The Letters Page: Episode 59
The long-awaited episode for one of the first heroes from Sentinel Comics!
Run Time: 3:29:10
Our longest episode yet! It is astounding to me that an episode about one character ended up longer than our previous longest episode, the Southwest Sentinels/Void Guard episode, about 4 characters who make up two teams with major changes in there. But, then again, hardly surprising that Tempest takes so long to cover - really speaks to just how much is going on in the Tempest story.
We cover the three major phases of Tempest's life:
- From origin through Vengeance
- Post-Vengeance through Vengeance: Returned
- Prime Wardens #1, Vol. 2 through OblivAeon
There are lots of things going on in each of those phases, but that's a fair way to break up the stories of Tempest. Be sure to tune in next week when we talk more about the whole team of the Prime Wardens, and the week after when we talk specifically about Tempest's primary nemesis: Grand Warlord Voss! There are a good bit of Tempest stories that we don't get too into in today's episode, as they belong in the Voss episode much more.
Just after the 52 minute mark, (that's right - we cover the entire overview in less than an hour!) we get into your questions! And there are a lot of them. You folks asked about all the things!
At around an hour and 16 minutes into the episode, we get asked a question that results in a deep dive into the biology of the Maerynian people. I know a lot of people have been wondering about this stuff for a LONG time.
An answer to a question just under two hours and 40 minutes in that gets us into a discussion of what we've done to make Sentinel Comics feel like "real" comics. Then, we go on to give a preview of the sort of thing we'll be doing in the OblivAeon episodes! At least, we go down a rabbit hole that is certainly the type of discussion that will be happening in the OblivAeon episodes.
Just after the two hour and 50 minute mark, we finally get to the character of Leviathan... who we give a quick overview for, but don't get into too thoroughly. Want more? Perhaps we'll do another episode later!
We finish your questions and go to the future section at just after three hours in. It's a quick one!
Ooh, and a big reveal at the end of the future section! I wonder what the implications of that will be...
Finally, the major announcements! They begin at 3:05:31. I'm not putting all that info here - I want you to hear it the way we present it in the episode, not just give you a wall of text. However! I will say, you should definitely check out the changes that are going live later today on our Patreon!
Thanks for bearing with us through this whole episode! See you next week for an almost certainly shorter episode about more characters!
- Grand Warlord Voss
- Baron Blade
- The Freedom Five
- Captain Cosmic
- Borr the Butcher
- Prime Wardens
- Kaargra Warfang
- Argent Adept
- Miss Information
- Iron Legacy
- Citizen Storm and Grand Warlord Tempest
- Tempest's Friend
- Aliens have been part of Sentinel Comics since the Golden Age - the Thorathians were early foes, although they were kind of just "convenient space Nazis" and were there to just be generic bad guys who the heroes were justified in fighting (Grand Warlord Voss wouldn't be introduced for a while - more on him in a few weeks) and any other threats tended to just be weird space monsters. In short, early aliens weren't given a lot of background.
- In 1965, the Maerynians and Tempest were introduced in a new book, Stranger in a Strange World [note that the similarly titled Heinlein novel was published in '61]. M’kk Dall’ton [Christopher's pronunciation is closer to /mIk dal'tan/ than /mæk 'daltən/] lives on the "aquatic utopia" of Vognild Prime - there's still land, and it's nice there, but even more of its surface is water than Earth (the guys guess close to 80-83%). Then the Thorathians show up and start bombardment.
- Voss and his gene-bound troops start wrecking up the place, sinking some of the floating cities, etc. Some groups of Maerynians start looking to escape before it's too late. M'kk Dall'ton (an ambassador who'd only recently returned from some off-planet mission) is put in charge of one of the sixteen escape vessels (most of which make it through the Thorathian blockade). The escaping ships successfully make the jump from their home star system to one in an entirely different galaxy - the Milky Way. They didn't get away clean, however, and are attacked by a pursuing Thorathian dreadnought as they enter a new solar system. Most of the fleeing ships are destroyed, others are captured, but the one led by M'kk Dall'ton manages to escape (for a certain definition of "escape" - it's heavily damaged and crash lands on the third planet of the system, then revealed to be Earth).
- As the survivors start tending to their wounded, M'kk activates the ship's cloaking device and starts investigating the new world they find themselves on. Fortunately/coincidentally/look-it-was-the-'60s-just-roll-with-it, the atmosphere is similar enough that they can breath without problems (and there's enough water in the air for them). While he's exploring, he begins to hear sirens. Thinking that this is probably not a good thing, he starts making an obvious trail, leading whatever it is on a merry chase through the woods away from the crashed ship, and is eventually captured by F.I.L.T.E.R.
- That was all in issue #1, the next issue deals with M'kk escaping from F.I.L.T.E.R. and, having heard about other individuals with great power, begins to seek them out as their strength will be necessary to survive the coming of Voss and his fleet. He has to just hope that they're also good people, which doesn't seem likely given his treatment so far (and there are probably Disparation stories about how he runs into villains like Baron Blade instead of heroes). Luckily for M'kk, the people he actually runs into are the Freedom Five. Issue #2 ends with M'kk finally getting the "hero name" of Tempest due to his demonstrated-in-his-escape-from-F.I.L.T.E.R. ability to manipulate "weather" (lightning, strong/cold winds, etc.). This is also the explanation for why Vognild Prime was so idyllic - the Maerynians were keeping it that way.
- The book kind of becomes a "normal" one now that Tempest is established. Plenty of mishaps/misunderstandings due to M'kk's outsider status, some prejudice faced due to being an alien (and aliens are bad - can't talk about racism/civil rights, but dealing with fictional analogues is one way to get around restrictions). He's involved in some crossover stories, but the focus of SiaSW is about searching for a new home, both personally for him in his relationships with the other heroes and for his people (who at this point are in what amounts to a refugee camp that's made out of the ship's wreckage - the other Maerynians don't really have much contact with the outside world for some time).
- Issue #9 is a bit of a turning point. It opens with Tempest working with the Scholar, who has come to help Tempest find his place in the world (as that's kind of the Scholar's whole shtick), but then Voss arrives. This is the first of a three-part story between this issue, Cosmic Tales #300, and SiaSW #10 (one of the earliest examples of a cross-title event - even the first limited series, Moonfall, isn't until 1968). Voss has come to pursue Tempest and the other Maerynians - this isn't his full-blown invasion event, but he has brought a contingent of troops with him. An interesting story point is that Voss, facing off with the heroes, makes an offer: give him Tempest and he'll leave. Of course, the heroes refuse as he's "one of us" now.
- SiaSW runs for a total of 30 issues before being cancelled in 1967 - considering its "let's look at the world through the eyes of an outsider" rather than "tales of amazing adventures" style, this isn't that bad of a run for a new book. After the Voss encounter it kind of just does more of the same - looking for "home", existential navel-gazing, and plenty of Tempest's first interactions with other heroes turn into fights, though, as everybody assumes that this weird alien who can throw lightning around must be bad, but get resolved with no hard feelings.
