A born loser with a history of perversion, Dewey Donovan lived life by his own rules and only ever sought to serve himself through his actions. When a mishap resulting from his own voyeuristic tendencies ended up bestowing him with a host of uncanny powers, however, Dewey was forced to choose between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing. He chose to do the easy thing and became the glory-hound hero for hire known as the Flea, generally using his powers to serve his own monetary and sexual needs. Though he willingly carried out a number of deplorable acts such as selling perverted pictures of celebrities and female heroes on the internet, stealing a costume off the dead body of his mentor and deliberately placing women in dangerous situations so he could swoop in and save them, a tragic incident which caused him to lose the only woman he had ever loved motivated him not only to be a better hero, but to be a better person. Though still prone to acts of selfishness and cowardice, the Flea fights alongside his fellow heroes in an attempt to redeem himself for his past actions, one step at a time.
Sexually depraved, cowardly, amoral and self-serving in all but the most desperate of situations, the Flea is very much a hero in name and actions only. Still, behind his questionable actions and his despicable nature lies a desire to genuinely do good in the world and a conscience weighed down by enough guilt to make sure he ultimately does just that. You may not like him or even tolerate him, but the Flea always strives to do the right thing when all is said and done -- even if he does every wrong thing in the book along the way.
"Before I got my powers? I try not to dwell on that. I mean, if you lived my life before I started dressing up like a pervert and kicking people in the face, you'd never want to take your mask off either." - The Flea
Dewey Donovan was born on the 2nd April 1989 in Millennium City, the second child of Kenneth and Tracy Donovan and the happily anticipated new addition to the Donovan family. His father, the successful founder and owner of a local construction company, and his mother, a beloved veterinarian with her own bustling clinic, had the means and the inclination to provide both their children with a loving, attentive home environment in which they would want for nothing and his older sister, Jolene, was all too thrilled to have a little brother to nurture and play with. For all intents and purposes, Dewey was born into a good family in a good neighbourhood, free of any oppressive hardships and economic obstacles.
"Ah, the family Donovan. Whitest of the whitebread, middle of the middle class -- an all-around loving and decent family. Yeah, I totally hated those guys." - The Flea
From a very early age, however, Dewey something of a problem child. Frightened and intimidated by the notion of playing with other children, he would typically eschew outdoor activities in favour of playing by himself or with his sister indoors. Though his mother, a textbook enabler, was all too willing to let her darling child have his eccentricities, Dewey's father stood firmly by more traditional beliefs. Seeing his son's unwillingness to engage with other children and his preference for playing 'girly' games with his sister as a problem, Kenneth took on a sterner role in bringing him up, forcing him to engage in outdoor 'father and son' activities in order to drag out his more masculine side.
"If I could go back in time and punch the guy who invented catch in the face until he died, I'd do it." - The Flea
Despite his father's efforts, Dewey firmly resisted his constant attempts at male bonding, estranging their relationship even further. By the time Dewey was ten, a certain social barrier had been erected between himself and Kenneth. The former saw his father's approach to parenting as overbearing and self-centred and, try as he might, the latter seemed incapable of understanding just why his traditionalist methods were being rejected. As Dewey and Kenneth's relationship worsened, so too did the relationship between Kenneth and Tracy. Tracy believed that Kenneth's machismo only served to alienate their son and made no effort to hide her views from her husband. All the while, Dewey watched the foundations of their marriage crumbled and realised, for the first time in his life, that he didn't really care that much about other people.
"I mean, so long as they were fighting with each other, I could play video games in my room. That's what I call a win-win." - The Flea
At school, Dewey coasted by with mediocre grades, mediocre friends and absolutely zero effort put forward on his part. Through parent/teacher conferences about his squandered potential and carrot and stick approaches from his mother and father respectively, he maintained the bare minimum standard of excellence needed to slide through life as lazily as possible and spent his free time either playing video games, watching TV or just plain doing nothing.
"Anyone can put in a lot of effort and succeed or put in zero effort and fail. It takes a real artiste to put in zero effort and only barely pull off some moderate success." - The Flea
For a while, Dewey's childhood was a blur of apathy lessened only by the various forms of escapism he surrounded himself with. Then he hit puberty. Then he got a new English teacher with a firmly-rounded bottom and ample breasts and realised that the only thing that only one thing truly had any importance in life -- hot, naked women. His early teen years were filled with stolen or borrowed copies of Playboy, carefully planned strategies to get as much of an eyeful of his female classmates' unmentionables as possible and, on more than one occasion, inanimate objects which vaguely resembled parts of the female body. Dewey Donovan became a shameless pervert, and would only get worse with age.
"I mean look at me! Have you seen me? Do you really think I'm gonna get a chance to sample the primo goods? Is it really so wrong of me to do a little window shopping? An upskirt here, a wet shirt there -- what's the harm, right?" - The Flea
By the age of fourteen, Dewey made a regular habit of living out his voyeuristic fantasies by peeping on practically any woman who so much as walked through his line of vision. Lacking the confidence or willpower to actually bother asking the majority of them out and often getting cruelly shot down whenever he did, he instead settled for climbing into trees to get a look into bedrooms and sneaking into the girls' locker room. Much to his frustration, however, his memories of such explicit sights never lasted long enough. That's when he received word of the photography club.
"I mean, peeping is all well and good, but why settle for hazy memories when you can immortalise all the curves and flushes with a well-executed snapshot? I know what you're thinking: I'm a genius." - The Flea
Quickly signing up to be a member of the photography club, used his access of professional school photography equipment and photo development facilities to amass a collection of candid photos showing female students and teachers in a number of compromising positions. Before long, he had entire books full of perverted photos stashed away from prying eyes and seemed to be showing no signs of stopping when his fellow photography club members stumbled upon his secret stash. Desperate to stay out of trouble and seizing the opportunity that a club comprised solely of boys provided him, Dewey came up with a solution -- in exchange for their silence, he would share his photos with his fellow photographers and teach them how to snap similar photos of their own. His fellow club members agreed and, before long, the photography club became solely devoted to shameless voyeurism. From this, another idea popped into Dewey's head.
"Cindy DeMarco, Jessica Huggins, Katherine Ritter, Ms. Camacho -- my school was brimming with unattainable babes that guys like me would do just about anything to get a sideways look at. So, why not make a little money off of that? I was an industrious little tyke." - The Flea
Starting up their racket with hushed whispers and secret notes, Dewey and the rest of the photography club began selling lewd photographs of as many female members of the school as they could manage to anyone willing to scrounge together their allowance and lunch money to buy them. With the entire club acting as a network of perverts trained in the slimy act by Dewey himself, it wasn't long before money came pouring in from every which way -- and Dewey was the one who ended up pocketing most of it.
"I think everybody should be so lucky as to get paid for doing what they love." - The Flea
Predictably, though, everything came crashing down in a spectacular fashion. A dropped photo in the school hallway gave birth to a full-scale investigation of what turned out to be the biggest scandal in school history. In a matter of weeks, the local news was abuzz about the apparent 'pornographic sex cult' and all roads led directly to an unsuspecting Dewey. When all was said and done, the photography club was forcefully disbanded, the culprits were suspended until further notice and every woman even tangentially involved with Dewey's high school hated his guts.
"Tch. Sensationalist journalism." - The Flea
The fallout from Dewey's actions had a staunchly negative effect on the Donovans. Though his mother was all too willing to forgive her son for his 'mistake' and his sister preferred to pretend it never happened, Dewey's father refused to let the matter go, seeing the whole incident as further proof that his son needed to be brought up properly. The weeks following the scandal were filled with Kenneth barking orders and reprimands at Dewey every chance he got. Dewey, of course, completely disregarded everything his father said, actively going out of his way to disobey him and fly in his face. The result of his constant provocation came when Kenneth suffered a sudden aneurysm mid-rant, dying en-route to the hospital. Though Tracy and Jolene were devastated by the loss, Dewey, again, was more concerned with his own well-being.
"Actually, I kind of remember eating a cheeseburger when he collapsed. I never did get to finish that cheeseburger." - The Flea
After narrowly graduating high school as a complete social pariah, Dewey begged his mother for a loan, stole what he could from his sister's purse and moved out of his family's home to branch out on his own. As far as he was concerned, his family had only ever held him back from doing whatever he wanted and, as such, firmly fell into the category of people he wanted to spend as little time with as possible. Without much in the way of academic achievement to get him through life, however, he was forced to scrounge the bottom of the barrel for employment. Eventually, his search for work bore fruit and he was offered a position as a janitor for Steel Industries' Millennium City R&D Lab.
"So I guess being a janitor is kind of unglamorous, sure, but it beats the hell out of surfing the web in my under" - The Flea
As a janitor, Dewey was able to watch in on some of Steel Industries' greatest breakthroughs in the fields of science and technology. From weapons development to explorations into controlled mutations, he was privy to sights that would leave most academics in awe. Of course, he had no interest in any of that. The one thing that did consistently draw his attention was the head scientist of mutation research, Dr. Veronica Hale.
"I didn't much care for the brains or anything, but, man, that rack was a gift from the gods. Or, evolution, I guess? I don't really know with scientists." - The Flea
Over the next few years, Dewey's obsession with Dr. Hale festered and grew. Though he still frequented skeevy pornography and downloaded 'nude leaks' of Witchcraft from the internet, Dr. Hale remained his primary fixation. In Dewey's eyes, she was the perfect woman: attractive, busty, leggy and wealthy. Therefore, it only made sense that he watched her work from a distance while carrying out his janitorial duties, sniffed the chair at her desk whenever she wasn't in it and frequently 'bumped into her' while working.
"My dad always used to say that the only way to get what you want is to keep on going for it. Wise man, my dad. Always respected the hell out of that guy." - The Flea
Dr. Hale was less than thrilled about her abhorrent admirer, however -- especially considering the staggering breakthroughs her research into controlled genetic mutation was about to give birth to. As if that wasn't enough, she was already in a committed relationship with fellow mutations scientist Dr. Norman Kind, and had no intention of leaving the handsome genius for the creepy janitor. Pulling Dewey aside one day, she bluntly told him that -- as a thoroughly repulsive human being -- he didn't have a chance with her. Dewey took her honesty a little hard.
"I've never had a lot of luck with women. Sometimes it's because I'm creepy or weird, other times it's because I smell funny. Usually it's because I don't have a job. One time it was because I was, and I quote, 'a smelly, ugly, pimple-faced little insect'. Oh! One time, a girl just laughed hysterically and then told all her friends. There was this one time--" - The Flea
A twenty-one year old man without much else to give his life any meaning, Dewey decided that he wasn't going to lay his obsession with Dr. Hale to rest without securing a 'souvenir' to 'remember' her by. With his mind made up, Dewey swapped to a night shift and waited for most of the lab's personnel to leave or sequester themselves within their on-site rooms for the night. Once he was sure the coast was clear, he sneaked his way into Dr. Hale's on-site room to steal her panties among other items.
"What? What?! It's not like I was doing the whole Buffalo Bill routine with them! Don't be so judgemental." - The Flea
Securing some used lipstick and a bottle of what appeared to be perfume, Dewey next set his sights on the grand prize: Dr. Hale's panties. As he rummaged through her clothes hamper for a freshly worn pair, however, he heard the sounds of someone else entering Dr. Hale's room behind him. Quickly straightening the place up, he hid himself under her bed and prayed the other person wouldn't see him. To his surprise, however, the other person wasn't Dr. Hale -- it was Dr. Kind.
"I never liked that guy. Always thought he was kinda shifty." - The Flea
To his further surprise, Dr. Kind promptly began ransacking Dr. Hale's room in search of something. From his hidden position beneath the bed, Dewey gained a glimpse of the handgun in the doctor's grasp and, naturally, began to panic. Then a thought occurred to him. Dr. Kind was hardly a trained killer or a ninja assassin, he was just some scrawny nerd with a handgun and, whatever it was he was looking for, Dewey was certain he was up to no good. Deciding that the best way to win Dr. Hale's affection would be to catch her duplicitous boyfriend red-handed, Dewey waited for Dr. Kind to storm out of the room in search of whatever it was he wanted and followed him.
"All I had to do was smack some geek over the head with something heavy and I'd be a hero. And heroes get freaking supermodels hopping on their power rods every other week. Hell, if that happened, I wouldn't have even needed Dr. Hale." - The Flea
Dr. Kind arrived in the mutations lab and began searching for his prize, unaware that Dewey was following him from a distance. While Dr. Kind busied himself with his frantic search, Dewey -- armed with a scientific microscope -- bludgeoned him over the head. Disoriented, but not out of the fight, Dr. Kind fought back against the would-be hero and, after a short scrap, knocked himself unconscious when he slipped on a wet patch of the floor left by Dewey's haphazard cleaning.
"I meant to put a sign there. Honest, I did." - The Flea
After laying a few more good blows on the unconscious Dr. Kind to ensure he looked tougher and stashing the items he stole from Dr. Hale's room in his car for safe keeping, Dewey called the authorities and regaled them with stories of his own courage and selfishness. Concluding that Dewey acted purely in self-defense, the police dismissed him and took Dr. Kind away. Neither Dewey or the authorities were aware of just what it was the rogue Dr. Kind had been searching for, however...
"At the time I suggested that the nerdy pervert was probably just looking to steal some panties." - The Flea
The following morning, after sleeping off the injuries he sustained in his fight with Dr. Kind, Dewey indulged in his stolen loot. Though the panties and lipstick were the star items of his haul, the bottled perfume puzzled him. Despite having a nozzle for spraying its contents, the bottle had no logo, marking or indication of just what the orange liquid inside of it actually smelled like. Seeking to satisfy his curiosity, Dewey sprayed a bit of the perfume on his wrist and took a whiff. Finding the smell intoxicating, he doused himself in as much of the perfume as possible to compensate for his broken shower and set off for work, hoping to reap the rewards of his night of spontaneous heroism.
"In my defense, it smelled -super- good. Like a cool tropical breeze." - The Flea
Picking at the flea bites sustained from his sleazy mattress, Dewey arrived at the R&D Lab to find the police investigation still ongoing. Before he could question it, he was confronted by a hysterical Dr. Hale. The source of her frustration, as it turned out, was the missing bottle she left in her room prior to Dewey's encounter with Dr. Kind and, despite having thoroughly interrogated the doctor, the authorities had only managed to discover that he was a corporate spy seeking to acquire Steel Industries' mutations research for a competitor. Not wanting to get in trouble for his actions, Dewey lied that he had no idea about the stolen bottle and assured Dr. Hale that he would do his best to help her locate it.
