Podcasts/Episode 225

From Sentinel Comics Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Letters Page: Episode 225
Writers' Room: Cosmic Tales Vol. 2 #531

Cosmic Tales Vol 2 531.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Intro

What's happening out in space? Nothing much, right?

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:48:31

Adam is sick! Christopher is injured! But, against all odds, they perseverse and end up telling a tale they're both very proud of. Does it hold up? Do you folks like it as much as we do? Gosh, we hope so!

But first, we gotta tell you all about the recording schedule from now through the end of the year! With conventions, holidays, and other travel, our recording schedule is weird for most of the rest of the year. We'll make sure to share the details again in each upcoming Editor's Note, but we wanted to talk through it as well today, since it matters for question submission. Anyway, we go through the whole thing on the air. Tune in and find out!

We hope you enjoy this story! It quickly became one of our favorites.

Also, get your questions for both Episodes #226 and #227 (Writers’ Room: NightMist and Alpha vs The Court of Blood and Writers’ Room: Tome of the Bizarre Vol. 3 #11, respectively) before this coming Friday, as we're recording both on that day!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • We know that this week’s story involves both Fashion and Greazer. An important question is whether it’s a “team up” or not. They both think it is, but maybe it’s more complex.
  • Christopher has an idea, but it’s kind of the whole idea if they go with it, so they’ll just be fleshing it out. This is necessarily a late story (i.e. in the 2010s) for Shirley to be “Fashion”. What we do is have somebody in space who has beef with her and hires Greazer to go get her. He shows up, they fight, she does the “you don’t have the full picture” thing, something she says convinces him, they team up to go take care of the situation so that the beef doesn’t result in additional problems for her.
  • Adam points out that this seems longer than a single issue in the era of comics we’re looking at. A two or three part arc is fine. Adam further suggests that today focuses on the first part of the story. Greazer gets hired and shows up. They fight, but some unrelated thing happens and they have to work together and it’s in the course of resolving that when Greazer comes around rather than it simply being her convincing him through conversation.
  • For timing, they’re very limited. This basically has to go in Cosmic Tales given the characters. We had the prior Fashion Writers’ Room set in 2014. Christopher thinks that issue is after today’s. His reasoning was that a few issues later (#530) is the beginning of the Headhunter K.N.Y.F.E. story, but Adam points out that most of that is over in the Headhunter book, not CT. That leaves an opening between that issue and #540 when Void Guard show up. Fashion only showed up again in June 2013, so putting this in mid 2014 works. They decide on CT vol. 2 #531-533 (May-July 2014) for this story.
  • Playing around with story names, we have “Fashion Crimes”, “Crime Against Fashion”, or “Crimes of Fashion”. The second is a Greazer against Shirley thing. The third is a play on “crimes of passion” but sounds like Shirley committed crimes (maybe that’s the story told to Greazer for why the job exists - not that he actually cares all that much). In discussing these points they figure that figuring out who actually hired Greazer is important, so they might as well do that work before deciding.
  • Is this a “Jabba the Hutt situation”? Christopher doesn’t think that’s exactly it since money isn’t likely to be the crux of the issue. The person may be infamous in some way, but a good reason to go after Fashion is to be over something she did as S’sdari the Bloody. Maybe the Bloodsworn Colosseum landed on their planet, their right hand man was forced to fight, and S’sdari killed him.
  • Oh, they don’t want Kaargra to be the instigator here, but maybe what happened was that they wanted S’sdari to throw the fight and she wouldn’t. Someone trying to manipulate Bloodsworn fights would be interesting and would give an excuse for Kaargra to show up in the third part of this arc as she wouldn’t take kindly to such things. Maybe Fashion “calls in some favors” as insurance in case the fight she and Greazer were heading into went poorly.
