The Telemachus Story Archive

A Super Superhero is Crowned
Part 2 - Sizing Things Up
By Rick Henry

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A “Super” Superhero is Crowned.

Part I – B. -- (Sizing Things Up.)

Superman proceeded into the bionic weight room, followed by a crowd that fell over themselves trying to get in to watch what promised to be a muscle show rarely seen in any gym. The MOS tried not to stop too short at the sight that greeted him, calmly crossing his arms to observe. Marvel had two 300 lb. dumbbells, one in each hand, and was curling them up alternately, watching as each strand of his bulging biceps’ grew with the pumping. Sweat was quick-forming from his flesh, glistening on the peaks that rose and fell with each curl. “300, Supes,” Marvel called out to him, “300c’s!” Marvel’s opening feat brought a healthy dose of applause from those gathered around. Many of them, heroes with beyond human strength, could barely curl 200’s. And here was Marvel, easily starting with three! After 20 curls with each arm, he put the weights down, then flexed out his arms. Batman rushed over to inspect.

“Feel ’em up, Batman!” Marvel ordered. “And tell me how much more you want me to curl!” Batman was astounded at the raw power that surged through Marvel’s arms. “Hey, Supes, I put your 100’s over there,” Marvel pointed to a set of weights nearby. “If they’re too heavy, just let me know. I’ll help you remove some of the extra discs.”

Marvel went back to his weights, pretending his comments were small talk. Superman, rather than walking to where “his” weights were waiting, stepped up to Marvel. He usually never worked out with overly heavy weights; his Kryptonian heritage made most of his strength (from other things, and the sun) something quite natural.... Anytime he used weights it was more to remain flexible and keep his joints, ligaments, and tendons well-primed, so he was a “light user,” for the most part. But the temptation to put Marvel in his place after that comment was irresistible. He reached down and grabbed up the two 300’s Marvel had just dropped. Taking a deep breath, Superman lifted them to his sides. The crowd waited. He had yet to curl them.

Marvel was grinning slyly. He had done these heavies so many times before in private, he was sure the blue-tanked alien’s power was no match for his. He loved catching Superman off-guard. “Maybe you should start off at, say, just 200, Supes, so you don't—” The dumbbells began to go up, left and right, again and again, Superman’s hairy forearms growing huge as he pumped them over and over. Superman’s torso swelled as he brought more momentum to the curling, quickening the pace. The muscle audience was dumbstruck as Superman slowly met Marvel’s pace and then exceeded it, continuing until he had pumped each one 29 times!! “One more, just for fun!” Superman’s eyes sparkled as he did one more on each side, then dropped the weights to the floor with a clank.

“You want to do ten more, before we measure, Cap?” Superman put one arm up, flexed a mound, and then turned his wrist outward, as he liked to do. His hirsute forearm burst into a thick, vein-streaked mass. The flexors moved as Superman twisted his hand at the wrist. “Good forearm workout,” he said, still trying to hide his sarcasm. “Now, time to give those bi’s a tougher run."

Marvel had to bite his lip to stop an outburst, Superman ridiculing his incredible workout. Hiding his rage, he nodded, thinking of his next feat of superhuman strength. “So Superman thinks those guns can beat my double-peaked boulders?!” he mumbled. Turning to his rival, “I’m just getting started, Supes!” Marvel said in a steady voice.

“No problem, Cap, just don’t want you to overdo it.” Superman couldn’t resist smiling. It was in his nature, and it seemed like Marvel was the perfect foil sometimes.