- He continues to show up occasionally in other titles, like the Freedom Five books and he's around for Moonfall, but doesn't really have a home title until the mid-'70s when the new Cosmic Tales vol. 2 starts up for the new Captain Cosmic (Hugh is a reimagining of a Golden Age character, although one with almost literally nothing in common with him other than the "Captain Cosmic" name - the old one was just an unpowered strongman type out in space for no reason). This new CT book winds up being a split title with a Captain Cosmic and a Tempest story in every issue (and it really is a split title, not just a main story with a B story in the back to pad out the page count like a lot of other comics from the era - issues would alternate who was on the cover and whose story appeared first from month to month).
- The next 20 years of Tempest stuff is, if not exactly inconsequential, not exactly innovative either. More "looking for home" style stuff; lots of fighting with aliens (Thorathians, gene-bound troops, Borr the Butcher) and F.I.L.T.E.R.; and the most notable thing (other than the big Voss stories which will be covered in his episode and the formation of the Prime Wardens which is covered a little later in this overview) is when Sky-Scraper is introduced and Tempest is really racist towards her as a Thorathian - interesting considering his own baggage as an untrusted alien.
- This brings us to the early '90s and Vengeance, where pretty much every character around at the time is given something to do. Vyktor, one of Voss's lieutenants is revealed to still be on Earth and is working with Baron Blade. Vyktor is kind of a sadist and was involved in the gene-bound process - if the Thorathians were "space Nazis", that makes Vyktor "space Mengele". He's also after Tempest in particular as he's kind of a symbol of all of the Thorathian failures. He succeeds in capturing Tempest and proceeds to experiment on/torture him. While this is going on, Sky-Scraper (hot off the heels of the Under Cover story with her and K.N.Y.F.E. where she develops a new-found appreciation for her ability to shrink and gains a bunch of F.I.L.T.E.R. tech) is infiltrating the base where this is going on and finds them. She deploys a Link that will chew through Tempest's restraints, grows big, and taunts Vyktor hoping to draw him away from Tempest so the latter can escape. She's a powered Thorathian against the unpowered Vyktor, so this should be easy. Except that Vyktor is pretty scary - lots of military combat training plus his specialty of getting in his opponents' heads and figuring out how to take them apart. As Vyktor has Sky-Scraper on the ropes, he's blindsided by a blast of lightning courtesy of the now free Tempest. Sky-Scraper once again offers an olive branch, but Tempest dismisses her again ("I had the situation under control. I didn't need your help." etc.). Her day just continues to get worse after that (see her Huge incap art with her being bound and buried).
- This leads pretty much immediately into a Kaargra Warfang story (the biggest one from the '90s) which involves the Tachyon vs. Tempest stuff mentioned in previous episodes that resulted in Tempest being ejected from the Colosseum. As far as readers were concerned, this just meant that he wouldn't be around to help out in the remainder of that story and the next time we see him things appear to be back to normal, although this does kick off a era of "Tempest being written poorly".
- What we have are a series of writers who just don't seem to "get" Tempest as a character and don't know what to do with him. Part of this is an "inmates running the asylum" situation where the people working for Sentinel Comics at this point grew up reading comics themselves. To some extent this is a good thing as these people would expect comics as a medium to be doing its own thing (e.g. not trying to be like traditional literature) and can explore the strengths of that medium, but it goes the other way too (e.g. not having that literary background, they're maybe not as accomplished writers). What this means for Tempest is that, since he's been around for "forever" now, he becomes just another character (with weather powers and blue skin) and his outsider status and alien culture is kind of ignored - he gradually becomes a bland but friendly hero without any baggage (say, his prejudice against Sky-Scraper or the search for a home for the Maerynians).
- The Prime Wardens had formed as a team in the mid-'80s (only the second major hero team in Sentinel Comics, and put together to work as a team - much more than was the case with the Freedom Five - as well as to tell particular types of stories: "space stuff or magic stuff"). This kicked off with the big Akash'Bhuta story, as mentioned in previous episodes, and coincided with a lot of the Voss story. So, by the time of the Bloodsworn Colosseum event above, Tempest had been a member of the Prime Wardens for quite some time. This poorly-written era lasts for about 100 issues of the PW title [that's around 8 years of monthly issues] and so there's a whole crop of readers who, justifiably, think Tempest is pretty boring - he's just lightning guy (much like Ra is "fire guy", but at least Ra has a lot of interesting story stuff happening along with his alter ego and whatnot).
- The PW title ends with issue #200 and "The Fall of the Prime Wardens" story, but more on that next week. The take-away for this episode is that while the members of the team all go their separate ways, Tempest doesn't wind up in a book of his own (Argent Adept has Virtuoso of the Void, Haka has The Savage Haka, Fanatic has Fanatic, and Captain Cosmic has Cosmic Tales as his own book now, although getting into the Parse stuff). Tempest occasionally still shows up in CT and the FF titles, basically whenever the story needs somebody to do stuff with the weather or if an alien perspective is called for, but there's no driving narrative for him. The Miss Information story happens in here and he's present for it, but he's just not that important of a character for anything until...
- Vengeance: Returned (often referred to in previous episodes by the general name the Return of Vengeance story or Vengeance 2), a 6-issue limited series where the first three are just a lot of villains showing up again and everybody thinks it's another story like Vengeance, until it's discovered that Biomancer is behind everything and they're all his fleshchildren, which is a big reveal. The second half of the story also goes into the paranoia of not knowing if even your allies, can be trusted. This is kind of fresh off the heels of the Miss Information story, so that's still kind of in people's minds. Who's going to turn out to have been a Biomancer clone? Tempest.
- An older writer was brought in to do this story as an Editorial decision in order to "fix" the Tempest situation. There were even some newer writers on-deck as interested in doing stuff with Tempest, but not the Tempest as he was currently being written. So, him having been a Biomancer clone since the Colosseum event was a retcon in order to have this poor treatment of the character be due to him not being that character. This was polarizing. Some readers don't care because they're fairly new and, because he was a boring, bland character, don't care about Tempest to begin with. There's the older readers who remembered when Tempest was interesting and are at least relieved to know that it's being recognized as a character derailment and that they're putting an end to it. Then there's the readers who just figure they're just getting rid of this character. There's no immediate indication that the "real" Tempest will return - the story just leaves it with the clone being (presumably) destroyed.
- About a year and a half later we get to a Sky-Scraper story where she's exploring some base that turns out to have been one of Biomancer's hideouts. In it she finds some old recordings of him doing bad things to a captive Tempest a long time ago in the process of making the impersonation. She also finds more recent footage where Biomancer and his minions are evacuating the base, and it's also possible to see Tempest in some kind of stasis in a cage.
