The Letters Page: Episode 60
A team that is sometimes extreme, but is always awesome.
Run Time: 1:54:19
Our Patreon is running smoothly already, thanks to so many of you! As a result, this week, we'll be recording our upcoming Editor's Note LIVE for those of you at our Contributor level. Afterwards, the video will be posted for our supporters over on the Patreon.
Anyway! Prime Wardens!
We start off by digging into some of the specific dates of the history of Sentinel Comics - we use the historical landmarks of where these heroes came from as a framework for the bulk of this episode. This is by far our most historically accurate episode.
Starting just after the 12 minute mark, we zoom in on the story of the very first Prime Wardens story. We go on quite awhile just about this one big story. It's a very cool story, if I do say so myself.
Around 33 minutes in, we get into the Fall of the Prime Wardens story.
We talk about the re-formation of the team and the second volume of the Prime Wardens book around the 41 minute mark.
At 45 minutes in, we get to your questions, starting with questions about the entire team!
We get a little EXTREME around an hour and 9 minutes in.
Our future section today starts just after the one hour and 43 minute mark. There's a lot of interesting details in there, including a return of the SPOILERS! If you are avoiding spoilers for the story content of the SCRPG Starter Kit, you'll want to skip from 1:45:45 to 1:47:55.
Don't forget, at noon Central Time today, join Adam, Maggie, SaRae, Craig, and me on our Twitch channel for the hero character creation for our upcoming Sentinel Comics Live show! (And Paul will be there in the chat!) We're going to figure out how all this video stuff works!
See you next week for Grand Warlord Voss!
- Captain Cosmic
- Argent Adept
- The Freedom Five
- Absolute Zero
- Citizen Dawn
- Blood Countess Bathory
- Kaargra Warfang
- Borr the Butcher
- The Seer
- The Idolater
- Citizens Hammer and Anvil
- Baron Blade
- Grand Warlord Voss
- Dark Watch
- The Southwest Sentinels
- The Hippo
- Dr. Medico
- Ray Manta
- La Comodora
- We've already mostly heard the actual stories of these characters, so we're going to mostly be getting the publication history and how all of the stories fit together.
- First appearances of Prime Warden members: Haka (one of the earliest of all Sentinel Comics heroes) in 1948 Arcane Tales vol. 1 #14, Tempest mid-1965 Stranger in a Strange World #1, Captain Cosmic (Hugh Lowsley iteration, the original actually predates Haka) mid-1970 Conflux #1, Argent Adept late 1972 Toll of Destiny #1, and Fanatic late 1974 Mystery Comics #334.
- Haka had primarily been in Arcane Tales up until he was tagged to become the last member of the original Freedom Five team in 1955, ultimately appearing in issues #63-87. Once the new team got started up, he didn't appear in the new run of Freedom Four/Five as a guest until well after Absolute Zero had been introduced and solidified as the fifth member. The publishers were largely ignoring the existence of the previous team and weren't looking to go out of their way to remind people of it/make intentional references to the fact that Haka had once been on the team.
- He mostly had gone back to being a regular in Arcane Tales up until the new Tome of the Bizarre got up and running in early 1959. TotB was more of a horror anthology title [as befits the era], typically having something like 3 shorter stories per issue. He wasn't headlining this, he just showed up a bunch. It wasn't until #160 in 1972 that TotB became a Haka-centric title that was more like a standard super hero book (although one where Haka's still punching weird stuff) with the occasional short back-up story to fill out the page count when necessary. This run ends in 1980's #257 whereupon Haka stops having a set title that featured him and he kind of gets relegated to guest-star status in a number of books (FF, MC, Ra: God of the Sun, VotV, even TotB again).
- The Mystery Comics transition here to it's twice-a-month format was somewhat of a backlash due to its straying from crime/mystery stories into weird magic stuff. We're entering the dark 'n' gritty '80s and the refocus here left both Haka and Fanatic "homeless" in terms of regular titles for a while.
- For Tempest's publication history see last episode (SiaSW in the '60s, Cosmic Tales vol. 2 in the '70s and '80s).
- Captain Cosmic - starts in Conflux and becomes a regular in CT vol. 2 like Tempest.
