The Letters Page: Episode 83
It's officially the beginning of the end.
Run Time: 2:16:09
We jump right into the story, not wasting too much time messing around as we often do. And! You get to hear hints of some new music! What could this music be? Only time will tell.
Initially, we go through snapshots of various events that lead up to OblivAeon. But, as we get deeper into the OblivAeon story, we zoom in more and more.
That said, it's half an hour into the episode before OblivAeon finally reaches Earth. And by that point, there have already been two major character deaths. Yikes!
Just past an hour and 51 minutes in, we get to some of your OblivAeon questions. More coming next week!
Upcoming cool event: on Thursday morning of this very week, we'll be doing a live stream for all of our Patreon supporters! We're releasing another "Create Something Live" episode in early October, and we're recording it on Thursday, September 20th, at 11 AM Central time. Only the Contributor level supporters will be in the chat, but the video will be available to everyone on the Letters Page Patreon.
Also, this morning, we're launching a Kickstarter for the great game Homebrewers. Go check it out. It's genuinely a blast.
Look forward to the second part of the OblivAeon story next week!
- "Tim Cosing"
- Prime Wardens
- Wager Master
- Sergeant Steel
- Kaargra Warfang
- Void Guard
- Nixious the Chosen
- Jansa Vi Dero, Bloogo, and Urdid
- Argent Adept
- The Freedom Five
- Aeon Master
- Dark Watch
- Mister Fixer
- Dark Mind
- Citizen Dawn
- Captain Cosmic
- Borr the Unstable
- Dr. Medico
- La Comodora
- Caleb Greene
- Iron Legacy
- Blood Countess Bathory
- Various alternate-reality versions of characters
- Tim Cosing starts sending hints to heroes about some terrible event to come. "Tim Cosing" is some unknown figure and there's not really communication with him. Even though the "OblivAeon Event" hasn't started yet in that nobody knows who or what OblivAeon is, but this is the beginning of the activity that could be considered part of it - the strange messages "from beyond the stars".
- The first visible, on-page thing that occurs related to it is the encounter that the Prime Wardens have with a strangely powerful/not leaking Empyreon during their voyage back to Earth from Dok'Thorath. This is the first Scion of OblivAeon that we've seen (or rather, the first that we've seen that was intended to be one - Infinitor and Omnitron II were retconned to have been Scions, but they're not part of OblivAeon's plans for this final event like Empyreon is). That's not to say that the readers know anything about Scions or anything.
- A semi-related event is the encounter that Scholar and Guise have with Wager Master on Dok'Thorath. Standard WM shenanigans - forcing the heroes to compete with one another in a series of games to try to drive them apart/make them enemies, but they will not budge in their friendship and won't turn on each other. Wager Master eventually says that this is boring, gives them a participation trophy and moves on [this is somewhat different from the description we got of this encounter back in Episode 41 regarding how Guise's collection of random junk models Wager Master losing during the setup phase/first villain turn].
- Sky-Scraper sneaking through a F.I.L.T.E.R. facility and encounters K.N.Y.F.E. who's been captured by Sergeant Steel. She breaks her friend out and they escape, stealing some intel and tech on the way out.
- Another: Lifeline arrives as the Bloodsworn Colosseum and helps Void Guard out, but also asks for their help with going to Earth to help out without everybody getting on his case about the attempted apocalypse. [Deepest Space #3 is cited as when he confronts Kaargra, which would be in May '15.]
- As mentioned in episode 40, Guise and Scholar (still on Dok'Thorath) encounter Nixious the Chosen, Scion of OblivAeon (explicitly called out as such for the first time). They do really well in this fight. That's a problem - OblivAeon isn't going to have his grand scheme start out with a loss, so he gets involved here more than he tends to do with his Scions (who are meant to be more independent agents that he can send out and not micromanage). So, he shows up in person and "kills" Guise by squashing him and then leaves again. Scholar saves Guise at the cost of his own life by merging his philosopher's stone with his friend. So, Scholar is the first casualty of OblivAeon.
- Around here is the first direct communication with Tim Cosing ("Scion's Aid" where he's just shown as being in this glowing ball of energy). His plan of "you should help me take his power" doesn't really win them over, but his counter of "Think, dummies. If I don't have it that means he has it." is a fairly persuasive one.
- We get the bit from the ARG where Legacy, Tachyon, and Wraith are taking a look at an OblivAeon shard that they took from some old Soviet base [although the ARG thing says Fort Adamant] that seems to corroborate Tim Cosing's messages that whatever is coming can be damaged. Tachyon's the only one to actually touch the thing which messes with her powers/perception of reality, but also gives her some amount of foresight about what this means and so she's the first to have a legitimate sense of dread about what's coming. [[[Podcasts/Episode 81|Multiverse Recap episode]] pegged this as JC #707, April '14 which is just after the big Progeny fight in Megalopolis, but maybe they take a look at this thing several times.]
- Around this time is when one Ivan Ramonat waltzes through security at Freedom Tower and makes himself known as Luminary and that he wants to help. Baron Blade hadn't been seen since his disappearance at the end of the Cosmic Contest when NightMist banished him into the Realm of Discord for the win. Here we get the story of what happened to him since then. The heroes also get the story of what he's been up to and his heroic exploits. The story he tells the heroes does not match the "objective" version that the readers see intercut with it. "We don't believe you." "If I wanted to kill you I'd have done it already." "You've been trying to do that for forever." Eventually what convinces them is that he doesn't want
his stuff Mordengrad the moonreality to be destroyed.
- Naturalist takes a journey of self-reflection, walking the Earth to find himself. He's eventually joined by Lifeline as a kind of atonement - they go around fixing ley lines and whatnot. They're not friends, but they do come to something of an understanding.
- This is around the time when we start seeing NightMist preparing her big spell. Harpy's there to help, but we're not privy to what exactly it is this ritual is supposed to do. Harpy's an accomplished magic user by this point, but not at NightMist's level in terms of experience or power (well, Harpy has an abundance of inherent power, but she lacks confidence in her ability to control it and lacks the breadth/depth of knowledge that NightMist has - she's been riding with "the training wheels on").
- The Lifeline returns to the Enclave to try to get more help. He arrives to find devastation - the Enclave has been attacked by Aeon Men and there have been casualties, including Bloogo. This is when Jansa
takes her ball and goes homedecides to take the Enclave outside reality to protect it. Lifeline stays behind to help protect reality, and gets some gear from other Endlings in the process (see all of the Equipment in his deck such as Urdid's axe). [The Cosmic Redemption one-shot cited on "Enclave's Tech" with Urdid giving him the axe was in February '15.]
- The attack on the world is about to really get going, but around here is where Wraith reveals her identity to her parents, Daniel and Rebecca Montgomery [I don't recall if we knew her mom's name already]. They're hanging out in a park in Megalopolis (her parents were visiting) when Aeon Men arrive and giant crystal pylons drop from the sky. Wraith goes off to change into her costume and fight. Her parents run for safety, see a bunch of children who were in the park too, and round them up to get them to safety. As this group is running across the street to take shelter, a ball of red energy crashes to the ground in front of them, resolving into a red cloak and a mass of black tentacles. It's Nixious and he starts coming after these civilians as the nearest targets. Daniel and Rebecca share a look and take off in opposite directions: Rebecca taking the children and Daniel throwing rocks, yelling, and otherwise trying to draw Nixious's attention. He eventually finds a discarded baseball bat in the park and brandishes it as part of his distraction - giving Nix a good ol' crack on a tentacle. Around now is when Wraith shows up, just in time to see her dad whack the tentacle monster with a bat and then get devoured by it. As the cloak opened up as part of that action we see some glowing runes on the inside - last episode they talked about the ritual sacrifices that his original cult did to channel the whole planet/society's death into him and then the sacrifices of all of the individual cult members remaining to make Nixious the Chosen - him devouring people like this is part of that same ritual. Wraith is pissed and lets this monster have it with everything she's got, including everybody's favorite in-joke, the hair dryer which would be almost too humorous for the moment except for the massive energy beam it actually produces. This is too much for Nixious (who was looking for easy targets, say a bunch of children playing in a park) and it's driven off.
- The Prime Wardens, meanwhile, are feeling some kind of impending doom. Argent Adept and Fanatic in particular are kind of sniping at one another. The readers see that this shadowy presence (Voidsoul) is behind this - invisibly swaying their emotions/sowing discord among them. This just isn't a terribly close-knit team and they kind of fall apart again. AA goes off to do Void stuff at the Nexus of the Void. Tempest goes to the Maerynian Refuge to help his people. The others are left together for now.
- Luminary starts trying to convince Tachyon and Unity that if this big cosmic entity is going to show up on Earth, they should drop the moon on it. No, really, that would totally work. He does not succeed in convincing them. Somewhere in this "Luminary talks science with Tachyon" stuff is when Sky-Scraper comes looking for help being even bigger - if she was big enough she could do something about those crystal things that have been dropped all over the place. Now, Tachyon is well aware of the dangers of messing with your powers, especially when it comes to changes to your physiology and can't recommend this course of action without extensive testing and they don't have time for that. Only a madman would move forward with such a reckless plan. Luckily (or maybe not so luckily) for Sky-Scraper, they happen to have a madman handy and he offers to help - which is when Luminary sets her up with her Extremist gear consisting of a pair of bracers, one of which will let her grow larger and the other much smaller than she'd been capable of prior to this.
- Next up, a formless black figure appears above Rook City and starts blasting stuff with weird red energy, deconstructing them. This is our first glimpse of Faultless. Writhe has to flee, but he's able to then get the word out on this new thing, but we're definitely getting into the realm of "enemies way more powerful than us" territory.
- Jansa contacts Lifeline one last time. She's leaving, so it's now or never if he wants to rejoin the Enclave, which he should because he really shouldn't be here when reality ends. He agrees with her that it would be better for him personally if he were to join her, but he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he didn't continue to try. She basically calls him a fool for remaining (in her more lofty way of speaking) and that's it, the Enclave is gone.
- This is also the end of the prelude to the OblivAeon event (and the guys joke at themselves at there being a "lead-up", an "intro", and now a "prelude" - there's an awful lot of "stuff that happens before the other stuff happens" phases). The key thing is that OblivAeon hasn't shown up other than that super-brief appearance on Dok'Thorath. This ends with…
- OblivAeon appears on Earth and destroys San Alonso. While the world is still reeling from that happening, OblivAeon shows up in Mordengrad. Luminary is, uncharacteristically, at loose ends here. This is exactly what he was worried about happening, but he thought he'd have more time to prepare. Even when he's losing he typically has that "I have the upper hand" self-assured swagger about him. He is shaken and is hurrying the other heroes along that they need to get the move on now. While, say, the Freedom Five are working with him, they've generally been expecting the backstab all along and his genuine worry at this situation makes them take more notice.
- So, the heroes teleport to Mordengrad and attack. OblivAeon ignores them completely. They are beneath his notice and nothing they do hinders him while he's protected by his shield. He does bring in Sanction, though; less as a response to the heroes and more just as a general "paving the way" for OblivAeon's plans. After this, he leaves and shows up in…
- Megalopolis. This quick movements from destroying San Alonso, to doing stuff in Mordengrad, to arriving in Megalopolis is very quick and very disorienting to readers/heroes. Now, Megalopolis has a lot higher hero density than many places and they attack - again to no effect due to his shield. He activates one of the crystal pylons. It grows and transforms and we learn that this is an OblivAeon Engine - kind of a capacitor for OblivAeon's power (he's got plenty to spare as was mentioned in the Scions episode in the discussion of what Aeon Master is) that he can dump a lot of his energy into to power great destruction - even beyond one reality. This is when Parse saw him as being without flaw (as mentioned briefly in her episode) which kind of triggered her fugue state. So, now the heroes know what the pylons were for - if they can't seem to hinder OblivAeon directly, they can try to mess with his toys and so that's the main method of resistance all over the world, heroes attacking and destroying these things before OblivAeon gets around to activating them.
- Meanwhile, Argent Adept is at the Nexus of the Void and is in communion with the Void spirits there. Then Nixious shows up there too and attacks him like it did Wraith's father. Argent Adept can tell that the runes on the inside of the cloak are bad news - that if he is touched by them they will unmake him. So, being still in his bound-to-Vogel's-baton Dark Conductor mode, he strengthens his bond to the baton for a power boost (and now, being fully bound to the Baton, which is a Blood Magic trick, he loses his connection to the Void) to, essentially, burn out the runes' power. Nixious can no longer pull this move on people. He still has his other standard move, though, which is to run away. AA tries to go back to the "communing with Void spirits" thing he was doing before getting interrupted, but without his connection to the Void, he's no longer able to do so. He decides that if he can't do his Void stuff anymore, he'll at least make himself useful by hunting down Scions.
- Here's where we get to the section that Christopher likes to call "Bad Stuff Happens in Rook City"
- Wager Master shows up in the middle of Dark Watch's attempts to fight off some Scions. He's being really petty about the fact that nobody is paying attention to him because of all of this OblivAeon junk and so forces Mr. Fixer and Harpy to play more stupid games [including the *Family Feud style game featured on the Mission card "The Last Wager"] involving guessing words and whatnot - some of these are doable, but a lot more aren't. The heroes, ultimately, lose the game and the penalty for this is for Wager Master (totally at random and for no reason) to drop the two of them in front of Faultless, the absurdly powerful former Singular Entity.
- At the same time, Expatriette and Setback are trying to deal with Dark Mind. This has been mentioned in a few places before: Dark Mind erases Expat's knowledge of Setback and takes away Setback's emotions/compassion/empathy (probably his most important personality trait - without his compassion his luck powers make him extremely dangerous). Visionary, Idealist, and Benchmark show up as well to try to help. Benchmark isn't any help at all against the psychic entity that is Dark Mind and busies himself with fighting Aeon Men and trying to keep Setback "contained". Visionary and Idealist fight Dark Mind, but being no longer hindered by Visionary while also being amplified by OblivAeon the Scion has the upper hand here. The heroes are just managing to occupy her without making any actual headway.
- Meanwhile, back to Mr. Fixer and Harpy vs. Faultless. This is not a team that could be expected to fight this thing. Harpy gives it a go anyway and reaches out with her magic to try to assess what they're dealing with. In doing so, sure, she sees the grand cosmic scale of the thing, but there's also this weird thread of power running throughout it that… wait a second… it's like it's whispering all of those dumb random words that Wager Master's game was based on. She's been given the "code" that lets her trace and even draw this thread forth from Faultless - into herself, which basically takes her out of the fight as it's too much power for her to contain. This doesn't "restore" Faultless to what it was before - that ship has sailed. However, it does manage to remove OblivAeon's corruption and frees it. It sees what it's been doing over the millennia, and also how it can attempt to make things right again.
