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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 13
Another thrilling Editor's Note! This one has a Special Guest! We're pretty excited. You'll just have to listen to find out who it is!
Run Time: 1:03:28
- January 2nd: Sky-Scraper
- January 9th: Greazer
- January 16th: Time-Travel Settings: Silver Gulch, Final Wasteland, Time Cataclysm, Outside Time
- January 23rd: The Operative
- January 25th: Editor's Note #14
- January 30th: Madame Mittermeier's Fantastic Festival of Conundrums and Curiosities, Tomb of Anubis, Realm of Discord, Nexus of the Void, Temple of Zhu Long
Topics of today's Editor's Note:
- THE COSMIC CONTEST
- That's it. We talk about the Cosmic Contest and nothing else
- At the end of the episode, we talk about the winner
See you next year!
- Young Legacy
- The Freedom Five
- Baron Blade
- Citizen Dawn
- Dr. Medico
- La Capitan
- Argent Adept
- Iron Legacy
- Zhu Long
- Greazer Clutch
- The Hippo
- Green Grosser
- Plague Rat
- Fright Train
Cosmic Contest Questions and Clarifications
- It was mentioned that Jansa has done this sort of thing before, have any heroes been involved in any prior versions of the contest? No - there have been contests on specific other worlds to determine who would be the Endling for that world, but no heroes were involved in any of that.
- As a response to a comment preceding a question, the guys are on record encouraging people to make animated videos.
- Does Nightmist get any kind of reward for winning since she doesn't wind up going with the Enclave, or just a better knowledge of her power? Well, that better knowledge it pretty good, but so is not getting abducted by the Enclave thanks to Parse's intervention. There is no "prize" to be won.
- Why did Felicia Parsons not get to participate? "America's Newest Legacy" is barely a Legacy during the time of the Multiverse. She's mostly supporting cast for Legacy (as his daughter and in that we see some of her training), but she makes an appearance in costume probably under 10 times. She's not "Legacy" yet since her father still is (not to say that she's never referred to as "New Legacy" or similar occasionally, but the title proper is still her dad's until after OblivAeon).
- Why is Progeny there? Could it have potentially become an Endling? Would that have been weird to have a Scion of OblivAeon there? Well, the Endlings include some pretty terrible beings - they run the gamut from very nice to very mean; it's not like there's a rule that the Endlings have to all be good people. As mentioned at least once in the Captain Cosmic episode, though, Progeny is pretty much there as a test for the others more than as a potential Endling.
- How do the heroes and villains feel about being there? Does anybody try to break out? Jansa has control of the Enclave and can pretty easily limit where anybody is allowed to go. Besides, the Contest is happening in a pretty unlimited space and it's not like there's a defined enclosure to "break out" of. Most aren't thrilled to be there and Jansa is enough of a known entity at this point so that they know that she doesn't do this out of malice, but getting through it is the fastest way to get home and it's clear there aren't a lot of options. They also had said "a few days" as a pretty vague amount of time - the fights pretty much lead right into one another with little in the way of downtime to really consider your situation.
- [List of a bunch of potentially interesting fights for story reasons that didn't happen, e.g. Ra vs. Fanatic] Were there any such fights that were tempting to tweak the "who beats whom; no playing favorites" rules to ensure they'd happen? Well, there were still a lot of interesting narrative match-ups that happened - unless they were doing a round-robin tournament where every permutation would happen there were bound to be some stories that had to be left out. They never had to go back to restructure things to make sure that two people would wind up fighting, they just put together the brackets to make sense as starting groups and went from there. Beyond that, having some of the "interesting" fights happen here (like Ra/Fanatic) would be too early and would undercut the payoff of what happens between them during OblivAeon. Legacy vs. Haka wouldn't be really interesting as it's basically a stalemate (although it's kind of C&A's job to be able to make any fight interesting and could probably make it so), but the point is more to see "what would happen" here than anything else.
