The Superhero in the Alley is the twelfth episode of the first season of Bones.


Booth and Deputy Director Cullen are at the crime scene. Cullen is irritated and wants Booth to close this case as fast as possible. Booth guarantees him that he will. Brennan shows up and they walk to where the corpse is. They find a body in a suit that Booth says they think is BDSM gear, and a bag with degraded cellulose and maggots in it. Brennan's assistant Zack Addy also finds injuries that suggest it was a full body impact. Booth tries to see if he was pushed or if he fell, and Bones says that is what they have to find out. Booth pushes for a quick ID and uses the "charm smile" on Brennan to try to coax her into rushing, but she tells him, "Don't use your charm smile on me." He responds by saying that it's a mark of respect.

Back at the Jeffersonian Institute, Zack is talking about the age markers of the body, between 13 and 18 years old, saying that the build of the victim makes his age closer to the lower side of the age range. Dr. Jack Hodgins comes and says that the cellulose in the bag was a graphic novel. Zack remarks that he has never read comics, and Hodgins says that he had him pegged for a graphic novel nut. More and more injuries and discoveries unfold quickly, and they come to the realization that he was dropped after he was killed and that his killer wanted it to look like a suicide.

Booth and Brennan are in Booth's SUV and Booth tells Bones that the body is Warren Granger, age 17. Bones remarks that he was small for his age. Booth gives the specifics of his life and says that his parents reported him missing almost two months prior. When they get to Warren's house they are lead to his room by his parents. His mother leaves and his father says that he had thought that he had simply run away. His father also says that he got him a job at the bowling alley, and that they tried to get him out into the world, but he just spent all his time and money on comic books. Booth is impressed by a certain comic that Warren has, and Brennan asks if he is a nerd. Booth defends himself, saying that it's normal for an American male to read comic books. Dr. Brennan gets a message from Zack as they're looking around Warren's room that says that there were some significant fractures on Warren's arm. Bones looks at Warren's computer desk and notices his worn rug and the light source. Booth suggests that it was where he wrote his comic books, and Brennan finds evidence that he sat there and wrote on the desk. Booth finds the comic "Citizen 14" and says that they found where he got the idea for his costume.

At the Jeffersonian, Angela Montenegro has made out some of the pages of cellulose that they found with the body. It is a prototype comic book of Citizen 14. Dr. Goodman remarks that the contents of the comic may be infused with the fears and experiences in Warren's real life. Brennan wants to know what to do next, and Booth says that they should go and find out if Warren had any friends that his parents didn't know about.

At the Karma Comic Book Store, Booth and Brennan question the guy who's there, and Booth notices that he's nervous. Brennan notices the commotion upstairs, and the guy says that it's the "Doomsday group," and that Warren was a member. They go upstairs and one of the Doomsday group members says that it's a private function. Brennan and Booth question the group, while Bones notices that Warren would fit right in with them. They say that the last time they saw Warren, he freaked out and called them all posers and then left. A girl starts to get upset, and Booth asks her name. She says it's "Blue Minnow" and Booth tells them all that when he asks for their name, he wants the one that their parents gave them. She is upset, and says that her name is Abigail, and that Citizen 14 was her partner, but Warren was her friend. The rest of the group snickers, then one of them says that he was more than a friend, which provokes Abigail into walking off.

Back in Booth's SUV, Brennan says that although she does not like to judge an entire subculture, those kids gave her the creeps. Booth says they are similar to the Columbine shooters, and that they believe they're their characters when they get into the game. Booth theorizes that maybe one of the guys in the group, "Yasutani the Terrible," got into a fight with Warren when they were playing this game in character, and they were so into it that he didn't realize he had committed a crime.

Dr. Goodman and Angela are going over the comic. Dr. Goodman comes to the conclusion that the writer of the comic (Warren) was in actual physical pain and that it wasn't just normal teenage angst, but rather actual fear of death. Angela doubts that he can pull all that out of a comic book, and Dr. Goodman explains that all writers reveal far more than they wish to with their writing. Brennan and Booth walk in, and Booth says he never believed in all that English analogy, and sometimes a river is just a river. Brennan agrees and says that her writing, for example, is pure fiction. Dr. Goodman says that she reveals more of her world view in her writing than she thinks. Then everyone explains the generalizations she has made about each of their professions in her books. Brennan changes the subject and says that while Dr. Goodman goes through the writing, she should go back over the remains.

Back on the platform, Brennan is going over Warren's remains again, and Zack is there talking about how he has gone over many comic books and graphic novels in the last 24 hours. Bones is telling Zack what to go back over, and asks if Hodgins found any evidence of drug use, which he didn't. Zack mentions that he would love to have some of the powers that superheroes have. Bones is shocked and asks why he fantasizes; he is already smart. Zack says that his intelligence can be a handicap at times. Bones says she suspects it is the same with super powers. She finds the wound that killed Warren, and Zack says that he is going to try to find a weapon that matches the wound after he cleans the remains.

Angela and Dr. Goodman are looking at the comic, and find the arrival of "The Opalescence," the woman that he literally cannot approach. Angela suggests that maybe he was just creating his own "masturbatory materials," but Goodman says the story moves beyond that, and that Warren wanted to rescue The Opalescence from another dark character called "The Twisted". The fact that she is surrounded by blue leads them to question the girl in blue: Blue Minnow.

Booth and Brennan question Blue Minnow and she tells them that they can't take anyone from the Doomsday group seriously and that they were all "posers" like Warren said. She also tells them of a girlfriend that Warren had at the bowling alley, and that Warren was really Citizen 14. He was good, and did the right thing, but the others might have said he was obsessed. They didn't get Warren like she did though, and they couldn't ever be real heroes because they couldn't pull off something real. Brennan wants to know if murder would be considered a real crime in their eyes, and Abigail says that it would.