- Faultless "fixes" the heroes before him, as has been mentioned in the past: Mr. Fixer is made himself again (no more "ghost haunting his own zombie"), removes the thread of corruption from Harpy, Expatriette has her memories restored, Setback gets his empathy back, and even notices something wrong with Idealist. It sees the Shard and offers to help her get rid of it - it's not part of the natural order and is bad news all around. Idealist declines because she needs the power boost it represents right now. Ok, fine, he won't force her - but at least he creates a kind of "shield" around it to protect her from it. It won't last forever, but it's better than nothing and hopefully she'll be in a position to rid herself of it before it's too late. Finally, he uses the last of his power to "fix" Dark Mind by pulling this psychic entity fully into reality and giving her form. At first she thinks this is great - she's basically taking over the body of a former Singular Entity. On the other hand, now she's got a physical body that the other heroes can actually attack. As she took form she was enormous, but with every attack that lands she gets smaller. Eventually she's forced to flee and that's the end of her involvement. Just like that, 2 Scions are dealt with. [Flavor text on Faultless and Dark Mind character cards would indicate these events take place in Scion Strike #3, but we don't have dates for that series yet.]
- This is when Expatriette goes off to find her mother, to try to convince Dawn to get involved. Dawn dismisses her, but there's no actual confrontation.
- Meanwhile, Visionary recognized what exactly Dark Mind was (given that she was sharing a brain with her for a long time). She decides to go off the OblivAeon (currently in Megalopolis) to just try to shut down his mind. See how he likes that, huh?!? What she sees when she attempts this overwhelms her and incapacitates her for a time, she barely manages to not be destroyed by the process. Whoops.
- Luminary and Tachyon, on the trail of OblivAeon after Mordengrad, have figured out how to track its energy signature. This leads them to the Ruins of Atlantis (rather than Megalopolis). Who do they run into? Nixious again (in Atlantis on the hunt for some magical artifacts to use now that it's cloak has been ruined by AA), so the Freedom Five and Luminary fight it there.
- Megalopolis is still dealing with OblivAeon's presence as more Scions show up. Aeon Master is there with a bunch of Aeon Men and Voidsoul is there messing with people's minds. Things are looking dire. Until Citizen Dawn shows up unlooked for and unleashes her Devastating Aurora^(TM) on the bad guys. OblivAeon is not pleased - he's still shielded, but this ability would definitely have the potential to disrupt his plans. He reaches back through space-time to a black hole that's consuming an exploding planet and brings forth the golden version of Progeny. [I wasn't expecting to get to type this, but GRUDGE MATCH!] They fought in Cosmic Contest, but Progeny was still in a weakened form - this is the real deal showdown. It's an epic fight, but Dawn loses this one.
- The Freedom Five (and other heroes) return to Megalopolis. Still not much to do against OblivAeon, but hey, we've got a Progeny again and we know how to deal with that, right? This is where we get FF!Tachyon's incap art with this Progeny holding her up, about to crush her. She's saved by Benchmark ("The New Standard"^(TM)) who manages to distract it with an attack which gives her the chance to escape. Captain Cosmic is there and starts his project of putting up energy shields for everybody/thing. Progeny has the upper hand here, though. The first iteration wasn't a cakewalk and this one is worse than that. It's Writhe who turns the tide. Between the shadow-energy thing he's got going and (especially) his OblivAeon shard that he can use to power things he's built to take this thing on and Progeny basically starts to melt under the assault as the OblivAeon shard lets Writhe affect it in a way that's strictly negative for Progeny. This gets OblivAeon's attention. He transports Progeny out of there to do something else where it's not getting wrecked. Then he takes note of the fact that Writhe is using one of his shards. Adam (as OblivAeon): "that's what we like to see in this organization" and he takes over, turning Writhe towards his ends.
- Having done that, OblivAeon turns to the heroes and unleashes a huge blast of energy. He fully expects this to take care of this problem; Captain Cosmic's shields are useless. But at that moment somebody else appears between OblivAeon and everyone else, absorbing the entirety of the blast into himself: Infinitor. He was last seen dealing with the aftermath of the Heroic Infinitor event [back in August '13 or so] after which he retreated into the depths of space with his struggle. Infinitor saves the entire city, but his position immediately between the blast and his brother winds up also having the side-effect of transferring his portion of their Shard's power to Captain Cosmic who is flung off into the distance. More on that later. This is the death of Infinitor. Another side effect of this, however, is that the feedback from whatever happens to Infinitor also causes Writhe to break free from OblivAeon's control.
- OblivAeon also leaves to work on some other weak point in reality. It's hard to tell what exactly he's doing for the most part. Sure he's destroyed a city here and there, but mostly he's just moving around, fiddling with these crystal pylons, setting stuff up, etc. Just altering reality in minor ways. The attack foiled by Infinitor is the first direct attack we've seen him make [since smushing Guise].
- In the French city of Saint-Tropez, Borr the Unstable makes his appearance. He's going around blowing things up with his excess of energy (and becoming more unstable himself with every blast). Lifeline and Naturalist are joined by several European heroes in their attempts to stop him. Lifeline manages to siphon some energy off of him, which makes him a little less dangerous, but by the time they succeed in driving him off he's done a lot of damage to the city.