- So, the winners were determined by who would win, but who did you want to win and/or specifically not win? Did any results surprise you? Leading off with Trevor who's in the studio before getting into C&A's likely cagey non-answers: Visionary did well in his bracket, wanted a member of the Freedom Five to win. Adam wanted Baron Blade to win (and did really well). Part of the point of the Champion and Conqueror tiers were to segregate some of the really over-powered characters into groups with one another to limit their ability to dominate the whole contest. Christopher didn't have a specific character he wanted to win as much as he wanted a really satisfactory ending, which he thinks they were successful in reaching. If he had had to guess just by looking at the starting brackets, he maybe would have thought that Fanatic would go all the way (with agreement from Adam) and neither would have guessed Nightmist just from that starting point without going through the process of running the individual encounters. That whole process got several surprise encounters that were not surprises in how they'd play out.
- Would a villain have been allowed to win the Contest? Yeah, if that's how things would have played out. They ran through the whole thing a few times [my guess is that the description of how the "writing staff" went through the process was very similar to how C&A did it] and Baron Blade and Citizen Dawn were right up there.
- Why were the heroes willing to fight each other in the first place rather than cooperating? We see Chairman and Blade agree to not fight (sucker punch from the latter notwithstanding), so is there some kind of compulsion going on otherwise? Because the way that Jansa presented this was that "you're going to fight to determine who is worthy" and that was the end of it - it's not really "handwavy" as the characters in-setting accept this premise, but it's still a little bit at the meta level as they're only telling this story in order to tell it and they need to buy in for it to make sense (that is - the whole point of this comic is for everybody to fight, so if they don't fight there's no point to the comic, therefore they fight). As for Chairman vs. Blade, it's not so much "not fighting" as it's "throwing the match" - nobody else is really inclined to take that approach [I note that Unity did also concede the fight to Parse, although there was still some fighting involved prior to that].
- What were the losers doing while the rest of it was going on? We got some indication that they were watching (and Dr. Medico was helping patch people up), but wouldn't Heartbreaker rather be stabbin' folks? Were some of these potential troublemakers separated from the others? How did Jansa save some of the contenders (like Heartbreaker who was pretty definitely described as being killed outright by Spite)? Jansa prevented anybody from being destroyed - everybody was in a kind of stasis that allowed her to "reset" them to the state they were in when she first brought them to the Enclave (it's the same technology that keeps the Endlings alive indefinitely and/or to protect them if they start killing each other - and to separate them when the latter is likely to happen). Dr. Medico doesn't need to patch people up, but he's going to do so because that's what he does. The losers are brought to this holding area - Jansa can separate you out and/or put you in stasis if you start trouble, but that's not the focus of the comic and so it doesn't really come up.
- Was La Capitan taken from an optimal point in her existence considering her time traveling nature? Why not La Comodora? Would these considerations have altered her results in the Contest? Jansa takes the one she has access to at the time she collects everybody - she can't reach through time to get different versions. It might have changed things, but who knows? It's not like Jansa is collecting everybody at their peaks; even Gloomweaver is operating at a lower power here than he had previously.
- Any specific story fallout from the Contest (e.g. what of the deal between Chairman and Blade)? Not going to go into all of the various characters. Chairman may have had some sour grapes over the shocking, but the business deals they had arranged to make afterward kind of didn't get a chance to happen just based on how immediate the OblivAeon stuff happened and they both have a lot of other nonsense going on as a result of that. Major changes to characters as a result of the Contest were largely already covered anyway (Blade loses his arm, Argent Adept helps Visionary and becomes Dark Conductor, etc.) - anybody not really covered in the main episode can be assumed to not have really had any significant story fallout from it.
- Any chance of ever getting that actual Cosmic Contest comic or at least art from it? It's basically not financially viable. They would love to be able to make comics one day, but at this point (since they've now already told this story) they'd be more likely to tell new stories if they were to get the chance to make them.
- If the "rules" were that combatants came with their standard gear, but no minions, where does Harpy get her birds? She summons them with magic - apparently this is a thing we'll see her doing in her deck once it's available.
- You said that most Endlings were chosen with a contest like this, but it's hard to see Immutus or Bloogo winning a tournament like this, so what's the story there? It's not that most Endlings were chosen like this, only that it's happened occasionally. Sometimes the civilizations are wiped out so quickly that there's no opportunity to have used an elaborate method to choose the representative. Immutus' story was told in the Cosmic Settings Episode. They haven't nailed down specifically how each Endling was chosen other than simply that they're the last of their race.
