I have a few pages of house keeping to do before we move on to the next scene and chapter. This isn’t like Kung-Fu theater where the bad guy gasps his last and they roll credits literally 2 seconds after the hero slumps to the ground, exhausted but elated that he’s finally avenged his father and/or master. We won’t linger long though, just want to hit some important notes first. Notes like the girls making jokes about shirtless boys. I figure it was time to balance the scales a bit – not that there’s a direct male equivalent to “girl in corset jumping rope” of course, but it’s something.
There’s been a lot of speculation on how to incarcerate Vehemence. Obviously you couldn’t throw him in general pop or even some a moderately populated super prison since the first riot and he’d be off, and they already know he can start them. I’ll touch on it later, and also maybe cover the fact that Dabbler did stuff to make sure he hadn’t banked a ton of energy or anything, but I’ll leave it at “really really really tied up” for now.
Dabbler will eventually share the story of her arrival on Earth and such, but that’s for the next book.
Oh and I somehow forgot to use a scratchy font for Maxima on the last page, I’ll eventually fix that, but her voice won’t be all “unbelievably strong guy tried to crush my windpipe” forever.
I’d liked to have one more row of panels showing Vehemence slumping to the ground, reverting back to his original size, his armored arm clanking off in strips, showing a regular arm underneath, but yes, the fight is finally over. It feels slightly anti-climactic to me in some ways, but really, the only viable options at this point given their resources were to kill him or talk him down.
I’ll have to do a port mortem on the fight, sit down and reread the whole thing and see where I could have edited it. I certainly didn’t intend for it to last 86 pages. (Actually 107 pages if you count all the double sized pages.) I probably should have cut the Death Toll stuff as it didn’t add anything to the fight that didn’t happen again on a larger scale with Vehemence, and there’s probably a few more things I could have taken out or saved for later to lower the page count, but besides it running longer than I would have liked, I think it went mostly ok, especially seeing how it was my first fight. (And will probably be the only one for a while.) I’ll be glad to get back to the slice of life stuff though, which is really what the bulk of the comic is supposed to be about.
Edit: To clarify: I didn’t mean to imply that I was going to go in and cut pages out of the comic, just that I’d be a little more critical about future pages and make sure they really contribute something, especially if a scene is taking a while to get through. The Death Toll pages did add stuff, mostly humor and as some have pointed out, it showed the team that Sydney’s genre savvy has some value to the team.
This is probably the last double page I do for a while (watch me make a liar out of myself in the next 10 pages :P ) Originally the double pages were intended to let me blow the panels up so I could to better looking action, but mostly what happened was the double pages wound up having 12-18 panels which meant I was really doing 3 pages a week and just posting two of them at once. Sure I like getting more comic out there for everyone, the problem is when I do 3 pages a week, it’s 12-13 hours a day, 7 days a week of drawing, and that leaves me time for little else. I’m sure many of you have noticed the vote incentive has gotten a bit stale for instance, or that my “What I’m Reading” widget has been on the same book for the last 2 months. I’d like to get back to doing more peripheral stuff like the vote incentives, cause they let me expand the world outside of just linear story telling, and the occasional piece of fan art or guest comic would be nice as well. I’ll also need some time to run back through and got to my big list of fixes, mostly art stuff like Maxima’s sudden change in rank, before I can put the book together and set up a kickstarter for that.
So yeah, Sydney’s plan ultimately boils down to “choke him out” which isn’t tremendously imaginative, but she did have to jump through quite a few hoops to get there first.
The fight does at long last finally end on the next page. Normally that would be a spoiler, but it’s been a long time coming and a lot of people have been ready for it for a while. I would include myself among them, but I say that while wryly looking at how much stuff I cut from the fight. Some of it is dialog that I’ll probably edit and save for later, some of it’s stuff I can use in other fights, but honestly it may be a while before there’s another big action sequence.