"The trick to telling a good lie is to not let the other person see how deeply terrified you are." - The Flea
Though he remained calm on the surface, Dewey flew into a panic on the inside. Now suspecting that the 'perfume' wasn't perfume at all, he sought to conduct an investigation of his own to figure out just what it was he had covered himself in. Using the ongoing police occupation of the facility as cover, he searched through Dr. Hale's research notes until he was eventually caught by Hale herself. Having seen through Dewey's lie, she demanded the truth from him. Backed against the wall with no other options, Dewey gave her just that, informing her that Dr. Kind sprayed him with some sort of perfume during their fight, but that it promptly shattered when he dropped it.
"I mean, what has telling the whole truth actually done for anybody in the history of anything?" - The Flea
Despite some reservations, Dr. Hale believed Dewey's story and promised to tell him what the serum did as long as he came to her lab for some tests. Dewey agreed, but also requested that Dr. Hale keep what happened a secret from her superiors and the police. With their mutual agreement fleshed out, the two holed up inside Dr. Hale's private lab. Without the risk of their conversation being eavesdropped on, Dr. Hale explained to Dewey that the 'perfume' he had been sprayed with was actually a prototype Genome Modification Super Serum. Originally designed by Dr. Hale to immunise its subjects from disease and eliminate various genetic defects and predispositions, Steel Industries saw the military applications of a slightly tweaked version of the base serum and ordered Dr. Hale to modify the serum to further mutate DNA in a more radical manner. In theory, anyone who ingested or applied enough of the serum to themselves would be extremely strong and durable, able to regenerate from their injuries and capable of tremendous feats of physical prowess. To Dewey, this all meant one thing -- fame, fortune and beautiful women.
"I guess good things really do happen to good people sometimes, huh?" - The Flea
With her explanation aside, Dr. Hale proceeded to analyse Dewey from every conceivable angle. She drew blood samples, tissue samples, urine samples and more to gain a thorough understanding of the effects the serum was having on Dewey's body. Additionally, she also had him run through a range of physical tests to further observe the changes to his physiology. After an entire day on non-stop analysis, however, Dr. Hale was puzzled to find that the serum had seemingly had no effect on Dewey at all.
"I don't mean to be a whiner, but she could have at least taken a semen sample while she was at it..." - The Flea
Concluding that the serum must have been a dud, Dr. Hale nevertheless chose to detain Dewey in an observation chamber for the night, much to his chagrin. While the doctor busied herself with trying to figure out exactly why the serum worked, however, a flea hopped under her microscope. Before she could question its presence, the door to the R&D facility was blown open. Rushing to a nearby security station, Dr. Hale saw a squad of heavily armed mercenaries gunning down security personnel and police officers on their way to her lab, seemingly looking to take the serum Dr. Kind had failed to secure through force.
"I had no idea science was such serious business." - The Flea
Activating the lab's security measures, Dr Hale. hurried to erase all data on her serum from the facility's database in the hopes that it would force the mercenaries to take her alive. Meanwhile, trapped within his observation chamber, Dewey's body began to shoot with intense, searing pain. Muscles formed and bulged within his form and a sudden sense of hyperactivity disoriented him. Unbeknownst to himself or Dr. Hale, the serum he had applied to his skin was only just beginning to work its magic.
"It felt like there was a party in my body and everyone was stabbing me." - The Flea
Deleting the very last file detailing the creation of the serum just as the mercenaries kicked down the door to her lab, Dr. Hale began to barter for her life, promising to give their employer another prototype if they let her live and paid her more than Steel Industries for it. Before they could consider her offer, however, Dewey -- imbued with strength from the serum -- lunged at the attacking mercenaries and fought them almost effortlessly, sticking to walls and seemingly preempting their attacks. Eventually, the men lay broken at his feet.
"No wonder people used to beat me up all the time. It's freaking awesome." - The Flea
Surprised by what had just transpired before her eyes, Dr. Hale studied Dewey a second time and surmised that the Genome Modification Super Serum must have reacted unexpectedly with the fleas inhabiting Dewey's hair and skin and allowed their genetic material to fuse with that of his own. The result was a delayed reaction and the development of a number of flea-like traits in Dewey. In addition to the enhanced strength, durability and other physical abilities which were a natural effect of the serum, Dewey had also developed an enhanced sense of smell and leg strength, the power to adhere to surfaces and an extrasensory ability to detect imminent danger. Needless to say, Dewey was ecstatic.
"I knew not bathing regularly would pay off if I waited long enough!" - The Flea
Of course, Dr. Hale was also overjoyed by the end result of the serum, for her own reasons. Far from the angel Dewey had built her up to be in his own imagination, Dr. Hale saw Dewey's powers and obsession with her as an opportunity to get rich and famous by stealing projects from other companies and outing them as her own. All she needed to do to accomplish that goal was to convince a reluctant Dewey to act on her behalf. A kiss and a promise of more to come were enough to buy his unflinching loyalty.
"I knew she wanted me from day one." - The Flea
The next day, Dr Hale gave Dewey his first mission: breaking into the nearby R&D lab belonging to Monolith Dynamics and stealing the most interesting prototype he could find. With all the subtlety of a wrecking ball, he did just that. Bursting through the doors of Monolith's lab in a black bodysuit, he made short work of security and grabbed the very first prototype he could find -- a hi-tech belt labelled the Shrinkomatic 5000. Stopping to take a few peeks at some of the unconscious female guards along the way, he returned to Dr. Hale with his prize in hand. Having seen his display of force on the local news, Dr. Hale berated Dewey for jeopardising her and threatened to expose him. Angered by her sudden threat of betrayal, Dewey used his strength to force her against a wall and threatened to kill her if she did so. In the heat of the moment, however, Dr. Hale --seemingly aroused by the violence and intensity of it all -- kissed him and the two spent the night together.
"That Dr. Hale was a seriously kinky broad! I mean, that was crazy, right? Haha, that's was insane! Hah! Oh, wow!" - The Flea
Waking up the next day full of regret from having slept with Dewey, Dr. Hale decided to pin the blame of everything that happened solely on him and proceeded to call the police. As she began to dial the number, however, the door to her apartment was kicked down and a pack of mercenaries led by the reflection manipulating member of All-Star's rogues gallery, the Mirror, entered the apartment. Apparently, through sheer bad luck, Dewey had stolen a prototype from the very crooked company that had been hiring mercenaries and spies to steal work from its competitors and, as he stooped down to peek at one of the female guards, she placed a tracking device on his bodysuit. As he held Dr. Hale at gunpoint, the Mirror demanded that she call her accomplice and return the Shrinkomatic 5000 to them. All the while, Dewey watched from the bedroom.
"Dr. Hale was no angel, but the Mirror was a legit bad guy working for an even legit-lier bad guy. Whatever was going on led to very high places and, for the first time in my life, I had the chance to step up and do the right thing. To save Dr. Hale. To defeat the Mirror. To topple a conspiracy which threatened to undo the very fabric of scientific integrity. I could be a hero." - The Flea
Donning his black bodysuit as hurriedly as he could, Dewey grabbed his bag and fled out the window, wanting nothing to do with any of what was going on around him.
