They do your will, and that makes you feel good about yourself. Do you think that makes me creepy?
Deadly Girl watches TV with Minute Man

Minute Man: Yeah.

Deadly Girl: I'm gonna join The Femme Five. Lesbian Head asked me.

Minute Man: Really?

[Deadly Girl starts tickling Minute Man and he hits her with a pillow and eventually they start kissing. The next morning we learn that they spent the night together for the first time.]

[Timecode: 1 hour, 3 minutes, 24 seconds. Scene: Still the middle of the night. Nightgirl, wearing her civilian outfit, sits on a porch, tired, burying her face in her hands. Weevil walks up to her. and taps her on the knee.]

Weevil: Hey. Hey!

Nightbird (Shelly): Hi.

Weevil: Hi. What are you doing here?

Nightbird (Shelly): Oh, I came after-- Um . . . Can I talk to you?

Weevil: Oh, yeah, sure. Come on in, I'll make you some coffee or something.

[Cut to inside Weevil's home. Shelly sits on a couch. Weevil brings her a mug.]

Weevil: Here you go.

Nightbird (Shelly): Thanks.

Weevil: So, uh, what's up?

Nightbird (Shelly): I heard you were joining The Crusaders.

Weevil: ...So what? Did you come here to try to talk me out of it?

Nightbird (Shelly): No. Just to say thanks, before we go apart.

Weevil: Thanks?

Nightbird (Shelly): See, when I was a little girl, you really meant something to me. That stuff you said to the papers about how the Specials weren't meant for everybody. They were meant for the oddball . . .

Nightbird and Weevil speaking in unison: --the rebel, the outcast, the geek.

Nightbird (Shelly): Yeah, that was me.

Weevil: [Snorts, bemused.] Ay-yi-yi. I can't believe I've been doing this since you were a little girl.

Nightbird (Shelly): You're like my hero, I guess. I mean, all my life, all I ever wanted was to be a Special. I used to actually wake up every morning and pray that I would get stretching powers. Or- Or find a micro-ionized ring. Or eat an ancient Egyptian insect that gave me weevil agility and weevil senses and weevil strength.
Nightbird (Shelly) says she prayed every day to get super powers.

Weevil: That last one I'm familiar with.

Nightbird (Shelly): But now, more than anything, I just want to feel like a regular person again.

Weevil: Nightbird. What exactly are "bird powers"?

Nightbird (Shelly): They're really stupid. Um . . . I can hear really well. And . . . I don't really talk to birds or anything. I mean, it's more like we have an understanding. They prefer me over Joe Blow.

Weevil Right.

Nightbird (Shelly): And, um . . . I lay eggs.

Weevil: You lay eggs?

Nightbird (Shelly): I better go.

Weevil: Let me tell you something. In all the time that I've been in the Specials, I've never seen anybody come into the fold who wasn't there for a reason. There are no useless people there. Well, except Mr. Smart. That guy's a washout...

[They talk a little more, and Weevil makes Shelly laugh. He has cheered her up considerably.]

[Timecode: 1 hour, 8 minutes, 23 seconds. Inside meeting room at the Specials HQ, which is really the home of Ted and Emily Tilderbrook.]

Ms. Indestructible (Emily): Ted.

The Strobe (Ted): Emily.

Emily: I didn't know you were here.

Ted: I was just sorting through some files . . . in light of the . . . group's break-up. If you want to help, this pile pertains to the building fund, and this pile pertains to the group payroll.

Emily: Ted, what's your plan?

Ted: The group's fini. Finito. Vertig.

Emily: I mean--

Ted: I was saying "finished" in different languages.

Emily: I know. I meant regarding me.

Ted: Oh. Well, I realized last night in a heart-to-heart conversation with Eight--

Emily: Oh, Christ! [Emily knows what Eight is like and she does not regard a heart-to-heart conversation with the perplexing and inscrutible Eight to be a good thing.]

Ted: --that I'm vain and self-absorbed. For God's sakes, Emily . . . I think I'm chosen by God?
The Strobe (Ted Tilderbrook) wonders at his own notion that he is chosen by God.

