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- "Haka of Shielding" shows Ambuscade detonating a bomb (ineffectively) on Haka's back while Haka eats a sandwich and carries a balloon. This moment is foreshadowed on Ambuscades "Personal Cloaking Device" card.
- Haka is fighting Grand Warlord Voss' Genebound Soldiers on "Punish the Weak."
- The art on Haka's incapacitated side is a clear homage to the cover of Hulk Special #1, where Hulk holds a rocky burden on his back in a similar pose.
- "Savage Mana" shows Haka surrounded by black feathers and the shadows of birds still overhead. This is likely a reference to The Matriarch, whose deck is much less dangerous if Haka has this in play.
Nothing Here Yet
Questions Answered on The Letters Page
- Notes from Letters Page 33 - Haka:
- "Dominion" mentions the "land of his people", where is that? New Zealand.
- Is his favorite food a burger? He loves them, but probably not his favorite. He likes things with a variety of complex tastes. "His favorite food is something that he hasn't tried before."
- Are his weapons ancient and/or mystical? No. He's had his Mere for a long time, but it's not magical or anything.
- Is he easily outwitted? No - he's very smart in general (although not super intelligent like Tachyon, he's very quick on the uptake) and while fighting in particular you're not likely to trick him as that's him in his element. He's also been around for long enough that he's very wise (maybe the wisest of their characters).
- He seems to enjoy life, but does he get lonely/tired of life? He definitely gets lonely, but he's never tired of life. He genuinely loves his own life and he loves hearing about others' lives. He's most lonely in terms of his path in life - he knows he'll outlive most (all?) of the people he meets, but over the years he's come to terms with this. He values life more than most, if not all (it's hard to put him above Legacy), given this appreciation for the preciousness of life.
- What are the traditions of his people that he carries? A lot of them. The Tā Moko on his face for one. The haka that he performs. His standard outfit. He sees his past as important and he's not giving it up or leaving it behind. They mention that Wikipedia is a good primer for Maori culture if you want to look into it more.
- In your best Maori voice, can you perform all of the chants on his cards? No. Not even going to try because they couldn't do them justice. You can look up examples of people performing haka now [lots more than just the ones I linked up above before we got to this point in the podcast].
- Roughly how old is he at the time of the card game? In the 600 range.
- Did he have interactions with any forerunners of modern characters (e.g. previous Paul Parsons or Virtuosos of the Void)? None of the Virtuosos interacted with him (timeline would have allowed it, but it's a big world). He fought in both World Wars, but he didn't meet Paul VI or VII even though he was involved in some of the same battles. He didn't fight in an army of any particular country in these wars, but he saw a threat that warranted his attention and took part.
- Why did the writers choose a Maori warrior as the background for a hero rather than some other culture (and does he maintain traditions of his people even though they kicked him out)? Yes on the last, as mentioned previously. The writers created him for a lot of the same reasons that Christopher and Adam did - they wanted some great big mountain of a warrior to fight stuff and they came across Maori culture in their background research and liked it. It was also something non-ubiquitous in the US culture at the time so it gave them creative space to develop the character. This is similar to using Egyptian myth in creating Ra.
- Does Haka carry much pounamu - his mere is green, so is it made of it? Does he have other things in the traditional motifs like fish hooks? The mere is this kind of jade. In Prime War they've shown him wearing a medallion that he's had, but they haven't shown him wearing before. He's definitely got a fish hook and other pieces, but he doesn't wear them prominently much at this point because they're so old and he doesn't want to lose them.
- In the first edition card art for "Elbow Smash" he's destroying a tank; whose is it and is this part of a bigger fight? This is something from the old Freedom Five days and he's fighting against an early Baron Blade remote-control device.
- In which fights does he have the most and least fun? He enjoys challenging single combat the most - something that pushes his limits but doesn't involve worrying about other people around them. There was a fight with the Radioactivist that was just the two of them that stands out. Akash'Bhuta is also a good one since he can just let loose on her. He doesn't like the horde fights or ones involving civilians. The "Rampage" fight shows him as angry since there are so many people to worry about.
