I didn't see it coming for the Defuser in the big finish of Sci Fi Channel's "Who Wants to Be a Superhero 2?" But the police detective from Austin, Texas (alter ego: Jarrett Crippen) impressed Stan "the Man" Lee with his fortitude, natural leadership skills and his ability to take Stan's direction to stand back every so often and let others take the reins. His self-professed superpower is the use of non-lethal weaponry to accomplish his missions and the ability to function at 110% (not to mention having huge abs and arms). My husband and I picked him to make it into the finals but not to go all the way.
In Thursday's two-hour, two-seg closer, the final three out of the original field of 10 wound down to Defuser, Hygena, the homemaker from Sherman Oaks (alter ego: Melody Mooney) who's motto was "fighting crime and grime" with cleaning utensils and a sweet, and neat, disposition; and Hyper Strike, the young guy from Chicago (alter ego: John Stork) full of idealism about his ability to inspire kids with his life force. He claimed to be a martial arts expert and former circus performer, and he had the back-flip-ability to prove it.
The penultimate "Superhero" seg revived one of the more memorable challenges from the show's first round last year. The trio were instructed to don protective suits and brave the flesh-hungry jaws of three guard dogs in order to complete a challenge (it involved them taking out a giant Evil Stan who was then terrorizing downtown L.A. at the behest of the villainous Dr. Dark). There were other fun moments in the finale of the series that can't be accused of taking itself too seriously, particularly the troika giggling at the sight of themselves rendered in plastic as action figures.
The view from our sofa as the show came down to its final draaaaaawwwwwnnnnn out minutes was that Stan would pick Hyper Strike, given that he embodied so many of the qualities of the typical Stan Lee protagonist, though I was rooting for Hygena.
The winner gets a Stan-penned comic book of their character and the glory of their superhero likeness being mass-marketed as a toy. No money, no cars, no trips. The contestants on this show are hard-core oddballs, who make no pretense about it as they run around in spandex, tights and capes. (For more, indulge yourself right here to go to the "Superhero" website.)
Defuser (pictured left with Stan Lee) looked genuinely shocked to hear his name called as the eight-episode run wrapped up with Stan picking the winner in front of a crowd of slightly confused tourists at Universal CityWalk. Defuser made a little speech about his victory being a win for law enforcement folks everywhere who are overworked, underpaid and often under-appreciated, which sadly is all too much of a reality. So we say to the Defuser and every other brave souls who maintains the thin blue line in our crazy world: