The Letters Page: Episode 4
Run Time: 83:05
Hoo boy! We're having trouble sticking to this "one-hour-show" thing, aren't we? We just have so much to say!
In attempt to appeal to younger generations, Christopher uses the phrase "on fleek". No, he doesn't know how to use it or what it means. But does anyone?
We talk about Expatriette's first unfinished mission, in which she fought and failed to kill a mechanic in Slim's Auto Shop. I wonder who he could be...
After Christopher and Adam briefly discuss six-sided dice vs. twenty-sided dice as "standard" dice, Christopher mentions he'll make a survey and put it in the show notes. Here it is! We'll probably stop taking responses at some point... maybe not, though!
Both Christopher and Adam bust out their fake French accents during the Q&A portion of this episode. We're sorry. We're so sorry.
See you next week for an episode about Expatriette's mom!
- Expert in taking down super-powered people. In her first appearance, she shows up just as somebody who's shooting super-powered people. We don't know her backstory until later.
- Expatriette comics tend to come in two varieties (as opposed to "older" heroes who have had more time to wind up in different genres): "Dark and Gritty" and "Superhero Comics that are Serious".
- Citizens of the Sun philosophy is that non-powered people are inherently less important and the failure of Amanda to develop any powers makes her the target of prejudice among them - especially considering how powerful her parents were. Her parents didn't help either as Dawn was very much a helicopter parent who was very impatient for her child to manifest powers.
- She lost her eye at around age 12 when Dawn was trying to jump-start her power manifesting by blasting her in the face. Amanda's father, Citizen Pain, was not in favor of this method and he and Dawn had a fight resulting in his death.
- After this incident, she remembers when she was younger and saw poachers on the island (Insula Primalis being the homebase of the Citizens and where she grew up) where their camp got overrun by dinosaurs. She remembered where that happened and went back there to get the guns, stashes them in a cave, and practices.
- She'd gotten some practice with ranged "combat" against powered people as, when playing games with other children who had powers, she had to use distance to her advantage (and also tactics like using terrain in stuff like tag to make flying kids have to come to ground to get to her, that sort of thing). She understands that people with powers tend to have a blind spot regarding their powers as they have always relied on them.
- She had gone to her friends to try to get them to help her get off the island due to her injuries and her dad's death, but they ratted her out to Dawn. She was already kind of paranoid at this point and had followed them. Seeing the betrayal, she ambushed her friend Regina later (also known as Citizen Gate) who could teleport over long distances (but can't do so in quick succession) and she gets dropped off in the middle of an Iowa corn field. Amanda shoots and kills Regina after arriving - the first person she kills - so that there's nobody who can disclose where she is. People with powers are pretty much defined as the enemy for her at this point.
- She takes a variety of mercenary/wet-works kind of jobs and is pretty much on the dark end of the morality spectrum at this point. Basically a villain, although not in the comic-book "villainous plot" kind of way, just in terms of her outlook and "profession." She's not a nice person.
- She's got her van of equipment and weapons caches in different cities. She develops a reputation in the underworld as a "Super Killer" and takes up the name Expatriette at this time. She'll take the job where other people won't due to the difficulty of taking on people with powers and she sees it as kind of a public service due to her feelings towards powers.
- She winds up working out of Rook City just because it's easier for her to hide there without getting hassled by the authorities.
- There's a "super" bar in Rook City known as the Wretched Hive that minor villains would hang out in. She shoots the place up, tosses in a few grenades, etc. This act ups her reputation even more.
- She works with Ambuscade a few times (also against him a few times). They have kind of a professional rivalry. Ambuscade once bought temporary powers from Revo-Corp.
- Took a job from a gunsmith to take out 3 targets (she doesn't invent her own weapons) - first time she'd taken a job from a victim to take out the perpetrators of a crime. In addition to the agreed upon fees, he gifted her Pride and Prejudice - he put in the dove detailing because in getting his revenge she had brought him peace. He becomes a side-character in the comics.
- Later gets approached by a guy in a slick white suit to go take out this auto-mechanic. She sets up shop on a roof with a sniper rifle across the way from the garage, thinks it's an easy-peasy job. Just as she's getting set to take the shot, the mechanic looks in her direction, gives a half wave, and steps into the shop out of sight. She figures that he'd been tipped off, but heads into the shop to get him. He gets the drop on her, waiting. He doesn't really fight her, more just disrupting her firing at him by knocking the guns out of the way (or setting the safety, removing the magazine, pulling off the slide, etc.). Once he dismantles the guns she pulls a knife and he disarms her. He's not throwing punches, he's just always in the right place to prevent her from harming him. Once he has her stymied, he asks her a series of cryptic questions ("Who are you?" "Why are you here?" stuff like that) and gets her thinking about her life.
- This is her first "failure" in a contracted hit, and as a job coming down from the Chairman, this will not stand and he sends goons to take her out as a lesson to others. She survives, but loses her safehouse in Rook City and just starts driving.
