Podcasts/Episode I-77

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The Letters Page: Editor's Note 77

Original Source


An early Editor's Note!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 2:04:03

The Letters Boys have some complaints, but all solvable problems, one way or another! We look forward to having fewer complaints and make more content! Stories! Art! More!

There's an upcoming schedule! There's also a current schedule! Here they are!

Upcoming schedule:

  • Tuesday, March 12th: definitely Editor’s Note #77
  • Tuesday, March 19th: for sure Surgery-Sode
  • Tuesday, March 26th: hopefully Episode #276 - Writers' Room: A Villain romantically involved with a support character

If all that works, then:

  • Tuesday, April 2nd: Episode #277 - Writers' Room: A Vengeance tie-in story
  • Tuesday, April 9th: Episode #278 - A Day in the Life: Argent Adept
  • Tuesday, April 16th: Episode #279 - Greazer & Fashion vs Card Shark
  • Tuesday, April 23rd: Editor’s Note #78
  • Tuesday, April 30th: Episode #280 - Disparation Vol. 2 #122 “Farewell to the Oracle”

Here's hoping!

Next week, it's the likely-not-very-interesting-surgery-sode, but then! After that! A return to form (probably) with maybe Christopher having a funny voice (hopefully)! Something(s) to look forward to.

Characters Mentioned



  • Back in Expatriette’s original episode (#4) we hear about an incident in which Citizens Hammer and Anvil, Sergent Steel, and Biomancer team up to hunt down Visionary - somehow the Prime Wardens and Dark Watch get involved, Expatriette takes down Citzen Anvil, Biomancer has already created Duplexpatriette at the time, etc. As told in that episode, the incident ends with Expatriette taking a bullet that was meant for Setback and that leads into their relationship - given what we know about the timeline now, does that still happen during the stated event, just without the relationship angle, or does this injury happen in an earlier issue (say, somewhere in Terminal Ballistics)? It happened in Terminal Ballistics, probably near the tail-end of the run, since the “she takes a bullet for him” is still something that pushes them along into their relationship. Placing things, the Hammer & Anvil/Sergent Steel/Biomancer thing was during Vengeance Returned in 2008 (they’d have to do some digging to figure out which issue or issues that particular event happened in). The Terminal Ballistics part was in issue #47 (December 1994).
  • You answered a question about whether a recording of a Virtuoso’s music would have any magical properties (and the answer was “no”) but it got me thinking - if a Virtuoso’s songs are the functional equivalent to a wizard’s spells, is there Virtuoso equivalent to a “magical scroll” (in the D&D sense of a magical spell stored to be used at a later time) - could a Virtuoso (probably not Anthony) write some sheet music such that it “casts a spell” when played (probably at least by another “magical magician”) and is then consumed? What about a modern Virtuoso using a digital audio workstation creating music directly in digital format without it needing to be played “live” at all? Definitely not Anthony. They can imagine a case where a Virtuoso could pen some sheet music such that a sufficiently magically-attuned musician (not even necessarily a Virtuoso) could use that as a spell scroll sort of thing. You don’t even necessarily have to be super amazing at music to pull it off if you have the magic to back it up. Like, if you were to read a spell that’s in Latin you have to have at least enough knowledge of Latin to get through it, but you don’t have to be “fluent” necessarily. Even so, the end result here isn’t like a D&D scroll where the paper itself is imbued with power that is expended upon use [I’m imagining kind of a musical equivalent to a ritual that NightMist would read out of a book, although they stop short of that explicit comparison].
  • Where did Freedom Knight’s gauntlets come from? Where did they go after Jefferson’s brief stint as a front-line hero? For the latter, he kept them and we see him using them again for his appearances during OblivAeon. They think they’re Eaken-Rubendall Laboratories products and that when the Freedom Five disappear Jefferson goes to Tachyon’s lab to see what they’ve got lying around that he can make use of. They were tech used for handling hazardous materials in experiments by having the constructs provide an ability to manipulate things without physically touching them. Retrofit them into being a sword and shield and he’s in business.
  • What were the repercussions for Jefferson Knight as the director of the Freedom Five Initiative following the whole Miss Information thing? The question of “who is in trouble for what?” is rather complicated regarding Miss Information. Why didn’t any of the people involve notice? There are a bunch of subplots (not just for this) that boil down to “Can Jefferson Knight be trusted?” Another common one is The Government vs. The Freedom Five with Jefferson stuck between (and he can be more on either side depending on the needs of the individual story). He is the enigmatic government liaison as needed. He just gets written differently depending on what is required at the time.
  • What is he doing post-OblivAeon? Is he involved in the Sentinels of Freedom or is he elsewhere? The Sentinels of Freedom don’t have the same relationship with the government and so he doesn’t have the same role there. He is around doing stuff - he’s probably part of the US contingent over at G.L.O.B.A.L. Like, he’s probably the government liaison to the American hero that’s part of that group, so he’s working a lot with Heritage, etc. It’s kind of neat that an older Paul Parsons and an older Jefferson Knight are still working together considering that they’ve been through the wringer together. They’re “old drinking buddies” at this point, although they get the work done.
