Podcasts/Episode 107

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The Letters Page: Episode 107

Original Source

Primary Topic

Chrono-Ranger

Intro

What were these two up to as they transcended time and space?!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:00:32

We're a mess in this one, but it's probably still worth it! We goof around (and also explain why things are extra weird in this episode) for a few minutes before finally getting to explaining the purpose/angle of this episode, and then getting into your questions a bit after the 7 minute mark.

The questions are full of interesting ideas and fascinating queries... to which we have some unsatisfactory answers... but also several cool stories you've never heard before! Overall, we end up giving away and revealing more in this episode than we'd even intended, so, well worth it. The future is yours!

All of the Letters Page Patreon can catch us this Friday at 11 AM, Central as we record Editor's Note #29 live! Patreon supporters at the "Contributor" level can join in on the Discord, so we hope to have as many of you as possible there to chat with us about all manner of things!

Also, we'll have the voting for next month's episodes posted to the Patreon in the next couple hours, so look forward to that!

Finally, thanks to all you delightful listeners for helping us make this possible. See you next time!

Read more at http://theletterspage.libsyn.com/episode-107-temporal-targets-la-comodora-and-time-slinger#SkeKjhc2bS5Hi6vv.99

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • So, we’re looking at the period after La Comodora rescues Chrono-Ranger and they have their various adventures between hunting down younger La Capitans and visiting other timelines in Disparation. During this period, Chrono-Ranger doesn’t have access to CON.

