The Burned Man and Destructo Boy
There is a time for old stories, and there is a time for present tales.
One such tale of the present is that of the Burned Man.
You see, the Burned Man was harmed long ago in one of the cruelest, most unimaginable ways there are.
He was precisely as his name suggests. He was burned. And so was his family.
A terrible tragedy. One that, admittedly, I was nowhere to be found to prevent.
But the Burned Man did not let that stop him from becoming a great man.
Whether he wanted to be or not, and that’s not for me to say, he became something of a hero in Arcadia, one whose work I’ve admired from afar for some time.
He even had himself a sidekick of sorts. A partner in crime fighting, you might say.
His name was Destructo Boy.
And as they moved about the world attempting to stop bad guys from doing bad things, Destructo Boy could, at times, make himself less help to the Burned Man, and more work for him.
It wasn’t his fault. He had a great big heart. He had a childish naievete that, while charming, led to bigger problems for the Burned Man than Destructo Boy probably ever realized.
Though many would have told the Burned Man that he was better off without his partner, the Burned Man would have none of it. In fact, time and time again, Destructo Boy did things that would push normal people away, cause them to reject him, label him as more trouble than he’s worth.
But the Burned Man is no ordinary man.
He is a hero.
And rather than take the path of convenience and burn his friend, time and time again, he was there for him.
Kpavio, you consider yourself a hero, and yet you know nothing of true heroics.
Because a hero is a friend to the people — even when it becomes inconvenient.
But when your own partner became an inconvenience to you?
You burned her.
And without remorse.
I’ll admit that you have some of the makings of a hero.
A cool name.
A cool mask.
Great athletic ability.
But, like so many others who have called themselves vigilantes for the people, you lack the intangibles that truly determines whether a man is or isn’t the hero he claims to be.
And when push came to shove?
You showed you were no hero at all.
Because a hero does not betray his friends.
Nor will I.
You said you’re going to teach me a lesson. Very well. You’ve already taught me a great deal.
You’ve taught me how to say one thing and do another.
You’ve taught me how to abandon someone who needs me.
You’ve taught me how to smile to a face, and place a knife in the back at the same time.
But now its time for you to learn from me.
Lesson one, what it means to be a friend.
And I’ll teach you well.
After all, if not me, then who?