After returning home, however, Dewey quickly realised that the Shrinkomatic 5000 was still in his bag. Deciding to make the best of a sticky situation, he donned the belt to see what it could do. With a twist of the belt's dial, Dewey shrank down to the size of an insect and immediately found himself being accosted by the various parasites inhabiting the den of squalor he called home. Calling out for help, he was amazed to find that a swarm of fleas living in his carpet responded to his pleas, overpowering the other insects through sheer numbers and stopping the moment he asked them to. Using his belt to return to his normal size, Dewey concluded that he was going to become a very wealthy man very quickly.
"Life had finally decided to make it up to me by giving me what I deserved. With my new powers and technology, I had everything I needed to make some change in the world. I could be a hero...for hire." - The Flea
With Dr. Hale behind him and a promising future up ahead, Dewey quit his job as a janitor at Steel Industries and fashioned his black bodysuit into a cheap, flimsy costume. From that day forward, he became the Flea -- a purveyor of justice and a symbol of hope for anyone willing to pay him enough.
"Look at me now, ma. Look at me now." - The Flea
Taking to the streets of Westside at night as the Flea, Dewey leaped from rooftop to rooftop, seeking out crimes to stop. However, most of the ones he stumbled upon were either already being stopped by another vigilante or completely devoid of damsels-in-distress who would be willing to pay him cash or 'otherwise' for his services. On occasions where super criminals were involved, Dewey opted to seek out something a little less difficult to deal with. After about a month of doing nothing but hanging out on rooftops waiting for something criminal to happen, Dewey had his first lucky break in the form of a routine car-jacking of an attractive young woman. Leaping into action, Dewey promptly got caught in a clothesline, landing in a nearby dumpster. As he struggled to get out, another insect themed hero arrived on scene to lend a hand. Swooping in from above, the Battling Bug expertly defeated the mugger and saved his would-be victim.
"His costume was, like, way cooler than mine. In every conceivable way." - The Flea
Pulling Dewey free of his dumpster, the Battling Bug offered to be his mentor so he could teach him how to be a more competent hero. Though reluctant to have to march to the beat of someone else's drum, Dewey agreed that it would be in his best interests to accept his generous offer. With the Battling Bug at his side, Dewey began to hone his powers and talents, learning to maneuver, fight and utilises his powers with maximum efficiency. After three months of training under the Battling Bug, Dewey finally knew enough about combat and his own powers to survive out on the streets.
"Battling Bug was a real stand up guy. If it wasn't for him, I'd probably be six feet under by now. He's probably the greatest friend I ever had. Soooooo, what happened next kind of blows." - The Flea
During a routine patrol with Battling Bug, Dewey witnessed the down on his luck super criminal and frequent enemy of All-Star, Gazerbeam, stealthily using his lasers to cut his way into an ATM and steal the money within. Seeing this as an opportunity to put his newly developed talent into action, Dewey engaged Gazerbeam against Battling Bug's orders. Preferring to showboat and spout one-liners rather than take Gazerbeam out before he caused too much collateral damage, Dewey was struck by one of the villain's optic blasts and left dazed. As he struggled to recover, Gazerbeam concentrated a blast to blow right through him.
"I...I got cocky." - The Flea
Rushing to save his protege, the Battling Bug pushed him out of the way. The concentrated blast drilled straight through the hero's lungs, fatally wounding him. Angered, Dewey savagely beat Gazerbeam into unconsciousness and ran to his fading mentor's side. With his last breath, the Battling Bug revealed his identity as former professional boxer Marcus Slate and asked Dewey to locate his estranged daughter so she would know what had happened to him. Seeking to comfort the dying man, Dewey made his promise. The moment he passed, however, he noticed the money pouring out from the damaged ATM. Looking to pay that month's rent, he hurriedly stuffed as much as he could into his costume. When he realised it wouldn't fit, however, he donned the deceased Battling Bug's costume -- which had ample pouches -- and used it to haul the money back to his apartment.
"Like I said, Battling Bug was a real stand up guy. He'd forgive me for taking his costume, pocketing a little cash and leaving his half-clothed body in the...Nah. No he wouldn't..." - The Flea
Using what was left of the money he stole to support his hero for hire business, Dewey altered the Battling Bug's stolen costume so it would better fit him and, when he couldn't decide on an emblem which looked good, embroidered an F on its front. He also started a website dedicated to acting as a blog and point of contact for his future heroism. It was his hope that people would contact him via the website with requests for help after he reached a certain level of popularity. With powers, training, a good costume and a little money to get him by, Dewey fully committed himself to being the Flea. However, in his haste to take care of his own needs, informing Battling Bug's daughter of her father's death completely slipped his mind...
"I had the powers. I had the moves. I had a badass outfit given to me by my dearly departed mentor. With all that, I knew in my heart that it was time. I could be a hero. Uh, for hire." - The Flea
Despite his boundless enthusiasm towards being paid to do what every other hero did for free, Dewey found that his website barely had any hits, let alone hits from people willing to pay him for his services. Desperate for cash, he took to rescuing mugging victims and then humbly requesting a cut of the money they would've had stolen anyway along with other unscrupulous acts of warped heroism. It was during one of these daring nights of stopping petty thieves and then robbing them that he stumbled upon a want ad for the perfect job in a discarded newspaper -- being a paparazzo for the infamous tabloid magazine, 'Shameless!'
"I mean, Peter Parker was a photographer, right? I don't know why it didn't come to me sooner! Getting paid big bucks to stalk people relentlessly with -my- powers? I was already good at that -before- I could shrink to the size of a chickpea!" - The Flea
Looking to expedite the audition process by taking photos of a local celebrity to show to sell to his interviewer, Dewey considered the many possibilities for potential targets. Eventually, after watching a particularly terrible episode of her show, 'Everyone Loves Neko with Ada Clover!', Dewey decided to sneak into Ada Clover's apartment in the night to take a few pictures of her doing something scandalous.
"Ada Clover's completely washed up, right? Way I see it, I was giving her career the big boost it needed. She should have thanked me." - The Flea
Sneaking into the celebrity catgirl's apartment in his black bodysuit to avoid giving away the link between himself and the Flea, a miniaturised Dewey located Ada during a shower and sought to take a few unsavoury pictures of her. Unfortunately, the sound of an alarm in her bedroom jolted him from his position perched on her bathroom wall and sent him plummeting to the ground. As he fell, Dewey quickly returned to normal size to minimise the impact of his fall. In the end, Dewey sat exposed in the middle of an aghast Ada Clover's bathroom, completely un able to provide an explanation for his presence.
"So very glad I decided not to wear my costume for that one." - The Flea
Draping herself in a towel, Ada fought her mysterious home invader with everything in her arsenal, battering him left, right and centre with the countless items residing within her hammerspace bag. Able to do little more than rapidly snap pictures and run away screaming, Dewey got out of Ada's apartment by the skin of his teeth and vowed to pick someone a little less vicious for his next 'team-up'.
"I still can't look at a cat without breaking into a cold sweat." - The Flea
Nevertheless, though, Dewey managed to snap a few pictures of a borderline homicidal Ada fighting a home invader in nothing but a towel and, using them to get his foot in the door, secured a position as a paparazzo for Shameless! With Shameless! providing him with money, equipment and a free pass to be as incorrigible as possible, Dewey balanced his day job of intruding upon the privacy of celebrities and heroes alike with his night job of going out on the streets and beating up those significantly weaker than himself. The photos he couldn't sell to Shameless!, he sold on the internet to perverts with more money than sense. Before long, every big name in tabloid journalism knew about the amazing photographic abilities of Dewey Donovan and Dewey himself operated as the Flea less and less.