  • This is probably a “new” antagonist. Maybe somebody who’s a frequent patron of The Roulette? Some high roller who already bets on Bloodsworn fights. Jabba the Hutt in position, Lando Calrissian in terms of how he does business. Someone really slick. Despite the similarity to a post-OblivAeon hero, Card Shark is what they go with. “Alien shark” is a fun character thing [although, that’s at least partly how Kaargra herself reads, but whatever]. He doesn’t just play cards, but maybe he keeps a “Rolodex” of everyone who’s ever wronged him, so there are cards there too that he pulls out when it’s time to settle a score. Oh, better as an actual deck of cards that he writes the names on and he might just shuffle the deck and draw one to determine who’s next. More sci-fi! He has a technology that allows him to “digitize” people and keeping them on the cards as well. He sends Greazer off to capture Fashion by storing her on the card this way.
  • To recap, Card Shark is an anthropomorphic shark man. He’s got the shark face going on. Christopher starts giving him highly-dexterous fins, but Adam wants actual hands (although likely fin-like in some ways - webbed digits and whatnot). He’s got the deck of cards for his enemies (Jack of Hearts for Fashion? Nah, she’s the Queen of Diamonds - Queen of Hearts is too obvious, but since this character is unlikely to ever put Ermine on a card, Queen of Diamonds is fine for Fashion). He’s got some device that lets him freeze a person in carbonite trap a person on a card as well. They can be freed if you could get your hands on the card and the device - he lets people out to do jobs for him occasionally, so he’s also collecting minions. Act three of the arc we’re describing might have him pull out several such people to fight our heroes. Hell, it’s likely given the year that they could probably get away with a “you’ve activated my trap card” reference. Like, that could be something that Card Shark says unironically and without it being a reference to anything (while there are Sentinel Comics characters who would catch such a reference, Fashion and Greazer are not among them).
  • So, this guy reaches out to Greazer to do the job. Greazer’s in a bit of a dry spell, what with recent jobs resulting in either him letting the target go free or blowing up the person who hired him at various points. Collateral damage is just fine by Card Shark and he figures that with the recent problems he can probably get Greazer cheaper than he could get other bounty hunters. They kind of love how honest these guys are with one another at the start of the job. Card Shark has somebody who wronged him in the process of him doing something illegal and wants to get even with her on the cheap and Greazer accepts that he’s the guy for that job.
  • They think that this might be the first appearance of Card Shark. He’s not an important enough villain to have shown up before. Okay, maybe he’s based on a background character in the Roulette at some point that a later writer just latched onto as a fun “shark person in a suit” design to reuse for a character later.
  • Also, Greazer is probably contracted to go after S’sdari the Bloody. “Fashion” has only been back for a year of comic publication at this point and Card Shark and Greazer don’t know about this Fashion person. In fact, we’ll come back around to this, but it might be fun for Greazer to encounter Fashion while he’s searching for S’sdari and not realizing that they’re the same person at first.
  • We could backtrack a bit and say that rather than specifically hiring Greazer, Card Shark has pulled together a bunch of bounty hunters to compete to get the job done. There are some really professional looking guys who are obviously the odds-on favorites to get the job done, and then there’s Greazer Clutch looking a bit down on his luck and bedraggled. However, due to his association with the Bloodsword Colosseum he knows that S’sdari the Bloody is Fashion. The angle of them having to work together knowing that they’re “opponents” is more interesting. The two of them vs. Bounter Hunters can be issue 2 of the arc
  • Anyway, the first issue is the one that starts from Greazer’s perspective as this meeting is going on so we get his narration about how he’s down to his last credit to buy this drink (and how he’s going to skip out on the bill), and about all of these awesome bounty hunters so we get to know them a bit because he already knows them. Card Shark comes out and does an “as we all know” exposition speech about why they’re here and how S’sdari messed up his attempt to fix a Bloodsworn match.
  • Greazer’s kind of a dummy. When he sees who they’re to go after he raises his hand to ask a question (and isn’t that just the most uncool thing to do in this group?) - he’s about to spill the beans “Isn’t S’sdari the Bloody… in the Bloodsworn Colosseum?”, barely stopping himself from mentioning what he knows about her current whereabouts that, apparently, isn’t common knowledge. Granted, his attempt to cover is pretty lame. Christopher has to really restrain himself to not stretch this one scene of Greazer being an uncool idiot to the full length of an issue. In any event, he even fails at skipping out on his bar tab and so the others get a head start on him as he gets stuck doing dishes to work off what he owes.