- Shortly after this is the Voss invasion (which as a major comics crossover event makes its way into her title too). She kills a bunch of gene-bound aliens in a town that she just happened to be in, and the townsfolk call her a hero, which again makes her rethink her position in the world.
- Her opinion of "heroes" was that they're all con-men who are in it for their own good and oppressing people. Still evil, just less obvious about it than her mom. Being called a hero makes her want to investigate to see if her mindset is accurate and so makes Megalopolis her next destination.
- Sets up a safe-house to use while she's there. Winds up involved in a minor Baron Blade situation, but does make contact with the Freedom Five. Gets all up in their grills about how they operate. Gets some standard Legacy speeches, etc.
- Her interactions with Felicia Parsons, though, is interesting. Here's somebody whose family also expected her to have powers (and who did get them), but approached it in a vastly different way. Young Legacy is an interesting foil for Expatriette for those reasons. Amanda initially just wrote her off as somebody who had "drunk the Kool-aid" but after the Baron Blade conflict she starts to come around to the idea that the heroes are genuine.
- Tachyon makes her some "non-bullety bullets" to cut down on the whole murdery aspect of things (the elemental kinds of Ammo are meant to not be, or not immediately, lethal).
- Then Citizen Dawn attacks Megalopolis. Big crossover between Expatriette comics and Freedom Five. First time that Amanda encounters her mom - Expatriette loses fight hard and is more or less left for dead (I'm assuming her original Incap art) as the fight with the FF continues. The Scholar saves her (more details in his own episode - he's an older guy who likes to help and tends to happen to be in places where he needs to be) - he helps her recovery in both her physical injuries, but also helps her work through her mental issues (abused cult member turned murderer for hire has not left her the most well-adjusted person). She claims to be over the whole Citizen Dawn thing and is now "fine".
- Then Wager Master shows up to mess with the Scholar (as he's got some stuff that's important to the cosmos). As part of that he shows Expatriette what she could have been if she'd gotten powers (Citizen Dusk), but the Scholar makes a deal with him, offering the Philosopher's Stone to him to get him to leave. This isn't a problem as the stone is "inexorably tied" to his being and he can just summon it back to himself. This encounter convinces her that she's not really over the whole Citizens thing she knows that she has to make amends - tries to be the person that the Scholar thinks she should be.
- Starts being the hero. Non-lethal ammo, helps in a variety of fights (Akash'Bhuta alongside the FF and everybody else), helps a bunch of heroes but spends a lot of time with Legacy as somebody who did what her mom did but right and he takes on somewhat of a mentor role. Good dialog opportunities with Young Legacy - she also has a rough time with the Iron Legacy event as it's everything that she's been talking about regarding how bad things would be if Legacy wasn't the good guy.
- Lots of work with the FF in the Vengeance War, a bunch of stuff against the Revo-Corp aspects of it. Accidentally shoots this guy called Setback (Is he a hero? The stuff he's doing isn't really helping) with lightning rounds when she was trying to hit Revenant. That's when they meet.
- After being a supporting cast hero in a lot of books, we get another Expatriette-centric story when she goes to Insula Primalis to take the fight back to the Citizens as heroes. She gets defeated again, is a prisoner about to be executed (alternate art pack Incapacitated image), getting the villain lecture from her mom about how it's the same as always and she's not powerful enough. Amanda has a trick up her sleeve, now she has friends: Cue the other heroes busting in through the wall. Captain Cosmic puts up a shield construct to save her and other cool hero stuff going on. This is the point where Dawn loses the Citadel and is the last big event with her for a while.
- Dark Watch forms shortly after this (more in the Mr. Fixer and Dark Watch episodes to come) - short version: MF needed help, she remembered him as the mechanic target she couldn't kill and wants to help, she grabs Setback as somebody who's heart is in the right place, and they recruit Nightmist as they need magic support for whatever is going on and the three of them go and help him out.
- Dark Watch comics is sort of the "gritty" book of Sentinels Comics - previously this had been Mystery Comics -> Wraith -> Rook City -> Expatriette -> Dark Watch. Dark Magic stories, crime stories, etc. Mainly about the team, but others like the Wraith can show up occasionally.
- Citizens Hammer and Anvil show up freelance-style, still in their Citizen getups but not really involved with other citizens. Instead they're working with Sergeant Steel and Biomancer (Christopher: "We'll do a whole episode about him some day." Adam: "[sound of disgust] Do we have to?" because he's "really gross" - this is more likely in an Interlude episode or in one that's about a bunch of minor villains). In this story they're looking for Visionary: Citizens interested in her power, Steel and F.I.L.T.E.R. interested due to her knowledge of future, Biomancer because he's gross, oh and interested in her power too, I guess. Dark Watch and the Prime Wardens are involved in this event. Expatriette takes down Citizen Anvil (a big deal for her as these two are only one step below her mom), Biomancer had made a copy of her at some point, etc. Setback's luck in this conflict kicks in at one point so that he doesn't get shot, but the bullet hits Expatriette instead (I assume her original Dark Watch incap art followed immediately by Setback's original Dark Watch incap art).