- In the Final Wasteland timeline it was said that Haka had refused the invitation to become an Endling, does that mean that he'd won a Contest and/or that another human was chosen to be one in that timeline? That timeline's end of humanity was gradual to the point where she didn't need to host a Contest to pick somebody right now - she just waited until there was only one remaining and then made the offer. He's still an Endling, he just didn't want to go to the Enclave.
- Here in our world, it was mentioned that they had expected to release OblivAeon in 2020 - what has changed here in terms of what might have been if we hadn't gotten the "rushed production schedule" (more expansions or storylines, etc.)? Nothing really, just stuff that came out faster than it might have. Actually, the "rushed production" due to the level of demand in the market resulted in more content than was originally planned for; Villains of the Multiverse was an extra product - characters would have wound up as mini-expansions or otherwise just not getting decks of their own in the initial ideas for the product line. That is, while the publishing meta-verse had to rush to finish up storylines ahead of the original schedule, GTG got to tell the story they wanted to tell just on a faster than expected rate because there was more demand for it than they anticipated which allowed them to move faster.
- Fanatic managed to beat a fresh Legacy, then Haka, Tempest, and Citizen Dawn - how did she not manage to solo Iron Legacy? Was Legacy holding back here? Similarly how did she not manage to solo Progeny? Oh my god yes Legacy is holding back in Cosmic Contest - not in a "I must not hurt my ally Fanatic" kind of way, just more that he's always doing so - the only time we really see him let loose entirely is OblivAeon. He's only going to hit with his full strength when he knows it's an undeniably evil destructive thing (so, Progeny or OblivAeon) and he's certainly not going to hit a person who he likes. Iron Legacy has no such compunctions and is trying to put things down as hard as he can. This makes for a huge difference between "our" Legacy and Iron Legacy despite their otherwise identical "power level".
- If characters were fully healed between fights and/or characters like Baron Blade had the opportunity to gear up again, would Nightmist have still won? If not who? Probably wouldn't have made much of a difference. Nightmist made it to the Final in mostly ok shape and Blade still had most of the gear he would have wanted for that fight anyway. It might have made a difference in some of the prior rounds, but not likely in the final results.
- If Jansa sent Bugbear back outside reality once he lost, would she have kept him as an Endling if he had won? Could she have healed his mind? If he had won he would have stayed there as an Endling. She restored people to the state in which she found them - it's not that he wasn't supposed to be in reality, he was just put back where she found him.
- Why was Jansa unable to retrieve Blade from the Realm of Discord? It's not that she couldn't have retrieved him, it was just that after that fight he was already outside of the Enclave and therefore didn't need to be dealt with by her. He's the only one who had been sent anywhere during the event.
- What happens to the characters who "died" during the event (like Zhu Long)? None of them really died, any who would have were restored at the moment at which it would have occurred by Jansa's stasis tech, and so avoiding the whole "resurrection is unpleasant" thing.
- Did any Disparation stories happen about what if so-and-so won instead? That's certainly a thing that could happened in that title (although it tended to be more large scale realities-branching-off-from-one-another stuff - realities that are vastly different rather than slightly different), but there wasn't time before OblivAeon happened and disrupted the publishing schedule going forward regardless.
- Why were some characters (Char, Revenant, Greazer, Equity, The Hippo, or the rest of the Ennead) not involved? A better question might be why were some characters included in the first place (Green Grosser, Ermine, Set and Isis, Heartbreaker, and Highbrow)? These brackets needed a few extra characters to fill them out so the most notable/slightly more powerful minor characters who were active at that time were chosen to fill the slots. Green Grosser wasn't very powerful, but he's very important for Guise's story, so he's in.
- Who made the call to make a prestige one-shot book? Just one of the editors. Sure, making a prestige book is risky, but the whole concept of this specific book is fan-bait and is going to sell and so was less risky than other ideas might have been.