- This kicks off a new crossover story across the two issues each of the four titles mentioned relating to the former Prime Wardens as the other members get the gang back together in the search for their old ally. It comes out that Biomancer was only able to create such a powerful clone imposter because the real Tempest was still alive and could act something like a power conduit to the fake one (most fleshchildren don't have this level of power and so an explanation was necessary for why the Tempersonation could do everything the real Tempest could). The heroes track Biomancer down to a new mountaintop lair, but he's been waiting for them ("all according to plan" etc.) and they have to fight a team of clones of themselves plus a new Tempest clone (although the Tempest is the only one with "powers" other than just being big, tough, and strong). It's worth pointing out, however, that Tempest's power set is one of the most dangerous ones in all of Sentinel Comics - he's quite literally a force of nature.
- During the course of the fight, they make their way into a room with five platforms with restraints on them (corresponding to the heroes - there's a really big one for Haka and a weirdly-shaped one to accommodate Fanatic's wings). Tempest is on one of them and he's hooked up to some device that's obviously doing something every time the clone uses his powers. The heroes eventually have enough success that they're able to make it over to Tempest and get him unhooked from the machine, at which point the Tempersonation stops having powers. This turns the tide and the heroes make short work of the clones (Biomancer escapes, naturally). The result of this story is the publication of...
- Prime Wardens vol. 2 #1, which begins the book that would continue to be published through the end of the Multiverse. Tempest is back and everything is good - and those writers who had good ideas for what to do with him get to do those good things, which includes the creation of the Maerynian Refuge, Plavu'Col, and a focus on the Maerynian people as Tempest needs to make up for lost time given how long he was out of the picture. A lot of the early issues of the title focus on the international politics involved in that, which is odd considering the "space monsters and magic" theme prior (although the book gets back to "business as usual" soon after). This is a critically acclaimed run with the first 30 issues getting into the characters themselves; their backgrounds and motivations given their largely outsider status in the world (with a five issue run late in this period with stories about each individual member - Tempest's being the one involving him and Nephthys on Insula Primalis). Generally, they're being set up as this very powerful team that can take on anything: both to re-familiarize them to readers who hadn't seen them in this way for a long time, but also setting expectations such that their upcoming defeat by Progeny is a big deal (but more on that next week).
- Tempest largely gets to be "classic Tempest" again, but now with a bit more agency (e.g. rather than looking for a home for his people, he establishes one). He has a larger focus on Plavu'Col - he'll leave to take care of a threat, but then he goes home again. Even throughout the OblivAeon event he's not really visible outside of a few big Prime Wardens events because he's back home helping out back in Plavu'Col as there's major stuff going down there.
- When he first began his time as a hero did he come right out as an alien warning about some other alien or did he try to hide his nature? He was pretty up front about it when meeting his first heroes. At various points from the '60s through the '80s he'd have various means of passing as human (ranging from the high-tech level of hologram disguises to the expedient "trench-coat and hat"). There occasionally being reasons for him to try to "not be an alien" was the basis for his "Mack Dalton" identity and there woudld occasionally be jokes like where he'd buy a newspaper and the news stand guy would comment about how "That guy doesn't look too good" after he left. By the later parts of the Multiverse era he no longer needed to/bothered to hide himself. Most non-Maerynians still call him Mack Dalton, but that's fine.
- When did his goal shift from defeating Voss to defending Earth in general? Pretty quickly as he's focused on the Maerynians and that's now where they live now, whether they want it or not.
- How did other humans feel about having an alien around (say, if he went to see a movie how would the other theater-goers react)? A lot of his early stories were really "about" racism and so the situations Tempest found himself in were analogous to real life situations in that way. There's also a fair amount of Frankenstein in there for good measure in terms of people reacting to his outlandish appearance ("who's the real monster?"). That also kind of dies down eventually (somebody will make some comment about "all aliens" being bad or something and Tempest is a counter-example, etc.).
- Anybody make fun of his short stature or does he have any problems in Earth's height-privileged society? He doesn't have any issues with his own height. He was introduced kind of in the era of "little green men" stereotype of aliens (he was meant to be more of a green color, but the color fidelity of comics printing wasn't terribly reliable at the time and he wound up bluer than intended - some of the variant art that Adam's done showcases the greener hue, he actually went back and sampled some of the acetate sources used to color comics back in the day and the color scheme reflects the limitations of those sources). He's also an ambassador to other alien races - while all Maerynians are pretty short by our standards he'd be used to dealing with peoples of all sizes (taller and shorter).
- How did people react to his blue skin (considering how much people have trouble dealing with differences in human skin tone)? Were there Maerynian-specific slurs? Again, his stand-in for racial issues was intentional. Most of the taunts were more about the aquatic/amphibious stuff than the blue/green skin, though.
- Any sensory apparatus differences between Maerynians and humans (it doesn't look like he has a nose, so can they not smell)? They do have scent receptors, just not via face holes like us (nor do they have human-style ears, but they can still hear). If you're going to draw comparisons between terrestrial animals and Maerynians for those senses look more towards fish and lizards for how they operate. They're certainly better sensing stuff while underwater as they're adapted for that environment and we're not, but there's not much of a gap in acuity otherwise (maybe slightly worse on land).
- His bio lists him as being 136 years old - how does that correspond to human aging? Do they age slower than humans? They reach maturity much faster (under 10 Earth years), but then live for a long time (average life-span is around 400 Earth years).
- How did he get the name "Mack Dalton"? In an early story (in trench-coat) he's dealing with somebody in a city and when he tells them his name they repeat it back in the new form and he accepts it as a convenient version as this goes well with the whole "trying to fit in" arc of his story early on. "Did you say 'Mack Dalton.'" "Yes, Mack Dalton is my name." In retrospect, this was used as yet another example of something that was taken from him as he can't even use his own name (and while he doesn't regret it so much it's still not a positive thing, and some bad guys throw it back in his face occasionally, more on which later).
- On Miss Information's "Isolated Hero" card Tempest addresses the Freedom Five's assistant by her first name, but Tachyon as "Dr. Stinson" - what's his relationship with the heroes like? Also, what happened to put him in the pickle shown on the card where he's surrounded by villains? He's pretty close to the Freedom Five (close enough to get invited to the Legacy's barbecue). It's worth noting that it was the era of poorly written Tempest at the time of the Miss Information event (and so later revealed to be the Tempersonation) - they literally just picked a non-FF hero to drop in to be bamboozled by Miss Info (it's pretty sad when your character isn't picked for an interesting narrative reason but just because "why not?").
- What's the weirdest thing about Earth to him? That humans are non-amphibious given how much of the surface is water (and the general lack of amphibians at all). Also that there's racism between humans at all (he's the character invented to tell "racism is bad" stories, and yet is their most racist character with regards to Thorathians - that humans are racist towards each other is weird).