- Argent Adept has his intro ToD in '72 and his regular title Virtuoso of the Void starts up the following year. The latter title has Akash'Bhuta's first appearance in #12 in 1974 and the last few issues of the title also involve her (having shown up periodically, but the implication is that she was never operating at full power until this last event), culminating in 1985's #152 where she defeats AA. Just before the killing blow lands, AA manages to transport himself into the Void as a last-ditch effort to escape - and that's where the title ends, with a cliffhanger.
- Fanatic gets her own book a few months after her first MC appearance, with Fanatic #1 in 1975. There's the big Apostate run in 1978. The book is cancelled in 1980. See the Fanatic episode for the types of stories that were told in her books.
- As mentioned earlier, she and Haka are mostly just guest-stars for a while in the '80s. Notably, Fanatic has guest spots in Ra: God of the Sun which lays some groundwork for the Baptism by Fire team-up book 20 years later.
- This brings us to 1986, when the Prime Wardens team forms and the Prime Wardens book gets off the ground with the big team-up event against Akash'Bhuta. A few weeks prior to PW #1 (but in the same month) is when the Mother Earth prestige-format one-shot came out which described the whole "millions of years ago" backstory for Akash'Bhuta we learned about in her episode. This was the point in which this weird, minor-seeming Earth spirit from VotV became a big deal. ME ends with Akash'Bhuta setting up shop on Insula Primalis in the modern day, essentially making the island into herself and defeating Argent Adept.
- Then PW #1 opens with Fanatic in prayer, and in this quiet contemplation she hears her ally the Argent Adept calling from the Void. She reaches out, exerting her power (although she's not really consciously in control of what she's doing) and pulls him back into reality from wherever it was he was stuck. [Adam: "Ultimate power is nice." They sum up her powers as "whatever the writers need her to do."] She believes that she can help him, and so she can. She patches him up, but he's still troubled. He recounts what happened to him and what the deal with Akash'Bhuta is (with an editorial cross-reference to the ME book).
- This segues into Cosmic Tales #190 (which actually came out the prior month). As stated last week, this is a split title with both Captain Cosmic and Tempest stories (although by this point in the run there are frequent team-ups between them). This issue has them fighting some weird space monster, but the fight is resolved when a rift into the Void opens up and swallows the monster. That occurrence, plus some residual Void weirdness, prompts them to consult the expert, if they can find him - Argent Adept. [Good joke here implying that it was Jim Brooks instead - Disparation story where he's a harmonica-playing Virtuoso.] This is an interesting development for the readers as the VotV and CT books hadn't had a lot of crossover, but Void stuff happening in both of them was pointing to something going on. That happening the previous month means that they're free to now show up looking for answers in PW #1.
- Anyway, back in the PW book, Fanatic and AA know they need some help and consult with Nightmist (especially in this era of comics, she's kind of your go-to person for help). She does her magical intel-gathering thing and learns that Akash'Bhuta is stronger now not only because of the connection to Insula Primalis (which readers saw already in the ME book), but also that she's managed to gain a connection to the Void somehow and is drawing power from there. They try to convince Nightmist to help out considering how strong she is, but Nightmist nopes right out of that situation - this is a bad enough idea, but the nature of her curse is such that she could be destroyed going up against whatever Akash'Bhuta is dealing with. Coincidentally, at this point in the discussion Captain Cosmic and Tempest show up at Nightmist's door (because, again, she's kind of your go-to person for help) to see if she can help them find Argent Adept. After the new arrivals describe their Void weirdness experience they all determine that Akash'Bhuta's status as originally a spirit of the Void and who's now got a connection to the Void is causing these rifts to form all over the place.
- AA thinks the solution is obvious, we can just jump through these Void things to get to the island. Nightmist ways something like "what did I just say about that being a terrible idea?" and offers, instead, to open a mist gate to get them there (although still not going herself). Upon arrival, they immediately stumble across a Akash/Void-modded T-Rex in a fight with Haka, who's there because "fighting monsters." He wins the fight, hears why the rest of them are there, and is in. End of issue 1.
- Issue #2 is the new team trying to defeat Akash'Bhuta and is something of a showcase of exactly why she's bad news at this level of power (full strength, Void connection, dinosaurs and volcano at her disposal, etc.) and the heroes can't make any headway.
- Issue #3 takes them underground as they determine that their only hope is to sever her connection to the island. Now they get to fight subterranean Void-mutated dinosaurs; fun times. As they're moving through the tunnels/caves, they eventually break through a wall to discover... Citizen Dawn and the rest of the Citizens of the Sun in a sweet volcano lair (full curtain wall of lava around them, etc.).
