Batman. Spiderman. The Green Hornet. And now, Phoenix Jones.
By day, he may be your average Joe. By night, however, one Seattle, Wash. man assumes a philanthropic persona to lend a helping, albeit gloved, hand.
KIRO reported that Phoenix Jones, unknown by any other name, stopped an in-progress grand theft auto recently by chasing away the perpetrator.
The would-be victim, who asked to be referred to as "Dan," couldn't believe his eyes.
"From the right, this guy comes dashing in, wearing this skin-tight rubber, black and gold suit, and starts chasing him away."
Phoenix Jones is no stranger to danger. He said he has been patrolling the streets for the past nine months, keeping what he feels to be evil at bay. One adversary managed to stab him in the past, but he said most of his enemies flee at the sight of him.
"When I walk into a neighborhood, criminals leave because they see the suit. I symbolize that the average person doesn't have to walk around and see bad things and do nothing."
Superman may have his phone booth, but Phoenix Jones opts to use a local comic book store to transform.
In November, Jones spoke with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about his qualifications. He said he understands that with great power comes great responsibility.
"I don't condone people walking around on the street with masks. Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background, and we're well aware of what it costs to do what we do."
Yes, he has a team.
With names like "Catastrophe," "Thunder 88" and even "No Name," they are a part of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group of nine disguised defenders dedicated to ridding the city of crime.
The network doesn't stop there. Real-life superheroes have become a national phenomenon, with multiple online forums and a photographic gallery, The Real Life Super Hero Project. For those interested in participating in a caped crusade, a reference manual, created by the enigmatic superhero community is available for a complete ethics code.
Local law enforcement officers tolerate them as neighborhood watchers, but are not enthused. Jeff Kappel of the Seattle police department told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that their crime-fighting sometimes falls short of effective when they refuse to reveal their identity.
"There's nothing wrong with citizens getting involved with the criminal justice process -- as long as they follow it all the way through."