Marvel ignored Superman’s last comment and moved to find a heftier set instead, so he could add to his former feat with 50 lbs. more! Lifting them up, he waited until he knew all eyes were on him, especially Batman’s and Spiderman’s. Spiderman had stripped off his shirt and Cap almost had to put the weights down at the sight of his leanly chiseled, youthful upper body—with over inch-wide areolae, sporting some fine fingertip thick nubs... on a set of more than unusually wide-flared pectorals that far exceeded the edges of his rib cage, overshadowing any trace of the strong back he also had. And topped by a crown of boyish red-brown hair and eager face. With the prime-muscled Batman next to him, Cap almost thought of ditching his current show with Superman, and privately just heading out with the both of them. Already enthralled, knew they would follow him at a wink, assuredly captive—would core them both silly for hours. The so prestigious Bat, the indomitable Spider: magnetized into a willing bout of mutual nude flexing and appreciation, luring them into a heady game of “strip and show” (which he’d cleverly done with several others). Getting them first intoxicated with a few special drinks, manipulating them then... each into each. And closing, take them both. All his. Easy, once alone....

(With not a peep of after-sober protest, having had the muscle-fuck of their lives.)

“Trouble there, my man?” Marvel’s selfish reverie vanished at Superman’s intrusion. He tried to stop the flush of blood heading up to his face and immediately began pumping the 350 lb. dumbbells, knowing the blood flow would hide his embarrassment. Superman’s comment actually helped him as he feverishly pumped first one, then the other, until he had completed another 20 full reps. He was glistening with sweat as he lowered himself to place the weights on the floor. Batman and Spiderman were shoulder to shoulder next to each other, mouths wide open. Marvel was breathing slowly, expanding his chest to accommodate the massive pumping he’d just performed. Again, the crowd broke into spontaneous applause. The catatonic Batman and Spiderman finally joining in as Marvel stood there, his chest heaving, the sight of his swole physique bringing the house down, a living, breathing statue from Olympus.

“Not bad, Cap,” said Superman as he reached down for the dumbbells, not waiting for the applause to subside. He began to pump them up and down, until he reached ten reps. “Turn around Supes!” some in the crowd called. He’d been facing Marvel, wanting M. to see every rep close-up; however, he shifted towards them at the tenth rep, not wanting to disappoint the fans. "WHOOOOOO!" came the collective cry as Superman turned, the sight of his singlet-clad, hugely muscled form heaving as he pumped out another ten. “20!” Superman called out, and then did five more, as Marvel tried to step in front of him for his turn. He put the weights down, slightly bending from the waist, and stood facing the crowd.

“YES!” they roared. Superman slowly raised his arms out to his sides, then let his forearms swing up, his biceps exploding into what appeared to be a mountain range from one side to the other, his grinning, bearded face in the middle. “Guess we have to add more weight,” Superman grinned. “Can those guns handle it, Cap?” Marvel already posturing to match him. Superman kept a grin on his face as he tried to hand-squeeze Cap’s enormous upper arms, not expecting them to be made of steel! The surprise evident on his face, feeling their true density. But with Kryptonian aplomb, stoically conceded, “Indeed, Caps, they are more than fine!”

Cap grinned. “Someday you'll have guns like these, Supes,” he smirked, “if you keep working out like this!” Marvel tossed the comment off nonchalantly and stepped in front of Superman, heading towards the 400 pounders racked nearby. The crowd was hushed and began to whisper at the thought of such a weight being curled. Two hundred was the max that even the most accomplished superhero had ever been known to try. Even the sight of these massive dumbbells now in the Captain’s hands looked far too awkward to lift.

Spiderman couldn’t take his eyes off Marvel, whose torso rose to psyche himself for the trial. Chest heaving, Marvel inhaled slowly, letting his pecs rise and fall. Superman watched warily, inwardly admiring Marvel’s physique, easily the best in the room next to his own. He was unsure of his curling ability beyond his past run, the 350’s having been a relative strain. He had been confident that Marvel was no match for him; that is, until Marvel started curling the 400’s. Amazed, he unconsciously stroked at his hairy, sweat-drenched lower chest, Batman’s gaze shifting from Marvel to Superman standing behind him... noting how for a bare moment he soft-caressed at his secret below projections. Caught, Superman coy-grinned broadly, noticing Batman looking his way. Their eyes met. Something stirred in his gut, a quickening in his groin. Nothing new; he’d suppressed it for years. Wanted to wink. Instead, just sighed—Marvel, aware of Batman’s fading focus, pumped his reps more rapidly. Batman’s attention getting more torqued and aggravated the more he observed the two wondrously built titans. Both “other-worldly,” indeed.