Zack and Hodgins are talking about comic books while Zack is waiting for the bones to be finished with their cleaning. He is reading more into them than Hodgins believes is there. When Zack begins to take the bones out of the cleaner, Hodgins notices bubbling and pitting on one of the bones. Zack says that the solution he used couldn't have caused that. He grabs the bone and looks closer, and the ridge is almost completely degraded. He comes to the conclusion that Warren was sick.

Brennan and Booth are at the bowling alley that Warren worked at. Brennan pokes fun at bowling, saying that it's not a sport because there's no physical benefit. Offended, Booth says that he won some bowling trophies and tells her to try not to anger everyone around her for once. She apologizes, and says that she won an award for a paper on physiological selection. Booth then jokes that they live such similar lives. They talk to the manager (Ted) of the bowling alley, and he says that when Warren stopped coming in he just thought he'd found another job and didn't want to give notice. The managers' wife (Lucy) comes over and says that she tried to get the Doomsday clan out, but they wouldn't leave. They ask about Warren's girlfriend, and the wife says that there was one girl that came around to see Warren, but he never really was glad to see her. Bones gets a call from Zack about the sickness the boy had that they found on the remains. Bones hangs up and tells Booth that if Warren hadn't been murdered two months ago, he would be dead by now.

Brennan and Booth talk to Warren's parents and find out he had leukemia, although his mother said it was in remission since he was 11. Bones says the bone deterioration that she saw is only present in advanced cases, and that he was very ill. His father said he tried to keep building "bridges of trust" between Warren and they kept being shut down. Booth realizes what the parents think and says that Warren wanted to tough it out on his own, and not let them see him suffer. The mother says that must be it. He didn't quit on them, he just didn't want to have them suffer through his illness again.

Brennan and Booth are walking through the Jeffersonian when Brennan asks Booth why he told Warren's parents that lie about him not disclosing his illness. Booth says that maybe he was all caught up in being a dying superhero, but he says the truth is that the boy was trying to be a man. They meet up with Hodgins, Angela, and Dr. Goodman, who begin to theorize about what Warren was doing and why. They think Warren was looking for The Twisted and Bones says that they could be drawing false assumptions. Brennan then realizes that someone else drew the comic book. Zack also comes and tells Brennan that he has found a piece of bone he can't account for. She rushes off, and Angela says that Stu Ellis (the kid that runs Karma Comics) drew Citizen 14.

Booth questions Stu, who says that he and Warren had a disagreement over the merchandising of Citizen 14. He also reveals that he holed up with Abigail a few times, but that she was obsessed with Warren, even though Warren didn't want her. Booth says that he lies too well, and that he is the prime suspect. Stu tells Booth that he is an artist.

Back at the lab, Brennan is going over the piece of bone that Zack can't account for and she finds that it is from a long bone, like an arm bone, and since Warren's bones are intact, it may be from the killer. She then instructs him to get her the supplies she needs to do a bone slide, and Zack asks why she's going to do it herself. She says that the bone is small and she needs to preserve enough of the remaining bone to do a DNA test.

Brennan is breathing on a machine that's holding the bone fragment. Booth comes in and notices that she looks nervous. She says if she gets it right, she could tell Booth the age, sex, and race of Warren Granger's killer. She tells her about Stu and his thing with Abigail, and that he was the artist of Citizen 14. She then asks why Booth said that she reminded him of Warren when they were looking through his room. He says that she tries to fight crime and has no superpowers, but as far as any normal person is concerned, she does have superpowers. Booth then asks how the bone got deposited into Warren's remains, and Brennan tells him that it was from the same weapon that killed him. Then Booth says that maybe there's another victim, and it's not the bones of the killer. Brennan says she doesn't think the second victim is dead, and asks Booth if he noticed anyone on this case favoring her arm. Booth says no, and she says that's because he's not "an anthropologist with superpowers".

They go to the bowling alley and ask Ted to go get Warren's last paycheck. When he leaves they ask his wife about her injuries that Brennan noticed. She makes an excuse saying she fell on the lanes, and they say that she has the type of damage done by a fist. Booth asks if her and Warren were close, and she says that he was a really nice kid. Ted comes back and Bones gets mad and tells him, "I'll see you in the comic books," and they walk away. Booth corrects her, saying it's, "I'll see you in the funny pages." She says she took a liberty and that Booth should go back and arrest him because he beats his wife. Booth says they need more evidence.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Brennan and Booth find out the bone is from a white male in his thirties, and they say it's Ted. Then they say they need the figure out the murder weapon so they can search the house for it. They go to the Angelator and Angela pulls up Citizen 14's arsenal. They try to find a real-world version of one of the weapons, and Booth finds it. He and Brennan head to the Bowling alley, talking about how Warren wanted to save the "damsel in distress" and that he wanted to make a difference before he died. When they arrive, Booth warns Brennan that sometimes domestic violence cases get "a little weird", and the woman can jump to the defense of her abusive husband. They come across Ted and his wife fighting and Booth asks for a bevel knife. Lucy gets one out of a tool box and Brennan examines it. She says it could be the weapon, and then she elbows the wound on Ted to prove that the bone they found on the remains was his. They talk to Lucy, who says that Warren saw Ted hit her once, and that Warren ran away. He then wanted to save her so he went after Ted. Brennan and Booth then tell Lucy the story of how Warren died.

At the cemetery music is playing over a montage of Angela finishing the comic book, and Warren's funeral is being attended by Lucy, the Doomsday group, Booth and Brennan, and Blue Minnow. Booth leaves his sharpshooter medal on Warren's casket, and Angela arrives and gives the finished comic book to Lucy. It shows that Warren saved The Opalescence (Lucy) after all, then Lucy leaves the comic book on the casket.


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