  • Does he pass the gauntlets down to a younger hero, just with a warning to not make the same mistakes he did (like calling himself “Freedom Knight”)? They could see him having passed them on. A more interesting story might be somebody (villain or hero) stealing them.
  • In adaptations, comics properties are often segregated in their own continuity without relation to others from the same parent (think how the old Fantastic Four films were unrelated to the X-Men films, despite both being made by 20th Century Fox), but how hard would it be to keep a Dark Watch adaptation from necessarily pulling in elements of the broader continuity that don’t necessarily apply to the team’s normal stories (examples: they operate on the Wraith’s home turf, Harpy is Tachyon’s cousin, Setback is a result of experiments ultimately tied back to Baron Blade, and Expatriette’s whole backstory involves the Citizens of the Sun)? How would you go about splitting them off from the other stuff? They already did that. The animated Dark Watch show doesn’t initially care about the other shows. If you want to do this, you can just say that Setback was experimented on by “a mad scientist” - you can have a new villain for the show, which makes the fans furious, but if you’re not keeping things all in the same continuity they’re already mad at you so whatever. Maybe they name him Kris Barron as a nod to his real origin.
  • Would you change Harpy’s backstory like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had done to them for the MCU so as to remove her connection to Tachyon? Harpy doesn’t need to be anybody’s cousin. Like, if they wind up wanting to cross over stuff later that’s an option, you just don’t mention it initially. Harpy being Tachyon’s cousin doesn’t come up all that frequently in the Dark Watch comic (although not never).
  • Would Citizen Dawn be made into a more gritty, street-level threat appropriate for the Dark Watch team as opposed to the usual Freedom Five-level threat she represents? This is interesting. You’re right that she doesn’t really fit into a Dark Watch show. You could think of a different explanation for Expatriette being the way she is, but the connection to the Citizens and Dawn in particular is just too good to want to do so lightly. Making the Citizens into more of a superpowered gang that Expatriette escaped from could work. I mean, you can make all of this work, you’re just going to make the die-hard fans of the comics angry and possibly confuse more casual fans who are watching both the Dark Watch and Freedom Five shows where there are now incompatible versions of Dawn. The decisions about that sort of thing are ultimately being made by the business types who are just trying to get the broadest possible viewer base.
  • Could you keep the Freedom Five in-continuity, but just leave a mention to them existing there as an Easter Egg rather than having them present or really affecting the story? Yeah, that’s another way to approach it. One of the DC movies that was a smaller side thing included references to other more popular heroes without them being in the movie [this would be SHAZAM! which included things like Batarangs and a Superman cameo, although not showing his face because of studio drama complicating Henry Cavill’s presence or not].
  • Which heroes would most enjoy sharing our hobbies: reading, hiking, kayak fishing, hosting a barbecue, and playing a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse? They frequently get questions of the “heroes’ favorite [x]” variety, which for stuff like “favorite ice cream” is just the kind of thing that doesn’t really come up for most heroes. However, this is a good one because “downtime” is something that would occasionally get featured. We know that Bunker spends a lot of time working on the Bunker suit, but he probably also has some old truck or something that he works on just for himself and not as an obligation for anything else. Wraith seems like the one to go hiking in the mountains as the whole “disconnecting from everything” angle makes some sense for her - although she probably does it in the Serious Businessperson way where she has a fitness tracker and has high tech clothes. She’s not using a rucksack and canvas tent. This is a “Corporate Retreat” angle for her - she can only justify downtime if it’s also counting as “work” in some fashion (and this probably also helps cultivate the particular image of Maia Montgomery that she wants to present). We know that Tachyon and Absolute Zero have a book club together. Tachyon also likes going to magic shows (although she’s so bad at it when she tries doing it herself - she can only pull off tricks by cheating with her super speed). Legacy is the barbecue guy. He’s a very social person and so downtime, even of the “alone time” variety, involves other people (so it might be “grabbing a beer with Jefferson Knight” as what alone time looks like). He started out as an all-American college student and transitions into all-American dad - if you think of the stereotypical “dad stuff”, that’s what he does. You know what’s a good place to learn about this kind of thing in more detail? A Day in the Life stories.
  • What kinds of music do the heroes listen to (Wraith seems like an opera person)? Wraith listens to classical strings stuff while in the office (very stereotypical Important Businessperson, Wealthy Socialite stuff because it’s what’s expected, although that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy it too). Legacy is all oldies and dad rock stuff - just loves Bruce Springsteen. Bunker has tastes that diverge pretty widely from Legacy (being more into older, more traditional country stuff as opposed to modern pop-country - Christopher and Adam have less direct experience with that for the purposes of giving specifics on what that is), but the two of them overlap on The Boss. Tachyon has trouble listening to music - she doesn’t put on music to have going while doing other tasks. She might go to a concert as a specific activity, but barring that she doesn’t do music. [A joke from chat says that Tachyon is a Swiftie which is a pretty good joke, but Unity is the Swiftie (Christopher: “But knows that Carly Rae Jepson is better. Moving on!”).]