Spiderman took a position next to Batman to watch Marvel do his reps. Both were shoulder to shoulder, each knowing they were vying for a spot in Marvel’s universe. This was exactly what Marvel wanted. Knowing he was worshipped by two of the most desirable (to him) current heroes in the gym—ones who were formidably built, each in their own way, and no less well-endowed (Bruce obviously more than the other)... who he was also sure were same-gender inclined (or at least bi-suspected, and available )—practically salivating to enter his more muscly, very personal world. Which only served to soar his ego and surge his adrenaline flow. “I just have to make them forget Superman,” he thought, “and with these guns, that ought to be a snap!”

He pumped his 400 pounders more rapidly. Up, down, up, down. Marvel feeling like he’d at first even taken some weight off the dumbbells as he watched Batman and Spiderman transfixed at his prowess. He barely realized he was speaking until after he’d crowed it out: “OH, YEAH, MAN! THE POWER OF THE CAPTAIN RULES! HE FUCKIN’ RULES!!” roaring up to the 14th rep, but barely able to finish at the 18th with noticeable, but contained effort, then put the dumbbells down. Superman was about to take his place, when Marvel not coyly raised his arms once more.

Batman was beside himself. “Get that friggin’ measuring tape! Look at those babies!”

Marvel beamed and feasted on his own magnificence. “Let’s let Supes give it another try, Bat,” he said. “After all, the “king of superheroes” has to have a chance here!” Marvel laughed at his own bravado. “Then we’ll see how he measures up against my super- boys!”

Batman was male-awed by Marvel’s boldness. It didn’t appear that bigger guns could be found in any known galaxy (except for the far-off reaches of New-Wan Terra, where humanoid men were heard to be normally seven feet tall, and 360 pounders)... as Marvel’s biceps rose almost to eye level, split in two, glossed and gleaming with perspiration. Marvel could barely contain his “I-love-me” grin, knowing that he was about to out-measure Superman, after soundly beating him in their curling contest. “No one here,” he told them all, “has ever curled as much as 400c’s, except me! And eighteen reps at that!! I am the fucking MAN” he announced to the room.

Marvel was ignoring Superman, while keeping his admirers entranced. The gym crowd had produced their cameras and began a flash-flutter series of activity, capturing the impossible Marvel in his posing glory. Re-establishing himself as a work of art, whose pictures no less adorned several billboards throughout the city, encouraging young men to dare emulate him in their quest for nascent, if not excessive, physical superiority.

Superman, meanwhile, was heading over to the computerized curling machine. A device with a slightly slanted backboard in which you could sit, and do stationary curls, using closely set bar handles which extended to the sides. Since there were no dumbbells in the place greater than the 400’s... the machine could be programmed to go up to a more significant poundage but was rarely used. Superman was not a blatantly expressive man when it came to promoting himself, so he let Marvel do his posing as he reached over to adjust the machine to accommodate more weight, and seated himself securely. He knew he had to outdo Marvel or it meant stepping down a notch in the superhero echelon. He had been at the top since the rise of the superhero dynasty. No, he was not a self-aggrandizer, but he did know his place among his peers—at the top! And he planned to remain there. Which was not always a matter of muscle, but one of character and undisputed integrity.

“Oh, my GOD!” someone shouted. “Supes is adding 50 lbs. more to Cap’s previous weight!” Marvel whirled around, still posing. Superman was just finishing tightening up the keys, and settling into position. “Hey, Soupsy, no need to injure yourself,” he sniped wickedly. “Though it’s been a good day for me,” he winked and lifted an arm, rapidly dancing the biceps’ heads up and down, “and a bad one for you. Not to worry, my man. Nothing wrong with being number two!” Marvel laughed with a hoot, then flexed his double biceps again. He flashed a broad smile for the crowd. “And Kryptonite doesn't bother me!”