"I was going out there and stomping the pavement as the Flea because my life was awful. Because I needed the money. With my gig with Shameless! both of those things stopped being true. So, what was the point?" - The Flea
Things took a turn for the unexpected when ghosts from Dewey's past returned to haunt his present, however. While out on a routine mission to snap a few photos of a troubled celebrity, Dewey spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen out the corner of his eye. Abandoning his job, he shrank down and followed her home, eager to at least learn more about her before he attempted to 'meet her'. Sneaking in to the woman's apartment, Dewey sifted through her things to gather some information about how to approach her. That's when he found it hidden on her laptop -- the biggest stash of hardcore pornography he had ever seen, most of it centred around a superhero fetish.
"I was in love with that woman." - The Flea
The following day, Dewey arranged for a choreographed 'meet cute' between himself and the mystery woman. Enlisting the services of a petty criminal, he arranged it so the hired goon would attempt to mug the mystery woman, at which point he would swoop in, beat him senseless and worm his way into her bed. In Dewey's eyes, it was the perfect plan. As he stalked the object of his affections across the city and waited for her 'attacker' to appear, however, another criminal confronted the woman, looking for a bit more than her purse. Believing this newcomer to be the criminal in his employ, Dewey arrived on the scene as the Flea and proceeded to have a profoundly confusing fight with him, dodging dramatically and throwing air punches at a man who was aggressively trying to stab him with a knife.
"Great guy. Phenomenal actor. Seriously, I have no idea why he's not doing -that- for a living. I guess some people just don't have any values." - The Flea
Weirded out by what he could only assume was some sort of ritualistic dance, the criminal fled the scene, leaving Dewey with the very grateful, blatantly aroused woman he had just 'rescued'. Learning that the woman's name was Cassandra, Dewey shared an upside-down kiss he had seen in a movie once with her and made a move to try and talk her into the bedroom. As attracted to her 'savior' as she was, however, Cassandra seemed somewhat reluctant to go all the way with a stranger, regardless of how selflessly heroic he was. Somewhat disappointed, Dewey escorted her home.
"I save a girl's life and she won't even put out just a -little-? Not even a -little-? I had been rejected as Dewey Donovan all my life. I wasn't about to be rejected as the Flea." - The Flea
Using his powers and the Shrinkomatic 5000 to his advantage, Dewey set about engineering various hazards for Cassandra which he would then swoop in to rescue her from. Balconies fell from their buildings, fires started seemingly at random and every other corner seemed to be populated by cutthroat criminals with glass jaws and every time some misfortune befell the woefully naive woman, her 'hero', the gallant Flea, was never too far away to rescue her. No matter how many times he 'saved' her, however, Dewey found -- to his frustration -- that he could never go further than a heavy make-out session followed by his having to listen to the various events of her day or her daddy issues. After another fruitless day of saving Cassandra from the very dangers he put her in, Dewey had a devious idea.
"It was so obvious, looking back. The reason Cassie never wanted to go all the way with me was because I didn't go all the way with her. Any asshole can save Lois Lane from a nasty fall or Mary Jane from some moron in a ski mask. What does a -real- hero save a girl from? A supervillain. You nail a supervillain, you nail the girl." - The Flea
Returning to his nightly patrols as the Flea, Dewey searched high and low for a supervillain he could convince to assist him. Eventually, he found one in the form of a familiar face -- Gazerbeam. Having completely forgotten his encounter with Gazerbeam or the fact that he killed his best friend, Dewey confronted the villain with an offer he couldn't refuse: $10,000 to stage a kidnapping and take a dive. Vaguely recalling the hero's costume but too hard up for cash to dwell on it, Gazerbeam accepted his offer and the two made plans to 'kidnap' Cassandra.
"...No, I didn't remember the fact that he killed Battling Bug, okay? Is that what you wanted to hear? Douches..." - The Flea
A week later, Gazerbeam accosted Cassandra on her way home from work and whisked her away to a storage locker Dewey had rented for the day. Arriving at the arranged time, Dewey confronted Gazerbeam and gave a long-winded speech about how foolish he was for attacking his heart through the woman he loved. With that, he attacked Gazerbeam with everything he had, double-crossing the unsuspecting villain so he wouldn't have to pay him. Once Gazerbeam was defeated, he freed Cassandra from captivity and took her home, leaping through the Millennium City sky to further impress her.
"So I screwed over a wanted criminal and told a few tiny lies. Does that really make me such a bad guy? When there are people like Doctor Destruction, or whatever his name is, out there?" - The Flea
Completely blown away by the romance behind Dewey's actions, Cassandra was all over him the moment they made it to her apartment. Not even remotely concerned about exploiting her or revealing his identity, Dewey quickly took her to the bedroom, ready to receive his 'just reward' for weeks of patience and commitment. As he prepared to take their relationship to the next level in Cassandra's bedroom, however, his eyes settled on a small photo on her end table -- a photo of former professional boxer, Marcus Slate and a little girl who looked suspiciously like Cassandra in his arms. Putting two and two together, Dewey was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of guilt. With Cassandra finally ripe for the plucking, though, he cast the photo and his fleeting pang of guilt aside and continued with his sordid act.
"Yeah, I...Even I'm not too proud of that one." - The Flea
Dewey and Cassandra continued their romantic relationship for the next few months, with Dewey continuing to keep his knowledge of the true nature of Marcus' demise and his double life a secret. As weeks became months, however, his often ignored guilty conscience grew from a tiny whisper to a shout. At times, he could hardly look at her without being instantly filled with self-loathing. Eventually, after much soul-searching and genuine thought about her well-being, he decided to sit her down and tell her the truth.
"I don't know...I've never really been one for doing the right thing, especially when it doesn't benefit me somehow. But I loved Cassandra and her father meant -something- to me and I...I couldn't look at myself in the mirror." - The Flea
Before he could arrange a get together with Cassandra, however, the second ghost from Dewey's past reared her ugly head. As he waited for Cassandra to meet him at a restaurant, Dewey's hero for hire website received its first job offer. Intrigued, he opened the message only to a ransom note claiming its sender knew his true identity and had kidnapped Cassandra pending his arrival at the Westside docks. Fighting off his fear of engaging an unknown enemy, Dewey suited up and made tracks towards the docks to confront the kidnapper.
"Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I arrived dockside." - The Flea
Arriving at the Westside docks in a matter of minutes, Dewey was surprised to see a familiar face waiting for him. Standing in the mist-covered docks with a conspicuous eyepatch was someone he had hoped he would never see again -- Dr. Veronica Hale. Having lost her eye while been tortured for information by the Mirror after Dewey ditched her, Dr. Hale struggled to bargain with her captors by giving them Dewey's name and insisting he was the one behind the mess, but was never able to track him down due to his spotty records. Unable to retrieve the Shrinkomatic 5000, she was forced to work for Monolith Dynamics off the record, essentially developing patents for them through slave labour. Though she eventually managed to escape from her captors with her life, she never forgave Dewey for abandoning her that day and devoted herself to getting revenge on him. After spotting one of his photos in an issue of Shameless! and tracking him down, Dr. Hale discovered his double life as the Flea and began stalking him, waiting patiently for the perfect opportunity to get her revenge. Springing Gazerbeam from prison and recruiting him to be part of her scheme, she kidnapped Cassandra in the dead of night and trapped her in a shipping warehouse full of explosives. Desperate not to let Cassandra die before he could ease his conscience, the Flea fought Gazerbeam while Dr. Hale primed the explosives for detonation.
