Nuklear Age is a self-published novel written by Brian Clevinger. It is largely an extended parody of comic books. The book recounts the adventures of Nuklear Man and his sidekick, Atomik Lad, as they fight against rogue military weapons, highly evolved civilizations, the trials of everyday life, an angst-filled over-villain of undeniable power, the ever exotic Dr. Menace, and their own impulses.
The setting of the novel occurs in and around Metroville, a vast metropolis depicted with futuristic architecture akin to those depicted in most Silver Age comics. Among its citizens inhabit a vast amount of costumed superheroes, known as "overheroes" throughout the novel, and they are known to bring about justice through vigilantism, fighting similarly costumed villains that are almost the same in number as the superheroes. Most of these overheroes and supervillains even form alliances, some with long-winded names, a nod to comic alliances such as the Justice League and the Avengers.
There are various venues available to its citizens, such as the Anderson Circle Garden, a large picturesque park with trees, benches, and well-fed squirrels and pigeons. The local educational institution, the University of Metroville, contains multiple buildings housing multiple departments. One of these buildings in particular, dubbed the Tezuka Physics Complex, houses the university's various Physics departments. A popular hub for Metroville's youth is the Metroville Mall, which contains all sorts of shops and food stalls.
Fugu Coupons: Issues 1 to 4
The novel begins when Nuklear Man patrols the city skies. A ruckus builds up at the local bank, and the bumbling overhero jumps in to encounter the villain: a robotic platform armed with gatling guns named Mechanikill. After being shot out into the street, Nuklear Man disarms, and accidentally kills the villain by using reverse psychology, destroying its logic circuit. Thinking he murdered in cold blood, the overhero decides to kill the nearby news crew when he was interrupted by Bibbles, a postman working for the Transdimensional Pantemporal Postal Service. He hands Nuklear Man a letter, which was a short birthday greeting from his father. Thinking the letter might be a clue to his unknown past, he is interrupted by Atomik Lad, who treats the overhero for lunch at Cap'n Salty's House of Fugu, having acquired two free coupons. They fly off into the sky once more. After having a brief argument over directions, Nuklear Man asks for the coupons, wherein he accidentally flies into a flock of pigeons and drops them.
Meanwhile, Angus, the Iron Scotsman, was grumbling as his doctor insisted a prescription of rest and relaxation to ease his ever increasing high blood pressure. While unsuccessfully feeding squirrels bits of haggis, the coupons that fell out of the sky landed on him. He proceeded to jump for joy and make his way to the restaurant when he gets intercepted by the femme fatale with a Transylvanian accent, Dr. Veronica Menace. The villainess snatches the coupons from him after a short fight and flees, leaving Angus to search for her. Nuklear Man and his sidekick arrive, noticing a small note hidden in a nearby tree. The note, signed by Dr. Menace, beckons them to see her at the nearby abandoned Polluto Chemical Factory plant. The two quickly head on their way. Nuklear Man starts an argument about directions once more, and Atomik Lad proposes a race to see who can get to the plant first, knowing the sidekick will win anyway as he knew his way to the hideout. The overhero then proceeds to take the long way around to the plant, momentarily apprehended by the bitter lawbringer, the Civil Defender.
As Atomik Lad arrives to the plant, he is immediately captured in a Negaflux Containment Field by Dr. Menace. She immediately explains her plan to the sidekick, which was to defeat his mentor with a riddle. If by any chance he succeeds in solving the riddle, she will free Atomik Lad and give herself in, but if he fails, Nuklear Man will have to trade places with the sidekick. Appropriately enough, Nuklear Man barged into the factory wall in a very anticlimactic scene. Dr. Menace tells the riddle, and after some time, the overhero's intelligence fails him. As he gives himself in, Angus crashes into the building in his iron battle suit, causing the abandoned building to give way and collapse. Nuklear Man and Atomik Lad escape with the newly-arrived guest, and Dr. Menace was nowhere to be found, presumably escaping without them noticing. With the building collapsed and their Fugu coupons gone, the three overheroes became glum with hunger. Soon, Atomik Lad gets an idea and suggests that they can get a free birthday cake with Nuklear Man's letter at a restaurant called Benny's. Eager to get some food, they fly to their destination.