- Her injury there and the time around her recovery is what causes her and Setback to become a couple.
- OblivAeon event happens. Ambuscade shows up as Stuntman and they team up. They remember each other and he's all like "I am a hero now," and she says, "Yeah, I don't really feel that you can just say that," and he retorts that that's pretty much exactly what she did - fun little back-and-forth.
- We get the name of a Scion: Dark Mind - shows up and fights Setback and Expatriette. He's got mind-altering powers, attacks by erasing her knowledge of Setback and Setback's emotions/compassion. This latter is bad due to him no longer acting to mitigate the collateral damage that his extreme luck causes. Dark Mind pretty much just leaves at this point.
- Setback goes off on his own, Expatriette goes unarmed to Citizen Dawn (at this point living in a Mobile Defense Platform) and tries to guilt her into helping (more to come in next week's podcast).
- Dark Watch (or what's left of it at this point: Expatriette, Mr. Fixer, and Harpy) back again to fight another Scion: Faultless - formerly a being of Order, but twisted by OblivAeon. Setback involved in this fight too as they've been dragging him around. They're all pretty much broken in some way: heartless Setback, Expatriette doesn't remember this person who's supposed to be really important to her, Nightmist is busy Being the Gate, Mr. Fixer is this dark and bitter character after his resurrection, and the Harpy was until fairly recently a villain and has her own issues. They manage to break Faultless free from OblivAeon's control, who then corrects the problems with them (memories, emotions, etc.).
- K.N.Y.F.E. and Sky-Scraper show up following a raid on F.I.L.T.E.R. where they find a "giant glorious gun" and bring it to Expatriette for her to use during the OblivAeon fight.
- Expatriette doesn't have as many "goofy side stories" as other heroes are likely to have.
- What's her day job? Well, for a while murder was her day job and she was good at it. As a hero she and Setback had a bunch of conflicts about her taking "side jobs" - but later in the SotM timeline she's more likely to either do a lot more vetting on these things or to do things like bounty hunting to track down escaped powered criminals.
- Does she have the skill to aim to incapacitate or does she shoot to kill? Kind of depends on the era we're talking about, but she generally aims to kill, but later relies on non-lethal ammo to keep her honest when she's trying for non-murder.
- What's the deal with the white doves on the cards? Already talked about the doves on Pride and Prejudice. They're an artistic motif, there for style. Explicit reference to John Woo and other movies. It's not a "power" or anything, there aren't always doves around when she's around. The birds "don't mean anything."
- Where does she get her weapons and ammo? A lot of them she just buys, she can modify to some extent, but she's not an inventor or otherwise making her own stuff. Tachyon keeps her stocked in the specialty ammo.
- Who taught her to shoot? No real mentor. She'd developed an aptitude for ranged combat, starting with a slingshot as a kid. Only real mentor was Scholar, but he's not really involved in any of the gun stuff.
- Why the names "Pride" and "Prejudice"? Part of it's due to her upbringing around all these people with themed names. It wouldn't have occurred to her to not name the guns. They didn't have a lot of intent behind the names - but they were mentioning personality aspects of Amanda herself (she's prideful and she is prejudiced against people with powers).
- Who's the blond man on her Quick Draw card? Ambuscade (w/ facial prosthetics) in disguise as a cop. There's some great French accents going on here at around 1:11:11 in the podcast.
- Relationship with the Scholar? They already discussed a lot of it. She's "one of many" that he found, picked up, and put back together in one way or another. Later it's more like how you would react to running into a fondly-remembered high school teacher years later.
- How does the flak jacket stop huge amounts of damage? Just an artifact of the game mechanics. They're nice jackets, but it's not realistic.
- Does she really have no powers at all? What's her most super power? Purple hair. Unless Olympic athletes have "powers" due to the amount of training they've done.
- Tactics - still tactical leader of Dark Watch (they're not really organized as having a leader, but Setback often takes points and she does the planning). Still set up in what's left of Rook City and this is a darker future, but they're trying to be a source of hope. She's got some new ammo: Gravity Rounds, Concussion Rounds, Biotic Rounds. There had been a time after the loss of Nightmist and the breaking of Rook City when the team disbanded - duo comic from this time "Lucky Shot" about her and Setback before they cycled back around to link back up with Mr. Fixer and Pinion.
- RPG - Rook City wasn't as demolished. There's various groups doing rebuilding. Dark Watch isn't really just limited to the four of them. She and Setback act as the field operatives, a "fighting duo" and are still active "working" heroes, but the two of them aren't taking on the mentorly role that many other of the canon heroes do at this point.