"It was probably the most intense moment of my life. I -had- to do it. I -had- to save her. If I didn't, I knew I'd hate myself forever. That it would be all my fault for manipulating her. I couldn't let that happen." - The Flea
As Dewey struggled with Gazerbeam, the explosives were primed and the countdown began to gradually near zero. After finally defeating the super criminal, Dewey surged his way into the warehouse and hurried to free from her bindings. As the countdown reached its single digits, however, cowardice gripped him. Instinctively valuing his own life over Cassandra's, he selfishly fled from the warehouse and narrowly escaped the ensuing explosion. Cassandra, abandoned by the coward she thought to be her hero, wasn't so lucky.
"Looking back, I could have shielded her with my body. I could have found a way to stop the countdown, even. Instead, I ran away with my tail between my legs. I didn't even get to tell her the truth..." - The Flea
As the dust from the explosion settled, Dr. Hale opted to add insult to injury. Genuinely taken aback by Dewey's sickeningly self-serving nature, she remarked that she had at least expected him to risk his life for the woman he loved and that his unwilligness to do so only proved what a disgusting person he was. Fully aware of just how right she was, Dewey fell into a rare state of submission, demanding that Dr. Hale put him out of his misery. Satisfied that her revenge was all but complete, Dr. Hale ordered Gazerbeam to finish the job. Instead, the villain refused on the grounds that Dewey had suffered more than enough and encouraged him to get back up and do the right thing for once in his life. Motivated by Gazerbeam's sudden change of heart, Dewey incapacitated Dr. Hale and called the authorities. As they waited for the police to arrive, Gazerbeam apologised to Dewey both for his hand in killing Cassandra and his earlier act of killing 'whoever wore that suit last', revealing that he had always remembered the costume and that helping him fake Cassandra's kidnapping was his warped way of making up for killing its previous owner. However, he also frankly stated that Dewey was a complete asshole and that, in a just world, he would be getting locked up too. With those harsh words still going through his mind, Dewey left Gazerbeam and Dr. Hale to be apprehended.
"I just wanted to go back in time and pretend it never happened. Everything hurt." - The Flea
Still lamenting the death of Cassandra, the Flea shut his website down and hid his costume in the back of his closet, hoping to never have to don it again. Spiraling into a depression, he stopped submitting photos to Shameless! and spent most of his time locked up in his dingy apartment. This complete lack of drive continued for months until an emergency news bulletin caught his attention one morning. Having recently escaped from prison, Gazerbeam had robbed a bank and was locked in a high speed chase with the MCPD. In that moment, the depth of the villain's words truly hit him.
"Everything I had done up until that point, I did for selfish reasons. Even the crime fighting...especially the crime fighting. My family, Battling Bug, Cassandra...even Dr. Hale. They all suffered because I was cowardly, selfish and stupid. Gazerbeam was right -- it wasn't enough for me to just give up and die. I had to make amends." - The Flea
Becoming the Flea for the first time in months, Dewey chased Gazerbeam to his warehouse and confronted him. Despite being cornered by the police and the Flea, however, Gazerbeam seemed unable to hide his contentedness at the fact that Dewey was finally doing the right thing. Pointedly referring to him as a hero, he charged at Dewey with all his might and, after a short battle, lost to him. With something akin to respect for the villain, the Flea thanked him in return for his words of motivation and handed him and his stolen money over to the police -- but not before 'confiscating' a stack of bills.
With his past defining his future and a new lease on life, Dewey turned over a new leaf and vowed to do good for good's sake. Whether rescuing civilians from a burning building or hurling himself into the heat of battle, he swore that he would redeem himself for his past transgressions one step at a time and that he would never allow another innocent person to suffer because of his own selfishness or cowardice. And if he could commit himself to all that selfless heroism and still get away with pocketing a few bills or getting a few good eyefuls of the spandex-clad women he would undoubtedly be fighting alongside from now on, what was the harm in that?
"No good deed should go unrewarded, after all." - The Flea
And so, slightly less self-serving as he once was, Dewey hit the streets as the daring and despicable Flea -- the masked hero just as likely to save your life as he is to sleep with your wife. Now, having been the new and improved Flea for just under two years, Dewey has remained consistently devoted to his path of redemption and, though he still exhibits some of the amoral behaviour of his past when the mood strikes him, he continues to press forward, genuinely eager to become a full-fledged hero and to do the right thing in any situation, even if he does a few little wrong things along the way.
"Am I a good person? I like to think I am. I mean, I may lie and cheat and steal, but who can honestly say they haven't in this crazy world we live in? I'm just a regular guy trying to be the best he can be, and if I exploit my good deeds or do something for my own benefit every once in a while, then, well...bonus." - The Flea
"I'm not saying I could kick your ass, buuuuuuut I could kick your ass." - The Flea
Genome Modification Super Serum
"Goes down smooth, and it's high in riboflavin." - The Flea
As a result of bathing his skin in Dr. Hale's Genome Modification Super Serum and its subsequent reaction it had with the fleas living on his body, the Flea possesses all the powers inherent to the serum combined with a few anomalous powers which manifested as a result of his mutated genetic structure merging with that of a flea's.
As A Result Of The Serum:
Enhanced Strength: A natural manifestation of the serum's radical genome modification, the Flea possesses a physical strength which belies his slight frame. Though his strength normally seems to cut out at around ten tons, he has been shown to be capable of pushing his limits to far greater feats of strength in times of great stress or motivation. With his strength being as significant as it is, the Flea usually needs to be mindful of throwing it around, especially when facing non-meta threats.
Enhanced Durability: Another intended benefit of the serum is a superhuman level of physical durability. As tough as he is strong, the Flea is highly resistant to physical damage and is capable of taking hits which would normally kill a man of his size. Standard blows from non-meta combatants typically don't faze his dense musculature musculature and even bullets do not penetrate his flesh enough to do any real damage unless fired by high-powered firearms or at point blank range. Despite this durability, he is somewhat more susceptible to more non-physical energy based attacks.
Enhanced Speed: The Flea is capable of moving at speeds which far exceed that of an average human being. When pushing himself, he edges out just over 60mph and is able to apply that speed to the force behind his attacks.
Enhanced Agility: With the serum, the Flea has become a natural acrobat, capable of pulling up extremely complex and well-coordinated acrobatic maneuvers with relative ease. The Flea's uncanny ability to completely control the dexterity and flexibility of his body makes him a difficult target to hit in a fight.
Enhanced Reflexes: The Flea's speed has been enhanced to an inhuman degree, making him capable of skilfully dodging past a range of attacks when used in conjunction with his speed and agility.
Enhanced Stamina: The serum has altered the Flea's body so it remains extremely resistant to the build up of lactic acid and circulation issues. As a result, he is capable not only of performing strenuous tasks for hours on end without requiring rest, but also of going without oxygen, food and water for extended periods of time.
