Short Stories 366:269 — “Canadian Blood Diamonds,” by Kristi Charish

And we’re back in the realm of superpowers and Canada with the next story from Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories. And oh-my-gosh this was fun. As opposed to the previous story, which was a bit grittier and grim, this one has the just-shy-of-over-the-top feel of some early comic books, with a super-villainess starting off her bad day by realizing her two minions just let her nuclear reactor freeze because they forgot windchill (it’s the Yukon, how bad are these minions?) and now her diamond mine isn’t performing. The day goes from bad-to-worse when it becomes clear that even if she had the diamonds, she couldn’t liquidate them thanks to a problem with a Canadian superhero and… well.

The villainess in this one is air-kiss sharp, and I adore the little touches of world-building Charish snuck in there. She doesn’t use a particular code name, and as a result, her crimes are attributed to four different super-villainess characters, and she uses that to her advantage (though she wishes the Northern Cougar wasn’t so popular compared to the Lynx). She also has a lot of plans, a way out of this diamond problem, and is on track right up to when the superheroes show up.

But here’s where Charish turns a left instead of a right, and our heroine—uh, villain—of the story has to zag in the face of unexpected assumptions. I won’t ruin it, but I will say I cackled out loud when she sneaks in a letter to the Dan Savage column asking for advice. This story had me grinning from ear-to-ear, and made me think of fun gaming group nights playing Heroes Unlimited, back in the day. If Kristi Charish has written more from this setting, I want it right now.

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