Podcasts/Episode 178

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The Letters Page: Episode 178
Creative Process: Sky-Scraper Supporting Cast

Original Source

  • [ Libsyn Audio]

Primary Topic

Sky-Scraper

Intro

What sort of friend-persons does our favorite very tall / very tiny alien have?

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:46:36

We talk about people in Sky-Scraper's life! It gets meandery. Go figure!

After just under an hour of nonsense and storytelling — in equal measure — we read your letters to you, and we talk not just about Sky-Scraper, but also get to the lingering letters about xxtz'Hulissh and Atlantean-related stuff.

Join us next week for Episode #179 - Writers' Room: Disparation: Visionary’s origin timeline. We'll talk about both before she leaves and after she's gone, but which one will we do a full issue on? Who can say? Get your questions in now!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • An interesting conundrum here for a “Sky-Scraper supporting cast” episode is that, for quite a while, she was supporting cast for the Freedom Five. That was her narrative role - she hung out at whichever FF headquarters was in use at the time, helped in fights when necessary, helped out with “space stuff” on occasion, and was in conflict with Tempest due to his position regarding Thorathians while also being an important part for his (and readers’) development regarding that conflict. Likewise, while K.N.Y.F.E. and Sky-Scraper are “support” for one another at various points over the years, this isn’t the place to talk about that. We’re developing new people today.
  • So, where can we even start to look for friends who aren’t heroes? That basically comes down to “where are her solo stories?” which happens occasionally in Justice Comics and probably does in Cosmic Tales as well. [A problem for the general topic of this episode that they joke about at first, but keep coming back to is that “Sky-Scraper doesn’t have any friends.”]
  • Given her association with the Freedom Five and that team’s connection to the government, there’s probably some kind of liaison that she works with due to her being an alien (and not just in the “from outer space” sense). Identification and other connections to the state bureaucracy that will help her make a life for herself here. It’s funny that Expatriette also lacks those things, but would not take it well if you were to try to tell her that she “needed” them - she’s quite happy living off-the-grid, thank you very much.
    • This bit about Expat devolves into several minutes of them joking about the various small animals she’s had to resort to eating. It goes on for so long due to their collective knowledge of such things from Redwall and other sources in their youth. Normally, I’d omit such an aside, but it actually has a bearing on the proceedings; namely:
  • This government liaison person has a hobby regarding rodents and other small mammals. Sky-Scraper can be tiny and so just as a fun character quirk, her government contact asks her to do some reconnaissance on these critters occasionally (“Hey, can you go down that burrow and see what those groundhogs are up to?”). Like, this is a person that generally annoys other people in the office, so they assigned her to this weird alien. Agent Janet Valenco is this lady who gets assigned to Portja Kir’Pro to help get her acclimated/assimilated into society.
  • Does this happen often enough that there needs to be a specific organization who works with alien refugees in this way? F.I.L.T.E.R. is kind of the opposite of this and eventually breaks off from the government anyway, so maybe there’s some new thing that gets created to take up that space. They probably attempt to make inroads with the Maerynians, but they’re very wary of any such “help” from humans at this point and reject them. They also have the option to just opt out of “being part of your society” and go live in the ocean. Anyway, this group is the Department of ExoEarth Integration (the DEI) - it’s pretty small and is more of a task-force than a full on department and is kind of seen as the butt of a joke and/or a punishment detail for civil servants. It’s almost seen as “babysitter” duty, only the baby in question is often way more intelligent or powerful than your standard human. You can probably get a bunch of interesting one-shot stories out of the DEI. Aliens who very much don’t want to integrate with society or who are/were villains (because face it - most aliens in comics are introduced as villains). In the latter case, DEI agents probably spend a lot of time in prisons working with them in a “rehabilitation” capacity.
  • Janet probably shows up in the mid-90s. We can have it after Freedom Tower is built and things are getting more organized. Probably after the big Kaargra event. Let’s say September ’95 in Justice Comics #484 as the first appearance of Janet and the DEI in general. As a new thing, this works out really well. The DEI agents likely have a handbook, but it’s all theoretical at this stage. Sky-Scraper is perfect for a first assignment as she’s extremely positive, thankful for her help, and due to her history has dealt with a ton of different alien races.
  • So, we have Janet introduce herself, but she fumbles her wallet and Portja sees some pictures of adorable little fuzzy animals. She is into talking about these cute things and so they get off on a good footing immediately. Janet mentions problems she’s having with other cases she’s assigned to, but Portja knows about their people and can provide useful info. They become actual friends and can help one another out beyond the official capacity (and Janet is likely breaking several protocols being so friendly with one of her assignments). This probably results in some drama with the agency, but they’ll have to work that out later. They think she sticks around at least through OblivAeon as she’s a useful character to have around.
