If you’re just stumbling into this bizarre comics-come-to-life situation, allow us to offer a quick recap: In January of 2011, a vigilante calling himself Phoenix Jones begins patrolling the streets of Seattle, breaking up crimes and annoying the police. At one point, they even arrest him for assault. Most crucially, Jones does all of this while wearing a color-coded kevlar vest and uniform. Thus, by looking the part, he has been embraced as something of a superhero — despite his lack of super strength or adamantium claws.
Then, on May 1, a video appeared on YouTube decrying Jones’ antics. Created by a group calling itself the “Social Villains Alliance,” it starred a dapper, mustachioed gentleman known only as Rex Velvet, who referred to Jones’ crime-fighting efforts as “a nuisance” and claimed that the “superhero” was actually doing more harm than good with his one-man crusade.
Honestly, the whole situation would be silly if we had any idea how ironic either side is actually attempting to appear. Phoenix Jones seems legitimately serious about his crime-fighting career, and while we would like to think that Rex Velvet exists purely as a mocking satire of the entire “real people dressing up in garish colors to fight crime” concept, we can’t really say that for sure. It certainly doesn’t help that Velvet’s latest video (released this morning and embedded below), is just as histrionic, entertaining, and theatrical as the first.
Okay, let’s assume for a moment that both of these guys are legit. Phoenix Jones’ existence is just fine, but as with any good comic book, the more interesting character by far is the villain. Rex Velvet is the dude we want to hang out with, presumably while Jones broods in an alley and monologues about not being the hero that the people of Seattle want, but instead being the hero they need.
But then what? Petty sniping is a nice way to get us all psyched for some kind of climactic end-game, but can we really expect Jones and Velvet to possess such dedication to this concept to actually throw down for the entertainment of the general public (and, more crucially, the Internet)? The rational part of our brain is saying “no,” but the rest of it is repeatedly pointing out that we have two grown men acting as supernemeses in our ongoing reality. That blurs a usually-solid line between fiction and truth that would be a bit worrying if this whole thing wasn’t so intensely entertaining.
If Rex Velvet ever poisons a major water supply, we should probably start worrying, but otherwise we suggest grabbing a bag of popcorn and enjoying the show.