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Steve Frederick
The Secrets of the Superhero's Ring
Eleven-year-old Kyle Alexander is a fifth-grade boy who is afraid of heights, bullied at school, and is new in town. He becomes a superhero when he and his best friend, Carlos, find a magic ring in a cereal box. The ring once belonged to the deceased brother of the great superhero, Captain Nightmare, but now is stuck on Kyle’s finger. Captain Nightmare is not happy that a scared, geeky kid has his ring. Kyle, who is clumsy and skinny, has a too-small costume with an old blue blankie cape and swim goggles. He’s scared to use the ring’s powers and is nothing like the strong and courageous superheroes around town. He becomes “Cockroach,” named by vile criminals who mock him. He is having doubts about his newfound abilities--and that is a problem. The Grizzly Bear gang is out to hurt superheroes. Kyle learns that the superheroes are looking to take down the Grizzlies, but are worried the Grizzlies set a trap with Laxitivium, the substance that strips The Captain of his powers. Cockroach arrives first at the crime scene and is seized by the Grizzlies. They are about to pummel him when Captain Nightmare arrives. Cockroach breaks free, but blinded by Laxitivium dust, collides with The Captain and the Grizzlies escape, but not before they douse Captain Nightmare with Laxitivium. Cockroach feels humiliated and dejected and decides to quit. His superhero mentor, TreeMan, takes him aside and tells him, “Being a superhero isn’t easy. You feel fear like never before. Crooks want you dead. It makes a mess of your life. You’re tired. You want to give up. But you don’t. Because people need you.” But the ring still holds secrets. When Kyle and his friend uncover them, they come to fear the ring. Perhaps using its powers will be the end of Kyle. As part of a superhero rescue team, Cockroach muffs his responsibility, leaving two superheroes exposed to sudden death. He must quickly decide whether to risk using the ring’s powers, knowing that it might put his own life in danger.