- Issue #4 (cover implying "Prime Wardens vs. Citizen Dawn" as the main event, but covers lie) has Dawn stating that everything on the island has gone terrible, she's just protecting her people (complete with a recruitment offer), what is going on? They explain Akash'Bhuta and what they're looking for. Dawn, in the interests of her people (sure you won't join?), uses her extensive knowledge of the island and her powers to open a path through the lava to this big cavern where this "connection" point is likely to be. This place has what's obviously the "heart" of the powers at work - knotted roots, lava, obsidian, etc. - floating in the middle of the cavern. As they move in towards it a bunch of human-sized Akash'Bhutas (a concept that probably won't be important ever again) pop up to confront them (and, naturally, they're differentiated to have match-ups with the individual heroes but are defeated when the heroes switch up who's fighting which one). They fight through the enemies, cut through all the vines connected to the heart, and destroy it. They make their way back to the surface expecting that now they'll have an easier go of it. Nope, the island is now some weird hell-scape. Akash'Bhuta without the power of the island is not able to control the Void energies she'd tapped into and things are running wild.
- Issue #5 starts off with the heroes facing off against the environment running wild (and eventually some Akash'Bhuta limbs as this chaos is fine by her if that's how the heroes want to play it). AA is protected by the ring of the other heroes while he projects himself into the Void, eventually finding the tether that connects Akash'Bhuta to the Void and it leads to another Void spirit (the plan is to siphon Void power out to Akash'Bhuta and, eventually, be drawn out into the world as well). They fight, AA eventually contains/defeats it, severs the connection, and goes back to his body.
- Issue #6 is a standard "and then they fight" comic with the Prime Wardens against Akash'Bhuta, now that the playing field has been leveled a bit. Despite the work they've done to take away her external power sources, she's still at the top of her game, though, and they're losing. The issue ends with the Freedom Five arriving to help!
- This leads into Freedom Five Annual #10, the events of which have been described before. Notably, in the PW book so far the member heroes have just been in their normal outfits to this point. This issue is where their "team costume" look first shows up. This is an all-hands fight, the Prime Wardens, Freedom Five, and Expatriette (this is the part of her arc where she's trying to become less murdery and she's been hanging out with Legacy a lot) are all there and it's the first time that the mysterious figure of Chrono-Ranger shows up.
- From here the Prime Wardens are an actual "team" (rather than just some heroes who were working together for a particular crisis) and we can start to see what a "typical Prime Wardens story" is - often dealing with some kind of monster or a magic/cosmic threat. They fight the Blood Countess, Infinitor, Apostate (frequently), various Grand Warlord Voss events as his arc gets moving - there's a definite trend of their stories dealing with either magic or space, though.
- In 1988 we have both Prime Wardens #28 and a cancellation/relaunch of Tome of the Bizarre, now in it's third volume and used now as something of a "set up" book for Prime Wardens - spending a few issues of TotB to go into the backstory of some new weird monstrosity so that it could later show up in PW without taking up their page-count explaining it. The Mother Earth one-shot could be seen as a precursor to what they're now using TotB for. Just reading the PW book works as a monster-of-the-week kind of thing, but readers figure out that if the backstory is there if you're interested - you just have to read this other book too.
- Haka also finally gets his own title in this same era: The Savage Haka - he'd quickly become a stand-out character in the first 20 or so issues of PW and so they spin him off into solo adventures simultaneously. We get a lot of his "walking the Earth" stories here, as well as the Ambuscade stuff.
- Vengeance happens and they're involved (because everybody is). They're involved in the Kaargra Warfang story that followed (as we enter the era of Tempest not being written properly).
- Late 2001 sees the reintroduction of the Virtuoso of the Void and Fanatic titles for second volumes. These books' covers (along with The Savage Haka, Cosmic Tales, and the Prime Warden title itself) have the alarming phrase "Fall of the Prime Wardens Prelude" as part of the branding [I'm guessing like how the "Termi-Nation crossover text appears on things like SS #30] for about 4 issues each. These stories deal with the individual team members going off on their own to take on threats important to them as individuals or who are interfering with their "civilian" life/supporting cast in some way. Blood Countess, Borr the Butcher, Galactra, F.I.L.T.E.R., Balarian, the Seer, Kismet, Bugbear, etc. The last of these Prelude stories happens in PW #194 where it's shown (to the readers, not the heroes) that Apostate has been behind all of this - feeding info to all of these other minor villains, hitting the team where it hurts in order to set up his own big plan.
