The Letters Page: Episode 70
A story of the Dawn!
Run Time: 1:47:18
We get deep into a major story from the history of Sentinel Comics
Right off the bat - after only a few minutes of tomfoolery - we kick off this whole event with the story of Freedom Five #595.
Then, we dig into each and every issue of Freedom Five and the also the weekly limited series that are all part of the Sunrise event.
Around an hour and 15 minutes in, we get to your questions.
In a couple days, we'll release an Editor's Note with the upcoming schedule for June!
Got questions for us? Submit them here!
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Thank you for listening!
- Citizen Dawn
- The Freedom Five
- Citizens Blood, Sweat, and Tears
- Citizens Assault and Battery
- Citizens Hammer and Anvil
- Citizens Hack and Slash
- Citizen Burn
- Citizens: The Seasons
- Citizens Truth or Dare
- Baron Blade
- Citizen Gate
- Citizen Pain
- Citizen Lance
- In Freedom Five #595 (November '99), there's some unrest/disturbances from small groups of baddies all over town indicating some nebulous threat to Megalopolis (with Y2K looming they were hedging their bets by having something set up to blame on it if it turned out to be something significant). The cat's out of the bag once some groups start saying things like "For the Dawn!" or using there themed Citizen names. Dawn herself has been out of the picture for something like ten years, now. The next week (November 17 [a Wednesday - the traditional "new comic day"]) Sunrise #1 is released.
- The Sunrise title is a weekly, although each individual issue is rather short [they say 24 pages with 13 pages of content, but a standard length in real world mainstream comics is generally about 32 pages with 20-22 pages of content] and runs for 16 issues. Issues of Freedom Five continue to be part of the story (and can kind of be read on their own, you just don't get as much context as reading Sunrise concurrently would give). While there is this Sunrise title, the story occurring both there and in the Freedom Five books are collectively the Sunrise arc.
Sunrise #1, November 17
- A group of heroes go to Insula Primalis because the Citizens are involved. The Freedom Five are joined by Tempest, Visionary, and a few others. They arrive at the Citadel, Dawn comes out and blasts the heroes with a blinding burst of energy, and by the time the heroes recover she and all of the other Citizens are nowhere to be found. Upon investigation, it appears that the Citadel itself had been largely abandoned for some time and Dawn was just waiting for heroes to show up before making her grand exit.
- The rest of the issue is something of a recap of who Dawn and the Citizens are (flashbacks as the heroes investigate the Citadel) as it's been a while since we saw her last. This trend continues throughout the series (although from here the flashbacks are generally to "new" backstory for characters rather than flashbacks to specific events from past issues of comics).
Sunrise #2, November 24
- Back in Megalopolis, in the Peaceful Hill Cemetery some figures are digging up existing graves. This is the first introduction of Citizens Blood, Sweat, and Tears. They're grumbling a bit about the job they've been assigned, but they also kind of fit the macabre aesthetics going on here.
- Flashback: Heathcliff Wolverhampton, Leandra Stockton, and Crimson Jefferies were a trio of unbearable teenagers [in the same mold as the Matriarch] who called themselves the Coven of Corpses, dressed in over-the-top "goth" outfits, etc. One day Leandra found a book titled The Fabric of Despair which just sounds right up their alley (and may or may not have something to do with a certain cult you might be familiar with, what with there being a comic of the same title at one point). In this book they find some spells, including one that will allow them to imbue themselves with power, which sounds appealing. They make totems for themselves out of materials that they feel represents them; onyx for Heathcliff ("black like my soul"), steel for Leandra ("cold and hard like my will"), and bone for Crimson ("because she knows the marrow that cracks within all men"). They perform the spell, the totems explode, they're knocked out, and when they wake up they find their bodies are made from the materials they chose for their totems.
- So, we've got a trio of not very accomplished sorcerers who will perform just about any spell that they can get their hands on. As they go on like this, and due to their not-very-careful approach to things, Dawn gets wind of them and shows up with a job offer and their new team names.