Emily: I'm sorry.

Ted: I'm a buffoon.

Emily: No, Ted--

Ted: It must be Hell to be married to me.

Emily: I am sorry.

Ted: But, I think it's a Hell that you deserve. I've decided that the best revenge I could ever exact upon you would be to accept you back into the marriage. You blame your actions with Weevil on my emotional distance? Oh, you-- You will learn the true meaning of emotional distance.

[Ted's face shows that he really is intending to be something of a jerk, and Emily's face shows that she now realizes this isn't going as she had hoped. But she is resigned to continue with how things are. She turns to business mode.]

Emily: So, if these are the files for the building, why is last year's payroll in this pile?

Ted: Because the group worked on the building?

Emily: No, Ted--

[Their business is interrupted by Emily's cell phone. It is Mr. Smart calling. Emily confirms that he is supposed to come in to work this morning. Deadly Girl and Minute Man enter, soon followed by Nightbird, wearing her costume. U.S. Bill enters, followed by Amok, Power Chick and Alien Orphan. There is much humorous banter as the group gathers once again. Then they see that Weevil is on the TV doing a TV interview about his joining the Crusaders. The Weevil speaks dismissively of the Specials and makes fun of Nightbird, pointing out that her super-power is laying eggs. Shelly cries as she sees Weevil do this interview, and they turn off the television. The Strobe and Ms. Indestructible cheer Shelly/Nightbird up by explaining to the group that each egg Shelly lays contains a trick. The tricks could be anything, such as an egg full of sulphuric acid, or a gun or magic stars or a tiny dragon that bites. Then the alarm goes off and Shelly gets a phone call. The Pentagon has been taken over by giant ants. All of the other super-teams are occupied. The Specials are being called in to help. We next see each Special run out of the building, down the porch steps, displaying their powers as they do so.]

[The movie ends with a few interview room scenes. We see that Ms. Indestructible is resigned to staying with Specials, feeling that this is where she belongs, even though she says she would be happier elsewhere. The Strobe says that he is trying to lighten up and not be so serious all the time.]


Ms. Indestructible (Emily) and The Strobe (Ted Tilderbrook) speak to the screen.

Additional Notes from DVD:
James Gunn, first commentary track, timecode: 26 minutes, 36 seconds. As bad as Amok seems in the final cut of "The Specials," he was actually much worse in original script and in the earlier cuts of the film. In addition to his routinely vulgar speech and dialog, he was "semi-racist" and paranoid about people being racist toward him and profiling him because of his blue skin. He used a lot of racial slurs and "people were very offended by it."

James Gunn, first commentary track, timecode: 40 minutes, 38 seconds: Gunn notes that he likes all of the characters, and he thinks they are likeable, and there is really only one character that may not be likeable: The Weevil. He states the the Weevil has a real blackness in him. He wants to be a good guy, but he wants so much for people to like him that he's willing to do anything toward that end.

Additional Religious-Themed Content from Official Specials Website

A Specials "roll call" page purportedly written by Minute Man appears on James Gunn's website, which is the official website of The Specials film. Religious-themed material from this page has been excerpted below. From: "Specials Roll Call: Compiled by Minute Man" page, on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials3.html; viewed 24 July 2007):

THE STROBE
REAL NAME: Ted Tilderbrook
AGE: 36
SUPERPOWER: Shoots laser beams out of arms. Can fly.

Ted was a twenty-two year old college student and I, his brother Tim, was thirteen. One night we snuck into an abandoned photo-processing plant "on a goof." We were unaware that that supervillain Dr. Malevolent was using the abandoned plant as a laboratory (he was out at the time). Ted and I were tiptoeing across a ceiling rafter when Ted slipped and plummeted into a giant vat of experimental radioactive fluid. I tried to help him out but I only weighed sixty pounds (I was little for thirteen) and I toppled in after him. Eventually, we escaped from the vat and we collapsed outside the plant. Our skin was burning. It hurt. We had both fallen into comas when an ambulance delivered us to St. Dominic's hospital. There, Ted was pronounced dead but resuscitated. While "dead" Ted had a vision of God - that he was chosen to do God's work on earth. He said God was white and had sort of an oval-shaped head, but what he looked like wasn't the important thing and I should quit bugging him about it. Anyway, when we came out of our comas we found that both our bodies were suddenly enhanced with superpowers. Ted had the idea that was should don costumes and became The Strobe and Minute Boy, and it was neat.