- So, we get a short aside/interlude with OblivAeon reaching out to a shadowy figure (this will happen several times) - he asks the figure to assemble his forces, to which the figure agrees.
- Aeon Master and the Aeon Men attack Fort Adamant. We see some of the "programmed" nature of Aeon Master here - he gives orders, but it really does seem like he's going down a detailed checklist of things he's supposed to do. More heroes arrive to counter them: Haka, Fanatic, Parse (Fugue State), K.N.Y.F.E., and Sky-Scraper. Haka starts to have some doubts in all of this. He's clearing wave after wave of these orange jerks, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. Despite the powerhouses present, Fort Adamant falls. Right at the end Mainstay, Dr. Medico, and Idealist (Writhe's still dealing with post-OblivAeon-takeover stuff) get there with their new buddy Lifeline and use the power of teamwork to take down Aeon Master. As mentioned in Lifeline's episode, this is where he absorbs the vast amounts of energy that made up Aeon Master and only manages to hold things together with the help of Medico helping to stabilize his form.
- However, this is what OblivAeon has been waiting for - he's managed to create a weak point with the destruction of Fort Adamant. He arrives in person, charges up to do his "destroy all reality" thing, but is interrupted by a voice crying "Stop!" as the sun flares up brighter than ever. It's Ra, the Ennead, and Anubis are here to wreck his day. This story's been told before, including in the End of Days ARG entry that shows it. They all work together to blast OblivAeon, finally breaking the shield, and for the first time we see OblivAeon unable to no-sell an attack. He reels from the hit and then turns on the culprits and blasts them with a retaliatory attack, killing them all. Fanatic (who's come to realize just how much she loves Ra) does not take his death well.
- Good news: OblivAeon can be damaged. Bad news: he retaliates against the heroes in general by going to Megalopolis and destroying Freedom Tower (with the Freedom Five inside).
- Lots of stuff happens then. Many of the other heroes in town just attack OblivAeon. There are some "fun" things that happen too:
- Idealist's "special project" that's been mentioned for one. She gets some friends together (AA, CC, Tempest, and Visionary) to combine their powers. Idealist, Visionary, and CC are all good at "making things with their brains". AA is good at taking a lot of different things going on at once and coordinating them. Tempest is good at lightning and lots of it. Together they Form the Mecha-Knight (Idealist also convinced them to do a bunch of poses to do this - later admitting that they weren't necessary, she just wanted everybody to do them)! A giant psychically-formed robot. After they form the Mecha-Knight, they're all in the head area. When they move it forward, they just kind of remain hovering where they were as it's mostly intangible until they want it (or parts of it) to not be. Tempest makes a comment about how based on the Earth-media he'd seen he would have expected them to have remained in the head. "Oh, no - that would be much too dangerous. But I appreciate the dedication to the bit." This is a super-awesome fight. After it's up and running the other heroes can go off to do other stuff, but Idealist has to keep concentrating to keep it running. And being the Super Sentai fan that she is, she's good at this and it cuts into OblivAeon real good.
- Naturalist shows up. He can turn into a bird now, which provides him greater mobility than he has before. [The "Primordial Boon" mission reward shows this and allows the hero to move to the other battle zone at the end of the turn, allowing that movement separately from the "before start of turn" effects.]
- Unity and Haka gather up a lot of scrap after the Fort Adamant disaster. They're both in pretty low places (Haka's doubts about his ability to make a difference, Unity's just watched her team's base get obliterated), but she completes her magnum opus - the T. Rex-bot! A golem big enough to chomp on OblivAeon himself.
- Now, at this point they've managed to attack OblivAeon in a number of ways. What's important is not so much the amount of damage done, but that they've managed to draw his attention. This isn't necessarily a good thing for those who have done so. He's still focused on destroying realities, but now he'll send specific Scions after the interlopers.
- For example, he sends Nixious to go and turn these heroes against one another using his dark magics. Nixious does this by unlocking GloomWeaver from Dr. Medico's OblivAeon Shard (gee, somebody should really warn the heroes that using one of those is bad news). Here's where we see him go full-on Malpractice form and attack the other heroes. With this happening, Idealist is no longer able to maintain the Mecha-Knight as she's got to deal with her crazy rage-filled GloomWeaver dad. What she can do instead is make a giant wrecking ball to knock her crazy rage-filled GloomWeaver dad out.
- Writhe recovers around here and meets up with Lifeline. Lifeline's got a weird/exciting thing going on right now - he's got energy he's absorbed from both Borr and Aeon Master. Seeing Lifeline again, Writhe has an idea - calling in the Colosseum. He uses a device he invented, powered by the Borr energy that Lifeline's got stored to "page" Kaargra and summon the Bloodsworn Colosseum to Megalopolis. Kaargra and the Bloodsworn Gladiators are here for an exhibition match and start wrecking up the bad guys, oh yeah!
