You are going to read an extract from a magazine article. Six paragraphs have been removed from the extract. Choose from the paragraphs A – G the one which fits each gap. Write the letter A-G into the spaces provided. There is one extra which you do not need to use.
A) Some of them attempt to take law enforcement into their own gloved hands, but most just try to make the world worth living in and inspire hope in the rest of us. “It's all about standing up for what's right,”said New York Cities Dark Guardian. “Its about not throwing garbage on the floor and not walking past homeless people and totally ignoring them.”
E) They were soon joined by the Queen of Hearts, an anti-domestic violence activist, and the three became regulars at community events hosted by the local law enforcement. “By definition, we're superheroes,” says the captain.
B) He graduated from military school at 16 and now serves in the Marine Corps. He says being a superhero is not much different: “I'm pretty much fighting the bad guys, saving the world, that kind of stuff.”
F) Instead the superhero community, which is dominated by white males in their early twenties, see themselves as symbols of hope in a world where terrorists hijack planes and genocide is overlooked. They are trying to prove that anyone can provoke change by “taking a stand for your version of the world, and doing it in a very public way.”
C) In St. Louis, the 26-year-old art student Glitterous battles the mundane, sticking sparkling magnets onto street signs in an attempt to beautify the city.
G) Today, with diabolical masterminds plotting terrorist attacks from caves and, underground bunkers, the appeal of super powerful and super ethical rescuers is strong.
D) However superheroes is some countries are not always seen as helpful, in some South America states they are seen as revolutionaries who challenge the authority of the local police force.

Geek Squads

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a superhero – in your neighborhood!

In Jackson, Michigan, police are turning to a surprising ally in the fight against crime. A trio of spandex-clothed crusaders armed with mace and known as the crime fighter corps. The group's leader goes by the name of Captain Jackson and keeps his true identity a closely guarded secret. He prefers to call his getup a uniform (picture batman in yellow gloves and a purple cape) and explains that he's been prowling the streets with his 17-year-old daughter, Crime-Fighter Girl, since 1999, when he noticed that there were no beat cops around. Nationwide Captain Jackson and his crew have plenty of company. An entire community of real life superheroes patrols the streets from Los Angeles to Phoenix. They gather on and to discuss morals, (“is it ever OK for superheroes to kill?”) gadgets, and defense gear (like arm guards crafted from PVC piping).

These real life superheroes pursue missions as diverse as the logos on their chests: In Seattle, Transit Man rides buses and encourages commuters to ditch their cars. England's Angle-grinder man made international headlines in 2003 for helping drivers dismantle wheel clamps on their illegally parked vehicles.

Media makers have also caught onto the phenomenon: Last year's The Superman Handbook and Does This Cape Make Me Look Fat?offer advice on jumping between buildings and overcoming your personal kryptonite. The Sci Fi channel's reality show Who Wants to Be a Superhero? enters its second season this summer. And four new superhero themed blockbusters, one spoofing the genre, will be released next year.

During the cold war, Americans sought comfort in Westerns, in which the cowboys always beat the “red” Indians. Take 22-year-old Tothian, who launched the on-line Heroes Network and scours the New York/New Jersey area in combat boots, a home made supershirt, and sometimes a cape (he ditched his mask because it caused “tactical disadvantages”) searching for thieves rapists and muggers.

When it comes to actually fighting crime, however, most real-life superheroes are more pffzzz than kraack. Captain Jackson has brandished the Mace he keeps in his utility belt twice, both times against dogs. He and his fearsome trio typically make sure business doors are locked after hours and alert police to teenage vandals. “In reality, what we are is pretty much neighborhood watch,” says Jackson. Still, however, the police in town rely on the Corps for backup when they're short staffed. Even after Jackson was caught in 2005 by a real cop for drink driving, he only hung up his cape for 12 days before “important officials” begged him not too quit.

Thirty-nine-year-old Kevlex named after the super materials Kevlar and Spandex, runs the on-line world of Superhero Registry from his home in Arizona, and he occasionally patrols the streets. He has yet to foil a criminal though he once attempted to nab a shoplifter who was throwing groceries into a bush. “Any single cop is probably a hundred times more effective than anyone in our group,” he says “Real-life superheroes are law enforcement hobbyists at best.”

But thats not to underestimate the sheer happiness of prancing down the street in a mask and a leotard. “Walking around walking around in a cape with the wind blowing through it is really just cool” says Kevlex. Pilgrims travel thousands of miles to shake hands with the crime fighter corps in Michigan. “People all over the world go totally nuts over the opportunity to meet us.” says the Queen of Hearts. “Its such an endorphin high. Not even sex can touch how high you get off this.”

(adapted from Utne reader August 2007)