I considered extending the scene at the comic shop a bit longer, but beside an increasingly belligerent Maxima vs. a totally oblivious Brad, there wasn’t much else left to do there.
I cut a bit from this page where Sydney thought Maxima’s handling of the come on was a bit aggressive but I couldn’t figure out how to dovetail that into a conversation about her having to deal with a lot of unwanted attention and still fit everything else on the page so I’ll save that for another time.
As far as what actually did make it on to the page, yeah, this could be a poor precedent to set. Hopefully their phones are less hackable than the average consumer model. Well… not hopefully. They totally are less hackable, but there may be considerably more incentive for certain antagonistic parties to try and get in to them.
Vote incentives! The new one is up, obviously not finished yet but you can tell it’s a little different than previous ones. It will be updated throughout the month as I get time to work on it.
The previous incentive of the Spectrum Gals is now up at the DeviantArt page at a higher resolution, so go and enjoy the fine detail, and thanks for all the votes!
Update: It looks like Patreon got hacked, because that’s just how things go these days. From what I can tell, credit card numbers were not taken, but I would definitely suggest people change their passwords, especially if you use the same password everywhere, which is security no no number 1.
All in all, a successful interaction with a woman for him. His name is Brad apparently. I forgot, but an astute reader pointed out that his name was actually in the comic way back in the day. (embarrassing art link)
When I started this page I wasn’t quite sure what Maxima’s reaction would be to a clumsy pass. I briefly fantasized about Brad getting tazed but the editor in me quickly nixed that. Sydney… I could see doing it but Max has more practice with restraint, after all, she knows if she slaps someone’s hand away, she could literally slap their hand away. Which isn’t to say she hasn’t broken the odd metacarpal in her day. In any case she didn’t give Brad a chance to finish his sentence. He could have been planning to say “…tactical sense. The battle last night was won and lost on your leadership.” It’s probably not what he was going to say though.
For those of you unfamiliar with Joel’s reference: Monty Python’s – The Money Song
Sydney’s not really all that offended by Maxima’s ringtone, but she knows an opportunity to guilt someone when she sees it. Not that Lieutenant Colonels usually let themselves be guilted into stuff by recruits, but it’s clear to anyone that Sydney is a valuable asset to the team and Max is okay with bringing her around to a more military way of thinking gradually.
Being reminded of the need for extra gear for Sydney is not unlike the minigun incident. Max does still occasionally have trouble remembering the squishiness of humans.
For anyone unfamiliar with Maxima’s ringtone. I first heard that on Dr. Demento on the radio when I was in high school. I will resist explaining what “radio” is to the young’uns since I know it still exists, but as a medium I think it’s safe to say it is past it’s heyday.
We haven’t seen that blond haired guy in a while. I would link his last appearance, (which was also his first appearance) but the quality of the art is… less good. I also need to name him so he can appear in the Who’s Who.
Sydney’s wrist-com and choker… (I mean cool tactical throat mic that’s not sexualized at all, especially when Maxima confronted Arianna about it when they were originally proposed…) Anyway, they both have trackers in them, so it would be simple for Maxima to find her.
When you ask people what super power they’d like to have, I think the answer varies based on their demographics. Kids tends to want to fly, partially because that would be awesome and partially because they haven’t thought of more subtle and complex powers like probability manipulation that would let them clean up in Vegas or lotteries or whatever. Especially young males may give you the answer along the lines of “Be able to drive a tank” or “Have a dinosaur as a friend” because the concept of super powers may not be entirely clear to them, though both of those things would certainly be pretty sweet to a 6 year old. Adolescent males will as often as not answer “invisibility”… because they are adolescent males, though that may be an artifact of every generation before recent ones where unlimited access to seeing naked women is a few keystrokes away. “The internet in my head” might be a viable answer these days.
I have little insight into what females of any given age may answer beyond the usual popular choices of flight and, well, to be fair, invisibility still probably ranks highly, though perhaps not for as unrelentingly prurient reasons. A female friend of mine once answered the question with “invisibility” but it was so she could not be noticed… not like a thief, but so she could escape embarrassing social situations.
If I had to pick now, excluding any big universe altering power like one might find on the Infinity Gauntlet, I’d probably go with Harem’s power, so I could draw this comic faster, but also work on one or two other comics I have buzzing around in my head. (And still have time to play video games) That or some sort of skill copying powers like the Taskmaster. I’d go around conventions shaking the hands of all my favorite comic artists and writers. And maybe one guy who was a super successful commodities broker.