  • Finally, he gets to the Pink Lady and finds that it has the hover-car equivalent of a boot on it (so, something like a laser chain connecting it to the ground?). He just gets his welding gear from the trunk and cuts it free, but that means that the part that attaches to his car is still there as he flies off. That’s a handy Chekhov’s Gun for later as it’s something that Fashion can grab onto as they’re escaping from trouble later or something. It’s also just a nice visual reminder of how things have been going for Greazer lately.
  • Christopher wants to throw Greazer a bone at this point. Maybe have him pick up a distress signal from Fashion herself? Maybe not anything that direct. The problem he has that’s driving him nuts is that he already knows who and where she is but keeps getting delayed. That’s probably enough. Once he’s actually on his way we get him talking to himself about how those dummies all have almost a day’s head start on him, but they’re all going to the Colosseum which he knows is a bad call for “where to find S’sdari the Bloody. Or should I say… Fashion.”
  • We then cut to Fashion and we have a few pages of a story involving her in space. Here’s where we need to figure out what she’s going through that Greazer will have to help her with. Something that gets to the “common enemy that they need each other’s help to deal with” angle really quick. The second issue of the arc is set to have the various bounty hunters which is awesome. The third will have Card Shark and his various card minions and maybe an appearance of Kaargra which is also great. Rather than have the first issue’s threat being just some villain or other, Christopher’s suggestion is more Environmental - “Space Zombies”. They haven’t really done that concept before, but it’s an obvious threat that the reader can understand with a fair amount of narrative shorthand to save page space. They only need a couple of pages here to establish where she is and “Oh, no! Space zombies!”.
  • Adam has an idea for when he shows up. She’s managed to make some headway on the “get away from the space zombies” task, but isn’t out of danger yet. He finds her, gives her a “you’re lucky that I found you/let’s get out of here” speech and she asks “get out of here in what?” - they go back to where he’s parked and the zombies are chewing their way into it or something. Christopher has one better to lean into how ridiculous Greazer’s day has been going: the zombies “steal” the car. Like, they’re imagining these things as reanimated through some technological means and so let’s say that this means that they “understand” technology to some extent (and we can say that this is apparent in some way during the earlier fight with Fashion). When Greazer and Fashion get to where he’d parked, the zombies that managed to get inside of it are driving it away.
  • Backtracking a bit - he can find her because during some earlier encounter with S’sdari/Fashion he put some kind of tracker thing on her. He finds the complex she’s in, blasts a hole in the wall with an action hero entrance “Greazer Clutch at your service. I’m here to rescue you.” The readers know that the last part isn’t actually true, but Fashion’s understated response is along the lines of “Oh, it’s you.” Anyway, then they do the “get to the choppah ship” “what ship?” zombies drive by bit. Let’s linger on that. We spend a whole page of just Greazer watching his ship diminish into the distance. He’s just so beaten down after this day that’s gone so hard when it should have been a gimme.
  • What’s the goal then? Just get the ship back? Nah - let’s say that Fashion came here to actually accomplish something. We establish during her fight with the zombies that she had crashed on the planet due to some atmospheric disturbance, but she came here in the first place to shut down the central power/processing core that’s actually operating the zombies. The zombies are all what happens to people who get stuck on the planet for much time at all (maybe she can show a spot on her neck where whatever “infection” is already taking hold). Greazer would be infected by now too so even if they had a ship, they need to take this core out before leaving.
  • Adam has a fun idea. They find some other ship to get off the planet and Greazer’s bummed about leaving his ship behind when they leave (after taking care of the zombie core). Then, they run into bounty hunters and get shot down, crashing back on this planet again for the fight with them and it’s in issue 2 when they find it. And it’s not easy - like, they’ve got to get it out from under some rubble and stuff, but the various bounty hunters (who are by no means all working together, so it’s a series of conflicts rather than one prolonged fight) keep harassing them as they get it ready to go again. Maybe the third issue starts with them facing off against the biggest, baddest bounty hunter from the beginning of this issue.
  • Anyway, all they’ve really got left for today’s issue is sort out the zombie plot. Fashion came here with a plan and has some device that lets her find the core. Let’s say that they have to fight zombies as the device has to “plug into” a zombie to refine the reading. So, when he shows up to “save” her and blows up the zombies that were attacking her, she’s annoyed due to her wanting an active one to get a reading from.
