#1 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel Mayhem - Jester's 11 #10 The Gauntlet

For more Marvel Mayhem head to the library

Things have gone from bad to worse for Jester as his merry gang decided he needed to be deposed. Even bringing the Dreadknight to help Overrider recover from Emplate's attack wasn't enough to cool the water when Vapour and Klaw discovered his plan. After the big reveal that the Jester was planning to turn New York into a big whoopee cushion the assorted villains turned on him leading to a massive hunt for their former employer.

Staring…

Jester - No more Fun in the House

Vapour - (Un)Noble Gas

Diamondback - Conflict Diamond

Volcana - Stone Cold

Snake Maston - Claustrophobic

X-Ray - Lead's get Ready to Rumble

Oriole - The Unkillable Man

Overrider - In Surgery

8-Ball - On the Table

Klaw - Le Belgique

Hooded Haunt - Necromaniac

Dreadknight - Knight Shift

The sound of angry footsteps returned to the recreation room accompanied by curses of anger and the sound of at least one door splintering. Crowding around the pair of figures that were monitoring the cameras scattered around the fun house they had been using as a base in search for the fugitive Jester.

"We checked everywhere." Oriole announced as he was pushed to the front of the group. "We couldn't find him." he added.

"Idiots, you let a clown escape you, maybe you are the ones who should be in a circus." Klaw spat as he got to his feet, "The eight of you couldn't find one lunatic in a sealed building. Between you have a genius in propulsion, a living source of radiation, a skilled necromancer not to mention several skilled trackers and you still couldn't find him?"

"Hey I didn't see you helping." 8-Ball grumbled.

"Because someone with half a brain needs to head up this operation." Klaw snarled, "Speaking of which Vapour and I have come to an agreement. Every minute starting from now that the Jester isn't either dead or in your custody we will take a grand off your final payment. Surely that is incentive enough for you to do your jobs now move before I get angry." With assorted grumbling the villains returned to their search apart from X-Ray who walked over to his sister.

"You know this isn't going to work right?" He asked her.

"I know, we should never have accepted this offer, we should have stayed with Vector and Iron Clad, our family." Vapour answered. "I debased myself for him, let him touch me."

"And when I get to touch him the Jester will know what real pain is like." X-Ray reassured her, "And then five seconds later he will be nothing but ash."

"Vapour." Klaw barked as he headed to the Jester's old office, "We have work to do."

"Make it painful." Vapour purred as she drifted off after Klaw, the door slamming behind her as X-Ray turned to a copy of dogs playing poker that hung on the wall before smirking at the image. "You ready to experience real pain boss?" he asked the painting.

"No." The Jester replied before putting his hands over his mouth, "I mean woof, I mean oh f^(k it." He added as X-Ray melted the painting and wall with a blast of radiation to reveal a hidden chamber complete with the Jester cradling a box of gimmicks and toys under one arm while he clutched his parrot headed walking stick in his free hand. "Time to pay the Electric Bill." he added as he shoved the stick into X-Ray's chest, the shaft melting to reveal a solid graphite rod inside. X-Ray looked down at the rod before his body sparked out and he collapsed face first into the floor at the Jester's feet. "Did I mention we are in a blackout zone?" he asked as he elbowed a red button on the back wall to reveal a hidden door. Ducking out he stepped into a room with a moving staircase with big arrows heading the wrong direction to the one they were pointing in set into big clunky yellow Lego blocks.

"Well no point sticking around." The Jester told himself as he hit the staircase and started running up it backwards before easily reaching the top. Taking a few steps to the big rollers he felt something snap round his leg at the same time as his heart begun to ache. Looking down he saw a pentagram painted on the floor with a red circle of light emanating from the circle holding his foot in place as all around him more of the same pentagrams appeared, a virtual mine field of mystic symbols keeping him trapped.

"The Crimson Circle of Farallah is a nasty spell don't you agree." The horse tones of the Hooded Haunt asked the Jester as she emerged from the floor in front of him, "The whole soul fire thing is a little something I added of course but the pain you fill now is nothing after I strap you to the Wheel of Ixion and spend a century or so listening to your screams." She added as her scythe blade began to glow blood red. "Do you have any last words to say before your mind fractures from the pain?"