Superman could feel his face getting red. It was all or nothing now. He knew he needed every bit of concentration he could get. And he needed every bit of crowd support if he was to lift these amazingly heavy weights. With the crowd at Marvel’s feet, he wanted instead everyone’s attention diverted to him. Knowing that every eye would be watching each spectacularly developed muscle on his body, even partially clothed. Superman felt that he could muster up the strength to outdo Marvel. And being seated, the stress on his arms would be that much greater than were he upright—unable to get his legs under him and his whole body mass into the process.

The crowd was amazed at Superman’s presence, clad only in his form-fitting singlet, narrow-cut down the full frontal cleft of his wondrous yet still hidden pecs, practically to his navel—his small tucked waist, boyish hips, from which protruded the striated columns of his legs, the bared power of his remarkable shoulders, wide traps, those mass-coiled arms—and workout shoes, almost comical looking... as the largeness of his muscular frame seemed to dwarf what he was wearing and the machine in which he sat. Kind of like a soft ketchup bottle squeezed tightly in the middle as if about to be cut in half, the rest of him popping out all over the place. And beautifully tanned, no less. Handsomest man on the block, but oddly demure and quiet. Yet, in their awe, many were skeptical. “He looks great, but it isn’t going to help him with those weights,” one said. “450c’s—impossible!” cried another. “Supes is a muscle-god! But 450 pounds? No way!” another blurted. “And doing curls in that strict a position? Crazy to even try....”

Marvel, of course, was eating up the whole scene. He couldn’t believe how well it was working out. He had just curled the 400’s, a daunting effort, but he’d done it, and now Superman was going down—and going down while displaying every inch of his famed muscle in front of a gaping crowd! He couldn’t have planned a better defeat for the MOS. “Then, the final indignity,” he thought, “when I out-measure him!” Marvel knew he had now no less than 24” biceps. Pumped and massive, they’d probably hit 25”. Supes on a good day... never!!

Superman concentrated on the weights, wondering if his plan had failed. His display of muscle didn’t seem to keep the crowd at bay. Perhaps he should have chosen only 20 additional pounds. He could still hear comments here and there. “Wow! Cap's bi’s have to be stronger than Supes’! Who would have believed it!” More muttering. “There's a new MAN in New Ark City!” And another retort. “What city? New “MAN of the Universe!!””

Marvel couldn’t resist, his ego hitting mega proportions and he mingled his way through the crowd, pausing to twist-flex for individuals and giving a muscle display that diverted much of the attention from Superman. “Superman can’t touch these massive “Bertha’s!” Admit it, boys! The power and the glory is Captain Marvel!” He stepped over to the Bat and the younger Spidey, putting one arm around each of their necks and squeezing them playfully against him. All three feeling unearthly vibes. But with the crowd all over him, he had to release his two favorites with a very suggestive, wry and sly wink to each of them, who flushed... realizing gut-deep they had been dually “selected,” and could hardly contain their inner swirls. Nodding their heads silently to each other in unabashed agreeance.

Superman, listening to the commentary, still knew many eyes were equally on his own physique. He looked down at his mountainous pecs covered with hair and at the thickness of his arms... his overly prodigious bulge well-anchoring his seated position. He knew how his fans, mortals and superheroes alike, ever swooned at his appearance, costumed or scantly so. He felt a surge of adrenaline. He gritted his teeth and grabbed at the bars. Then curled.

