The Letters Page: Episode 72
EXPLOSIONS! POUCHES! LOUD NOISES! It's time to get EXTREME!!!
Run Time: 1:52:54
Today's episode is so ridiculously off the chain. There are also lots of actual chains.
We tell a bunch of EXTREME stories. It gets BRUTAL. This isn't your DAD'S episode!
Really, buckle in, kids - things are about to get WICKED SICK.
In the first ten minutes of the episode, we knock out one of the most BADASS stories you've ever heard... and we're just getting started!
We get to your TOTALLY BADICAL questions just before an hour in.
- Prime Wardens
- The Hippo
- Blood Countess Bathory
- Setback/Pete Riske
- Mr. Fixer/The Fixer
- Absolute Zero
- Vernon Carter
- Road Rats, Devil Bikers, Skunk Apes, and assorted other Bio-Mutants
- Baron Blade
- Plague Rat
- La Comodora
- Iron Legacy
- Zhu Long
- Argent Adept
- (non-canonical) Omnitron-Xtreme
- Captain Cosmic
- The Dreamer
- Judge Mental
- Grand Warlord Voss
- In March 2004, the recently relaunched Disparation title has issue #19 featuring the Prime Wardens. The term "Xtreme" does not appear at this point (although the guys are going to be using it liberally throughout regardless). The book opens in medias res with Fanatic, in what we know as her golden Xtreme costume, being nailed to a cross by Apostate, who is in this wicked bone armor. Apostate is monologing about his throne and how the blood of all will belong to him. Everything is "hyper-'90s pastiche" and really aggressive from the outset.
- After a page of that, we transition to the rest of the team who are in the middle of a fight with the Hippo (who's using a huge sword with two blades with one hand and a gun with the other), Ruin (wielding a cool electric bass, unleashing massive sound attacks from the speaker bank behind him), and Blood Countess Bathory (unrecognizable at first as she's currently just this giant bat creature flying around and biting off civilians' heads). In case you haven't noticed, this is a relatively violent issue. The heroes prevail (destroying the wall of speakers and killing Ruin with his own guitar, knocking the Hippo into the distance, and ripping off the Blood Countess' wings in the process, at which point she reverts to a more normal form, although with messed up arms as a result of the trauma). Apostate had sent these three as a distraction to keep them away from what he was up to.
- They find him seated upon his dark throne (made of bones, flesh, and blood-stained stone - "mostly skulls" - itself on a dais suspended by massive spikey chains above lava [it's hard to tell how much of this is serious and how much is just them being as over-the-top as they can be in the moment of description). The heroes attack, Apostate gestures at them and their bodies contort in unnatural ways as he controls their very blood. He describes his throne as a "blood antenna" while he gloats - "All whose hearts beat serve me!"
- Then, unobserved by the villain, Fanatic's eyes begin to glow before her entire body erupts in holy flame. She flexes against her bonds and breaks the cross itself. Freed, she swoops down and attacks. His sword is currently driven down into the stone of the dais with "blood lightning" arcing off of it. He tries to summon it to himself, but every time he attempts to do so Fanatic manages to attack him so as to disrupt the action. Eventually, Fanatic pulls the piece of the cross that's still attached to her wing off (like, pulls the spike that was pinning her to the cross the rest of the way through) and then stabbing Apostate through the heart with this bloody spike. She then says "No more" as she kicks him over the edge and into the volcano.
- The rest of the team recovers and they start to talk to Fanatic about how she saved them, etc. Then she draws Condemnation from the stone and holds it aloft as the blood lightning power surges into her. The rest of the team looks on in shock. The issue ends.
- Now, this was just a one-shot story that they had this heavy-metal musician guy come in to write and the artist was brought in from some outside magazine that was known for its more out there art/comics (generally featuring greater levels of violence and nudity) for the job. They were given free rein to do pretty much whatever they wanted to do for this one issue, and this is what they came up with. This led to a lot of reader questions for the Disparation letters page - largely along the lines of "what was that?!?". The normal Sentinel Comics team has to explain the situation, but then also start to fit this into the overall canon of Sentinel Comics. They come up with the name "Xtremeverse" [in this context /ɛksˈtrɛməvɚs/ where /ɛ/ is the same vowel as in "dress" as opposed to /ɛksˈtriːməvɚs/ with the first two syllables making up the word "extreme" which is more common when the guys say it elsewhere] and things get pretty out-of-hand as the Disparation letters page is overrun by this topic for the better part of a year.
