The Letters Page: Episode 269
Writers' Room: America's Newest Legacy #514 & #515
A dynamic duo of issues about a dynamic duo of heroes!
Run Time: 1:46:50
We actually talk about even more issues than just the two! But those are the focus of the story, certainly. We also have a thrilling letters section, with some never before asked questions! A landmark episode, to be sure.
Join us next week for an episode about an alternate Freedom Five line-up... which we've already recorded!
We got two issue covers this week.
Spitballing Podcast Gimmick for 2024
- Moved slightly as they get into this just after they start the Overview, but whatever. They’re considering a thing where they have all of the, say, January Writers’ Room issues have to be from issues with a January cover date. Let them know if that’s something we want to try.
- Another thing they could do for a year (maybe 2025?). They could do sequential years’ comics month to month. Like, in May they do all 1984 comics and in June they do all 1983 comics.
- They could also combine those ideas and have all May 1984 issues in May and then all June 1983 issues in June, etc.
- The voted topic is a team-up story with Young Legacy and Expatriette. Whether this topic was inspired by it or not, they already have a story that’s been mentioned before in 2014. To set the stage, in August of 2013 we get issue #500 of a book and it changes its title from America’s Finest Legacy to America’s Newest Legacy. It’s at this point that Pauline Felicia Parsons becomes the lead of a book and we get to know more about her supporting cast and whatnot as she navigates being away from home for college.
- In June 2014 we get issue #510 where she’s home for the summer, but the family dog, Spangle, is on his last legs and we get some flashbacks to highlights of Spangle stories from the last 40 years. At the end of the issue her parents give her a golden lab puppy named Spangle (since the Parsons family is very familiar with reusing names).
- We then get into a bit of an arc.
- Issue #511 has her returning to school and getting us all up to speed on the new semester, etc. Part of this is establishing that Doctor Toxica is around, although she doesn’t do much.
- Issue #512 is the beginning of “Doctor Toxica has a big plot happening.”
- Issue #513 has things being bad and near the beginning we see Felicia make a phone call to ask somebody for help. The implication is that she’s calling her dad, but at the end of the issue Expatriette shows up. Like, Young Legacy is in trouble in the fight with Doctor Toxica and then there’s an explosion from off panel. “You came!” [cuts to Expatriette saying that “I’ve got you covered” or something]
- Issues #514-515 are the big “Young Legacy and Expatriette working together to fight Doctor Toxica” story and what we’ll be going into today.
- Issue #516 is the last issue with Expatriette, but is more of a send-off for the character and her presence here. It’s the first half of the book before we switch things up in the second half since they’ve talked about that one before - it’s a story about Felicia staying on-campus for Christmas and establishing her own traditions with her friends. She fights a giant snowman made by Antimox and saves Jason Wong, who discovers her secret identity (mentioned way back in Episode 95).
- Okay, so things to establish before we move into the meat of these issues is what the plot is and why it’s too much for Felicia on her own. Christopher starts with a vague “she’s built a machine under Wright University that will slowly cover the whole country with smog” to which Adam points out that Doctor Toxica isn’t Professor Pollution - there has to be more to it than that.
- Is it just a ransom thing? Like, she’s going to [do bad pollution thing] unless she gets paid off in some way? She could be doing a thing where she’s trying to mutate some people or something, but we would kind of like to shy away from that angle given that it’s pretty much exactly what Antimox is doing in this town. Hmm… They have said that Antimox is kind of behind everything going on for this initial run of the book - so maybe he invited Doctor Toxica and is supplying her with stuff so that she can be a convenient scapegoat for all of the weird stuff going on. Young Legacy can blame the rash of mutated students on Doctor Toxica up to this point and at least for a while afterwards they can be explained away as things that she had started before her defeat. Okay, settled. She’s trying to make toxic monsters and is a lot less subtle/experimental in her approach than Antimox is.
- So, we have a bunch of mutated college students and Young Legacy calls Expatriette to… not kill her classmates, please? Well, this is 2014 so Expatriette is quite good at not killing people at this point. She is also somebody very familiar with Doctor Toxica which is the real reason to include her.