Hands were reaching out and grabbing at Marvel’s biceps, triceps, his forearms, his traps. Fans were stroking his pecs and commenting on his fantastic strength and physical glory. “SHIT! Look at that!” Several in the crowd had suddenly stopped dead in their tracks, craned to look. Superman was slowly, very slowly, curling the bars of the 450 pounders. The pained expression on his face was evident as he clenched his teeth, jaws set firmly, and curled it up. Immediately, rivulets of perspiration began to flow from his forehead, temples, scalp, all down his neck and back, began to saturate his front. As Superman continued, his shoulders grew wet, the smooth of his upper arms glossing, the crowd was in a hush. Even Marvel was astonished. Superman curled a third and fourth rep. “Adrenaline, that’s all,” blurted Marvel, as he watched Superman curl a fifth and sixth. The sweat was dripping off Superman’s body, glistening in the force of his heat.

“Look at those fucking arms, that body!” exhaled the captivated Batman, to Marvel’s dismay. “Not “top of the mark” for nothing, eh, Cap?! Looks like they’re gonna explode,” added Spiderman. Marvel instantly souring. And as they watched, the Kryptonian’s mass seemed to increase before their very eyes as he slowly continued his curls... his blood-rushed flesh seeming to darken his tan deeper, almost as bronze as the tight-jowled Captain’s.

The silence was complete in the crowd. Only one sound could be heard. Superman grunting as he reached deep inside for the 9th and 10th rep. “Come on, Supes!” “TWO MORE! An even dozen!” Everyone was screaming, including Batman and Spiderman. “SUPES is gonna do it!” The silence had given way to pandemonium as Superman reached the last two reps. The crowd burst into applause as the energy level of the room almost caused spontaneous combustion. “The KING! ” they screamed in unison as Superman topped the last curl. Slow-easing the weight down, Superman released a grin of relief and self-praise. Then he stopped and released the bar. He stood unsteadily, breathing hard, his chest and torso expanding, singlet stretched, his shoulders, delts, traps and arms, looking as if they were about to burst, almost half more their normal size. The blood rush from his brain to his body unexpected, he became obviously, suddenly light-headed—the famed MOS actually staggered! Nearly fell. Batman’s arms immediately around him to steady the exhausted titan. Hungered beyond hungry.

“GET THE MEASURING TAPE—NOW!” It was Batman. Marvel was fuming, a volcano inside him about to erupt. Superman was still wobbly, chest still heaving, every muscle pulsating from the strenuous workout. Most of the crowd hadn’t taken their eyes off of him, his sinews and tight singlet filled to the max. Superman’s breathing urgent to regulate. Marvel walked up to him, standing in front of him, so close their pecs were touching. He was almost spitting with anger. He wasn’t sure if he should attempt another 50 lbs. which he might not be able to complete, or just wait for the measuring tape to appear. He knew his guns were at their best, double-peaked mountains just waiting to be crowned the biggest in the universe. He deliberately stood blocking the crowd’s view of Superman, knowing that his massive back obliterated most everything. He looked from side to side at Superman’s shoulders. “Maybe not everything,” he thought to himself, and inflated his upper body for maximum blocking effect.

“Here it is!” Spiderman came running into the room waving the measuring tape. The crowd was near beside themselves, waiting for the drama to reach its climax, as the two best built superheroes were about to challenge each other further with a biceps measuring contest. Marvel had often flexed for fans, measuring his biceps and salivating along with the fans as they exploded into 24-inch peaks. Superman had never been seen measuring his enormous guns, so this was a fantasy come true for the growing number of people that crowded into the gym.

“Give me that!” Batman grabbed the measuring tape out of Spiderman’s hands and headed for Marvel. Marvel was all too ready and raised an arm to flex for his number one “choice,” the man he could barely take his eyes off of.

“Later, dude!” shouted Spiderman and grabbed the tape back from Batman. “This is my territory!”

Batman reached out for the tape. “Get lost, Spider! Biceps are my specialty!” shouldering Spiderman aside. Grown men fussing like children.