  • Is Unity into K-Pop (at least in the lab to annoy Tachyon)? That’s more of an Idealist thing (or even Daybreak). The timing of K-Pop being a thing in the US doesn’t work for Unity.
  • [Letter suggests Setback has an eclectic playlist, but constantly has it bring up the one song he doesn’t care for anymore but forgets to remove and that Legacy puts on classical music when kids are in the car, but is into classic dad rock otherwise.] Eh… he’s more of a classic rock all the time guy. Maybe he puts on early Beatles stuff when the kids are around.
  • Would he listen to music while flying (analogous to a normal dad going for a jog)? No - when he’s flying he’s focused, maybe thinking through his tasks for the day.
  • Does K.N.Y.F.E. play bagpipes music very loudly if only for the irony/to annoy people, but secretly actually loves it? Yes, definitely. She is also very punk (like, proper UK punk). Loud pub music. Dropkick Murphys is brought up in chat which is pretty good, but she’d probably think they’re a little too sterilized/popularized. Like, she’d be into it, but it’s not as good as the old raw punk stuff.
  • Does Sky-Scraper just love everything? She tries to discover what there is in all music that people love. Sometimes that process is easier than others.
  • What’s Tyler Vance play when he’s tinkering in the garage? Hmm… thinking a bit more, while Legacy might represent the “first third” of what we think of as classic rock, Bunker probably likes the later two thirds. Throw some southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd in there too. Molly Hatchet.
  • Does Harpy like The Beatles (if only due to their song “Blackbird”)? Is she still into Emo stuff? The Harpy is a modern pop rock goth girl. She’s probably the most modern pop person although still with a goth edge to her. She definitely still listens to Evanescence.
  • Does NightMist listen to music? Eh… she’s probably listen to Ethereal Beats to Chill To. Lo-fi Magic Beats to Work or Study To.
  • Does she ever use magic in concert with (pun not originally intended, but leaving it in) her rituals? There are probably some rituals that require auditory elements. Music is somebody else’s shtick. Speaking of…
  • What does Argent Adept listen to? He likes experimental, guitar-noodling nonsense. Yngwie Malmsteen kinds of stuff. Songs that are like “is that a song or just a collection of sounds?” Anthony Drake is a weirdo music nerd who wants weird stuff. Instruments not being played as instruments. Experimental soundscapes. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull just going ham on a flute. Getting to “Jethro Tull” prompts Christopher to relate the story of André 3000’s more recent flute album.
  • [I guess I try not to think about what Guise is into. Or thinking about Guise in general.] Supertramp. He’s been to every B-52’s concert in the ’90s and ’00s, like just following them from show to show.
  • Is there a Singular Entity of Music? Of course! There has to be.
  • Would there be different Entities for different genres? They don’t think there would be separate ones for genres, but you can easily get followers (or whatever) of various other Entities like Passion or Progress, etc. whose medium is music. There’s quite possibly an issue of Virtuoso of the Void where Anthony runs into the Music one.
  • Who would listen to stuff like SUNN O)))? [After an investigation into who/what that is and then what drone metal is.] Muerto.
  • Have there ever been any stories of characters like Visionary or Expatriette, who have never had normal lives, trying to blend in as regular people and not quite getting it right? Visionary has a bit, but Expatriette doesn’t try to blend in or have a “normal life”.
  • Do Adhesivist and Night Snake ever meet (I feel like the two of them would get along, maybe go out for a beer and gripe about their plans never working right)? They don’t think they’d get along. Night Snake is a joke, but he takes himself seriously. Adhesivist is well aware of how ridiculous he and his shtick is and leans into it.
  • What are some habits and ways that Felicia is like her dad which, whenever she notices she’s doing them, make her go “dang it I’m doing it again, this is your fault dad!” or similar? Lecturing villains or her friends. A lot of her college stories have her saying something like “I’m nothing like my dad” which then cuts to her doing something exactly like her dad. In terms of crime fighting she’s a lot like how he was until the ’80s - “A problem!? Let me fly into that face-first.” A bunch of her solo arc is learning to 1) use her eye-beams more effectively and 2) use more finesse and/or the human element. About the transition from “younger, female version of Legacy” to “her own character”.
  • How excited would Night Snake be to meet Quetzalcoatl? Did they ever team up in the multiverse era? They don’t team up in the Multiverse era, there’s not a lot of room for it. Night Snake would be into it.