- "The Fall of the Prime Wardens" is the follow-up story across all 5 titles which begins where things had left off - the heroes being pulled into their own personal fights with these minor villains, but things set up in such a way that they frequently are now at odds with each other, lies sown by the villains that the rest of the team has set the hero up or some such. Over the course of this big event (6 issues across the 5 titles) things eventually come to a head with the big fight with Apostate. They defeat him at the end (as they've defeated every other villain along the way in this story), but things are off - they're not working as a team and are tripping over one another and don't trust one another. After the win, they kind of just look at each other and agree to go their separate ways.
- From 2002 to 2011 there's no Prime Wardens, although the individual heroes are obviously still around and doing stuff, although Tempest is kind of left high and dry by the writers - eventually getting his half of Cosmic Tales supplanted by Parse stories.
- Fanatic is having adventures dealing with faith and has an encounter with a now scarred Idolater and more Apostate stories, but also a run-in with Citizens Hammer and Anvil.
- Haka is still fighting big monsters (and his book more or less takes over the Prime Wardens relationship with TotB).
- Argent Adept suffers a bit in this time as his book starts feeling a little samey and his popularity takes a hit as a result - nothing really out-of-character like with Tempest, but he's much more interesting with the team than on his own. The writers try to salvage some of it by mixing things up, the Akash'Thriya story happens in 2009 (but, honestly, that involves the Naturalist more than AA). 2010 sees issue #100 of VotV and the death of Anthony Drake (with assurances that it's not a fake-out). The next several issues deal with the search for the next Virtuoso of the Void and the book visits lots of musical or magical people - Nightmist, the Scholar, and the Naturalist are taking the Void instruments around to people to see if any of them have the spark. A lot of new characters are introduced as potential replacements, but the readership just doesn't care about any of them and sales of the title plummet and it's cancelled after issue #108 mid-story. Two months later vol. 3 is launched with a new issue #1 and "The Return of Anthony Drake" who has been saved/returned from death (really obvious that it's an editorial course-correction) It even becomes something of a collectible even though it's a newer book as it's an instance of the company doing the right thing. It helps that it's a well-told story with good creative talent behind it and is a turning point for the character who'd been heading downhill for a decade or more as his stories were too formulaic. Now they're dealing with the Nexus of the Void and Vogel's Baton and just doing interesting things with him again.
- This brings us to the "Search for Tempest" story that followed Vengeance: Returned and the revelation that Tempest had been a Biomancer clone for years as described last week. This culminated in the launch of Prime Wardens vol. 2 in 2011. A lot of the events that are important in this new run of PW books have been talked about in individual members' prior episodes, so see them for details.
- The first 6 issues deal with the reestablishment of the team and Tempest going off to help establish Plavu'Col. There's some talk of the team needing a base of operations, but we jump right into an Infinitor story, a Kismet story, and the Deadline and Progeny stories (some notable things in the latter, but more on that in the Progeny episode that's likely to happen). They do eventually get set up in the Ruins of Atlantis as a base, but they're only there a few years before the end of the Multiverse era.
- They guys joke around a bit here at the end of the section about just whom they're going to answer questions about (Miss Information, Aminia Twain, Wraith's parents) before mentioning "Myriad" and a [redacted] bit from Trevor.
- What is the "Prime" that the heroes are wardens of? Partly the idea that they formed around this story involving Insula Primalis, and these primal forces. They are also prime examples of strength and heroism. The "wardens" is there to get at their place as defenders against these outside (magic/space) forces - they're not soldiers, but guards.
- It's been mentioned that they came together to fight Akash'Bhuta, but also that they didn't decide to be a "team" until after the fight - since there were a bunch of other heroes involved in the final showdown with Akash'Bhuta, why did only these 5 remain on a team afterwards? Were any other heroes invited, but declined? No others were invited. The first 6 issues show how they were molded into a team but the decision was more or less just a continuation of an arrangement that felt natural. Issue 7 picks up after the FFA issue with them already operating as a team and even using the Prime Wardens name; it's just taken as a given by that point that this is the new normal. Sure, there were some early-issue red-herrings thrown in as to possible members (Nightmist and Ra), but that's it.