- As a result, they return to the setting in issues #34-35 in June and July of 2005. These are another pair of one-shot stories, just in the same setting (and with more "normal" writer and artist teams from the comics industry instead of the Heavy Metal-esque team that originated it).
- The aesthetic that comes across as #34 gets going involves a city that has big monolithic, Brutalist buildings. They city built on the bones of itself over generations. The sky is black with smog, lit only by neon. Again, we start in the middle of things with a man all but dragging a boy struggling to keep up as they flee from something. The man is recognizable as Ambuscade (metal arm, a tattered and faded blue jacket with green patches, pouches, heavy boots, a big knife, close-fitting helmet with a visor he can flip up). He calls to the boy, Pete Riske, to keep up. They're in Rook City, running along a high street (literally high as the city has been built on itself over time and it's seemingly bottomless if one looks down), eventually ducking down an alley that's more of a catwalk.
- It begins to snow - no, not snow. It's feathers, but kind of "misty" feathers. Ambuscade notices this and curses the MistFeathers [the guys give him a really gravelly voice throughout this segment]. From the mist at the end of the "alley" emerge two, almost twin-like ladies. One has mostly white hair with a black streak and the other has mostly black hair with a white streak. They wear long, wispy gowns and look like they're part of the mist. Ambuscade pulls a gun and fires at them to no effect. They whisper "Give us the child" in creepy unison. Ambuscade shoots them some more. One of the women disappears, the mist giving something like a flourish of wings as she does so, and she reappears behind them and reaches out her creepy, long-fingered hand to grab Pete who cries out. Seeing this, Ambuscade grabs the boy and escapes by falling backwards off the side of the catwalk, crashing down through/off of various things on the way.
- They fall for a while, but get up only slightly bruised at the end of it. Ambuscade collects Pete, mutters "Lucky" and they head off in search of some wheels to get away. Ambuscade knows where they are and that they're close to "the Fixer's lair" - once inside we see this twisted old creature, almost a morlock like figure, obviously blind and using a cane. It's an auto shop of some sort and they ask for a ride, but Ambuscade's money isn't sufficient here, he wants Pete's qi as payment, which Ambuscade refuses, but offers his own. The old man grabs Ambuscade's face and drains the energy from him, growing younger and less decrepit in the process (leaving Ambuscade drained and gaunt in the process). They get a bike and ride out of there - a "Grip-Lock" bike in fact where small laser spikes emerge from the rubber tires so as to better grip the road surfaces (they're illegal, in fact, because they not only tear up the roads, but are capable of running up the sides of buildings and reaching different levels of the city, which is something of a caste system and so travel between them is not allowed.
- They travel up a few levels and are driving along when a group of bikers comes up from behind, whooping it up as they do so. Swinging chains, shooting guns, etc. Bad news. It's the Expatriettes - a gang of women bikers with purple hair and eye-patches (different styles so individuals are distinguishable, but they're all clones). The guys are on the gang's turf and more continue to join the chase as it goes on, and the gang is gaining on them as they have better bikes.
- The lead Expatriette manages to swing a chain so it wraps around Ambuscade's neck and so now he's got to try to untangle himself while driving. He guns the throttle, which causes a massive flaming backfire that engulfs her bike, taking her down. So, now Ambuscade is dragging her and her bike behind him by the chain still wrapped around his neck. Suddenly, he hits the brakes and the gang zips past them. In the process the downed bike flips overhead and, as it passes, Ambuscade draws and shoot the chain, breaking it. The bike lands in the grouped-up Expatriettes and Ambuscade unloads into it, causing it to explode. The guys stand up (the bike's wrecked, Pete's bleeding from a cut on his forehead, Ambuscade is still in rough shape from the payment to the Fixer, but is now also dealing with the minor bullet wounds and other fallout from this chase), but they're still standing.