Healing Factor: As a result of the serum overclocking his body's healing process and immune system, the Flea is capable of recovering from injuries much faster than an average human being and is completely immune to all but the most specifically tailored viruses and diseases. He is extremely resistant to the effects of alcohol and drugs and may in fact age at a slower rate than most. He is incapable of regenerating lost limbs and organs, however, and can only take so much damage before his healing factor is overwhelmed.
As A Result Of His Fleas:
Enhanced Leg Strength: Probably his strongest power by a very large margin, the Flea possesses a tremendous amount of leg strength as a direct result of the flea DNA ingrained into his system. He is capable of clearing distances of up to 500ft when pushing himself to his very limit and has even shown himself to be capable of leaping straight into the stratosphere on one particular occasion. This leg strength also makes him an extremely formidable kicker, his kicks almost tripling in strength compared to his punches. If the usual upper limit of the Flea's general strength is ten tons, the upper limit of his leg strength can exceed twenty-five tons. As such, staying away from his legs is usually a good idea.
Enhanced Smell: The Flea possesses a very keen sense of smell, which makes his lack of hygiene somewhat perplexing. With it, he is capable of tracking people or objects over great distances based on their unique scents, sniffing out hormonal changes and even seeing through lies and illusions. If he was blinded by some misfortune, it's easy to believe that is sense of smell may almost fully compensate for his lack of vision.
Flea Sense: The Flea has a very limited sixth sense which allows him to detect imminent danger moments before it happens. The utility of this particular power reflects his own selfishness, however, as he only seems to be capable of detecting immediate threats to his own person, not to those of the people around him. In his opinion, that's not really an issue.
'Flealepathy': Dubbed 'flealepathy' on the spur of the moment, the Flea is capable of telepathically and verbally controlling fleas. While this appears to be a thoroughly useless power at first glance, it has gotten him out of more than a few sticky situations, mostly because his opponents never expect it to be relevant.
Surface Adhesion: The Flea is capable of naturally sticking to virtually any surface through touch. Be it his hands, his feet, his back or, in some cases, his ass touching the relevant surface, he seems to almost magnetically adhere to it until he either wills it otherwise or is forcefully removed.
"Aren't those for the dinks without cool powers?" - The Flea
Master Pervert: The Flea is a certifiable sage in the art of being a disgusting pervert. Though such a reprehensible 'talent' may seem useless at a glance, his history of voyeurism and degeneracy does have its applications in the field. After spending an incalculable amount of time hiding in bushes, climbing up trees and doing his very best not to be seen by his oblivious targets, the Flea excels at securing hiding spots and staying out of sight, which makes him perfectly suited to stealth based missions. The Flea also knows his way around surveillance equipment and seems to have a special knack for knowing just how to monitor someone without risking detection and, due to his troubling tendency to pilfer explicit items from his targets, has developed the skill set of a fairly talented thief. Additionally, he has more in-depth knowledge of less savory channels of information than the average hero and is often able to distinguish the identities of certain women on body shape or underwear type alone with a surprising (if disturbing) rate of accuracy.
Competent Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Having trained under former boxer and late vigilante, Battling Bug, the Flea has enough knowledge of hand-to-hand combat to get by. Though he was mostly trained in Boxing and Kickboxing, he has also picked up a few choice moves from Savate, Judo and Aikido and personally taught himself a great deal of pro-wrestling maneuvers in his spare time. Despite his training, he remains confident that his powers are more than enough to handle most opponents.
Competent Acrobat: Though his superhuman agility and speed makes it somewhat redundant, the Flea has been trained to a degree in acrobatics by his former mentor, Battling Bug. That is not to say his training is in any way meaningless, however, as his knowledge of acrobatic maneuvers allows him to better use his powers to propel himself in the field.
"I've got some 'equipment' you can take a look at." - The Flea
The Shrinkomatic 5000
"It holds my pants up just fine, but that's kind of a bonus." - The Flea
Stolen from the R&D laboratory of Monolith Dynamics, the Shrinkomatic 5000 seems like an ordinary belt with a completely extraordinary hi-tech dial. By twisting the dial of the belt to the left, its wearer is able to shrink down to microscopic proportions while still maintaining their physical strength, speed, durability and cohesion via a highly adaptable personal gravitational field. As a result, the wearer of the Shrinkomatic is able to leap just as far, punch just as hard and move just as quickly as they regularly would, making it astronomically useful for military combat and stealth based applications. By twisting the duckle to the right, the user can gradually restore themselves to their default size. They are not, however, capable of exceeding that size by twisting it further due to a safety mechanism installed within the belt's dial. If the wearer were to exceed their size by a significant margin, the gravitational field would distort at an exponential rate and rip them apart from within. It isn't a particularly pretty way to go. When the belt is removed or damaged, the wearer is rapidly returned to their regular size.
The Shrinkomatic 5000 is the Flea's most treasured possession and though he doesn't really understand how it works, he has incorporated it into his utility belt and is rarely seen in the field without it. Useful for fights, reconnaissance and shameless perversion, it makes his job that much easier.
"Don't give me that look! It's really not what it sounds like." - The Flea
Though he wasn't particularly a model of personal hygiene prior to gaining his powers, the Flea has since found that fleas seem almost instinctively attracted to him after using the serum to empower himself. Though these fleas constantly inhabit his skin, clothes and hair, they seem to remain completely dormant on his person, forgoing their usual routine of drinking their host's blood. In fact, fleas seem to be kept alive entirely by their proximity to the Flea and are entirely under his control. Using his 'flealepathy' to communicate with his 'guests', the Flea can gain access to a number of unique functions. By swarming his opponent with fleas, he is able to provide himself with minor combat advantages by commanding them to bite at will. He can also plant his fleas on other people through close proximity, allowing him to 'bug' and track them through his telepathic bond to said fleas. By using his 'flealepathy' to 'see' through his fleas, the Flea is fully capable of creating a network of information gatherers and surveying other people over long distances, albeit with a very limited sensory scope.
Though they serve as more of a precision instrument than the rest of the powers and equipment in his arsenal, the Flea's army of fleas and their creative potential shouldn't be completely dismissed -- especially with the his powers and control over them growing more and more precise and powerful as time goes by.
Battling Bug's Mask: Stolen from Battling Bug's still warm corpse along with the rest of his costume, Battling Bug's mask is much more than it appears to be. Its antenna act as an actual all-purpose radio antenna synced to receivers embedded into the sides of the mask, allowing its wearer to tap into police radio frequencies to help expedite the crimefighting process. The eyes, meanwhile, are made of a glare resistant shatterproof plastic which protects the wearer's eyes from dirt, wind and sunlight during the day and acts as a visible reflective surface at night. In addition to this, the eyes also come with a night vision function which allows the wearer to operate more efficiently in low-light conditions. The mask's design muffles its wearer's voice, making it more difficult to recognise.
Digital Camera: As a pervert and a paparazzo, the Flea knows the importance of having a good camera on hand at all times. As such, he makes sure to keep his trusty, high-resolution, high-powered digital camera inside his utility belt for all those little moments he just wants to immortalise and sell for lots and lots of money.