- Who's the teams most recurring foe? They don't have somebody who's the "team nemesis", but more time is probably spent on Akash'Bhuta and Apostate than anybody else (and are the closest you'd have to, say, Baron Blade's status relative to the Freedom Five). Voss is up there in importance, but doesn't get as much opportunity to be significant due to the time frames involved. Blood Countess, Bugbear, and Infinitor are recurring antagonists for the team. It's weird. The Freedom Five (and, later, Dark Watch) are the ones that see a lot of recurring villains, while the nature of Prime Wardens stories are such that they wind up as one-off threats.
- How does Fanatic's timeline fit into the team - some of the art on the cards, when taken with details from the podcast makes it seem like the formative Akash'Bhuta event is really late, is that so? First, her life is really busy, but there are art/writing issues at fault as well. Her sword is broken during the Sunrise story in the late-90s while the team formed initially in the '80s. As for the Prime Wardens Fanatic promo card for the game, that's a late version of the character (the Prime Warden costumes on these cards are from the volume 2 era).
- What are the team dynamics like considering their disparate origins/backgrounds (Haka and CC seem friendly and outgoing, Tempest is literally an ambassador, and Fanatic and AA seem more aloof)? Yeah, Haka and CC are the most jovial and Fanatic is the most standoffish (although she really values her team members as, after some growing pains after the "team" is established, she finds in them the family she's never had). The interpersonal dynamics are eased somewhat in that they don't share a living space until they use the Ruins of Atlantis really late in the story. They come together for fights (and have means of getting in touch for that), but they have no HQ to go back to.
- What's AA's leadership style like? How about his Dark Conductor time? He's the "leader" of the team, but he's not leading the team, if you follow. He's very much a support guy helping everybody else do what they do better. This is a team of people who are incredibly self-sufficient in a fight. They're kind of the opposite of Dark Watch who are better when they're working together and who put in the effort to hone that (which the Southwest Sentinels and Freedom Five also do). The Prime Wardens are all incredible bad-asses who can either look after themselves in a fight or who can handle working without backup if/when they have to split up to take on multiple facets of a situation at once. The Dark Conductor stuff was major (and showed how far they've come towards being that "team" who had to rally behind their friend), but very brief as it was instigated during Cosmic Contest, but had to be resolved by the time OblivAeon stuff really got moving.
- Were the dichotomies in the team an intentional statement (American and Englishman, Catholic and Maori warrior, in the Mist Storm iteration there's a Maerynian and a Thorathian)? Not necessarily intentional (and further examples could be drawn; Faith/Science/Magic for example), but it's more of just a side-effect of bringing together these disparate characters to make the team in the first place.
- How does the team travel around together (does Captain Cosmic make a big construct, say a yellow submarine, for them to get around in)? The submarine likely happens at least once. Lots of different methods. Sometimes they'll get a spacecraft if they need to be out in space. Argent Adept can teleport them through the Void. Captain Cosmic will make some conveyance, etc.
- How do they stay in contact? AA has established a magical link between them that they can tap into to communicate (it's also how he keeps tabs on them for the teleportation stuff).
- Do they have any cool team poses? There are cool poses that happen because they're comic book characters, but they're not the types to have a signature stance or anything.
- Why use the Ruins of Atlantis as a base? As mentioned, it happened really late in the timeline. It was kind of part of the move from them being just a group who worked together to something more like a traditional "superhero team" and that meant a headquarters. They writers wanted to give them one as bizarre as the heroes were and so that was a good fit.
- What happened in Prime Wardens #31 as Guise seems to be heavily featured? This was kind of an interim period between creative teams at the title and they had the people working on the Guise book come over to do a single issue before the new team took over. It's a weird "Sword and Sorcery Guise" story where he does the Guise the Barbarian thing, messes with AA, and sports a chain-mail bikini.
- [At around 1:02:45 we get a letter from the Plant-verse, more good stuff here] Why did they make such drastic costume changes for the team look? Why red and gold (the Freedom Five don't have matching costumes at all and Dark Watch has good reasons for black outfits)? The FFA #10 creative team wanted the Prime Wardens to have a cohesive look so it was obvious that they went together and so make that change (while collaborating with the PW team). The FF does get a team look, but not until right at the very end of the Multiverse - part of that is that they've all got their own iconic looks going on and were well established as a team regardless (although Adam did try to push the FF team look even closer together in both the RPG and Tactics materials). Dark Watch has the most cohesive look. Red and Gold were just stand-out, ostentatious colors to go together which matches their out-sized characters.