- Scene transition to Ambuscade kicking in a door to a place that would be fancy if it wasn't in run-down shape (like, marble floors and stuff, but the walls are in disrepair and half of the neon sign is out - that sort of thing). It's still the nicest place we've seen of Rook City to this point and there are things like guards and metal detectors. Ambuscade "has an appointment, dropping off one" and they usher him and the boy to the back where he hands Pete off to some scientist types with some kind of lab set up. Pete objects, calling out that Ambuscade had told him he was taking him somewhere safe. "You'll be safe here, kid. Or something. I dunno." Ambuscade takes "the usual payment" in the form of a case with the RevoCorp logo on it and that contains drugs of various delivery methods (syringes, some kind of inhaler, etc.). He immediately uses something and looks healthier right away, although with visibly green veins. He turns and walks out into the rain - "Nobody's safe in this town, kid."
- So, that was a story with no "good guys" in it. Fun times.
- Issue #35 starts with a shot of an empty wasteland (no caption setting the stage or anything). Then a car zips by. Interesting storytelling mode here: it's a "silent" issue with everything conveyed through the visuals.
- This dirty, grizzled, guy with stubble and dirty blond hair is driving along through the wasteland in a Plymouth Road Runner with an American flag painted on the hood (although with a few stars blacked out). He's got a silver ring dangling from the rear view mirror.
- We then see this giant convoy in the distance behind him. Tractor-trailers, trucks hauling cargo containers stacked on cargo containers stories tall with people hanging to the sides of them, just lots of stuff and at the center of it all is a massive water tanker.
- As things go along, half-a-dozen hot-rods covered in spikes pull up alongside the convoy and start making trouble. The occupants of these are mutated rat-people who start lobbing Molotov cocktails or spraying acid at the convoy vehicles. The grizzled guy in the lead car does a sweet move, swinging the car around and throwing it into reverse so he's now driving backwards, maintaining his position relative to the convoy, and attacks. He pulls a lever to bring out some machine guns to open fire on the Road Rats, drawing their attention.
- They converge on the leader. One reaches out to claw at his car, at which point it grabs the Rat's arm and pulls him out of his vehicle. Then reaches over to grab the Rat's car, crumpling the frame as he throws it over to hit another of their cars. He's clearly super-strong.
- The chase goes along a cliff and he and one of the Rat cars are jockeying for position. Trying to bump each other off the road. Standard car chase stuff.
- He eventually takes them out and the convoy stops. There's a heated argument going on and we see the grizzled man take off his jacket. He's in a white undershirt, but we now see that he's got a lantern tattoo on his shoulder. We see him yelling and pointing emphatically at a map. He knows where to go, but the other people are doubtful and afraid. People point back the way they came, but he points the way forward. He pulls out a piece of what was at one point a much larger map, just a stained corner. On it we see a green area with an M next to it. He's going there one way or another, and the others throw up their hands and continue to follow.
- The sun sets and they drive into the night. The view pulls back and we see more lights behind. More Road Rats with bigger vehicles, including one huge monster of a thing that's like a huge garbage truck that's had a cement mixer welded to the top. This is also where we actually learn the name "Road Rats" as this big truck has "Road Rats" spray-painted on the side (along with other stuff which require Trevor to get busy with the bleep sound at around 33 minutes in - although the comic would employ the time-honored tradition of using Symbol Swearing). [Note from the future: they wanted to say something about the lighting from this scene - it's at night and so the individual vehicles have their headlights, but additionally the water tank is lit up separately, and this big Road Rat truck has giant, sickly yellow floodlights that are used to light the scene. There's lots of torches and explosions as well, but keep that in mind for how things are visible.]
- The Rat hot-rods pull alongside the convoy again, now accompanied by dirt bikes driven by guys that look more like the New Jersey Devils than than Rat Beasts. The dirt bikes have harpoon guns mounted on the handles and they use them to attach to various convoy vehicles to try to pick them off (as the convoy as a whole is relatively defensible). In response, a figure wrapped in bandages (like, thick canvas rather than gauze) emerges from one of the large cargo container vehicles, reaching into one of her numerous belt pouches and produces a knife. In one motion she cuts the harpoon cable and throws it to impale the dirt bike driver's head. She then leaps from one cargo truck to another, dropping smoke bombs on the way, and continues to cut more cables and throw more knives.
- Lots of the Devil bikers crash in this chaos, but others manage to drive up closer and throw bags onto one of the container trucks. These bags contain a bunch of little critters. These are slick little sticky guys who crawl around the vehicle, eating the metal frame of it (these are Amphibious Chupacabras). Eventually, the vehicle's structure is compromised and it collapses (and explodes because Xtreme) - the container trucks are like living quarters for the convoy, so this represents a large number of deaths.
