The Letters Page: Episode 21
She's tough, she's Scottish, and she's got energy powers! It's Agent Paige Huntly: A.K.A. the hero known as K.N.Y.F.E.!
Run Time: 55:34
First thing first! We're both older - but certainly no wiser - than we were last episode! Happy Birthday to us.
We first introduced the character of Paige Huntly in last week's Chokepoint episode, as their stories intertwine before Agent Huntly ever becomes K.N.Y.F.E.
When we get to the Progeny fight, we go into a bit of a discussion on whether Progeny's head flying away is cool or silly. Who is right? You decide!
And then we're off to SPACE!
Lots of great stuff about alternate realities, people being awful, her Scottish-ness, and even more in the questions section.
Also, this episode's post-credits bit is the longest one ever, I think!
- K.N.Y.F.E. is a violent, foul-mouthed, hard-drinkin', bruiser of a character. She goes from zero to punchin' stuff really quickly. K.N.Y.F.E. is a very '90s character, in case you couldn't tell (apparently early design drafts had her in black leather). Paige Huntly was around for a short while in comics before becoming K.N.Y.F.E. but still in the '90s.
- She was a Royal Marine (in the 45 Commandos out of Arbroath in Scotland) and served for 5 years before being recruited into F.I.L.T.E.R. by Warden Hoefle. She serves for a further 11 years there, fighting aliens under F.I.L.T.E.R.'s original mandate of defending against extra-terrestrials (the aliens she's dealing with are "monsters" - they're always just a pure threat rather than someone who could be reasoned with and this colors her expectations of aliens in general).
- Then the Choke event happens (see last episode) - Paige is injured by the weird energies released, but manages to get to Choke and knock her out. She then spends several weeks convalescing (in the new super-human wing since now she has these dangerous energy spikes erupting from her body).
- Once she's recovered and has trained to control the energy. Now in addition to the already formidable weapons/combat training she's also outfitted with a power-armor/gauntlet and can project these energy spikes at will. She's legitimately scary (just under 6 feet tall and buff even without the new gear) and enjoys getting in fights (at around the 8 minute mark they go into a discussion of how you might like to go have a drink with her, but might with good reason worry that the trip to the bar would end with her getting into a fight as most of her trips do).
- Also, now she's given her code name and gets sent on even more extreme missions (Kinetic Neutralizer Yielding Flawless Execution - because it's the '90s and you need to have an acronym that misspells something "cool" by including a letter from the tail-end of the alphabet). Now, instead of just being part of a strike team going after a specific alien monster, she's more likely to be sent out on reconnaissance missions to other realities solo. Between things she sees while doing this and the fact that the Block is holding more people, she's starting to think something isn't quite right (also, given her own position as a person with powers herself). When she questions her superiors she's given an explanation that's largely "don't worry about it" (if she's given any response at all).
- Something in particular she's worried about is that she's seeing a lot of timelines ending and is worried that this is pointing to all timelines ending and the lack of concern shown by F.I.L.T.E.R. is disconcerting.
- Once, while on one of her observation missions, she watches this large silvery creature just mop the floor with a team of heroes and then obliterate the city they were trying to defend. Later, she and a team are sent to capture an alien terrorist - she catches a glimpse of this alien but recognizes it as one of the heroes that she had seen trying to protect the city. She decides that maybe this alien isn't deserving of her general punch now and don't bother with questions later approach; she sends her team off in some other direction so that she can interact with them. This alien, it turns out, is the main timeline's Tempest (who is very surprised at her sudden, and very tall, appearance - I hadn't paid attention to how short Tempest is at 5'2").
- They have a discussion where she talks about her job and current mission, and how Tempest is surprised/concerned at being called a "terrorist". As a result of this interaction she decides to leave F.I.L.T.E.R. as it's obvious now that they've been misleading her for a while now. She removes her communications/interdimensional travel gear and helps Tempest escape from her former teammates. This introduces her to the world/readers as a "hero", out to save the multiverse.
- This all happens pretty quickly; Out of Time being a 6-issue limited series that covers from the end of the Choke event, through her gaining powers, and finally getting involved with the heroes after helping Tempest. This moves pretty quickly into the Vengeance events where she's just a regularly-appearing hero. She's still got this extreme (or X-Treme!!!) '90s reputation (there's some fight with ninjas at some point, but she has a reputation for killing foes rather than just subduing them as other heroes might).
- She's involved in a later fight against Citizen Dawn when she wonders why the other heroes just let her retreat instead of going after her to take her down permanently. K.N.Y.F.E. decides to go after Dawn herself, and this goes really poorly for Paige (see her incap art for why this was a bad idea for her, specifically). It also doesn't help that Paige is new at heroics and is used to going after unintelligent monsters and Citizen Dawn is one of the most calculating villains on top of being, just straight up, one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse.
- Dawn just leaves the injured K.N.Y.F.E. to die of her injuries, but the Scholar shows up and saves her (funny how he generally seems to be at the right place at the right time for this sort of thing - the guys are really looking forward to his episode and expect it to be a "fun one" with a lot of "good revelations"). He does one of his patented heart-to-heart conversations with her, this time remarking that she's this formidable "living weapon" but noting that weapons are always wielded by somebody else.
- She returns to Megalopolis to tell the Freedom Five about Progeny and what she knows from those other timelines (her intel allows a lot of people to get evacuated ahead of time and saved a lot of lives).
- The Progeny fight is one of the darkest, most grueling fights in the comics, but then at the end his head detaches and flies off into space. Goofy or cool? You decide! Also a call for fan-art showing this to help decide
- She wants to pursue it into space immediately since she knows that it's bad news and this is a monster fight, her specialty. The heroes want to stay behind to help take care of the damage to Megalopolis, Rook City, etc. She goes to a F.I.L.T.E.R. installation she still knows about on her own and steals a spaceship to pursue Progeny. This goes into another limited series following her exploits in space: Headhunter.