In case it’s at all confusing, panel 4 is supposed to be Sydney checking the time while water splashes off her shield, but looking at the page fresh just before I post it, I could see someone thinking her wrist thing is bursting or she’s blocking a splash with it? Maybe I’ll move the splash lower when I go back through and start doing edits for the book.
(Sorry for the delay in posting. I moronically scheduled the post for “the next day” forgetting that I was starting to write the post after midnight, so it was already the 19th.)
That guy is a tool but I kind of like him. He’s a guy who’s supremely confident in himself for no good reason. He’d probably either really get along with or mutually annoy Achilles.
I changed Maxima’s line in the flashback panel, originally she said “sewer line” but I didn’t want people to think Sydney’s plan was to drown Vehemence in sewage, so I’ll go back and change Maxima’s original line. Speaking of Sydney’s plan, her idea for Anvil’s contribution was mostly to create a crater for the water to flow into, and to hit close enough to him to loosen his grip on the ground. She didn’t know how his anchor worked, but she guessed it had to have something to hold onto as opposed to being a gravity thing or “unflight” or whatever. She thought creating the crater might snap a water line, what she didn’t count on was Maxima’s punch fucking up the whole parking lot. In this case it worked better because the area damaged increased the chance that something important broke under the ground. Originally I was going to put a fire hydrant over on the curb in the panels where we see the water leaking out, and Sydney guessed there was a line running between it and the restaurant. But that curb has been in a lot of panels and I’d have to add it to a ton of pages. Also a quick visit to google street view shows that fire hydrants aren’t usually located quite that close to parking spots, at least in the layout I based the steakhouse in the comic on, it would be on the far side of the hedges, so I don’t know how important it is to include that.
It looks like it’s just about over for Vehemence. We’ll see if he has any tricks left.
Things continuing to go badly for Vehemence. We get to see Maxima really max out an attribute here, making her temporarily stronger than V even with all his built up power. It’s a testament to how tough he is that his head didn’t just pop right off. This is really quite risky to do in proximity to him, since it leaves her… probably still tougher than a human, but downright mushy relative to his strength. Still she’s got that ‘super strength toughness’ at the moment like you see in comics, where she’s not particularly bulletproof, but still somehow doesn’t rip all the skin off her hand when punching him hard enough to cause a localized tectonic upheaval.
I would have liked to have made this page a double, but the way things laid out, the next page worked better as a double. We’re so close to the end of the fight. I just put the finishing touches on the final page of it last night. Hope I remember how to do the slice of life stuff again. :)
Sydney’s plan continues, this time with a more active result. I hope no one thought Dabbler was going to have to do jumping jacks until Vehemence’s power ran out, or he passed out from hunger. The hypnoboobs (all glory to them) effect isn’t that strong. It’s seriously distracting, but it’s not “mouse pushing a lever to get cocaine until it starves to death.” (Which according to a quick search I did to make sure I got the drug right, isn’t even a thing that happened, or at least comes with a giant asterisk, but it has its uses as an apocryphal tale.)
The flashback panel on this page is supposed to point out that super speed does you no good if you’re caught flat footed. Remember Vehemence was nearly matching Maxima’s speed earlier, at least while Max was doing the even spread with her power pool, and Sydney wanted to make sure Jiggawatt got a chance to do her part before being swatted away. The funny thing is, before I went back and looked at the page to pull the clip, I was sure Maxima said “Well I have to be ready for it!” I considered changing it and making a note that’s how Sydney recalled it to make it more clear why she included that snippet of her day in her plan – but… I thought that would be distracting and hopefully the page makes enough sense without any tinkering.
I think some of you had guessed this… I also think those who did were mostly kidding. :) I’m not going to lie to you, this is one of my favorite pages so far. :) It took a lot research online to get certain… aspects correct. It was brutal, but those are the lengths I’m willing to go to for you guys. BTW Dabbler’s not slipping nip there on the page, at least not technically. That’s another stripe peaking over the top of her corset. A corset which is clearly magical.
