The Letters Page: Episode 156
Writers’ Room: Terminal Ballistics #18
Let's. Get. 90s.
Run Time: 1:30:04
Adam and I missed each other so much. We haven't seen each other in so long. We almost died. Witness our heartwrenching reunion.
After only a few minutes of goofs, we get to the overview where we do a bunch of work of a variety of sorts! Positioning, informing, redacting, problem solving, creating, naming, storytelling, and more! And we go through it pretty quickly, considering how much we make! You never know how long we're going to linger on any one thing.
A bit before the 39 minute mark, we dig into your questions on a variety of related (and barely related) topics. And after about 40+ minutes of that, we talk briefly about the cover, which can be seen above!
Thanks everyone for listening! We enjoy reading your letters and answering your questions - send us your questions using this nifty form!
Catch you next time!
- Christopher tells Adam about how they read off the briefs for all 20 of the post-OblivAeon relaunch comics. The notable detail here is that only the last sentence of The Paradigms brief was redacted, which was the one that said who was on the team. Apparently that by itself is too much of a surprise to let us in on just yet.
- Positional stuff: Terminal Ballistics was a relatively short-lived ongoing series (it went 50 issues, February 1991 through March 1995). It’s pitched as an Expatriette book and we’re already past the point where she’s started interacting with the Freedom Five more. This is the title where we’re meant to see her starting to be more of a hero and less of a murderer (fancy non-lethal ammunition options, etc.). Issue #7 is when she accidentally shoots Setback and he winds up joining the book. At this point it’s still an Expat book telling Expat stories, just now with Pete. Issue #13 is where it becomes a full duo book that can be about his story as well. It’s also the start of the will they/won’t they thing that’s charming at first, but eventually starts frustrating the readers - which is what ultimately results in the book’s cancellation at the point when they finally kiss. By the time we catch up to them again in Dark Watch or whatever, they’re just already dating.
- So, given the prompt for this episode (an issue of TB with both of them), they think they want to do something after issue #13 so it’s the time when Setback’s a lead character instead of support. It should also be before #36 [January ’94] which is the big crossover involving Kaargra Warfang - issues after this point would have them dealing with fallout from stuff they had to do in the Bloodsworn Colosseum and how to process that trauma, ultimately resulting in them finding solace in one another, the end.
- Stuff they want this episode to accomplish: show what a “normal” issue of this title was like on a month-to-month scale and also to show the background of their relationship a bit more.
- Making new villains is always fun. Let’s workshop what kinds of villains would be in here in the first place. It’s going to be street-level stuff. It’s too early for him, because that Kaargra event just mentioned is the turning point for him, but Heartbreaker is the right kind of foe for the two of them [Tony Taurus in the Colosseum was in Rook City Renegades #126 in February ’94]. Equity could work. Organization/Chairman stuff could as well. General “crime-motivated” villains rather than world-domination scale. They could also just use some recurring Rook City criminals. Crossword [from Wraith’s Rogues Gallery episode] could fit in this book, as could Mr. Jitters [from the Creative Process: Phobias episode], even if they don’t want to use them for today’s episode.
- Figuring out what kind of story they want to tell and then working backwards to the kind of enemy they’re facing might be helpful. Options here are things that showcase the heroes’ differences - like there are hostages and Expat’s approach is to ignore the hostages and just go in gunning for the bad guy, which Setback’s not likely going to go for as a strategy. Another is that we can have them on the same page as far as working together goes, but have the villain be somebody from one of their pasts (not saying they want to use her here specifically, but Kismet showing up would be the kind of thing they’re talking about - her showing up seems more like a late-issue thing as an ex showing up sounds like part of the will they/won’t they plot after it’s started to get tiring). [I note, however, that Kismet’s first appearance isn’t until Mystery Comics vol. 2 #290 in 1997, well after TB ends.]
- Characterization work: this is the ’90s and so the villain can be somebody who’s going around killing people. They think that in this sort of situation there is a possibility that Expat could convince Setback that it’s better to just put that person down than to try to bring them in. However, in the case where Spite is holding two hostages over the edge of a building and is about to drop them, Expat’s inclination would be to shoot him but Setback would still want to try to find a way to do things that would save the hostages. Expat would see him as just a stationary target and she can “win” by shooting him, which stops him from doing anything else bad from this point on. Setback sees the need to “win” by stopping the bad thing the villain is doing right now, which means saving the hostages.
