Here's the cover:
Here's the promo copy:
The great metropolis of Super City is the home of dozens of costumed heroes -- the Terrific Trio, the Bruiser, the Superlative Six, the Cowboy, and many more -- who do battle against the super-villains who terrorize the citizenry.
These aren't their stories ...
When the heroes are done punching out the villains, it's left to the stalwart men and women of the Super City Police Department to restrain them, arrest them, and hope that this time there's enough evidence to actually convict them.
Just another day on the job for the Super City Cops.
Amethyst, one of the most renowned and mysterious costumed heroes of Super City, is found dead on a rooftop. Detectives Kristin Milewski and Jorge Alvarado of the Super City Police Department are assigned to the case-but every answer they turn up with regards to who Amethyst is and how and why he died just gives them more questions.
Complicating the investigation are the rest of the superheroic community, who are looking for revenge for their fallen comrade-plus there are reports of a new Amethyst! Same powers, same costume, but a much nastier attitude ...
And finally, here's an excerpt:
After grabbing their coats, Detectives Kristin Milewski and Jorge Alvarado walked onto the front steps of SCPD HQ. Normally the giant set of weathered, off-white, uneven marble stairs that led up to the front door was full of people going in and out: cops, lawyers, complainants, suspects, witnesses, clerical staff, and so on. On warmer days than this, you'd see a lot of people sitting on the stairs eating and drinking and talking. Plus, of course, a ton of pigeons.
Today, though, all the people were on the periphery, giving a wide berth to the man and woman standing in the middle of the grand staircase.
The woman was dressed in a bodysuit with a flag motif and the man with the tiger-head helmet they had just seen a couple of hours ago in Kirby Park: Old Glory and the Bengal.
"Detective Milewski?" the Bengal said with surprise.
"Gee, I'm flattered you remembered," she said with a sneer. "After all, you were pretty busy beating the snot out of my witness."
"Were you questioning him about the Amethyst case?"
"On what planet do you think I'm going to answer that question? It's none of your business, and—"
Old Glory put her red-gloved hands up. "Please forgive my teammate, Detective. Of course, we wouldn't expect you to comment on an ongoing investigation to civilians, but—"
She hesitated, so Milewski prompted her. "But what?"
"But we'd like you to comment on an ongoing investigation to civilians." Old Glory actually smiled at that, realizing how absurd she sounded.
"Look," the Bengal said, "we only just found out about what happened to Amethyst. When it went down, we were on the moon, fighting against the Pantheon."
"Fighting over Alice Kramden?" Milewski asked.
The Bengal frowned. "What?"
"Who the fuck is Alice Kramden?" Alvarado asked.
Milewski stared at her partner. "Seriously? You don't know The Honeymooners? 'To the moon, Alice'? Didn't you have a childhood?"
"Detective," the Bengal said angrily, "can we get back on topic, please?"
Dramatically putting a hand to her chest, Milewski said, "Oh, is there a topic? I thought you were just standing here to watch your gums flap."
"If this is a delaying tactic, I don't appreciate it."
Old Glory put hand on the Bengal's orange-clad shoulder. "Easy, Bengal. Let me handle this."
"Then handle it, newbie," the Bengal snapped. "We're wasting time."
Wow, Milewski thought, costumes treat rookies like shit, too. Good to know. Aloud, she said, "Actually, we were in the middle of investigating Amethyst's case when you interrupted us. So it's our time being wasted here. Can you just get to the damn point, please, so we can tell you to fuck off, and get on with our day?"
The Bengal started to talk, but Old Glory gestured at him to be silent. Then she turned to Milewski. "I'm sorry, Detective. Look, we were fighting the Pantheon and then we had to turn them in to federal authorities, so we didn't even know about what happened to Amethyst until this afternoon."
"That's why I was headed back to HQ," the Bengal said, "when I stopped to save your life from the crazy guy."
"I told you," Milewski said, "all he was after was getting beat up by you. He'll be fine, by the way, if you care."