  • Moving on, she remains a resident in Freedom Tower through its destruction, so they could have something approaching a “Day in the Life” kind of issue (although not that specific title) where she goes about her life in Megalopolis. Because she has such a positive, bubbly personality and has a charming manner of speech (due to not having a perfect grasp on English, but not to the point where it prevents understanding) she wins people over quickly, even those who might be intimidated by this large alien woman at first. There’s probably a number of people in her story that are at the level below “supporting cast”, just everyday people she interacts with - say the guy who operates her favorite hot dog cart or the doorman at a hotel she walks by regularly. A fun gimmick for her would be that she learns and remembers all of their names.
  • Taking that as a point to reflect on, along with the earlier gag about her not having any friends, is that she’s very good at this kind of surface level friendship but struggles with deep ones. Heroes and Janet are “work friends” to one degree or another and all of these People of Megalopolis are friendly without being friends. It’s a survival tactic from the Colosseum - she can’t afford to let herself get close to anyone. She’s charming, friendly, and will help out at the drop of a hat, but until K.N.Y.F.E. she’s not letting herself be open to anybody. In order for this to really land, they now need to come up with some people who try to get through that barrier so that we can see her withdraw from it. We can do two of these - one that seems to be unconscious on her part (before something bad happens), but then another where she’s doing it intentionally (to prevent a similar situation from happening again). She loves people, but is dangerous to be around (not because of stuff she does, but because of stuff that happens to/around her) and so keeps people at arm’s length to protect them.
  • To have a convenient venue for meeting people, they decide that part of the DEI program involves getting her enrolled in some community college courses. This provides some English-as-a-second-language instruction, but also some “social studies” kinds of things for a grounding in the way our society works/thinks of itself. In the process, she “befriends” another student in her ESL class over their shared struggles with the language. Over time we see this person attempting to make inroads as a friend, but she finds excuses to deflect. Eventually there’s a villain incident and this person gets injured.
  • Fleshing out who this person is: Adam imagines a woman and they decide that she’s young, like in her late teens. She’s Ukranian and her parents sent her to America recently, but couldn’t come themselves, so she’s alone here and so is similar to Portja in that way too. Her name is Lyudmyla Novosel and first shows up in Justice Comics in ’98 (a few years after Janet and the DEI first become a thing). They want her around for at least a little while so that the eventual injury has some weight behind it. Lyudmyla would consider herself to be Portja’s friend, but it’s not totally reciprocal (Sky-Scraper would be happy to help her with anything, but her language quirks allow the writers to be a bit cagey with her position on the relationship: “Yes, I am friendly with this person. I’m always happy to see her!” without stating outright that they are friends).
  • Anyway, Lyudmyla shows up in June of ’98 [JC #517]. As a note on timing, March-May of ’99 was the Strike Force Invasion story. Immediately after, we can have the June issue of JC be kind of an “aftermath” issue. We’ve seen a bunch of “Sky-Scraper being a person in Megalopolis” stuff at street-level in JC. Now we’ve just had a big Thorathian crossover involving Sky-Scraper that had a bunch of stuff happen in JC and in Megalopolis. People are looking at her differently now. They’re a bit wary of her now.
  • Additionally, we find out that Lyudmyla was injured (like a broken leg or something) as she was heading to her study-buddy Portja’s place. Lyudmyla doesn’t really have a local support structure in terms of family or anything, so it’s difficult beyond just the injury. Sky-Scraper’s reaction to this is that “if this person wasn’t in my life she would be in better shape”. It’s fine for her to wave and say “hi” to people and for those people to like her, but she can’t/shouldn’t have close friends who aren’t also set up for these kinds of events (i.e. heroes). She goes to the hospital to see Lyudmyla, looks in the window to the room and sees that there’s somebody in there too, and just leaves. Occasionally after that we get a moment where she’s checking voicemail or something and gets through half of a message from Lyudmyla before she just hangs up. Or maybe Aminia Twain giving her a message and Portja just telling her to say that she’s gone to space if she gets further calls. Something to indicate to the reader that she’s intentionally dodging phone calls from her “friend”.
  • So, that was sad. Let’s go one better and give her a doomed romance. Not too much time passes before we get here as we want the previous story still relatively fresh. Then we can have 10-ish years before the stuff with K.N.Y.F.E. gets going. This has likely got to be a man as having the next romantic interest for Sky-Scraper being K.N.Y.F.E. should be as much a surprise for her as anybody (especially considering Thorathian views on such things). Anyway, we introduce Theodore Cassell in February 2001 [JC #549].
  • The story: it’s been a few years since the Invasion and she’s been working on getting back to that “lots of surface level friendships” kind of territory she was in before. Something in Earth culture that she’s gotten into a bit is chess - it’s a way to interact with people, but the way that it works actually helps tell her a bit about humans just on its own. She goes to a nearby park that has one of those public chess board setups where she’ll just go to hang out and play with people.