Sunrise #3, December 1
- Back to the Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Grave Robbers scenario from the beginning of the previous issue. The Freedom Five show up to stop their evil ways or whatever. We see two more figures emerge from the shadows behind the heroes, though - Citizens Assault and Battery.
- Backstory of these jerks: Holland Lincoln and Bart Phillips were best friends from middle school and liked exploring condemned buildings, construction sites, sewer systems, etc. Eventually they explored some condemned chemical plant, found some weird glowing chemicals that they messed around with as kids will, and this exposure (years later) resulted in them getting powers. They can build up energy in their bodies and then channel it into physical objects (although in somewhat different ways). Holland can create area-effect blasts around him (and fights with an axe) while Bart can release the energy as a beam or can impart it in a weapon which will then hit harder than it otherwise would (and fights with a sword). They eventually join up with Dawn as kind of "front line" thugs.
- Back in the present, Assault and Battery attack the Freedom Five to give Blood, Sweat, and Tears a chance to get away. The Citizens are meant to be on a level with the heroes to the point where the two of them are able to keep the hero team busy for a while (long enough for the others to finish what they were doing and escape). They discuss briefly how well the game models this (i.e. that the various Citizens are actual threats that the heroes have to take seriously) with it coming down to the fact that if both Assault and Battery are in play you're probably going to want to spend the time to deal with them pretty quick.
- Meanwhile, Visionary had gone off from Insula Primalis on her own looking for Dawn. This era is where she's mostly Dark Visionary, but the "good" version of her is still free enough to peek out occasionally. For most of this story she's still "at least masquerading as the regular Visionary". She's following the mental pathways that Dawn left in her escape from the island and the trail eventually leads her to Megalopolis as well - to a sky-scraper under construction in the city center. However, before she can get in there to find Dawn she is ambushed by Hammer and Anvil. Hammer tries to blast her with fire, but this is where she Twists the Ether which results in the fire being bubbles instead. Anvil gets fed up with this nonsense, grabs her, and teleports her out of there.
Sunrise #4, December 8
- Back to the FF fight. Blood, Sweat, and Tears are getting away while the fight continues with Assault and Battery. Wraith, counting on her team to take care of A&B sneaks off to try to get a vantage point to follow/capture the others before they can escape entirely. The three of them are loading the stolen corpses into a van [Christopher describes it having an air-brushed depiction of a manatee with a spiked collar swimming through a fiery hoop - somebody get on that fan-art!]. Wraith isn't alone, though - some other Citizens have been waiting for her and now the ambusher has become the ambushee.
- Backstory for these new arrivals (two are with the Wraith, but we get three of them in this flashback): there's a pharmaceutical company that's taking volunteers for blood infusion trials. These go poorly as subjects are reporting terrible pain in their hands. The company calls in all test subjects to have another round of infusions to fix this, but three people don't. Jude Locklear, Alastair Daniels, and Brian Firmann had already found their solution - hitting things made the pain go away. Moving up from punching bags, to brick walls, to people - as long as they've got something to punch the pain wasn't a problem.
- The punching isn't without results, though. All of them change. Alastair only winds up with a pair of psychic knives that grow from the backs of his fists and is probably the best off of the three (although he's now got a compunction to slash at things with them). Jude's hands back to include most of his forearms turn into large metallic blades, but not very elegant ones - they're mostly useful for hacking away at things than cleaner slicing. Poor Brian has the skin of his hands split open and flames burst forth - not only setting his fists on fire, but the flames spread across his body as the cracks spread as well. The burning doesn't seem to cause him pain, but he's burned nonetheless and it looks terrible. Alastair and Jude eventually learn some degree of control (Jude can retract the blades to allow his hands to return, for example). They're pretty much petty criminals at this point as violence is all they're good for, but Dawn eventually approaches with her offer. Alastair and Brian sign up as Citizens Slash and Burn [Slash shows up in Expat's deck on "Incendiary Rounds" and is named in his appearance in Baron Blade's Vengeance deck, but Burn will show up only on a card in Writhe's deck - he never shows up as his own card because there are "too many fire mooks" in the game already, two notable ones already in Citizen Dawn's deck]. Jude declines the offer [but appears at least in Sentinel Tactics as Citizen Hack, teaming back up with Alastair].