- So, the device Toxica uses injects some toxin into the environment with the goal of contaminating the ground and the water supply in the area. This will turn everyone into monsters. What kind of monsters? Just “random toxic monsters” or something more specific? Something that can plausibly fit into the collection of problems that Antimox has created over the last year or so (which has been Isoflux Alpha-derived rather than toxic junk)? Maybe things are close enough to get passed off at first, but because of the difference it’s a clue that gets Young Legacy suspicious about the goings on later.
- So, playing on-theme we can have an early move by Toxica to contaminate the basketball team’s water/Gatorade and so we get a set of very tall, awkwardly lanky figures who breathe toxic fumes and throw around exploding, toxic “basketballs”. Maybe they can jump inordinately high too.
- That still seems a bit “light” in terms of threat level, so that’s just #512 and then things ramp up in #513 to the point where she asks for help. Maybe after defeating the basketball team we have Doctor Toxica’s device erupt from the ground and start spreading its toxin, infecting the whole campus and mutating anybody who gets close to it and in the next issue Legacy’s trying to defeat Doctor Toxica or destroy the device, but there’s some kind of energy shield that stops her. The situation is just devolving too quickly, so she calls in some help.
- How does this goo affect Felicia if she gets some on her? They imagine a scenario where some splashes on her arm or something and starts to bubble, but she thinks fast and just eye-lasers her own arm to burn it off. So, she doesn’t mutate, but now she’s got a self-inflicted burned arm situation going on. Just a bit of a handicap. By the end of the issue she’s cornered - surrounded by goo, Doctor Toxica is closing in. Then Expatriette has her explosive entrance with some cool “You started the party without me” kind of quip as she starts blasting.
- Finally, we arrive at #514. Adam thinks that Legacy just thinks that “Help is here, let’s do this” and jumps right into things again. They lose and in the aftermath Expatriette drives home the message that “You. Have. To. Plan.” She very much considers this to be one of Felicia’s father’s weaknesses. “A villain! Doing a bad thing! I will fly at it with my face!” Now, this solves most problems, but it’s still something that Expat has noted about him. Expatriette also got a lot of her modern temperance and heroic qualities from Legacy, so her also passing her planning and contingency skills to his daughter are a kind of way of paying him back. Times have changed and so have the villains so you need to adapt as well if you want to keep up with people who are operating with the knowledge of how Legacy does things (this is setup for both Felicia taking over the Legacy mantle proper and for the whole OblivAeon event on the horizon).
- What does the “losing” look like? How about “Young Legacy tries to destroy some big storage tank thing” by just crashing into it and Expatriette has to shoot her with shock rounds to stop her. The “make a plan” talk can be around how blowing up the tank may just result in the release of this stuff in an airborne form and make everything worse. The existing art we have from this issue (Expatriette’s DE card Assault Rifle) can be just before she shock-rounds Legacy.
- We end things there and start the next issue with Doctor Toxica going on about how things are just going so well for her - the device we see in the Assault Rifle art is doing its thing to make the goo, and part of that is that it’s tapping into the sewer system below - converting all of the contents of the sewer (gross) into more goo (a different kind of gross) in a self-perpetuating manner - any waste that the goo comes into contact with is also converted into goo. This will eventually spread out throughout the city at which point she’ll detonate the network of devices she’s got doing this all over to spew it all over and mutate the whole city. From this town in Indiana it will eventually spread to contaminate the whole world! [Apparently sewage treatment plants are for suckers in Universe 1 and so things are ultimately all just connected.]
- The next move is to get some help [insert joke about them calling NightMist to do a spell to get rid of all of the goo - we have to not only stop the villain but also undo everything since stories continue here on this campus for a few more years]. Young Legacy knows a scientist [insert jokes about how comic book “scientists” can weigh in on anything] - her physics professor Dr. Nathan Gregory. They go to his office to get some help. Christopher had initially thought that she approaches him as Felicia Fields, but Adam starts to have him say something about her powers (and it’s important at this point that neither of them knows the other’s secret identitiy yet). So, we get a humorous situation: Expatriette, just as they get to his office: “So… this guy knows who you are?” [panicked Legacy face] [door opens] and then Legacy launches into her request in her best, growling Expatriette impression.