  • She winds up playing a few games with this one guy over time. He tries to learn more about her. She responds with stuff like “I am from space”, which isn’t particularly enlightening. In spite of herself she winds up having a good time playing and talking with him. She even winds up on dates with him without actually knowing that that’s what’s happening (between taking things really slow/low-key and the simple fact that human and Thorathian approaches to “dating” are very different). At one point when Portja is returning to Freedom Tower after one of these “dates” (totally missing the part where Theodore was hoping for a goodbye kiss) Aminia mentions that “Theodore’s been coming around a lot lately.” Maybe sometime later she brings a package to Portja and says that “Your boyfriend left this for you.” Which she has trouble parsing as meaning more than just “a friend who is a boy” until Aminia explains, much to Portja’s horror as this has gone well beyond what she tries to do regarding close friendships. [Man, non-evil Aminia is fun to have around for stuff.]
  • From there, the next time they’re out there’s a moment where Theodore goes for the kiss, and it’s a situation where one would be warranted under normal circumstances, but she stops things with all of the terrible, cliched ways of ending a relationship. Like, early in the relationship they see a bunch of romantic comedies and now she’s just straight-up recycling the worst examples from those. We can even drag this out as he doesn’t (or at least acts like he doesn’t) get that she’s trying to break up with him (“Ha! I remember that. What a bone-head line that guy used in that movie, huh?”).
  • Eventually he kind of loses his cool a bit. Not like in a mean way, just that he really likes her and knows, like it’s obvious, that she really likes him too. It’s just that he’s not going to wait around forever while she decides if she wants to be with him. It hurts him most to see her actively hurting herself with this and he’s not going to stand by to watch it. Of course, her response is the worst one that basically just tells him to not stand by.
  • So, this breakup is in a November issue and then we get another Sky-Scraper-focused “Christmas issue” the next month. She’s going around doing her neighborhood non-friendship things and finds out that they’re all going to do family stuff, but see you later! She goes back home. If this is what people are doing, she’ll go hang out with her “family” too, but after the office party, the Freedom Five are all doing their own things too. She even tries calling Janet, but she just gets voicemail there too.
    • Adam brings up the question of what Aminia Twain’s up to and Christopher refreshes us that while the heroes (and the readers) occasionally get snippets of her private life (say, there’s a mention that she’s dating somebody or whatnot), for the most part it’s a black box. She has her work life and her home life and they are separate.
  • Wow, that’s a lot of sadness they’ve just invented for Sky-Scraper. But, you’ve generally got to be broken a bit in order to be a full time superhero, and she’s got plenty of excuse, what with being a refugee from a war-torn planet who, since leaving that, was forced into gladiatorial combat for years. We next have a major Sky-Scraper solo story is somewhere in 2007-2009 or so where we see her in therapy (although the first time we see that implies that she’s been going for at least a little while - this isn’t her first session or anything). They don’t think it’s the therapist’s first appearance either. They’ve mentioned before that there was a dedicated “super-hero therapist” - there might be more than one such person and this is one of them that we’ve seen before. That being said, this person definitely counts as supporting cast for her.
  • So, there’s an issue in JC in… late 2007 let’s say, where we see that she’s getting therapy. There’s probably discussion of how things went down with Theodore (she didn’t want things to go down that way, but that doesn’t change the fact that she was the one who was taking actions regarding it). There’s also probably some baggage regarding Aminia - we’re now a few years past the Miss Information story and she would have been supporting cast for Sky-Scraper as well just due to her presence in Freedom Tower for so long, so that’s got to hurt. Anyway, the therapist is Eva Newman and while they haven’t pinned down her first appearance yet they think she’s been around in comics since the late ’80s or early ’90s. This specific issue isn’t only about Portja - it’s one with a bunch of vignettes showing several characters and one portion just establishes her getting professional help and acknowledging some of these problems establishing close relationships. This nicely sets up the situation in a few years where we see her and K.N.Y.F.E. together and how notable it is that she’s able to form that close friendship.
  • Adam twists the knife a bit by suggesting that at some point we see Sky-Scraper taking the initiative to track down Theodore and see what happens there, but she discovers that he’s married in the interim. resigned sigh
  • They’ve noticed a tendency in their creations that they like it when their characters can be the best version of themselves. It’s hard to have them make bad choices. Like, it’s astonishing that Sky-Scraper is as friendly as she is (even if she has trouble being friends with somebody), but it’s still hard to see her self-sabotage like this. Having bad things happen to the characters is easier than having them make bad choices. They’ve also noted a trend where their more upbeat characters are the ones with major issues in their personal lives. Anyway, moving on.