- So, it's Citizens Slash and Burn who ambush the Wraith back in the present.
Sunrise #5, December 15
- Picks up where the last one left off. We get a Wraith & Tachyon vs. Slash & Burn fight (largely involving the heroes dealing with preventing collateral damage) while the other three heroes remain behind to handle Assault & Battery. Blood, Sweat, & Tears are getting away as the other two Citizen groups are an effective distraction. This issue is mostly a recap and getting the stage set for...
Freedom Five #596
- The heroes defeat the distraction Citizens, but Blood, Sweat, and Tears get away. On top of that, Citizen Anvil pops in eventually and collects his defeated compatriots, teleporting them to safety. So, the overall situation is mostly a defeat for the heroes. Sure, they won the fights they were involved in, but the city got damaged in the fight, a bunch of bodies were stolen from the graveyard, none of the villains were apprehended, they don't know what the actual villain plot is, and they still don't have any idea where to find Citizen Dawn.
Sunrise #6, December 22
- We open in the sky-scraper that Dawn is using as her headquarters with her in her "throneroom". Hammer and Anvil have been present in Dawn stories since near the beginning - first appearing only 8 or 9 issues after she did - but they didn't really ever get backstories, so we get it now.
- Hayden Turk was a young boy and is present at a bonfire. He's running around and playing like children do, but eventually trips and falls face-first into the fire. His parents fish him out immediately, getting somewhat burned in the process, but little Hayden is burned very badly. He gets rushed to the hospital and winds up in a coma. There's not much to be done at the small rural hospital and his parents become increasingly desperate in a search of some expert/treatment/anything to help their son. After a few years they're eventually approached by some strange woman (the phrase they use is "hedge witch" if that conjures any mental images for you) who says she can undo the burning, but it will require a large amount of life force, say, their own lives. They balk at this, but she says she doesn't need to murder them, just use their spirits. They agree. Cue standard "burning various things like sage and sulfur and having the afflicted breath it in" scene. His skin returns to normal and within minutes he's starting to wake up. The witch leaves before he's awake and when he comes to it's just his parents there. They aren't overjoyed to see him awake again, though. They aren't anything. They're emotionless husks now, just going through the motions of life.
- So, we have a boy growing up now without any kind of meaningful parental presence in his life. No signs of affection. No guidance. No mediation of his destructive tendencies. He's basically got two "servants" who do whatever he tells them to do. When he's grown and announces that he's leaving home to find his fortune, they still have no emotional reaction. After he leaves they just sit on the couch and slowly waste away as they have nothing else to do.
- As this has gone on, he's become more interested in fire and seeing things burn. He's also changed so that basically his whole skin is a fire-starting surface (dry and rough - not quite "sandpaper" [but they seem to be drawing a parallel to the striking surface on a matchbox]). Any skin-to-skin contact is enough to cause enough friction to cause a spark - he'll often snap his fingers to light his hands on fire. He can throw fireballs created this way and he's got a limited amount of control over the flames he produces. His chaotic, fire-starting tendencies quickly lands him in jail, though, and eventually landed in a high-security prison with his hands encased in concrete.
- Lucas Ender was a brigand or highwayman. He had a camp near a road and one day saw an old man being pursued by a mob with torches. He thought this was a bit much, even for him and so grabbed his gear (shield and mace) to intervene. He interposes himself between the mob and the man and manages to calm them down, hears them claim the man is evil, to which he response by giving a rousing speech about the good and evil in all men and they give up their chase. When the old man comes up to him to thank him he does notice the man has a satchel on his belt that clinks satisfyingly with coins. Lucas offers to bring the man to his camp to let him share in his food, fire, and shelter. When the man is asleep, Lucas robs him and takes what of his gear he can without waking his "guest" and leaves, making a good distance before he figures the man will wake up. He's surprised later on, however, to find the old man materialize in front of him on the road.
