Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: Justice League

Sonnet on a Scene from the Zack Snyder Cut

Sonnet on a Scene from the Zack Snyder Cut

Jittery Barry suddenly seems still.
This presages a shift to super speed.
The dog’s bark stretches, thus does not grow shrill.
Now gorgeous little Iris is in need.
The Flash’s shoes can’t hold his feet. Indeed,
Can anything? The fluid known as glass
Is scattered by a single touch. World, heed:
The speedster chooses now to move his ass.
Touch her hair first – a tribute, not a pass.
The hot dog pocketed for later use.
And now, as member of the smitten class,
Make safe that perfect face, that fine caboose.
A final glance exchanged, warm intimation.
Such is the realm of mortal adoration.

–Tom Riley

See the source image

Justice Babe

Justice Babe


(for Emmylu)


What? Have you longed to soar through thunderstorms
And smash invading UFOs to bits?
To say the magic password that transforms?
To manifest the Batman’s boundless wits?
Have you longed to give supervillains fits
Just when they’re grasping global domination?
Have you thought that mortality’s the pits
And chafed at mankind’s unexalted station?
Ha! You’ve already gripped your exaltation
And occupied the world of childhood dreams.
You’ve battered down the walls of limitation
And joined the loftiest of superteams.
The spirit in your fierce heart never cowers.
A taste for Justice League grants super powers.


Happy Birthday, 2017!



Good Influence

A Good Influence




(for Anna and Ben Hatke)





This morning: Wonder Woman at my door!

(She said she’d run.  Of course, she really flew.)

She was what all her fans insist – and more.

My heart accelerated right on cue—

And from my plans of evil I withdrew,

Governed by fear but also admiration.

My supervillain soul had not a clue

About its next destructive calculation.

Daughter of Paradise, Child of Elation,

If only I could see you every day,

I might not feed my raging indignation

On thoughts of making all the cursed world pay.

I might serve decency as bard and sage.

After all, Ben’s the hero of the age.




–Tom Riley

Unmasked Marvel


Unmasked Marvel



(for Ben Hatke)



With a word, he could throw off all the weight

That’s settled on his shoulders through the years—

And be the kind of body villains hate

And have the strength that malefaction fears.

Just think: the tortured oldster disappears

The moment that he manages Shazam!

He is charged with the cheering of the spheres.

The little boy within him thinks: Hot damn!

But he stays strong – and isn’t on the lam

From what his nature says he has to be.

I am, he says with Popeye, what I am!

Senescence doesn’t mean senility.

It is his heroism that has freed him.

He’ll only say the word when others need him.




–Tom Riley


(http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2013/04/shazam.html )

Hypercora Sola

Hypercora Sola



(for Regina Phelps)



The fans are sad when Supergirl’s alone.

How can she feel so low while soaring high?

Her heights and depths cannot be truly known


By those who only hear a mortal groan—

Who, when they claim transcendence, mostly lie.

The fans are sad when Supergirl’s alone.


There’s no one, though, to summon on the phone,

No mortal who can quell her supercry.

Her heights and depths cannot be truly known.


Freer than eagles, harder far than stone,

She finds that mortal rules do not apply.

The fans are sad when Supergirl’s alone—


And says so with a dire and dismal tone.

If they knew how to comfort her, they’d try.

Her heights and depths cannot be truly known


If she is in a peril-laden zone,

Only she knows how fast she needs to fly.

The fans are sad when Supergirl’s alone.

Her heights and depths cannot be truly known.



–Tom Riley




(for Ben Hatke)


The alien who comes from ocean deeps

Is far more distant than the one who came

From Krypton.  Where the Kraken waits and sleeps,

The Sea King is at home – and whales proclaim

His chilling glory.  Think you know his name?

You know it not who hear it on the air.

An ancient strength, impossible to tame

Has made his heart its own forbidden lair.

Work out his motivations if you dare.

Remember, though, that he can breathe through gills.

Remember that his hope is your despair.

What the Flood promised, he in truth fulfills.

There is no doubting that he serves the good—

But are you in his moral neighborhood?


–Tom Riley


(http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/journal-comics-jl-sketchbook-and-more.html )






(for Ben Hatke)



The Batman doesn’t trust that little freak.

The Batman doesn’t much trust anyone.

But his distrust in this case is unique:

The brat has the capacity to stun

The Batman with his canny stunts.  Undone,

The cybernetic forces all around

Yield to this little loser’s work/tricks/fun:

Just when the Batman needs them down, they’re downed.

Well, let him stay!  He’ll soon cease to astound

The Batman, who acknowledges hard facts

And knows the smell of mystery.  No sound

Proceeds from Robin’s lips.  And, ah, his acts—

Tiny acts with effects of giant size—

Are still as enigmatic as his eyes!



–Tom Riley



(http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/boy-wonder.html )

Johnny and the Monster

Johnny and the Monster



(for Ben Hatke)



Even Supes seems to play at being hero—

So Johnny’s free to see this stuff as fun.

Last of your kind is pretty close to zero

In the delight department.  Anyone

Would seek some other option, try to run

Some other course – so Johnny’s now the Child

With Gnarly Powers.  He has drawn the sun

Closer: his daily climate’s almost mild.

But, when the unexpected gets him riled,

When criminals won’t play, as he plays, fair,

When affront on affront is rudely piled,

Why, then you’ll find a monster waiting there—

Which the perceptive Batman ought to see

As that which Johnny’s chosen not to be.



–Tom Riley


(http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-child-stranger.html )

Zeroing In

Zeroing In




(for Ben Hatke)




His targeting is not like yours and mine—

For that which zeros in is thrice-enhanced

In him.  As part of tyranny’s design,

His genome has been tweaked, refined, advanced.

But out of tyranny’s domain he’s chanced—

If chance it can be called – and now he’s free.

The fierce and servile dance his fellows danced

From childhood on was never meant to be

His fate.  Now Oliver, at liberty,

Has chosen to confront all that puts chains

On endlessly-enslaved humanity.

He plays his hand.  To him there still remains

His accuracy – tweaked, advanced, refined.

Against him are arrayed four of a kind.



–Tom Riley




Cop on the Beat

Cop on the Beat




(for Ben Hatke)




He knew the challenge of the dirty street,

Where even petty crime is wired to power.

He knew the skepticism that tastes sweet,

The lonely strength that never has to cower.

So he was ready for the crowded hour

Which found both crime and honesty revealed.

What had long crouched within became a tower.

A lantern and two rings: his fate was sealed.

His predecessor in the stellar field

Gave up the very ghost John Stewart shared

With him – and in that very death was healed

Of what this world had done to him.  Who cared

That life had fled?  For life was now complete:

Another honest cop was on his beat.



–Tom Riley