- Has he ever returned to his home since being exiled? He's returned to the site of his ancestral home, but nothing's there. He hadn't returned during the lifetimes of anybody who would have actually recognized him. Good opportunities for some introspective issues, though.
- Haka smash? No, Haka not smash. Haka speaks very good, unaccented English (or choose a language as he speaks dozens fluently) he's been around a long time and is very intelligent. This interpretation of the character is expected, but it's incorrect.
- Why is he so adorable? It's hard to answer - why do you find him so adorable? You could also find him fearsome, or hilarious, or any number of things.
- Are the haka text on the cards based on real haka (citing a similarity to "Haka of Battle" to one performed by the All Blacks rugby team [again, I linked to them already above])? What do they mean? Does he perform other magical haka to give him power beyond the ones we see in the game? First, they aren't magical - he performs them to boost himself up, but that's an internal process, not one granted to him by the haka. It's a method of focusing himself (and also intimidate opponents). All of the ones he performs are real haka having to do with being a Maori warrior, winning in battle, etc.
- After his tā moko fade the first time, does he have to reapply them repeatedly as they fade again? He had to do them again once, but it was quite an undertaking (given his more robust physique at this point). He had to use snake venom (as mentioned on the flavor text of the card) to essentially "kill" a portion of his skin and then apply the pigment before it could regenerate.
- What does "Savage Mana" represent (and why Toxic damage)? This is part of the Maori concept of mana involving defeating foes to obtain some of their power. This ties into the source of his power (that they have skipped intentionally to this point, but will get to later). When he takes the life of something, there's a bit of void (not Void) that's left and that he can draw in and store and eventually unleash on a foe as a debilitating attack. He typically uses this attack in the form of a shout or battle cry, but it's not the force of the sound itself that's doing the damage (thus not Sonic as the type), but it's this accumulated "death energy" that he's releasing, which is where the Toxic part comes in. He doesn't even really do this intentionally as he's just interpreting it as this mana concept given his cultural background.
- What was his involvement in the Matriarch event? He was teaching near Rook City at the time (that she used to attend and is lashing out at) when a bunch of birds show up threatening the people in the area. Like in the Omnitron fight, he doesn't fight the Matriarch directly, but boy does he kill a lot of birds in order to protect the students.
- As an immortal, how does he deal with love and loss? He does have several loves over the course of his life, but he goes into it now with the knowledge that he'll outlive them. While he was chief of his tribe he had been focused on combat and leadership and didn't allow himself a wife and so has no family from his tribe. Some of the relationships he's had over the centuries last a few years up through the other person's lifetime. Sometimes they die of old age, others it's war or sickness. He values the moment, however many of them they get together. Lovers, friends, students, fellow heroes, he outlives them and attends their funerals - he rarely speaks during them, but he'll stay afterwards until everyone leaves and sings a song for them. Continuing to experience everything connecting him to other people, including the inevitability of death and loss, is what helps him maintain his humanity.
- Rugby or cricket? Obviously rugby. He enjoys watching cricket, but playing rugby.
- Does he have children/descendants? Yes. No terribly recent children as he hasn't taken the time to connect with somebody in more modern times. He has other descendants that he's aware of and he's contacted them, but doesn't always tell them what his connection to them is. He wants to know about them without just making them a footnote to his story.
- Have Haka and K.N.Y.F.E. ever attended a party and gotten into a bar brawl? They are good friends and he likes hanging out with her. He can't really get drunk anymore, though, given his powers but he humors her by keeping pace with her drinking. He likes her stories and energy. He finds a lot of her behavior self-destructive (and just generally destructive). That actually explains some of why he hangs out with her - to keep her from wrecking up the place (too much) or, if she's just got to punch somebody, maybe try to aim her at the biggest scumbag there so at least it's somebody who deserves it, and also making sure she gets home/tucks her in with some water and aspirin handy. He might be the character they've created who they'd most like to just hang out with for a weekend - he's just a great guy.