  • The story where Mindwarp abducts Expatriette is apparently his last (though, you never know in comics), but is it his first or is he a recurring villain? And if he is recurring, is he a Citizen or independent? This was from back in episode 77. This was a guy who was basically stalking Citizen Dawn and captured Expatriette as a “Look, I brought you want you wanted!” kind of present. This gets a “How dare you?!” response from Dawn, along with blasting him. He’s way dead. He’s only “recurring” to the extent that he was around before dying long enough to establish his motivation to capture Expatriette but that’s the only story he’s in.
  • In the OblivAeon story and her original episode, you mentioned that Akash’Thriya had always avoided returning to the Nexus of the Void out of fear of being subsumed by it. The impression I got at the time was that this was the first time she had ever gone back (at least, since becoming Akash’Thriya). However, we know that she did come back there at least once as part of Drought’s backstory, and in that story, she was stated as wanting to reconnect with the Nexus, which seems at odds with her prior characterization. Why the difference in attitude between these two visits? Were her actions in the Drought story influenced by Grimm in some way? Think of it like this: you ever feel like 1) “man, I don’t want to go back ‘home’ after being out doing my own thing for a while” and also 2) “it would be nice to go home and reconnect with things”? It’s possible for both of those feelings to be present at the same time. That’s the nature of her feelings on the Nexus.
  • As a socialite, and scion of a rich family, did The Wraith learn a classical musical instrument? If So what does she play? Yes. Violin is the main one because of course it is. She can also probably play some piano (and has a really nice one), but the violin is primary.
  • Has Baron Blade ever sold message rockets? Probably not directly, but we know he’s sold/rented out Mobile Defense Platform and there’s probably some in the thing.
  • On the subject of die hard comics fans being mad at everything, Daybreak is a team that shows up immediately after a huge comics overhaul and is an all teen team of new heroes who are made to be more “hip with the kids.” How popular does Daybreak actually turn out and is there an initial large negative response especially from people who hate change? Daybreak fills the “teen hero team” niche and isn’t a replacement for something people already like. The book that People Who Hate Change are mad at is Sentinels of Freedom. They’re really mad/dumbfounded that there’s no Freedom Five book.
  • Do Guise and Setback ever have a team up crossover? It has to have happened, if only for a story in which Setback is the “mature” one. Or they have to take turns in the story being reasonable at one another.
  • In the “Choke in Megalopolis” episode, you read up a bunch of Cosmic Tales book and what happen in them. One of them, I don’t remember which, you mentioned was about Lifeline creating Aeon Girl. My question is this: Was Aeon Girl created before Voss closed the prime universe from the other? If yes, does that mean that Aeon Girl exists in other universes that is still going on outside of the prime universe? Aeon Girl was created in the January 2017, after Voss sandwich bagged Universe 1. Voss-as-OblivAeon happens in OblivAeon #6 in December 2016.
  • So, while it was a great realization that Night Snake named himself after Night Hunter, way back in Ansel G. Moreau’s episode it was said that the movie series was simply The Hunter and “Night Hunter” was the evolution of the name he took in the RPG era - have we just gotten to the point where we’re retconning the movie series to be “Night Hunter” as well? The explanation we’re given is that while the phrase “Night Hunter” doesn’t occur in any of the titles we’ve been told previously (The Hunter, The Hunter: Unloaded, The Hunter: Reloaded, Return of the Hunter, and The Final Hunt which was destroyed during OblivAeon prior to release) somehow the name of the series and/or the character that is landed on is Night Hunter. Like, the “Rambo” series doesn’t start with Rambo. It starts with First Blood with the first sequel being Rambo: First Blood Part II, followed by Rambo III, Rambo, and Rambo: Last Blood. There are no rules. In any event, if they’ve said otherwise in the past, yes they are retconning it so that Night Hunter is a name associated with his movie franchise.
  • There is this thing that I sometimes see happen in long running media. There is a character that has some merit, but just doesn’t work. Or is suddenly not legally available. Or some other problem. Then someone creates a new character that is actually just a reworked version of the previous character that works better. But since they are technically separate characters, some writer will sooner or later have both of them show up together. Any Sentinel Comics examples of that? The closest they can think of is Head Doctor and Highbrow both filling a similar narrative niche, but one’s story leads directly into the other.
  • Do King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table exist in Sentinel Comics? In the RPG era we see things related to this - there’s an adventure in the Guise book that uses stuff from those stories (although in a Wager Master way). Then there’s also the order of space knights that were used in their first round of RPG streams. There have to be stories that actually use Arthur and whatnot, though.
