Armed with a skintight black-and-gold, belted costume, a cape and a fedora, Phoenix Jones suits up at night to fight crime on the streets of Seattle. He's the leader of a real-life superhero movement.
"I'm definitely not going to let my fellow citizens be assaulted and not do anything," Jones said.
Jones leads the Rain City Superheroes, a group of 10 fighters who perform their own form of vigilante justice on the streets of Seattle.
"It's a pretty simple message. Citizens need to be more accountable. Calling 911 is a great start, but it's not the end all to end all," Jones said. "Criminals feel free to just run wild in my city, and I'm not going to stand for it."
Superman can fly, Batman has his gadgets and Spiderman has his webs and supersharp senses. But Phoenix Jones, Red Dragon and Buster Doe have just their snazzy costumes and endless enthusiasm as they patrol Seattle's Capitol Hill.
Red Dragon sports a red robe and a wooden sword. Buster Doe covers his face with a white scarf.
Jones said he developed his costume, along with his alter ego's name, when his crime-fighting ways made him too recognizable.
"When I started breaking apart fights, I had no outfit or moniker or symbol, and people started recognizing me in my everyday life. It got kind of dangerous and very uncomfortable," he said. "This suit is what people recognize, and when I take the suit off, I'm able to live as close to a normal life as possible until I put it back on and am ready to defend the people of Seattle."
While Jones might not have Batman's Alfred Pennyworth to help him build cool new gadgets, he has adapted his car and costume to protect him.
He wears a bulletproof vest and carries not just a Taser but a net gun and a grappling hook.
His car has a computer in it that prints any e-mails sent to his superhero e-mail address.
"Just back up! Stay back, stay away. I don't want to have to Tase you," Jones yelled.
Red Dragon and Buster Joe called the police.
"I know what you guys are doing … fine … but if somebody's drunk, all of a sudden having somebody in their face with masks on ..." a Seattle police officer warned Jones.
Police are perplexed, worried the group will turn into vigilantes and doubt that the superhero posse has ever stopped any crime.
"Our concern is if it goes badly, then we end up getting called anyway, and we may have additional victims," Detective Mark Jamieson said.
Jones said that he calls police ahead of time to tell them where he'll be patrolling. He said that his costume is crucial in helping police recognize him, and it makes an impact on would-be criminals.
"If you fight crime without the outfit, the police don't know who to look for. They don't know who's bad and who's good. ...This is a very noticeable outfit. ... It tells people and drug dealers and criminals ... that when you see this outfit and this group of people, we stand for a message. ... We're against the crimes that you're trying to do," Jones said.