Gauntlette finally gets a chance to do some damage after Jiggawatt cut her down during her arrival flourish, but it might not last as it looks like Sydney has figured something out about Vehemence that in hindsight is probably pretty obvious. The question is, what will she do with that information? I’m betting it’s something significant.
If I hadn’t had Hex sneak away already, panel 6 would have been Glowbug vs Hex, a fan cameo faceoff! I guess I could have put Breakpoint in there but sonics vs lightning is a poor matchup as we’ve already seen. It basically comes down to whoever gets the first shot since you can’t really block one with the other. Sonics vs. Lightning sounds like a sports match. Actually the SuperSonics was basketball team and the Tampa Bay Lightning is a hockey team (I had to google both of those) Personally, I think sports would be a lot more interesting if a hockey team played against a basketball team, or a baseball team played against a football team. Asymmetrical sides. That’s what makes for an interesting matchup I say. Protoss vs. Zerg, Zangeif vs. Ryu, rugby vs. curling!
It’s probably too late to remind people about the Amazon affiliate link as Xmas is just under a week away, but you last minuters can still use it. Unfortunately I don’t think I get a percentage of the rush shipping charges. :)
The rather spirited debate about Vehemence and the direction of the fight continued in the comments for the last page, I’m sure this one will only add to it. Again I want to reiterate that the whole fight isn’t rebooting at this point despite what it looks like. I mean… you know, pretend it is so you get that “ooh how ever will they survive?” vibe and all that.
I think the tail end of the battle is bumping up against the weakness of the webcomic format, which is that a bi-weekly posting schedule makes it feel like a bit of a slog. It’s only been three pages since Vehemence regenerated his arm. In webcomic time that’s a week and a half, in comic book time, that’s maybe 30 seconds to turn each page.
After I drew this page it occurred to me that there’s probably no way Harem didn’t see the wave coming. One of her big strengths is being able to view a battlefield from multiple angles simultaneously. Right now she’s at a slightly reduced capacity though. The strawberry blonde “default” one had her wrist broken by Vekter’s rock chucking antics, so she’s currently in un-teleported limbo. It will definitely suck for her when she re-teleports that one cause for her it will be the instant after her wrist was broken. Another of her is probably rummaging around the Archon Armory looking for something that might help with Vehemence.
It’s easy to forget that information we as readers take for granted isn’t omnisciently shared among everyone in the comic. Even I forgot for a while that Sydney and Harem don’t know about Maxima’s power pool – remember it’s classified info and it’s way above their pay grade. Sydney barely even has a pay grade at this point.
Well that’s concerning. The team is going to figure out something and fast. Vehemence’s own plan isn’t terribly grandiose, admittedly. He’d obviously thought about what he could do with a huge amount of power, but all those things spiral into violence on a scale he doesn’t seem to be interested in. I think if asked about it, he’d reply that stirring up that much chaos would just be rude. He’s only interested in fighting fighters, but he’s not above benefiting from free form violence either. Ok, maybe he’s helped facilitate it here and there as well, but nothing that would lead to wholesale slaughter.
Anvil of course absorbs kinetic energy, but that thing that Vehemence did was more of a short lived push-you wall of force. He normally can’t do that, or really most of what he’s doing tonight, but then he never sucked up all the V-Juice from a 50 super person battle royale before either, not to mention took on 5 supers directly afterwards. In RPG terms, he basically has nearly any power he wants now, but he’s paying a big cost penalty for making them up on the spot. That’s fine with him though as his current pool is wide and deep. I say nearly because so he’s as much as admitted he can’t fly, and he’s yet to show that he can come up with powers like telepathy or other indirectly employed abilities. It’s all been direct physical stuff, maybe except for the anchor, but that’s a very bricky power anyway.
Panel 3 was almost a parody of political cartoons, with a caricatured Vehemence sitting on a throne as people labeled “poor” led people labeled “rich” to the gallows or something. I was about 5 minutes into drawing that before I decided spoofing political cartoons is a tall order since they’re all basically parodies of themselves already.
So a bit of a mixed reaction to the last page. That’s ok, not everyone is going to agree with everything in the comic and I felt that the stakes needed to be upped before we hit the resolution. As always, my pacing could arguably be better, but I’ve written out to the end of the fight and the entirety Vehemence battle is actually less than two comic books worth, (American comics, not 100+ page manga) so take that Dragon Ball Z. Hopefully the bi-weekly posting schedule is what’s making it feel drawn out, but that’s really only something that can be fully judged when it’s possible to read the whole fight in one sitting.
Oh and I just want to say up here in the comments that the solution people are suggesting rather a lot, which is that Sydney put an airtight shield around him probably isn’t a viable solution, because as far as has been revealed in the comic, Sydney doesn’t know how to make the force field around someone else. She has to be in it, and by default it’s centered on her, though that can be adjusted. I only mention it here because I’ve seen it get suggested about 14 times per page for the last several comics. I’ll go ahead and spoil this: she doesn’t know how to do that, it’s not a deus ex I’m holding on to, and it would be super OP if she could anyway.