  • I’m still confused about Fashion, so I’m asking for more clarification. I don’t really understand how much she matters in the Multiverse era. She shows up in mid 2014, and doesn’t really do much that we know of, aside from a crossover with Greazer. Does she have any major crossovers with other heroes that you’d be willing to share? To what capacity is she involved in OblivAeon (considering other heroes that are introduced later than she is have more to do like Benchmark or Luminary)? The other more prominent heroes introduced after her are higher up in the popularity ladder (like, Luminary is just one of the most popular villains, only as a hero). Fashion does do more than they’ve talked about, but the trick is that every time Fashion comes up in topic or episode voting she wins so they are sparing with how often they put her in there otherwise we’d run the risk of this becoming a Fashion podcast [Christopher had a golden opportunity to use the phrase “Fashion show” here and missed it]. She does stuff on Earth, she does stuff in Space, she does stuff as Fashion, and she does stuff as Shirley Shane. We’ll get to more of that with time.
  • Did Chokepoint still hide on the Celestial Tribunal when it was at Earth and was hidden there until she took over the empty husk in 2016 or did she get there later? And if the latter, how did she travel through space? [Without an explicit acknowledgement that this is a retcon…] She uses metal to make a “spaceship” that she wraps around herself and flies that to the Celestial Tribunal around the time that the mind is hacked out to become Sanction.
  • [Shear Force is amazing and I’ve re listened to that episode multiple times.] They love it to, but are aware of how little they’re going to use Shear Force. It was a series (actually two - there was a relaunch decades after the original) that was produced by Sentinel Comics, but was not canon to the larger Sentinel Comics supers continuity. The only real nod is cameos during OblivAeon and Hedgelord being stuck here afterward. It’s like Secret Lads and Pouch Beasts - a piece of media from the Metaverse that’s not part of the Sentinel Comics canon.
  • How consistent is Baron Blade’s Characterization? Is he generally a scene chewing megalomaniac or more of a super genius whose plans are foiled? How is he portrayed in the animated adaptations compared to his comics persona? He is a scene-chewing megalomaniac super genius whose plans are foiled. All at once. He’s one of the easier villains to write correctly. There’s not a lot of variation in how he’s written.
  • When you say that the Chairman became the Freedom Five’s handler for a while, you mean that respected businessman Graham Pike became their handler, right? Which of the Freedom Five know that he is the Chairman at that time? Did Maia tell everyone or does she have to break some bad news now? These are questions to be asked when they tell that story.
  • Did The Entertainer appear in the Wraith TV show and did he have “The Entertainer” in his leitmotif? They don’t know if he showed up in the ’60s show. He probably did and the song is a possibility if so.
  • Did Friction’s super suit survive her transcendence through super speed? Has any other villain tried to replicate/use her suit after her disintegration/transcendence to another plane of existence? The suit did not survive. She and it were both ceased to exist in the form we knew before.
  • You mentioned the date when K.N.Y.F.E. “killed” Choke recently, but you didn’t say the issue - cross-referencing with Enhanced Edition cards this would have been in Vengeance #6 which should be in the month specified, but is that still the issue where it happens? Freedom Five #504 [this is in April 1992, whereas they said May before]. She does show up in the May Vengeance issue where she punches Fright Train.
  • In Kismet’s deck, we know the card Fortune’s Smile shows Universe 1 Kismet crossing over into a Disparation story. Aside from La Comodora’s crew and the OblivAeon refugees, are there any other instances of Disparation touching the main universe? I imagine it’s a pretty rare occurrence, but surely this can’t be the only time it’s happened, right? It’s not the only time, but they don’t have others in mind. If there’s a story in Disparation that gets really popular, somebody will try to find a way to get things to cross over and on occasion it’ll work.
  • So if Ambuscade is the most successful at keeping his identity secret, who is the least? My money is on the Wraith (Chairman, Operative, Zhu Long, Spite, Miss Info, Valentine, everyone from April Fools issue - are there any other villains I am missing). If Wraith has the least secret identity how many times has she had to prove Maia and the Wraith are not the same? People don’t know that Maia and Wraith are the same person, because in general “everybody” has had it “proven” to them that they aren’t the same person and that they must have been tricked. Very few people actually know. It’s happened so many times that by this point anybody trying to make the claim is met by derision. Setback’s pretty bad at keeping his secret identity, but it doesn’t really matter.
  • Is it possible for someone without magical ability to accidentally write music with magical power? The answer probably has to be yes, but in an edge case of “somebody manages to produce something so transcendent that it catches the Singular Entity of Magic’s attention or something. That sounds like an Argent Adept story where this normal person gets caught up in magical nonsense and eventually gives up music altogether to avoid further drama. Like,”it’s not possible except for that one time that it happened.”
  • Does Golden Age Captain Cosmic show up after his book ends in more than just a ‘here is his supporting cast cameoing’ way? [After lots of false starts and hemming and hawing:] We can’t say “no.”