FUN FACTS:
...Ted married Emily Chandler five years ago, and they have lived happily ever after since.

UNTRUE RUMOR(S):
...When Valiant Lass, a later member, left the Specials to join the Crusaders, he did not tell her Christ would send her to Hell for leaving. Ted explains: "I wished her the best of luck, and told her my prayers would be with her - and I knew she'd need my prayers, considering the Crusaders are backed by the CIA."

WEEVIL
REAL NAME: Tony Sierra' Jr.
AGE: 32
SUPERPOWER: Weevil agility. Can walk up walls and across ceilings. Weevil strength.

UNTRUE RUMOR(S):
Weevil is not the father of a nine-year-old black child in Pascagoula, Mississippi. He refuses to take a DNA test' not because it will prove his paternity, but because he disagrees with DNA testing on ethical grounds.

Weevil's father was not gay, although he did have a loving, "touch-based-relationship" with the superhero Rock Heavy for a few years.

MINUTE MAN
REAL NAME: Tim Tilderbrook (me!)
AGE: 27
SUPERPOWER: I can turn small, to a tiny fraction of a millimeter.

ORIGIN STORY:
See my brother The Strobe's origin, above. It's exactly the same except for the part about seeing God in a dream at the end. While we were laid up for those three weeks, my most vivid dream was a dream about having a tickle war with Blair from "Facts of Life" (the earlier' skinnier Blair).

MS. INDESTRUCTIBLE
REAL NAME: Emily Chandler
AGE: 30
SUPERPOWER: Indestructible skin, super-strength.

MR. SMART
REAL NAME: Graham Brakhage
AGE: 31
SUPERPOWER: Amazing intelligence

EIGHT
REAL NAMES: Unknown.
AGES: Various.
SUPERPOWER: Eight is a single consciousness in eight separate bodies. He is able to think eight separate thoughts concurrently. All of his bodies are honed to athletic perfection. He is overwhelmingly intelligent and knowledgeable on many issues.

U.S. BILL
REAL NAME: Unknown - U.S. Bill keeps his identity a secret, even from the other Specials, so as not to compromise those he loves.
AGE: Again, it's a secret. Because of his taste in music (his favorite band is Fine Young Cannibals), we guess it's somewhere in his mid to late twenties.
SUPERPOWER: Super-Strength. U.S. Bill can lift a metric ton.

AMOK
REAL NAME: Caspar Drake
AGE: 25
SUPERPOWER: Amok can blast anti-matter from his hands, and he can fly.

ORIGIN STORY:
Caspar Drake, a young high-school dropout who earned his living doing custom paintings on the sides of vans, was chosen to become Amok, an emissary of the enormous God-like planet-eater Tyrannos. Tyrannos bestowed upon Drake his enormous powers. He then sent Amok to planets to announce that he was coming to destroy them. However, Amok had such a bad attitude - one time he spit on Tyrannos giant eye - and he was somewhat of a slacker - sometimes he would just go to the arcade or something and forget to go to a planet to warn them Tyrannos was coming to eat them - that Tyrannos fired Amok.

FUN FACTS:
Amok is the bad boy of the Specials, and he adds a lot of life to our group meetings with his disorderly' rebellious nature!

When Amok first gained his superpowers he was impressionable. Like so many who gain world-changing powers in an instant, he was overwhelmed with the responsibility. In this confused state he joined the Sinister Swarm - Amok, an orphan, found a father-like figure in their charismatic leader' the Amazing Blister. The Sinister Swarm synthesized a strain of scabies and threatened the U.N. that they would release the virus on the public unless they were paid a billion dollars. The Crusaders stopped the Swarm's malignant plan, and Amok was sent to Ryker's island, Sector 6 (for superpowered villains). He did his time - three years - and was rehabilitated. When he was released' he turned over a new leaf, turning in his evil duds for those of a hero, and he joined the Specials.

