Mascot Man swaggered forward haughtily. “You underestimated my powers,” he told Albert, who struggled in the grip of the super-strong hero. “A long time ago I was bitten by someone in a radioactive mascot costume right after I was struck by lightning. This somehow gave me the power to control small children with my voice. It seems that there’s more to Michelangelo Demetrius than meets the eye. He has the heart of a child, and now he has no choice but to follow my every command!”

“Mr…Demetrius…” Albert gasped out as Michelangelo’s grip tightened. “He’s…not…Bubbly Bear!” The big hero’s grip loosened slightly, and Albert grasped the huge arm and lifted himself up a bit. “I watched Bubbly Bear when I was a kid. Look at his cap. It has red stripes. Bubbly Bear’s cap has orange stripes!”

Michelangelo stared at Bubbly Bear’s baseball cap in disbelief. Sure enough, the color was wrong. Mascot Man stepped back nervously. “What are you doing? I said kill him!”

That was when Michelangelo noticed a zipper stretching around the mascot’s furry neck. Bubbly Bear didn’t have a zipper. He released his hold on Albert, who fell to the ground spluttering. Michelangelo looked like he had been stabbed in the back by a close friend. “Who are you?” he asked in disbelief.

“What are you talking about? It’s me, Bubbly Bear!” Mascot Man changed his voice in an attempt to match the high-pitch tone of Bubbly Bear. He did a small dance and waved his arms in the air. “I’m Bubbly Bear! Look at me!”

“What’s your favorite food?”

“Um, I’m a bear, so…honey, of course!”

Michelangelo towered over the lying fake. “You’re not Bubbly Bear! Bubbly Bear doesn’t like honey! It’s creative irony!” He grabbed the head of the costume with one hand and pulled. The zipper came with it as it ripped free of the body, exposing the head of a middle-aged human male with a unibrow and creeper ‘stache.

“That’s Mascot Man,” Albert explained, still breathing hard as he struggled to his feet. “He’s wanted in seven countries for large-scale theft, kidnapping, arson, destruction of private property, and general creepiness.”

Mascot Man laughed at Michelangelo. “That’s right, you found out my true identity! I’m not Bubbly Bear. I wasn’t bitten by a mascot or struck by lightning, either. As if any villain would have such an absurd backstory! I just dress up as Bubbly Bear because kids will do anything he says! If you can control all the children, you can control the world! You may have caught me, but there’s a war coming! You’ll never stop the tide of evil that’s about to engulf the world! Muahahaha!” Michelangelo cut the villain’s diabolical laugh short by delivering a sound whack to the top of his head, causing him to crumple to the ground.


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