- Back to the big garbage/cement truck, it's being driven by (and is full of) Skunk Apes who pile out of the back and start jumping to other vehicles. They're strapped with bandoliers full of road flares. They're also soaked in gasoline and they will jump onto a convoy vehicle and ignite a flare, then they explode.
- The convoy releases a motorcycle with a rider in red and black leathers and helmet. The rider guns it and a lot of electricity arcs off of her and into the bike - it goes very fast as she's channeling this into it, appearing as just a streak. She's zipping around, pulling Skunk Apes off of vehicles (of course they explode when they hit the ground) or slashing Rat car tires.
- The Road Rats are intent on the water tanker, though, and make some headway towards it and eventually get some members on board despite the actions of the notable defenders. At this point a figure in shoddy, blackened metal armor emerges on it. He's got tubes attached to the tanker, running to the armor and a rifle-like weapon that he uses to fire large ice spikes at the attackers.
- An Abominable Snowman (wearing goggles and iron gauntlets) emerges from the cement mixer and leaps onto the tanker and starts punching (ignoring the ice gun guy). A convoy semi on tank treads (driven by a really old black man) pulls up alongside, at which point the sides of the trailer fall away to reveal a younger white guy with a crew cut and dog tags who's sitting in some kind of turret that takes up the entirety of the trailer. He flips some switches and starts firing at the Snowman and, after taking care of him, starts taking out the various attacking vehicles.
- One more big Road Rat big rig starts pulling up from the rear, and it's got all sorts of monsters and stuff painted on the sides. It closes the distance with the tanker and fires a giant flaming harpoon that strikes the armored guy on the tanker in the shoulder, pinning this guy to the side of the tanker.
- The motorcycle rider manages to cut off the big rig to prevent it getting closer and the bandaged figure jumps to the tanker and severs the harpoon line. Armored guy (who's still got a flaming harpoon through his shoulder) reaches down and reconfigures the ice gun, shooting a large orb in an arc that lands just in front of the big rig - when it lands it causes several square yards of ground to flash freeze in a layer of ice. This causes the big rig to spin out of control (and it's really top-heavy), toppling it over onto the people riding on it, and then it explodes.
- We see a bigger Road Rat than the rest - like 12 feet tall, 8 feet across and more rat-like than the others - walking along the top of the cement truck (which is turning, so it's walking to stay in place) and beating on an empty oil drum with a wrench. This seems to be a signal for this enormous worm creature to erupt from the ground, swallowing a convoy car and its occupants whole before burrowing back into the ground and then keeping pace parallel with the caravan, periodically grabbing other vehicles.
- The turret truck has meanwhile found itself the target of Skunk Ape attacks and is being overrun. The driver looks back to catch the eye of the man in the turret who gives a nod. The driver closes his eyes and throws another switch, at which point the whole thing explodes, taking out all of the skunk apes around it. We then see the man on the tanker has extricated himself from the harpoon situation and is trying to get back on top and the bandaged figure manages to get onto the cement mixer and squares off with the big Rat (who's discarded the drum, but still has the wrenches).
- The Plymouth driver is dealing with the fact that his car is overrun by Chupacabras and is almost down to the frame. The Mongolian Death Worm arcs overhead as it attacks another car, more Skunk Apes are attacking other vehicles. The whole situation is getting out of hand. There's a still moment as the driver takes in the situation - fires, explosions, death and destruction, and the silver ring dangling from his rear-view mirror. He reaches out to the ring, snaps the chain that held it as he takes it, and then flies up out of what was left of the car. In flight he punches right through the Worm, leaving him covered in gore, but killing it. He pauses briefly to take in the view of the convoy, and then starts swooping in to deal with things.
- Meanwhile, in the fight on the cement mixer, the bandaged figure makes a leaping attack at the rat, but it catches her and takes a bite out of her leg before she manages to kick it in the head with her other foot and get away, although now bleeding. The rat, on the other hand, gets its tail caught in the mechanism of the turning mixer and is dragged into it.
- The death of the Worm and the lead Rat represents a turn in the tide. Between the biker, the ice blaster guy on the water tank, the flying guy smashing stuff up, and the still-active bandaged figure, they manage to fight off the monsters. The convoy continues to be chased, but it's no longer as dire.