UNTRUE RUMOR:
Most rumors that you hear about Amok are true.

POWER CHICK
REAL NAME: Nancy Glickenstaff
AGE: 34
SUPERPOWER: Power Chick can mutate her body into any substance she desires - whether it be hard as diamond or soft as a Ty plush animal.

FUN FACTS:
Power Chick has been sober for twelve years, an active member of a twelve-step organization.

Power Chick is the only gay member of the Specials. She lived with Melissa Etheridge for three years before meeting her current life-partner.

Power Chick and her life-partner legally adopted Alien Orphan, who lives with them in West Hollywood.

DEADLY GIRL
REAL NAME: Angela McCary
AGE: 23

SUPERPOWER: Deadly Girl is perhaps the most powerful member of the Specials. She is the Ruler of the World of the Dead (a mysterious demonic dimension). Her powers are tri-fold:

* 1) Because D.G. is the Ruler of the World of the Dead, she is in charge of all manner of demons that reside there. She is able to summon them to this plane of existence (known as the Material Universe) to do her bidding.

* 2) D.G. is able to transport herself from one spot on earth to another in an instance. She does this by slipping into the World of the Dead and then slipping out again at whatever spot she desires - most desirably, right behind a bad guy, so she can whack him in the head with a rock!

* 3) D.G. can blast protoplasmic rays from her arms. Although not as powerful as The Strobe's lasers or Amok's anti-matter, they hurt like heck!

ORIGIN STORY:
Angela was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority on the University of Michigan campus. One night, slightly buzzed from a keg party, she and three of her sorority sisters started messing around with a Ouija board (board for contacting spirits manufactured by Parker Brothers). Somehow, the four young women accidentally triggered a multidimensional portal into the World of the Dead. This is a very bad place if you've never been there. It's mostly black, like outer space, but instead of stars or planets there are a bunch of purple, swirly spiny things, and demons of various types. There, a group of demons headed by the sadistic Lord Vorhu, the then-current Ruler of the World of the Dead, used the girls as grisly fodder, torturing them and murdering them. Angela witnessed the horror of her friends disemboweled and dying (which may be partly responsible for her current "Goth" appearance). She herself was about to be sacrificed by Lord Vorhu with the sacred Dagger of the Dead. Lord Vorhu set down the dagger for a moment, to scold one of his demons for something they had done (I think it was using one of Angela's friend's heads as a hand puppet), and Angela heroically grabbed the dagger. She leapt upon Vorhu with a speed uncommon for Alpha Gamma Deltas - or any sorority sister' for that matter - and slit open Vorhu's neck. At that moment, Vorhu's powers poured from the open slice on his neck (his powers looked like green and yellow sparkly things' D.G. claims), and into a surprised Angela McCary. As Vorhus stumbled onto a purple spiny thing and died' Angela McCary became the new Ruler of the World of the Dead. Demons (usually) submit to her as they did to Lord Vorhu, and she is able to come and go from the World of the Dead as she pleases.

FUN FACTS:
Deadly Girl doesn't enjoy going to the World of the Dead very often. She'd rather hang around Specials HQ playing Nintendo 64.

ALIEN ORPHAN
REAL NAME: (unpronounceable word of 42 syllables that begins with an "M"). Some of the members of the Specials have taken to calling Alien Orphan "Doug."

AGE: 4,027
SUPERPOWER: Can mold his body into any shape, though not always perfectly. It is almost impossible to kill Alien Orphan; if you blew him up, his various parts would just rejoin and continue on their way. His green hue and freakish appearance is disarming to enemies.

ORIGIN STORY:
Alien Orphan's rocket ship crash landed on earth about a year and a half ago. At that time, he was a living substance in the shape of a gooey green glob that looked a lot like phlegm. Gradually, over time, Alien Orphan has been able to hold his body, through will power, in the approximate shape of a human being. As he was not able to speak English, we knew very little about his origin, that is, until we ran into some of the "policemen" from his galaxy a few months ago: It seems the law of Alien Orphan's native galaxy was pursuing him for political transgressions. To his native galaxy, God is a consistent drip down a stalactite on the fourth planet of their solar system. Alien Orphan did a forbidden dance that mocked his galaxy's God. For this, the galaxy's tribunal instantly ordered his death. Alien Orphan stole a rocket ship and made his way toward earth. He has found safe harbor in The Specials HQ, both because the Specials stand against all political oppression, and because the idea of worshipping a drip as God is pretty darn silly.

