Perhaps that's why the region is damn near overrun with superheroes.
Recluse also calls New Bedford home. Clad in a studded rubber mask and a shirt with the white outline of a spider, he is a mysterious and elusive figure, true to his name. He does, however, agree to speak briefly with the Phoenix.
"When I first started," recalls Recluse, "I was doing patrols in one of [New Bedford's] worst neighborhoods, the South End. A lot of drug dealers, a lot of gangs, and I got injured doing that. . . . I thought it was like the comic books, apparently. I don't know what I was thinking. I tried to stop three people from breaking into a house and I got thrown off the porch and landed on my shoulder, so I learned a lesson there."
Since then, he says, he has taken a more careful approach, hitting the streets as a dynamic duo with a trained martial artist who calls himself Bushido (Japanese for "way of the warrior," and the name of the moral code the samurai lived by). While combing the streets for crime, he wears street clothes — and a ballistics vest.
Recluse, too, has been donning plainclothes of late, "trying to observe and report more," he says. "I knew Bushido way before I ever donned my Recluse mask; he saw what I was doing and he wanted to do it as well. We patrol from a vehicle with a video camera and only get involved if it's an immediate danger to someone or someone's property."
Basilisk, inspired by Batman, cruises around the Taunton area. You'll recognize him as the guy wearing a trench coat, goggles, a hood, and gloves. He met Civitron online, and the two now meet regularly to get coffee and discuss life, or to go look for wrongs to right.
Basilisk says he views himself as "a servant of the people. I take this goal very seriously," he says. "Basically I want to be myself and I want to make a difference."
If any bad dudes venture farther north, specifically in the Lewiston and Auburn area of Maine, they'll be entering Slapjack's turf. Slapjack says he first adopted his persona for the online role-playing game City of Heroes. But after hearing about other real-life superheroes, he decided it was time for his character to move from the virtual world to the real streets to watch for crime and help with charity work.
His look is inspired by the classic comic-noir hero The Shadow. They both wear a fedora and trench coat, and Slapjack has a mask with a spade and a diamond over the eyes. He sometimes carries metal-framed playing cards that can be tossed like throwing knives.
"Slapjack is the complete opposite of who I am," he says, reflecting on his costumed persona. "I'm a really happy-go-lucky type of guy. I am very social and open, and Slapjack is like the darker personality. He is more secretive, more opinionated, he's let his mind go and it really is like a Clark Kent/Superman or Bruce Wayne/Batman type of thing."