Ra/References

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Artwork

  • The original Horus of Two Horizons promo incap side shows a bound Ra being watched by Set.
  • The Variant Art Pack Horus of Two Horizons incap side shows Ra speaking to Ammit.
  • The Setting Sun incap side shows Fanatic mourning over Ra's body.
  • "Drawn to the Flame" shows Citizen Dawn weathering a fire blast.
  • "Imbued Fire" shows Legacy with glowing fists, representing that he does Fire damage instead of Melee now.
  • "Scorched Earth" shows Anubis standing on the ground that Ra has caused to burn.

Confirmed

  • Ra has the most nemeses of any Sentinels hero (The Ennead (9), Calypso, Ammit and Anubis.)
  • The new Ra in Tactics is Thiago and the Staff in the Freedom Tower called out to him allowing to bypass security Q&A from Gen Con 2016

Mechanics of these gods in Sentinel Comics:

    • In ancient Egypt, thousands of years ago, there were powerful entities who referred to themselves as gods (identified with these specific gods), although they weren't actually "gods" in the sense that all of these stories about "being the sky" or similar were true, although they certainly encouraged such stories in the populous. Each of them had items tied to their own iconography that eventually became Relics (the Staff of Ra, Atum's Scarab, etc.). These entities had once been human, and were long-lived, but were not truly immortal (most died in combat, but some could still die of old age), and so eventually they're all dead (except one). However, all of their power and knowledge/memories, upon their deaths, would wind up in their Relics (not their minds though, again: Ra and Blake Washington Jr. aren't different people - just that having a ton of extra memories dumped into your head might have an effect on your personality somewhat).
    • The Relics don't automatically impart the power on whoever touches them, though. They have to have some kind of resonance with the person and will kind of "call out" to them ahead of time. This is why notable archaeologist Dr. Blake Washington Jr. picked up this ancient artifact almost immediately instead of following best practices - he was almost compelled to do so.
    • This all fits except for Anubis, who's the original Anubis - part of his powerset as the "gatekeeper of the underworld" was to be immortal and so the original never died. His role was also to be the guard of the underworld and to keep stuff in there from getting out (otherwise we'd have zombies "every damn where") and he wasn't interested in ruling the world, which is probably for the best. Ra manages to convince even him to come help against OblivAeon, and so dies for the first time (leaving the Rod of Anubis around with the rest of the Relics, although most have been scattered and are unaccounted for).

To Other Works

  • Many of Ra's character traits are homages to the Marvel Comics incarnation of Thor, the Norse god of thunder:
    • Both are gods that switch places/identities with mortal men.
    • Both have powers that draw from an elemental source (fire for Ra, thunder for Thor).
    • Both use a mystic relic to channel and enhance their powers (Ra's staff, Thor's Mjolnir hammer.)
    • Both speak in a quasi-Shakespearean manner.
  • "The Staff of Ra" first appeared in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark/ In the movie, main character Indian Jones used it to find the lost Ark of the Covenant.
  • The Cairo Sphinx is famous for missing its nose. The sphinx in the background of "Living Conflagration," however, still has its nose.
  • The flavor text on "Excavation" is an homage to the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Questions Answered on The Letters Page