- It turns out that the old man really was an evil wizard who had done terrible, evil things to get the townsfolk all riled up. He thrice curses the highwayman. He's covered a great distance in the night, and so he will continue to be able to do so. He was a guardian angel, and so will still be one, but no longer able to use his honeyed words to trick others. And he will always be an outcast from society. So, Lucas has this strange power-set: he's got these glowing ethereal wings, he can teleport, and has defensive powers for himself and others, but he can barely string together a few words at a time and nobody in civilized society wants to have anything to do with him. Citizen Dawn and her group isn't really "civilized society" though. She gives him a job offer and if he proves himself she'll give him a home (but even that's stretching things - Hammer & Anvil are often out on assignment rather than being "home"). The job is to get Hayden Turk out of prison, which his teleportation powers let him accomplish with little trouble. She winds up pairing them up permanently as Hammer and Anvil (with a big part of Anvil's job being to "point" Hammer at things as he's too chaotic to do stuff on his own - he'd burn everything if left to his own devices, so Anvil makes sure he just burns the stuff he should be burning).
- Back to the present, Anvil arrives back in the current hideout with Assault, Battery, Slash, and Burn. Dawn heals everybody and sends them back out into the city to "prepare the way" for her return and that she'll be joining them shortly.
Sunrise #7, December 29
- Blood, Sweat, & Tears are actually getting around to the ritual that they stole the bodies in order to conduct. They're set up in a secluded section of Legacy Park. It's still unclear what it's actually supposed to do, though, but it's probably bad and they're probably in over their heads as well.
- Dawn is still at the construction site hideout, getting more recruits.
Sunrise #8, January 5
- Dawn's got some new Citizens for us to meet - four of particular note: the Seasons. They each get their own issue of backstory starting with...
- Brooke Myers was a sweet little 12 year old girly girl and she loved her kitten, Mittens. Then one day Mittens was hit by a car. Brooke rushed out to the street and scooped up her beloved pet. As she stroked its broken body, it began knitting itself back together, healing until Mittens was as good as new. When she showed her parents that Mittens was all better they were justifiably alarmed, but unfortunately their alarm took the form of them thinking Brooke a monster and were scared of her.
- Dawn was not scared of her, though, and took her in and she's now Citizen Spring.
Sunrise #9, January 12
- The issue opens with another of the newly-introduced Citizens, Summer, walking into a gated community in Megalopolis. She's got a chip on her shoulder about people "having everything" and her wanting to destroy it. Flashback to...
- Ember Smith always felt that she got the short end of the stick in life - that everybody else got better stuff than she did. She had to put up with secondhand clothes, no cell phone of her own [remember that this story is early 2000, cell phones weren't ubiquitous yet even in the "present" of the story], less allowance than her peers, and even once she was an adult she wasn't paid as well and missed out on promotions that others got. This obviously had nothing to do with her terrible attitude. One day she was busy glaring at a coworker and wishing that she could just hate this person to death, the person suddenly burst into flames. She saw this as a pleasing development as now she can just hate everything to death.
- Dawn can make use of this and so gives her a shot as Citizen Summer. Back in the present Summer goes about laying waste to the fancy neighborhood and everyone in it.
Freedom Five #597
- Slash, Burn, Assault, and Battery are all back in the fray (somewhat jarring for FF readers not also reading Sunrise as they had last been seen defeated and here they are again healed up). They're just out in force, wrecking up the place as they move towards the city center. They're not a diversion, it's not just general chaos, they're "paving the way for something". The heroes are still trying to get Dawn's location from them, but the response they get is "oh, don't worry, she's coming."
- Then there's a few pages of Parse over in Freedom Tower. She's monitoring the situation, sees that there's a pattern here, but can't quite put her finger on what it is. She retreats into a back room to work things out.
