Phoenix Jones Gets a Nemesis

"Supervillain" Rex Velvet seeks to stymie the caped cru-sprayer.

Seattle's new supervillain goes by the name of Rex Velvet, and he's chosen the polarizing man-in-rubber, Phoenix Jones, as the primary target of his fictionally villainous efforts. Judging by Velvet's introductory YouTube video, he obviously understands the importance of production value—a characteristic he shares with his masked nemesis. And if history has taught us anything, it's that a man with an up-curling mustache should always be taken seriously.

Calling himself "the people's villain," Velvet wants to put an end to Seattle's real-life-superhero movement. KIRO-FM's Ross and Burbank Show got in on the action, asking Jones about his newest rival last week. "I looked him up. He's actually just a wedding photographer who made a funny video," said Jones. "If he was a true supervillain I would be more interested, because at least I would have something to do. Right now it's like [a] war of social media, and I have better things to do with my time."

Matt Harrison, director of the forthcoming documentary Citizen Heroes, billed as "a look into the soul of Seattle's real-life-superhero movement," knows a thing or two about how this intricate world of make-believe works. Harrison, who accompanied Jones on numerous patrols over roughly seven months of shooting, says real-life superheroes often feed off real-life supervillains. "For the most part, the majority of these guys are what you would call Internet trolls," says Harrison. "[They're] kind of an accepted part of the movement. It's kind of understood that they don't actually go out and do deeds of evil—they don't actively do anything. They just post things. They call out the heroes when they act less than heroic. They kind of keep them honest, in a way."

Indeed, contrary to reports, Velvet is not the first supervillain to emerge from Seattle. Agent Beryllium and her crew ROACH, for instance, have taken up the Seattle supervillain calling in the past.

As for Velvet, Harrison is intrigued. "I think it's interesting, and it's timed just right," he says of Velvet's emergence on the same day Jones faced allegations of pepper-spraying people in Seattle's May Day crowd.

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