The show did the same thing with their companion website
These helped fill in some gaps the show never addressed, like how Laurie Blake avoided jail and why computer technology was so far behind. But they also offered insights into Dale Petey himself. Many of the documents on
After the show’s eighth episode, the only two documents added to
The only thing comic readers knew about
Agent Petey’s site provided a deep look at what the apparently hard-to-understand novel was about. This is how he described
“Shea, a former writer of acclaimed, genre-bending pirate comics (including the thrice-filmed “Charnel Messiah”), wrote the novel in 1972 while working at a VA hospital in Cleveland. Facilitating an art therapy program for soldiers suffering from PTSD, Shea was struck by their testimonials — their awe of serving under the god-like Dr. Manhattan, their guilt of committing atrocities with the Comedian, their rationalizations about going from liberators saving a people from communism to conquerors seizing a country for capitalism. Their poignant stories of shattered worldview and conscience inspired Shea to capture the confused state of America’s heroic character.”
Petey, who mentions in his memo he entered a
“Finding that edition in Detective Tillman’s gloomy bunker (what are the odds?) and reading my own words
of years ago by its dim light, was a veritable Campbellian experience, an encounter with my innermost self
in some dreadful cave of reckoning. What I saw — what I see — in that reflection exposes limits and flaws
that I’ve never outgrown. This entire adventure in Tulsa has shown me that I am not the enlightened intellect
I thought I was, but remain compromised by blinkered, assumptive, know-it-all thinking. I feel challenged
to engage our culture with a more generous and empathetic spirit. (Perhaps I’ll start by giving the fiction of
American Hero Story a second chance.) If I’ve just confessed to any incompetence that should cost me this
job, I accept that.
He also shared his old summary to his site. And it was Petey’s documents about
“They’re the most special of special-forces, braver than a Ranger, deadlier than a SEAL. Fogdancers do the ghastly wet-work that grease the wheels of the American machine and mop up proof of all the sick stuff you’re not supposed to do during combat. The canisters of toxins, the animals with weird boils, all the charred bodies who can still breathe and talk. See him now in your mind’s eye, moving through boiling clouds of Sunset Haze, wearing his gas mask and skin-tight silver suit shimmering with SPF-666, looking slick and doing what must be done, in secret, to keep you and me and all of us free. Or so we tell ourselves.”
LubeMan dresses like a Fogdancer, a character who obviously fascinated Petey. Those two documents alone make Petey the only logical candidate to be that slippery figure. Petey obsessed over superheroes and then he suddenly found himself in their midst in Tulsa. And his experiences there caused him to have an existential crisis. Sounds like a perfect recipe to make him put on his own mask.
And now, the last entry on
“Given the simultaneous deaths of a U.S. senator and a prominent trillionaire, it would appear Petey has taken it upon himself to continue the investigation despite our closing it. It’s clear now from his memos that Petey (Hero Enthusiast-Obsessive/Solipsist on the Werthem Spectrum) is at risk for vigilante behavior, and most likely, always was. Perhaps sooner or later, this task force will be investigating him.”
One of the items found on Petey’s now abandoned desk? “A jug of what appears to be some kind of canola oil,” which sounds perfect for sliding into sewers. However, considering the moral ambiguity—if not outright war crimes—of the super soldier Fogdancers, it seems like a weird costume for a “hero” to wear.
If Petey really is embracing his dream to be a masked vigilante, is he also going to embrace the ethically questionable tactics of his chosen inspiration? We know there’s great meaning in him picking that skintight silver suit. This was the last thing he ever wrote to his colleagues at the FBI:
Agent Blake once told me that masked vigilantes often get two origin stories in life. The identity that circumstances create for you, and the one you choose for yourself. Perhaps the same can be true for me.”
A masked hero with an oversized ego and questionable tactics? Dale Petey’s Lube Man sounds like a perfect character for season two of