- Did Tempest have any relation to the gene-bound shock infantry depicted in Voss's deck? Is that Leviathan? It's not Leviathan (more on whom later). The gene-bound person was somebody Tempest knew - the leader of one of the other escape vessels that didn't make it. We didn't know the fate of all of the ships, so there was always hope that some of the others got away, so having the captain of one of the unknown ships show up in thrall to Voss was a downer. It's also the first time we see how the gene-bound process really alters things considering that we have a good handle on what normal Maerynians are like for comparison - the guys opine that the Piunites probably have it worst (turned into brains-in-jars for the Psi-Weavers).
- What's he like outside of his heroics? What does he do in downtime and who does he hang out with? It depends on the era. Pre-Colosseum, he was never at home anywhere and was generally fearful of humans ("fish out of water" being the whole point). The interim period retconned to be a Biomancer clone didn't address it at all. In the later era we get much more of his personal life and he spends a lot of it in Plavu'Col (but he'd crash at, say, Freedom Tower if necessary). He explores the Ruins of Atlantis in his downtime too. All around he just gets a lot more depth during the second iteration of the Prime Wardens.
- Food and drink restrictions/problems while on Earth? There's nothing inherently poisonous Earth food, but most preparation is completely different from how Maerynians would have done it. Lots of seafood. It goes the other way too; humans could eat Maerynian food, but it'd taste really weird to them.
- What gender is Tempest? Do they even have genders like we do? Was he the alien who went on a date with Unity? To start with the easy one, he didn't date Unity. The rest prompts an essay on Maerynian biology:
Maerynians are a mono-gendered race that reproduce asexually, entering an egg-bearing phase once or twice in their life. This phase lasts for at least five years. During that time, the egg within the Maerynian parent absorbs genes from any Maerynian (or, perhaps, other sentient life form) that the parent comes into contact with, leading to a population with a very high genetic diversity and strong genetic memory. Egg-bearing Maerynians are nigh-indistinguishable from non-egg-bearing ones. The egg hatches within the parent's body. Then the parent enters a pregnant phase and the fetus gestates, growing quickly over the course of about 50 days. When the gestation is complete, the parent gives birth. The child's growth, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, is far more accelerated than that of humans, reaching pubescence in a few years and full maturity within a decade. The average lifespan of a Maerynian is 400 years.
- So, unpacking that a bit, they just have the one gender and any of them is capable of reproducing without outside influence (although genes of other sentient lifeforms that are around can be incorporated into the offspring). This absorption process just happens through the skin; there's no specific copulation process. That's not to say that romantic relationships can't exist for them, but the reproductive process isn't dependent on any action. While a Maerynian will enter this egg-bearing phase only once or twice, there are two different (non-conscious-decision) stimuli that can kick things off. First, if the Maerynian feels secure - they're in a good, stable position in life and this would be a good time for it. Second, crisis to the extent that the population is threatened - we're going down, repopulate now. Again, neither of these is a conscious choice they make, they're just the situations that will tend to prompt the biological response. This second one means that just about everybody who crashed on Earth in the escape ship went into egg-bearing mode really quick. The quirks of their reproductive biology also means that a very small population is sustainable (where, say, a similar number of humans would not be due to lack of genetic diversity). This was also a retcon some time in the '80s where somebody wanted there to be a reason for such a small population to be sustainable (and a reason for why these '60s-era aliens all "looked like dudes").
- There were implications in early episodes that the aliens in early Freedom Five adventures were retconned to be gene-bound troops, does this mean that the first Maerynian seen on-page was gene-bound shock infantry? No. While the concept of "gene-bound" aliens predates the existence of Voss, the shock infantry were introduced as a bit of a gut-punch to Tempest as described earlier in the '80s during the big invasion story.
- Do Maerynians have skin or scales? Are they more like fish or cephalopods? Skin, not scales (although they do have ridges here and there). Their skin is most similar to that of an eel or frog; closer to cephalopods than fish. Kind of rubbery, like a wet suit.
- As an ambassador in his former life, why him as the only Maerynian hero and not somebody like a soldier? Was Tempest an exceptional individual? First, Tempest was the one written to be a hero and the rest of them were just set-dressing for him as a character - no other Maerynians were even named in the initial run. Second, their culture was a peaceful, idyllic one - Tempest had a lot of experience in non-idyllic places/situations off-planet. As time goes by (like, after they build Plavu'Col) the others become a bit more assertive, but he had a head start.
- Sky-Scraper's odd speech pattern is chalked up to her actually trying to use English rather than rely on a universal translator, does Tempest speak alien languages (like English) or does he just use the translator? Tempest is good at learning languages (handy for an ambassador). While he does have a translator, and uses it in the early stories to handwave how he can communicate, he's speaking English without a discernible accent by the '80s.
- Does he have any romantic relationships? There hasn't been a specific story about another hero dating Tempest (because his story is "being alone"). Even once Plavu'Col is established he still doesn't as that two-person relationship isn't necessary in their culture and there are a lot more communal interactions. He has his people, which is just as good, if not better, from his perspective.
- [Due to that last letter being "in character" for Ansel Moreau, we get a bit of detail that comes from them here about his movies. The catch phrase for the Night Hunter franchise was "Looks like a good night for a hunt" which was on the movie poster and so people associated it with the film, but wasn't actual dialog within the movies until Night Hunter 3]
- What are some things he loves about Earth? Katy Perry (and pop music in general). Food is tricky due to culinary differences (like, even sushi is offputting due to the soy sauce - and the rice, rice is just weird). An interesting twist comes in that after Plavu'Col is established and he has everything he's wanted for his people, now he's still an outsider there due to how much he has integrated with Earth society. Not to say that the Maerynians don't like having him around due to everything that he's done for them, but he just doesn't fit in. His stories kind of change over time from being about racism into something of a coming-of-age thing as he works out who he is (like, going to college or out to start a new career and then coming back "home" and not fitting in).
- His bio mentions that he wasn't alone on the escape ship - what happened to the others (and the wreckage of the ship for that matter)? As mentioned earlier, the others stayed with the wreckage under cloak. They were there for a long time. Eventually they wound up in internment/refugee camps in various places (although a bunch in the US). Being split up like this caused further stress on the culture. Not much of the ship was left after the crash and subsequent repurposing as shelter. What was left was eventually cleaned up by F.I.L.T.E.R.
- In the K.N.Y.F.E. episode it's mentioned that her early interactions with Tempest were what led to her defection from F.I.L.T.E.R. - are they friends afterwards? Their first interaction was really early in Tempest's story, but was necessarily a retcon as his introduction was not contemporary with K.N.Y.F.E.'s introduction decades later. While it's not during Tempest's "first appearance" story, it's still meant to be in that early phase during a run-in with F.I.L.T.E.R. agents. She knows of Tempest as a hero in other realities and so thinks that something fishy is going on with her orders. She sends her team off to set up an "ambush" so that she can then interact with him on her own. There's some misdirection that she's going to capture him, but then she takes out her headset and helps him escape. That's pretty much it - he goes back to helping his people and she goes back to work, although now dissatisfied/wary of the organization. She and Tempest don't really interact much (and even when they do run into each other it's fairly late in the Multiverse era) - there's just not really an opportunity for them to form a friendship (although K.N.Y.F.E.'s close friendship with Sky-Scraper doesn't help either).
