While attractive young actors portraying fictional superheroes occupy our cinemas from here to Labor Day, a real-life superbattle is brewing in Seattle. You may have heard of Phoenix Jones, the mixed martial artist who several years back donned a mask and bulletproof vest and began fighting crime in Seattle’s Belltown and Pioneer Square neighborhoods. He even inspired the formation of a sort of real-life Avengers, the Rain City Superhero Movement. But without a supervillain, a superhero is nothing but an empty cape. Phoenix Jones can now stand on guard knowing that Rex Velvet, an effete and mustachioed supervillain with a bowler hat and a hatred of “silly, vigilante nerds,” has thrown down the gauntlet with a social-media barrage that Jones may be unable to counter. Velvet has made several slick-looking videos calling out Jones, but at press time the hero hasn’t deigned to meet his nemesis. This is really happening. I haven’t declared my allegiance for one or the other just yet … but as soon as Rex Velvet puts that cool “New and Improved! Local Villain” logo on a T-shirt, I may be tempted to cross over to the Velvet side.
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