On this page we see Maxima’s weakness, if it’s fair to call it that. Force her into a high armor state and she’s only able to bring her default strength to bear. It’s not much of a weakness since she’s so strong to begin with, but in the rare case she’s up against someone hugely powerful it can become a problem. Vehemence stumbled onto it but didn’t quite guess its nature. Dabbler did figure it out on her own which is how she was able to fight Max to a standstill. Dabbler forced Max into an armor dump and left neither one of them capable of hurting the other. The real trouble happens if someone forces her into a strength dump – someone with gravity powers or enormously powerful telekenesis or something like that. It would leave her only slightly tougher than a really butch tank, which again, not that much of a weakness, but against right super powers that can still be a problem, as we saw how the tank fared in at the firing range.
When you blow someone’s arm off in a superhero comic, it’s really only going to go one of two ways. Since Vehemence is an Arch-Villain, it had to go this way. Maxima just needed to face someone who wasn’t going to be out-powered. It’s a rare situation for her to be sure. I’m sure some people will be disgruntled by this and others will be… uh, gruntled I guess, but don’t worry about the fight resetting or anything though, we’re entering the home stretch.
I needed Vehemence to be so tough that if he ever shows up in the comic again, everyone knows that the proper response is “Oh shit, run!” He was always my guy who could go toe to toe with the Hulk or Juggernaut, Superman or even Darkseid, assuming Darkseid didn’t open with the ol’ Omega Beams. Vehemence is smart enough to know not to face off against a threat like that without warming up a little, which is a large part of what makes him Arch tier. Ooh, I just had a thought, I know I said him vs. Vegeta in the little byline, or whatever it’s called, but imagine Vehemence vs. DC’s Parasite. I’m actually not sure how that fight would go down but it would definitely be bad for the city it takes place in.
Drawing armored limbs that don’t look like Colossus’s is challenging. I tries doing vertical strips of armor, but he wound up looking like a metal eel or something. Which… is kind of cool, just not the look I had in mind for him.
So the Patreon campaign recently exceeded $3000 which is amazing! Within a few weeks of a year after I lost my job actually, or as I prefer to think of it, was promoted to full time comic dude. I want to thank everyone for their support as it’s been a great year. It turns out I really don’t miss the commute to the office to grind away in a cube like I had done for the last 20 years. The milestone goal for $3000 was “really making a living for realsies” so when I my wife had the chance she signed me up with her health insurance. Being without for a year was a little harrowing, but spending 10-12 hours a day drawing is inherently less risky than commuting and being around other germ bags. Still, yesterday I got a gentle reminder that living lean is really only a short term solution. I woke up and some nerve or tendon in my shoulder had decided to twist around the wrong way so I was in a fair amount of pain and had a super limited range of motion. Fortunately sleeping on it the next night fixed it (hooray for the human body I guess?) I was hoping it would since I didn’t want to live out the rest of the month like that until the health insurance kicked in.
Speaking of the health insurance though, I picked $3000 because it’s a round number and that’s how our brains work, not because it was the number I came up with after sitting down and doing a budget. Since American healthcare is enormously expensive, riding on my wife’s plan is more than a car payment. At least it includes dental and vision, which the cheaper Obamacare options don’t, and I could definitely use some new specs and a good tooth scraping. Unfortunately I will probably have to add at least one more ad banner to the site to make up the difference. I don’t want to, and I know it’s a first world problem, but the good thing is that I should be cash positive after that which is nice since I don’t want to be one of those webcomicers that has to run a kickstarter to afford to attend an out of state con. It also makes the next Patreon milestone easy to pick, which is to ditch some of the ads.
So I’m looking forward to next year! The first story arc will be wrapped up, and I’m excited for the next one. I promise more than one day will pass during it. :) I can put together a book (honestly it may wind up being two or even three volumes just cause a 300(-ish) page color book might be hella expensive), run a kickstarter for that, and even start looking at some of those out of state cons.
This is really Vehemence’s fault. Gentleman brawler or not, he made it clear their options were limited. If anything he’s lucky that Maxima didn’t start with his head. It would seem he forgot that Max is a solder first, and this would definitely be an ignominious end for Vehemence after such a promising start. On the other hand (sorry, V) that was also fantastically violent, so hopefully Max was right about there being a tipping point.
TV Tropes is running a kickstarter to spruce up their site, front and back end. They’re a good resource and drive a lot of traffic to a lot of webcomics so at least give it a look. Just be careful with your time if you go to TV Tropes proper, as the site is actually a time vampire.
I just want to casually remind everyone about the Amazon affiliate link since it’s cyber-Monday, something that e-tailers just made up a few years ago and now we all just accept is a thing. Evidently Saturday was “Small Business Saturday” in an attempt to win back some customers from the Amazons and Wal-Marts. I imagine within a few years nearly every day between Thanksgiving and Xmas will have its own name, from “Knick Nacks Thursday” to “Oh shit it’s nearly Xmas and I still need to do all my shopping Wednesday.”
