John Ridley

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Scriptwriter and NPR commentator who occasionally writes novels. As yet, this page only has tropes for three of his works--add more if you know more.

Those Who Walk In Darkness and its sequel What Fire Cannot Burn. Described as Superhero Deconstructions in the manner of Watchmen, they follow Soledad "Bullet" O'Rourke, a cop who specializes in hunting down Mutants and "freaks".

  • Ascended Extra: Eddi Aoki, a colleague of Soledad's, originally notable for her Tragic Keepsake of a hunting knife she plans to use to cut out a mutant's heart. In the sequel she takes on more of a prominent role, and eventually becomes the main character after Soledad's death.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Most of the "freak" targets are more willing to get their hands dirty than the average superhero, although typically with reason or after being attacked. The protagonist is an unabashedly Fantastic Racist who kills an unarmed woman for having the power to stop other people from being hurt. This may go as far as Villain Protagonist.
  • Broken Pedestal: As a child, Soledad idolized the superheroine Nubian Princess (best described as a black Expy of Wonder Woman.)
    • Soledad to Eddi in the second half of What Fire Cannot Burn after the latter reads her hate-filled and self-righteous journals.
  • Cape Busters: The MTacs.
  • Contemptible Cover: the paperback editions.
  • Covers Always Lie: a mild case, but one that appears on seemingly every edition of both books. Soledad repeatedly describes herself as a BAMF (Badass Mother-Fucker), and the covers show her as having those letters tattooed on her shoulder. In the story, her tattoo instead reads "We don't need another hero."
  • Deadly Euphemism: When MTac "serves a warrant", there's a good deal more bullets, poisons, and sedatives and much fewer actual arrests involved than you'd expect.
  • Evil Is Stylish: The metanormals really, really would be more effective if they weren't obsessed with style, irony, or practically being comic book characters. Justified with the metanormals with more revenge-driven motives, but when a shapeshifter trying to run turns into a big, lumbering brick wall, he almost deserves the inevitable rain of shotgun shells.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's not immediately apparent, but the author's rooting for the mutants. So far, only one has been evil, and another even begged for his life.
  • Fridge Brilliance: The comparisons between Soledad's nickname and superhero/supervillain nicknames is spelled out throughout the first book, but what MTac's synthetic clothing and acceptance of slight customizations in armor look like... For the ultimate in He Who Fights Monsters, Bludlust's power is declared once and almost as an afterthought. A superhuman "freak" brain, able to create weapons beyond the ability of normal men. Soledad's built a weapon specifically for taking down metanormals that's well beyond the technology of normal men, with even the 'bland' bullets being on the level of a...
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Soledad customized an O'Dwyer VLe to fire Abnormal Ammo she designs herself. Most shots target the Achilles' Heel of a specific enemy type, though Semtex bullets can be used against anything.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: where to begin?
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Lampshaded and Subverted in the background. Soledad, at least, seems to think that normal humans were just sitting around whenever a villain popped up, waiting for a hero to save them, but we're also told that the mayor of San Fransisco dropped everything to try and help.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: subverted in backstory with the destruction of San Francisco.

"Bludlust... was holding the whole city hostage. Again... And at the last moment Pharos raced to the rescue. Again. And then something happened that had never happened before. The thing, the device, the weapon: it went off."

Works with their own pages: Undercover Brother (scriptwriter), Three Kings (scriptwriter), Martin (one of the scriptwriters), and Third Watch (producer.)