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Cropped Flash Gordon panel.

The Ahd Couple

By Dom Sinacola · Sep 05, 2012

Title: The Ahd Couple
Author: P.E. Puce
(Puffin; 1992; ISBN: 0140363464)

15 year-old Parker “Chip” Wicket has never had it easy: two after-school jobs, homework, soccer practice, yearbook, babysitting a younger sister…who’s got time for being a normal teenager? Getting into a good college—but, especially, getting out of his too-perfect hometown of Thrushing—is all that matters.

Not if Elias has anything to say about it. Enter Elias Ahd, Chip’s next door neighbor and ersatz best friend. Elias is what could best be described as a “slacker,” a soon-to-be 16 year-old product of a nice enough house with nice enough parents. The Ahds are exactly the type of people Chip’s trying to escape: those with too little ambition and too much time on their hands.

So when one damp spring day Elias receives a mysterious, gilded telegram inviting him, with a plus-one, to a “Gathering of the Omnimortals“—an exclusive two-day convention held every year in Chicago—Chip is reluctant to join Elias in what is so obviously an elaborate practical joke. Who are these Omnimortals? What do they want with dimwitted Elias? “We’ll call it the present to end all presents,” Elias says. Chip relents. Any chance to leave Thrushing is a good one. He’ll tell his mom he’s got Mock Trial in D.C. that weekend; or something. He’ll figure it out.

What he never figured was discovering something beyond his wildest Mock Trial fantasies: Elias’s true identity.

Elias is the last in a long lineage of superhumans, gifted with spectacular “powers,” part of a group known as the Omnimortals, a thinning population of alien-human hybrids assigned by near-omnipotent celestial beings to safeguard the people of Earth. Tasked with keeping their identities secret and relegated to crime-fighting at night, in costumes at that, to distract from the unbelievable nature of the power they wield, new generations of Omnimortal soldiers are only alerted of their destinies on their 16th birthdays. Otherwise, these “sleepers” are raised as normal, unexceptional human beings, their powers dormant, their origins easily explained with a forged birth certificate, a mind-controlled doctor, and the unfortunate exploitation of how similar-looking most babies are.

According to Omnimortal tradition, an Omnimortal adolescent must choose a “sidekick,” a trusted companion to aid in the growth toward maturity, and begin training under the guidance of the Omnimortal Elders. Elias, of course, chooses Chip, who couldn’t be less enthused to play second fiddle to his dopey friend, the Superman Prince. How could such a lout end up with such a sweet gig? And what could Elias’s “power” possibly be?

Donning spandex and a smudge of eye shadow, the two set out on an adventure of galaxy-wide proportions, testing both the bounds of their friendship and the mettle of their courage. Maybe college will have to wait when the fate of the world’s at stake.

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