- Who makes the costumes? Do they provide any benefit other than looking cool? Why is Fanatic's so much cooler than the rest (although one arm unarmored and one eye over-armored)? Well, who makes any hero costumes? There's a late addition to the story in the Southwest Sentinels stuff about a character who makes them, but that's way late in the game to be bothering with such details. They don't enhance anybody's abilities, but are meant to at least not hinder anybody. Then we get into a discussion for who actually has the best costume (Christopher is a big fan of all of Tempest's, but Fanatic's are good too, Adam thinks that the Prime War Tempest one is his favorite and Argent Adept looks best in the RPG). Fanatic's got one arm armored to use something like a shield and the eye covering is just a call-back to the Redeemer period (its the same face mask, just broken).
- What's the deal with the Xtreme Prime Wardens (why so angry/muscle-y/etc.)? When you get Xtreme all that stuff comes as part of the package (along with pouches and stubble). They've left out a lot of the XPW questions as they seem perfect for a possible Disparation episode's content, so keep that in mind as we get to voting stages later on.
- Were the XPW how the team looked during the Dark Age of comics that were later just retconned into being an alternate reality or were they just invented as a way to lampoon the trends of the '90s? They were made up for the post-Progeny event - the team looked "normal" back in the '80s and '90s, but there were certainly comics that fell into those trends at the time, but the XPW were definitely taking those up to 11 for the purpose of the joke.
- What's going on with Ruin on XPW AA's incap? Did he drain AA's power to create a new instrument or what? It's a story from the Xtreme-verse where Ruin used his own Void power to create a dark instrument of his own in an attempt to overpower AA. This definitely took the form of an electric guitar duel because XPW AA definitely has an electric guitar.
- What are the stories behind the XPW (foil, because that's all we have so far) incap art? They're all things that happen in the Xtreme-verse except on Tempest's where it's part of the story where they're crossed over into the main timeline and he encounters the same Leviathan that our Tempest has been dealing with. The "standard art" XPW cards' incap art will all be from their home reality, though (and will apparently be a single image if you put them all next to one another - Xtreme Hippo is involved). The fact that there's interesting art stuff involving them will probably push any further podcast about them back until August or September so that people can respond to them - same reasoning as the OblivAeon episodes.
- The Ennead episode mentions that the Mist Storm-era Ennead raise the Ruins of Atlantis for their use, but does that mean that the Prime Wardens' "Atlantean Hideout" was some other portion of Atlantis? The Prime Wardens have their HQ in the Ruins of Atlantis during the end of the Multiverse, but then the team kind of breaks up for a while post-OblivAeon and have abandoned Atlantis in that time. Details of what this means for them discussed later in the Future section.
- What kind of leader is AA and how does he stack up to the other teams' leaders? They kind of mentioned his "leadership" earlier, but how he "stacks up" is interesting. Legacy leads the Freedom Five and is very much a "lead from the front" guy, but simultaneously Bunker is doing tactical analysis and leading from there, Wraith is going to be sneaking around dealing with stuff that the others are unaware of, and Tachyon takes point dealing with any kind of science-based problem. The dynamic is fluid around the situation in front of them while Legacy is the most prominent "figurehead" of the team. Dark Watch, on the other hand, has Expatriette as the leader more than the other teams do - much more the "shouting orders" type. On a spectrum from most-to-least "leadered" teams, it probably goes Dark Watch (Expat) > Freedom Five (Legacy) > Southwest Sentinels (Dr. Medico in that he and Mainstay are kind of co-leaders, but the latter will take his cue from the former) > Prime Wardens (AA in that sort of "leader" position described above)
- As "Argent Adept" is a passed down title, have there been other prominent ones like there have been other Legacies in older comics? "Argent Adept" isn't a passed-down title, but Virtuoso of the Void one that's shared. No "earlier" Virtuosos existed in comics predating AA, though, as his introduction was also the introduction of the concept into Sentinel Comics publication history. There are certainly older Virtuosos in the comics setting (see AA's episode for a bit on them), but they were created after Anthony Drake was as backstory for his power set.