Update: Fixed Max’s missing hat logo and posted a wallpaper-ish sized version over at DA.
A music video in case anyone isn’t familiar with Sydney’s tune. The first time I ever heard this song it was actually in an AMV. Not this one though. That was a video from before YouTube existed. This video is cut from an anime called Redline, which I’ve never heard of before. It looks amusing, even if it contains some… questionable physics.
Mach 4 is pretty impressive. America is about 2600 miles across, and mach 4 is about 2700 miles per hour at sea level, meaning Sydney can get anywhere in the contiguous US in about an hour. Well, excluding her needing to stop every ~15 minutes to refresh the air in her shield, but lets assume they do eventually equip her with some sort of air tank or rebreather.
I’ve never said explicitly where the team is located other than somewhere “central-ish.” I lean towards Dallas because that’s where I live, but Denver or Kansas City would make as much sense. The idea being that they’re already halfway to anywhere they need to go in the states, so really Sydney’s only 30-40 minutes away from anywhere USA, and Maxima can get there even faster if need be. Of course most of the team still needs conventional transport, but the centralized location minimizes their travel time as well. The eventual goal being to split the team into different groups as their membership grows and establish at the very least an East and West Coast base.
Being able to cross the US in an hour is pretty incredible, but it makes me think how ridiculous The Flash and Superman are, who, depending on the continuity reboot you’re referencing, can both travel at the speed of light. I don’t keep up with DC comics these days, in fact 95% of my DC knowledge comes from Batman the animated series, Superman TAS and Justice League animated. I assume the current power levels are tamped quite a bit though, cause otherwise it would cause enormous writing problems. Ignoring relativistic problems and city destroying wake – it’s fine, he’s using the “speed force” whatever – there are issues like if someone shot someone on the West Coast, The Flash could run from the East Coast and back 50 times before the bullet left the barrel. How was a guy like Captain Boomerang ever one of his enemies? Boomerangs are WAY SLOWER than bullets.
I’m not sure I’d encourage the duct tape solution if I was Max, but then we didn’t see what happened between this page and the last. It is entirely possible Sydney dropped the ball (so to speak) 5 or 6 more times in the interstitial and arrived at this solution to expedite the actual flying test.
Oh, the last time a made a Street Fighter reference in the comic, quite a few people didn’t get it, so the short version is, there’s a guy named Guile in the game, on of his attacks is the Sonic Boom.
This page colored by Keith.
Whoops, the orbs weren’t arranged correctly originally, and Sydney wasn’t holding the force field orb. She is now. The flight orb gives her a deflector field that helps up to a certain speed, but she needs the force field orb to get over 150-200 mph.
I know that’s a big blob of text at the top of the page. Self editing is tough, cause you can always convince yourself that any detail or bit of dialog qualifies as world building, and conversely you can tell yourself the more you cut, the better an editor you are. Each of those is only sometimes true, so I just write like I do and edit as I go. Hopefully it’s the right amount. Also hopefully all the air traffic stuff makes sense. It’s not supposed to look like an actual air traffic controller’s screen, but actual “this is what a flying person sees when they look down” maps and combine them with layers of practical information.
I think I’ve shown a closeup of the wrist com before, but the buttons weren’t glowing. They only light up after you interact with it, so I guess Sydney just poked the screen.
I think the funniest thing on this page is how Sydney immediately repeats her mistake when going for the high five. I just wish I could have fit it on the page proper.
Forgot to mention: This page colored by Keith.
Sydney continues to learn about the orbs with her characteristic aplomb.
I’ve used the dolly zoom gag before, but it’s such a prevalent effect that I can’t help it. Some could argue it’s passed into cliche, but that’s part of why it’s funny to me. That and usually when you see it these days it’s being used for comedic effect specifically because it’s melodramatic. The problem for my given medium is that unlike a lens flare or a shallow focus effect, a dolly zoom requires motion to actually play correctly, so you guys get a nonomatopoeia in place of me spending days trying to figure out how to do the gag in animated gif form or something.