- How to set up this kind of situation: we can have somebody who’s going to blow up a bunch of different places with hostages in them, Expat could just blow up the place the bad guy is currently holding hostages, which would save all the other locations’ people at the expense of the people at this one place. We can lean on this starting out as Expatriette’s book - the first year was entirely hers and so we can be used to her split-second decision making/action taking style and this story can still present it that way, but now with Setback there to push back on this kind of impulse. She’s very quick to see options as very black and white, where he’s going to be building up her ability to consider the shades of gray that are the human element in most situations. That process can start pretty soon after he first shows up, so by the time we’re wherever this issue happens the situation has to be rather dire for her to jump to that response.
- Adam’s thought for location: something like a water treatment plant or a chemical factory or something. The villain’s going to poison the whole city if we don’t do something about it right now. Expat’s gut response would involve just blowing the place up (writing off hostages, any other workers present, and just generally people nearby along with the resulting property damage). We’d have a “low double-digit” number of casualties, but the bad guy is dead and their plot foiled. She sees the only other option as running around trying to stop the individual points where the poison is going to be released or whatever and there’s no way they’ll get to all of them. Setback wants her to look outside the box to come up with a solution outside of that either/or framework.
- They pause to come up with the villain’s name and whatnot. In the process they accidentally wrote three issues’ worth of content. Whoops. This will be a three issue arc from issues #16-18. They’re only giving us the basics of #16 and #17, though with the full Writer’s Room thing being for #18.
- In the first issue, they find out about various people all over Rook City getting poisoned (in horrible fashion - their lungs rot from the inside out and then they die). As they try to figure out who’s behind it there’s a red herring in there as it appears that the people who are dying were all threatening to the Organization in some way or they’re law enforcement or something - there seems to be a connection among the victims.
- They meet/work with Eliza Beck, a lab technician who works at an anti-toxin lab in Rook City (it’s actually part of Pike Industrial Complex - they aren’t entirely ignoring the fact that some bad stuff comes out of their facilities, so they have a lab to counter it). They think that maybe this place is actually the source of the poison and go there in the middle of the night to check it out. They run into Eliza who’s working late trying to figure this thing out. They compare notes and she’s pretty helpful.
- Issue #16 ends with somebody dying who doesn’t fit the profile of victims that they’ve been putting together, which throws all of their theories into question. Along with that, the main “conflict” of the issue is the two of them getting into it with some Organization goons who are also looking into it as some of their people are getting sick as well. They don’t get any help from them once this is realized, but it’s another blow to the working hypothesis to that point.
- In the next issue, they find out that the outlier victim was an assistant lab tech at the same facility that Eliza works at. They go back to talk to her, but it’s the day shift currently. They ask to see her and are told that she got fired over a year ago (not following safety procedures, wasn’t accredited to work there in the first place).
- Following up on that, it turns out that the recent victim was somebody who wasn’t exactly Eliza’s assistant officially, but who worked with her a lot and backed her up on stuff. Even after she was fired he kind of kept pushing for the kinds of things she’d been doing. Turns out he was also doing the anti-toxin lab equivalent of stealing office supplies. They track his activity down to a decommissioned lab which they now assume is where Eliza’s set up shop. She’s already cleared out since she figures the heroes are onto her, but they find some notes that she left behind and we figure out that she’d killed the assistant guy for spilling some coffee that ruined one of her experiments.
- Additionally, it’s not just that she’s poisoning people (including that guy), but the prior deaths were all her performing testing. Up to this point she’s just been working out the best way to spread her poison. She’s out to show everybody that thinks that they don’t need her that they do (she’s the only one who can cure it after all).
- In #18, the heroes are closing in. They find in the notes that Eliza needs large quantities of a certain chemical in order to mass produce her poison and there’s only one chemical plant in Rook City for her to get it.
- Her convoluted plot involves releasing a lot of this toxin into the air at the right time so that the prevailing winds will carry it out to sea just in time for hurricane season to spread it around and crash it all back into the eastern seaboard. They also know that this is very time-sensitive and she can’t do it for another few hours.
- That’s the ticking clock element that gets Expat into the mindset that the only way to be sure to stop Eliza is to blow up the whole plant. Naturally, Setback is concerned not only for the other people in the plant (even if the workers aren’t hostages, they might simply not know what Eliza’s up to) but also people who live nearby who probably wouldn’t fare well if a chemical factory exploded in their backyard. Setback winds up pulling out the big guns in the form of “learning from the Freedom Five means figuring out the hard way to do what’s right over the fast but easy way”. Even Tachyon, who’s the most able to always do things the fast way bothers to do things the right way. They need to find a way into the plant, free any hostages and get everyone out, and then find a way to neutralize the toxin and stop Eliza Beck.
