Frank Darbo is a short-order cook with a wretched life about to make his life super. He has only two good memories from it: 1) marrying his wife, Sarah and 2) the time he alerted a police officer to a purse snatcher. Although his artistry is limited, he drew a pair of crayon sketches of those incidents as his daily inspiration.
Sarah, who is a recovering drug addict married Frank shortly after hitting rock bottom, and she leaves Frank for a charming strip club owner named Jacques who feeds her a steady stream of drugs.
With her abandonment, Frank falls into a depression that takes him so low that he has a vision where God reaches out to touch him with his finger. It’s then Frank “meets” the Holy Avenger, a Christian superhero from a public-access television show.
The Holy Avenger tells Frank that God has chosen him for a very special purpose. He wants Frank to become a superhero, so Frank heads to a local comic store for inspiration. There, he meets the store clerk, Libby, who is very enthusiastic about Frank’s research, and she gives him many ideas from comics in the store. Frank returns home where he creates his secret identity as THE CRIMSON BOLT!
He arms himself with a very large pipe wrench, and then sets out to fight crime via savage beatings to an assortment of petty rule breakers. He busts open drug dealer’s heads, child molester’s bodies, and even an annoying men who cut in line at the movies.
Just like Batman, the media sees him as a menace, but the public sees him as a help once they learn his “victims” have criminal pasts of their own. Eventually, Frank attempts to rescue Sarah from Jacque’s clutches, but his goons recognize Frank behind the mask. They manage to shoot him in the legs as he runs from their hideout.
Frank only has Libby to turn to in this situation, and she not only helps, but demands he let her become BOLTIE, the Crimson Bolt’s young sidekick. She even goes as far as designing her own costume, but she turns out to be crazier than Frank. On their first outing together, she nearly kills a boy who she claims to have vandalized her friend’s car (but has no real proof).
Frank tells her to go home because that’s not how a super hero acts, but she gets back in his good graces when she rescues him from Jacque’s goons at a gas station. Libby is utterly infatuated with Frank/The Crimson Bolt, but he turns down her advances because he’s married to, and still loves, Sarah.
Libby thinks it’s okay to fool around when they are in their superhero costumes, and she rapes him one night after fighting crime. Frank runs to the bathroom afterwards to vomit, but experiences a delightful vision of Sarah in the toilet. He takes this as a sign that he needs to rescue her from Jacques and his goons.
Frank and Libby arm themselves with all sorts of guns, pipe bombs, and any weaponry they can hold. They dawn some bulletproof vests, and sneak into Jacques’ homestead. They kill many guards upon arrival, but both are immediately shot. Frank takes one to the chest, but his vest protects him. A bullet pierces Libby’s head, and she immediately dies.
Frank, overwhelmed at her loss, flies into a rage; killing almost everyone inside. Jacque manages to shoot Frank, but Frank stabs him to death before anything else happens to him. Frank takes Sarah home, and stays with her out of his sense of obligation for saving her life.
Sarah soon overcomes her addiction, and remarries. The two have four children together. Frank is now seemingly happy, alone, but happy. He has a pet bunny, and a wall full of new crayon drawings from his time spent with Libby and Sarah’s kids, whom they call Uncle.
Frank looks at the picture of Libby one last time as a tear rolls down his cheek.