7 Mar 2013

Subject 13 #9 - Commentary

As always, go read the issue.  Spoilers, and all that.

The title, "Snapshots" is descriptive.  The scenes are short, a quick insight into the world around Nasty, starting with her abductors.  The scene with Nasty, though, is the beginning of the next plot arc.  It is deliberately contradictory.  Subject 9's entry goes to show that not every power is useful, and some can be fatal.  The entry also allows for a bit of history, fleshing out the setting more.

Since there's not much to comment about, with this issue wrapping up some plot lines for now (Eric's story will return) in preparation for the next arc, I'll mention the setting.  One of the goals of Subject 13 and the S13-verse is to create a starting point for a larger superheroic setting.  Some of the idea is to have analogues, equvilencies of elements in Marvel's and DC's universe, though not necessarily on the character level.  At the same time, I want to show avoid the insanely massive continuity snarls that even reboots don't fix.  I also want to have titles that are dark and gritty, titles that are light and fluffy, titles that are pure adventure, titles that are character pieces.  I also want to figure out how to do all that with believable characters and still have time to get all of it done.  There is a reason why comics have a team of writers, artists, letterers, inkers, colourers, and even editors.

The S13-verse will have an Avengers/Justice League analogue, the Vanguard.  They'll even get a mention in a future issue of Subject 13.  The team, so far, consists of Q-Ball (gadgeteer with power armour), The Laser (speedster), Feral (super scrapper), and Detonation Lass (psychokinetic explosions).  A few details have been worked on, such as Q-Ball's secret ID of Quentin Q. Quimby, CEO and chief engineer of QE (formerly known as Quimby Electronics, Inc.).  The Vanguard are the premier super team in the setting, and thus deal with dangers far above Nasty's weight class.

The Youth Brigade is the S13-verse's version of the Teen Titans and X-Men, more for the "teenagers with powers fighting supervillains" than the X-Men's anti-mutant hysteria theme.  Like the Vanguard, the Brigade has a roster already: Kid Inscrutable (occult magician), Pixie (fairy powers), Damage Magnet (like it says on the tin), Flashbulb (light controller), and Mystery Dude (psychic).  I've tried to write their Issue @1, but can't quite get the right view to pull it off.  They have appeared with Nasty in a different project, though.

The anti-mutant hysteria as seen in the various X-Men comics I am using, but spreading it out.  It never made sense to me that mutants were feared, not when heroes with superpowers, like Goliath, Captain America, and the Human Torch were accepted by the population and members of in-universe popular teams (Avengers for Goliath and Cap, the Fantastic Four for the Torch).  To add to the confusion, members of the X-Men have become Avengers, as have their X-opponents (Quicksilver and the Scarlett Witch, f'rex).  The difference seemed to be solely whether the powers were gained through accident or experiment versus being born with the powers.  Meanwhile, when there's someone rampaging and causing severe property damage, the general feeling isn't, "Well, as long as it's not his fault for having out of control powers."  It's, "There's another altie out of control!  Run!"  Thus, the distrust of alties (altered humans).  The Laser, of the Vanguard above, is a beloved hero because he puts himself on the line, powers or no.  Feral, of the same team, is seen more of a danger because of her attitude.  Pixie, of the Youth Brigade, is barely known; coupled with her power to shrink, she's not considered a danger.  Nasty, though, would be asked to leave Seward; she's already known as a rough element.  Her power, the Power Punch, just adds to her danger level.

As mentioned, time will pass in the setting.  It won't be a set rate like in Marvel's New Universe.  Time will proceed as needed, but characters won't be stuck at the same age forever.  The plan for Nasty is for her to graduate high school, get into college, eventually marry and have a kid, though her abilities may not let her experience this as a normal person would.  At the same time, her supporting cast will grow, mature, marry, divorce, and be nuisances, especially Nasty's not-yet-existing younger sister.  Nasty's future has much planned for it, whether she's ready for it or not.

Tomorrow, Issue 10 will be up.  I'm taking a week off at Fan To Pro so I can find the time to watch the movies I want to review.  Keep an eye out for some NaNoWriMo prep work, even though November is still eight months away.


  1. Noble goal. I think one of the main problems with universe setting though is time itself. Characters need to develop over time, they can't be learning the same lesson over and over... yet as they develop, they're not necessarily maintaining the same level of interest to readers. Leading to stupid comic stuff like Spiderman's deal with the devil just so he can go dating again. There's also a danger in planning out a future that characters can easily knock awry.

    Lots of good ideas though, and you seem to have planned things out rather well. Was that in your mind when you first started at the call centre, or just something that emerged after the first few parts had been written?

    By the way, I see Tia wasn't a cheerleader, just a fashion consultant. Clever.

    1. It's the problem DC and Marvel have - the characters have been around for a while, but in order to keep them at a certain level of development, the titles get reset. Spider-Man's deal with the devil is a particularly ham-handed way to pound the reset button, but DC has had to work hard to keep Superman (~80 year old comic) fresh without losing people who are only aware of the older versions. My method is to replace the person in the costume from time to time. Naturally, I start with a series that focuses on the person instead of the costume. >.<;;

      I emerged after the first few issues. Some of the characters I had in mind long before I started, but didn't pull them into the project until more or less this issue. I had a scene in mind for the Vanguard, but I'd have to work my way up to that point.

      Again, I didn't go for the concept of the unreliable narrator, but Nasty's POV was never supposed to be 100% accurate.