- Expat’s not convinced and wants to go around and set up explosives just in case. Meanwhile Setback wants to go over the notes again to see if he can figure anything out. What he latches onto is how furious Eliza is about the coffee that the guy [who’s apparently “Timothy” now, but not sure how canonical that is, friggin’ Timothy] had spilled and how the acidity had ruined her work. Setback knows just what he’s going to need to bring with him to stop the evil genius: a bunch of coffee (as opposed to just, y’know, acid of some sort).
- So, he makes up a vat of the stuff in the big industrial equipment that’s around and then regroups with Expat with it strapped to his back. “What’s that?” “It’s the solution! This is the hard way! That’s how we’re going to save the day!” [Adam’s take-away from this is that coffee is the solution to every problem.]
- Ok, they’re going in and doing things the hard way, but Expat has the ability to blow up the whole place if things go south. Unfortunately, Eliza’s still a few steps ahead of them as she’s been the whole time. She noted Expat setting her explosives - she’s already set up with her own launching system for her toxin and it’s on autopilot. All she has to do is distract the heroes long enough for them to activate.
- As for her supervillain gear - she’s got poison bombs that she can throw around and things on her arms so that she can spray chemicals around. One of her chemicals allows her to “mind control” some of the workers, so she’s got some innocent guys she can order to attack the heroes in a rage (giving us a good opportunity to showcase Expat’s non-lethal ammunition). She’s also calling herself Doctor Toxica. She’s really emphasizing the “Doctor” part - part of her ravings during the fight touch on how those fools at the university couldn’t accept her genius. Her thesis was about how there are all of these naturally occurring toxins out there and our society is artificially removing them. We need to reintroduce them into the population. Sure, some people will die, but it’s the price we pay for the human race to continue to evolve to be stronger. The review board (rightfully) kicked her out. She winds up falsifying her credentials which is how she got the job at the lab in the first place (and discovery of the deception is part of why she was fired).
- So, they fight and things inevitably go south for the heroes. She sprays Setback with some toxin, he lucks into dodging it, but falls over a railing. He’s saved by landing on the vat of coffee on his back, which crumples to absorb some of the blow, but now he’s drenched in coffee and doesn’t have his secret weapon. Expat’s ready to call it and just blow the place up, but as she sees her partner (covered in, is that coffee? I thought it was some special chemical thing he’d figured out?) get up and make a plea for “the hard way”. Fine. She retreats from Doctor Toxica, down an aisle of vats while the villain continues to rant, rave, and chuck poison bombs around the place.
- She eventually finds a big vat of acid and sets up an explosive charge to launch it, end-over-end, into the toxin vats. Big chemical explosion (but not too big, y’know? Impressive, but not enough to destroy the building or hurt bystanders) that Doctor Toxica is caught in and is washed away in the resultant flood of chemicals (the important thing is that she’s not apprehended and no body was recovered, but surely nobody could have survived that).
- The heroes walk away from the scene, haggard from the fight. “You did it the hard way.” “Yeah, maybe just this once.”
- Anyway, Doctor Toxica obviously returns. She winds up being a minor recurring villain for them and other heroes. She probably shows up a few more times in Terminal Ballistics and some more in Dark Watch at the very least. Of course, she also changes quite a bit between this appearance and her subsequent ones, but that’s for later.
- They like there being some kind of postscript as well where Pete’s doing something mundane and Expat admonishes him to do it the hard way rather than the quick and easy way. “Oh, that’s gonna come back to haunt me isn’t it?”
- How much bleedover does Setback’s luck have on other people? Like, if somebody was falling and he tried to catch them, would his bad luck cause him to take the brunt of the injury, leaving the falling person unharmed, or would his bad luck cause the person to be gravely injured since that would “hurt” Setback more in the long term? There isn’t a sapience behind his luck that’s choosing something over another. He’s just frequently unlucky and occasionally very lucky. The game-mechanics of his Unlucky Pool isn’t representative of how his luck works in the narrative - it’s not “building up” a credit of luck that he can draw on later. They do bring up the “rubber-banding” effect of luck [which up to now they’ve primarily used to describe Kismet’s luck, not Setback’s, but whatever] in that bad stuff will happen now so that good stuff can happen later, but it’s not really quantifiable. The way it works at one remove is that the writers can just write him as generally unlucky as the background state of his existence, but the moments of good luck are typically the important narrative points. His unluck rarely causes direct harm to other people. What it will frequently do is put other people into a situation that he then has to find a way to solve/mitigate. The bad luck only ranges from minor to medium severity, there is no catastrophes brought on by the unluck, only the eucatastrophes of his good luck are at that extreme.
