At least one night a month, “superhero” anticrime patroller Dave Montgomery of Salt Lake City dons a black leather outfit that suggests pure urban menace, inserts blue contact lenses that give his eyes an eerie glow, steps into industrial-goth boots that rise nearly to his knees, and puts on a blood-red wraparound mask in the shape of a cross with no nose or mouth, reports the Los Angeles Times. Montgomery, 41, calls himself Nihilist, a thing without rules, and he’s the founder of the Black Monday Society — a collection of two dozen characters with such names as Asylum, Fool King, Red Voltage, and Iron Head who walk Salt Lake City streets looking for trouble — not making it, but trying to prevent it. He is among the growing ranks of self-styled superheroes prowling the pavement in places like San Jose, Boston, Minneapolis, New York, Cleveland, and Kansas City.
They’re teachers, artists, students and blue-collar Joes who transform themselves into crime fighters similar to the comic-book characters they cheered on as children. On their irregular forays, the Black Monday Society forms up in groups of four or more to patrol troubled downtown neighborhoods. They have yet to encounter a crime in progress, although they have broken up fights and helped drunks passed out on the sidewalk. Superheroes in other cities have armed themselves with mace, pepper spray and clubs, causing many to fear that the idealistic crusaders are soon going to hurt themselves — or someone else.