- Ok, so we've got the main story going on, but this is a company-wide crossover event and so they need to tie events into it in every title, so we get a bunch of side-stories too. Here are some:
- Lifeline figures that he's been doing pretty well with his "find a jerk, absorb their energy" strategy, but he's looking for another edge. Mainstay think's that he's already not looking too hot (having to contain all of the Aeon Master energy is still not doing great things to him), but Lifeline figures he's got a way to strengthen his own body to handle that - Blood Magic! That's never a bad idea, right? He's a skilled Blood Mage and can sense sources of its power around. Mainstay agrees to go with him on this job, though, and Lifeline tracks down what turns out to be Hermetic's lair. The place is already pretty trashed - Hermetic has transmuted himself into some monstrosity, but is also pretty resistant to Mainstay's attacks. Lifeline quickly searches through the remaining notes and assorted brick-a-brac to figure out what Blood Magic was used to do this, eventually finding the Bloodstone. Once he's got that, he can easily cut the connection to Hermetic who is then taken down by Mainstay in short order. Lifeline keeps the stone.
- Idealist and Tempest have managed to drive Progeny into the bay and continue to fight it underwater.
- Oh, also right in here is when NightMist finally finishes that ritual she's been working on this whole time. Her last act is to become/open the mist gates between all realities, allowing more heroes to join the fight. Harpy receives NightMist's amulet as a farewell and is pretty broken up about the loss of her mentor.
- This is where we start seeing heroes even venturing into these other realities to help recruit people there (modeled by many of the Mission cards - do a thing, get an ally). Haka in particular, due to his doubts about his ability to help in the fight on his own, spends a lot of his time going to other realities and recruiting (better him than others to venture into dangerous places, plus he's very gregarious and can convince people to help). Many of the worlds visited are recognizable Disparation settings - many of the Reward characters who are new to us are ones long-time readers would recognize. These include El Mejor Legado, Omni-Unity, Cursor (Parse with Captain Cosmic-like powers - thing "energy arrows"), Lucky Break (Setback with even more Legacy powers, like flight, and more control over "luck aura" stuff), Cold War (kind of a Bunker/Absolute Zero hybrid, but with his own shtick going on).
- This isn't part of any of OblivAeon's plans. He turns to his shadowy figure servant again to ask him to take care of this, but the servant explains that the spell being used to make the mist gates rides along OblivAeon's own lines of power between realities. As long as OblivAeon is connecting realities, the gates will remain open. The only way to stop it would be to limit himself to the one reality, which would limit his ability to achieve his goals. The servant claims that he'll find a way to turn this to their advantage - which is modeled by the Missions that have villains coming through such as:
- Hellion - the evil Fanatic, but this prompts Seraph, the heroic Apostate to come through as well - we've heard some of their story before.
- Red Menace - an old Disparation character. Raya Adonov, a Soviet sleeper agent in the US under the cover name Ryan Frost. He has these heat-based power and wore a suit. He was foiled time and again by the all-American Everyman who's strong and can fight, but can also make duplicates of himself. He's this reality's Paul Parsons - the family has the same tendency to pass on powers to each new generation, but one of the more recent ones in this reality include the duplication power.
- Citizen Storm - Tempest who kind of went the way of Citizen Dawn once he arrived on Earth. As the heroes of this reality fight him and start to understand where he's coming from, they can kind of project what they know of Dawn onto him and eventually wind up convincing him to help them instead.
- Meanwhile, in Disparation La Comodora has been going around doing stuff and in the later issues some of the universes she visits wind up being really weird. One of Christopher's absolute favorites comes along about now when she finds herself in the Telenovela-verse - everybody acts like they're in a soap opera. She finds out that here we have a team of heroes known as Los Centinelas de la Pasión (a version of the Sentinels) who are led by El Curador. There's a pretty good bit at around 1:26:30 where they're talking all breathy, soap-opera-voiced about how Niccolo Hernandez would be joined by his esposo* [switch to normal speaking voice] Caleb Greene. Anyway, the book goes on for a while, just showing the stories as they're happening in this weird world. Then about 2/3 of the way through it OblivAeon shows up and says "This reality is already much like another reality and therefore is prime for extinction." [which Christopher holds up as the more ridiculous thing OblivAeon ever says - there's two of these?] He then destroys it and leaves. The last three or four pages of the comic are just blank. It's not a printing error as the last page has a "See Freedom Five #79whatever" cross-reference panel to bring you back into the story in the right spot.
- On Plavu'Col [specified to be somewhere in the middle of the Pacific - I note that the Environment description says North Atlantic, but whatever], Empyreon has shown up. This is his first appearance since his run-in with the Prime Wardens before we even knew what a Scion was, let alone that he had been one at the time. Visionary is the first hero no the scene, but is quickly joined by Tempest and eventually by Lifeline. This is an ongoing fight that gets cut back to occasionally from elsewhere. Other Maerynians join in too, at one point attacking by letting their barrier hurricane in.