- Does F.I.L.T.E.R. still go after him even after he starts working with the Freedom Five and Prime Wardens? Yes. The Freedom Five stuff is still really early in his publication history and they don't just go away. By the Prime Wardens era, they're not after him so much because he's an alien threat as because they're "a bunch of jerks" and capturing him would fit into their other goals.
- What's the international political situation regarding Plavu'Col like? At first there's a lot of questions about "who owns this particular chunk of the Atlantic" which Tempest comes down pretty quickly on with the answer of "The Maerynians own it. We're our own sovereign nation. Just leave us alone; it's for the best" followed by them putting up a hurricane around the place as a barrier. They're a very isolationist nation - during the Multiverse era there's no international trade and very little communication.
- Along with Legacy, Tempest seems to have the most notable alt-reality villainous versions - is there anything that could happen that would cause him to "go rogue"? Interestingly, much like Legacy, Tempest is such a good character that seeing an evil version of him is really jarring. It's still easier to see these branch points for him than it is for Legacy (confronting Voss head-on and usurping the army, for example). It's worth noting, however, that we're talking about Disparation iterations of characters that have made it into the game materials. There are a lot of takes on a lot of characters (not to mention the reality where everybody has flipped good/evil alignment). There's probably more villainous versions of K.N.Y.F.E. than anybody.
- Does main-timeline Tempest ever lose his arm or is that another instance of the cover lying like the Wraith's tombstone? That's an event from the Iron Legacy timeline (he just pulls the arm right off), so not a cover fake-out, but not something that happens to "our" Tempest either.
- How do the other heroes react to/change their behavior towards Tempest after the Biomancer incident? All of the interactions with him change, but that's also because there weren't really interactions with him happening much in the decade prior to his reappearance. Everyone is pretty happy to have Tempest back, including Sky-Scraper who has the most divergent relationship with the real Tempest after he returns (as mentioned in her episode, she and the Tempersonation got along and the fact that Tempest still hated her was a shock - although their confrontation about what the Thorathians did to his planet does finally allow the air to clear and, down the road, lead to him speaking up for her at the Celestial Tribunal).
- Is Tempest the ruler of Plavu'Col or what? There isn't a singular ruler. There is something like a ruling council, but it's more broad strokes of providing for everybody rather than deciding major policy stuff - their society doesn't really need an economy or anything. Even the idea of real estate isn't much of an issue - if there is a space crunch due to population growth they just haul up some more coral from the seabed and make more Plavu'Col. That's not an indefinite solution, but they've got centuries to work things out before they get to that point. The council is an intentional mix of really old and young members, experts on subjects of import, etc. They try to get a good cross-section of the society and rotate membership frequently.
- Does Tempest like Earth or would he prefer to find a new home for his people? Tempest likes Earth a lot. The other Maerynians would probably have preferred to have a planet of their own, though. Like, really long-term the council recognizes that as they build Plavu'Col out they're eventually going to start running into problems with other (human) nations, but Tempest likes Earth regardless (the isolationist tendency of the place isn't what Tempest would want).
- Do all Maerynians have the same weather-related powers or do individuals have different ones (some do lightning, others do winds, etc.)? They all have the same basic powers, but individuals will have preferences for/aptitude with some more than others. It's like any other skill. Tempest is more lightning-focused than many. Not everybody will become a Storm Caller as their "job" - the society needs farmers or any number of more mundane jobs too and people will drift towards what they are interested in or have an aptitude for.
- How does his "Aquatic Correspondence" with Earth's sea life work? It doesn't. He tried talking to that eel that one time, but eels lack the capacity for speech. Even with a universal translator, there's not much chance of communication actually happening there. There's a certain level of empathy with marine life, but nothing to the extent that he could tell them what to do (there's nothing magic or psychic going on, he just understands them on an intuitive basis). Like, he could find a school of fish that have been spooked by something and he could work out what's going on (it's good for some information gathering, but not of the "a fish told me so" type).
- Is Freedom Six Tempest's lightning arm a functional prosthesis or is it just a weapon? It's not a "solid" arm that he can use for non-fighting purposes (think more like a "lightning sword"). He makes it more to compensate for the fact that he's used to having two arms than anything else (if he was born with one arm he wouldn't do this). We see him making "weapons" from lightning in his deck too ("Lightning Slash") and this is a similar deal. It's not "on" all the time.
- Why do "Gene-Bound Shackles" increase his damage? Is it just a psychological thing where he gets mad? Was he personally shackled at some point? This is from the later Voss stories. Tempest is captured and put in shackles, but manages to get away. He doesn't carry them around with him all the time (although he did keep them - he had to break them to get out anyway, so it's not like he can put them back on), but the damage boost here is specifically in reference to that story and how angry he got.
- He seems to be less light-hearted than Sky-Scraper when it comes to his fish-out-of-water status on Earth; were there lighter stories about other heroes trying to explain Earth stuff to him (Tachyon with science, Haka with literature)? There were early stories about that kind of "oh, you don't understand Earth culture" thing, but not necessarily in a way that you're asking about. Tempest was a scientist (who became an ambassador) on his home planet so he's all over whatever Tachyon wants to tell him. He likes Earth culture, so getting into our literature is right up his alley too. It's the stuff that he doesn't understand that he comes to love most - our pop music, movies, etc. - he doesn't get why people like them, but (like them) he loves it anyway despite that question of "why?".
- Gene-Bound Shackles - was Tempest captured at some point or were they just Thorathian tech stolen from Voss's forces? He was captured and they were put on Tempest during the major Voss invasion story that crossed over into all titles. While everybody is dealing with Voss's soldiers everywhere, Tempest himself is captured.
- Weaponizing weather is prohibited by the Geneva Convention, so how does Tempest (and the Maerynians in general) conflict with the UN on that? Tempest isn't on the UN's bad side any more than any superhero is. Sure, the Maerynians are manipulating the weather, but it's just something they do naturally rather than needing to use some device. Beyond that, sure, there are stories involving the UN wanting to regulate superheros in general and there's some static when Plavu'Col is formed and how the UN would even police that at all (imagine a discussion of nuclear disarmament, but in the context of a species own biology). That's not resolved by the end of the Multiverse era (there are kind of a lot of bigger fish to fry by the time Plavu'Col even becomes a thing).
- Is Tempest a particularly strong Maerynian? It seems like 100 of them would be an overwhelming force in most conflicts, but is their sheer destructive power why more aren't out there fighting? Is Tempest just more heroic? Their history with almost being destroyed by their own powers informs a lot of their behavior in this regard, yes, and their mostly peaceful. Tempest's heroism is what sets him apart, but even considering his methodical, slow-to-anger nature when compared to other heroes of Earth makes him hot-headed by Maerynian standards.