  • So we get a cool sequence of Greazer being Greazer and Fashion being Fashion as they fight zombies and get to be successful for a while while showing off their respective shticks. They make a rather good team.
  • Adam also thinks that the “zombies” have a proper name. Greazer just calls them zombies because that’s obviously what they are, despite Fashion’s correction that they’re “The Rive” They are being riven and are controlled by the Rive Core - Christopher just throws all of that out off the top of his head, no pausing for naming things today! If they were doing the next issue they’d need to take the time to name the other bounty hunters. They have a feeling that the creative team behind this arc were really flexing on the creativity side with all of the cool new space characters they made up. Maybe they were some established/old school creator known for cosmic stuff who were just brought in for a 3 issue arc, but were given a fair amount of freedom in what they did for those three issues. Probably an old writer and the new hotness artist (or vice versa) so we have an old hand and the up-and-coming person working together on this.
  • A twist! They eventually get enough triangulation spikes installed in the Rive to figure out where the core is, but that’s a problem. It’s in the heart of what was the capitol of this planet back before its populace was riven. Now, that is an obvious spot for it to be, but that doesn’t really help considering how many more of these things there are going to be in that location relative to where they’ve been fighting them up to this point out in the outskirts.
  • Comic formatting detail. It’s important that the Rive can still “speak”. They’re mindless, but they can still “parrot” words or short phrases (of nonsense, but words). The reason we want this is to give them distinctive word bubbles and over the course of the issue, Fashion and Greazer’s speech bubbles become more like them. Like, they’re bright blue or something and occasionally our heroes will have blue words or bubbles (or the outline of the bubble) as the issue goes on.
  • Back to the action: Greazer asks if she could find her wrecked ship. Sure, the triangulation device has mapped their progress as they’ve been moving around and tracing the path back is no problem. Great. Given his profession and tendency to be low on resources, he’s developed a knack for getting ships that shouldn’t work to run. Might not be in shape to get us off the planet, but maybe enough to fly to the core. Fly might be too generous. He can get the propulsion system working well enough to essentially turn it into a missile. It’s not even really getting airborne - just plowing through everything at ground level. They get things set up at the gate of the city (which is what’s actually containing the vast majority of the Rive inside. He sets off the rockets as she breaks the lock on the gate and runs back to him away from the mass of Rive that come out. He rockets by, grabbing her as he goes to swing her up onto this contraption. She uses her gear to make something like a “windshield” and he’s shooting at the zombies as they launch down the main road from the gate to the capitol.
  • Oh no! They’re losing speed and aren’t going to make it to the core! One of them needs to do something to give the engine one last little boost or something. How about Greazer grabs one of the Rive that they’re dealing with, rips its head off, and jams its spinal column into the engine controls, providing just that much more juice to get them there.
  • Imagining the Rive themselves: they imagine that they’re pretty emaciated, spindly things. Legs have those “backward knees”. Probably some fleshy bits left, but not much. Probably glowing. They don’t think most of the various kills for the issue are particularly gory is the point.
  • They arrive at the big building where the core is located. The rocket crashes through the massive doors at the front and after they’re through the whole front of the building collapses. Our heroes are inside, but the way behind them is blocked, giving them some respite from the Rive following. They’re both in heaps on the ground coughing and whatnot. She asks how he’s doing. Any broken bones? He starts grumbling about cracked ribs and coughs up some blood or something. The focus is on him silhouetted by the glow as he stands up and looks at the core. If nothing else, he’s pretty good at blowing stuff up, so they should be in good shape. Reverse shot for that panel so we can see his face bathed in the eerie glow and, in the background, a silhouette of Fashion. It’s really de-emphasized in the art - it’s just there as something to notice if you look back for it as that’s when she attacks him.
  • She’s just on the verge of being fully riven and is going all out attack on him. Probably bites a good chunk out of his arm or something. He’s just trying to fend her off long enough to chuck an explosive charge at the core. He has to stop holding her back to use that hand to activate the thing and that’s when she bites him in the shoulder. Wide exterior shot of the building as a big EMP-style blast happens. Cut back into the building where she comes back to herself as she still has her teeth sunk into him. Super gross. They’re equally upset/offended about her biting him.