Questions

  • Can you talk about the aesthetic choices of La Capitan/Comodora’s costumes over the years (like, was the shift from blue to red an indication of her change from villain to hero)? The blue to red shift was less about the change specifically from villain to hero and more just to indicate a change in itself (plus to make her more futuristic). She’s going from kind of a classic pirate look to something more indicative of space/time pirate. Adam’s favorite look for her is actually her younger VotM iteration (and the Curse of the Black Spot variant for La Comodora - he likes the more pirate-y looks for her, but the standard La Comodora needed to look more like a time traveler). If/when Adam gets back to redrawing stuff he’s likely to make her “original” costume “poofier” in places (parts of the coat, making the feather look softer, etc.).
  • What’s the Inversiverse version of her like? So, the Inversiverse is where you take the clean-cut heroes and make them villains and turn the obvious villains into heroes. She’s kind of weird. Sure, she does this villain stuff, but she’s moving around in time (showing up as both a hero and a villain in the same time period) and different realities (including the Inversiverse, so which reality’s version of her is even present at any given appearance?) so it makes it really hard to pin her down for the kinds of stories that the Inversiverse exists to tell. We see so many versions of her but it’s also the case that most of those have left their home realities and the readers of Sentinel Comics wouldn’t know which reality any given one of them was from. It’s possible that we’ve seen the Inversiverse version of her, but we don’t know it.
  • We know that La Comodora winds up outside of time and space after OblivAeon, but if the situation changes so that she can make an appearance in a future game product, could we maybe see a stat write-up for the RPG? How about similar “flashback” character write-ups for other departed heroes? This is one of those unsatisfying “we obviously have plans for her, so we can’t tell you anything right now” things. They do suggest that getting around to being able to tell that story is dependent on how well the RPG product line goes.
  • Did Jim ever return to Silver Gulch after becoming Chrono-Ranger (either in his own or another timeline and either before or after meeting La Comodora)? He gets news from Silver Gulch from other heroes who have wound up there occasionally, but he never goes back “home” (although he may not even really consider it “home” - he had a job there at one point, but now he has a different job). During his time with La Comodora they do wind up in an “old west” world (like, it’s the “present” but everything is wild west aesthetics with maybe some steam-punk style technology). [There’s also his missions to kill Doc Tusser which were in the time period as well.]
  • Were there ever reprints of the old western comics that featured Jim before he became Chrono-Ranger? What were they/were they well received by readers? They did an anthology later on, but it’s not a common reprint. It would be a thing where they reprinted select issues to showcase what was going on, but it wouldn’t have been a full reprint of the title. It would even be hard to recognize Jim Brooks as the same character as Chrono-Ranger as, at the time, he was just a sheriff of the town and behaved like you’d expect a western sheriff to act in such stories.
  • Did Sentinel Comics ever do western comics with “masked hero” characters (like the Lone Ranger or Zorro)? The two primary western titles for Sentinel Comics were Frontier Tales and Covered Wagon. There wasn’t a lot of continuity in these things and it’s not like Jim was the “main character” that appeared in all of them or something as they were mainly one-off stories. That being said, there were some recurring characters (besides Jim). One group is the Mysterious Strangers, which was a Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven type group who would blow into a town, solve some problem, and then move on. The fact that they were mysterious with unknown “characters” was a large part of the point (going so far as to not even have the members of the group consistent from story to story). Additionally, there was El Oso, a reaction to the older character of Zorro (who’d been around for a few decades before these comics) [note that oso is “bear” and zorro is "fox in Spanish]. He was a big burly farmer who lived a peaceful life until his town was razed by bandits at which point he started fighting back against them and general oppression as a masked hero.
  • Could Muerto, if given consent, take over Time-Slinger’s cybernetics to give him a boost? He could inhabit the cybernetics and possibly give a bit of a boost in mundane tasks, but he couldn’t to any of the time-bubble stuff as he doesn’t himself have time-control powers. [They also get into a discussion on whether Muerto’s powers would qualify as “ferrokinesis” - Adam says yes because he’s literally moving metal around, but Christopher disagrees as he sees that power as being a mental control thing like Unity whereas Muerto happens to be able to move metal around while he’s haunting it - a subtle distinction maybe.] Things he could maybe do - add stuff onto the arm (which might not be wanted by Jim), maybe release some kind of spectral energy while there [unclear what they mean here - maybe allowing Jim to make ghost attacks?], or (possibly the most useful) Muerto could just use the opportunity to hide/catch a ride in the arm.
  • Could Unity augment his arm into a plasma cannon or something? She could, but Jim would probably not appreciate this.
