Circus and the Elite is an early draft of Worm featuring Circus, a version written in 2008 can be found and read here.[1]

Like other drafts Circus vs. the Elite went through many drafts before it was ultimately dropped in favor of what would be Worm.


Circus is approached out in the open by Harmon Rex. before he can finish introducing himself she has bolted and changed into her costume trying to get away as fast as she can.

Later meets up with a group of other independent villains that have been approached by the Elite.

Circus and Doll are ambushed by twisted speedster but are able to escape. They

A group of rogues and solo villains try to hold out against recruitment by a much larger cape group.

Groups[2] Edit

  • The Elite
    • This Elite is much more spread out, composing of both illegal cartels and the legal businesses.
    • The group contains prominent members of the Slaughterhouse Nine and Cauldron both.[2][3].
  • The Daemon family
    • An early version of the New Wave, given their description as a family of prolific super-powered hicksters.
    • Interestingly, neither Glory Girl nor Guts are members, instead being Wards.
  • Unaffiliated Capes of the city
  • Faultline’s Crew
    • Though a bit thinner than canon, Faultline's Crew still has several of the same capes as canon.
  • Coil's Organization
    • Apparently only made up of Coil, though it could be a similar situation as canon, where Coil has several groups of capes secretly in his control, apparently played a hand in Faultline's Crew forming.
    • Coil himself is described as a "right bastard", though he somehow has enough power to fight the Elite

Characters[2] Edit

Elite Edit

  • Pristine - The explicit leader of the Elite in both its illegal and legal arms. Faultline hypothesizes that she has some form of precognative power given how she was able to easily take her Crew down.[4]
  • Harmon Rex - A tall man with crisscrossing scars across his face, Rex is an early character whose traits would later be broken up between the Siberian and Gavel. Said to have walked into a police station and "killed a hundred cops", which was nation-wide news.
    • Shares the Siberians ability to violate physics, able to pick up a building by its corner without it breaking up in his hands. As well as her dissonant calm in stressful situations.
    • Gavel's ability to take a minimum amount of damage from any attack, with Taylor referencing the legendary Scabbard of Excalibur when describing it.[5] Harmon was known as Scabbard, a vigilante hero, for a short amount of time before it came out he was abusing the men and women he caught; echoing Gavels's history. Explicitly can take ballistic missiles with 'nary a mark'.
  • Number Man - ability to manipulate and understand numbers, is called a programmer able to stand toe to toe with Dragon and able to hack into city systems to spy on potential recruits.[4]
  • Mother - Early version of Bonesaw
    • Unnamed warped speedster - Early version of Chuckles. Nine feet tall with oddly bending legs and incredibly long arms that dragged for several feet behind him. speaks complete nonsense through a clown mask that is stitch into its face. While initially confused for a zombie by Doll, Circus thinks it is more likely a former hero caught and mutilated into a beast. Nose big and red with tumorous skin and dyed blue hair.
    • Murder Rat - referenced as an early creation when Mother was twelve
  • Cherish - mentioned as Heartbreaker's daughter in early draft
  • Winter - only given a name.

Faultline’s Crew[2] Edit

  • Faultline - similar costume to canon self though more detail is given to false eyebrows and hair that she uses in her costume. Gives out money and prepaid phones to the gathered villains to coordinate and shares advice on how to evade detection in ones civilian identity.
  • Newter - different coloring being pale with green undertones and dyed red hair, though he has the same fit physique and prehensile tail as his final canon self. Apparently not amnesic but does not have a secret identity.
  • Spitfire
  • Implicitly lost members from a visit by the Elite

Unaffiliated group[2] Edit

  • Circus - view point character and protagonist
  • Doll - Early version of Sabah, same height, costume, and abilities wears a red curly wig with the canon ceramic mask and frock.
  • Bitch - had family but lost her mother, father and her dogs from a visit from the Elite. is given a dress to wear as a civilian disguise when the villains are coordinating.
  • Felix Swoop

Wards Edit

  • Guts - Early version of Panacea
  • Glory - Early version of Glory Girl
  • Aegis - female here, same color scheme
  • Clockblocker - largely unchanged
  • Runechild - Is not an early version of Rune, they did share a few aspects of their powers. Runechild was effectively supposed to be a kind of young Doctor Strange.

Mentioned only[2] Edit

  • Dragon (in charge of Dragon Corp)
  • Heartbreaker - specifically mentioned to need line of sight when using his abilities
  • Coil

Trivia Edit

  • The character that would become Taylor Hebert first appeared in a rewrite of Circus and the Elite as part of the Undersiders.[6].


  1. Circus vs. Elite (2008ish) – Circus was a character I wrote for a while, but she doesn’t feel like she has a lot of personality, looking back.

    Hey, Bitch is there, in her first incarnation! And a variant on Bonesaw (who made it into every elite team before settling in the Slaughterhouse Nine)! Chuckles features in a fight as well. This was around the time that I started to conceptualize what I was looking for in a protagonist. I started to write Grue as a protagonist for a short bit before I finally stumbled on Taylor’s character. - Snippets: Before Worm
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Partial text of Circus and the Elite
  3. I folded the Elite into Cauldron/the Nine. I don’t think I could do this. Haven’t alluded to them at all, or anything like that, so they’d be coming out of nowhere.

    I did consider using them (and I think I briefly mentioned something along these lines in a previous comment somewhere) but decided they’d be too similar to the Nine in how the conflict unfolded. - Comment by Wildbow on Monarch 16.8
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fun fact. Parian’s first real adventure was a Circus-centric story where ‘The Elite’, a villainous organized-crime enterprise including The Number Man, ‘Mother’ (Bonesaw), Contessa, Winter and one or two others. First story Bitch appeared in, as a side bit. These guys are taking over the Eastern seaboard with a ‘join or die’ approach and they hit town, forcing the local solo villains & rogues to band together. Not wanting to group too closely together, the local villains form into small groups, and Parian and Circus form a duo. - Comment by Wildbow on Monarch 16.8
  5. His power made it so he could only take so much damage at a time, and reduced the severity of any damage to a set amount. Shooting him with a hail of bullets would be little different from shooting him with one or two bullets, and any given bullet would only gouge out a teaspoon of flesh.

    Excalibur’s scabbard. He could have done so much more with the concept, but he’d gone with a hammer instead of a sword. - Excerpt from Venom 29.2
  6. Circus vs. Elite…

    And it’s only with that last one that the Undersiders appear at all (BItch makes first appearance, Regent is conceptualized but not a member of the team, Ditto for Grue, Tattletale not conceptualized at that point).

    Taylor/Skitter didn’t even appear until the Undersiders had made their third appearance in my stories, and she was a background character in a rewrite of Circus vs. Elite. I got back to her in a roundabout way, but it took a while. The result of bad (if well intentioned) advice. - Comment by Wildbow on Prey 14.8