  • Anyway, there are probably some still-functional ships at the city’s spaceport now that they can actually reach it safely. We end on a series of pull-back panels as they continue to complain about the biting incident as we pan out from the two of them walking, to the city, to the planet where we can see the blue arc of energy radiating out from the city as the pulse from the core expands, one more time to show a really awesome looking space ship approaching the planet. This is the cool guy bounty hunter’s ship.

Questions

  • [Our first letter at around an hour and seven minute in is a humorous one from the Overbearing Skeptic regarding how implausible they find a conspiracy theory they’ve heard involving how Shirley Shane is actually the same Stylin’ Shirley from decades ago rather than her granddaughter (and is also the hero known as Fashion who uses some weird alien technology as opposed to the original Fashion who just had gadgets built into normal clothes). Ridiculous! Same goes for the “Jim Brooks” teaching over at Freedom Academy.] Christopher loves this letter. It’s from the perspective of somebody within the universe of Sentinel Comics who is aware of 1) the original Stylin’ Shirley, 2) the current Shirley Shane, 3) the previous iteration of Fashion, 4) the current Fashion, and 5) the cover story involving Shirley being her granddaughter to explain away the age discrepancy. On top of that, they have heard the tin-hat conspiracies that it’s all the same person but they believe the cover story. This is great. No further questions. Adam brings up the, of course, actual answer that “time in comics doesn’t work”. There’s a general rule of thumb that 100 issues is “a year”, but that only really works for The Wraith in terms of how things have actually worked out. Even then, comics tend to follow the real world’s calendar in terms of holiday issues cropping up more often than once a decade-ish. It’s fine, just don’t try to make sense of it. Shirley was in space for a while and time dilation is a thing. Plus the Bloodsworn force had some effect to have her age differently. Whatever.
  • The only “real” fashion comics I’m familiar with are old Katy Keene ones put out by Archie Comics - in those, the outfits she wore were all based on designs submitted by readers; was there a similar gimmick for the old Stylin’ Shirley book or even Fashion? There was likely something like that in Stylin’ Shirley, but probably not in Fashion. Like, the actual clothes she wears as a model might still have some input, but not the superhero outfit. This is, honestly, more of a question for Darren whose knowledge of that period of comics outstrips theirs in terms of what kinds of things were likely. He’s very good at Golden Age stuff.
  • [Letter about Fanatic begins with their perspective as a devout Christian regarding Fanatic not necessarily being a very “good” representation, but having flaws and doubts: very much in favor!]
  • We’ve been told that Fanatic has no memory of heaven, but her bio mentions that as a girl had dreams of angels in heaven - what are those if not memories? If she had dreams as a child, but then had the accident, after she came back she was a different person and no longer remembers those dreams. She grew up in a culture steeped in Christianity - a child dreaming of things from those teachings is not unexpected.
  • This reminds me of a show from childhood, Touched by an Angel - it was overly sweet/sentimental. Did some edgelord writer have Fanatic smite the cast of that show? It would have been a reference an artist through in, but sure. Like, it’s not important to the story, but Fanatic’s fighting some cultists who just so happen to resemble the actors from the show.
  • Did she ever get to go full Smite! on little baby Cupids? Maybe - they can see her having to fight little demon creatures that resemble those little cherubs.
  • How did “The Last Temptation of Helena” know to use that title 11 years before The Last Temptation of Christ film came out? Well, “the last temptation of [x]” isn’t something that’s entirely out of the question to be used regardless, but let’s say that in the Metaverse the movie title was a reference to the comic. Regardless, the film is based on a book from 1955 (English translation in 1960), so even then it works out okay. They definitely knew that already and didn’t just look it up during recording.
