At the Tunguska River Basin in 1908, two locals watch as an object lands from outer space and hovers above the basin. It explodes with a burst of light and energy, knocking the locals down. When they get to their feet, they discover that their reindeer are on fire. One man runs off to deal with his burning reindeer, while the other one stares at a figure floating out of the smoke.
In the present, that figure--the world’s first superhero, Superian--is a celebrity after having saved the world on numerous occasions. Whoopi Goldberg interviews him about his fights with the supervillain known as The Terror down through the decades. Superian explains that The Terror was his first foe. Meanwhile, a mild-mannered man named Arthur Everest watches the interview on Youtube. Whoopi asks about Superian’s last fight with the Terror, and Superian insists that his archenemy is dead. The superhero dismisses the claims that the Terror survived as crazed conspiracy theories.
Once the interview is over, Arthur prints out an article about an Urmanian dictatorship toppled. He calls his sister Dot, who is working a shift as an EMT, and talks about how she’s helped him over the years as his big sister. Dot wonders if he’s having obsessive “thoughts,” and Arthur assures her that he’s doing good... while he stares at his wall filled with conspiracy clippings of the Terror down over the decades. Before she goes, Dot tells her brother to keep it real. After a moment, Arthur grabs his coat and heads out.
Throughout the City, people complain that there are no superheroes there, unlike other cities. Arthur takes a taxi and listens to the radio. He finally has the driver turn off the radio, and gets out at a warehouse. Arthur sees two thugs and their leader, Ms. Lint, inside. He takes out a parabolic mike and listens as the thugs tells Lint that everything went smoothly at Customs. She inspects t4e super-tech that they brought in and tells one of the thugs that he’s going to test the bullet-proof suit. Arthur knocks over a can and the criminals glance over. He hides and after a minute, Lint tells her thugs that the boss wants to see his new toys by dawn.
As Arthur starts to move away, a large blue figure drops down behind him. The Tick declares that villainy is afoot and Arthur realizes that he’s a superhero. The new superhero figures that all of the criminals in the City work for the same tyrant, and prepares to charge into battle. Arthur warns that he can’t take them all on, and he wants to follow them to lead him to the mastermind. Impressed by Arthur’s finesse, the Tick wonders where his costume is. Arthur admits that he doesn’t have one, and his new friend says that they’ll deal with that later.
Tick introduces himself, and as they talk, a police car pulls up nearby, sirens flashing. The big blue superhero leaps into battle, shouting “Destiny!”, and Arthur runs off. However, the police quickly capture and arrest him.
Twenty Years Ago
A young Arthur is at a café playing with his Flag Five toy as his father Thomas looks on. Arthur vows that one day he’ll join the superhero team, and his father reminds him that he has to be a superhero. Thomas goes over to put more coins in the meter, and the real Flag Five ship crashes down on top of him.
Police psychiatrist Dr. Creek meets with Arthur and points out that he was trespassing. Arthur says that it was a misunderstanding and he was bird watching, and it wasn’t necessary to arrest him. Despite that, Dr. Creek says that she has to determine if she should have him commite4d for observation. Arthur confirms that he’s been taking his medications, and insists that he’s a together person. Creek points out that Arthur’s record shows a history of similar behavior since elementary school. Going further back, she realizes that Arthur is the little boy from the photograph and stares at him in shock.
Twenty Years Ago
Arthur looks at the crater where his father was killed. The Flag Five climb out, blinded, and the Terror flies up in his shop. Terror and his men drop down from the ship and the henchmen kill the heroes. Meanwhile, Terror sees Arthur and goes over to him. As a photographer takes a picture, Terror goes over and taunts the boy, telling him that he has nothing. He eats Arthur’s ice cream, laughing maniacally.
Creek says that under the circumstances, they’ll call Dee and if she takes responsibility then they’ll release Arthur into her custody. Arthur begs them not to call Dot.
At the factory, the two thugs examine the battle suit. Overhead, Tick paces and remembers Arthur telling him to retain finesse.
Dot drives Arthur home and wonders what they’re going to do. He tells her that she doesn’t have to do anything, and Dot figures that he’s not taking his meds. She knows that he was tracking Terror, and insists that he’s dead just as Superian said. Arthur doesn’t believe it and warns that Terror has gone underground and is more powerful than ever. His sister reminds him that he sees things that weren’t there, and tells her not to diagnose him. Dot wonders what happens if Terror is alive, and warns her brother that he’s crazy if he thinks he can stop the supervillain. Before he goes, Arthur says that he’s okay and Dot says that she needs him to be.
Inside, Arthur brushes his teeth and reviews his clippings. He looks up Tick on the superhero database but finds nothing, and then takes the meds that he threw away... and remembers.
Twenty Years Ago
A young Arthur imagines that his nightlight is speaking to him in a voice that sounds like Tick. The nightlight flickers and says that Arthur has seen it, and asks what he’s going to do about it.
Arthur wakes up from his nightmare.
Tick continues to pace and maintain finesse. However, he realizes that he can’t let the thugs escape and yells at them that he is Tick and leaps into battle. Their bullets bounce off him and Tick knocks them aside. A stray shot hits a propane tank, and Tick laughs triumphantly as more thugs open fire... setting off the gas and causing an enormous explosion.
The next day, Arthur’s alarm goes off and he wakes up... and discovers Tick lying next to him in bed. Tick assures Arthur that he’s not going crazy. He looks for the secret trigger to Arthur’s crime headquarters, and says that Arthur is his sidekick. Tick says that he’s a superhero and that Destiny speaks to him. He gives Arthur the battle suit from the factory and says that it’s all that survived the explosion. Arthur doesn’t believe that he’s part of any bigger plan, but Tick tells him that he’ll have to do more than prove Terror is alive. He says that he’s the Arthur that Arthur always wanted to be, and Destiny wanted them to meet.
Tick takes out the moth-like battle suit and says that it’s sized to Arthur’s proportions, and figures that it’s destiny. However, he then hesitates and starts breaking things. After a moment he says that he’ll be on the rooftops and climbs out the window.
A surviving thug tells Lint what happened, and figures that Tick is a superhero and was working with Arthur.
In his apartment, Arthur puts on the moth suit.
Tick stands on the rooftop and monologues.
Arthur activates his battle goggles and flight wings
Lint and her enter Arthur’s apartment and open fire.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 20, 2016