- As dawn breaks, they come into view of a large walled area. Laser turrets on the walls take aim on the remaining Road Rats and start picking them off. Doors slide open and inside things are green and beautiful. As the convoy pulls through we see a wrought iron sign overhead - they've finally arrived at Mordengrad. Inside we see fields being worked and whatnot. Things still look like they're built of scrap metal, but at least things are peaceful and green.
- As they reach the center of the area, there's a floating platform on which stands a man in a purple robe. He's lost and arm at some point and has some kind of wiry hook as a prosthetic. He's clearly giving some sort of speech to the people who have arrived. Then we see a shot from behind him looking out, at first the people look relieved, but then the next panel shows them in shock. Guards come and start putting them in manacles and collars (which if you look closely at the field workers they're essentially chain gangs).
- The leader of this place gestures for his minions to get on with it and turns to go. As the guards come to put the chains on the grizzled man with the lantern tattoo and silver ring he punches the guard, sending him flying into a wall. This gets the attention of the leader who turns back. The remaining heroes of the convoy look to one another, then charge. The end.
- There are other Xtremeverse stories (and they'll get to another brief one next), but those were the three really notable ones.
- In May 2012 we get issue #117 - this was the first time the Xtremeverse didn't take itself seriously. Well, I mean, all of the stories are making fun of this kind of over-the-top genre, but up to this point they were at least played straight within the comics themselves. This issue starts with a few pages of "suburban life in the Xtremeverse" - a guy grilling out behind his house. Only he's using like a raging pyre and he kind of has to fight the grill while he's doing it and has spikes and pouches on his apron. Another guy is mowing his lawn, but there are extra spinning blades coming off of every angle of the mower (and a closeup of his feet shows that even the blades of grass fight back). Somebody else is roller-blading to work, carrying a "laser briefcase". Just everything about the world is infected with this ridiculous nonsense. Prior to this, everything we'd seen of the setting had been either some kind of wasteland or giant mega-cities.
- Then the Bloodsworn Colosseum lands in these suburbs (like, on the suburb, crushing everything we'd just been looking at) - with flames and spikes and whatnot on the outside making it even more Xtreme than it normally is. We do see the people from the prior scenes inside the Colosseum fighting the gladiators (which are also more Xtreme than they normally are, which is saying something - a lot are now wearing luchador masks). Everything in this world fights all the time and so they immediately know what to do. That's pretty much the story (this is in the era when Disparation stories had Inverse Universe stories in the back-half), but it was the first time it was really played up as just how dumb this whole Xtremeverse thing was.
- There's another arc that's notable, but might be better suited to its own story. It runs from #150 [February '15, shortly after the Progeny event] through #155 and is about when La Comodora, whom the title is mostly about at this point, goes to the Xtremeverse because she needs something from there.
- What do the villains of the Xtremeverse look like? Plague Rat with a Mohawk? Baron Blade with a battle suit with spiky monster wheels and shoulder missiles? First off, that sounds "hella tight". Some of the Road Rats had Mohawks, and while we didn't see Baron Blade's battle suit, that sounds reasonable for what this version would have. A lot of the Xtremeverse stories have "...and then there's a fight that goes about how you'd expect" aspects to them - the comics are more about setting the scene than playing out the fights between combatants we already know.
- We know Xtreme Haka will eventually cease to exist due to how La Comodora created Haka in the first place, but this is the one we know about who actually has companions who would notice his disappearance - how do they react? The timing for this happening is very important. There's a one-shot featuring La Comodora and Chrono-Ranger doing time stuff (this is the issue that sees her end the Iron Legacy timeline and the one where she does the whole "creating Haka" thing). The chips are down and so she's going to go to all this "bad" time-travel shenanigans that she shouldn't be doing, but the alternative is the end of existence. This comes out "months, not years" before the end of the Multiverse era [Christopher throws out 2016 as the year - Freedom Five #800 comes out in December of that year] and the OblivAeon limited series is already in progress. Prior to this point, there was not any knowledge in the comics universe nor in the publishing meta-verse about what Haka's deal was. This was the first time an explanation was given, at the eleventh hour of this dire situation we finally get an origin for Haka, oh, but there's also only 2 Hakas. Writers doing stuff in other realities prior to this would have included a Haka if they wanted to, so we know about a number of them already, but after this point there's only supposed to be two. This means that when we see the Xtremeverse Prime Wardens' cameo in the background during the OblivAeon fight, Haka isn't there, only the other four. There's also no time to chit-chat about how anyone feels about it.