  • Is there a rhyme or reason to the order of non-hero decks in the DE rule/lore books (they clearly aren’t presented alphabetically or in ascending or descending difficulty/peril order. I thought perhaps it might be first appearance chronology as I noticed heroes are ordered by team seniority, but that can’t be right because Freedom tower is second in the core book and we know that’s too soon)? Heroes are Freedom Five in “the order that you think of members of the Freedom Five”. Legacy obviously first, then Wraith, Bunker, Tachyon, and Absolute Zero. That’s the order. Then Unity because she goes with the team. Then the Prime Wardens in the order that they are brought into the plot that establishes the team with Ra as the leftover character. Dark Watch in Rook City Renegades is ordered similarly with Alpha added later. Villains are roughly by “how important these villains are to these hero teams”, but a few could easily be swapped here and there (like Matriarch and Akash’Bhuta). Blade is first because of course he is, Dawn and Voss are both more important than Omnitron (and Dawn is more recurring than Voss whose big event is a bigger deal overall). Environments are likewise “importance” - Megalopolis is obviously first, but then Freedom Tower because it’s in Megalopolis. Insula Primalis is another big, important location with a lot of stories. Then Magmaria, Atlantis, and Wagner Mars Base could be in basically any order. RCR Villains are lumped into basic “bands” of importance and within those things can get a little weird, but the theming is still intended to be there. RCR Environments go that way too. When in doubt, it defaults to “the order in which Christopher thought of them when writing up the table in the book.”
  • Dark watch was original a very ’90s team, but it turns out they’re mostly in the 2000s. The Sentinels were thought to be ’90s as well but turned out to be much later. Is there really no edgy ’80s/’90s team? That’s a weird absence if so. Is there possibly one that was notable but has never come up (yes I’m accounting for the failed weather team, they didn’t stick around and weren’t even notable while they were around so they don’t count)? Now that you mention it, you’re right that Dark Watch was very much a “’90s characters in ’00s situations” team. As much as they originally said that the Southwest Sentinels were a ’90s team, they really don’t and never did feel like a ’90s team - they are definitely from the correct placement in the ’10s. The Prime Wardens are the edgy ’80s/’90s team. Sure they evolve into something else later, but in the beginnings they were “a bunch of very powerful people swinging as hard as they can at the problems.” Have you seen Fanatic’s ’90s costume?
  • Was any of Choke’s appearances as a minor Freedom Five villain ever a team-up? Like “maybe if we pair her up with this more popular character, it rubs off on her”? Probably. It would be strange if she didn’t have any team-ups. None of them land, but it’s certainly attempted.
  • [Prompted by the writer’s previous question about whether Voss could be considered a hero, if not the greatest hero, for literally making the continued existence of everything in every universe possible by stopping OblivAeon, although for selfish reasons: It seems that both of you adhere to a deontological view of right and wrong - Voss’s selfish desire to steal OblivAeon’s power is bad because the action itself is bad and the “side effect” of saving uncountable trillions is irrelevant.] This makes the assumption that if Voss hadn’t intervened that OblivAeon would have succeeded. Voss did a bad thing for a bad reason. There is a possibility that the even worse thing he prevented would still have been stopped. You can’t be sure.
  • [Continued: I lean more to a Consequential view where outcomes of an action have to factor into its moral worth. Similarly, Dark Visionary preventing GloomWeaver from breaking through into reality is similarly “good”.] They get it, but they don’t ascribe to it. Speaking to the Dark Visionary thing, though, that’s different. Dark Visionary was doing a good thing for the right reasons there. Her then going on to do evil things doesn’t change the moral status of one. Voss set out to do a bad thing which, due to the good action of the heroes, happened to have a good outcome. “Voss didn’t want everybody in reality to die, he just wanted to rule them all himself” is maybe less bad, but is hardly good.
  • [Continued, to an actual question:] Would you consider your ethical framework to be deontologically based? What heroes in Sentinel Comics would view the world that way? Which would be more consequentialist? The Freedom Five in general are more the former (Tachyon being an exception). Expatriette is definitely in the consequential camp - the only thing that matters is the outcome. Adam also points out that he himself lives his life in the more deontological way - that if he does bad things, even to do “good” ultimately, he’s causing damage to himself in the process, but in fiction he can be more pragmatic about things, because it’s about the story. He’s not ascribing his own morals to fictional characters. This gets into more questions about how feasible it even is to give a definitive moral label to actions. These are hard questions which this silly fake comic book podcast is not well-suited to answer definitively.
  • What was Hitler like in the Inversiverse? Man, it is a losing proposition for anybody to pitch a story involving “good Hitler” and so it probably never happens in comics. Also, chat comes to the rescue to point out that they’ve already stated that only the fictional heroes/villains and assorted support characters get their morality inverted.
  • What about minor villains? Are there more minor villains than minor heroes (as seems to be the case based on what we know)? If so, could the heroes wipe out the villains in the Inversiverse just based on strength of numbers? There are definitely way more minor villains than minor heroes. “Minor heroes” are just “good people who do the right thing when an opportunity presents itself” and doesn’t often lend itself to full-time heroic work. The world as presented is one where there are more people willing to do bad things and so heroes are necessary to stop them. Therefore, the Inversiverse should wind up looking like a brighter place. One way to counter that is that our heroes-who-are-now-villains are made much worse. There are fewer villains, but they’re much stronger.
