1 Aug 2013

Subject 13 #30 - Commentary

As always, please read the issue before continuing.

Issue 30 turned out to be lengthy.  A lot happened that I could have split into two separate issues if I had thought about it.  The issue starts with Nasty being called into action after school while the threat of Famine, one of the Apocalyptic Horsepersons approaches Rochester.  The police and the Eagle Foundation want to keep rioting and looting to a minimum, and two heroes can protect a city better than one.  The specific threat is El Diablo Verde, The Green Devil, a hitman from Mexico.

I managed to expand the S13-verse with the introduction of Los Angeles-based All Stars.  Most comic book heroes, especially in the Marvel and DC universes, are based out of New England if not out of New York City, with the exceptions* of national heroes, like Marvel's Alpha Flight, based in Canada, and DC's Fire and Ice, from Brazil and Norway respectively.  Historically, the New York centrism stems from the publishers being based in the city.  As the influence of the West Coast grew, especially Hollywood, comics didn't expand and stayed either in fictional cities, like DC's Metropolis and Gotham City, or in New England.  Marvel's West Coast Avengers/Avengers West came about in the late 80s and early 90s, long after the Avengers started in the 60s.  Marvel even went so far to explain in The Runaways that a spell caused heroes to ignore the West Coast.  Me, I decided here's a good point to show that the West Coast has heroes, like Hollywood Hills**.

Nasty, naturally, has concerns.  She is well aware of her limits - she can hit people and she can swear.  But, go after El Diablo Verde she does, for she is the hero.  Just, not the normal sort of hero as the skulking man points out.  Nasty doesn't believe in a fair fight.  The skulker has a choice of two bad options, let Nasty know where the Green Devil is and risk being killed by him, or not tell Nasty anything and be in severe pain for the rest of his life.  Fortunately, El Diablo Verde steps out of the shadows to introduce himself.

Initially, I had some trouble working out El Diablo Verde's personality.  Originally, he was starting to look like a leg-breaker more than a suave assassin.  His dealings with the All Stars and his fight against Hollywood Hills certainly shows that he is a powerhouse.  However, I tested different voices for him.  When I read /El Diablo Verde's/ lines as if they were spoken by Ricardo Montalban, things clicked.  The Green Devil became the professional I needed.  Anyone can have dumb muscle; people will pay for smart hitman.

The comment about Nasty's accent when saying his name came from the difference between an Italian and a Spanish accent.  I took Italian for a year in university as a way to avoid writing essays.  I had taken French through out elementary and secondary school; bilingualism is a requirement for a decent job here.  Several of the other students in class, though, had taken Spanish in high school, and got through the class by speaking Spanish with an Italian accent.  Nasty does know Italian, having learned it from her mother and grandparents.  Pronouncing El Diablo Verde without mangling the name is easy enough for her.

Nasty isn't dumb.  She's smart enough to stay at both Seward in New York and Fieldson in Rochester, even if she has to work hard.  She can make the obvious connection, the one I was wondering about - why is the Green Devil in Rochester?  Well, yes, he's being paid to be there.  By who?  I have no idea and he's not telling.  I did say he was a professional assassin.  He wouldn't remain one long if he told everyone who he worked for, unless that was in the contract.

The other problem I ran into is that the Green Devil is more experienced and more powerful than Nasty.  A fight would leave her in the hospital.  She does do some posturing, more for her sake than his, but she isn't eager to punch him.  Nasty lays down her options to the Green Devil, who offers a third.

The Foundation wasn't expecting the third option, either.  They're being very careful, but the Green Devil hasn't done anything to cause them to react and New York State doesn't have any warrants on him.  Here's where I take a little bit of liberty with American laws.  International law requires a country to ask for extradition, something usually pre-arranged in a treaty.  American states aren't quite separate nations, as much as a few might wish they were.  But, state police can't cross state lines to arrest a criminal except under certain circumstances, and an outstanding warrant in one state may not mean, at least in the S13-verse, that the police in one jurisdiction have to send an alleged criminal to another.  Or, at least, it can be rules-lawyered as such in extenuating circumstances.  Special Agent Johnson disagrees with me.

Special Agent Johnson of the FBI is a shout out to Die Hard, where all the FBI agents were Johnson.  Naturally, the FBI has a division specifically for powered criminals, such as the Green Devil.  This is a bit more world-building; in a world where superpowers are known, there will be a need for law enforcement agencies to be able to respond.  Thus, the FBI has its Special Enforcement and Investigation Branch.  The RCMP has its own, as do state police and police departments of large cities, like New York.  Jurisidictional disputes do make for decent conflict.

Nasty and El Diablo Verde did make a connection.  They do respect each other somewhat.  He was impressed that Peregrine didn't go in charging, was willing to listen, and realized why he was there.  Nasty was relieved not to get hit, and gained appreciation when she realized that he was a professional, like Micki.  Micki doesn't like the comparison.

The issue ends with Nasty seeing how hard it is to be a hero, the responsibilities, the tough decisions.  Experience is the best teacher at times, but the lessons can be hard to take.  Anne helps by pointing out what Nasty did accomplish, despite creating a relations headache with the FBI.

Issue 30 marks the end of what I had prepared for Subject 13.  Issue 31 is the stumbling block.  Most of the major action, the fight against Famine, will be offscreen for the most part.  The battle will take place over Lake Ontario and involved a number of heroes from both Canada and the US, along with military support, including CF-18 squadrons from Bagotville and as much artillery the New York National Guard can bring up.  Nasty, however, doesn't have either a flight power or a ranged attack power, and has to be relegated to the sidelines, dealing with minor threats popping up and debris from the fight, like the tail section of a National Guard A-10.

I do have plans for after the battle with Famine.  There is a missing issue where Nasty fights off a supervillain with electrical powers while keeping her identity secret from Rusty.  The Consortium will finally make their move on Nasty, which will lead to a mindscape arc.  After that, Nasty realizes that she needs to go back home, but goes public about the Consortium first.  Once home, she and Maria have a reunion, she returns to Seward and Eric and Tia.  The school's senior semi-formal arrives, leading to Nasty's first serious dance with complications.  Long term plans for Nasty include meeting her father and his family, college, a younger sister, a new career, love and heartbreak, her own child, and the difficulties of having gone public.

Other parts of the S13-verse include Prototype Alpha, a powered suit wearer who fights crime and world domination in Toronto, The Youth Brigade, teen superheroes in New York, and The Global Vanguard, the world's premier superhero group.  Crossover brings together Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and The Youth Brigade to stop an inter-dimensional threat.

Tomorrow, I start a new serial with the Lethal Ladies.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, the last of the Avengers Adaptation.
Coming soon, details of other works and more notes on character creation.

* And other exceptions, such as when writers and editors realize that there's an area of the US not covered.
** If no company has thought about using that name, I'm ahead of them!

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