- When you guys say Xtreme in this context, you typically do so in a low, monster-truck-rally-announcer style voice - why not a higher-pitched hair-metal voice? They are mostly drawing on the "energy drink commercials and extreme sports" usage of the word. Christopher thinks that the hair-metal version is "legit" but Adam disagrees. While the aesthetic is definitely built on the metal foundations, the word "extreme" wasn't really used in that context. Christopher agrees that the "Mountain Dew with explosions" version is correct, but that the hair metal version isn't necessarily incorrect. [They joke a bit about the MistFeathers whispering it, which turns into a discussion involving a movie theater - the Wehrenberg theater chain had a standard thing that would run before the movie started that would include people repeatedly whispering "Wehrenberg" at the end - here's an example].]
- What is Xtreme Zhu Long like? Christopher: "He's a dragon that turns into a more bigger dragon." The description develops into some kind of mecha-dragon with lasers and missiles and stuff. The story beat would be that we see dragon-form Zhu Long and that seems normal we've seen that before. Then he transforms into this even bigger, more Xtreme dragon.
- What is Xtreme Argent Adept's instrument? A totally rad guitar. Kind of a spiky one with two necks and a pipe behind them that belches flame constantly.
- In earlier episodes you mentioned that Biomancer had a different name here, so what is it (and what else is different about him)? He's called Fleshmonger and he's the madman behind the Road Rats (and associated Wasteland critters) - they're the result of him taking the cryptids that were out there and combining them with people (so the general term is "Bio-Mutants").
- Anything special about Xtreme Apostate's mask (which we see on Fanatic's incap)? How else is he Xtreme? Actual demon minions in this universe? See the earlier story involving his blood antenna throne and whatnot. Yeah, he has those demonic creatures helping him out. Nothing really special about his armor, it's just part of the overall aesthetic going on here.
- Why the Prime Wardens as the Xtreme team we get to see? Why not Dark Watch who could use some additional variant cards and were already pretty close to the dark and gritty feel of the type of comics being parodied? They don't make variants based on "who needs one", but on what the story is regarding them. Dark Watch only gets one set of variants because story-wise that's the right decision for the group. Part of the reason for doing the Prime Wardens instead of Dark Watch is because Dark Watch is already so close to that vibe that it would be "too easy". Note that in the story where we get to see them, the action is focused on Ambuscade as the protagonist (note, not the "hero" of the story) and we see his encounters with them. When they did the Xtremeverse thing they went with the most interesting option that still had a one-to-one connection with the characters, which was the Prime Wardens (although the Road Warrior thing they did with the Freedom Five was neat too, it just wouldn't have translated to the game as easily).
- Did any teams get a more radical name change or are they just the Xtreme Prime Wardens to indicate that they're from the Xtremeverse? Any similar additions to individual names, like Omnitron-Xtreme? Very few things actually get "Xtreme" in their names; in-comic the Prime Wardens are still just the Prime Wardens. The Freedom Five and Dark Watch don't really even exist as team names there. There is an Omnitron story, but it's not the hero version but a robots-try-to-take-over one - it's called Xtremetron. They don't want to take up too much time going into every Xtremeverse story much like they did in the Inverse Universe episode, but there's a lot less content for the Xtremeverse in comparison with that one. They would love to put out an Xtremeverse source book for the RPG eventually, though (more on that shortly).
- [The letter from "An Xtreme Fan" that starts at around 1:17:27 is in-character and hilarious] How do the Prime Wardens and their Xtreme counterparts size up to one another - like, how can this "normal" Haka stand up to the Xtreme "Dwayne 'the Hak' Johnson"? How is there an Xtreme Haka in the first place? The answer about having multiple Hakas was already given. Standard Haka is not nearly as Xtreme Haka, and that probably gives the latter an edge if they were to do toe-to-toe right up until the absorption thing happens and he ceases to exist. Xtreme Haka still goes to schools and does the "Scared Straight", anti-drugs program stuff.
- How do the two Fanatics stack up considering that it seems any Fanatic is already at least somewhat extreme? That's a fair question - they're all over-the-top extremists. This one is even more so. She'll straight-up murder people and nobody bats an eye in this universe.
- How about Argent Adepts? They're pretty evenly matched, but Xtreme AA does have those sweet shades and his guitar. How do you beat that?