"Yo." The Jester answered

"Yo?" The Hooded Haunt asked, "What does Yo mean?" she added as the Jester flicked a bladed yo-yo at her, the steel carbide tips slashing through the hilt of the scythe, bone shattering all along the length of the weapon. As they fell to the floor the bones shuddered before forming into skeletal hands that scuttled towards the Hooded Haunt.

"Fool." The Haunt hissed as she fired a blast of flame at one before kicking a second necromantic hand away. "You released the evil spirits I bound." she snarled as she shucked her cape and removed an obsidian athame and slashed in a wide arc, lightning stunning the hands for a second and overloading the binding spell. Swiftly the Jester sprung from his now released trap and tackled the Haunt to the ground before squeezing through the rollers, the skeleton hands using this advantage to advance unmolested towards their former jailer.

"Man that was creepy." The Jester said shivering as he headed down the corridor decorated with wobbling stepping stones mounted on a Perspex walkway over a four foot deep tank of water. As he reached half way one of the stones wobbled and rose from the ground as Volcana emerged knocking the Joker off into the walkway as his attacker changed form from solid stone to a blazing inferno. "What is this? Some kind of gauntlet?" The Jester asked as the water began to vaporize around Volcana's feet.

"This is exactly what it is." Volcana answered as the Jester backpedalled over a stone only for the platform to melt as his former employee advanced on him. "X-Ray told us where you were hiding before he staged the meeting with Klaw, the figures you saw were all solid sound duplicates while we set up our traps to take you on. I'm surprised you got past him and the Haunt but that leaves you to die at my hands.

"You are right." The Jester cackled, "You are the greatest, all hail the Queen." He added as he fished out a porcelain doll dressed as a ballerina. "Have this as a sign of my surrender to you oh mighty Volcana." He said in grovelling tones before throwing the doll up to his captor. Catching it with one hand Volcana watched as the doll exploded into a shower of foam that bit into her eyes. Blindly she tried to advance but due to the missing stone she slipped and fell onto the walkway, the sheer heat cracking the platform and sending her plunging into the tank. With a curtsey the Jester sprung off as Volcana's flame was extinguished and she floated face down in the tank, the occasional bubble revealing she was still alive.

Reaching the next room the Jester shook himself dry and headed up the slopping floors and under the revolving ceiling to reach the end of the obstacles with only a green piece of felt between him and the next section of the fun house. Puffing out his chest he advanced only to see a black eight ball roll towards him before detonating and sending him flying backwards as both 8-Ball and Diamondback appeared carrying pool cues.

"Good shot Rachel, I told you that pool could be fun." 8-Ball told Diamondback as he threw a 15 Ball down the range, the projectile shattering open and releasing a set of ball bearings the rolled down the floor as the Jester frantically tried to scrabble up the 'table'.

"Anything is fun with live targets." Diamondback answered as she threw the 7 Ball at the Jester, the hardened projectile smacking him in the face causing him to stumble back unable to block the onslaught of thrown diamonds, the tips slashing open his cheeks and ripping his costume. "Of course the old classics work well too." she added as 8-Ball handed her a sniper rifle loaded with stun chalk rounds. "This is for shooting me." she snarled before firing the round exploding around the Jester as he removed a rainbow coloured tube and waved in around franticly, the motion blowing the dust back at her before settling on her skin.

"Rachel no." 8-Ball yelled as Diamondback collapsed. "That's it you're going to get it now." he roared as he dashed forwards with his cue. Smiling the Jester put his hands up in a boxing pose before pressing the button on his palms to activate the hidden springs that fired the 'fake' hands he was wearing, the thick boxing gloves smacking 8-Ball in the face with enough force to crack his helmet and knock him out.

"One Hit KO." The Jester cheered, "I'm better then Rocky." he added as he kicked 8-Ball in the ribs before hitting the next obstacle, a thick plastic tunnel filled with plastic balls that made moving upright almost impossible. Scrabbling on all fours the Jester saw something move under the surface and gulped as something slithered past his leg. "Please tell me that's you Snake." he pleaded.

