KLIATTThreshold, a super-hero team based in Philadelphia, has four membersMr. Malevolence, the team's strong man; The Cosmopolitan, an inept magician; Meridian, wielder of the Meridian Effect and chronicler of the adventures of Penny Rabbit; and Recoil, who is obsessed with oral hygiene and has no super-powers at all. Threshold is "the officially sanctioned super-team serving the Delaware Valley." Ever since Madame Emory's rampage in Seattle, in which 25,683 people died during contract negotiations between Seattle's mayor and the Establishment (the firm representing the super-hero team NYSS alpha squad), all major American cities now pay for super-hero protection. Threshold comes cheap because they're the only non-union gig in the country; simply put, they're scabs. Fortunately, Philadelphia isn't exactly a hub of super-villain activitythere's Root Canal, who has the power to give people toothaches, and that's about it. The situation changes with the arrival of Lightning Man, who is from outer space; and the malevolent Stamp Collector, who uses black magic to suck Threshold into his stamp album. Will Philadelphia be next? Less Than Heroes is an entertaining send-up of super-hero comics. The bizarre villains remind me of Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol; and the quirky characters remind me of James Robinson's Starman, a series notable for the number of times its main character gets beat up. Less Than Heroes contains comic-book violence and mild vulgarity. A highly enjoyable read, recommended for older readers who like super-hero comics. KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Top Shelf,143p. illus., Ages 15 to adult.