- How much does Terminal Ballistics focus on Setback’s luck shenanigans? Would his unluck’s tendency toward slapstick clash with the book’s otherwise dark tone? They don’t think that it necessarily has a dark tone. It’s pretty “gritty” because Expatriette, but it’s also specifically the process of her finding her way as a hero which is a bit more optimistic. Her stories in the ’80s were definitely dark, but in the ’90s it’s her trying to do better and the growing pains that go along with that. Setback’s deck presents him as sillier than he might be in comics overall as well. The pop-culture awareness of his character would probably have been largely connected to those silly/slapstick stuff as that’s what stands out, but unlucky events (for example the kinds of stuff that crops up in this 3-issue arc) aren’t necessarily silly, it just sucks. Part of his character is “toughing out” the bad luck until the good stuff happens. Part of why he comes off as silly is that his personality is effervescent, positive, and unflappable despite the bad things that happen. It’s just a drop in the bucket and he’ll overcome.
- How often does his unlucky nature come up in the series? They’re hesitant to say “every issue”, but it’s close to that. He’s one of the most downtrodden by his circumstances people while also being one of the most upbeat despite that. The unlucky thing is “nigh constant” for that to be the case. He’s constantly getting the shaft, but is also constantly optimistic. That’s his story.
- Back in the Setback episode we got the story about Pete giving up the Setback life in the early ’90s after accidentally injuring Larry Hillburn, but then Larry convinced him to come back to help against Miss Information; given that we now know that the timeline doesn’t actually work for this to be the case, what’s the canonical version of this story? Basically, just divorce the story with Larry from a specific villain plot. Setback was hanging out with the Freedom Five in the early ’90s, Larry got injured and Setback quit as a result, then Larry just came to tell him to not worry about it. He’s the janitor for the Freedom Five and so knows how big a mess heroes can make of things. Making mistakes doesn’t make you not a hero, but how you act afterwards can make you one. We know you’re a hero, Pete. Walking away from that means walking away from yourself. That being said, when the Miss Information stuff goes down a decade or so later in publication time, Larry still goes to Setback to get some help.
- How much of a shock was it to Expat to see how dangerous Setback was without morals? This is referring to the story told in the Dark Watch #1-6 episode where Zhu Long messes with him and Setback is no longer putting in the effort to mitigate his effect on others around him. Expat would be shocked not only because of how dangerous his power turns out to be, but also just the sheer out-of-character behavior. Her entire experience with Pete Riske was that “do things the hard/right way” where he cares about what happens to other people. He’s among the most “purely good” heroes that there is. “He’s up there with Legacy and Haka in his own way” and “he has a very clear moral compass.” “Neither Legacy nor Haka are idealistic, but [Setback] is” in that he always thinks that there is a good way to do the thing if you put in the effort to find it. He’s as idealistic as Expat is jaded, which is to his own detriment sometimes. Seeing him devoid of empathy is more of a blow than just seeing what his powers can do with the manipulation that’s going on in that scene.
- At the peak of their working relationship, how adept has Amanda gotten at directing the localized chaos that is Pete? It’s not so much directing it as planning for it. Here’s the plan. Pete is over here doing his part of the plan. That will get screwed up in some way. Therefore, here are the contingencies in place to deal with that. She can’t know exactly what it’s going to do, which is problematic for her position. The plan should have as few variables as possible, but he’s nothing but variables. Therefore, you make sure that you’ve got 3-5 backups that you can swap into depending on exactly how things have gone wrong. Now, that makes it sound like he’s more liability than asset for her and/or the team, but then you should remember that he’s likely going to have this effect on the villains’ plans too and they probably aren’t as adept in planning around him.
- Does Pete have “Shot Through the Heart” set up as his ringtone for Amanda? No, she doesn’t give love a bad name for him. [Gonna step in here and note that “Shot Through the Heart” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” are different songs by Bon Jovi. Now, the latter is probably a better ringtone choice given the strong opening, but it’s a common mistake.] They don’t have a good answer for ringtones - they’ve both had their phones set on vibrate for 10 years and don’t think about them.