Questions

  • Given that we know she spends a lot of time in Freedom Tower, does Sky-Scraper make any particular friends among the support staff there (somebody’s got to teach her how to do mundane things like cook with human appliances, work a washing machine, or jump through the various administrative hoops that comes with being a superhero)? She’d be on that extensive-surface-detail level of friendship with everyone there. She remembers names and what’s going on with their families and everything, but doesn’t get close to any of them. The “hoop jumping” is mostly handled by Agent Valenco and Aminia Twain when it’s not just the Freedom Five directly.
  • Is there anyone more “official” to help her integrate (through the government or the Freedom Five Initiative or otherwise)? Does she see a therapist considering everything she’s been through on Dok'Thorath and in the Bloodsworn Colosseum? Yes to all of that, as they’ve gone over above. You nailed it. This prompts Adam to point something out, though. She does not act at all like she is “a veteran”, but she definitely is one. Her backstory is one of extreme trauma and she almost certainly suffers from PTSD, but she manages that by not letting anyone get close to her. She tells herself that it’s for their own safety, but it’s really to protect herself. She doesn’t like feeling vulnerable and people are vulnerabilities.
  • Are there other Thorathians on Earth (say, prisoners taken during the various invasions)? Is their fate addressed? Does she ever interact with them? A prominent example is Vyktor. He’s not a prisoner, though. They imagine that he’s probably set up some kind of deal akin to Nazis after WWII where they set up shop in some country without extradition treaties and just goes along with his villainous plots in exchange for some of his alien science/tech/knowledge. He’s the opposite of Portja in so many ways and he likely tries to tempt her to his way of thinking whenever they meet. He’d prey on her psychologically and she’d try to interact with him as little as possible. As far as any other Thorathians go (like, ones in prison), she’d have as little to do with them as possible. She might agree to come in to help translate or something, but she’d do what was asked and then would get out as fast as possible. There could even be a thing with Tempest later about how she doesn’t particularly like Thorathians either - like, even if she knows that the majority of her people aren’t Evil, she kind of internalizes that view of them to an extent. It’s easier for her to justify not going back if she can use that excuse - that she’s not like them in this way. She’s got a lot of internalized self-loathing to deal with.
  • How much does her “fish out of water” quirkiness endear her to the people of Earth within the fiction? Does that offset the unease people have regarding her being an alien? Exactly that, as mentioned up top. She’s very good at disarming people in that way.
  • Did she have any romantic interests before the will-they/won’t-they situation with Paige? Does any such character stick around in a way that could complicate her interpersonal relationships in the future? Yes and no. There’s Theodore as discussed, but we’re talking about comics so there’s probably some writer who tried to do something along these lines for the drama rather than the specific character trait of pushing people away that Theodore existed to showcase.
  • Has she bonded with anybody significantly larger or smaller than her usual terrestrial company? There have likely been stories where there were tiny or huge aliens that she’s been able to interact with more effectively than anybody else would have because that’s a fun way to use her powers. “Bonded” with, though? No.
  • Does she give good hugs (she seems like she’d give good hugs if she allowed herself to open up)? She’s not a hugger, but if somebody came in for a hug she’d reciprocate in a “Oh, we are doing the grabbing thing. Alright. Thank you for grabs,” kind of way.
  • What human food does she like the best? She loves burgers from Dad’s.
  • What about American culture confuses her the most? The lack of focus on twos is an easy one. This prompts the realization of an additional sad thing that Portja’s done to herself without their planning it out. She’s a set of one. She’s isolated herself, partly as a response to her trauma, but also as a “I’m not a Thorathian” self-loathing thing. She gets that some people are lonely and are in sets of one and others wind up in a set of two, but what is the deal with thruples? How does that even work? Uh… let’s not have her dwell on the depressing set-of-one stuff - ice cream. Why do people eat this cold stuff that makes your head hurt (possibly establishing here that Thorathians get brain freeze really easily).