Sunrise #10, January 19
- Citizen Autumn walks into Legacy Park as well, with the plants dying as she passes.
- Willow Taylor's backstory shows her enjoying being out in nature/the woods (which she prefers to the company of people). As time passes she finds that her very presence is enough to cause things to wither and die. In response, she moves to the city (thinking that will minimize the damage), but even there she notices that people get sick if they're around her.
- Dawn finds her and offers to teach her how to focus her power, to control it (sparing what she loves, but destroying what she hates - just the kind of pep talk you want from a mentor).
- In the present, we see all plant life in Megalopolis wither and die, starting in Legacy Park, but in a spreading wave throughout the city.
Sunrise #11, January 26
- Gail Benson was born "dead" - pale blue, cold to the touch, not breathing. No signs of life whatsoever. As her mother was crying in grief over her baby, Gail's eyes (her creepy, creepy white eyes) opened, she let out a single quiet coo, and fell asleep again. She grew up like a "normal" girl. She's always cold and distant and didn't talk much. Pale blue skin, white hair and eyes, and exhibited no emotional reactions to anything. Other kids didn't like her because she was weird.
- One day when she's a teenager, some religious zealots decide that she's some "demon child" in the house and so burn it down with the family inside. She is able to get out (just simply walking out the front door), but her parents die in the fire. Now she has an emotional reaction, and it's fury. She freezes the mob in a blast of cold. Dawn finds her and takes her in.
- In the present, a new hero comes on the scene for the big fight ongoing. Ra, last seen (outside of his solo adventures) in the War of Heliopolis story a few years prior arrives and attacks Dawn. [Wait, how did he find her? Last I caught her location she was still hanging out in her hideout.] Big fight, she's throwing fiery energy at him - which he kind of mocks her for, because "god of the sun". Here's where Winter comes in, though, and she starts blasting away with ice/cold and quickly shuts him down and traps him in ice. Dawn has other things to attend to and leaves.
Sunrise #12, February 2
- Ra escapes! He blasts his way free and fights the Seasons as a group.
- Scene change to Insula Primalis. Citizens Truth and Dare (also new characters) are setting up some equipment and are bickering.
- About 15 years earlier in the publication history (which, of course is different from 15 years of in-setting time), we got the Visionary story which detailed Project Cocoon and then 5 years later the Dreamer event went into the main timeline's version of it. In the current flashback we get the story of Amelia Gordon, a test subject for the Project, who gave birth to twins who were powerful right away: Gregor and Gene.
- Gregor can project light shields around his body that protect him as a kind of energy "plating". This allows him to protect himself, but he can also project them a little farther to protect others.
- Gene's powers let him create a kind of negative energy tendrils that he can "tag" an opponent with, making them more susceptible to injury, almost like a curse.
- They grew up in Project Cocoon, training and learning to use their powers. They also did not get along at all. Eventually, Gene heard rumors of a powerful person who led other powerful people, and this appealed to him more than service to the unpowered people running the Project. He attacks some guards, his brother, and blasts a hole in the wall to escape. Eventually he joins up with the Citizens and becomes Citizen Dare.
- Gregor, recognizing that while he and his brother didn't get along they're still brothers and he needs to help protect Gene (if only because of his brother's headstrong nature), breaks out too and follows. He joins up with the Citizens as well as Truth, mostly just to keep an eye on his brother who doesn't actually want him there.
- Back to the present, Truth tells Dare to go check on the Citadel while he finishes up with the equipment. More bickering ensues.
Freedom Five #598
- Dawn herself finally shows up in the city center with a bunch of Citizens backing her up. She declares the city to be hers. She forms an impenetrable energy field around her own body and a dome-like one over the area. The heroes can't get through the dome (even a fully-charged Omni-cannon from Bunker) and she continues monologuing about how slowly but surely they'll be taking over the city and that anybody not on board with this can evacuate or surrender (or join up, the Citizens will welcome anybody with powers after all).