Sydney’s experience here is lifted straight from my own. Not the clinging to a superheroine part, but developing mild acrophobia from video games. I can tell you exactly when it happened, too. Star Wars: Dark Forces. The first FPS Star Wars game, and the first game in the Jedi Knight series technically, since Jedi Knight 1 has the same main character. (Which means the real title of the final game in the series should have been Star Wars: Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy) Anyway, even though Dark Forces was a PC game it used checkpoints to save, and they were few and far between. It could take upwards of 45 minutes to beat a level and if you died before then, you’d have to play it over again. Also, the game was true to the Star Wars universe, in the sense that there were no railings anywhere. Combine that with instadeath fall catwalks and crags on slippery glaciers. Oh, there was also an awesome gun that fired a ball of compressed air. It was basically a rocket launcher, only the explosion of air at the end didn’t do all that much damage. It was mainly used for knocking Stormtroopers off instadeath fall catwalks. It wasn’t so awesome when some bounty hunter used it on you though. Sliding towards a crag on an icy glacier or getting knocked into the air by some weapon while on a catwalk definitely gave me a case of the netherclench.
Incidentally, Dark Forces made me appreciate why the Stormtroopers can never hit anything. The blaster rifle they carry is crazy inaccurate. The Imperial Repeater gun on the other hand… It’s one of my favorite FPSs of all time, assuming you can handle the Doom II/Duke3D era graphics, (which I grant can be fairly eye piercing on 22-inch plus monitors), I’d recommend checking it out. Here’s a Steam link and one for GoG.
See, you guys probably thought I forgot to draw Sydney’s wrist-com for the last few pages didn’t you? >cough<
This page started off with Maxima in a tank top like the one Anvil was wearing on this page, but it didn’t make sense that she would wear a top like that around the base, especially with some of the perverts they employ. So then I redrew Max with her jacket on like so:
But Sydney’s comment at the end of the page didn’t really play right no matter how much pinchy Y cleavage I gave Max, so I went back to the tank top but used the more conservative she wore during the interview. I couldn’t tell you why she took her jacket off in the meantime. I doubt Candace managed to get her to even unzip it a little.
The mini comic at the bottom of the page is, believe it or not, a cameo by one of the Patreon supporters. It’s more like a cameo teaser, but we’ll see more of him later where he’ll be properly introduced.
Sydney’s abuse of genre savvy may eventually backfire on her. She could be burning trope karma for all she knows. But this is the beginning of the media circus that will be an important part of all the supers’ lives. Endless invitations to grand openings, clubs, morning news programs, talk shows, cooking programs, whatever. Eventually they’ll be rejecting far more than they’ll be accepting, though most of that will be filtered through Arianna’s staff.
I struggled with Aurelius’s use of the word “demarcation” because I had convinced myself there was a better word to use there. I wanted a word that meant something like demarcation, milestone, achievement or threshold that signifies a quantity which once achieved, tips you into a new category. Those words basically mean what I’m thinking of, but I still feel like there is an actual word that means exactly that, like it’s buzzing around on the tip of my tongue. Demarcation works, but it would be grammatically better if he said “A curious demarcation of wealth.” instead of “for” The word I want to exist would be grammatically better with “of.” It’s weird, even though English is, if not the language with the most words, then certainly a contender, but even in English it’s possible to find these sorts of gaps. I’m not sure if this is one of those times or if I’ve totally blanked on a perfectly cromulent word, but hey, new words get invented all the time.
In Sydney’s mind, the ability to afford an infinity pool means you have crossed from being a fiduciary plebeian into being “rich.” I’m not even sure those are especially expensive (and neither is Sydney) – more so than a regular pool to be certain, but they just feel opulent. That’s probably because while it’s possible to install one in your backyard, they certainly have more impact when attached to a house on a cliff, an ocean front property or a penthouse, so they’re more of an icing on the cake affair.
Sydney grew up in a very middle-to-upper middle class home. Her mom and dad do ok but were generally quite conservative with their money most of the time, to make sure they had enough for an annual summer vacation, to help Sydney with her first car, general planning for the future stuff. Growing up, Sydney was never flush with cash, but had enough to support her hobbies, and now that she’s living on her own she usually has enough to keep up with the usual luxuries but has to scramble whenever a big ticket item comes around like a new console or a trip to ComicCon, but little future proofing. We’ll have to see what having a flush bank account does to her in the coming chapters.
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