- He can help, but needs Young Legacy to help do it. They brought a sample of the goo and he can Do a Thing to it, but the apparatus he has in the lab is insufficient. He needs Young Legacy’s strength to power some device (spinning a turbine or something) and her Atomic Glare™ to catalyze something to alter the goo’s properties. It still has the “convert stuff it comes into contact with into itself” thing going on, but now it’s just renders Toxica’s goo inert.
- Of course, this is all part of Antimox’s plans for this whole scheme with Doctor Toxica in the first place. When he has Young Legacy Do the Thing to make the thing that can make the goo inert, it’s also something that he’s been working on for a while for his own purposes. That and he’s now in the hero’s good graces and can ask for more assistance later on and she shouldn’t hesitate to reach out if she needs more help from a Science Advisor (in the same way that Dr. Meredith Stinson was for Legacy way back when).
- So, they have the thing. Expatriette starts working on the plan for how to introduce it into the system and distract Doctor Toxica. Once the toxic waste is rendered inert the devices that are providing the energy shield also backfire and the heroes can actually fight the villain. There’s a bit of a fight, but no more than a couple of pages before they knock out and truss up Doctor Toxica. The next issue starts with them saying their goodbyes as Expatriette leaves with the captive Doctor Toxica who she’s taking back to Rook City.
- Anyway, we also get a coda in there of Antimox recovering the thing that he’d had Young Legacy make, complete with some ominous laughter and the actual explanation that he was the one who asked Doctor Toxica to get involved and that this is what he was going for the whole time. This thing should probably have a name: The Toxic Catalyzer. It’s a mechanical thing - like a glass tube with some metal pieces and a spinning element in the center. It’s not perpetual motion, but it’s doing something weird. He’ll use this to be able to be more targeted in his experiments with Isoflux Alpha - much less random. More successes in terms of getting people to develop powers at all, more powerful when they get them, and maybe even able to give “secondary mutations” to existing Omegas (although such augmentations are unstable and make the person mentally unstable as well).
- Did getting rid of the goo also undo those mutations? There’s another step and can be part of what Expatriette’s doing with the device during the fight - it’s basically absorbing the energy the goo has/imparts, so it can also undo the mutations.
- So, just to be clear what happens where: #516 is the goodbye with Expat where she says good things about Felicia (learning about planning, potential to be the greatest hero, etc.), the coda with Antimox recovering the Toxic Catalyzer, and then Felicia meeting up with her friends. Then we get to the backup “Christmas special” story.
- Are Expatriette and Felicia still close (or as close to “friends” as Expatriette gets) as we get into OblivAeon and the RPG era? They’re definitely still friends. Through this story especially and maybe a few other run-ins we get real “big sister vibes” from Expatriette in their relationship. Additionally, there’s the implication in the way they interact in this story that they talk off-panel. There’s no “oh, it’s been so long” greeting type things. They’re in frequent contact and are aware of what is going on in one another’s lives. They don’t see each other as often as they like, but welcome to being an adult. It’s actually kind of a parallel between Paul Parsons and the Wraith - the powered hero in Megalopolis and the non-powered hero in Rook City.
- So, pairing the Lawful/Chaotic heroes together is usually pushing the dynamic by having the latter “going too far” and the former having to rein them in - but “hey, maybe don’t shoot that guy” is less necessary when Legacy can just get in the way to block the bullets, right? How does their dynamic work? Funnily enough, kind of the opposite this time around! Not that Felicia’s “going too far”, but she’s not thinking things through. Yeah, Expat’s had cases in the past where people have had to talk her down from something, but for the most part we get a very measured Expatriette here. Given that we’re in the *America’s Newest Legacy” book any character growth should be hers anyway. Her growing and learning is the point of the whole college arc setting up her taking over the Legacy role (and having her own adult life outside of being a hero - making her the first Legacy to really pull that off).