“Guys! Aren’t you forgetting these?” It was Superman. Still standing where he remained, swole and heated, had raised his arms into a front double biceps, looking from one to the other of his amazing rounders. Spiderman was nonplussed, and Batman easily swiped the tape from his hands, heading past Marvel toward the primed and ready Superman. With a determined toss of his black hair, Batman held the tape up, indicating to Superman to do a biceps pose. Marvel almost had to step aside as the throng edged closer while Superman slowly raised his right arm. Batman already had the tape draped over Superman’s muscle before Superman’s forearm was fully arced. “Hold on, now, Batman,” Superman said playfully and tousled Batman’s dark head with his free left hand, still trying to catch his breath. (Unable to dismiss the moment ago of Bruce’s embrace. Something had passed between them. They’d each felt it.) Batman, his back to the crowd, didn’t betray his astonishment; and with his eyes... silently acknowledged his surrender to the man of miraculous muscle inches from his face. If he would accept it? In a disarmed reverie, when Superman again flexed, Batman had to be nudged to measure him.

“Oh, yeah, yeah,” said Batman, trying to appear nonchalant... Supes absorbing every tongue-hanging stare. And when Batman leaned in to measure him, he whispered, out of everyone’s earshot: “If I win, Bruce, these guns are all yours. And these pecs... and...” Batman felt his knees go weak, all thought of Cap forever vanished from his mind.

Batman held the tape and stretched it over Superman’s vertexed arm. Spiderman had practically moved in on top of them. Marvel pulled him back. “Give them room, Spider,” he said. “Every centimeter counts in this.” Batman lined up the markings on the tape measure, being sure not to pull too tightly, although it didn’t seem that if he had, he would be able in the slightest to alter the cannonball appearing before his eyes. The radiant heat from Superman’s body was near enough to make him pass out. He breathed heavily and called out: “24.2 inches!” The crowd roared its approval at the astronomical size of Superman’s flexed arm. Marvel was unimpressed, knowing that a cold flex on his part was a solid 23 ½.

“Caps! Time for Caps!” Marvel, elated that his followers were vocal for his prowess, he coolly stepped up next to Superman. “A little warm, wouldn’t you say?” said Marvel and he began to peel off his lycra pants. The crowd increased its approval as Marvel struggled to roll them over his massive quads. After all, they’d been privileged to see the MOS’s, not as massive, but more than impressive and so beautifully tapered... Marvel’s on the thicker, blockier side. But at the sight of his underclothes, or rather lack of them, the crowd could not be contained. Marvel had had the audacity to reveal himself in a miniscule string thong, the only material in the garment being the part that kept his package barely covered. His genitals certainly of an eye-worthy catch; (although Superman’s bulge was the compressed larger). With a dramatic flourish, he turned to toss the pants behind him. Batman’s gaze could not help but switch from Superman to the magnificently bare (except for the string in his cleft), thong-bedecked rump on Marvel. Trim-honed and powerful.

“Damn, Caps! Superbly fine glutes, there! Maybe we need to also have a flex-off from the rear! For at least a dozen of us! ” (Batman no less proud of his own cutters.) Marvel grinned his sly, mischievous smile. “Let’s just take care of the arms for now, Bats! Don’t want to out flex Superman in every department!” While Batman stared, Spiderman tore the measuring tape from him and headed for Marvel’s arms. “Spider, my man,” said Cap attentively, “we’d love you to measure, but for this to be exact, we should have the same person measure each of us, no?”

Spiderman crestfallen flushed red. Though with Spidey facing him, Marvel reached out, grabbed his hand, and placed it on his own stunning eight-pack abdominals... sliding it up and down a few suggestive times. “This should hold you over,” he grinned. Spiderman had to step backwards, slightly hunched over to hide the marked growing stir in his uniform.