  • What’s the rapport/interpersonal relationship like between Chrono-Ranger and La Comodora? What does she think of CON? First thing, CON isn’t there for this part (although she does have the Concordant Helm). They get along, but they’re more like co-workers than friends. If they have downtime we can imagine them playing cards or telling stories about things they’ve seen, but they’re more likely to spend time alone. That being said, most of the stories in Temporal Targets is the action stuff involving them tracking down various La Capitans and preventing/undoing things that she had/will have had done. There isn’t a lot of downtime. A lot of them feel like heist and/or chase scenes. Specifically, Chrono-Ranger gets sent out to do the chase part while La Comodora does the undoing stuff and gets set up to “cut her off at the pass”. “She’s ‘eye in the sky’, he’s ‘boots on the ground’.”
  • How involved was Jim in the process that created the Hakas (it seems to have been in Time Trust which would put them together as he was around for the ending of the Iron Legacy timeline which was also covered in that title)? He was there for the creation of the Hakas. He wasn’t an important part of the process - more of a lookout while she was doing it as it’s a tricky process. Leading up to her doing this we get the idea that she’s putting together the pieces that she has to do this. As they’re going around tracking the anomalies that the other La Capitans are causing she’s also noting similar, but different things going on and she eventually figures out that they’re the things that she does/has done/must do. One of these is this mysterious thing… wait, there’s Haka. Who’s that other person? It’s not explained to the readers exactly what she’s doing there and we get additional details of what happened over time.
  • Were there any alternate universes that were tonal bait-and-switches (like everything seems bright and shiny, but it’s really terrible and vice versa)? Yes to both. That’s a fun subversion. For example there’s a very Stepford Wives place where everybody seems super happy, but it’s because everyone is mind-controlled/part of a hive-mind.
  • Did she ever visit some of the better-known alternate realities (Iron Legacy, Inversiverse, Extremeverse, etc.)? Yes - we know what happens with her interaction with Iron Legacy. She’s definitely spent time in the other two as the most well-known alternate realities. There’s one story that involves her seeing a temporal anomaly and figuring that, of course, it’s La Capitan and we need to go in to fix whatever it is she’s up to. They encounter Inversiverse Guise. In the Inversiverse he has the same basic power set as normal Guise, but instead of wacky nonsense he’s more interested in destruction and chaos. He runs into the Scholar whom we heard about in the initial Inversiverse episode - he has mostly the same outward demeanor, but he’s going around sucking people’s life energy/power/whatever into the Philosopher Stone. He tries to do this to Guise, but Guise turns the tables. He sucks the Scholar into his own stone, then he absorbs the stone into himself, which is something of an unintentional preview of something that would happen to the main versions of the characters later. So, now we have an even more ridiculously over-powered Guise who’s unlocked his mind and potential to effect reality. He’s tired of just breaking the first 4 walls - it’s time to Kool-aid Man reality. So, he’s busting through realities and they actually encounter him in the Extremeverse. So, our protagonists find an evil, souped up Guise in the most XTREME of realities and are left trying to figure out how La Capitan has managed to do this, when in reality it’s something that happened without her interference. They fight him, lose, and have to regroup. So, he’s going around busting through the walls between realities. They defeat him by luring him out into Ur-Space and trapping him in a pocket dimension - kind of, it had once been a normal universe, just with an overabundance of black holes which have grown and merged over time so that the reality is just this big nothingness that’s consumed everything in it. So, now there’s one reality out there that’s acting just as a prison for this super-powerful, evil Guise that’s been locked away for all time. Surely nothing bad can ever come of this.
  • How does Jim take to being on the ship with her? Does it feel different from his normal time-shifting with CON? It’s a similar situation for him - he’s in a place and then his companion sends him off to do a mission and he’s pretty much as used to time travel as a person can be by now.
  • What were their most/least favorite places/times to visit? Does Jim get any new weapons in this period? No new weapons. His arm got upgraded on the ship (and he’s generally always tinkering with it, so it’s changing, but not really being “constantly upgraded”), but the weapons we see him have elsewhere are things that CON said he’d need for whatever job he was on. As far as Jim is concerned all he needs is his pistol. Jim’s least favorite time was probably the Final Wasteland where he got his arm bitten off (with Pompeii when the volcano erupted in second place). Neither of them probably had a “favorite” time - they’re doing a job. The closest we get is when they are telling stories to one another, but the idea is that they enjoyed the adventure they were on more than the specific locality that the adventure took place in.
  • Being from a different time/culture, did Jim try to “make an honest woman” of K.N.Y.F.E. when he found himself finally stuck in the “present”? By the time he’s stuck in our time they didn’t really interact - she’s off doing space stuff. He also isn’t under any illusions about what their encounter was. He was probably more emotionally invested in it than she was, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t know what he was getting into with her there.
  • Did either of them ever go back in time to “accidentally” cause some important historical event to happen? Well, if they ever did something “negative” they’d likely want to go back to fix it. A lot of what they were doing against La Capitan was preventing her from doing so. One notable thing, however, is when they run into Amelia Earhart. They find her and enlist her aid in doing something, then when they offer to put her back so she can finish her around-the-world flight, she declines - she wants to continue to explore out in other realities. That’s why she “disappeared”, she became a time traveler.