- Has he changed world history as we would know it by heading off something major? Not really - he was involved in the world wars, but he's focused on the low-level stuff (on individuals rather than big picture). He's certainly changed stuff by being around to help people who may have otherwise died (anecdote about him working on sailing ships and, say, holding a mast together after a storm until they could make port), but it's not like he's prevented a plague or something that would have major ripple effects.
- How does his age/wisdom impact his relationships with other heroes? Does he take a mentor role at all? He "mentors" pretty much everybody, honestly - they even mentioned this a bit all the way back in the Legacy episode that Legacy looked up to him. He's probably the Sentinel Comics "moral ideal" character. It's not like a formal mentoring relationship, though, as he's more likely to go help teach students in some underfunded school somewhere (although, he wouldn't shy away from an opportunity if it came up).
- How does he see his teaching career? A side-gig or is it part of his overall outlook? He probably sees himself as a teacher even when he's not in a classroom. He's got knowledge that he can pass on and he feels it's a responsibility to do so.
- What's his favorite subject to teach? Literature? "Literature" is tricky since he honestly hasn't had a lot of time to read in his travels/adventures. He likes teaching history and languages, general "social studies" kind of things. Literature doesn't really factor in until later, which they'll get to.
- How do his students address him? He generally prefers just Aata.
- Does he visit kids in hospitals and does he talk other heroes into going? He's not the type to wrangle others into charity work. If some kid tells him that they'd really love to meet Tachyon or something he'll say that he'll do his best to make it happen, but he's not going to force or guilt anybody into going. He might talk other heroes into going with him as a means to cheer them up about something, but phrasing it as a request to help him out. He's very insightful.
- It's been mentioned that he'll bake small pies to bring with him to win the kids over so that they're not scared of him due to his size - what kind of pie? Is it his favorite kind or does he make a variety? He likes to bring an assortment since you don't know what people will like. He likes fruit pies, but he'll bring other kinds too.
- Does he work with older kids too? Yeah. He subs for kids from the whole K-12 spectrum. He also works with delinquents too, trying to turn things around for them.
- Did he bring dessert to the cookout from the picture we see a lot? Does he "backseat" cook while Legacy's manning the grill? What's his favorite food (or does he always like something new)? He definitely brought dessert (and probably sides/vegetables). He'd offer suggestions when necessary/asked, but he's not a backseat chef. "It is never 'The Haka Show'."
- Tastes in music (mention that he likes musicals and ABBA - so does he prefer lighter/happier music)? He's got an eclectic taste given how long he's been around. Generally, he likes upbeat songs or songs that tell stories (like folk songs). He likes stuff his students made (maybe after they've grown up). He's got a soft spot for Gilbert and Sullivan stuff.
- Does Haka like rugby? The All Blacks in particular? Does he poke fun at the Wallabies (Australia's national team) when Parse is around? Yes, definitely, and definitely. He's good at poking fun at the Wallabies without making anybody feel bad. In sports rivalries there's a certain level of poking fun that's still good-natured and he's very good at finding that line. It also helps that Parse doesn't really care about the sports.
- Is there anything he's done in the past that was acceptable at the time that he regrets now? It's certainly happened, but they didn't really have specific examples in mind. The way he cut himself off from certain aspects of life while he was chief might qualify. There's also likely sorrow considering the people he's killed given his current outlook on the value of life.
- Why only a substitute teacher? Do heroics interrupt his work in the classroom (like, does Fanatic ever burst into the classroom to get his help)? Does he ever scare the kids given his size and tattoos? By the nature of his existence, he's nomadic and so doesn't stay in a place for long enough to have a steady job. Also his presence also invites danger (see the Vengeance or various Ambuscade plots). Heroics interrupt a few notable times, but he takes effort to minimize them (although the Fanatic thing definitely happened). He's certainly intimidated kids. There are a lot of kids who love big strong people that they can climb all over [as a big guy who has been around friends' children, I can vouch for that], but of course there have been kids scared of him. He's good at being disarming, though (plus the whole pie thing mentioned earlier).
- Podcast meta weirdness: The Animal Universe equivalent suggested by a listener is the quokka, a marsupial from southwestern Australia. Haka's not Australian, and they're the far side of it from New Zealand, but it's probably the closest in location/name that we're likely to get, so Christopher and Adam give him credit for this one.