NIGHTBIRD
REAL NAME: Shelley Madden
AGE: 20
SUPERPOWER: Bird powers.

An essay purportedly written by Amok (and clearly written in his "voice") appears on the official Specials website. We will not reproduce the entire essay here, but suffice it to say that even a cursory reading of this essay makes it abundantly clear that Amok is a vulgar, crude, anti-social character who may indeed operate now as a super-hero but who seems hardly "reformed." Excerpts from: "The Truth About the Specials: a Personal Essay by Amok" page on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):

I may be an asshole, but at least I'm honest about it. THESE guys [Amok's teammates]: they act like they're something else other than what they are. This ESSAY could be my chance to tell the true face of the Specials, so while Tim and Mr. Smart have their Specials Roster Page, full of lies and media savvy, I could be the TRUTH ABOUT THE SPECIALS, as well as some other things. Here it goes:

[Amok proceeds to delivery a hate-filled screed laced with an incredible volume of vulgar language and venom toward his teammates.]

And here is some TRUTH on some other subjects:

2) OUR FANS
OUR FANS ARE IDIOTS. Seriously, though, don't you have something better to do then be reading this stupid web page? Couldn't you find any good ****, you gotta go and read this all-too-long [expletive] essay? Why would you give a sh-- what I said? Don't you have a life? About a month ago I got paid to fly to Austin, Texas and sign autographs at a boat show. These kids are lined up the aisle, paying four bucks a pop for a signed 8x10 of me. With every one I signed, I just kept thinking, "Loser. Loser. Another loser. Loser." Really. It was depressing. I also noticed that almost all of our fans are ugly.

3) JESUS AND THESE OTHERS
JESUS IS A ***** [vulgar expression suggesting wimpiness]. I've been hearing people go on about Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed for years and years. But let me ask you one question: How many of those guys could shoot anti-matter out of their hands? My guess is zero of them. I blew up a starship full of blood-sucking Reticuloids once! As far as I know, I don't even think Jesus could fly. "Oh, I'm so big, I'm so powerful, I'm the Son of God!" Meanwhile, he's walking around, not flying. Real tough. I'd like to tickle this guy in front of his "apostles," just to humiliate him. I'm not saying that people should form a religion around me: but I WILL say that I could come up with a symbol a lot cooler than an X on its side. The symbol of my religion would be something that rocks: like a fireball with a clenched fist on it and the knuckles spelt out A-M-O-K.

That's the end of this essay. Turn off your computer and do something with your life, gaywad.

Amok's description of team leader The Strobe is particularly mean-spirited, but it is also illuminating in that it reinforces the film's portrayal of The Strobe as an openly and overtly religious Christian. From: "The Truth About the Specials: a Personal Essay by Amok" page on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):

THE STROBE. The Strobe has a giant stick up his *** and he's always bossing me around. EVERY DAY I come into work and he's got another gripe about me: I didn't shave, or my shirt's untucked... The Strobe is a republican Christian right whack job, sort of the Gary Bauer of the Superhero set... And then there's the stuff about how he claims that he's been chosen by God, and you're never gonna hear the end of it. If he's so chosen by God and such a evolved spiritual soul, why is it the only thing he seems to care about is our "image" and me not smoking or drinking or [fornicating with] strippers in public, or making jokes about Kirk Douglas, who, you can't deny it, looks funny when he talks. In short, the Strobe is a Nazi.