"I don't, particularly."
Old Glory turned and stared at her teammate. "Bengal, enough." She turned back to Milewski. "The point is, Amethyst was one of ours."
"No, he wasn't," Alvarado said. "He never joined the Superlative Six."
Despite Old Glory's urging for him to be quiet, the Bengal stepped forward. "Tell me, Detective, do you only give a damn if a detective is killed in the line of duty? Do you not care if it's just a uniform who's killed?"
"The fuck kinda question is that?" Alvarado asked defensively.
"All right, enough," Milewski said. "Look, we get it. Amethyst wasn't part of the Six, but he was still part of the little social club, right?"
"I'm glad you understand," Old Glory said.
"I do." And she did, truly. She remembered how pissed off everyone was—including her—when Officer Fichera was shot by that drug crew back when she was with Narcotics and they raided a stash house. "But you have to understand that this is an ongoing investigation. We can't have civilians interfering with it."
"We ain't 'civilians,'" the Bengal said angrily.
"Yeah, you are!" Milewski snapped. "Look, if there's another alien invasion, or the feds lose track of the Pantheon, or the Brute Squad attacks again, or the Omnivore shows back up, then yeah, you guys are who I want out there. But this is a death investigation, and that means you want us out there. Because this isn't what you guys do, and if you try to do it, it's gonna make it impossible for us to complete the investigation."
Old Glory frowned at her. "Detective, you're picking your words way too carefully. Is this a murder or not?"
Milewski smirked. "Noticed that, did you? When we say we can't comment, we're not just saying that to be annoying."
Alvarado added, "Being annoying is just a nice benefit."
"Right." She shot her partner an appreciative look for his smartassery. "At the moment, if we say anything to a civilian—" She said that last word with a significant look at the Bengal. "—it could compromise our investigation."
"So I'm guessing," Old Glory said, slowly, "that right now you can't even say if it was a murder."
"Oh, come on," the Bengal said, throwing up his hands. "He had to have been murdered! The man could fly! No way he'd have hit the roof like that otherwise!"
Milewski just stared at him.
"I don't believe this." The Bengal moved forward toward Milewski. "Do you really think—?”
Old Glory cut him off. "Will you calm down?"
"Get out of my way, newbie."
"So you can do what, attack a police officer? In full view of dozens of other police officers?"
Milewski smiled even as the Bengal frowned, at last remembering where he was.
Finally, the Bengal turned around and folded his arms.
Old Glory exhaled and looked back at Milewski. "Look, Amethyst was like family. You keep family in the loop on how things are proceeding, don't you?"
"To a degree, sure. But 'like' family isn't family. Unless you can prove a blood relation to the person in our morgue right now." She grinned. "I bet you can't even tell me his real name, can you?"
"We're not at liberty to reveal it." The Bengal's words sounded almost automatic.
"We've already identified him—by his real name. If you can tell me that, then I might be willing to consider you close enough to be given some information."
Old Glory stared at the Bengal. He stared back at her, but it was hard to read his expression with that big tiger helmet on his head.
However, Milewski read her expression just fine. Old Glory had no idea who Amethyst was, but the detective could tell that the star-spangled hero was sure that the Bengal did know.
Finally, the Bengal slowly said, "The Superlative Six charter requires that all members provide their real name to the other active members. But—"
Alvarado barked out a laugh. "You don't fucking know, do you? Amethyst never joined your little gang, so he never told you who he was. Right?"
The Bengal's stony silence answered Alvarado's question. As Milewski had thought, they had no idea who Amethyst really was.
"Okay, look," Old Glory said quickly, "we have some information that might be of use to you."
"Uh huh." Milewski somehow doubted that.
"What we're hoping is that, if we provide this information, you might return the favor."
"You're hoping that, huh?" Milewski folded her arms. "So, let me get this straight—you want us to provide you with information about our investigation?"
"In exchange for some information of our own, yes."