- How long has he been teaching? How did he get into it? What administrator sees somebody as big as Haka and thinks "This guy is perfect to be teaching small children"? He's got a pretty substantial record of it by this point. He was probably just around somewhere at one point that needed a teacher and he volunteered if they needed somebody, found that he loved it, and just continued when he could. His appearance only puts people off thinking he's a good fit until they talk to him for any length of time.
- Has he had any other occupations? Work on sailing vessels as alluded to earlier. As a dock worker in Singapore (a good crossroads for meeting people from all over the world). He's never really been in charge of anything since he was chief as he's always moving on.
- Here's an aside here about how, since the beginning of their work creating these characters, Haka has had the descriptor of "Savage" attached to him. This is an intentionally ironic misnomer as he's literally the least savage character they have. It's indicative of the first reaction that many people have upon seeing him for the first time, though. After you talk to him, you realize that "The Enlightened Haka" might be a better title.
- Given the Eternal Haka card art, he seems to enjoy books; what other books does he enjoy or has he recommended to his fellow heroes? Has he done any promotional work to encourage young readers? He's not really a reader up through the end of the card game era as he's just too busy. The Final Wasteland version of Haka is mostly due to the fact that he's been alone for so long that all he has are the books and the time to read them. So many of them are by or about people that he knew. He likes just about everything, but the guys pick out poetry in particular ("condensed humanity") and he's not so much reading to learn, but to recall and preserve. Putting Haka alone in the Final Wasteland is probably one of the meanest things the guys did to a character.
- What happened to Eternal Haka? Does he go back in time or just fight with heroes to wind up in the Final Wasteland? Is he involved in the OblivAeon arc? He fights along heroes in the Final Wasteland and he does manage to come back to get involved in the OblivAeon event, but he goes back. He's a different guy anyway - not just because of how most time-travel/multiverse stuff works in this setting, but because he's spent so many centuries alone that he's just different from the Haka we know.
- Is Eternal Haka an Endling or would the Terminarch pick somebody else given his weirdness? He is, by definition as the Last Human, an Endling. Jansa vi Dero would have approached him to make the offer, but he turned her down to stay and retain his connection to humanity. If he was capable of knowing all outcomes of his decisions, he'd likely come to regret this choice because if he'd gone he at least would have other beings to interact with.
- Does he actually die and come back from death? Haka is unkillable - he has never actually fully died.
- How do his powers/resurrection work? Does he die and slowly regenerate over days or is it more immediate? Are there limits (would decapitation or vaporization kill him for good or would he just appear again later)? Does his strength increase each time he's defeated? So, there will be some "how" and "why" of some of this in a later episode, but here's the "what". As a result of OblivAeon, there's an entity that sees that a champion is necessary, somebody who can go toe-to-toe with these threats. "Our" Haka and an alternate reality version of Haka are bound together across space-time at the cost of all other versions of him. There are a lot of alternate versions of this person, but after this event there are only two who each have the strength, vitality, life, etc. of all of the rest. This is what gives him his heroic attributes, but the other one he's still linked to is why he's unkillable - as long as one is alive the other cannot die (taking both out simultaneously is the only way to get rid of him - generally not a worry since they're in different universes). Then OblivAeon starts blurring those lines and they both wind up in the same battles. They don't know how any of this works (but somebody does - more later in that person's story). You could not decapitate him or vaporize him as his link to the other would prevent his death. Iron Legacy just had to encase him in a block of something durable and drop him into the ocean to keep him out of his way, but that didn't kill him. His strength isn't going up based on deaths, it's just going up over time as he absorbs more life energy from the other realities' versions of him. Eternal Haka has been around so long that he can't even really be knocked out anymore (his incap art doesn't show him beaten physically, just by circumstance). The "only 2 versions of him" thing is weird as it happens over time - they talk about these different versions of him, but we see them before they get erased by these time shenanigans, and then more realities branch off due to events as normal, but eventually those versions' Hakas will get erased too.
- Who is Arataki Wakawarewa? That's Haka.