- Argent Adept returns to the Nexus, still unable to connect to the Void. He goes through a mist gate and finds a reality where Anthony Drake had failed the big encounter with Akash'Bhuta (as opposed to managing to escape, put a team together, and still relay on a time-traveling gunslinger to turn the tide, so losing is a reasonable outcome). This works out well for him now, though, as he is able to find that Anthony Drake's pipes, which are still intact. He brings them back with him and spends time attuning himself to them, reconnecting him to the Void, and shedding his connection to the Baton (which he retains, but knows not to rely on). Now, these pipes aren't his, so they don't work the same for him as his originals did, but they're close enough. The Void spirits that he communes with after this are kind of aghast at everything he's been doing, but times are tough. He manages to summon forth all of the spirits of the Virtuosos whose instruments he has. They retake their instruments and this is set to be really frikin' awesome, but then it's shown to be hubris as OblivAeon shows up because this has made the current situation similar enough to another reality for him to do his thing (we get a glimpse of a reality in which Virtuosos become manifest spirits like this and continue to act as Virtuosos even in death). He starts charging up to finally do what he just did over in Disparation [and theoretically what he had wanted to do at Fort Adamant before Ra et al. showed up], but it doesn't work. This enrages him and he's casting about trying to figure out what happened. The answer is La Comodora - she sails in with a "You having a problem, amigo?" She is on top of things and had just gone over to the other reality to have the current Virtuoso dismiss the spirits there so that things were no longer similar.
- Here we get an important one-shot, Time Trust which is mostly a flashback book that covers a lot of La Comodora and Chrono-Ranger dealing with stuff in Disparation (tying in a lot of stuff from that title that readers couldn't have known was going to be important here), where they erase the Iron Legacy timeline, and when La Comodora does the whole Haka thing that is definitely understood by everybody by now.
- La Comodora gets everybody aboard the ship and takes them to Megalopolis where she starts helping however she can including fixing Dr. Medico and giving Fanatic a new sword (one that belonged to an alternate version of her who had been an associate of Blood Countess Bathory, although not a vampire herself). As events continue, we are quickly made aware of just how absurdly powerful La Comodora is.
- Dark Watch, Sky-Scraper, and K.N.Y.F.E. show up - this is where the latter pair give Expat the Infinity Cannon that they stole from F.I.L.T.E.R. a while back.
- Stuntman teams up with Expat.
- Progeny makes his way back into the city and makes a beeline for the Colosseum, which he just straight-up destroys. Kaargra and the surviving gladiators stay in the fight, but they're a bit demoralized (they don't know it, but it's because the Bloodsworn force has departed with the destruction of the Colosseum and this does negatively impact their power).
- OblivAeon orders his shadowy figure to find points of weakness to exploit. Through whatever view-port they have available, we see the figure looking at Wagner Mars Base.
- OblivAeon shows up in Rook City again. Lots of heroes are here (including many of the ones who've come through the mist gates) - notably Arataki who we just learned about in the Time Trust book when we saw what the deal with Haka even is. OblivAeon thinks enough is enough and just starts opening portals to shunt opponents to other places (e.g. Naturalist gets pushed in to the Realm of Discord, Dr. Medico gets thrown out into space somewhere, etc.). Lifeline shows back up, brimming with power after everything he's been doing and unleashes a giant blast of energy, actually physically cracking the form of OblivAeon, which is a new development (not to say he hasn't been injured, but this is significant). This releases a large backlash of energy, knocking Lifeline out (the Bloodstone acting as enough of a buffer to keep him alive, although it's destroyed in the process).
- When we catch up with Dr. Medico, we see that he's actually near the Mars Base. He finds something odd - there are a bunch of K.N.Y.F.E.s around the place. The shadowy figure had created a rend in reality and gathered up a bunch of pro-OblivAeon Paiges. Dr. Medico is torn to shreds and is left a pile of dust. Luckily, he's able to regenerate (hey, that's a handy thing to know even if a terrible way to learn about it) and get out of Dodge. He finds our heroic K.N.Y.F.E. and croaks out a cryptic "Wagner. Mars. Base. You…" before passing out. She takes that as a hint and heads off.
- Back in Rook City, OblivAeon pulls Progeny in because not enough bad things are happening to Rook City already. Around "now" is when Chronoist saves Chrono-Ranger from Pompeii, gets Jim back online with CON, and then they head to Rook City to help out because that's exactly where CON says he needs to be. At which point OblivAeon does his "destroy Rook City with a blast that happens to center on Chrono-Ranger, killing millions" thing. Then shortly after, Setback finds what's left of Chrono-Ranger (still barely functioning/alive due to all of his mechanical parts) and accidentally activates his time equipment in just the right way to upload CON across time - the chronal energy released by this causes a time-reversal thing that actually restores much of the city. This has further repercussions, not least of which is that it heals Chrono-Ranger. Jim sits up just bristling with crackling chronal energy as it repairs his arm, not stopping at his hand, but continuing to create some kind of time-pistol. He aims and fires - striking Progeny right in the circle on its forehead, killing it. Bulls-eye.
- K.N.Y.F.E. takes a F.I.L.T.E.R. ship she's… acquired… at some point and arrives on Mars. A K.N.Y.F.E. fight breaks out. She figures out the best way to win this fight is to bring a
gunself-destruct sequence. She blows up the base and escapes.