  • How did La Comodora find Chrono-Ranger in the first place? She’s got a variety of instruments on the ship that help her navigate out there and her measurements/looking for temporal anomalies found some weird time disturbance outside of time itself, which was weird enough to warrant investigation.
  • Do we ever get a sense of how many La Capitans exist out there that they have to deal with? What happens to them once the duo stops them? There are practically infinite versions of her (like, probably not literally infinite, but enough that it seems like they’re never going to take care of all of them). The question of what happens to them was a long-standing reader question too. This was finally discussed in an issue titled “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” which was also a delightful framing device. Each section of the issue started with what was typically the end of the issue, with Chrono-Ranger and La Comodora capture whichever La Capitan they were after at the time. Now, by scuttling the new prisoner’s Paradoja Magnifica they removed their ability to be a time traveler, but they’re not going to just strand them. Here’s were we learn that they have to put each of them through “The Process”. You turn the page and you get a line of the song which includes for our purposes:
    • Give her a dose of salt and water (a time serum that they inject Las Capitans with to kind of “decontaminate” them as their travels have built up a lot of time junk in them - this grounds them so that they’re attuned to their own time).
    • Shave her head with a rusty razor (a similar process to take care of the accumulated time radiation that’s on them - they shave her head and scrub her down).
    • Put her in the long boat til she’s sober (they keep them in some vaguely rowboat-shaped capsules that they’re towing through the timestream behind the ship - we see dozens of these things being hauled around and it’s the final step to drain away whatever’s left of the chronal energy they’re carrying around).
    • Early in the morning (we see Jim and La Comodora waking up to check on their charges, finding one that’s “ready” - they release the chain to that capsule and it drops out of the timestream into that Maria Helena’s home reality thanks to the natural attunement she retains to it). This whole time there is one particular La Capitan that we’re kind of “following” along with. During this last phase we see that there’s one of the capsules that gets hit by some kind of “time debris” and gets some cracks in it, so rather than bleeding off the remaining chronal energy within it, the occupant is being flooded with it. This results in…
    • Weigh, hey and up she rises (we see this specific La Capitan popping into a reality on a beach with massive amounts of energy just arcing off of her - this is a loose thread that wasn’t resolved before OblivAeon and is probably never going to be important ever again).
  • How much of their adventures are considered “canonical” given that so much of it is in Disparation? It depends on what you’re talking about in regards to “canon” - they’re not (with a small number of exceptions) events that take place in the “main” universe that most of the comics generally take place in, but they’re still events that happened somewhere in the Multiverse.
  • Besides Time Trust and this run of Disparation were there any other books that covered their collaboration in this period? The Temporal Targets limited series [which happened a few years prior and featured the Ambuscade on Mars story - so it would have been what led to this situation, although we were told that La Comodora didn’t find him until the Lone Gun one-shot that immediately preceded their run in Disparation, so this might be Christopher getting Time Trust and Temporal Targets mixed up.]
  • So, Chrono-Ranger, La Comodora, and Chronoist all have something like CON - are all of them the “same” CON just in different timelines (like how we have multiversal variants of our various heroes and villains)? Was there just one CON that meddled with stuff so far back in time that it wound up splitting timelines on its own and therefore created multiple universes’ versions of it? What are the major differences between the ones we know about? Do they have the same abilities or do different ones have different specialties? If Chronoist were to be seriously injured, could CHE do a similar reverse-time-bubble thing to heal him similar to what happened to Jim in Rook City? Do Jim and La Comodora ever find out exactly where CON came from? Ok, so Concordant Harmonic Entities are a character like you could have multiple different Legacies or Baron Blades across realities, you can get multiple versions of this thing. CON is the one we know the best due to her association with Chrono-Ranger, CHE is similar to that - both were entities that pulled in an individual to do a job of policing the timelines. While Concorda is attuned to La Comodora in a similar way, it’s one that she went out and found with a dead time traveler - La Comodora offered it a job to help hunt down other versions of herself and Concorda signed on, although this meant giving up on its own mission. They’re all made in different ways with different methods, but they’re generally all riffing on the theme of being AIs that were developed to be “time police” and to aid the actual time traveler. Some were made with good intentions, some bad, some were accidents. They have different voices and personalities. While there are, theoretically nearly infinite versions of them, the question of “What are they doing out there?” is about as complicated as “What are all the Legacies doing out there?” Of course, once the timelines get unshattered, they also pretty much all become irrelevant for the purposes of Sentinel Comics.