Fastlane

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Fastlane is one of the original titles of Black Sheep Comics. Unusually, its stories focus not on a team of superheroes but a family of supervillains.

The central character is known as Fastlane #2, nephew of the original Fastlane and inheritor of the former's speedster powers. His given name is Gavin Leary, and has been a professional thief and muscle since his teens when he dropped out of school. He has what could be called an interesting love life. He met his wife Mandy Wilkerson (aka White Widow) while both were employed by a secret society called the Shadow Imperium. She was and is a genius savant, suffering from Obsessive Competitive Fetishism, or OCF--a mental illness that manifests as compulsion to relate to the world in terms of some subject (riddles, penguins, ancient Egypt, etc.) and to "prove" the superiority of this fetish in some spectacular way. In her case, she is obsessed with spiders. She has bred several special strains, including one whose venom is actually an antidote for most poisons and another that exists in an antlike colony (which regards her as Queen). She can also fashion robotic spiders (but can barely operate any non-spider-related machinery, like a can opener).

Fastlane has two other women in his life. One is an ex-girlfriend, Black Zephyr, who has similar powers to his own (her mother was present at the same accident that gave the original Fastlane his powers). Although no longer romantically involved, they feel lot of affection and loyalty for one another, often helping each other out and/or working together.

Another woman important in his life is the superhero Madame Midnight, a member of the World-Wide Watch, the premier super hero team in the Black Sheep universe. Madame Midnight is a wealthy heiress who has used her vast family fortune to become a crimefighter--at least partially in response to the kidnapping and murder of her infant brother when she was only six years old. A brilliant detective and martial artist, she uses an array of gadgets to help her in her quest to fight crime. She and Fastlane have an adversarial relationship, but one with mutual respect and a certain comraderie. Plus plenty of sexual tension.

Other major characters include:

  • Jessica Leary, Fastlane's 15-year-old daughter who for some reason has the power to generate shadows. She is brilliant, rather like her mother in that respect but without the OFCD.
  • Morgan Leary, Jessica's twin who has their father's speed powers but cannot quite control them yet. Her father doesn't want to teach her, insisting she should go to college and get a regular job despite her desire to become the next Fastlane.
  • Joshua "Jake" Leary, the very first Fastlane. A blood transfusion when his nephew had his appendix removed resulted in the boy developing speed powers, but to a lesser degree. The first Fastlane was the fastest human on Earth, now in his late 60s and retired. He's also a bit of a ladies' man, using his notoriety as a supervillain towards that end.
  • August Villon, who is the Leary family lawyer--a stoic and business-like man when at work, but much more relaxed after hours when hanging out with Fastlane. The two were in high school together, and each frankly envies the other his life. Considerable humor is gleaned from his own arachnophobia.
  • Red Widow is a former best friend of Mandy's, who suffers from the same affliction and fetish. Both worked for the Shadow Imperium, but Red Widow (aka Lindsay Johansen) was arrested and served prison time, a fact she blames on her one-time friend. Their competition is neurotic, but narrow, each trying to out-do the other (at least when they have relapses, because both are in periodic therapy).

TO BE CONTINUED

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