Podcasts/Episode 55

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The Letters Page: Episode 55

Original Source

Primary Topic

Parse

Intro

Parse has keen arrows, but a far more keen eye!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:30:53

We don't spend any time dillying or dallying in this episode! In fact, this may be most "content per minute" episode we've ever done - just jam-packed with the story of Parse through the years of Sentinel Comics!

We start off in the 80s, including a bunch of information on how various titles are being treated then, laying the groundwork for Parse's origin.

Just after the 6 minute mark, we mention that the Iron Legacy and Alternate Realities/Timelines episode is coming up on the recording block in a few days - get your questions in now!

Around 12 minutes in, we introduce a character we've never talked about before... and within a couple minutes, you learn why he's never come up before.

The high-speed rate of reveals continues, right up until the start of the Miss Information story around the 20 minute mark... but then we clam up. Don't want to spoil next week!

Even more publication history oddities around 23 minutes in, covering her origin yet again and setting up why Parse is in space so much.

A bit after the half hour mark, we talk a bit about OblivAeon, and how the appearance of that cosmic, singular entity alters Parse and her story.

Then, just after 34 minutes in, we get to your questions!

The questions do a great job, as per usual, of further digging into Parse's abilities and story. Strong work, everyone. One of you even made Adam laugh so hard that we had to pause recording momentarily!

In the future segment - starting around the one hour and 25 minutes mark - we talk about a few important things, including a reveal of where she's ending up in the Sentinel Comics Universe!

Whew! There we go! That one seemed fast, but it was still 90 minutes of non-stop Parsing! See you next week for an episode and an Editor's Note! Also, later this afternoon at 3 PM Central time, Christopher will be doing a livestream over on the OblivAeon Kickstarter page! Come hang out!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • First appearing in Mystery Comics in the mid-'80s. At this time, MC was a twice-a-month publication, with one issue a month being focused on the Wraith and the other left up for other stuff in Rook City - Expatriette stories for example as she'd been introduced a few years' prior. This schedule was adopted based on reader feedback that too many MC issues weren't about the Wraith, so this let them have both.
  • Parse was introduced as this "cold calculating killer" anti-hero type with no compunction with killing the bad guys (one of the first such characters introduced). This is concurrent with the Cosmic Omnitron story over in the Freedom Five book and so her backstory is tied into that event (an analyst who was inspecting the Omnitron code when the cosmic whammy came down). This event gave her the ability to see deeper into situations, seeing consequences further down the chain of events than usual and identifying weaknesses - prompting her to go out to seek the causes of evil and take them out proactively.
  • The other MC book that month was the culmination of a Rook City Renegades story with the Wraith (the '80s saw a big return of "Wraith doing stuff in Rook City" as part of the whole "comics get really dark and gritty" period) against Spite. This is the point where Spite's got a hostage and Wraith is unsure what to do, but then Parse, this brand-new character just introduced last issue, shows up and kills him as described in previous episodes. This establishes real quick just how dark Parse is.
  • This whole "murder" thing kind of doesn't go over well with Wraith and so the next few issues deal with the two of them fighting. Parse defensive in the "acting for the greater good" sense with Wraith taking the position that the ends don't justify the means. Parse "wins" this encounter. So much of the Wraith's deal is dependent on capitalizing on opponents' mistakes and Parse is too precise to leave an opening and is better at that particular game in general.
  • Going forward, Parse doesn't actually show up that often. She's used pretty sparingly over the next five years, but when she does show up you can be sure that somebody's going to be having a bad day (and likely to wind up dead). This period is also where the Shattered Timelines events start cropping up - Visionary's first appearance, Iron Legacy event, etc. This was a general editorial mandate; they didn't know where all of this was going, but was an easy method of introducing new characters and just shake things up. The whole timelines shattering/cracks in reality aspect of this stuff actually ties into Parse's shtick as she's able to perceive this stuff going on (others can see the effects, but she can tell that reality itself has been damaged). This manifests in the Final Legacy books in the '90s with her not just seeing a weak point to put an arrow, but possible futures overlapping one another (as seen on "Extrasensory Awareness") and is further explored in the Cosmic Tales title.
  • This CT story goes back to Parse's backstory a bit more. Yeah, it deals with the whole Cosmic Omnitron code upgrade thing, but we actually get to know more about Kim herself, which had been largely ignored in her original gritty-'80s introduction (as somebody who finds bad people and murders them). Some reader speculation was along the lines of a "tragic backstory" to explain it, but that's not the case. Rather, they looked at what made her good at the analyst job she had at RevoCorp in the first place, which is that she has Asperger's Syndrome. Part of which manifests, for her, as being bad at social interaction and viewing the world in very black and white terms, but she's very good at focusing on a task. All of this was retcon to try to make this super-dark, "lesser evil" character into something approaching a relatable person.
  • Next up after this was "revealed" was Vengeance, which was the first event that had her in more of a "heroic" role - she's still an anti-hero, but she's working with the others. It might have been interesting to pull her in as a villain for the Wraith, but the editors had decided that this was the new direction for Parse. Although part of that was to also show something bad that she'd done in the past, which involves Highbrow.
  • Most villains in Vengeance had been around for a while; familiar faces that were being brought in for the big team-up. Highbrow was new and nobody knew what her deal was. While Highbrow's backstory was unknown it did connect back to a well-known Parse story from the mid/late-'80s fighting a villain who'd been around for a few years, the Head Doctor, who could siphon the brain power from others to augment his own mind (standard plots involve him kidnapping various brilliant people for this purpose - the gadgets he used to do this looked like high-tech head mirrors). Anyway, this story involved Parse tracking him to his hideout where he's got a few dozen victims wired in and he's in full-blown mad genius mode (complete with his army of robotic "mindroids"). There's a fight; it ends when Parse shoots him in the head. This does result in some backlash of energy to the victims he'd been wired into, though, who all flatline. Parse, being her '80s self, shrugs this off as an acceptable loss to stop him. As she leaves, the readers see one of the brain monitors spike - this survivor would become Highbrow. All of the "brainpower" (including things like memories, emotions, and personalities) of all of the other victims (and the Head Doctor) got dumped into her, causing the painful mutation to her skull and increased intellect. She hates Parse (since she "remembers" Parse shooting her in the head) and learns all about her. During Vengeance, their confrontation is largely about Highbrow taking Parse to task about the terrible things she's done (and being responsible for Highbrow's own terrible acts as the person responsible for her current state) - this is actually a successful "attack" on Parse by forcing her to confront the idea that she's not able to see deep enough and account for all eventualities. Other heroes come in and save Parse, but it represents a turning point for her character - turning away from the hubris that she'd shown previously regarding her deciding which outcomes were best.
  • After this, she winds up interacting with other heroes more frequently. She's not on a team or anything, but she's generally involved in big crossover events, the next of which being the Citizen Dawn event where Fanatic breaks Absolution on Citizen Truth's shield. This is a further example of how her perceptions are different now. In the '80s she was all about seeing that this person needs to die and then killing them, while in the '90s with the reality/timeline weirdness and her own character growth, there's a lot more questions about if what she's seeing is what she thinks it is - she knew that something would break if Fanatic attacked Truth, but breaking the sword wasn't what she expected. The point being reinforced is that while Parse sees more than anybody else, she doesn't see everything.
  • In the early-2000s she fights Akash'Bhuta alongside the Prime Wardens and she even starts showing up more frequently outside of combat situations - she gets called upon in an analytical role. She becomes something of a regular support character that other heroes will consult with whatever problem they're working at the moment. While she'd always been interested in making the world a better place, she hadn't been hung up on doing the "right thing" in order to get to that result. She's now working on that latter part, which is what leads to her just walking into Freedom Tower one day as an uneventful occurrence in itself by the mid-2000s. However...
  • For the past year or so there had been mysterious events, primarily being dealt with by the Freedom Five, that are attributed to Miss Information, but nobody knows who or what in the world that is (although FF #657 does show her as she taunts the heroes and escapes - she's in a mask and isn't recognizable as any of the readers' theorized identities). Then Parse walks into the building in FFA #21 to work on something with the team. During that visit, she sees Aminia Twain (the Freedom Five's receptionist since forever - she first appeared in FFA #3) and immediately recognizes that she is Miss Information, but keeps it to herself for the moment. More on this next episode.
  • After that all gets sorted out, we move on to the late-2000s and the start of the Cosmic Concurrence book, an every-other-month title [and as mentioned in the Sky-Scraper episode is a larger format book setting things up in the cosmic scale which don't fit into any other books]. It starts off with a flashback to the Cosmic Omnitron event in a modern rehash of the events (and inserting characters into the story who wouldn't have been around yet at the actual time of publication, like Setback who was invented something like a decade later). Part of this was also integrating Parse into the events and actually starting to explain what the cosmic force that kicked things off actually was. It doesn't answer any of the questions it brings up, but it establishes kind of the focus of the title. Oddly enough, despite the cosmic/space subject matter of the book, Parse winds up being a primary character in it (it's generally an anthology title, but the main story tended to include her, at least for the first 20 issues or so at which point K.N.Y.F.E. kind of becomes the major player - Captain Cosmic, Sky-Scraper, and Jansa vi Dero all feature in it too).
  • While Parse wasn't a space-faring hero, she kind of quickly becomes one. Early on, Jansa recognizes her analytical powers and brings her to the Enclave for a discussion about all of the weird multiverse stuff that Jansa sees is going on. This turns into a storyline involving Parse traveling around space investigating things and (half-heartedly) trying to get back to Earth. Neither she nor the writers are in a big hurry to get her back (although she does eventually). During this she does encounter Deadline (before becoming Deadline) and has some misgivings about him as foreshadowing. It's where the story with her, Captain Cosmic, and Rahazar comes up (see the Nemeses Interlude). The incident with Greazer Clutch capturing Sky-Scraper happens (Jansa's the one transporting her around at that point and after saving the day, Jansa sends them back to Earth, which is how she finally gets home).
  • She winds up as part of the team working against Skinwalker Gloomweaver in Tome of the Bizarre #34 (this is the very beginning of the plot, though, not the big fight immediately predating OblivAeon).
  • As Benchmark works through the whole "maybe RevoCorp isn't the best organization" thing she works with him a bunch and they become friends (or as close to "friends" as her "bad with people" thing lets her).
  • She's a notable presence in the Progeny event as her analytical abilities help figure out what's going on and what needs to happen. Its resolution also leads her into wanting to return to space to stay on top of things. She can't do that right away, though, because Miss Information is back (VotM incarnation) - again, more next time. After that's sorted she goes back out into space, but we don't follow her and so don't know the details of what exactly she's doing.
  • We next see her in Cosmic Contest, so see that episode for the details of what she does, but the important thing is the outside-of-combat conversations she has with Jansa, convincing her to be less passive and to not take Earth's champion with her. Since she's not really a big-name character (she's some people's favorite, but the general vibe is that they're choosing her because of her relative obscurity) it might seem weird to a lot of readers that she's so chummy with Jansa, but this all ties back into the Cosmic Concurrence stories. After this one-shot, Parse goes off the radar again for a while.
  • She reappears in FFA #30, the last issue of that title and one of the major books in the OblivAeon event. She's now in her Fugue State iteration, which involves a lot more computer stuff than we may have expected (the headband thing she's wearing is used to interface with off-site memory storage for one). This is great, Parse can see the weaknesses in everything, so she'll know how to take on OblivAeon, right? The readers are then given a Parse-eyed-view of the situation, seeing the weaknesses in the buildings and nearby heroes and everything, but OblivAeon is without flaw [see the Fugue State foil incapacitated art].
  • This overview seems pretty linear, and that's pretty much the case with her whole story. Unlike many/most other heroes, she doesn't ever really have stuff going on in multiple titles at once and so her involvement in events is pretty straightforward (unlike, say, Legacy who's in the Freedom Five books, Justice Comics, and America's Finest Legacy at once).