- Has Pete, after learning about Mr. Fixer’s past as noted ladies’ man Black Fist, asked him for advice on how to get Amanda to notice him? Well, by the time he’s working with Mr. Fixer we’re kind of past the Terminal Ballistics thing and they’re together, but Pete would basically be like that with everybody. Like, Pete would be the type to just ask some random person “Hey, you see that girl with the purple hair I came in with? Do you think she likes me?” Which would get the “Sir, this is a Wendy’s” kind of response. He’s eager to get advice and one of his problems is that he assumes that everybody else has their lives more together than he does. However, while that’s true for his overall personality, it might be making it too concrete for how their relationship developed. Part of the issue is that neither of them really acknowledged the attraction between them until it happened. It’s not like he was chasing her/trying to get her to notice him. They’re both into each other, but they don’t consciously notice for a long time.
- Has Setback ever tried to go off on his own to take on Hammer and Anvil to pay them back for how they tormented Expatriette? Nope. That’s some weird White Knighting thing that’s not Pete.
- If/when they get married, would Amanda wear something like a traditional wedding dress or would she opt for something more like a suit? Time will have to tell on that one.
- Back in the Expatriette episode, you mentioned that after leaving the Citizens she started consuming a lot of “human” media, especially books (e.g. Pride and Prejudice); did she ever wind up in the book club with Absolute Zero and Tachyon? First off, it’s not like the Citizens wouldn’t consider themselves to be human anymore. They’re certainly better than non-powered people, but that doesn’t make them not-people. No, she’s not the book club type. Getting together with a bunch of other people to discuss a piece of media often involves discussing your feelings about it and she’s not the type to want to discuss how a book made her feel with anybody.
- What are some of the fun non-standard types of ammunition that she used in Terminal Ballistics? Are there any from the comics/card game that are your favorites? They’ve talked about the shock, cryo, and fire rounds. The card game has the ones that are the go-to ones that get used a lot. Occasionally you’ll get a writer that will come up with a new type that has a very narrow use-case that will be interesting, but not something that’s likely to come up often. One example are flechette rounds - like, she shoots it and after it leaves the gun it splits apart into a bunch of little metal needles that spread out a bit - they would absolutely just murder a person, but could be useful for fighting a swarm of some critters. She’s definitely got some kind of “net round” (requires a larger-caliber gun, but it’s a monofilament net with a foam canister on the back that coats the filament after it’s fired). Some kind of “sleep rounds” where the projectile is relatively fragile and has some gas or something in it to knock the person out. Also a “pinning round” where it’s some sort of spike to intentionally shoot through somebody’s clothing to pin them to the wall behind them or something (another “could definitely also just absolutely murder the person with them” option, but that’s not the intended use). For favorites, Adam actually really likes the sleep rounds and Christopher the pinning rounds that they just invented. They also really liked the “gravity rounds” that they invented, there is art for, but they never actually got used in anything but since they were done on-stream, we can see them here.
- A somewhat recent discussion of a story involving a clone of Citizen Dawn prompted the following: how would Expatriette feel about her mother having another child? Would she try to intervene to prevent another child going through what she endured (whether the half-sibling has powers or not)? Would she step up into a mentorly “big sister” role? She would probably feel a personal responsibility to “save this person from Citizen Dawn”. Her knee-jerk response might be “if Dawn has bothered having another kid, she’s probably found a way to ensure that it has powers, so I’m going to need to stop them”. If this is a story that took place in the ’80s, that would just lead to a dead kid. A later story would still have that reaction, but also include the “stop doesn’t need to mean kill” thing as she thinks about it and decides on the save/rescue option instead.
- How much did the Eclipse story impact Amanda and Pete’s relationship (did she spend some time on the couch for that one, were there later arguments where he brought it up, etc.)? It’s a sore spot, but less the Eclipse event itself but her reaction afterwards. Like, he’d have asked her what the hell that was and her response along the lines of “Sometimes I’m gonna have to do things. Toughen up,” and that - the “you just need to get over it” response rather than anything about the trust that needs repairing - is what’s hard for him to swallow. She’s not even acknowledging that what she did is a problem for their relationship, and that’s a bigger problem. That being said, they’re likely past all of this by the time we get to OblivAeon.
- Do we ever see the Eclipse identity used again (either in-continuity or over in Disparation)? “The answer is not ‘no’.”
- Since the Battle for Broken City has been cancelled, are we likely to see those Dark Watch stories in another product/game anytime soon? Not “soon”. They’re still very interested in telling the Vertex stories somehow, but they don’t have an answer for what that is yet.