  • What sport best showcases how well humans measure up against Thorathians? Hockey or soccer would be pretty good. Football is all starts and stops and isn’t a good one for this purpose. There’s not a lot of ice on Dok’Thorath so these humans strapping blades to their feet and then doing the hockey with clubs is impressive. What a display of valor!
  • What is special about gyrating milk that it works as a lure to bring potential mates to the defensive perimeter of a domicile? They could teach you, but you’d have to pay them. They can see this being a question that Sky-Scraper asks Janet who gets flustered as it’s kind of beyond the purview of her job to discuss that kind of thing (“They didn’t teach me how to have The Talk with aliens”).
  • What fellow heroes other than K.N.Y.F.E. did she form the best bonds with? The Freedom Five. K.N.Y.F.E. is her BFF, though.
  • What heroes does she not like? Ra and Fanatic are a bit much for her. Adam suggests Dark Watch being too edgy for her, but Christopher points out that their story is one of perseverance and overcoming and mutual support. She’s probably really concerned about DW Mr. Fixer, but the team overall is one with heart and she’d respond to that.
  • What music does she like? This is a tricky thing. She’s the type of person to want to listen to all of it. She likely wouldn’t get the purpose of sad music. Waltzes are tricky (being in 3/4 time [that’s an “Thorathian obsession with 2s” joke]).
  • Any villains that don’t fit in well on Earth but who might be able to turn over a new leaf as a hero on Dok’Thorath if we set up some kind of exchange program? No. Nobody is “better off” on Dok’Thorath. If you’ve got to send somebody, send the Hippo (Adam: “Yeah! Aliens, man!”).
  • What hero best embodies the human ideals you would wish Thorathians to see? Legacy is up there. Maybe somebody like the Scholar would be better as it’s somebody who’d get cross-cultural stuff better and would exemplify the ideals of listening more than speaking.
  • Could you arrange a meeting with Senator Parsons on some kind of hero-loaner program (I hear the older Legacy is retiring or something, so maybe he could come)? Good luck with that.
  • Does Sky-Scraper have a “guy in a chair” backing her up? Any particular model of chair one should look for? You kind of want it to be one of those spinney office chairs because when you give the information to your hero and they do the thing you want to be able to throw your arms up with a “Woo!” combined with a celebratory twirl. Additionally, you’ve obviously got one of those setups where you’ve got a semicircle of different computers and you need to be able to turn to face any of them at any time. Also, you want wheels so that you can slide over to the bookcase to grab something without getting up (they even suggest that maybe something more like a drum stool might be better than a chair for this purpose). She does not have a specific person. Due to her connection with the Freedom Five there is likely staff at her disposal that fills a similar role (and probably specifically Aminia Twain until the point where she was no longer an option), but it’s not a specific guy in a chair just for her.
  • If she have multiple allies, does she keep them compartmentalized in case a villain captures one? Do they hang out? She doesn’t have multiple allies. Like, there are groups of heroes who are each others’ allies, and sometimes Sky-Scraper is there too (as supporting cast for them). These sad solo stories are there to explain why she’s always more on the edge of things.
  • Hey, could Galactra be a good hero for Dok’Thorath? Would her passion inspire the people? Would she consider that to be a good path for them? Her “advice” to Dok’Thorath (or anyone, really) would be “If there’s something you want to do, just do it. Don’t let anything stand in your way. If there’s something you want, take it. Whatever emotion you’re feeling, that’s great, just feel it. Don’t worry about how other people feel. Don’t worry about what fallout there is to your lashing out. That just gives you more things to react to and often gives other people things to feel strongly about. Even ‘bad’ outcomes of your acting on what you’re feeling are better than bland inaction.” That’s a bit of an extreme position that might not be the best advice.