Questions

  • [Letter intro thanking them for including a character with Asperger's Syndrome - and labeling it specifically as such.] They weren't even just looking for an inclusivity checkbox character, but had started from a premise for her as her mind being her power, and as they worked through the details of her personality and the downsides to it, they had a realization that it would be a good character background to explain some of why she was the way she was.
  • Is Fugue State Parse actually in a fugue state or was it just a cool-sounding phrase that the writers used? She's in a fugue state not so much in the amnesiac manner, but she is "somebody different" while this is going on (and she's aware of this - which is why she's using the brain-scan device to record everything that's going on at the time). What's going on is that she's letting the "personality" part of Kim Howell take a back seat and let the cold, analytical part of herself run things unimpeded.
  • Why is she throwing arrows now? How does that work in terms of range/force advantage that the bow would normally be granting? Without the bow the arrows don't have anything near the force behind them (although with all of the cosmic stuff going on, with OblivAeon's presence and its power manifest in her, she is able to throw them farther than a person should be able to and with inhuman precision), but the damage isn't the point. She's placing them exactly where she wants them - sometimes that's for a minor amount of damage, but more often it's as a marker for something or in order to trigger some other event by its presence. From a design standpoint, they wanted to pull back from the "archer" archetype as they wanted to emphasize the importance of her mind.
  • Has she tried to build bridges with other characters or is it just not important to her? There's a few things going on here. First is that she is just not "good with people" to the extent that other people find her a bit off-putting. There's also that whole period of her life where she was this murderous anti-hero character after all - people didn't want to get to know her. Beyond that, even after she's softened a bit post-Vengeance, she still doesn't prioritize people this way.
  • How does typically working alone impact her effectiveness as a hero? Quite a bit - she's at her most heroic when she's working with the others (and a lot of her contributions come in those "consulting" interactions). Most of the depictions of her we have in the game are from her "working with others" stories.
  • When she's involved in team-ups, has somebody called her in or does she just show up? Both. Sometimes she's just figured out what's going on and shows up, other times (especially later on, post-Miss Information) others will call her in because they specifically want/need her help.
  • What genre of stories does she tend to be in? Most. Writers didn't know what to do with her in general and so she winds up in all sorts of stories as individual writers would come up with a specific situation that her powers would be an interesting fit for, regardless of what genre that story might actually be in (spy thriller, horror, sci-fi, etc.). This is part of why she had a relatively small fan-base - a lot of comics rely on readers interested in the specific genre to gain a following month-to-month, and her lack of a home genre prevented her from developing that following.
  • Is she a character that the writers had to find excuses to keep sidelined to prevent them from solving the problem immediately (like Haka) or is she usually around, just pointing out the weak spots that the others have to struggle to reach? Mostly addressed in that she's around for specific events, but is mostly off doing her own thing otherwise. The closest she gets to having her own title is when she was the main feature of early Cosmic Concurrence issues (which had other stories in them as well, and was a 6-a-year book to begin with - so that tells you how much of a "spotlight" she had). She does tend to be vital to a story's resolution when she does turn up, however.
  • Her ability to find weaknesses sounds a lot like Deadline's Zenith Gauge, coincidence? Similar but different - the Zenith Gauge finds weak points in physical things and planes of existence while she can (in addition to seeing physical weak points) analyze a person's speech pattern to figure out what psychological levers to pull. She also sees the outcomes of actions, not just where to punch, but what will happen if you punch. The Zenith Gauge is much more of a physical "insert spike here to break things" indicator.
  • As an Australian, does she use a bow because of the relative rarity of guns or is there some other aspect to it (relative silence, etc.)? While she's from Melbourne, she doesn't spend much time there. Mostly she's in Megalopolis or in space somewhere. She probably got into archery recreationally and that's more accessible than firearm marksmanship in Australia, though, and after she got her powers she found it was a useful complementary skill.
  • How does she relate to the other heroes considering her apparent focus on information more than people? Her lack of relating to others has already mostly been covered. She does hang out with some heroes a bit, Captain Cosmic (who's somewhat of a father figure) and Benchmark (mostly due to necessity on his part, but also due to shared problems with RevoCorp) for example.