- Are Xtreme Void Guard way cooler than Xtreme Prime Wardens? They would be cool (Xtreme Sentinels would be ok, Xtreme Void Guard would be amazing), they just arrive on the scene a bit too late to get any Xtremeverse coverage. Of course, the Void Guard variants where they've kind of given in to their OblivAeon shards pretty much are what the Xtreme versions would be. [End of Xtreme Fan letter coverage at around 1:22:20]
- Xtreme Fanatic looks more like a stereotypical super hero than the other versions (ditching the heavy armor for something more like spandex); what's the story there? Just trying for the most "early-'90s" look as they could achieve for one thing. Fanatic is already pretty extreme, what with the armor and giant sword. What's more extreme than that? Not caring about the damage, that's what. You can only push the armor thing so far (which they had in the Redeemer variant) - they could have pushed that more with spikes and whatnot, but they decided to go the other route and take the armor away whereas they took shirtless-wonder Apostate and armored him up. Keep in mind that by the time the Xtremeverse setting even exists in the first place we're in '05 or later and are firmly in the existing "making fun of the '80s and '90s" era of comics.
- Do the Xtreme Prime Wardens get any big hits in during their OblivAeon cameo? Not really, this sort of cameo were almost always just in wide shots and were generally "everybody is in there doing awesome stuff" panels (with Xtremeverse, Animalverse, Inverted Universe, Animated Universe, and more all in there).
- Does the defeat of OblivAeon mean that the Xtremeverse will never appear in the main comics again? Never say never. They love this thing and would like to have an opportunity to do more with it, they just don't have exact plans for what that would be at this time. A lot of "time and space" stuff would have to come into play before the Xtremeverse RPG source book.
- Is there a way to bring in Xtreme elements for the RPG without "breaking canon" other than just setting the game in that reality? Technically speaking at the moment, the answer is no - characters can't cross realities so nobody could go there and Xtreme characters couldn't cross over for a visit. They don't like giving that answer, though, so just do whatever you want in your home game. If you say your Xtreme Prime Wardens can generate enough power to break through reality, then do that thing. The canon that you play at your table is the canon of Sentinel Comics for your table. That's even the case for the card game - every game is canon in one universe or another. That being said, they do have plans for some of this stuff in the future that they don't want to get into right now [earlier episodes mention that the plot of Prime War will deal with it], but you don't have to wait for them to do the thing you want to do.
- Does Guise's card "X-treeeeeeeeme!!!" have to do with him encountering the Xtremeverse? Is this Xtreme Guise? That's not from the Xtremeverse Guise - it's the standard Guise making a meta reference to the fact that this stuff exists in comics, including the Xtremeverse.
- The Apostate and Captain Cosmic promos for Lazer Ryderz look very similar to their Xtremeverse counterparts; are they the Xtremeverse versions and, if so, does that mean we've seen Xtreme Visionary and K.N.Y.F.E. as well? The LR tv show was on in the '80s and '90s in the publishing meta-verse (and was owned by the same parent company as Sentinel Comics) - they crossed the characters over into the show and tweaked their appearances to make them suitably tubular, but they're not the same as the eventual Xtremeverse versions. They're certainly similar, but some of that is that the later Xtremeverse creative teams used the period-appropriate designs as starting points for Apostate and CC. Visionary and K.N.Y.F.E. are very much '80s-cartoon looks and weren't as suitable for Xtreme versions.
- Why does the Prime Wardens #1 issue cover art we have (in the hero achievements PDF) appear to have the Xtreme versions of the characters on it? That cover is, unfortunately, something of a bait-and-switch. There's a surprisingly low number of covers that they've actually done and some of them need their numbers adjusted. This one's number is fine, but PW #1 is one that's been reprinted a number of times [Christopher mentions it's an "iconic" significant one, so I imagine that this is meant to be volume 1 from the mid-80s, but it's not certain] and this is an alternate cover that features the Xtreme Prime Wardens, even though the timeline for that doesn't add up at all.
- Is there a minimum number of pouches necessary to join the team? Zero as Fanatic doesn't have any. Neither does Tempest. Leadership of the team is determined by pouch count, though. The real barrier to entry is body count.