An Unpaid Meal and a Cereal Espionage: Issues 5 to 9
When they arrived at the restaurant, they immediately order the restaurant specials, presuming it was a five dollar "All you can eat" buffet as written on the board. They were served by a waitress named Rachel, whom Atomik Lad seems to have a crush on. While Nuklear Man and Angus make fools out of themselves, driving out some of the patrons, the manager scolds Rachel for forgetting to change the day's special, which was actually lobster for fifteen dollars per plate. Not knowing this, the overheroes gobble down seventeen plates, both Nuklear Man and Angus making a huge mess in the restaurant. After a bathroom break, Atomik Lad was shocked when he saw the bill. Not knowing what to do, and being short on cash, Nuklear Man suggests a "dine and dash", but his sidekick insists against it, them being paragons of justice. When Rachel arrived to collect the bill, Nuklear Man makes a feeble attempt at a ruse. Rachel talks to her manager, and after an agreement, she was let off work early while the three overheroes were forced into working for their meal.
Immediately, the manager charges both Nuklear Man and Atomik Lad with kitchen duty, while Angus is assigned to be a waiter: a cumbersome job for the Iron Scotsman due to his "below average" height. While the sidekick makes thorough work with the dishes, Nuklear Man fails an attempt at cleaning the storeroom, instead letting his imagination take its course with the nearby long-expired cheese barrel, thinking it to be inhabited by tiny, invading Cheesiediluvians. Back at the floor, Angus happens to meet a long-standing rival coming into the restaurant. The stereotypically Irish Shamus O'Riley clashes with the stereotypically Scottish Angus McDougal, which does not sit well with the manager as Shamus is a very respected customer due to his success as a breakfast cereal entrepeneur, having struck riches with the new Kismet Krunchies cereal. Apparently, Angus holds a heavy grudge against his rival as he claims Shamus had stolen his idea of a Scottish Squishies cereal, which had haggis as its main ingredient. He also claims that the Irish overhero's secret ingredient, Kismet Green, was actually haggis. As a moment of patience finally wore off, the two began to fight inside the restaurant. Nuklear Man and Atomik Lad come out of the kitchen to see what was going on, but Nuklear Man's judgement fails him as he joins along in the fight. Atomik Lad breaks it up by hauling all three of them out of the restaurant window, causing significant property damage. The manager, having his temper pushed beyond its limit, calmly advises the overheroes to leave.
As things start to calm down, the four overheroes fly to Nuklear Man and Atomik Lad's residence in an underground silo in an attempt to solve the supposed cereal industry espionage. Angus and Shamus tell their story as budding cereal entrepeneurs in the 1960's. After having created a very successful (however very sugary) cereal called Seizure Pops, Angus decides to go deeper and develop Scottish Squishies, which got him laughed out of business. His partner then asks for his recipe in hopes of helping him out, and in a year, Shamus released Kismet Krunchies, which was a hit. Angus, having felt betrayed by this act, built his costume out of his savings and vowed revenge, giving birth to the Iron Scotsman. Atomik Lad takes a carton of Kismet Krunchies and scans it to support Angus's evidence, but surprisingly, the secret ingredient was not haggis, but rocket fuel. Shamus explained that he got the idea of implementing a secret ingredient from Angus's concept, and used rocket fuel because of his industrial ties outside his field. His costume and weapon however, were due to him being jealous of Angus's popularity as an overhero, and so he jumped into the overhero career and left the company to his son. Shamus and Angus reconcile, and say their goodbyes to Nuklear Man and Atomik Lad as they go out for a night of binge drinking.
Nuklear Man's Birthday Party: Issues 9 to
Works by Brian Clevinger
|8-Bit Theater • Atomic Robo • Nuklear Age • Warbot in Accounting • Emerson Wild: Monster Hunter • Fallout: Nuka Break • How I Killed Your Master|