NETWORK FILE (EXTRA): FLEX MENTALLO
Hero of the Beach, Man of Muscle Mystery, America's Merriest Crimefighter
Date of Birth
November 16th, 2000
Danny the Street
Wally Sage (as a fictional character)
Danny the Street (as a vorpal being)
Danny the Street
Casey Brinke (Sister)
Mikey Milk (Nephew)
Level of Education
1990 - 2000
Flex Mentallo began his life as the cartoon mascot for the breakfast cereal "Mental-Os." This cereal was devised in the 1980s as a healthy alternative to all of the sugary cereals which were quite popular. Its name was intended to signify it as the "smarter choice" for parents to feed their children, but sales struggled. That's when a Mental-Os hired Blaze Comics' writer Wally Sage to design them a mascot. Wally came up with Flex Mentallo - the super-fit weightlifter who looked great, displayed a colorful personality and was incredibly intelligent. The insinuation was that he had become that way from eating the healthy breakfast cereal.
Flex was a hit. Mental-Os became all the rage in the early 1990s when the children of the eighties were becoming teenagers and beginning to look for a more healthy companion to their Saturday morning cartoons. Flex appeared in a number of animated commercial advertisements too which led to his own animated cartoon which ran for one season in 1999 - 2000. The series' most famous episode was penned by Wally Sage himself. The episode, "The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac", gave Flex a backstory as a wimpy kid named Mac who learned to channel the power of Muscle Mystery and established him as the creator of the healthy breakfast cereal (and not the other way around).
While the cartoon was popular and well-received, the brand Mental-Os went under. The cartoon was a last-ditch effort for a dying company to renew interest in their brand. The Mental-O brand just had the misfortune of being a subsidiary of Veidt International.
2000 - 2009
Danny the Street had placed Flex Mentallo advertisements in the comics sold in Danny Comics, including the pages of The Adventures of Captain Brinke and St. Michael's Children's Hospital Jamboree Fighter Squadron. The night Casey Brinke crawled out of the ink of her own page, making the transition from fictional to corporeal, so did the breakfast cereal mascot on the backside of the same page. As Flex was looking about the comic book store, trying to make sense of the all-too-real world around him, Casey wandered out of the store and got lost. Flex stuck around the comic book store and then became a regular Dannyzen after that. He worked as a bouncer for the Perpetual Cabaret at first, but there was rarely any need for that so he became an adventurer.
Teaming up with the likes of Atomic Pile (the half-man, half-salad), the whistle-powered speedster known as the Zipper, the Fact, and others, Flex became a C-list superhero. He had learned to channel the vorpal energy in his physiology by flexing his muscles. Calling back on his backstory, Flex dubbed this power the Muscle Mystery. With this power, Flex defended the streets and sands of Sun City, being dubbed the Hero of the Beach and "America's Merriest Crimefighter." But eventually, with the Justice League of America disbanded, Flex and friends took on increasingly difficult missions and stood up to threats that were a little more than they could chew and eventually they had to pay the price. A mission went sideways, and Flex blamed himself.
2009 - 2012
In the aftermath, Flex grew a beard, put on some baggy clothes, and returned to Danny the Street. Going by Mac, he blended in. Of course, Danny knew the truth, but Danny respected Flex's privacy. As a regular of the milk bar and the cabaret, Max became the nice guy that everyone knew the name of, but no one knew his story. He was just that guy.
Then Casey Brinke showed up, walking down the sidewalk of Danny one day. Right away, Flex recognized her from his first night as a living being. Flex insisted that Danny let her show him around. As Mac, Flex became Casey's go-to friend and when Casey had to move onto Danny, he saw to it that Danny made them neighbors. When Casey joined the Doom Patrol, Flex almost shaved his beard and did the same, but he still had reservations. It wasn't until some bad guys came strolling onto Danny with the intent to harm Casey - who they discovered was a vorpal entity - that Flex decided to return to heroics. When the bad guys lay beaten and broken at his feet, many Dannyzens rushed up to ask Mac how he did that, only to become the first few to witness the return of Flex Mentallo.
2012 - Present
Following the flashy return of the Hero of the Beach, Flex had little interest in pursuing adventures beyond the scope of Danny's area code. After a longtime foe of the Doom Patrol, Mr. Nobody, reared his unusually shaped head once more, the Chief was particularly invested in using Flex's Muscle Mystery to counter Nobody's chthonic power. Casey was the one who finally convinced Flex to don his leopard print shorts once more. Flex is glad he did. After all, he was literally born to be a hero.
Vorpal Homunculus Physiology
Flex was a fictional character made real by a concentrated dose of vorpal energy exposed to a comic book page. While biologically identical to a human, Flex's physiology is entirely made of the power of imagination.
-Cosmic Awareness: Flex is able to perceive the world in a way beyond the abilities of normal folk.
-Muscle Mystery: By flexing his muscles, Flex can alter reality. The combination of muscles he flexes causes different effects and the flexing of his muscles has to be accompanied by a willful release of vorpal energy. Some of the effects Flex has accomplished with the use of his Muscle Mystery include animating trees, creating doors to other dimensions, turning asphalt into pudding, reshaping buildings, and once accidentally causing every Dannyzen to simultaneously experience what has been described as a "life-changing sexual climax."
-Enhanced Strength: Flex's passive use of his Muscle Mystery grants him considerable strength. Without using his powers to enhance his strength further, Flex is capable of feats in the range of Enhanced Strength Level IV.
-Enhanced Stamina: Flex does not tire easily. He can perform any labor-intensive activity for hours and go days without sleep.
-Enhanced Durability: Flex is not quite bulletproof. Low to mid-range caliber rounds will leave him with mild to severe abrasions, while heavy-caliber rounds will pierce his skin and cause minor injuries. While a dull knife might break when thrown at him, Flex's enhanced durability affords him little protection against professionally sharpened blades.
Flex is not the idiot many assume him to be. As Flex likes to say, "the brain is a muscle, too, kids!" While he has no real education, he is well-read and likes to challenge himself with mental puzzles in his downtime after a workout or when traveling. Sometimes he'll even help the Chief in his workshop, all the while wearing a lab coat in addition to his usually minimal clothing. Flex has shown himself to be an expert chemist, biologist, and engineer. He is a skilled field medic, pilot, and tactician. Flex is well-versed in history, cultural arts, and speaks eight languages. All of that without the use of his Muscle Mystery - which can be used to augment his intelligence or even grant his temporary psionic abilities.
Reality: Flex takes failure especially hard. If a mission goes off-the-rails, Flex will likely blame himself. If someone dies as the result of a mistake Flex is connected to, he's prone to running away and collapsing into a funk which takes considerable effort to shake him out of. Likewise, moments that are "all too real" tend to leave Flex bot only emotionally vulnerable, but can also leave him more prone to physical injury as well. For instance, when Casey lost her leg, Flex was so disturbed that Monsieur Mallah was easily able to overpower Flex and nearly killed him. Flex was in a coma for nearly a month. While not as extreme, even severe pessimists have shown the ability to cramp Flex's style, causing his Muscle Mystery to go haywire.