Amok goes into some detail describing Deadly Girl, discussing her powers at length. Her demon-based powers have clear religious overtones and implications. From: "The Truth About the Specials: a Personal Essay by Amok" page on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):

DEADLY GIRL... the one thing I can say is that she's WAY OVERRATED. She's often considered the most powerful Special, because she can summon demons and so forth. But, first of all, demons are unpredictable! One time she brought forth a whole bunch of walking skeletons to fight Arcanos, and the stupid, brainless bastards started attacking me! She said, "Kill Arcanos," but they didn't know what the [expletive] she was saying. Another time she made a bunch of little guys that looked like fetuses attack Dr. Malevolent. I think they WERE fetuses, like aborted fetuses lost in purgatory or something (I think I mighta recognized two or three of my own in there). They weren't as stupid as the skeletons, but just as useless. All you had to do was step on one for it to be squashed. And they smelled like bile. Deadly Girl can also blast protoplasm from her hands. You know what if feels like? Like a pinch. It doesn't hardly hurt...

Mr. Smart has a page on the official Specials website on which he describes many super-villains who have been adversaries of the Specials over the years. A number of these capsule descriptions have overtly religious content, excerpted below. From: "Mr. Smart's Rogues Gallery, A to Z" on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):

THE BIRKENSTOCK is The Specials' hippie enemy who employs exploding hackey-sacks in his war on Wall Street stockbrokers. The Birkenstock is also known for Tie-Dyeing humans to death. He is currently at large, though his human tie-dyer has been confiscated and can now be viewed in the Amazing Trio's museum in Branson, Missouri.
STATUS: At large
DANGER LEVEL: 7

THE EUROFAG is a homosexual bank robber with a penchant for leaving Hermes scarves and Pet Shop Boys CDs at the scenes of his crimes. He is notable for being the only Specials foe whose name begins with the letter "E."
STATUS: Imprisoned
DANGER LEVEL: 2

THE MANATEE has the ability to breathe underwater. He at first desired to be a superhero, but was declined membership at various superhero groups, including the Specials. We've all seen underwater breathers come and go - the Specials at one time even had Kid Guppy in the group. But, truth to tell, they rarely come in handy. It's more economically feasible to just rent out Water Man from The Imperials. Anyway, after the Manatee's lifelong dreams were dashed, he turned to a life of underwater eco-terrorism. He released oil tanks into areas or the ocean swarming with tropical fish. This killed numerous aquatic creatures. The Manatee was easy to catch however, as he is quite weak and a pretty slow swimmer. Alien Orphan metamorphosed into a giant fish and swallowed him whole. We shortly thereafter turned him over to the authorities.
STATUS: Imprisoned
DANGER LEVEL: 2

QUACK is a twelve-foot tall muscular duck with enough supper-strength to burrow through mountains. Quack was responsible for the deaths of scores of duck hunters in the Midwest in 1997. The Specials defeated Quack after an eight-hour long battle in Springfield, Illinois; sadly, an eight-year-old girl was caught in the crossfire and paralyzed by one of the Strobe's laser blasts.
STATUS: Imprisoned
DANGER LEVEL: 9

UBERMENSCH is the Nazi superman. He has a stutter. This stutter caused in the Specials an out-of-control laughing fit the last time we battled Ubermensch. It's difficult to take one's Aryan claim of supreme physical and mental superiority seriously when it takes him three minutes to get through the word "unparalleled." Ubermensch's feelings were hurt and he flew away in tears. The blonde jerk-off hasn't shown his face since.
STATUS: At large
DANGER LEVEL: 6

VULCAN THE FIRELORD is the vengeful Greek god who's extremely jealous of Jesus. His preferred form of violence is smashing up Christian churches and houses of worship for other monotheistic religions. Last seen teamed up with Count Dracula killing monks in Western Europe.
STATUS: At large
DANGER LEVEL: 10

YOUNG STUFF are five shapely sixteen-year old girls who wear modified Catholic schoolgirl uniforms. They have various powers (superspeed, stretching, invisibility, etc.) They are, bar none, Mr. Smart's favorite adversaries. Let all their members - Kaitlin, Heather, Meadow, Crystal, and Darcy - be well-informed that Mr. Smart eagerly awaits our next "tussle" when they're released from juvenile hall next year!
STATUS: Imprisoned
DANGER LEVEL: Hot, hot, hot!


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