  • [Letter writer recently came out as trans - they were trying to think of what characters would be trans-accepting and determined that it would probably be best to not mention it to Fanatic.] They don’t really think that Fanatic would care. It’s such an Earthly concern and doesn’t have anything to do with Evil. She is “bad at humans” and this sort of thing doesn’t concern her. In a roundabout way that makes her more trans-accepting than many other characters in that it literally doesn’t make a difference to her because she doesn’t care that cis people are cis either. She cares about whether something is going to cause harm and will smite if so. Also: “political” things in general (like restroom policies based on the “fear” that trans acceptance will allow bad actors to assault people in restrooms) are 1) incredibly esoteric to her and 2) typically very behind-the-times by the time comics delve into them (i.e. by the time anybody brings up the trans restroom things in comics it’s going to be well after that was important in the zeitgeist - comics are at minimum on a 3 month production schedule and 3 months is an eternity in internet time).
  • Which of these things would Fanatic smite? Let’s use a ranking system: 1 = smite on sight, 2 = smite unless stopped, 3 = maybe smite depending on her mood, 4 = unlikely to smite, 5 = won’t smite unless provoked
    • Someone in a ghost costume? 4 (depending on how convincing the costume is - a really good one with special effects and whatnot might get up to a 2). Post-Stevie she’s unlikely to be a 1 for ghosts in general.
    • Someone who believes a different religion? 5. Unless somebody’s religious beliefs are literally “I must do harm to people all the time” and are actively engaged in it. Like, if the Cult of Gloom counts as a religion for our purposes here it’s one that necessarily depends on harming others. Even then, she’s not going to smite you as you walk down the street. You’ve got to be doing something. She’s a super hero and super heroes are reactive. “Proactive super heroes are villains.” - Christopher Badell, 2022
    • A transgender person? As discussed, a 5.
    • A gay person? 5 for the same reasons.
    • Somebody dressed up as the devil? Same as the ghost answer except maybe possible to get to a 1 if really convincing.
    • A ghost? 2 as mentioned for the costume version.
    • The number 666? The actual number? That’s not really something that she would smite generally. Like, it’s possible that she knows about somebody doing a ritual that involves the number of the beast and so while she’s there dealing with that specific thing she might smite the number on sight, but it’s got to be in a context where it actually matters.
    • Apostate? 1. Remember the story where he’s trying to actually talk to her, but she keeps just destroying him over and over.
    • An asexual person? 5, same as the trans and gay answers.
    • A man in a dress/woman in a suit? 5, again. The overarching point of this letter is getting at what Fanatic cares about and it’s meting out justice on wrongdoers, but “wrongdoing” here is related to harming others, and in a more direct way than what, say, some Christians would feel is wrong in a legalistic way. If she sees you eat an orange, asks you if you ate an orange, and you lie about it that’s not a smite-worthy bit of wrongdoing. She might shame you over that, but not smite. She’s not “all smite, all the time” (granted, she’s “a lot of smite, a lot of the time”) but she will certainly yell at people about things. Additionally, a lot of what she is willing to smite over will very much depend on the individual writers and their knowledge (or assumptions) about what’s in the Bible. A lot of them probably just default to “the 10 commandments” as a baseline and call it a day.
  • Can Fanatic fly in space given that her ability to fly in general is more based on her belief than on aerodynamics? Does she need to breath? They think she can, but it’s different - when she’s flying around in the air she is at least flapping the wings because that’s what you do, but in space she doesn’t. Instead she glows with the power of the Lord that is what allows her to fly/breathe. At least at some point. There’s also likely at least one case where they have her do the Superman thing where she’s just kind of hanging out in space, looking down at Earth, but that might be more “upper atmosphere” than in space proper. At the very least, something that shows that she doesn’t particularly care about pressure/temperature differences. She breathes as a force of habit. Heck, she probably even breathes in space - she’s not breathing anything, but she still goes through the motions.
  • [Letter from the XTREME Wrestling Entertainment at an hour and 27 minutes] How would a fight between Fanatic and K.N.Y.F.E. go down? We have three scenarios where both of them get equal prep time/foreknowledge and are in top form at the beginning of each round.
    • Straight one-on-one match in the octagon, possibly involving ladders, folding chairs, or whatnot: Fanatic. The scale of Prime Wardens is higher than most other heroes. K.N.Y.F.E. has a shot, but there’s nothing here to give her an edge and Fanatic is just so strong. She’s a real heavy-hitter and it’s tough to put her down.