  • Given the analytical nature of her powers, how well does she match up against magic or supernatural foes (say, Gloomweaver or Wager Master) where the direct relationship between cause and effect is less evident? With magical foes (Gloomweaver, Apostate, Zhu Long, etc.), there are still rules. We might not understand those rules, but they're there. She doesn't even need to understand the rules, but the fact that they exist is enough for her analysis stuff to work on and extrapolate from (in opposition to, say, Tachyon who would be trying to apply her science-based worldview on it to understand it). Wager Master on the other hand... Being a multidimensional Singular Entity on the same scale as OblivAeon, her perception of him is going to be similar to her view of OblivAeon as mentioned up at the tail end of the Overview. It's possible that, due to the differences in their natures, rather than seeing a being without flaw she'd see nothing but flaws and overlapping possibilities since Wager Master is such a chaotic mess, but it works out largely the same in the end.
  • Is Parse of Aboriginal Australian descent? Yes.
  • She appears to be drawn differently in the video game art (she appears to have a bit of a belly) - is that a conscious change? Why? This is Adam getting better at art. She was always intended to be a bit of a bigger girl and he got better at actually depicting that.
  • Her initial look is comfortable street clothing (skirt, t-shirt, jacket), but then her Fugue State outfit is more of a standard hero costume, why the change? Part of that is the whole "spending a lot of time in space" thing. Her initial deal was very much "looks like a normal person, but doesn't act like one" (what with the whole murder thing). Also, a lot of hero design is about flashy attention grabbing design, which she didn't care about and that's reflected in her look. Her return with something more like a costume is partly to represent that something has radically changed here.
  • Could she use her powers for less "heroic" but potentially more life-saving services (setting speed limits, traffic signal patterns, designing car seats for children, etc. - even a 1% reduction in traffic accidents in the US alone would save something on the order of 300 lives)? She could do those things, but that's not where her mind is. She'd also have to get people to actually listen to her and/or put her in a position to do this in the first place. [Imagining her in the place of Mycroft Holmes.]
  • How about planning routes for emergency services (fire engines, ambulances) or otherwise planning things like hydrant placement or finding problems in water treatment plants? What about finding weaknesses in medical fields like bacteria, viruses, or cancer? The medical stuff is a bit tougher to get into, but for the earlier parts of the question having her in something like a dispatcher position makes a lot of sense [mumbling about maybe something like that being planned]. Stuff that requires additional training is tough, as are things that she can't actually see. Like, if she's looking at some virus or at a tumor under a microscope, she could tell you if there was some fault in that virus or how to destroy that tumor, but that's not something she can generalize to cure all of cancer, for example.
  • Why not go after criminals in terms of forensic accounting and freeze assets to stop things in a top-down way rather than the dangerous personal confrontations with arrows? That's not always an option as not all criminals are operating with a budget in that way - especially in her early appearances in the '80s she tended to be fighting more monstrous villains than people.
  • If actually getting people to trust her with such things [yup, see above], why not convince policymakers to give her that control? She's not good at the whole "convincing people to do stuff" thing. She's good at insulting people (she knows what'll really hit the mark, so to speak), but that's not a good way to gain people's trust.
  • [Suggestion to do the above stuff and, sure, step in if Grand Warlord Voss is trying to harvest the entire genetic wealth of the planet, but let the more physical heroes handle the Hippo's latest bank robbery while you get on with improving efficiency elsewhere.] That's largely what she does. She's not out patrolling the streets (although it's not like there's a call sheet for who should handle the Hippo's bank robbery - whoever's handy and notices first will take care of it, even if that means that the team winds up being Setback and Parse).
  • If she met Tarogath before he became Deadline, but she didn't act to prevent that, does that mean that there's a limit to her ability to see outcomes? Yeah, she can see immediate outcomes and some down-the-line results of actions, but she's not able to just see somebody and know what they're going to do an arbitrary amount of time later.
  • In Cosmic Contest, she was in the Tech Tier, but what's the rationale for that placement? She's in the tech tier because she's a computer.
