Superman vs. the Pragmatist

By Paul-Gabriel Wiener (

Summary: Superman has his hands full when an ultra-practical accountant, who tires of his dreary life, one day decides to turn evil.

Fanfic (non-prescription strength)- Specially formulated for temporary relief of the symptoms of L&CWS. Studies done on laboratory FoLCs show that Fanfic is the most effective treatment of L&CWS short of watching a new L&C episode.

Indications: If you need to see a new episode of L&C so much that you are going insane, you have a mild case of L&CWS. If you find that even a re-run offers some relief, you have a severely advanced case. Go immediately to your local Fanfic website and download several stories! Other symptoms of L&CWS may include: stress, a feeling that the pressures of life are getting to be too much, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and repetitive motion syndrome.

Usage: Read one story every week or as needed for relief of symptoms. If symptoms persist, get help from a local FoLC. FoLCs are the only ones who truly understand the problems that can be caused by L&CWS. However, YOU MUST BE CAREFUL WHEN CONSULTING A FoLC! MAKE SURE THAT THE FoLC YOU TALK TO IS NOT GOING INSANE FROM L&CWS- THIS CAN LEAD TO RASH ACTIONS SUCH AS STORMING ABC STUDIOS TOGETHER! Fanfic was created for external use only- NOT TO BE INGESTED. You may keep Fanfic within reach of children, but adult supervision may be required. Depending on the medium used, Fanfic may be flammable. Some characters within Fanfic are copyrighted by D.C. Comics, Inc. Fanfic comes with childproof caps, but only if you have a password protection program.

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(Author's aside- I came up with this one when I started wondering what would happen if there was a pragmatic supervillain. I figured things would be much simpler. It turned out that they were so much simpler that the story became very short. Actually, I think the bits before the story may end up longer than the story itself…Hope you enjoy it anyway.)

(Author's other aside- this is just a quickie to remember me by while I work on my masterpiece. I haven't gotten very far with it yet…It may take a while.)


Joshua Wilkover was going through his mail when it happened. After three bills in a row, he saw something from the I.R.S. This turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Unable to stand the pressures of society and his dreary life, Joshua decided to become evil. This decided, Joshua then had to figure out what to do first.

Before I tell you what he decided to do, let me tell you a few things about Josh. First of all, he is very smart. Secondly, Josh is a pragmatist. Finally, once Josh decides to do something, he does it. Josh is also something of a perfectionist. He is a strict believer in that old adage "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing RIGHT!" Other than this, Joshua Wilkover is an ordinary middle-class accountant. At least he was. On the day that Joshua decided to become evil, he quit his job. He then devoted all his resources in an all-or-nothing attempt at a good, solid, evil deed.


(One year later)

Joshua pulled the large lever on his control panel, resetting the whole system. He was very pleased. Everything had worked perfectly. It had not been easy getting this far, but Josh was willing to do anything for his new purpose in life. Just as Joshua thought this, a little green light flashed a couple times (and ONLY a couple of times…no use wasting the bulb or any extra energy). "Good," thought Josh, "everything is ready." He pressed a button. It had begun.


Clark was at his desk in the Daily Planet when he heard the call. "HELP! SUPERMAN!! PLEASE! YOU HAVE TO HELP ME! YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HEAR ME!" He was hovering outside the building in a flash. It seemed to be some sort of laboratory. He quickly discovered that the voice was coming from a sort of ventilation shaft on the roof. An X-ray scan of the building showed that most of it was lead-lined. Superman flew down the shaft at super-speed. He flew right past a pair of wind turbines. The wake of his passage left them spinning at super-speed. The power was transferred through a series of specially reinforced axles and gears designed to speed up motion. Before Superman could react, a steel wall slammed down in front of him at more-than- super-speed. He crashed into it. Unhurt but confused, Superman barely noticed the other wall slam down behind him at a somewhat slower speed. The wall he had flown into was bent, but not broken. Suddenly, a panel opened, and a small chunk of Kryptonite fell right near Superman. It wasn't enough to kill him, but it was sufficient to weaken him. A pump started up somewhere, and began to take the air out of the chamber through a small vent. Normally, this wouldn't be a threat to Superman, but with the Kryptonite near him, things were different. Superman had to think fast. He punched a whole in the steel wall that he had crashed into. Luckily, his crash had weakened the wall enough for him to be able to punch through. Struggling, Superman picked up the Kryptonite and tossed it through the hole he had made. That helped a lot. Superman took a moment to rest.