- OblivAeon returns to Megalopolis. Sky-Scraper has been waiting for this - she's bigger than she's ever been and just lays into him with a big ol' punch. He shakes that off, grabs her by the throat and picks her up before tossing her through a portal to a city on the other side of the country. She calls up Luminary to teleport her back, but to give her a minute to grab something. The return portal opens above OblivAeon and she falls through wielding the Space Needle like a spear, that she drives into his chest - destroying the building, but also widening the crack in his form. [Publishing meta-verse joke: Justice Comics, the rival company, was based in Seattle and used the Space Needle as part of its branding so this was a bit of a "take that!" to them.]
- Harpy summons a bunch of birds to fly around OblivAeon. As that's going on, trails of energy start forming behind the birds and she uses these lines to draw a massive magic circle around him. OblivAeon doesn't realize what's happening until he's already trapped. He turns to face Harpy, but he can't get out - she reaches out and makes a pulling gesture and drags OblivAeon like a block and a half towards her. He slams a fist against the magical seals and they hold. Then he does so again and they shatter, but still. As he winds up to retaliate, the sun is blotted out by a shadow. He looks up to see a giant portal to space open above him and a mountain-sized chunk of the moon falling onto him (see, Luminary's plan totally worked!).
- As the dust of the now-pulverized moon rock settles we see OblivAeon still standing and pissed. He causes a big explosion around him, wiping out much of Megalopolis. And that's where we'll pick up next time.
- Why is OblivAeon such an ass? Poor upbringing.
- Why does he want to destroy everything? The trick is that he's the byproduct of this battle between the Singular Entities of Entropy and Preservation. Singular Entities don't generally fight like this in the first place and his eventual formation out of the victorious Entropy that has consumed Preservation made him something different. OblivAeon is this thing that hungers for entropy so much that what it really wants is nothingness. This goes beyond even what Entropy had wanted - this is beyond the mere increase of disorder as a necessary force of the universe.
- So, OblivAeon's origin in the battle between Entropy and Preservation is given as the reason for the Second Law of Thermodynamics being a thing; is that what Singular Entities are? Personifications of the laws of physics? What happens to the laws of thermodynamics once OblivAeon is defeated? Singular Entities are not the forces themselves nor do they control them. They are beings of great power that have affinity for/are spawned from those forces (these words are both accurate and terribly insufficient - we're talking about inexplicable cosmic space gods, so trying to understand them is tricky). The trick is that these concepts continue to exist separate from the Singular Entities (Christopher uses the example of the beef jerky he had recently showing that preservation as a concept still exists). A lack of a Singular Entity in one of these slots does leave a bit of a vacuum, though, which may allow a conflicting force to gain an advantage.
- Why didn't OblivAeon stay away from Earth once he saw powered individuals that meant that he could, theoretically, lose? The situation is that he doesn't see any way for him to lose. He's been planning for forever, but he also can't win by inaction - somebody's got to align these realities. He does underestimate the opposition, though.
- In the Progeny episode you mentioned that the fight was occurring across all realities, so why was it necessary for NightMist to open portals to bring heroes to this one? Would their absence weaken the defenses in those other realities? Would those realities' destruction not matter in the grand scheme of things? As a Singular Entity, he also can only be in one place at a time. The main comics reality is the stubborn one that just refuses to cooperate with his machinations and so is where he has to personally get involved. Bringing more heroes to that reality brings more opportunities to bring the fight to him directly instead of his alternate-reality Scions.
- Why "OblivAeon" with two capital letters? Was he once two entities? Yup, each half of the name represents one of the original two entities that fought to create it.
- What is it about existence that displeases him the most? This was kind of answered earlier. The whole "Entropy that ate Preservation" did something to him to make it part of his nature to want to unmake.
- If two realities annihilate one another if they overlap/crash into one another, what happens if there's an odd number of realities in the Multiverse? Does OblivAeon have another means to destroy one? He can just straight up destroy a timeline. It takes a lot more work, even more than physically smashing them into one another which, itself, is a lot more work than doing the "setting things up so that they'll eventually overlap" what made up his long game. A big part of what makes OblivAeon different from the old Entropy thing is his willingness to take action. All of these things have immense power, but none of the others strike out like this. What he's done is to set up all of these lynch-pin scenarios that just need to get triggered and then it's all over - once things get going (and the "main" reality is the key to all of it), all of the others will "slide" into each other in a chain reaction. Easy-peasy if only this one would cooperate and die already. The idea of him being foiled by there being an odd number of realities existing is a funny one, though.
- On the Mecha-Knight reward we see that Captain Cosmic exasperated by two of his collaborators making sound effects while the Mecha-Knight attacks, presumably one is Idealist; who's the other? It actually none of the characters - the two making the noises [Christopher and Adam provide examples of what the sounds are at 2:09:48] are the Idealist and the Mecha-Knight itself.
- See the next main episode for the exciting conclusion of the OblivAeon story!