"When people say you've got a great personality, what they really mean is you've got a terrible everything else." - The Flea
Despite regularly fighting crime and saving lives, the Flea is far from a good person in any conventional sense of the term. Self-serving, lecherous and cowardly, he rarely, if ever, exhibits the typical selflessness and devotion to noble ideals you would find in most heroes and usually only engages in righteous acts if he sees some form of personal benefit in doing so. As if reflecting his own untrustworthy nature, the Flea is a short, spindly man with features more befitting of a seedy basement dwelling low-life than a protector of the innocent. Disheveled, black hair matted by a total lack of care, a constant layer of untamed stubble and large, shifty bug eyes completely remove him from the picture of a knight in shining armour most people would expect from their heroes and a disregard for personal hygiene and grooming only serves to make him an even less ideal specimen. Lacking in stature, presence and appealing features, he truly embodies the essence of the bloodsucking parasite he models himself after and further strengthens the likeness with twitchy, off-kilter body language resembling that of an insect.
First and foremost, the Flea is a bit of a creep, both in his mannerisms and in his worldly pursuits. In his mind, society exists not as the result of a concerted effort between like-minded individuals, but as the ultimate result of a handful of opportunists seizing whatever they desire and incidentally bettering the lives of those around them in the process. In that way, the Flea sees himself as an opportunist, taking whatever chances life throws his way to better improve his own life. If a criminal he apprehends drops his stolen loot and the authorities aren't around to retrieve it immediately, he sees no harm in pocketing some of it as payment for his services. Likewise, if a particularly strong supervillain is more concerned with another hero than he is with him, he sees nothing wrong with slipping away from the fight and leaving said hero to deal with the villain alone. Using such logic to justify almost every act of debauchery and selfishness he engages in, the Flea comes across as something of a short-sighted hedonist, preferring to indulge himself before inconveniencing himself for the sake of others. This hedonistic inclination to do whatever pleasures him best lends itself to his various voyeuristic and kleptomaniacal tendencies, as he places his own pleasure over that of the unfortunate woman he's stalking or the people who lose out when he steals from them. This isn't to say that he often goes out of his way to inconvenience and harm those around him, however, as most of his selfish acts originate less from a desire to see other people suffer or apathy towards their well-being and more from his single-mindedness and lack of consideration for those he can't immediately perceive. For example, if the Flea was faced with the same instances as before but was clearly able to see the banker in danger of losing his job or the hero struggling to hold their own, he would (reluctantly) put aside his usual temperament and resolve to do the right thing. In this sense, the Flea has a conscience and wishes to do good, but requires more motivation than others to get past his own selfish desires.
Indeed, it would be a mistake to say that the Flea is totally morally bankrupt, regardless of how close to the line he is in some cases. Though many of his actions are morally questionable and he is primarily motivated by his own wants and needs, there is an inherently good person beneath all his cynicism and degeneracy -- a person who bubbles to the surface whenever he is most needed. As the result of a life full of rejection, mediocrity and no real promises of improvement, the Flea quickly adopted an aloof and lackadaisical approach towards life. With his reiterated preference for keeping his head down, looking out for himself and ensuring that everyone else and their various problems remain at a safe distance, it is difficult to imagine that the Flea fights crime for anything other than fame, glory and the lucrative opportunities being a superhero presents. Anyone who bothers to observe the Flea's behaviour and his subtle reactions to doing good will quickly realise that personal gain is only half of the reason he does what he does, however. Deep down, the Flea hides a great deal of self-loathing and shame in himself both for his inconsiderate actions and personality and for his identity beneath the mask. Well aware of the fact that his looks and his attitude make him far from attractive, the Flea possesses a staggeringly low self-esteem which manifests itself through a sardonic sense of humour, cynicism, apathy and self-interest and the negative attributes of his behaviour which stem from those traits only cause further long-term self-loathing which overpowers the short-term fulfillment of doing and taking whatever he wants. While wearing his costume and fighting the good fight, however, the Flea feels as if he can cast off Dewey Donovan's insecurities and shortcomings and become a better, more likable person who isn't held back by less than stellar looks or past failures. As such, the Flea enjoys the feeling of knowing that he did the right thing and strives to do it as often as he can -- even if he isn't very good at it.
As far as doing the right thing goes, though, the Flea is largely held back by cowardice and a general laziness. If given a choice between doing things the right way or the easy way, he would pick the easy way nine times out of ten, so long as it means he doesn't have to risk his neck or exert an unnecessary amount of effort. Even when he truly wants to help other people and put his life on the line to do so, an almost instinctual urge to flee or hide at the first sign of real life-threatening danger often stops him in his tracks. This timidity coupled with an unwillingness to push himself to the limit when he can just as easily let someone else do his work for him makes him prone to shrinking out of sight to hide or find less direct ways to deal with certain enemies and he is almost always the first one to lose his nerve in a tense situation. In spite of -- or perhaps because of -- this lack of mettle, the Flea readily talks a big game and waves his bravado around up until the point where he shies away to save his own skin and regularly employs his talent as a consummate liar when overstating his bravery and confidence in a fight.
The Flea is, by no stretch of the imagination, a social butterfly. In fact, he would be the first one to admit that relationships -- both platonic and romantic -- simply aren't his forte. Not extroverted or outgoing enough to easily make friends, he can regularly interact with a group of people for long periods of time and only wind up making a single friend among them. This is as much due to his introverted personality as it is to his very presence. Though his lack of hygiene and sliminess are obvious reasons for most people not to get too close to him, a number of the people who associate with him are usually able to tell that there is something off about him right away. Whether it's his restless eyes, his desperation, his listlessness, his unflattering looks or his obvious perversion, most normal people latch on to a facet of who he is and do their best to spend as little time with him as possible. Though he pretends this doesn't bother him, the Flea is deeply lonely and self-critical because of this and, as a result, sees himself as an abnormal loner -- not far off from the truth. His romantic relationships are only more discouraging. Because of his physical features, his lack of confidence and a history of rejection, the Flea is too intimidated by most women to dare to ask them out. Instead, he seeks refuge in depravity, preferring to sexually objectify them through his words and his actions than risk compromising himself around them, even going so far as to use his powers to stalk and spy on those that really tickle his fancy. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that the Flea is a minor misogynist with the way he treats and perceives women less as equals and more as objects of fear and sexualisation. Any woman who manages to see through all his deplorable acts of sexism would easily surmise that it all comes from a lack of experience with and attention from the opposite sex.
The Flea's hobbies and interests are mostly inward-looking. When not fighting crime or working as a paparazzo, he spends his time browsing the internet, reading comics, watching television and playing video games. When he does interact with other people, he typically maintains a small group of friends in which he feels more valued and less sidelined. He is an avid fan of all manners of escapism whether it comes from a book or a screen and he enjoys photography both as a hobby and as his main source of income.
The Flea's Myers-Briggs personality type is INFP.
Friends & Allies
"Oh, don't look so surprised." - The Flea
"Right, 'cause all I need is MORE people who hate me." - The Flea
"Some people say I'm too adorable." - The Flea
"Hey, ladies! Who wants to twerk it with the Flea?" - The Flea
"What do you mean you don't remember me?" - The Flea
"It's great to learn, 'cause knowledge is power!" - The Flea
- The Flea is inspired by: Eric O' Grady (Marvel), Deadpool (Marvel), Spider-Man (Marvel), Plastic Man (DC) and Ambush Bug (DC)
- The Flea has personally infiltrated Sparrowhawk's private residence on several occasions and stolen her underwear.
"Hey, I'm the one taking the pictures, here!" - The Flea
"Creep. Loser. Pervert. I've heard them all." - The Flea