  • If Parse can see the weak points in things, then why did she not see that Absolution would be the thing to break rather than Truth's shield? This was more of a product of the writers trying to push Parse in a different direction than something faulty in her powers. They were playing with the idea of her not being able to see all outcomes. Other than that, yeah, it's weird for that to have happened. It wasn't so much that the sword had a weakness or that the shield had a weakness, but the conjunction of the two would result in some destruction. A note on the art - none of the red indications showing weak points is literally there or even what she sees, it's just a comic-book representation of what she knows for the readers' benefit (this came up in a conversation between them about Kismet as well as the green outlines of stuff like opponents' bones in her card art aren't visible to any of the characters - she has a green energy signature thing going on, but nothing overt is showing what her power is doing).
  • Her place in the Multiverse seems rather inconsistent between street-level stuff in Rook City Renegades but winding up doing so much space stuff later [agreement from C&A], did the writers just not know what to do with her? Was she some editor's darling who was forced into stories regardless? She wasn't an "editor's darling", but she really was a character without a "home" and different writers did a lot of different things with her to try to find that home for her in the setting. This lack of focus in her storytelling is a major contributor to why she was a less-central character.
  • Does Parse ever use any "trick arrows"? Mechanically, was there more focus on her archery/damage-dealing during the design process for her deck (say, with a card to represent the bow)? As stated earlier in the episode, she was not designed as an "archer character" (if building her in an RPG, she wouldn't be leaning on the "archer" archetype, but on "human computer" or "super-genius"). It's not that she uses different kinds of arrows, but that she uses the same kinds of arrows for different things (sometimes straight damage, sometimes as a marker for where other heroes should attack, as a tactical reminder for positioning, etc.). For her deck design there wasn't a lot of thought given to making the archery more prevalent for these reasons - there's enough there to showcase that she uses a bow, but they're not pushing that as the main theme.
  • Her powers seem up to writer interpretation and out of place in some situations alongside characters with the ability to make hard-light constructs, generate electrical blasts, or call down holy wrath; is she written differently depending on the type of story she's in? Are differences in how her powers work between stories a mistake? Was Fugue State an editorial attempt to nail down exactly what her powers did? Her powers are actually treated with a fair level of consistency in terms of what her powers are, but what they're used for in the comics is at the mercy of how creative the writers are in thinking up ways to use them. The Fugue State version of her isn't a "correction" or anything, it's just showing what she's like when the "computer" part of her character is put in the forefront and largely ignoring the "archer" part.
  • If Mark Benedetto wants to retain his anonymity as Revenant, why does the Revenant suit have the RevoCorp logo on it? For one, he was confident in his job of separating the two identities - Mark was a pencil-pusher and Revenant is out doing crime stuff. Because of that, he sees no problem in getting some publicity for the company - sure Revenant is stealing stuff, but he obviously just stole the suit too, and look at what great tech that RevoCorp company has developed.
  • That being said, the quote on "Segmentation Fault" is credited to Revenant, so isn't him firing Parse going to give away his identity? He is saying it, and it's during a fight, but he's saying it to himself, not to her. Not that this would really matter as she had no trouble figuring out that they were the same person. Funnily enough, he's kind of behind the times as it's been years since she actually worked for RevoCorp (she worked for them back in the '80s during her early stories while this card is closer to Vengeance).
  • Given that she was able to identify Miss Information with no clues and without even knowing Ms. Twain, isn't this some kind of oversight? While she did know who Revenant was, but she didn't care. There were too many greater threats to worry about. Who's going to believe her? If she went public with the info, Mark has a lot of ways of deflecting it (if she's able to actually make a convincing case in the first place, which is not certain for her - he could arrange a press conference that happens to coincide with "Revenant" being up to something across town, plus the whole character assassination angle considering his accuser murdered a bunch of people back in the '80s, etc.). While it's something from her past that may once have been important, this also comes up just as she's getting more involved in the "hero" thing and then her space adventures, so it takes a back seat until the RevoCorp Presents stuff later.