  • Does Portja use any kind of technology to try to hide the fact that she’s an alien (given the problems Thorathians have caused for Earth)? She does not disguise herself, although she does shrink herself a bit so that she’s not constantly towering over everyone just due to Thorathians naturally being taller than the average human. She also shrinks to fit clothes she wants to wear rather than having larger clothes made for her specifically.
  • Did she ever form any close bonds with another gladiator? Her time in the Colosseum likely informs a lot of how she acts with people now. Like, she may have been close to somebody, but it didn’t end well. When we first see her in the Colosseum she’s real bitter. Like, we may see some flashback to earlier gladiator time when she befriended somebody who then betrayed her.
  • What did she think of S’sdari? What would she think of Fashion if they ran into one another again? She’s likely recognize her. They think that she’d respond positively to any gladiator who got out and did well for themselves afterwards. She’s also probably assume that anybody would have the same “story” that she did after getting out, which isn’t the case.
  • Is Hul a Singular Entity? If so, it it the Singular Entity of Madness? Yes - they tried to say that without outright saying that. It makes the question of what xxtz'Hulissh is in relation to Hul kind of confusing, though. Madness is close - it’s a kind of madness that’s not understandable by humans, but that might be a good enough way to define madness anyway. The easiest answer is that yes, Hul is the Singular Entity of Madness.
  • How can xxtz’Hulissh access Hul from within the “sandwich bag” that contains Universe 1? Was it trapped within the universe or is this some kind of Wager Master situation where, for complicated nonsense reasons, there are now two of them? Hul exists - don’t think about it as being in or out of the universe. You can’t get to Hul. However, xxtz’Hulissh is already here, and xxtz’Hulissh can access Hul. The opening in xxtz’Hulissh’s face is a straw that goes through the sandwich bag, but there’s a perfect seal where it crosses the barrier. You can get from Hul to that face-opening and vice-versa. Hul is active outside of the bag, but can only act within it through xxtz’Hulissh. This might be a reason why the heroes can fight xxtz’Hulissh at all; Hul’s influence is so weak due to being limited in this way. The “straw” does represent a breach in the seal that Voss created, but it’s not one that anybody else can actually make use of.
  • [Cult of Gloom letter at around 1:25:50 throwing some really fun shade at Hul regarding some unknowable thing trying its luck on their home turf. Just so you know, the last “unknowable thing from beyond the stars” that tried this went from being the baddest guy in the Multiverse to a handful of shards, a teenager whose daddy doesn’t love her, and an unending string of Editor’s Note questions and he was twice the Singular Entity you are. Note that this outcome was possible due to the work we did in opposing NightMist, shaping her into a magician of such skill that she could rend the Multiverse asunder to deal with that jerk. That’s the level of 3D chess you’re dealing with here, pal. You think you’re so scary because you’re “unknowable”? Did anybody say they wanted to know you? Our knowledge is knowable - sorrow is a universal experience and we’ll teach you to despair. But I digress.]
  • What would have happened if OblivAeon had destroyed Atlantis? Would he have been aware of Hul’s influence there and been wary of it, possibly saving it for last? OblivAeon would only have gone to the Ruins of Atlantis if it was required for him to do so for conjunction reasons. He doesn’t care that it’s sealing something away any more than he cared about the Nexus of the Void or Magmaria in terms of significance. It’s all part of reality and it would have gone with everything else if he’d won. If he’d destroyed Atlantis and then gone on to be defeated, that just removes the seal. Hul and xxtz’Hulissh wouldn’t have been affected. Regardless, he could have destroyed xxtz’Hulissh. If xxtz’Hulissh were to attack OblivAeon’s forces it could be a problem for them. OblivAeon personally vs. xxtz’Hulissh would be a fight, but one that OblivAeon would win. Hul isn’t present and so the fact that its another Singular Entity doesn’t come directly into play.