- What was Tempest's place in Maerynian society (both before and after leaving their war-torn world for our slightly-less-war-torn world)? Worth noting that Earth is significantly less war-torn - sure there's a lot of war, but the whole planet isn't being razed into an uninhabitable husk by the Thorathian fleet - the Maerynians can't return to Vognild Prime as the Thorathian process wiped out most, if not all, life there. He was an interstellar ambassador to other planets. As a scientist, the closest analog for Earth would be "marine biologist" but it goes a lot deeper for them (not just organisms, but also ecology, and something like engineering). His aptitude for understanding these complex systems but being able to explain them to non-Maerynians (like visiting ambassadors from other species) kind of got him on-track to make the transition to being an ambassador himself (and also advising on aquaculture on other worlds).
- Is he still looked to as a leader by the Maerynians? He was kind of seen as a leader really early on as they needed somebody to take charge in the initial crisis. By late in the story he's more of a "savior" figure than a leader - some crazy, reckless Maerynian who took the big risks to ensure the survival of his people. The younger Maerynians might even think of him as a kind of folk hero.
- We see Tempest generating what we would think of as severe weather, but can he go the other way and calm existing systems or set things up to bring in warm temperature air from elsewhere to make a greenhouse effect? This is kind of a failing of his particular skill-set. He's much more focused on highly localized effects near himself more than major weather systems over a region. Other Maerynians focus on that sort of thing, though.
- We know he likes Katy Perry, what else does he like (Carly Rae Jepsen, other pop stuff, more than pop like AC/DC or DMX)? Pop is his favorite (yeah, he'd like Jepsen, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, etc. in modern books, but even going back into earlier decades of publication he'd like whatever "pop music" was at the time and likes the progression as time has passed). He likes a bunch of other stuff too, but has less interest in stuff that involves a lot of "noodling around on a guitar" - just get back to the catchy chorus already! They posit Fleetwood Mac (like "Greastest Hits" things, not deep album cuts) and especially Bon Jovi as things he'd have liked. AC/DC or DMX would probably be a little too hard for him - for rap maybe something mellow like Snoop Dogg. He likes "upbeat and poppy".
- Who or what is being sent "Into the Stratosphere"? A robot during a Celestial Tribunal story in Justice Comics - that's actually during the Tempersonation era (in '05). Clarification on the art: Tempest didn't punch/throw the robot - he's not strong enough to have sent it that high - he's using wind and the arm motion just goes along with it.
- If Tempest's weather powers are common to all Maerynians, how is it that they were conquered by Voss? Is Tempest particularly gifted or trained more than his people? He's not an outlier in terms of skill or anything, he's just more likely to jump into action. Vognild Prime was conquered by the sheer speed and severity of the invasion. It's notable that Earth isn't steamrolled so quickly considering that we can't all control the weather.
- Does he require an atmosphere for his power to work, or could he still generate lightning/electricity in vacuum? Given the Prime Wardens cosmic purview, it seems like he'd need some way to do stuff outside of a planetary atmosphere, right? Certainly, he can't really do anything with his powers in vacuum, but then again most beings are going to be hampered in vacuum (and very little happens in vacuum for that reason - Legacy punches a meteor on Mars, Captain Cosmic is the most at home in space of anybody, we see Argent Adept up at the edge of space doing stuff once). Even in something like a space-ship's environment he's got enough to work with.
- What's the fate of the other Maerynian refugees? They show up and hang out in that cloaked camp at first. By the time of the major Voss invasion stories in the '80s they've been broken up into the various refugee/internment camps around the world. Then they kind of just stop showing up in comics for something like 15 years (the misstep here being that "Stories about the Maerynians aren't what people are interested in" as an editorial decision ignores the "yes, but it's important to Tempest's motivation" aspect during the Tempersonation years). Eventually we see Plavu'Col, but a large number of the initial crash survivors haven't actually survived to see their new home, but plenty of the next few generations are around now (although they grew up in those camps and don't remember Vognild Prime). An important story point for Plavu'Col as a place is the attempt to save/rebuild the Maerynian culture/society. There's even something of a "myth" going around about there being another Vognild out there for them and someday they'll get there - Plavu'Col and Earth are not meant to be permanent homes (which is tough for Tempest, the Earth lover that he is despite being an, unexpectedly early, elder of his people).
- Why "Maerynian" if their planet was "Vognild Prime"? Why "human" if we're on Earth? Sure, outsiders might refer to us as "Earthlings", but we don't often do so ourselves. Similarly, outsiders might call them Vognildians or something, but that's not their own word for themselves (which is derived from their word referring to sentience and knowledge of the self). Additionally, because nobody on Earth knows anything about Vognild Prime, nobody thinks to apply a demonym based on that prior to learning what they call themselves.
- Do they establish anything like a museum to try to capture the history of their people? Does Tempest have any of his new friends try some home cooking (and do they like it)? Plavu'Col essentially is that museum. The isolationism is also an attempt to keep the culture isolated from outside influences that might change it before they find their "permanent" home. Tempest had people try his food, it's all very briny/fishy and most can't pick up whatever nuances he's asserting are there. Haka's into it, though.
- Does Tempest keep in contact with the Maerynian Refuge; does he visit often/have a base there? Yes. He visits often and has a home there, but it's less a "base" and more of an embassy as he's the only Maerynian that interacts with the outside world (although even the Prime Wardens' base is isolated as it's in the Ruins of Atlantis).
- How did he wind up with the Prime Wardens rather than the Freedom Five? I assume that he's a really early hero given that he's one of the first 10 in the game; is it because he's an alien (and the FF seems more of an Earth-based team)? He certainly shows up in a lot of Freedom Five books back in the day (he's probably one of the first 10 heroes that made it into the game at all to have been introduced in the comics - he's predated by Ra, the Freedom Five, Haka, Scholar, Harpy if we count her Matriarch appearance... he's pretty early). He's in the base game because he's a person who can do a little bit of everything and so is good to have in a fight and because he's been around so long and was just involved in a lot of major stories. As for why not join the Freedom Five, they're not only very Earth-based, but very US-based - Tempest spends a lot of his time in the US, but his story is so much about being an other. He does form very close friendships with Haka and Captain Cosmic and so it makes sense for him to be in the Prime Wardens when it starts up.
- What inspired his costume? Christopher insisted on the white boots - back when they were doing the design for the initial game, Christopher's mom was raising and showing Arabian horses she had one around a year and a half old that had one of those obnoxiously-long names, but the short nickname was "Tempest" and it had white "boots" [markings that go from the hoof up the leg past the fetlock but not as high as the knee; also called "socks"]. They didn't name the character after the horse, but if they were going to have a character named Tempest he should have white boots too. Otherwise, there's a lot of stuff. Adam definitely borrowed some of the Maerynian look from Dragon Ball Z.
- Why is his Prime Wardens look so different from his others (which are more form-fitting)? His Prime Wardens costume was him more as an ambassador than a combatant. Sure, he did some damage control ambassadoring to get people to not lump Maerynians in with the Thorathians and other aliens they brought with them, but the second Prime Wardens iteration is after the establishment of Plavu'Col and he's got more "official" stuff to do in that regard (if you see him in the outfit, we're seeing the real, post-Tempersonation Tempest).