Sunrise #13, February 9
- Parse has an idea, though. Dawn's power comes from the sun, and as luck would have it, there's a solar eclipse due to happen which should give them an opening as the shield should go down while the sun is blocked. The rest of the issue is mostly the heroes protecting bystanders and running out the clock until the eclipse.
Sunrise #14, February 16
- The eclipse happens and we learn 3 things pretty quick. Dawn was expecting the eclipse and could feel it coming. The shield isn't coming from her sun-related powers, but from some other source. She is going to use the power of the eclipse in new ways as the quality of the light she's absorbing is different. She starts to glow with a new kind of iridescence (see her oversized villain card art). We get some flashbacks to prior eclipses she's dealt with - she's got to release the energy to avoid overload, but that still means there's a lot of stuff she's outputting in a hurry. Here, she's using this energy shield effect to help contain it, allowing her to build it up more to power a few specific things.
Sunrise #15, February 23
- The first thing she's building to: she channels power from the eclipse into the bodies that Blood, Sweat, and Tears had been preparing. The reanimated bodies aren't really zombies, but are puppets to Dawn's will and aren't very coordinated as they stumble around glowing with a creepy blue/green/purple energy coming from Dawn. So, now the heroes are dealing with an invulnerable Dawn, her minion Citizens, and now an army of walking corpses.
- Parse finally figures it out. All of this, everything has been a distraction. They need to go back to Insula Primalis. She heads off with a few other heroes.
Sunrise #16, March 1
- Parse and the others arrive and are met by Citizen Dare and a bunch of the general unnamed mob of Citizens (more like what we would have seen in prior Dawn stories). Bunker launches some grenades and blows up a bunch of stuff, and it's down to the heroes vs. the important Citizens for the story.
Freedom Five #599
- Megalopolis stuff is still going on, the heroes fighting Dawn, the Citizens, and the undead. We get some really over-the-top stuff done by heroes to try to get through the shield (like Captain Cosmic making these enormous constructs, plowing through the amassed Citizens, and it then shattering on the shield to no effect).
- On Insula Primalis, the fight between the heroes and the Citizens there is in progress. Eventually they defeat the bad guys (including Dare) and make their way to where Truth has set up the device we saw earlier. He's there with his shields up - both his personal one that he's set up as a bubble around himself and the machine, but another he's channeling directly into the machine. This is the source of the shield protecting Dawn - he's generating it here and it's being projected by the machine to Megalopolis.
- The heroes attack. This is where we get the prediction from Parse that if Fanatic hits that shield something will break, which turns out to have meant Absolution rather than Truth's shield. It's still part of the overall effort to take down Truth and shut down the machine.
- Back in Megalopolis the shield goes down, Dawns arms snap out to the sides as all of the energy from the eclipse starts pouring out of her into the sky.
Freedom Five #600
- Dawn unleashes a Devastating Aurora with the eclipse energy - she's got to do something with this energy right now as it's either try to contain it (which will kill her), release it for no effect, or do something with it. This is as bad a thing in the comics as you'd imagine from it's status as "that card" in the game (not just its effect on the heroes, but on the city in general). As she's continuing to be charged by the eclipse, she can keep this going for a long time, which is even more of a problem than usual.
- The heroes are continuing to fight against the various Citizens and whatnot, but things are not going well as if they're hit by one of these energy beams that's pretty much it for them in this fight.
- Eventually Visionary (now obviously Dark), comes back through a portal she's opened from wherever Anvil had deposited her (and there's a note here that she's been dealing with stuff over in another title in the intervening time) and Mind Spikes Dawn, ending the fight [so this is likely to be a retcon in the eventual update of game content as "Mind Spike" as it stands has non-Dark Vis and the flavortext cites Sunrise #11]. The remaining Citizens fall back, Anvil gets Dawn and the others out of there as they retreat to lick their wounds.