- She never does catch up to the head, but does stop a bunch of cosmic threats/space monsters before they can get to Earth. She acquires a new set of armor/gear, a new haircut, and a jetpack. A bunch of these are just fun monster-smashing stories, but a lot of groundwork/foreshadowing of OblivAeon happens out here too. Another running thread through all of this, however, is her having to dodge F.I.L.T.E.R. agents sent after her, and in particular her replacement Sergeant Steel (the other Agents in his deck are her old team). This does eventually result in a major showdown between them, which she loses. She's captured and taken back to F.I.L.T.E.R. as a prisoner (see her Rogue Agent incap art for the containment tank that she's put in and her alt-art RA incap for Sgt. Steel dragging her unconscious body).
- That brings us to OblivAeon - Sky-Scraper and K.N.Y.F.E. had encountered each other previously (K.N.Y.F.E. had been involved in the Bloodsworn Colosseum event - see the "Reckless" title card). At one point, Sky-Scraper breaks into a F.I.L.T.E.R. base and finds the tank Paige is in and breaks her out (stealing a big fancy gun on the way out - the Infinity Cannon - this card was drawn on-stream a while back and they hint that these events are "somewhat playable" in OblivAeon which I take to mean that they're part of the Mission deck). After that she's part of the main fight against OblivAeon and the Scions (see the Aeon Men in her deck, for example). Something is mentioned about her "run in" with the cult of Nixious the Chosen while she was out in space (and Nixious is the "only one left" now).
- While all this is going on, she overhears some chatter on her earpiece that are coded, but she is able to understand it innately. This is coming from the Wagner Mars Base, so she extricates herself from the general fight and heads there to find that a big chunk of it is serving as a staging ground for a massive assault by a lot of other K.N.Y.F.E.s from other realities (around 30 of them - these are ones who were from reality where she had "drunk the F.I.L.T.E.R. Kool-aid" and had been picked by OblivAeon for this strike team). She can't let this happen, and so fights them all - eventually activating the self-destruct sequence and blowing up this portion of the base.
- Progeny fought pretty much everyone, so why is K.N.Y.F.E. the nemesis? This is a pairing more on K.N.Y.F.E.'s end than on Progeny's. Her story involves it heavily (it's why she left F.I.L.T.E.R., it's why she went into space, her intel is what allowed the body count to be relatively low in Megalopolis, etc.). Fighting space monsters is right in her wheelhouse.
- Based on the Block's interdimensionality, is our Paige Huntly originally from the main universe/timeline? No. She's from a very similar one, though. The observational mission she was on when she saw Progeny defeat a team of heroes was her timeline.
- Has she encountered different versions of the heroes out in the multiverse? Yeah, Tempest from her timeline was already mentioned (along with the rest of that team who died) for example.
- What was the purpose of her F.I.L.T.E.R. spec ops team? Did she work with Sgt. Steel? She mostly fought alien monsters but did fight with Steel on occasion, too, but not regularly.
- Considering F.I.L.T.E.R. doesn't seem to have an issue with locking up powered individuals, why did they have problems with the information that she brought to them (regarding Progeny)? There's some sinister stuff going on above her pay grade that will get addressed in next week's episode.
- Was the anomaly that she found Progeny or it just a part of what she discovered that led to her leaving? It was part of a whole.
- What shape was she in after the Progeny fight? Not as bad as most heroes - "she gave worse than she got".
- Were there attempts by Sgt. Steel to bring her back before or after Progeny? After, as mentioned.
- Is there only one Block? Yes.
- What all happened in Out of Time - is this her whole backstory? This is her backstory, it starts with her gaining powers and ends with her leaving F.I.L.T.E.R. - she becomes a "rogue agent" here, but this isn't where her Rogue Agent variant shows up.
- The flavor text on the OoT quotes are more coherent than on her other cards, writers having trouble with her accent and/or how thick to make it? Her accent fluctuates based on writers/which book she's in. Since OoT required a lot of storytelling from her point of view (and if she's the main character in other books) they dial it back. Canonically she has a particularly thick Scottish accent (they even note that they're aware that there are a variety of Scottish accents - although they don't mention a specific one for her).
- What's the deal with her nemesis icon? It's a torn F.I.L.T.E.R. emblem.
- What's her personal view on aliens? How about people like Captain Cosmic who got their powers from cosmic sources? Robots? Magic users? Initially, when fighting mindless monster beasts she was on-board. Once she starts running into sapient aliens (like Tempest) she reevaluates. She's still wary of non-human entities, but she also spends a lot of time as a space-based hero (as the only human) and this is all part of her character arc.
- Does K.N.Y.F.E.'s clan/family factor in at all? She's a member of Clan Gordon and no other heroes are, but there is one member who's important to the world of Sentinels [It's Christopher, we later find out].
- What's the story with her tattoo? Does she keep in touch with her old military contacts? The tattoo is the Clan Gordon emblem. She doesn't have any ties with her old military people - it's been a long time and it's in a different reality.
- Is she seeing anyone? She's single and not really looking for a relationship, but is open to the occasional dalliance. She'd likely bristle under the idea of a commitment.
- Tactics - She died in the explosion at the Wagner Mars Base. However, there is still a K.N.Y.F.E. - but it's the Paige Huntly from this reality. So it's still her, but not the one whose adventures we've been following.
- RPG - She survives the explosion by escaping on her ship. She is still off in space doing space stuff. She's operating under a different hero name, though (and alongside another hero).