For the record, Sydney should be standing well out of arm’s reach from Vehemence. If nothing else, lightning strong enough to pin Maxima would turn Sydney into an ashen statue of herself like in the Terminator 2 dream if one of those arcs strayed her way, but I needed to draw them close enough so their expressions were visible.
Sydney knows about the aura which is the first step in resisting it. It’s like disbelieving an illusion. We’ve seen that her ADHD can be an asset in some cases, but here it’s working against her, as we see her slip from active resistance to “yeah and so’s you’re mom!” in about 4 seconds.
I always knew this step of the plan would fail, in fact I’m not even sure what Sydney had planned for the lighthook. There’s a lot of options; wrap it around his arm to see if that will block the lightning, try and choke him, shove it down or up certain orifices, even make a spring to try and push him off Max. Sydney doesn’t even know if it works that way yet. She’s not the Green Lantern after all. Well, hopefully she can turn it around on the next page.
A bold and risky, even potentially foolish, but obviously very effective opener to Sydney’s plan. She’s obviously banking on the fact that Vehemence doesn’t seem like a total d-bag. Besides setting up the whole thing, causing massive destruction, beating the hell out of the team and trying to kill Maxima. But in a strangely polite way for the most part. Appealing to him via the scared puppy eyes may be part of her plan, but also may be genuine terror. Does the aggro aura affect Sydney? Well, it’s been like 1 second. We’ll see on the next page.
It was pointed out quite a few times in the comments, but in case you didn’t notice it, Sydney’s shield cut right through Vehemence’s aggro aura (which obviously had considerable range on it, considering it reached Arianna and the news crew all the way on the other side of the highway. I wonder how that part of the newscast will go.) Luckily, Sydney did notice.
Merry Xmas to those of you who get up to that sort of thing. My present to you is a regularly scheduled comic. :) This was supposed to be an easy bottle episode type page but there’s actually at least a whole page worth of new art on it. :/
Given the limitations of the media, this is my attempt to visualize ADHD, or at least the ADD part. Just a bum rush of stuff going on with the occasional tangent taking you off to parts unknown unless you’re really trying to focus. Sydney seems to have found a way to leverage it with her medication waning just the right amount, even if Batman keeps trying to horn in. Speaking of Batman, this is the song stuck in her head now if you’re not familiar with it is this, obviously with “Batman” in place of “Scatman.”
When I originally envisioned this page, it almost completely laid out Sydney’s plan, obfuscated only by the fact that she was considering several different options, indicated by several running sets of arrows like a football play, but as I started building the page, I realized that would basically just spoil the next few pages. In a comic book, I think that would be ok since people probably wouldn’t spend up to 4 days flipping back through the book and recalling each scene with a checkmark on it, but everyone reading along now potentially has that luxury. I didn’t want to spoil the fun, so I omitted most of the checkmarks and threw in a lot of red herrings, which I think is fine cause it’s still in line with the ADD fueled blur of images. Not everything she dredges up will be useful after all, hence the red X’s everywhere.
Sebastian Shaw, for those of you who don’t know, is the character Keven Bacon played in X-Men: First Class. (The bad guy) His power was to absorb, store and release damage, so hitting him does nothing but make it so he can hit you back just as hard. Some of the ways the X-men ever beat Shaw are applicable to Vehemence, which is why Sydney’s drafting from that well. The reason he looks like colonial Wolverine on this page is that’s how he looks in the comic. Obviously for the movie they didn’t dress Bacon up like that, probably because someone was worried audiences would think he was Wolverine’s aristocratic brother or something. Mutton chops, owl hair, the lot. He dresses like 1800’s British upper class because that’s how everyone in the Hellfire club dresses. (It’s a group he belongs to) Well, I say everyone. The men dress like that. The women in the group dress like hookers with capes, because comics.