- Why a sword? Does it have a name? Any technological or magic abilities built into it? This was mentioned in the Environments episode that included Atlantis, but to reiterate: the sword was made by the ancient Atlanteans. It's hard to really call it a "magical" sword, but it's definitely a "mystical" one - it's got an attunement to the natural elements and acts as a focus for his abilities rather than it having any "powers" of its own. Nightmist or Argent Adept could also probably find a use for it if they had it instead of him, but some random person wouldn't get any weather powers out of it. Also neat: the dichotomy of him being somebody who'd wield a sword while wearing ambassadorial robes.
- The Katy Perry-loving Tempest seems at odds with how angry we see him when he's confronting Sky-Scraper - is the anger normal or am I misreading his otherwise fun-loving personality? He's not a grump. He's more quick to say things than other Maerynians, but less quick to say things than humans. He does have a large amount of anger at Thorathians below the surface and while he enjoys his new life on Earth by now, he still thinks about what happened daily (he's not going to "get over" the destruction of his homeworld and near extinction of his people). When he lashes out at Sky-Scraper it is a bit out of character, but it's also based on 40 publication years of pent-up anger about it. As alluded to earlier, him finally letting this out is the first step he needed to take to start to come around regarding her in particular.
- When did that interaction with Sky-Scraper happen? Was this fairly early on in SS's appearances and he's trying to get other heroes to distrust her as he does? Where was it? It is very shortly after the return of the real Tempest and was one of the first times he'd been out of Plavu'Col after it was established. She approached him with a kind of "Hey, I'm glad to see that you're ok," and he responded with an abrupt "You need to understand why we'll never be friends." They are in Freedom Tower in the training room/hologram area.
- Do they ever fully reconcile? Does his experience on Dok'Thorath soften his opinion of them in general? Does this factor into her joining the Prime Wardens in the Mist Storm Universe? You nailed it. He gets why he hates her off his chest. Then around a year later he goes to Dok'Thorath and sees how the Thorathians themselves are subjugated by the military (although not as poorly-treated as his people, but they're not all like the military he's encountered). And the fact that they're on a team together is indicative of their reconciliation (and even in the Sentinel Comics Universe where they're not on a team, they still have a better relationship than any time prior).
- Who is the dog on "Vernal Sonata"? One of Tempest's first friends on Earth. It his early books he has a dog that he befriends and who follows him around. Maerynians didn't have the concept of "pets" and so he doesn't bother giving it a name (assuming that he has one, just that he can't communicate it) - they're just companions. Then we get to the Tempersonation era and the dog just isn't around anymore. The dog never really becomes a regular element of his comics again except that, a few times, when we're seeing action on Plavu'Col, the dog is there - he's obviously really old by then and it's just a nice side-detail.
- How did the writers come up with the Tempersonation plot and how long did they intend to keep it running? Did they have to go to any lengths to keep it a secret/were they disappointed that nobody figured it out? There was a period of a few years leading up to the Vengeance: Returned story where they knew what they were going to do to try to "fix" Tempest and so were able to lean into it a bit and start to drop hints. Not enough to tip readers off that he was an imposter, but enough so that the real Tempest fans out there would be even more tired of how he was being handled by the writers - something that could be revisited after the reveal happened and seen as foreshadowing.
- The Tachyon episode mentioned that Tempest didn't like her after she blindsided him in the Colosseum, but that would have been the Tempersonation, right? Did he continue to hold a grudge once the real Tempest was back? Do they commiserate over being impersonated? Yes, the major interactions they have where he's upset about it was the Tempersonation as there's not a big deal made of it after his return. There is one writer later on who brings it up (like 20 publication-years later) with Tachyon asking him if they're cool and Tempest is - it was kind of a slimy move, but hey, it was the Colosseum. He gets it. If they ever wound up back in the arena, he's not going to go easy on anybody (cue second Hero in the Arena story). Their "impersonation" experiences aren't really analogous as she wasn't being held captive to have her power siphoned. That was some other speedster. [I can't tell if this is an off-hand joke comment or if we're supposed to read something into it.]
- Having a character like Biomancer makes the "hero has been replaced by a copy" story a no-brainer, but why Tempest? At what point in both character's development was this decided? Interesting topic. Tempest as a full character existed in their minds much earlier (while Biomancer appears in Tachyon's deck, the fine detail wouldn't be worked out for some time). They definitely had that conversation once they figured out Biomancer's shtick, so who was it going to be? Tempest was the obvious choice for reasons both in the publishing universe and the comics universe - they needed somebody who could be replaced without it being immediately obvious and him being an alien helps obfuscate things. It's also an opportunity for them to get into "modeling how comics publishing over decades work" in that they'll intentionally work in stuff that are let-downs, because real comics have those periodically. Writers make missteps or otherwise screw things up and later writers have to come in to fix the mess they made. So, it's not that it was decided that "Tempest was going to be a Biomancer clone for 15 years" but rather "Tempest has been written poorly for 13 years, let's spend some time setting up an explanation for that". The longest-lasting "secret" that they ever put together was the OblivAeon event, but even that doesn't mean that it was known back in the '80s when the timelines were shattered, it was just those last 10 years or so when they knew it was coming but nobody had pulled the trigger on it yet, but that came with a set of editorial gag-orders on what was known and what was allowed to be revealed.
- Why was Tempest thrown out of the Colosseum rather than enslaved as a gladiator or killed? It's a handwavy thing in that event (you're right that the rules as stated don't include "thrown out" as an option). It's a Freedom Five story in the FF book and so Tempest was just sort of unceremoniously gotten off-screen once he'd served his narrative purpose in that story without further complicating his own. This goes back to the "comics aren't always perfect" thing. This was sloppy storytelling/lack of continuity with a Bloodsworn Colosseum story from 20 years ago that established the rules.
- If Biomancer has to rely on tricks and gadgets to fake the powers of heroes he's cloned, how does he successfully copy a heavy-hitter like Tempest? Did nobody notice that Tempest is off his game? As mentioned, Biomancer is draining Tempest to power the clone, but it's also a feature of the poorly-written era that he'd been kind of nerfed by the writers and so an imperfect copy explanation works to address that too.
- Given that the Tempersonation era covers a good chunk of the time covered by the SotM game, is there any flavor-text quotes from the copy? Definitely. "Into the Stratosphere" and his appearance in Miss Information's deck are already covered, but Christopher's favorite is "Ball Lightning" and the quote: "The polarizing power of electricity can produce many interesting results." Just really a great example of the writers just phoning it in (and in our meta discussion, an equivalent for Christopher's writing of how Adam says he hates his old artwork). Tempest is a clone for almost 200 issues of Freedom Five and for a character to be talking that way in the '00s rather than back in the Golden Age is just terrible.