“Check ’em out, baby!” roared Marvel as he raised a right biceps. Batman was now draping the tape over Marvel’s mounds, in awe at the double-peaked monster. Lining it up, Batman was ready to call out a tie. Marvel eyed him and shook his head, then turned his forearm and pointed his clenched fist outward. As Batman held the tape, Marvel’s biceps miraculously grew and stretched the tape out another whole quarter and fraction of an inch. “24.26! That’s 24, and just over a fucking quarter!” Batman couldn’t contain his amazement.

“Supes! Go for it!” someone of the crowd was calling. “Caps is the man! No one beats Caps in biceps!” someone else shouted. “Or anything else, for that matter!” came another call. “Fuck you! Supes is KING!” shouted another. Spider took the role of mediator. “OK, OK!” he raised his voice. “We’ll have time to see who is the real biceps’ king. Calm down. We’re not done yet” He turned back to Superman. “Ok, Supes, your turn again. He looked worshipfully at Superman’s unflexed guns. “You got another quarter or so, or part of an inch there?”

Superman grinned and flexed his hirsute chest at Spider. “I think I can muster something up,” he said. Then added playfully, “To go with these 64-inchers.” Spiderman almost fell over. “64-inch pecs?! Wow! Even Dorian Yates and Mike Francois, two mortal bodybuilders only managed to get to 60 inches!” (Supes’s, though, whose spectacular pecs were more frontally forward, definitely wide and thickly-broad, somewhat overshadowed his lats—Cappy no doubt outdoing him there.)

... Only mine are “loaded,”” Supes whispered to him discreetly. With a cryptic grin.

Marvel caught what was said, and frowned... was sharply annoyed, but kept up a facade of disinterest. “Biceps today, Spiderman—biceps, remember?” Turning to Superman, he flexed his own chest. “Another day, Supes, and your pecs—or are they “tits” —will be history....” A scathing affront, the MOS turned a deep red, ignoring him. Cap turned to the crowd. “Let’s see an extra eighth of an inch on Supes!! Then I'll show you panting muscle-god worshippers another quarter over whatever our wimpy Super-man can produce. Pecs, and all. If anything!” Marvel slapped Superman crudely on his shoulder, noting the granite-hard feel of his delts. Knowing he had pissed him off. Somehow embarrassed him. (The star of all stars...?!)

Superman’s arm was heading up for a flex, this time the sinews in his forearm becoming more rigid as he concentrated on making his arm the biggest it could be. Batman draped the tape measure over his arm and held it at the 24-inch mark, waiting for the peak to fill out the give in the tape. He watched as Superman managed his amazing 24 inches again. Batman, eager to please both Cap and Supes, wanted to be sure that Superman was ready. “OK, Supes?” he said. Marvel had cocked his head and noticed the 24-inch mark that was seeming barely reached. After all, they were both cooling down from their former pumps. “Lookin’ great, Supes,” he said saltily, and rolled his pecs. “But how ’bout I still give these folks the full 24 and a half? When you’re done.”

Superman, concentrating on his arm, heard Marvel but chose to ignore him. He pressed his clenched fist up and down and tightened every flexor in his forearm. Batman couldn’t help but to lick his lips. Superman’s muscle pushed the measuring tape further. Batman watched in awe as each clench and twist of Superman’s fist drew the marks out several more centimeters until the grunting and stressed biceps of his had crowned the tape at 24.5 inches. “DAMN!” he called out. “Twenty-four and a half!!”

The audience, crowding and straining to get as close as they could, began cheering. Those for Superman again began raving about Superman’s superior gun size, annoying the Marvel camp. Again, the factions were at odds, tossing comments back and forth. Superman may be a couple inches taller, but the shorter Marvel surely had the more dense overall physique. Superman relaxed his arm. He said nothing, just shrugged to Marvel, and grinned beneath his bearded jaw. Marvel was steaming, knowing he too could pump to an excess of 24 inches after such a workout.