"Nah it's not me." Snake Maston announced as he popped his head up from the balls about twelve foot in front of the Jester, "But it might be the eighteen foot anaconda I borrowed from Princess Python." he added as the creature in costume lunged from the balls and threw a coil around the Jester's body. "I called him Joey and like me he loves hanging out with the guys."

Unable to respond the Jester slammed his fist down the anaconda's throat and activated the concealed joy-buzzer, lightning shooting down the serpent's body before the animal fell back under the balls just as Snake dropped down behind cover. Struggling the Jester reached into his box of tricks and removed a freshly cooked apple pie and scanned the balls for movement. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a single orb move and threw the pastry at the spot. Seconds later Snake Maston emerged screaming as he a tried to wipe piping hot pie off of his face. "Wait a second that wasn't my pie?" The Jester announced as he removed a squirt bottle and hosed Snake off, the liquid quickly cooling him in a block of ice. "Mine was meant to be laced with hydrochloric acid."

Squeezing out of the tunnel he entered the final room full of fun-house mirrors, the burnt corpse of Oriole lying in the middle of the floor, his hand clutching a pie tin. "Ah that's where I left it. Always feeding the birds because you know I love animals." he stated before turning and spraying the lunging anaconda behind him, the snake freezing solid before falling back into the layers of balls and shattering into chunks of frozen serpent. "Now where is that emergency teleportation terminal?" he mumbled as he started knocking on all the mirrors.

"Where do you think your going?" Oriole moaned from behind him as he got to his feet, his skin healing back to its normal state. "Yeah you should look confused, ever since Black Talon botched up my resurrection I've been un-killable, a problem that you will never worry about." Oriole stated as he fired a volley of explosive blades at the Jester, his target deciding now was not a good time to stay put as the projectiles started shattering the glass all around him. With finger crossed he pulled out the last item in the box, a slightly worn ukulele and threw is away before drop kicking the box at Oriole so that it landed on his head before sliding down and engulfing him completely. Tentatively the Jester picked up the box and looked inside before shrugging his shoulders and putting the ukulele back inside and turning around to continue his search for the teleporter. Finding the right mirror he turned and winked at the box before detonating the C4 packed in the tiny musical instrument and stepping through the looking glass to emerge in the main lab.

"Your device is almost ready." A voice announced from behind the Jester causing him to flinch.

"Dreadknight great what plans do you have for me. Let me guess a sword battle or something European like shaving my legs." The Jester stated sarcastically.

"I am trying to work." Dreadknight replied, "Sometimes I don't understand American humour."

"Wait your not trying to kill me?" The Jester sighed in relief as he sat down next to Overrider's comatose body, unaware of his hands clamped around a hypodermic needle.

"Not until you pay me." Dreadknight answered as he saw Overrider open his eyes and turn his head slightly and smile.

"But I'm another story." Overrider hissed as he jammed the needle into the Jester's neck causing him to collapse onto the floor. "You should be awake just in time for your execution." he added.

**

The Jester opened one eye to see that he was in the recreation room again and that he was surrounded by angry looking faces as 8-Ball walked over with a bulging sack. "We all took lots corresponding with numbers on my pool balls before sleeping beauty woke up." 8-Ball explained before slamming Jester in the face with the sack, "That was for kicking me by the way. Back to business, I am going to pull a ball out and whoever has the corresponding number will have the honour of killing him. Just for fun let's tell our boss what he has to look forward."

"Burning alive in hot tar." Volcana hissed from the back of the room.

"Trapped in the nightmare realm for a hundred years." The Hooded Haunt groaned.

"Mustard Gas Poisoning." Vapour announced calmly

"A dose of Diamondback venom." Diamondback purred.

"Incineration through excessive radiation." X-Ray buzzed.

"A fair and quick decapitation." the Dreadknight stated.

"I'm itching to see what these mouth things do." Overrider told the Jester.

"I've developed a type of white noise that causes a human brain to melt out through their nose." Klaw told the others.

"I personally want to put two explosive pool balls down your pants and see what happens." 8-Ball suggested.

"Man I was going to go with constriction." Snake sighed. "But your idea sounds more painful."

"Can I make a suggestion." The Jester whimpered.