"Right, because that's totally how it works."
Milewski held up a hand. "I don't wanna hear it! You know how often the SCPD has gone to you guys and asked for information about a costume case? And you know how often you guys have cooperated? I'll give you a hint, the answer to the second question is a much smaller number than the answer to the first. You guys have ignored subpoenas, you've ignored requests—hell, the last time we asked you for help, you stonewalled until the mayor stepped in and threatened to revoke your FAA permits on that stupid blimp of yours."
Old Glory shot the Bengal a look. The latter just shrugged. That was on the Claw case, before Old Glory joined the team—in fact, before she'd made her first appearance—so she probably hadn't known about the threat to get the Federal Aviation Authority to ground their floating headquarters.
Milewski took a certain pleasure in the fact that twice in this conversation Old Glory had learned something unexpected about her teammates.
"Our job is to enforce the law. For you guys, it's just a hobby. But we are under no obligation to assist you in our jobs, the specifics of which are laid out very clearly in the laws of the city, county, state, and the Department of Justice. There's nothing in the law about you guys. Which means we have discretion, sure, but I have no reason to use it with you people."
"This is a waste of time," the Bengal said as he started to walk down the stairs.
"Hold it!" Alvarado blurted out.
"Excuse me?" the Bengal asked frostily.
"You ain't goin' anywhere yet."
Milewski turned to give her partner a confused look.
"You've already made it clear," the Bengal said, "that you won't be cooperating with us."
"Jesus." Milewski rolled her eyes at the arrogance.
Alvarado said, "Old Glory here just said that you guys got information about our active investigation. If you leave without providing that information, then we got cause to arrest you for obstruction."
"Good point," Milewski said with a big smile, and a promise to buy her partner a drink later. Perhaps several. "See, cooperating with you isn't our job. But cooperating with us is yours—as citizens of this city."
"So cough it up," Alvarado said.
"Give me one good reason why I should," the Bengal said.
"I'll give you seventy-four," Milewski said. "That's how many cops I count on this staircase right now. And believe me, if you don't provide the information and then resist arrest when we try to put you in cuffs for obstruction, not a single one of those seventy-four will hesitate to put your asses down."
The Bengal started to say something, but Old Glory cut him off. "It's fine, Detective, we'll tell you. We have it from a source that Amethyst was fighting Arachnos last night."
"Is that useful?"
"Not really. You guys are always beating up some bad guy or other. Or even ones who aren't bad guys, like my witness in the park earlier that your teammate there beat the shit out of for no good reason."
The Bengal stepped forward. "I actually did have a good reason, Detective—I thought you and your partner were in danger. Rest assured, the next time I see either one of you two threatened, I will keep going and leave you to your own devices."
"Like I said, we didn't need your help, and if you'd moved on, the Monster wouldn't have touched us. Now please do us all a favor and pound sand. We've got police work to do."
Suddenly, the entire staircase burst out in spontaneous applause, followed by catcalls and invective and requests for the costumes to go the fuck away.
The pair actually got into a car that had been parked right under a red NO STANDING ANYTIME sign, and Milewski cursed the missed opportunity to have the car towed.
"They're driving?" Alvarado asked over the applause.
Milewski shrugged. "Neither of them can fly. How else are they supposed to get around?"
Several cops came over to clap the pair of them on the shoulder and congratulate them.
While Milewski enjoyed the kudos, she was also worried. Because she remembered what happened when Fichera was killed on that drug raid. The entire Narcotics division and half the uniforms in town had gone on a rampage, not resting until the guy who pulled the trigger was found.
Milewski couldn't imagine that the Superlative Six—especially the Bengal, given his attitude and barely controlled rage on the stairs a few minutes ago—would show less restraint than she and the rest of the Narco squad had then.
As she accepted the approbation of her colleagues, she made a mental note to talk to the captain. They needed everyone to keep an eye out for costumes looking to take care of justice for Amethyst their own way.