He flexed without ado, Batman ready with the tape. Around Marvel’s rising biceps peak it went. Marvel flexed his forearm several times and then went for a slow hard flex to get every possible centimeter out. He could tell Superman was at his max from the way he’d grunted and the way his whole body tightened after that last flex. Phenomenal biceps on Supes, but nothing to match his own guns. Batman was in awe as he watched the measuring tape hit 24 inches and then slowly, very slowly, keep moving. Marvel turned his wrist outward and the biceps reached 24.35! Turning his wrist back, Marvel rotated it in and out several times, then in again, pulling his clenched fist down, almost biting his lip as he tried to edge his biceps up and make it touch his knuckles. He felt a roar of release coming as he expended his energy, knowing he had surpassed his previous 24.25 and had increased his size a few tads more. Staring at his own muscle so close, he knew exactly when he had surpassed himself. Batman held the tape firmly until Marvel groaned out a final, “YEAH! FUCKING AMAZING GUNS, BABY!” Batman stepped back and called it out: “24.55 inches!” Spiderman had inched closer, trying to keep his excitement in check.

Superman rolled his eyes shyly, as his supporters went berserk, disappointed, still shouting his name. “FUCK!” (using an expression almost never heard from his mouth). “Bring that back over here!” he finally snapped. And with more than tight jaws he got the Bat to encircle his arm once more with the tape. Fueled by an excess of determination... his biceps swelled, and swelled and swelled, as did his tri’s, to a miraculous 24.7 inches !! No question who had topped the charts! For while Caps no doubt had the higher more notable peaked shape to his arms, it was the richer, greater density of Supes’ overall which had won the day! (Hardly less similar than a pair of elongated duck pin bowling balls stacked on top of each other.)

The crowd erupted. Marvel roared.

“Caps, it’s official,” the MOS said. “You want me to try for 24.85 inches?”

Marvel was furious but tried to act as though these measure-offs didn’t prove a thing. “Supes, any day of the week you or I could beat each other in biceps,” he said caustically. “Playing things back and forth like a tennis match, depending on who has the momentary best twist on things.” Taking a breath, for what he had been leading up to all along—“But where it really counts would be in ,” and he paused, ““the ring!”

Superman looked over at Marvel who’d fired the challenge. “And that means?”

“You know what it means, Supes,” he said. “The ring. Where I’m undefeated. If you have the balls, and etcetera enough... to handle it? ARM TO ARM!”

Each knowing that “size” alone never assured anyone victory. It was skill plus strength, cleverness plus speed—which could take down anyone, regardless of who he was, how large or small. The partial disadvantage was that Superman was not known for his particular fighting prowess so much as he was his indomitable strength; and the Captain was heralded as an equally indomitable, very skilled opponent. Plus being nearly as powerful as the great MOS. Though both could fly, both stop a locomotive in its tracks. Tear through a bank vault with little trouble.

Only Thor might be known to be tougher. Except he had a hammer.

The crowd was near pandemonium at the thought of such an imminent challenge.

“The ring,” repeated Superman.

“Bring it to the ring, Supes,” said Marvel, giving Superman’s hairy physique the once-over, “and let’s see if you can stop me from having your prone carcass carried out of Mid-Town Square Garden—arms useless . Next week.”

It did not bode well for the highest echelon of superheroes to be squabbling. Nonetheless, the quest for control had been issued: who would be/become/remain the “king” among them?

“Best two out of three,” Marvel announced. “If you can last that long—.”

“We’ll see....”

If he didn’t accept, he’d be disdained. If he did, he could be dethroned.

Superman slowly extended a hand, never taking his eyes off Marvel, who ignored it. Marvel answered with a rapid pec bounce, then stepped up to Superman, each facing the other and flexed his pecs tight against Superman’s, with a Cheshire-cat, very quiet grin: “Nip to nip, who’s got the best?” rocking Superman slightly off-balance. Marvel then scooped up his pants, headed for his locker, hoping Batman was right behind.

(But he wasn’t. Only Spidey trailed, dumbfounded.)

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