  • What about power level - in the main universe it takes a team of 5 heroes to take down 1 villain, so shouldn’t things be flipped in the Inversiverse? No, for the above reason. You’re applying game-mechanic logic to the comics story world. It’s not even “5 heroes to take down 1 villain” but more “5 heroes to foil a villainous plot that’s already been prepared and is in progress”. It also takes 5 heroes to take down 1 Iron Legacy just in the game where in the comics it took way more than that. They don’t flip around equally.
  • What does an Equity defeat look like? How does he explain being arrested or razor-ordnance-sized wounds to his oblivious family? Does defeating him just mean successfully defending his target? Does he just never lose? We know it’s not that he never loses. You can physically defeat him, but you can also find some way to “balance the scales” such that he’ll just leave. The comic where we learn about his secret life is one where a writer wants to get into Equity’s deal a bit and in that we have him get roughed up during a fight, but then later see him sitting on the edge of a hotel bed, tending to his wounds while cradling the phone to his ear with his shoulder talking to his wife about how the business trip needed to take longer than expected - the main office needed to send him to Tulsa and so he’ll have to miss the kids’ play this weekend, etc. Some of it is handwaved, but we at least get some indication of him covering for it.
  • When was “Ambuscade is really an illusion created by Glamour” first revealed to the readers? Was it a retcon covering for weak writing like Tempersonation or was it planned from the second Slaughterhouse Six story? We know it wasn’t planned from the beginning. There was some realization that Ambuscade shouldn’t be able to be in both places between books or something and the writers came up with the Glamour thing, but nobody but the writers knew for a while. Eventually (after not too long of a time) it’s revealed to the readers, but not other characters. Even after it kind of becomes more widely known, it doesn’t really change a lot - if a hero is fighting the Slaughterhouse Six and isn’t sure if Ambuscade is real or an illusion, you kind of have to continue acting as if he’s real. You can’t risk being wrong. There’s probably some story where everybody knows about the illusion thing and tries to ignore him, then it punches the unsuspecting hero. Glamour is clever enough to figure somebody would be complacent like that and so hired a thug to wear the suit.
  • [In response to a bit in the letter about the time frame of 16 years passing between FFA #11 and Ambuscade’s last appearance in Temporal Targets:] It’s not like it’s 16 in-setting years either, but they imagine something around 3-4 Slaughterhouse Six appearances. Maybe more, but less than 10. Maybe 3-4 arcs.
  • Could the Ambuscade in Alpha 2000 have been an illusion, thus explaining away things like his cybernetic arm (instead of it just being gear that he wears)? That would have been a better explanation than the reality of it just showing up in that one story and then dropped unceremoniously for his next one.
  • [In the Answer-sode you said that Thunderspeaker was a person who took on a role as guardian of the Nexus of the Void, but in Spirit Island Thunderspeaker was not a person but a spirit that took on the form of various humans to illustrate its connection to the Dahan.] Sometimes that’s what Thunderspeaker is. Other times it’s influenced/haunted existing people. Thunderspeaker is not a person, but looks and acts like a person and/or acts through the will of a person. Sorry if they said that in a way that was misleading.
  • Since the Nexus of the Void is Spirit Island, can we ask Spirit Island questions here? You shouldn’t. Adam, for one, shouldn’t be asked about Spirit Island lore in general.
  • Which guardian spirits interact with Sentinel Comics heroes? Do they chase people off the island? [This goes on asking more questions about specific spirits.] The trick is that there are artistic depictions of spirits on the Nexus of the Void island that are references to Spirit Island, but are not one-to-one with them. There is nothing about the Dahan in Sentinel Comics. It’s merely that they spring from a similar source point, but then things diverge. Nexus of the Void exists in Sentinel Comics and would exist in Sentinel Comics, but it resembles Spirit Island solely because of the existence of Greater Than Games, which does not exist in the Metaverse.
  • What’s the current status of the Freedom Five game from Arcane Wonders? They don’t have any insider knowledge about the state of the project. They were involved in getting things as “right” for the setting as they could, but they are not involved in the production stuff. Christopher did have a conversation with Robert when they were at PAX Unplugged about how the various delays and troubles the campaign had makes the project less likely to be a commercial success beyond the crowdfunding campaign. If the unexpected happens and it becomes a hit more broadly, they would like to still get a chance to do a Dark Watch or Prime Wardens game of the same sort. Christopher did back the project himself, so he’ll likely know that it’s on its way when the rest of the backers do. [The most recent Kickstarter Update as of this recording mentions that files are to the printer and will (hopefully) require just one more approval before production starts in full, and that things have been exported from CrowdOx and that no more changes to pledges can be made other than address changes, which should go directly through the KS page rather than CrowdOx. That being said, if you have questions, you should ask Arcane Wonders, not Christopher and Adam - they just don’t know since it’s not their game/company.]