- We've been told that Dawn does not discriminate between people who were born with powers and those who acquired them later on, but do Citizens have to have been human? Would she accept a powered Thorathian, a Maerynian, a Magman, Man-Grove, or a robot like Omnitron-X? She's likely human-only. She's definitely prejudiced in a weird way that's hard to map to real-world concepts. She'd probably like powered non-humans more than baseline humans, but powered humans are the top of the food chain as far as she's concerned. It's not like she even treats the Citizens as equals - they're a step below her and the fact that there are "steps" like this at all show what's wrong with her world-view.
- How did the Citizens treat the non-powered support staff on the Mobile Defense Platform? They were treated basically like slaves, which is pretty much business-as-usual for how Citizens treat people. At least under Baron Blade the staff would have had lip-service "you work for the glory of Mordengrad" or whatever and things are worse under the Citizens.
- The flavor text on the Seasons' various cards are all from the same issue and are each made of rhyming couplets; was this just their grand introduction or are they as insufferable as Lillian Corvus as far as poetry goes? This was their introductory issue and there's a lot of the four of them doing this sort of weird rhyming speech - something is off about them.
- A lot of their powers are stated or clarified somewhere (say their Sentinel Tactics bios), but some aren't; can we get clarification on Truth, Dare, and Autumn? Are the former psychic-based due to their affiliation with Project Cocoon? It sounds like Autumn is the only Citizen without control over her powers, but does she learn control eventually? Project Cocoon wasn't solely dealing with psychic powers, but we got the description of their powers in the overview. Autumn does eventually learn some control - it's still just going on around her all the time, but she can both focus it and rein it in (say, by the time she's on the team with the other Seasons she can successfully not kill her teammates). Even then, her presence would weaken her teammates if it weren't for the presence of Spring whose healing powers offset it.
- The Citizen Dawn episode mentioned that Spring is somewhat suffering from Stockholm Syndrome - what do the Citizens do to keep her on board and do heroes ever try to convince her to quit? Spring doesn't have the same tendencies as the others (Winter is the most "other" of them all, Autumn is destructive by her nature even though she would prefer not to be, Summer is destructive by her nature and is on board with it, and Spring is restorative by her nature). Despite this, when they're a team she feels a connection to them. Something about this group is more "family" than she's felt anywhere else. Later stories would go into their background a bit more - they were all born on the same day, etc. They're not related, but there's an innate magicality that connects them - "they're all pieces of each others' puzzle".
- Has anyone other than Expatriette successfully left the Citizens? Nope.
- Given the similarity between Hammer's and Summer's powers and Hammer's prominence as a dangerous minion, is he more powerful than her or is he simply more ruthless? The latter - if anything he's less "powerful" in that she can ignite things by glaring at them and he's more up-close-and-personal with his fire (although given that he's manipulating it himself once it's generated, even his limited form of control of the fire like throwing it is more than she has). Neither of them is "magical" fire (the weirdness is that they can summon fire from nothing, but once they set something else ablaze it's just normal fire). One thing in his favor here is that she has to hate something to the point where it bursts into flames while he can just snap his fingers anytime.
- Given the general motif of the group and what we know of Dawn's resurrection powers and how Gloomweaver's zombies work, are Blood, Sweat, and Tears undead or what? Their power is magic that comes from Gloomweaver that has changed them into these new forms (onyx, steel, bone). Blood is a mage who's made of onyx now. Sweat can do some interesting heat-transfer stuff with her metal form. Tears is a terrible melee combatant with her claw-like bone hands (which she can regrow if they're broken somehow). They're not "undead", but it's kind of an inverted version of that (is "unalive" a thing?). [Christopher also drops a "They put the Romantic in 'necromantic'." here, which is terrible and perfect at the same time.]
- When together Blood, Sweat, & Tears are able to lock down entire teams of heroes; what is it about the three of them together that makes them such a threat? One, their powers are complimentary. Two, they know each others' powers well. Three, they're magicians and working together makes everything more effective - their individual powers (based on their new bodily materials) aren't what lock down the heroes, it's their magical abilities that does so.