  • Notes from Letters Page 27 - Ra
    • What is the War of Heliopolis arc? It's the story when Ra makes his return as Horus of Two Horizons, taking down the Ennead.
    • Who was the first superpowered human on Earth; we know that Haka has been around a long time, as have the various Virtuosos of the Void, and there are mythological entities like Ra around whose origins are a long time ago, so who was first? Why? The first was a Virtuoso of the Void, but one whose name (and instrument) has been lost to time (more in a few weeks!). Haka was much later by comparison - only a few hundred years old, he was born more recently than La Capitan was. A Virtuoso of the Void has to be around to counter Akash'Bhuta, and so has been around for a long time. Ra and the other mythology-based guys only date back to when those cultures/legends got started.
    • How many wielders of the Staff of Ra have there been/how much control do they have over the Ra personality? First, the "personality" is more of just the result of the wielder's personality now having more knowledge/memories and so is still the same person (as has been mentioned). There have been "several" people to wield it over the centuries during the Egyptian culture, thousands of years ago, but then none at all after that until Blake found it again (then another in the Future section).
    • Can he repair/restore the Staff after it was destroyed by Baron Blade (see Blade's Vengeance card "Vengeful Assault")? The Staff has a physical form, but the power isn't just contained by that physical manifestation - even if the staff was burned and the headpiece melted down, it would re-manifest somewhere. This is also part of the implication of the mechanic in the game that Ra can throw the Staff and then re-summon it. There are things that could theoretically damage this power intentionally, but it's never happened.
    • Guise can use other characters Equipment cards ("Lemme See That"), has he ever used Ra's Staff? What would happen if he did? Does Ra become Blake again if he drops it? Ra can operate without holding the Staff, it's not what gives him his powers on an ongoing basis - it's just a "trigger" to set up the connection. While Blake is Ra (that is, he's the one connected to the power even if he's not actively being Ra at that moment), nobody else can be Ra. The Staff is a focus for him and he likes having/using it, but it's not a necessary condition and it wouldn't impart that power to others, even Guise (especially Guise - the Ra-entity would have no interest in Joe King).
    • Ra is the Sun God, Citizen Dawn gets her power from the light of the sun - what's their relationship like? Did she ever try to recruit him? Would she consider him an equal/rule with him? Citizen would not rule with him, doesn't consider him an equal, doesn't care that he's the "god of the sun" or whatever. They've only met a few times and it's always been antagonistic as neither of them is the type to be subservient to (or even a peer of) anyone else. Possible world in the multiverse where Citizen Dawn approaches him on bended knee to offer him a crown as the ruler of the Citizens of the Sun that he would accept, but there's no way that any Dawn we've seen would do that. They both draw on the sun's power, but that doesn't mean that they'd "get along" because of it - neither really even "gets along" even with people they like.
    • Does Ra ever leave Earth? How would his powers work in space? Has he been to Magmaria where everything's immune to fire damage? How would he do in a fight there? Ra has never left Earth, nor has he been to Magmaria. He draws power from the Sun, but it's interesting to think about if he could do so with other Suns (or, say, on Dok'Thorath where there's more than one). To fight Magmarians, maybe he'd try to use fire to destabilize some rocks that would then fall on them, or maybe somehow draw the heat from them (probably the most effective method) - he's smarter than the average Magmarian, but they're also mostly not very antagonistic.
    • Do the other heroes see him as a god? Why not work with the Prime Wardens? He calls himself one, but it's not like the other heroes worship him - although the positions held on what he is are kind of all across the board. Many think he's just an arrogant jerk. Nightmist has more insight to what's actually going on with him regarding ancient magic. Chrono-Ranger is probably like "Sure." with a shrug.
    • Can Ra fly/levitate or just move around on foot? He can, as a manifestation of "power", kind of levitate, but he can't move around with that.
    • Does Blake Washington Jr. prefer his fish grilled, steamed, or RAw? He prefers it charred.
    • What does the world think happened to Dr. Washington? If the question is about "while he's Ra", then the answer is "nowhere" as he's around just as much as he ever was (which includes going off on expeditions/out of sight for long periods). If the question is "after OblivAeon kills Ra" then it's just assumed that he was one of the millions of casualties due to OblivAeon in general.
    • Does Ra ever get hate-mail from firefighters? If he had an address that he could be reached at, he probably would have.
    • How many iterations of Ra have there been in the "main" Timeline? Just the two "modern" ones.
    • A bio for him mentions that he "trad[ed] his spirit for another chance as a defender of the physical realm", what implications does this have for Ra (or the Ennead) going forward? This was skipped over in the overview:
      • After his initial defeat by the Ennead and his wanderings in the desert, he eventually heads to the Tomb of Anubis. There he calls upon Anubis to make a deal for additional strength. Anubis explains the whole "this is the payment exacted for helping Marty" thing and tells him to take a hike. Ra tries to leave, but Ammit calls him over (pretty funny voice for Ammit at around 57:45) and takes him to her realm and weighs his heart against a feather (this is more Egypt myth stuff) - she only gets to eat his heart if the heart is heavier than the feather of Truth and so far he's coming up on the good side of that arrangement. She wants to make a deal to give him power in exchange for her getting to eat his heart anyway, once his time has come (this scene is the Horus of Two Horizons incap art in the variant art pack).
      • The heart represents some aspects of the "soul" in Egyptian myth - Ammit gets to consume his Ka and Bâ (roughly the "spark" that differentiates the living from the dead and the essence of his personality, respectively - there are three more parts to this "soul" business in Egyptian myth too). In exchange, he must take on two burdens that will allow her to get these two parts of his soul in exchange for the power she'll give him. He thinks he can outsmart her, and so hears her out.
      • First, he must blight a field that many people rely on for food and then he has to turn a desert oasis that people depend on into a lake of fire. He takes some time to think about this, and all of the implications of these actions (i.e. a lot of people will probably die because of this). Being in this spiritual place, he can actually interact with these parts of his soul - he winds up using them to act in the world. His Ka is sent to cause the field to be extra fertile and to bloom overnight, speeding up the harvest, and his Bâ in the form of a hawk to the oasis, where he kills an ox and causes its rapid decay to poison the oasis, but people see this an know that they need to go elsewhere.
      • The next day Ra agrees to Ammit's terms. He goes to this freshly-harvested field and blights it (but given that the harvest is already in, so people won't starve because of it) and to the oasis and does the whole lake of fire thing, but the people are already all gone. He returns to Ammit, thinking he's successfully tricked his way out of this, but finds that now his heart outweighs the feather anyway - while he did what Ammit asked of him, he defrauded her to do so and that trickery is bad. He gets the power anyway, though. This is a major reason that he's "gone gone" after OblivAeon - Ammit ate his soul when he died.
    • On the Ra: Horus of Two Horizons promo card, he looks a lot like Citizen Anvil, is this a coincidence? Anvil has brown hair, Ra has black hair. They're not the same person or related. It's just a coincidence.
    • How many deities from Egyptian mythology are walking around around? We see 100% of the Egyptian deities in the setting. The mummies in the Tomb of Anubis are magically-reanimated corpses related to the fact that they're close to the entrance to the underworld and are being used to guard those gates. That being said, other deities existed, but their Relics are unrecoverable (more next week).
    • How are Ra and Blake Washington separated? Have all bearers of the Staff gone through all three "stages" that Blake did? Does the Staff impart an allergy to shirts? The connection/differences between the Ra/Blake personalities has already been discussed. Every Ra has gone through/will go through the Dawn-Zenith-Sunset sequence. As for shirts, they catch on fire easily and get between him and the sun, so Ra just tends to do without.
    • How did Ra and Fanatic wind up friends considering the differences in theology surrounding them? "Friends" is generous - they're friends but not friendly as they get under each others' skins even if they care about one another. They were both "freak of the week" kinds of characters and wound up in a few stories together in their own books, plus interactions in crossover events. The main crossover for them specifically was the Baptism by Fire limited series. They fight well together even though their very natures contradict one another, but that doesn't get in the way of making out. They are "frenemies with benefits" - not a "couple" as you'd normally think about things.
    • How much of Ra's personality is Ra vs. Blake? Does he seem himself as two entities? Blake is a bit brash already, decisive and reactionary, but his temper is under the surface (as a human adult who's managed to navigate academia), but Ra has no "under the surface" setting and his temper is right out there on display.
    • How does Egypt react to his (and the Ennead's) appearance? Well, Ra's book was never about the political/legal situations, and so it doesn't show up much. Egypt's "official" position is that these aren't really deities and it's not like Ra tries to rule or anything, but Egypt kind of does adopt Ra as a kind of "mascot" for the publicity and his presence does spark an increase in interest in Egyptology. There are stories that involve people starting to worship him, which he doesn't seek out, although he seems pretty cool with it (seeing it as right and proper that people do so, but does have to then deal with the responsibility of having this kind of following.
    • How/why does Ra convince the Ennead and Anubis to work with him? He goes to Anubis first and lays out the whole "end of all reality" problem to get him on board pretty quickly. He and Anubis go around to track them down, but we'll get into the rest of that story in next week's episode given that it's more about the Ennead and their varied reactions.

Sources