"No." The others answered in unison as 8-Ball pulled out a solid ball with a big 5 printed on the side. "Volcana he's all yours. Volcana? Did anyone see where she went?"

"Oh we may have a problem." Vapour hissed as she looked at the security screen which showed Volcana opening one of the blast shutters to let in an armoured Code Blue team that had been assembled on the other side. "Volcana is a mole."

#2 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio
#3 Posted by RichGenX (185 posts) - - Show Bio

Good grief, Overrider is still a thrall.

#4 Edited by Irishlad (572 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese notification didn't work for me for some reason...

First off I'd like to say it's sad to see this series soon draw to a close because you've managed to turn basically a group of z-list nobodies into characters I care about.

We can see it in the dialogue as well as the sheer amount of attention to detail in some scenes.

Only criticism I could give you is something I've struggled with myself and it's action.

It's really something I wish I could put my finger on because the detail in each scene is spot on but it didn't feel urgent enough to me.

An example of this is

Reaching the next room the Jester shook himself dry and headed up the slopping floors and under the revolving ceiling to reach the end of the obstacles with only a green piece of felt between him and the next section of the fun house. Puffing out his chest he advanced only to see a black eight ball roll towards him before detonating and sending him flying backwards as both 8-Ball and Diamondback appeared carrying pool cues.

Granted this scene in particular isn't action heavy but I feel like in moments like this the less description the better and maybe a little Jester comment of "uh oh" before the blast would go well since it is very much a fast moving scene.

Overall kickass stuff as always and I can't wait for the last chapter.

#5 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

@irishlad: @richgenx: : Thanks for the comments both are appreciated and very welcome. I must admit fight scenes are hard and their are days where I do very well when writing them and other days when I don't although the scene mentioned could use that 'Uh Oh/Crud' moment.

As for length; J11 was only meant to be six issues long so it has quite merrily overstepped it's bounds with no repercussions. And while these guys are leaving I did (back at Issue #8) entertain a super villain team-up/untold tales of marvel mayhem fiction to support both these guys and some of the stories mentioned in the Avengers. As for Z list villains, a quick look at Thunderbolts #17 and the too many masters quiz will confirm that their are plenty of their ilk returning.

Finally we come to Overrider, in Avengers #3 he is using the handle Prometheus and he is still a thrall albeit one kept separate from Emplate due to Omen's magic and the Dreadknight's science.

Once again thanks for the reviews it's been a pleasure. :-)

#6 Posted by cbishop (7423 posts) - - Show Bio

There are some run-on sentences, some homonym errors, and some spelling errors, but the story is so fun it's forgivable. A good gauntlet of foes is always cool to read. :)

#7 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: Hmm then I must track them down and fix them when I next get the chance.

#8 Posted by TommytheHitman (3068 posts) - - Show Bio

WOAH! Volcano's a... wow... great job! Sad to see this series ending.

#9 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

@tommythehitman: Thanks man. The last issue is going to kill me, I have another tragic death scene to write.

#10 Edited by MaccyD (3939 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the setup of this issue. Each of the characters has their time and you showed the Jester to be a dangerous threat. Sad to hear one of them will die.

#11 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

@maccyd: Jester's Crew already has a high attrition rate so it's not surprising. The upcoming death is different because it's one the characters care about, akin to Brass's death in issue #3/4. And the Jester as a threat? He's been sitting for so long on the sidelines that he deserves some action scenes even if he does them in his own kooky fashion.

#12 Posted by Rabbitearsblog (5834 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome chapter!!! Shocking that Volcana is the mole! I can't wait to check out the last chapter!!!

#13 Edited by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

@rabbitearsblog: Last chapter is out and has a fair share of shocks but not as many as Thunderbolts #18. That issue is crazy.

#14 Posted by Rabbitearsblog (5834 posts) - - Show Bio

@rabbitearsblog: Last chapter is out and has a fair share of shocks but not as many as Thunderbolts #18. That issue is crazy.

I just read Thunderbolts 18 and you were right! It was crazy!!!

#15 Edited by ImpurestCheese (4860 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump-illionare

#16 Posted by cbishop (7423 posts) - - Show Bio