- How is it fair that Baron Blade had that much tech on him at the time (it sounds like an excessive amount of devices to just happen to have had on hand)? This is the whole point of Baron Blade - he's always got contingency plans (and contingency plans for those contingency plans) and is always plotting to kill the heroes. So, he might not have been planning on this exact situation just at that moment, but he's still ready and is perfectly happy to be in these fights one-on-one as that's typically better odds than he's used to getting. Sure, he's an introductory villain for the game, which makes underestimating him easy - but he's also got crazy doomsday plots going on and you're often foiling these overwrought situations rather than defeating him specifically. There's a reason he's got more decks in the game than anybody, though. He's a central antagonist throughout the Multiverse Era and after coming in second here in the Contest he shows up as a major hero in the defeat of OblivAeon. And he's just a "mundane" person with no powers. [Some good opinions in here: Adam really likes Baron Blade, Christopher seems to be on team Citizen Dawn from a story perspective, but recognizes that she's such a terrible person that it's hard to like her]
- In the Fright Train/Plague Rat fight, it was mentioned that Plague Rat infected Fright Train by biting him, but didn't the Plague Rat episode say that RevoCorp had "cured" the infectious bite as it wasn't a "useful feature"? Following his escape from RevoCorp and the removal of the control harness, he continued to mutate - the bite is now more of a feral madness thing, but without the ability to infect others in turn. Reiteration here that Plague Rat has additional big changes in store in the future.
- So, we have a few fights that were decided by highly specific power interactions (Progeny vs. Dawn's solar energy absorption, Dark Visionary vs. AA's ability to work with the Void) - in a tournament set up completely randomly, what are some possible other means that these powerful entities could have been stopped? That's a tough one. Dark Visionary might have won the whole thing if that encounter hadn't happened (although we were told ahead of time that the two of them did encounter each other). Progeny isn't clever like Dark Visionary is - if the brackets are categorized at least somewhat it becomes almost inevitable that Progeny/Dawn happens, but if they were entirely random then Progeny, Dawn, and Dark Visionary are all pretty major contenders, but so is a lot of the Champion bracket, honestly, as the point of that bracket was to keep those heroes from dominating the whole thing.
- If the comic's writers hadn't decided ahead of time that Nightmist was the winner, but let the story unfold as they went, does this mean that her later Be the Gate moment wasn't something already planned at the time? It's sort of a chicken-and-the-egg problem - the writers already knew about her Being the Gate during OblivAeon, and knowing that they wrote that in as how she'd win. From the point of view of the characters, she learned how to mist-gate here in Cosmic Contest (although she's got a lot of work to do to expand this trick from "open a portal to the Realm of Discord" to "open a portal to everywhere"), from the writer's perspective it was more of a happy accident that she had an opportunity to "learn" the trick somewhere else interesting ahead of time.
- Did Isis ever get her wings back? Does the Relic allow her to regrow them? What if Jessica Douglas lost it and somebody else became Isis, but then she got it back? Well, she gets them back here because of Jansa "resetting" everybody, but for the hypothetical... First off, not all avatars of Isis would necessarily have the big bat wings to start with. If Jessica got the wings torn off in other situations the wings would still grow back due to the power of the relic (like, changing back to her "normal" Jessica Douglas form and then back into Isis would be sufficient to restore the wings unless some powerful magical thing was preventing it from happening).
- Does Biomancer keep his new wings? No (although he could do it again if they encountered one another later).
- What happens to Baron Blade after the contest? He's in the Realm of Discord and at this point has virtually none of his devices. He plans to make it to the positive energy field to recover like he did during Vengeance when he was stuck here with Legacy. Too bad that geography doesn't really "work" in the Realm of Discord, and he can't find it. Gloomweaver's kind of busy with other things at the time, but he makes a deal with/tricks a portal fiend to get home. At which point he amputates his ruined arm and eventually shows up as Luminary (we get this in flashback after he shows up to be a hero and in the Burying the Blade book that deals with his time between his apparent "death" and his return as Luminary).
- Only one person sent in asking for a recount, but only had 45 correct answers and so Dead Not Sleeping aka Dario is still the single winner at 46.