- Did Parse ever interact with the Tempersonation? Could she tell? Did she at least notice that something was "off"? There aren't any specific stories about them interacting until near the end (again, since the Tempersonation explanation wasn't there from the beginning, there wouldn't have been an interesting story reason for them to have interacted). A few months before the reveal, we do see her noting that there's something weird about Tempest, but this is smack in the middle of her "doubting herself and her powers" era - should she really believe what she's seeing or is it just because he's an alien? The moment is used to turn the lens on Parse rather than on Tempest, even though it turns out she was right in retrospect.
- Who's the other guy on Prime Wardens Tempest's incapacitated side? Leviathan (who'd be a good subject of a mini-episode or something, but here's some detail). He was a partially-gene-bound Maerynian - the process was interrupted, but he's left stranded on Earth and is messed up both mentally and physically as a result of the process. He had been a scientific colleague of Tempest back on Vognild Prime. As Leviathan he acts as a primary antagonist for the Plavu'Col story - he's able to come through the storm shield and wants to not only rule the place, but use their might to take over the galaxy. He's the one who has problems with Tempest and throws the fact that he's taken an "Earth name" back in his face - he's not a good representative of his people. He was a candidate as a VotM deck, but didn't make the cut as his story is so specific to Plavu'Col.
- Why did Iron Legacy only tear off Tempest's arm and not kill him outright? He tried to (and did later), but in their initial confrontation he wasn't full-on Iron Legacy persona yet and Tempest was just able to escape. Iron Legacy figured he'd just take care of him if he ever became a problem, which he does.
- Was Grand Warlord Tempest from a reality where the Maerynians were the conquering race instead of Thorathians, or did he defeat Voss and simply take over? What was the invasion of Earth story like in that timeline? Voss came to Vognild Prime and attacked as they did in the main timeline, but as hinted at earlier Tempest goes on the offensive immediately and takes Voss out and assumes control of the fleet. He keeps the Thorathians around as grunt military units, still has control of the gene-bound forces, and brings along a bunch of like-minded Maerynians as the elite to take over the galaxy. Correction to a previous episode - they said that Grand Warlord Tempest was the version from Arataki!Haka's reality, this was in error as it was Citizen Storm in her reality.
- What led Tempest to be Citizen Storm? Did he also only accept powered people? Was Dawn a member? Did the Citizens we know also join the Citizens in that reality/were their powers/titles the same? Probably enough here to do a Disparation episode on later (between the Argent Artist and the Primal Wardens and everything), but high-level explanation of what went wrong: Tempest's story started similarly to wind up on Earth in the first place, but the F.I.L.T.E.R. interactions go much worse (and during the course of that process the other Maerynians are all killed, so he's the last and goes bad as a result).
- Does Tempest hate his nemesis more than any other hero? How does the Wraith/Spite thing compare? Tempest hates Voss (and Thorathians) more than any other hero hates their nemesis, which is saying something considering his outlook otherwise. It's interesting that Tempest's overall story really is one of hatred in all of its forms (in addition to the displacement/searching for "home" themes). Wraith certainly hates what Spite has done, but it's not nearly as personal as Tempest's hatred of Voss. Voss has killed a lot more people than Spite.
- Mist Storm Universe - Tempest is still part of the Prime Wardens, even with the new lineup including Sky-Scraper. Tempest here has a less-ambassadorial role.
- Sentinel Comics Universe - More of an ambassador (and is the UN ambassador from Plavu'Col, which is still pretty isolated), to the point where he's joining the UN- team G.L.O.B.A.L. (Geocentric Limited Operations for the Benefit of Advanced Lifeforms) which has an international membership.
- Tempest does go into an egg-bearing phase somewhat after the establishment of Plavu'Col (he's got something of a real home for the first time in a long time and so that kicks off the process). What that means in the various futures is something for later.
- The April schedule had been a Multiverse Re-cap, Scions, and two episodes on OblivAeon. They are pushing this back to July so that we, the players/listeners/readers can have a chance to actually discover the OblivAeon expansion content first in the game and then ask informed questions based on that (this is, in part, due to how they've had sections in the Environment episodes that dealt with the new locations, but got a paltry amount of questions because we don't have enough information to know what to ask about).
- This means that they're moving up the content that would normally have come after that, which is the new format (this lets them "test" the new format stuff for three months, then finish up the "traditional" content with July and Gen Con episodes, which gives them time to adjust the new format if necessary).
- What's this "new format"? Well, partly it's the $1000/month Patreon goal (which as of recording is currently just over $800/month) which will be the "Extrasodes" for patrons and these, along with Editor's Notes, will be video streamed/recorded for all patrons (patrons at the $20 level have access to the Discord server to interact with them during the recording).
- There will still be 4/5 main episodes a month, however:
Some of these will be continuing to focus on the past - say, supplementary hero episodes to revisit/pad out characters (especially from earlier episodes like Legacy, Wraith, and Baron Blade). Others will be forward-looking - detailing things from the RPG and Prime War settings (e.g. the hero team Daybreak or the villain team Perestroika). More episodes giving blow-by-blow story arc descriptions (calling out the Road Warriors story with Stuntman and Mainstay or Greazer's backstory as examples). Then there will be Meanwhile episodes - not so much going over a small number of issues, but a bit broader to get into what was going on for a particular time period that's not otherwise covered (like, what's going on between FF #518 and #605?). Smaller side-stories, characters not mentioned before, etc. Finally, they'll be doing some Disparation episodes where they dig into various hypothetical settings.
- All of those types of main episodes, however, are "options" as Patreon patrons get to vote on them ($5 and $20 levels also get the option to propose topics, whether it would fit into one of the above categories or be something entirely different).
- The Sentinel Comics RPG Kickstarter will be launching May 22 and running through June 22! The majority of the work on the core rule book is already done and they're fairly confident that it will fund. What they haven't done yet are the the 6 or 7 supplementary books, the 3 settings books, and the dozen or so adventures they have in mind at the moment. The Kickstarter is not just to fund that core rule book, but to gauge interest in the rest of this stuff to see if it's viable.
- More Live Shows! They'll be live streaming sessions of the RPG they play there at the office. March 20 they'll be doing hero character creation live on Twitch as kind of a soft-launch of the format to make sure all of the technical stuff is working. Then there will be a hiatus to let Adam get a bunch of art for the upcoming game done (character portraits and whatnot) and other artists can get some art done for Christopher (GM materials kept secret because Adam is playing, as well as Maggie, SaRae, and Craig). Game session 1 will be April 17 - a six-issue arc with the final game on the day the Kickstarter launches.
- One specific topic that will be an option to vote for is a dedicated Progeny episode dealing with the pre-OblivAeon events.
- To cut down on the time it takes to read every patron (at the $5 and $20 levels) name, after this month they're going to change the method used. They're going to start printing off a list of the patrons active as of the start of the month and then split them up into chunks throughout that month, so you'll get to hear your name once a month instead of every episode.