One thing I haven’t really established in the comic so far is that Max has a sort of “golden triangle” of power distribution. We know she’s quite tough, and she has a power pool on top of that she can use to max out one attribute, but usually she just divides her reserves up between strength, speed and armor. That usually makes her stronger than most strong guys (like Hiro but not Stalwart) and tougher than most tough guys, but Vehemence is nearly matching her in all three now, which is a very unusual situation for her. If he manages to exceed her in any of those attributes she’ll need to make some choices about how best to redistribute her power, like dropping her armor and putting it into speed and playing keep away.
It’s Thanksgiving in America today (Thursday anyway) so enjoy that, and I just want to casually remind everyone about the Amazon affiliate link, it being Black Friday eve and all. And if you don’t like Amazon for whatever reason, think of using that link as cutting into their profit margins slightly.
When Maxima says Vehemence is beyond conventional attack, the asterisk is “with the equipment we can bring to bear against him right now.” Obviously they haven’t tried a bunker buster against him or even an 80mm tank cannon, but then they didn’t have the foresight to bring either of those with them to dinner. Besides, when the best you can say after shooting someone in the eye with a .50 is “Made you flinch” conventional tactics pretty much go out the window.
DeviantArter Shadaan has done an excellent piece of fanart of the gals! Check it out and give him lots of faves!
I’ve finally ‘finished’ the vote incentive. All the double pages in this fight have kept me drawing 7 days a week so I appreciate the votes even though I wasn’t getting it updated as often as I would have liked. I say finished with quotes because really I’d love to keep adding girls to it. She-Hulk seems obvious, as does Ahsoka and a number of others. I’ve also added it to the DeviantArt page if you want to view/comment on it there.
You can see why I wanted this page and the previous one to be double. There were… a number of comments on the last page about how V has magic pants or whatever. You can see that is clearly not the case. Even though most comics don’t have that comics code authority seal on them anymore, certain items of clothing are still for the most part curiously immune to battle damage. If that was the case in this comic, I might be tempted to have Sydney suggest making a suit of panties for use as armor. All that being said, Wolverine does tend to get all his clothes blown off at least once every dozen issues or so. I guess the writers like to remind us how hairy he is every so often.
Male nudity is almost always played for comedy cause guys are gross or just funny looking without clothes, and even when it’s a sexy guy who gets caught with his pants down in front of a woman, her reaction is usually comedic. Women are so sexualized in media that it’s more challenging to play female nudity for comedy, but I’m sure I’ll find a way at some point.
Those of you who recognize the “KA-Sound Effect” gag know it from The Wotch, which is one of the webcomics that made me think I should do my own. It has some pretty rough art in the beginning but good expressions, characters, humor and writing. It’s a curious comic, filled with stuff that I, being a well traveled denizen of the internet, associate with a lot of impossible sexual fetishes, like magical gender swapping, petrification, people being transformed into monsters and other stuff, but the comic itself never gets into anything sexual at all. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I’d say it’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets El Goonish Shive. EGS by the way is the comic that inspired the Who’s Who widget on my own comic. Characters in EGS tend to change gender and hairstyles, sometimes even species at the drop of a hat and while it’s one of my favorite comics, I will admit to being kind of lost as to who was who more than a few times while reading it.
Drawing Bulk Vehemence is proving to be a bit of a challenge, and he looks a little weird in a few of these shots. I will attribute that to his size being a little uneven while growing and endeavor to sort it out quickly in upcoming pages.
Vehemence isn’t still growing by the way, this is just the last thing that happened right as he stopped. Also, his power set isn’t Vehemic absorption… and making pants, but he said it already, he has a lot of power to burn at this point.
Edit: Whoops, I forgot V’s battle damage like a boss. Fixed now.
Ok, NOW he’s growing. His size has fluctuated a bit just due to my art. Turns out drawing a really muscular guy like him throws off my sense of proportion fairly easily, but yes, now he’s all growed up. All upper body, though. Typical guy, right? To be honest his size may continue to fluctuate slightly throughout the remaining pages. He’s supposed to be about twice as big now. Turns out it’s even harder to draw hulk sized dudes the same size each time.
I really wanted this page to be a double, just cause I’m sure a lot of the comments will mention events that occur on the next page, but it has 13 panels on it and I couldn’t just couldn’t swing it.
#makecomics: The nature of sequential art can make for some weird word bubble placement. I needed Max to talk first in order to give Sydney something to react to, which is why Max’s word bubble isn’t right above her head. Normally you either arrange the characters in the order they speak or flip the camera around to put them in the right order. The problem this time was they were already lined up a certain way and I wanted to show their faces, so I couldn’t flip the camera. The more characters there are in a scene, the more complicated your character blocking becomes. The ballroom scene where the team interviewed Sydney was… quite challenging toward the end.
Edit: Whoops, I forgot his missing teeth, they’re back… or gone as the case may be.