  • Would transcriptions of the podcast episodes be useful? Man, like actual line-by-line transcriptions… that seems like a ton of work (although these days some AI tools might serve for the bulk of it, with just editing passes by people). “WalkingTarget does phenomenal write-ups.” [Aw, shucks…] More than that might not be really necessary. If you’re interested in doing transcriptions, it might be better to talk to people like WT and the others who actively work on the wiki (whoever that is these days). [Actually, mainly me, but more volunteers are welcome. The template that Jeysie did ages ago for the episode information already has a slot for transcripts if/when they’re available.]
  • Is there a story where Guise is the antagonist to a hero? Probably for a stupid reason? Almost certainly, but that’s true of multiple heroes. Guise is particularly easy to slot into that role, though.
  • [I have a quick “well actually” for you… you’ve mentioned that OblivAeon was the last “classic episode” - this is not true. The last classic episode was xxtz’Hulissh, episode #174 You go into some Atlantis stuff (not enough, in my opinion, but you go into it) and talk about his history and things like that. You create the story where he is first named in that one one-shot.] That’s cool. They more meant that it was the last in the run of classic episodes, with xxtz’Hulissh being more a return to form later on. Good “well, actually” though.
  • What’s your favorite Toditos flavor? Adam: chili lime is good. He also likes a tahin. Christopher: the crisp satin jalapeno. It’s got a really great mouthfeel. Also, it’s hard to go wrong with the standard Macho Nacho flavor.
  • You say in the Guise episode that, in the Multiverse era, he is not really a hero. But are there stories where he, even though his intentions are probably not that bad, the villain? Man, they said that in the Guise episode and it was and is true, but it’s less true now. He’s definitely a hero, he just sucks at it. He’s selfish and more concerned with his image than heroics, but his story is putting that aside.
  • Has there been any consideration put into someone who could temporarily fill Christopher’s creative role, should he unfortunately meet an untimely end? Someone like Braithwhite? Someone who could carry that cross long enough to see any projects to the end? Obviously no one could replace either of you completely, you’re too talented and unique. For Adam’s part, he doesn’t like to think that way. He’s not going to put that out there into the universe by thinking about it. Christopher thinks that between Braithwhite, Adam, and Paul (and the amazing playtesting crew they have) they could wrap up the extant projects and put them to bed. That being said, Sentinel Comics is a thing that exists in the liminal mental space between the brains of the two of them together. They don’t have an interest in doing it without the other. Adam says that even if Christopher is still around and just decides that he’s done with it, Adam would as well. If he’s just making up superhero stuff on his own, he may as well just make up his own solo creations.
  • What was Haka’s reaction to Ambuscade becoming Stuntman? “Oh, he’s a hero now? Good for him. That sounds better.” Haka doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about Ambuscade. He’s just that guy who attacks him a lot. As such, he probably thinks about him in similar terms to how he thinks about the Hippo. Haka probably spends more thought on things like Akash’Bhuta - he’s fighting a literal force of nature. That’s more important. Thinking about it, he might enjoy fighting Ambuscade more. Ambuscade is a thoughtful opponent and an interesting fight. The Hippo is a big dumb bruiser who isn’t above swinging at bystanders.
  • [It sounds like a “The ends justify the means, so even if the means were bad, the end is good, so it is an over all good action”, which is not something I subscribe to. (In regards to the morality talk)] That is a less jargonish way to talk about it.
  • So, did you just say that the example character for Minion Maker in the RPG rule book is NOT a Pouch Beast handler? They did not say that. Most of the example characters in that part of the book are non-canonical anyway, but if you want to make your own Pouch Beast handler, go right ahead.
  • You guys have said two different things and I am confused… back in the Ambuscade episode, you mentioned that Ansel G. Moreau is a household name and that everyone has seen him walk away from an explosion… and now you say he is C-list??? First of all, how dare you - and second of all, which one is the truth? The world must know! The people who have seen him walk away from an explosion is a larger set than the people who know more about his work in specific. More people have heard of the Hunter movies than know the name of the starring actor. Not everybody likes action movies and in the real world more people probably knew the name “Rambo” than “Sylvester Stallone”. Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to transcend that a bit and got more wider-culture recognition than many of his peers.
  • Did y’all see the shirts I made? [They hadn’t, but I linked to the Discord message where Wraith IRL had posted them. She took some plain t shirts and added iron-on details and logos to make pretty nice Bunker and Wraith shirts for her and Nerd to wear for their engagement photos. I’m not entirely sure if Discord images can be viewed if you’re not on Discord, but here goes nothing.]
  • I just realized that you guys never went back and added more apes like you said you were going to at one point; where are all the comic book gorillas!? They’ve talked about that… There are some here and there, but Sentinel Comics has a surprising lack of apes due to the sheer number put out by their main competitor. They did put some apes on Mars in the Golden Age.