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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Joe and Kyle: The Reactors assemble


A superhero comic poster titled “Joe and Kyle: The Reactors Assemble.” Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano (She/Her) / Mass Media Staff.

“Whatever you guys do, don’t look under my nightstand!” Bobby Beacon waved his hands fearfully as he yelled, “Not that there’s anything under there.”

An assortment of notable UMass Boston personalities sat around a large circular table in the center of Bobby’s Boneyard. Sea-Man, an underwater bad boy with a knack for love; T. N. Turner, a private d— … and a public one; Lola the baboon, the product of an experimental human-baboon butt transplant; Magnum Maximus, a malnourished, sunlight-deprived creature sitting on a throne of conspiracies and bad breath; Lydia Lionheart, that girl you stood up last week; Carlos Hernandez, the swashbuckling pirate; and Bobby Beacon, the world’s one and only walking, talking lighthouse with a porn addiction. Together, they were The Reactors.

Then there was Joe and Kyle. One was beautiful, the other gross—you know which is which. The two UMass Boston students had tasked themselves with trying to control this rowdy bunch of unlikely allies.

“Hold up everyone. Before we begin, we’re gonna need a leader, and since we’re using my mancave for our superhero cave, I should be the Tony Stark,” said Bobby matter-of-factly.

Kyle scoffed at Bobby’s ignorance, “Actually, more often than not, Steve Rogers has led the mighty Avengers, so if anything, you should want to be him.” The group felt uneasy as they could see the nerdy rage emerge from a repressed area of the boy’s troubled psyche.

“That’s the dumbest s— I’ve ever heard,” screamed Bobby. “Iron Man had all the cool s—! He provided the bad-a— base, the bad-a— suits, the bad-a— charisma! How is that not me?”

Joe sprang up from his chair, a look of fury in his eyes. “Bobby, Jesus Christ man! You need to calm down. We don’t need a Tony Stark, what we need is to figure out what kind of danger we’re dealing with here.” With a dramatic sigh, Sea-Man rose from his seat and pressed a button on the side of the table, activating a holographic display of UMass Boston and Boston Harbor.

“The threat that we are about to face has been festering in the filth of creation for a great many years, and its coming has been foreshadowed by the various plagues of rats and fish. It is a threat that is deeply personal to me. This threat is my father.”

Bobby giggled under his breath as everybody glared at him. “What, so now your daddy issues have suddenly become all of our problems?”

“My father is not just any father, he is the former tyrant of the seven seas, Paul Thomson!” Sea-Man said. “He was notorious for laying his loins on any living, breathing creature he could find. For many moons the man spread his seed, creating a plethora of fowl, twisted mutants and creatures. However, unbeknownst to him, for every seed he spared, his powers diminished. Now he seeks to correct this by killing his children. I am the final child, and once he kills me, he will rule over the seven seas once again. That is… if we do not kill him first.” Sea-Man’s bold claim was met with astonishment amongst the group.

Carlos raised his hook of a hand and proclaimed in a pirate accent, “I saw him with me own two eyes. I was adrift in the ocean without nothin’ to me name. I came upon a great vessel and thought for a moment that I was saved. Then I heard it, the sound of a million fish floppin’ about. As I came close to the ship I saw him, Paul Thomson, on the deck makin’ sweet, sweet love to a hoard of fish. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. All a’lovin.’ I think he’s buildin’ an army of fish freaks. One lookin’ to attack us!”

“My old man was the same way, so what?” Bobby argued for the sake of argument. “Speaking of fish freaks, if you knew your daddy was looking for you, why didn’t you…I don’t know…hide?”

Sea-Man stared Bobby down with a piercing gaze, “Bobby, you bloody fool, why do you think I decided to make my home here in such dirty waters? I was trying to hide! How he has discovered my whereabouts is beyond me.”

At this, Magnum Maximus saw the perfect opportunity to push his narrative of conspiracy. “In our midst, there is a rat! Dare I say his name? Yes, I shall say it! Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco!”

The Reactors collectively rolled their eyes at Maximus’ claim. “Come on man, you can’t blame that guy for everything,” said Joe. As Maximus continued to push his theory that the Chancellor was evil, Kyle noticed that one member of the Reactors wasn’t paying attention.

Kyle cleared his throat passive-aggressively causing Lydia to look up from her phone. “Huh? Did you guys say something?” The room went silent as the attention fell on her. “What? I just met this really nice guy on Lonely Lovers. I’m serious guys! Like, he’s for real this time and we’re totally in love. Actually, would you look at the time? I’m supposed to meet him out on the dock.”  The Reactors looked at one another. This was very clearly something fishy. After much convincing, Lydia finally agreed that they should all go to check it out.

The fog was as thick as pea soup as the Reactors arrived on the dock. As Lydia looked hopefully for her lover, the mist lifted to reveal a black-cloaked figure. “ChadBorgstein23?” asked Lydia hopefully. The figure spun around to reveal the face of the Chancellor.

“Not exactly my dear.” With a horrendous burst of evil laughter, the Chancellor pulled a lever behind him causing an array of nets to launch out from under the dock, trapping each member of the team individually.

“I’m sorry guys, but I’ve got no choice,” spoke the Chancellor. “You see, Paul Thomson and I have made a bit of a deal. In return for me turning over his kids, he’ll make me the Supreme Chum Master of the seven seas once he takes over the world. I gotta be honest, I don’t know what that title means but it sounds like it would be a career advancement, so who am I to say no?”

“Wait, you said children as in like, more than one child?” Sea-Man asked. At this moment a large naval ship began sailing out of the mist on the horizon. As it grew closer to the campus, the true magnitude of the threat was revealed. It was big enough to make any sailor worth their sea salt sob.

The ship anchored itself at the dock as a long ramp extended. A large, muscular man wearing a tacky octopus hat walked down and shook the chancellor’s hand. He removed the hat, exposing his old bearded face. This, of course, was the fabled Paul Thomson.

Paul smiled warmly at Bobby and Sea-Man, “Two for the price of one, eh? Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.” He looked at Sea-Man and winked. “It’s been too long, my child. Tell me, are you still fighting against the lost cause of pollution?” Sea-Man tried to break free from the netting but he was completely trapped.

Paul then turned his attention to Bobby. “The infamous Bobby Beacon! It is quite a shame that we have never been properly introduced. Perhaps there will be time for us three to get in some quality father-son bonding time before I, you know, kill you both.”

Bobby and Sea-Man looked at one another and then back at Paul in disbelief as they shouted in unison, “Dad?”

To be continued…

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Kyle Makkas, Humor Writer