    • They’re in a city - no civilians to worry about, but it’s full of XTREME zombies; whoever racks up the highest kill count in an hour wins: K.N.Y.F.E. will tear through these things like paper… 1 to 3 at a time. Fanatic can just take out the city. It’s not close. If it was robots or something it might be different since she doesn’t care about robots the same way that she will care about purging the undead.
    • They each fight an identical copy of a kaiju and whoever has the fastest take-down time wins: they really want to give K.N.Y.F.E. a win, but they just can’t given how uneven this pairing is. K.N.Y.F.E. is so good at so many things, but Fanatic is in another class. K.N.Y.F.E. vs. most people in these match-ups would go her way. Like, if it was Wraith instead of Fanatic we’d have: K.N.Y.F.E. because the Octagon doesn’t give Wraith anywhere to get away from her, Wraith (on about 60/40 odds) because she’ll think of ways to cleverly use gadgets to take them out in large groups, and K.N.Y.F.E. because her approach of “overdo it”, straight for the core, tear the thing’s heart out is faster than whatever plan Wraith comes up with to take the thing down (Wraith would have less collateral damage, though). Who could beat Fanatic in these matches? In the Octagon… Haka can but it’s not a sure thing. Argent Adept might in the right circumstances. NightMist probably can given that Fanatic’s straightforward brute force methods aren’t well-suited to dealing with NightMist. Visionary has a shot. There are a lot of people who for sure lose to Fanatic, but nobody who’s a guaranteed win. For the city of zombies, only NightMist has a shot. She could do a ritual that could do as effective a job as Fanatic, but that generally takes time and Fanatic is built for this type of thing so again it’s only a potential to win. Harpy could also have a shot at this if she just throws down with every trick at her disposal and goes full bird. Ra and Lifeline also have the potential here. All of them have a luck component that Fanatic doesn’t for this particular job. Oh, maybe Tachyon as well because it’s a speed based challenge and she could do some fast science to solve the problem. A lot of people probably have a chance to beat her at the kaiju challenge, though. Likely not “finesse-based” heroes, though. Absolute Zero, Bunker, Ra, Tachyon, Tempest, Argent Adept, Unity in the right set of circumstances has a low-odds shot, NightMist for sure, Alpha given certain circumstances. A lot of those likely depend on the nature of the monster in question, though. Oh, somebody who actually has a chance to win at all three of these is… Setback. By definition he always has a shot. He could comically lose the first two to just have an “oops, I win” on the third. Akash’Thriya or the Scholar have a chance at the second and third.
  • During the retcon of Fanatic, did the more popular comic writers purposefully make it clear (after the retcon happened) that Fanatic was part of the Host? Alternately, was it rarely mentioned, allowing readers to continue to interpret her character however they wished? Some mention it. Some stories are about it specifically. It rarely comes up in stories that aren’t specifically about it, though. After around 2002 or so most comics have a page at the beginning that’s analogous to the “previously on…” segments of TV shows that bring up details from past issues/episodes that are relevant to the current one and so if Host stuff is relevant it would be mentioned there. It’s okay to just assume that she’s an angel unless the story in particular needs you to know that she’s not.
  • Did you purposefully create episode #223 to spite my request for an episode given that it was so perfectly the opposite of what I asked for? By the time they’ve gone through topic submissions to remove duplicate and are actually considering things they’ve anonymized them to avoid bias based on who’s asking. Christopher attempted to reach out to this letter writer to figure out what the suggestion was, but they’re not sure what this request would have been. They don’t think they’ve ever done any sort of “takes a suggestion, does the opposite” intentionally. They’ve massaged a prompt to get from “a thing that hasn’t happened” to “something that’s close enough to use the prompt to talk about it” a few times, but nothing spiteful. If you want, just let them know again so they can make a note to talk about it later.

Cover Discussion

  • What do we do on this one? It’s the start of an arc. If this issue itself was a 3 issue arc, then the second one could have Greazer, Fashion, and the Rive on the cover, but doing so here gives away too much. This probably has to be “down on his luck Greazer” or something. How about a police line-up with a series of cool bounty hunters with Greazer at the end looking like a schmuck - even his hair is mussed. Look at all of these cool guys looking awesome, and also Greazer. Do we need any words beyond “Crimes Against Fashion, 1 of 3”? Not with something this busy already.