He began to wonder who had called him. Looking through the hole, he saw a speaker. The speaker's wire was concealed behind a lead wall, so he couldn't follow it. Realizing that the air was still being sucked out of the little room (even though the hole provided a little air), Superman pushed his way through one of the side walls. He then looked around, trying to figure out where whoever had set this trap was hiding. His super-hearing picked up some noise. Following it, he came to what seemed to be a control room. Sitting in front of the panel was a man who looked strangely calm. It wasn't the sort of calm confidence that a supervillain with an ace up his sleeve had. Rather, it was the sort of calm that makes you think that this person didn't really have many emotions. Superman didn't know who this strange person was, but he intended to find out. "Who are you? Why did you try to kill me? And how did you get that Kryptonite?"

"Hello Superman. My name is Joshua Wilkover. If you want some supervillain name, call me The Pragmatist. By the way, don't worry about some evil plan that you have to stop. We have plenty of time to talk. You see, I don't have an evil plan quite yet. I realized that if whatever plan I came up with was actually worthwhile, I'd have to face you sooner or later. So, I decided to get rid of you first. This way, I don't have to split my resources between killing you and whatever plan I come up with. Also, if I managed to kill you, I'd get some respect from the criminal community. That would make it easier to carry out my plan, once I came up with it. Anyway, this way it's much easier on both of us. If I had killed you, I'd have all the time I needed to come up with a plan. If I couldn't kill you, you would surely stop me. This way, I don't waste time coming up with a plan that won't work, and you don't have to go chasing off after some missile or something. I know that the amount of time it would take you to tie me up wouldn't be enough to slow you down so that my plan would work. You would know that, so having a plan wouldn't help me escape. As for the Kryptonite, it wasn't easy. That stuff is ASTOUNDINGLY rare. I had a LOT of trouble just getting that little piece. I'm not sure exactly where it came from, but the guy who stole it for me said something about ex- government agents and a stash or something. Anyway, now that this is all settled, you can take me to the police."


(A few minutes later)

As Josh was being booked for attempted murder (he said right out that he would plead guilty, and had already signed a confession), Superman couldn't help but wonder about this strange man. He also couldn't help but think, "if only all supervillains were so pragmatic…my life would be so much easier…"


(5 years later)

Josh entered his house and looked around. Everything was in order. He had been given a 10 year sentence, but was let off early for good behavior. He still had to check in with his parole officer every now and then, but he didn't let that get in his way. The poor, overworked police department did not really have enough manpower to check as thoroughly as it should. Josh went over to his computer. It was still on. Josh had been careful to make sure that his things weren't disturbed while he was away. He turned on the monitor.

The computer was running a sophisticated program he had purchased from Lexcorp. It was so advanced, it was on the verge of being Artificially Intelligent. 6 years ago, he had instructed it to start a search. To get the information for the search, the computer had a direct connection to the internet. The program had subroutines to let it hack into most systems. He had given it some search criteria including approximate height, weight, and age, and a record of an early adoption. He had told it to cross-reference this with a list of the families of people who had bought electric blue fabric, bright red fabric, and red leather boots between two months before Superman's first appearance and one week after (after that time, it was useless because of all the Superman costumes being made for parties and Halloween). Based on his extensive research (done during the times while he was waiting for parts for his original plan), he had a few guesses about Superman. The adoption was one of them (after all, that was the best way to explain how someone had had a baby without being pregnant). He had some other ideas, too. He entered in all of his guesses, and told the computer to give him a list of the 10 most likely people to be Superman.

Looking at the list, he saw Clark Kent's name. He asked the computer for a bio of Clark Kent. He knew that Kent claimed a close relationship with Superman. He thought that Superman would need to claim to be friends with his alter ego in case he was caught in his own apartment in the wrong clothes. He had not entered this as one of the criteria, however, because he did not want to narrow the search too much. Joshua looked back at the screen. Kent's bio had just popped up. The computer had noted that Clark had fit about 95% of the criteria. Looking at the bio, Josh noticed that Clark had come to the city just before Superman's first appearance (he had included "activities within one month of Superman's first appearance" as one of the things to display in the biography). Josh then looked at Clark's photo. He compared it to one of Superman. Then he said just one word. "Gotcha!" Joshua began making some more plans…