  • In the Omnitron episode mentioned that her powers came from when the Cosmic Omnitron upgrade occurred while she was reviewing the code, does this mean that in any timeline without an Omnitron-X that there's also no Parse? If there's no Parse in such timelines, does the Wraith go through with killing Spite? Dunno about timelines without Omnitron-X, but any timeline without Cosmic Omnitron wouldn't have a Parse (unless she picks up a power from some other source - that's the problem with saying anything definitive when dealing with infinite alternate realities). There are Kims out there who still do analytical stuff without powers, there are ones with different powers from different sources, there are some (with or without powers) that wound up as villains, and there are even other people that go by Parse out there. [While the question regarding Wraith and Spite got a reaction from them while reading it, they didn't circle back to actually answer that portion of it.]
  • After her Cosmic Omnitron upgrade, does she stay employed at RevoCorp? Was she aware of the shadiness of the company while she was working there? She left RevoCorp pretty much right away because there were people that had to die. Once she was out there she did become aware of the shadiness, but she'd already left by then.
  • Why isn't she still a nemesis for VotM Miss Information? Miss Info hates the Freedom Five and is kind of fixated on them. They considered having the FF icons on her solo-villain card, but decided that Parse made more sense in the context of the specific story that her solo deck represents (although the FF were very much involved in that story as Parse was in the team-deck story).
  • What was the result of what's going on in "Extrasensory Awareness" as Parse doesn't seem like she'd be able to take a hit from Iron Legacy? She definitely couldn't take a hit. He's killed the Parse from his timeline and he's asked her what outcomes she sees and her reply of "I don't see any good outcome for you" isn't what he wanted to hear (he's there for results). As mentioned in the overview, this is around the time when Parse starts seeing the cracks in timelines and whatnot and is the first time we see her being able to extrapolate several different outcomes at once. How this plays out is that she's able to escape from Iron Legacy and her choice of paths results in him being sent back to his own timeline. This is also an early example of her working with the other heroes.
  • Is Parse using a Vulcan death grip or taking advantage of a pressure point on Deep Root on "Exploit Vulnerability"? Pressure point.
  • Who/what inspired Parse [question preamble comments on her having Asperger's]? Does she enjoy table-top games? She's not really into table-top games. She was into the analysis of code and patterns, which is what led to her initial job and to the "consultant" phase of her heroic career ("villain pattern analyst"). What many people with Asperger's get out of gaming, she gets out of the universe. As has been discussed, the inspiration for the character was a desire to have the computer that is her mind to be her power and then working out what the drawbacks of such a power would be, and then deciding that the drawbacks they came up with could fit into her being somebody with Asperger's.
  • Who are her closest friends among the heroes and what are their interactions like? Late in the timeline she and Benchmark become close as she helps him and then both help each other through the whole RevoCorp thing (plus his being wired into a computer that he has to work with helps him understand her). Captain Cosmic is more of an avuncular relationship than 1:1 friendship, but it's still significant. She has the most trouble probably with the Wraith, given how they first met and thing never really got better between them. Wraith might seem to be somebody who'd go to any length, but she really is focused on the idea of being a hero and she sees Parse as a transgressor (which is kind of the point of her Freedom Six iteration from the Iron Legacy timeline - that's what she's like when the ideals fall by the wayside). By the end of the Multiverse the writers have Parse dealing with different kinds of threats because they recognize that they needed to get her out of the situations where murdering people in the streets was likely if they wanted to keep using her.

Future

  • Mist Storm Universe - she's part of the Prime War event at the end of the Mist Storm Universe. They're not going into much story detail because of that, but she's got some new gear at least. She's got a tablet and a high-tech quiver of arrows - rather than use a bow or throw the arrows by hand, the quiver launches them and she can use the tablet to guide them.
  • Sentinel Comics Universe - she continues her friendship with Bechmark and joins the Paradigm team alongside him and Unity. This is what was alluded to earlier with regards to the "traffic controller" question as it kind of represents the writers finally figuring out what to do with her. She still gets out in the field occasionally, but more often she's the person providing an overview and acting as a dispatcher of sorts for the Paradigms. She's got a tablet here too, but she's using it to control actual drones and whatnot so she can get a good view of what's going on.