- We know of two interactions between these two characters: shortly after Expatriette first meets Legacy and then she talks to his daughter and they bond over the whole “growing up with a parent with superpowers” thing and then the one in *America’s Newest Legacy” involving Doctor Toxica - assuming you picked one of those for today’s story, why that one? They picked it because it’s more of a team-up whereas the other one is just more of a conversation.
- Do they stay in contact in the time between those two events? What about post-OblivAeon? Yes and yes.
- What do they think of one another? By the time of today’s story we know they’re “a phone call away” kinds of friends, but they haven’t really touched on the pre-college time. They aren’t presented so much as friend friends so much as they’re heroic allies who are on friendly terms. This story is what presents their relationship as being actual friends. Circling back to the Legacy/Wraith comparisons, it’s notable in the RPG era that this Legacy and Expatriette kind of take the reins as the “leader” for the heroes in their respective cities.
- Looking at their respective RPG character sheets (as opposed to Felicia’s EE appearance being just a variant character card for her father’s deck) where their powers are (basically by definition) almost identical, they seem to go about using those powers in varied ways - how do Felicia and her father go about being Legacy differently? How are they similar? What are her strengths outside of her powers and how do they differentiate her (if at all) from her father? Early on, Young Legacy is certainly more brash than her father (which they think the EE variant actually does a good job of showing - having a 3 damage innate power instead of Galvanize changes the way that you play that deck, going more damage-focused in your build rather than team-support). By the time she’s Legacy she’s more of a leader, but while there is only that one Power difference between her and her father, it’s kind of a big one. Having a powerful ranged attack means that she can fight without being up close. It means that if she is fighting up close it’s probably either the case that something has gone wrong, that the fight is personal in some way, or something like that. She can also multitask in ways her father couldn’t (holding up a building while blasting that bad guy over there). It also just has utility (welding metal pieces of a bridge back together or something). Her style of fighting and problem-solving are just very different from her father and her experience of training up to be a hero differs as well. Sure, she had the family influence that they all had before her, but she has way more and varied other heroes as examples to learn from. Her approach to heroics in the RPG era is less “fly face-first into the problem” (she still has that inclination, but she’s less likely to indulge it). Additionally, partially just as a result in the differences in comics storytelling in the 2010s and later compared to most of the 70 years before that, is that she’s more likely to look at things more holistically - sure, she could fly face-first into the current problem, but what’s the root cause of this problem and how can I address that? There’s more empathy, but not because her father lacks empathy but just because of the difference in era.
- Does this also cover the difference between the Multiverse and RPG eras? Oh, uh… yes. See the above.
- How do they get along/relate to one another due to their shared teacher (i.e. Felicia’s dad)? Do their opinions of him differ? Do they know one another’s opinions? How does Paul react to the two of them teaming up? It probably varies depending on when we’re talking about. At that first meeting Felicia’s probably just like “Ah, yeah. That’s my dad. I’m a teenager - he trains me and I like him, but he’s just my dad, y’know?” Expatriette’s take at this point is “You don’t know how good you have it,” but also with a healthy “You can’t really trust him,” due to her own trauma/baggage. They have vastly different impressions of Legacy as a person/teacher. That being said, Expatriette’s appreciation for Legacy probably inspires some increased admiration on Felicia’s part too. He’s somebody to aspire to outside of just being her dad. Paul probably “hopes they’re okay” in terms of thinking about them teaming up. Emily reassures him that they’ll be fine (given that one is bulletproof and the other has so many bullets available). That’s if he’s not there, though. If he’s there too there’s less worry in the moment given that they’ve got to take care of business first. His head is always in the game.
- [Timestamp of one hour five minutes for The Proposal. If you know you know.]