- Any reason why Void magic seems to respond to music? It's kind of related to how music is a confluence of math and emotion (you have to think about it and understand it, but it's also something that's best when performed intuitively) that resonates with the Void for whatever reason.
- Have any past Virtuosos formed teams like the Prime Wardens? Nope. Maybe the occasional team-up with somebody powerful to take on Akash'Bhuta, but not as an ongoing organization or anything - previous Virtuosos weren't "superheroes" in the same way that AA is.
- Which member of the Prime Wardens does Fanatic get along with the best? Not really anybody better than the others; she's kind of a loner even within the team. Not to say she gets along with any of them poorly; maybe in some brief periods where a writer wants her to be more evangelical about her faith, but that never lasts long as she's always more interested in fighting bad people than in converting good people. A person's actions over an their individual creed.
- Fanatic is emphatically Christian, and given their cultural backgrounds it's possible that Argent Adept and Captain Cosmic are too, but how about the faith of Haka and Tempest? Has Fanatic tried to convert them? No, see the prior answer. CC is a member of the CoE and AA is agnostic. Haka is kind of agnostic too, but more based on his experiences traveling the world and seeing so many faiths and how there are commonalities - his philosophy is probably closest to Buddhist, but neither he nor actual Buddhists would call him that. The Maerynians are kind of post-religion (they had a religion, but their experience with other planets and their scientific endeavors resulted in them leaving that behind, and yet later on they kind of came back around to "there's' something going on that unites all life, etc.). The root word that "Maerynian" refers to also refers to this "religion", Maera.
- Has seeing Haka's "good works" inspired Fanatic to take up that aspect of her faith rather than the "smiting" aspect that she's been interested in thus far? As stated earlier, she cares more about a person's actions than their faith and Haka's good works are in line with that and she gets along with him great ("we do good things together and smite evildoers"). Her call to action is the elimination of Evil.
- No Captain Cosmic questions were asked, but a lot regarding him were answered in the recent Time & Space Editor's Note, so go listen to that one.
- Have other heroes noticed how big of a problem Tempest could be if he were to be mind-controlled or "worn down" (like Tony Taurus) to turn evil and made plans accordingly? Not really. Most people don't make plans for when their friends turn evil, especially if they're already busy dealing with all of the already-evil people. Only one person is so much of a conspiracy nut as to make contingency plans like this, and that's Ray Manta (who's also a crackpot). Another exception, however, is Expatriette but that's more of a her shtick as somebody who has no powers but makes plans for how to take down people with powers - that's not specific to Tempest, though.
- What are your favorite Tempest moments? They talked about so many last week, but Adam picks out the raising of Plavu'Col as a big one where a bunch of Maerynians getting together to create an island from nothing. Christopher brings up Tempest confronting Sky-Scraper and then his moment defending her on the Celestial Tribunal.
- If all Maerynians have the capacity to control weather (described as a natural quirk of their genetics), but Tempest's Atlantean sword is a mystic focus, does that mean that Maerynians' powers are mystical somehow? Would the sword benefit any Maerynian or is Tempest special? Are there Maerynian sorcerers? Are the Maerynians related at all to the Atlanteans? No they're not related to the Atlanteans. Their power is innate to them, but is not magical. The sword is a focus for Tempest in that it's attuned to lightning in a lot of ways and that's his specialty. It would enhance any Maerynian's lightning powers as it does his, but not other weather powers. There are Maerynians that are sorcerers of a sort (beyond the innate weather stuff that might fool a casual observer) - they're more like "priests" to the extent that they focus on that Maera/life-force thing mentioned above, but it still lacks a lot of religious trappings.
- If Tempest was an interplanetary ambassador, that implies that the Maerynians had alien allies - why did none come to their aid when Voss invaded or reach out to the refugees on Earth afterwards? Did they ever reestablish relations? The aliens they had contact with weren't close enough to really help and the Maerynians only really had the escape route that they took (rather than fleeing to an allied system). Other races often don't help against Thorathians anyway so as to not draw their attention. The Maerynians were also more advanced than many of their alien contacts as it stood - Tempest's job was often to help other races get their ecology in order.