- Does Captain Cosmic only generate golden guns and does he have more of them than some people have had hot dinners [this is a reference to the Video Game where he says something to this effect in the game-begins dialog if he's in first position]? Not only guns. Grenades, spikes, chains, probably a sweet motorcycle, fire, other extreme things.
- How can he say such things to the Dreamer? He says it to a lot of people. He's Xtreme enough to be mean to a little girl.
- How is Infinitor different in this reality? We don't get a story about that. The initial story in the first Xtremeverse appearance and their cross-over in the PW book in the lead-up to OblivAeon is the only real events involving them specifically. We don't even know how the first story's cliffhanger resolves to get Fanatic back on the team. You can imagine that he'd likely be extremely Xtreme.
- What plot does Judge Mental have against Captain Cosmic in this universe (seen on CC's incap art)? That's not Xtreme Judge Mental - it's just a story during the Xtreme crossover when Judge Mental does something to the normal CC and the Xtreme version happens to help out. Judge Mental is surprised to see that there's more than one Captain Cosmic.
- Does this Argent Adept yell his commands at the team, and why do they take his verbal abuse? Does he even bother to use piddly instruments when his voice is so Xtreme? He does have non-piddly instruments, such as his kick-ass guitar mentioned earlier. He does a lot of yelling, but so does pretty much everybody on the team. Verbal abuse is also kind of the normal level of discourse in the Xtremeverse.
- Does getting thrown into a volcano by Ambuscade pose a problem for Haka? Well, it's no picnic and he's down there a while, but he's Haka and manages to get out, but then is shortly after erased from reality.
- Was there a Tempersonation in this reality? Biomancer has a different shtick here and so no, there was no Tempersonation.
- Did Tempest laugh off being impaled by Leviathan and pummel him? You don't "laugh off" being impaled, but he did grit his teeth and commence the pummeling.
- How is Voss altered in this reality and if he's around why didn't Tempest take him out? "Grand Warlord Voss doesn't show up in the Xtremeverse at all. There is a whole period of Vosslessness."
- The Power Sources episode mentioned that the number of OblivAeon shards numbered in the teens prior to his defeat, but here we are discussing an alternate-reality Captain Cosmic (in addition to his various incarnations in more alternate realities); how does the small number of shards jibe with all these versions of him being around [for any young people listening, the end of this letter is a reference to this Simpsons scene]? There are a finite and very small number of events that result in the creation of OblivAeon shards. While OblivAeon is a Singular Entity, the shards are no longer part of this singular existence across realities and duplicate right along with whatever reality they're in when normal multiversal branch points happen (so the event that created the shard that empowered all Proletariats across all realities originated from a single event). Strictly speaking there are multitudes of copies of the less-than-20 unique shards. This kind of thing isn't really shown/discussed in the pages of Sentinel Comics as it's, well, a very hand-wavy and unsatisfactory explanation.
- What's the story with Xtreme Scholar? Thank you for asking. They haven't had a chance to really talk about many "heroes" today given the state of the world (the Freedom Five kind of are, but their story was also a very specific thing). Not many live to a ripe old age in the Xtremeverse, but there is an example that stands like a mountain atop a plateau - John Rhodes, known in this reality as The Edgeucator. He's going to teach you a lesson. He travels around the country and helps people. He's straight-up a hero in this world. He's pretty awesome.
- Is there any chance of Adam doing some Xtreme art on a livestream or anything for other characters, like Sky-Scraper or Dark Visionary? He would love to, it sounds like a blast. He sometimes does Twitch streams for fun where it might happen, and he's going to be doing more from the office, but it's not likely to happen there for the time being. There will be more art livestreams in the future and while there will be some Xtreme stuff, how much depends on what kind of projects they wind up doing regarding it.
- [Xtremely Angry Taxpayer letter at 1:43:57] What's a normal person supposed to do for peace and quiet? Can the average Joe get out to see the sights, like whomever is on Mt. Rushmore here? The "mundane" part of the world was covered in the Bloodsworn Colosseum issue. At least one face on Mt. Rushmore is different, instead of Roosevelt (who wasn't president) we have President Mustaine.
- Sentinel Comics Universe: they teased that they'd like to do stuff with the Xtremeverse in the RPG, but they're not going to get into those secrets just now.
- Mist Storm Universe: recent revelations related to Prime War leave them the option to tell us that there will be Xtreme elements coming in there eventually. It's a great world to pull from for this kind of story (and they'll be doing so with several realities).