- We see a bunch of dating couples in the comics and a few married couples, but do we ever really see any proposals? There has to be a proposal between Meredith and Dana somewhere. The wedding was impromptu due to circumstances, but they were engaged for a while and the proposal was sometime in the ’80s. There’s also high-probability that there’s a Paul/Emily proposal, but given just how early that happens it’s also likely that it’s in the same issue as their wedding since “inter-issue continuity” wasn’t really much of a thing back then - they wouldn’t have set that up to follow up later. Lugh proposes to K.N.Y.F.E. but that’s really exigent circumstances.
- Is there any Sentinel Comics analogue to Pinhead from the Hellraiser series (likely in Æternus given the whole “torture” theme)? They don’t think there’s a specific analogue to him, but his shtick would fit right in. What we probably get is an artist reference - he’s just dropped into the background of some panel in Æternus where there’s a bunch of demons.
- [Letter with no real questions, but just noting that he appreciated the improved back-and-forth discussion between Fanatic and Argent Adept during the Realm of Discord vs. Æternus episode. Also, that the idea of the non-demon Legacy taking the Throne of Æternus in order to just contain the badness is probably the most Dark Souls Sentinel Comics could get.]
- On a scale from 1 to “Time will tell” how likely are we to get playable variants of the Princes of Discord hero team? On that scale, time will tell.
- How did the heroes’ powers change while they were in that state? How hard were these variant takes on the heroes marketed in the Metaverse? The problem is that these “variants” didn’t stick around. They were around in that state for a few issues and then it was over. To the extent that they were “marketed” it was probably in the form of variant covers - the “standard” cover was the one we got for the episode, but there would have been a variant cover for each of them individually too. They are probably video game skins at least. How their powers change:
- Ra: the green fire “reads” as closer to Infernal damage than Fire damage. The metaphysical aspect makes it more effective vs. demons than standard (even Ra-powered) fire would be.
- Fanatic: the sword calls out to consume and draws energy from the enemies she smites with it, and she can then draw on that power. There’s temptations going on too, but that’s obviously never going to be a problem.
- Argent Adept: is summoning the souls of the dead with his phantom Drum of Despair. The danger here is that they could also turn on him.
- Visionary: they talked about this already, but her deal is that while this is going on she’s in control of both “sides” of her power (from each Vanessa Long occupying the body). They like the idea that when she speaks you hear 2 voices (shown on-page as overlapping word bubbles). While in this state both minds are merged.
- How easily could being granted that power tip over into the heroes becoming full-fledged Discordian beings? What was GloomWeaver’s plan for them after the battle with Æternus was over assuming they had retained the power to that point? It wouldn’t (at least at first) make them Discordian. GloomWeaver would definitely suggest that they just hang onto it, though. Could come in handy. You never know. If anybody had had a chance to hang onto it Argent Adept would probably convince them otherwise.
- How long would Ra/Fanatic have to be under Ismodial’s power in order for Universe 1 Sekhmet to come into existence? Exactly 5 minutes longer than what happened.
- If GloomWeaver had deployed Spite on the front lines during this battle, would any of the heroes present have even recognized him? Yeah. They all are at least aware of Spite and even though he looks different they’d probably spot him. He looks like a slasher horror movie villain. He kind of stands out.
- If the demons had been driven back to the rifts they’d entered through, could they have “shut the door behind them” so to speak, or could Fanatic have launched a crusade into Æternus? Man, Fanatic going into Æternus sounds like a fun time. That’s definitely happened before.
- We had Sword and Sorcery comics here in the real world (Marvel had the rights to Conan the Barbarian and a bunch of elements of the main continuity are explicitly tied to those stories), but was that genre something Sentinel Comics tackled? If so, was the person who eventually became GloomWeaver originally a figure in those stories? Was this vibe sufficiently covered by Haka and Ra stories that Sentinel didn’t feel the need? There are certainly Sword and Sorcery stories that were told in the early days, but they don’t know if there was ever a dedicated title for them. There isn’t a Conan-equivalent who’s brought into continuity later. There might be something like that that’s not connected to continuity in the same way that they don’t have all of the Romance comics plotted out because it doesn’t matter for the metafiction that they’re actually working with (the Superhero genre). It seems unlikely that there was no Sword and Sorcery stuff happening in some comics somewhere.