- Did Tempest have any reservations prior to going to Dok'Thorath and/or have a desire to get away quickly once there (rather than spend a year helping the rebels)? Definitely - he would have objected to going in the first place and then had his eyes opened about Thorathians in general once he saw what the military was doing there too. The story was in large part told in order to readjust Tempest's opinions.
- How long does Tempest struggle with the feelings about what the Thorathians did to him and his people? Forever. That's a big part of the character even in the Mist Storm setting when he's friends with Sky-Scraper and works with her regularly. He'll always have an instinctual mistrust when a new Thorathian shows up. He's better about it, and he recognizes it on an intellectual level, but it's still going to be there in the background.
- Returning to a point after last episode: as the Maerynians are not signatories to the Geneva Conventions, they're not bound to not use weather as they do, other nations who are will have to figure out how they're going to address this, but it's a distinction worth pointing out. Indeed it is.
- I'm in the middle of the Tempest episode and the question struck me, is there a story (Disparation or otherwise) where Tempest enters the egg-bearing phase and absorbs genetic material from other powered individuals (like the other Prime Wardens)? You shouldn't ask questions before you finish the episode.
- Is it ok to refer to the mono-gendered Maerynian Tempest as a "he"? Yes, that's what they do because Tempest kind of presents as male (as a result of Maerynians as being introduced as "all dudes" in the '60s) and the male pronouns have been used throughout. If he were introduced today the writers would probably use the "singular they" rather than "it", but "he" is fine (as is "she" - Maerynians don't care about being "mis-gendered", their language has something that's equivalent to the modern English "singular they").
- If an egg-bearing Maerynian takes in genes from a human, would this result in some kind of hybrid person or just an odd Maerynian? Would Tempest specifically ask his fellow heroes to share their genes? Would that be seen as something as intimate as the human method of reproduction or more like naming somebody a godparent (or just totally casual)? It's not a specifically intentional act to share genes, just casual contact is enough. Maerynians will try to have as much contact with others as possible when egg-bearing to increase genetic diversity and so might get a bit more touchy-feely than usual. In Tempest's case this means that there's going to be plenty of contact with a bunch of heroes (and villains!). The resulting child will still be a Maerynian, just with some outside genetic markers (but this is likely to be an extreme case with lots of unpredictability - and not just due to contact with humans, also Thorathians!).
- Would his child be raised by Tempest or by the people of Plavu'Col? If the latter, would he get special treatment due to Tempest's status as a hero? Is this child going to have much impact on the future stories? Maerynians don't have the same kinds of family units as us and things are more communal. That being said, due to the outside DNA, this child is likely to be treated differently (probably going to look different for one). Tempest entered the egg-bearing state years ago in comics, so given the Maerynian rate of maturity (fully mature in 10 years) it's possible for his child to get involved in events.
- Since all Hakas in the Multiverse are being consolidated into just the two, does anybody wind up taking his place on the XPW? Yes, he'll be absorbed by the Two Hakas. But who knows if he'll be replaced on the XPW - maybe they're so extreme that they can get by with 4 members or maybe somebody like Xtreme Sky-Scraper or Xtreme Nightmist (whom Adam has been wanting to draw) will join. Or Xtreme Fashion.
- In either future the team breaks up immediately post-OblivAeon for good reasons. Tempest has Maerynian stuff to focus on. CC is drained of his power and is out in space somewhere. Fanatic is working through her grief at the death of Ra. Argent Adept has his own stuff to do. And Haka is either gone or a different person.
- Mist Storm Universe - CC gets his, Infinitor's, and Galactra's powers. Fanatic gives up the black sword she got from La Comodora but takes up the shards of her old sword (not just the handle part - there's some kind of holy energy holding the pieces together so she can still use it as a unit, but kind of like a whip). The Haka here is "our" Haka, but he's the native of what became the Sentinel Comics Universe after the split occurred (the native Haka disappeared a long time ago and nobody remembers, it's complicated so we're moving on [I'm guessing this is a result of him being erased by La Comodora rather than some kind of actual retcon; another hypothesis is that "our" Haka was off reality-hopping during the SCU/MSU split and is no longer "native" to either which somehow explains people forgetting him]). AA is seeking new power sources (see his episode to hear about his new songbook). Tempest is the last Maerynian on Earth. Sky-Scraper is a new member.
- Sentinel Comics Universe - There are notable lineup changes, but a lot of it is spoilery for the RPG Starter Kit:
RPG Spoilers within: Read at your own risk!