25 Jul 2013

Subject 13 #29 - Commentary

As always, go read the issue first.

First off, you should be noticing that the issues are getting much longer.  Issue 29 was written on my own time, away from the hellhole of phone tech support.  I had also gotten more comfortable with writing.  The words flow much better.  Next issue is even longer, but has better flow.

The issue starts with Nasty returning to her new apartment after school, using public transit.  Her previous mission ended, but Anne kept Nasty at Fieldson, in part to maintain a secret ID and in part to smooth off Nasty's rough edges.  Nasty is now up to two secret identities; Jessica and Peregrine.  She has to keep knowledges separate; what Peregrine knows versus what Jessica knows and both versus what she, Nasty, knows.  Makes one wonder how Superman and Spider-Man manage.

As she arrives home, Nasty gets called in for work.  The Eagle Foundation splurges for a cab; Nasty hasn't been given a car on top of the Peregrine-cycle.  She and the cabbie banter, and some darker elements of sidekicks come up.  Why do heroes have sidekicks, beyond the hero's book having a character the same age as the reader doing heroics?  Robin has brightly coloured costume, constrasting with Batman's greys.  Speedy has a bright red costume, while the Green Arrow goes for a forest green.  Are the adult heroes looking for a way to not be shot?  And this doesn't even get into Marvel's Rick Jones, who has been a sidekick to the Hulk, Captain America, the Avengers, Captain Marvel, and Rom the Spaceknight.  The cabbie's view leans on the side of heroes not needing kids as shields, but enjoyed seeing Peregrine beating down Cinder and Ember.  Nasty sees a way to put a small wedge between Peregrine and Jessica by condemning Peregrine's brutal violence and language*.

At the Foundation, Nasty gets whisked off to a meeting with the board of directors.  Micki, after a quick comment on the weather inappropriate skirt, gets down to business and gets Nasty to where she's needed.  At the time the issue was written, board rooms with fancy controls for everything were still new.  Computer controlled lights and curtains were executive perks, not basic requirements.  When the issue was written, the icons would have been simple.  Today, they'd be animated with sound.

This issue and the next few planned were meant to enlarge the S13-verse.  If this was a comic company instead of a one-man operation, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would be either a massive crossover or a series of special issues and annuals.  Each Horseman would be the focus of a group of heroes and villains, working together to defeat a common foe.  A classic Crisis Crossover.  But, being the sole person in the creative team and editorial staff, I had to make do.  Thus, the Global Vanguard do battle as seen through a satellite feed.  The Vanguard is the S13-verse's version of teams like marvel's Avengers and DC's Justice League.  Detonation Lass can make things explode with her mind.  Laser is a speedster.  The Emerald Flame shoots green fire from his hands.  Q-Ball is an inventor and has his own power armour.  Feral is the scrappy brawler.  They represent the premier superhero team in the world.  They also had the fight of their lives stopping Death.  The Consortium's team is getting sent to stop War; the more helping, the better.

In the middle of the crisis breaking out, Nasty has to deal with the Jessica side of her secret ID.  There is no way for Cynthia to know that Jessica has other issues that transcend school social circles.  Nasty does manage to find an escape route, just in time for a press conference.  Nasty handles herself decently enough, but gets caught off guard by a question out of left field.  Anne figures out a way to help Nasty with public speaking, and Nasty builds on top by suggesting that Micki become her spokeswoman.  For a character that showed up because I needed an admin assistant in a scene, Micki has grown and has become a member of the supporting cast.  A note for anyone writing a serial by the seat of the pants:  Keep track of characters.  If one keeps getting reused, bring that character in as a regular cast member.  Saves time later when a role is needed.

The rest of the issue handles the fallout from the announcement.  Tia and Eric in New York City are having to deal with a hard curfew.  Eric reveals that he misses Nasty and takes up her side in her absence.  Cynthia and Emily deal with each other; Cynthia going full-on dramatic while Emily deals with the more pragmatic concerns of homework.  Maria and her new beau Skeet react to the news of the curfew, with Skeet figuring a way to pass the time.  Note that this is the same Skeet that she met her first night living alone.

The one thing I was worried wouldn't feel right is the curfew and lockdown.  When I first wrote the issue, the idea that Americans would allow themselves to be confined, even for the duration of an emergency, didn't sit right.  History vindicates me, though; a curfew was enforced shortly after the Boston Marathon explosion.  However, knowing that there's an emergency doesn't take away the feeling of being trapped. something highlighted in the Maria, Eric, and Cynthia scenes.

Next week, Nasty faces a master assassin.
Over at MuseHack, Lost in Translation looks at Firefox.  No, the other one.
Later, finishing touches on the Traveller project, a new serial in the works, and crossing genres.

* Even Nasty doesn't like her swearing.

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