- I have questions about Ra, but I want to make sure I have this straight first: the hero Ra isn’t the same Ra that originally wielded the staff, with a complete personality and set of memories that just takes over the body Blake Washington Jr., but rather it’s Blake Washington gaining all of those memories and whatnot and so the Ra that results is an amalgamation of the two with any of Blake’s Ra-like traits exemplified, right (confidence becoming arrogance, initiative becoming aggression, etc.)? Do different writers treat it differently (some as a fully merged being when transformed, others making it more of “two voices in the same head” kinds of things)? That latter thing - it’s treated differently over time depending on who’s writing it. Some comics likely have a “floating Ra head” that talks to Blake Washington (or vice versa depending on which state they’re in) to show how the two personalities communicate/interact. Others have two different styles of thought bubbles to show which personality is doing that particular bit of thinking. There are lots of different interpretations which is basically inevitable given how long Ra’s been around in comics.
- How does Blake feel about the relationship with Fanatic given that, from the indications we’ve gotten so far, she is interested in Ra? Does he feel like a third wheel? Are the two personalities integrated enough so that it’s not weird for him? Does he ever have to counsel himself to not ignore his own feelings? By the time in comics that this is a thing, they’re largely treated as being merged personalities. Through the Horus of Two Horizons thing we don’t really see Blake Washington. At this point he’s basically just treated as the “mild-mannered alter ego of Ra” but is largely the same person/entity. They’re very “merged” for the latter half of the Multiverse era. Any configuration of Ra/Blake is into Fanatic, but Fanatic is only into Ra. A part of that is likely just the “this is silly and too hard to manage” aspect of having them be separate people. It’s very hard to have meaningful supporting cast if they’re not the same person in both guises. So, we arrive at the “mild-mannered alter ego” explanation. While in Ra form he does have more power, knowledge, and his emotions are “pushed on” harder, but it’s the same guy. There might be something lore-wise to be said here about how maybe when you first get one of these relics it’s more of a switching-off behavior but over time things even out as you attune to it more until we get to this steady-state situation. Maybe. There might not be any definitive exploration of that in the comics, but we’ll say that this is a prevailing fan-theory.
- His death during OblivAeon all happened as Ra - did Blake get any say in events? Because we’re in the “merged” period it’s largely just accepted as it is since they’re the same person. There might be a tie-in comic where we’re given a dialogue between the two where there’s stuff like “We know where this is headed…” A last internal conversation showing that “both” of them are aware of the risks and stakes. Finding where that would go might be tricky, though.
- Have we ever talked about Blake Washington, Sr.? Does he have any comic appearances? Given when Ra first appeared in comics, was his dad an archaeologist punching Ahnenerbe agents? They don’t think he shows up. The only reason we know he exists is because Ra is a Junior. The problem is that it seems inconceivable for a character who is a Jr. to exist in comics for as long as Blake Washington, Jr. was around without somebody acknowledging that fact and making up his father. They spin up something here about having there be some haunted thing that Ra winds up talking to the ghost of his father in the process - acknowledging that his father died while he was in college or something. Father was blue-collar and son’s academic pursuits seemed like a barrier between them, but he gets some closure here getting a chance to hear how proud his dad actually was of him, etc. Let’s put that somewhere in the late ’70s. [I note that they actually came up with something for this in episode 160 - Marty Adams visiting an old man in a nursing home post-OblivAeon to tell him that his son had died. The old man has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember his son. Even at that time, though, they didn’t think that his father was ever a part of Ra’s story, although “father has been dead a long time” that they came up with today is somehow less sad than the previous version they spitballed.]
- So, Fanatic in her “final” moments thought about 1) how she and her team were about to die and go to heaven and 2) her love for Ra - if she had instead thought about Unity’s Ra: Bot of the Sun would they have wound up at a scrapyard instead? No. It wasn’t just that she thought about Ra, but the depth of feelings there. She doesn’t have that kind of thing going regarding Unity’s robots. This isn’t a casual “what’s on her mind” level of “thinking about” things - this is very much “very strong feelings going on” about both things.