  • Could an adequately-skilled/durable person (possibly immortal due to Time Shenanigans) find another xxtz’Hulissh, jump in its maw, traverse Hul, then emerge from the xxtz’Hulissh currently in the sealed-off Universe 1? So, we assume that the question is whether Haka could so do. It is hypothetically possible, but it would require a conjunction of story elements that are currently not in place to make it possible. Like, you’d have to unleash xxtz’Hulissh on some other reality to get through its face and Haka’s not the kind of guy to do so and then leave that reality to a horrible fate just so that he could get home.
  • If xxtz’Hulissh is a harbinger of a greater entity called Hul, Hul is a Singular Entity currently outside of Universe 1, Universe 1 is sealed away from the rest of the Multiverse, that sealing was done by means of the power of another Singular Entity, and if Universe 1 will eventually be unsealed and reconnected to the Multiverse (as you’ve hinted at as an inevitability in the past), then is that connection going to be a result of Hul attempting to break in through the “sandwich bag”? There is a bunch of future secret things they have planned, but they’ll say this. “If some future happens in which the sandwich bag is removed and the reality that is the Sentinel Comics Universe reality is integrated into the rest of the Multiverse again, it will not be the act of Hul.” Why do people keep assuming that Universe 1 will rejoin the Multiverse anyway? It’s not like that could possibly happen without “significant shenanigans”.
  • You said that Atlanteans developed a “pure” way to access magic (without using props like weird dimensions or blood or infinite improbability or something) and that when the seal was created the 12 mages went their separate ways to make sure that magic from then on did rely on such things to ensure that humanity never developed such “pure” magic again as a safeguard against xxtz’Hulissh - that nicely ensures that humans don’t develop that kind of magic again, but what about aliens? If “pure” magic was easy enough to work out that the Atlanteans had to dedicate the rest of their lives to making sure that nobody else on Earth bumbled their way into it, why couldn’t some alien race do so? If there are aliens out there who know it, could they teach humans (granted, this is a terrible idea because xxtz’Hulissh is a thing, but since when has that stopped anybody)? They like the fact that you can basically say anything about what humanity can’t do and drop a “but what about aliens?” afterwards. The Atlantean masters didn’t go their separate ways for the purpose of rooting out and stopping any attempts to recreate what they did, they went their separate ways because their collective knowledge shouldn’t all be in one place. As for any alien races that figured out how to do this kind of magic, they attracted the attention of Hul and get wiped out. Earth is the planet that survived doing this kind of magic. As advanced as the Atlanteans were in their heyday, there are more advanced cultures out among the stars and there are also ruins of cultures that were more advanced out there too. It’s also possible for other pure-magic-using cultures to get wiped out by some other thing before drawing Hul’s attention as well - they wouldn’t be invincible.
  • Was Zhu Long one of the 12 Atlantean masters? “Zhu Long is not an Atlantean.” [They restate the question again - it was quite long going into details that prompted the question and then say the answer is that he “was/is not one of the 12 masters from Atlantis”, but the first answer was that he is not Atlantean. The exact wording leaves open the possibility that Zhu Long is not Atlantean, but may have once been and no longer is Atlantean and was not one of the 12 masters. I don’t honestly think that this was an intended corner case, but there we go in terms of what was actually said.]

Therapy

  • If the stuff they talked about regarding Sky-Scraper needing/getting therapy spoke to your own struggles at all, Christopher and Adam both recommend therapy. They both benefit from it. Here’s a form on the Psychology Today website to help you find a therapist. Alternately, you can check with your healthcare provider or health insurance company to get recommendations. They can think of few things more worth an hour of your time a week (or two if you want to budget some extra time to decompress/process things) than talking to a therapist. Even doing things remotely under current circumstances is worth it. It’s difficult, but worth the effort.