“You’re already the greatest,” Mundo smiled while he poured a drink for Captain Hero. The red-caped superhero sat on the bar stool with a bored look on his face. “No one’s seen a supervillain in years, they’re all gone. You did that. Your legacy is firmly cemented.” Mundo finished pouring and set the bottle down.
“Ehhhh, you know how people are.” Captain Hero shrugged as he downed the drink in one gulp. “Forgetful. Dismissive. Five years later, and people are already starting to forget me.” Captain Hero gestured for Mundo to give him another serving. He watched the bartender pour. Mundo was a mid-40s gentleman with a neatly trimmed beard. He wore a black dress shirt with forest-green suspenders; a sprig of peppermint was pinned to his shirt.
Captain Hero had been visiting the bar for years before Mundo even started there. They became friends as Mundo worked his way up to owning the bar; they were close enough to know each other’s secrets. Captain Hero was a mild-mannered health inspector named Charlie Hernandez. Mundo did not have a secret identity as such, but he knew about things that Captain Hero never imagined. Things such as the multiverse.
“Gone,” Captain Hero whispered as Mundo finished his pour. “They’re gone,” he said.
“Huh?” Mundo asked for clarification. Captain Hero’s eyes grew wide and he smiled up at Mundo.
“They’re gone!” he gave an exaggerated ‘oh well’ shrug. “We’ll just have to get some more. YOU can find more.” Mundo raised an eyebrow.
“How so?” he asked. Captain Hero gestured wildly at the air around them.
“Out THERE! Can’t you find a villain from another Earth or something?” Mundo chuckled and shook his head.
“Charlie,” he said with a softer tone. “Things are different out there. I’m telling you as a friend, you can’t handle what’s out there.” Captain Hero glared.
“What do you mean I ‘can’t’ handle it? I’m the strongest hero on Earth!” Mundo nodded.
“Sure. This Earth. There are people out there that you wouldn’t even be able to touch; your strength would be useless. And even then, there are plenty of people that are just plain physically stronger than you.”
“No one’s stronger than me!” the Captain growled.
“You think so, huh?” Mundo smiled and idly tugged at the peppermint on his shirt. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll prove it.”
“Huh?” Captain Hero narrowed his eyes at Mundo.
“Give me a minute,” Mundo said. He walked out from behind the bar and into his office. Captain Hero tried to see in through the window, but all he saw was Mundo sitting quietly with his eyes closed. After almost five minutes, the bartender left the office with a giant ear to ear grin.
“A bet,” Mundo said once he stood behind the bar again. “Right here, right now. I’ve got someone stronger than you on the way.” Captain Hero sat up straighter.
“Really!?” he asked. Mundo nodded.
“Hold on. You’re not going to fight, I just want to prove there are people stronger than you. Arm wrestling. If you win, I’ll help you bring all the supervillains you want to this Earth. If you don’t win, you admit that you’re not ready for what’s out there. Deal?” Mundo held his hand out.
“Deal!” Captain Hero eagerly shook his hand.
“Mundo?” A small voice asked. Mundo and Captain Hero turned to see a young dark-skinned girl with wild hair sitting on a barstool. She sighed and mumbled under her breath. “Of course she could have put me on a Mundo’s doorstep at any time.”
“Astrid?” Mundo asked the girl, she nodded and smiled. “Astrid, this is Captain Hero. He’d like to see how strong you are.” Captain Hero burst into loud, obnoxious laughter.
“HER!? An 11-year-old?” Astrid sat up straighter.
“I’m 14,” she said with a straight face.
“There are thousands, if not millions of people stronger than you. Some…,” Mundo nodded at Astrid. “You would not expect.”