- If she’d instead been focused on the regret over the various sins she and her team are guilty of, would they have wound up in Æternus instead? Maybe the Egyptian section (if there is such a thing)? There isn’t such a thing. The winding up in Æternus outcome is possible, though.
- Where would she have gone if she had only been thinking about point 1, and not the Ra complication? Maybe Clarity. Maybe the Host realm. It’s very hand-wavy/academic depending on the story.
- You’ve mentioned that if Fanatic were killed, the spirit of Judgement within her would return to the Host and forget the life she lived, but what would happen if she wound up there while still alive? Hmm… they don’t think that the Host realm is something that supports physical people being there. If you really wanted to have a story involving it you could do a “these heroes consciousnesses go there” kind of thing. Maybe it’s not really the Host realm but a physical representation of it that gets kludged together in some way. The Host realm is not a Place You Can Go in the way that Æternus or the Realm of Discord are.
- If Apostate was able to return to the Host would it remember what it had done on Earth? He would remember what happened, at least for a while. He doesn’t have the same circumstance as Fanatic - he came here to do this. Now, given how long he’s been stuck here he’s no longer the same as he was as a Spirit of Deception given that he’s had years of “living” to develop a specific personality and whatnot. That would degrade over time as he reverted to the base spirit again, but it would take a while. Host spirits don’t really have memory in the way people do. Their impulses toward a specific concept.
- You said that The Grey had been quiet for centuries following a period of incursions - why did it stop? Has it ever appeared in the pages of Sentinel Comics prior to the RoD vs. Æternus story? This wasn’t the first time people had been to/interacted with The Grey - stories had gone there or people used it as a power source, etc. in the past and had appeared in comics before, but this was the first incursion shown in comics. The reason that any of this nonsense is possible is because things are broken. If things weren’t broken then all of these alternate planes of existence, realities, and time-travel things wouldn’t happen and things would be like our world.
- Were there any ramifications to these three realms all being in the same “place”? Are there portions of each of them in the others? There aren’t any remnants in terms of small “patches” of one in another, but there will be residual influence following the events, but they’ll probably fade over time (unless specifically called for by a later writer, of course). This is very different from the time when Æternus left a patch of itself in Megalopolis in the RPG era. That’s part of what makes Earth “valuable” to these various realms - it’s must more… impressionable than most. The “Prime Material Plane” for lack of another ready term, is whatever the beings within it make it. It doesn’t matter how much a being from Earth exerts their will on Æternus, it remains a place of Torment. Christopher suggests that the PMP is a realm like any of the others, but what sets it apart is Hope. Like, it’s just “reality” for a long time, but a late writer comes up with an idea (based on inference from previous stories) that this was once simply the Realm of Hope. It’s been assaulted by so many other beings and realms over the eons, but it keeps going. As much as we don’t really think about it as a Realm of Hope, it is because it continues to be this thing that survives. That’s fairly satisfying from a storytelling perspective, and also ties into how it is the place that was necessary to defeat OblivAeon.
- So, what do we think the cover for #514 is? This is “big fight with our three main characters.” The cover for #515 is probably more “a view of the world if the heroes lose” situation given where the prior one ended. Maybe some kind of zoomed-out view of a blighted city.
- Let’s think of the sequence. #513 is almost certainly “Young Legacy vs. the Toxic Basketball Team”. What is more interesting for the team-up cover? Maybe something that gives the big-sister vibes? But it’s not a lighthearted story… Hmm… maybe something that “gives things away” but we could do “Young Legacy in the Crosshairs” thing, teasing a fight between heroes.
- One idea Adam had was a big pool of toxic waste that’s shaped like a skull and Young Legacy and Expatriette are each in one of the “eyes”. He’d initially thought of it for #515, but Christopher thinks it works given the “fight at the toxic lake” element.