- In the Dawn episode we learn that the Citizens we fight in the game aren't all of the Citizens, merely the "military"; what are the rest of the Citizens like? Kind of a cult/secret society of whatever kinds of supremacists you can imagine. We know about Citizen Gate who was just a teleporter from the Expatriette episode. There are others with more utilitarian powers and so aren't going to go into battle. There's just a kind of sea of faceless Citizens who are there and make the whole "society" work, but that society is also very hierarchical (they're above everyone else, but some are above others within it as well).
- It looks like this limited series goes for over 12 issues, this seems dodgy from a publishing standpoint so how did this get off the ground? It's a longer series in terms of issues, but it's got a known endpoint and they do it quickly (weekly comics aren't common) so it's not like they're waiting for the numbers to come back on the early issues before moving forward. It's likely that a number of retailers did get burned by the later issues as some readers realized that they could just read the Freedom Five book and get enough of it. On the other hand, the eventual omnibus collection of the whole story probably sold well. This was planned out as the way to hit issue #600 of FF on a major story note, but the story the writers came up with was way too much to fit into the remaining issues and so they resorted to the weekly Sunrise title to get it all out there in time.
- It's not really explained in her episode of the podcast, but what is the actual source of Citizen Dawn's powers? Is she an Omega or just special? Not an Omega. It was frequent for comics writers to introduce a character with ill-defined origins and only have a later writer come back to fill it in. Also the early podcast episodes were much less in-depth about this stuff. Citizen Dawn's intro in the mid-60s gives her story - there's general concern about all these new nuclear power plants going up and that's chosen as the explanation for her powers, just environmental exposure to nuclear radiation. It's very surface level, but it was never seen as something that needed to be redone.
- We heard that once she was caught by F.I.L.T.E.R. at one point, but it was all a ploy for her to recruit more Citizens; how was she captured? Didn't F.I.L.T.E.R. think something was up when they were able to catch her without running afoul of Hammer and Anvil too? Not everybody is aware that Hammer and Anvil are around so much (also Christopher and Adam play up their importance due to their status as the physical models for them) - they're just not that big a deal in comparison to Dawn herself (other than them being introduced early and being the ones who go out on their own, still in her name, while she's out of the picture - they're the most important minions, but they're still minions). F.I.L.T.E.R. is based on the ability to take down powered beings, so they don't think it's odd that they take down Dawn; they think they can take down anybody and are caught off-guard when Anvil 'ports in to free Dawn and a bunch of the other inmates.
- Did Citizens Pain and Gain have any children of their own? Pain and Gain were a happy couple, but didn't have any of their own yet. See the Citizen Dawn episode for more on that story.
- On "Return with the Dawn" card in Sentinel Tactics Dawn is reanimating Citizen Pain (Expatriette's father), is this to mess with Expat? Why now? This sort of "dangling your dead father as a puppet in front of you" seems a little petty for Dawn, right? Some misconceptions that were easy to miss in the prior episode - she's not "puppeting" Pain, but using the other actual raising from the dead thing that was mentioned in passing. She's got multiple OblivAeon shards at this point and completely drains a few of them to amplify her own powers to the point where she can do this. This is not pleasant and is actual "reality harming" to do. They don't want to get into the Future too much here, but they will say that this is tied into the "downfall of this reality". The intention here is to "reboot" reality a bit - the whole offspring thing didn't really work, so she'll make reality itself her offspring and she needs Pain's power set (amplified and pointed at reality itself) to do so. This is a bad idea, much like the original Dawn/Pain idea.
- Who's the Citizen on "Searing Lance" and what's the story? That's Citizen Lance. Get it? She's not only creating a lance out of searing energy, but she's using it to sear Lance! She'd sent him to spy on Expat and Setback - he did a bad job and accidentally revealed that Dawn was trying to interfere in their lives somehow.
No Future section as a story arc episode doesn't really make sense to have one.