- Would the Operative be able to defeat Black Fist (as opposed to the older, more experienced Mr. Fixer)? If we’re talking about Zhu Long’s Operative vs. Black Fist, they think yes. Peak operative vs. early Slim, she could take him (although it would still be a hell of a fight). However, there has been no point in which the two of them have existed simultaneously where she could take him one-on-one. If you line their timelines up so that they’re the same age, then she can have an edge - she’s better for her age than he was but he’s always had that edge of experience in their actual interactions.
- Does Black Fist have a problem fighting the ladies? Unnamed ninja lady #7: probably not. If he’s fighting somebody where he can see her face it’d probably be “Hold on, I could never hit a lady.” Then she stabs him or something and he promptly kicks her through a wall.
- What is Slim’s preferred type of car? What’s the most outlandish car we’ve seen him repair? We’ve seen him fix up some bizarre, giant, purple, boats of a car. There’s room for a story here: like some Black Fist story where some high-rollin’ pimp comes in and while Slim’s working on the car he overhears stuff from this guy that he can then go take care of later. He doesn’t drive (he probably could, but he doesn’t), so he doesn’t have a favorite to operate. He’d recommend something reliable, though. Flashiness doesn’t really appeal to him. Although, he might appreciate American muscle cars. Like a stripped-down, straightforward, powerful American-made car sounds like his jam.
- You mentioned your love for Blaxploitation stock characters and how they basically write themselves, but you forgot one: the jilted lover kung fu mama! - surely one of Black Fist’s long string of lovers went on to become a kung fu master to come back to fight him, right? They think they did mention somebody who had been a romantic interest that became a villain later on, that definitely happened.
- While we know that Mr. Fixer is blind, was this an actual character trait during the Black Fist era (even back when he was a boxer in his initial appearances)? Was he blinded later? There is no story where he is blinded. As Black Fist, one of his character traits is that he wears sunglasses all the time. Now, this wasn’t intended at the time of his creation to be hiding the fact that he was blind - he was just this cool guy who always wore his shades (although there could be a time when he was getting ready to have sexy times with a lady where they just cut to a shot of his hand putting his shades on the nightstand). It was later decided (likely around the time he was introduced as Mr. Fixer) that he was blind and his established kung fu senses are what allow him to operate. Because of the sunglasses, this was an easy retcon to say that he’s always been blind but nobody knew it. [This would be a retcon from what was said back in the Mr. Fixer episode where it was a reveal during a Black Fist story where he was fighting vampires - but as that episode was well before the timeline project it’s hard to say if this is an intentional retcon or not.]
- In the Setback episode you mentioned that he’d run into Baron Blade after taking a wrong turn in the RevoCorp facility but in the Baron Blade episode you said that he didn’t break out of jail until he heard about the “successful” test subject who had escaped, which is true? The one that Pete ran into was one of the number of robot duplicates that were still out in the world while Blade was locked up. Most of the ’80s and early ’90s wound up having a lot of Blade-bots out there in order to explain errors like this because the continuity wasn’t being tracked at an editorial level as closely as it is now so people who wanted to use Baron Blade in their story would do so, forgetting that he was in prison at the time.
- A recent episode had a question about what shoes Parse wears and the answer was basically “whatever you want because we never showed them” - however, on Captain Cosmic’s “Wounding Buffer” card we can see that her legs aren’t the same shade as her arms and face, implying that she’s wearing hose, and her shoes appear to be black flats - at least I hope that’s right as that’s what I went with when I did some cosplay as her - is that right? In pulling up the art, they have to disagree. They look more like black boots than hose and flats. However, they think that they reviewed the art that Adam did for Handelabra’s SotM video game and she had on flats there. Either are appropriate for her character in the era where that was what her “costume” looked like. Comfy sneakers were probably used in there sometime too. Costumes can even change issue-to-issue, especially the ones that look like street clothes rather than having a very stylized look.
- Even though she’s not revealed until a quarter or halfway through the issue, Doctor Toxica should probably be on the cover. We don’t need her name to be spoiled, but people who have been reading along already know who the villain is. Her fighting Setback and Expatriette in a chemical plant seems appropriate for a scene (even if it’s something that doesn’t actually happen, like Setback’s about to get gassed or something). Adam will have to play around with things. The main point is that it’s a first appearance reveal of Doctor Toxica, so having her prominent is important (by ‘92 people would be aware that “first appearance” issues tend to be valuable in the collectors’ market, so they’d play to that).