Sunday, May 29, 2011

Agents of Fortune and our cast of Defenders

Here's an exercise I'm personally using to open up a new storytelling idea, to help me try to give Integr8d Soul Comics at least one title that appeals to superhero fan? I think, in playing this game, Joe and I have uncovered a lot of cool ideas that just maybe await our own unique characters of our own creation?Continuing our creative brainstorm re: the Mystic Order of the Defenders C Lue's reply to Devil Slayer Joe (see previous posts):


1. Those cult assassins sometimes double cross one another if they cross paths, and sometimes they work in tandem. You could introduce, one by one, a potential team of them. The Devil Slayer Revenge Squad would be a combination of altered cult members, trained Agents of Fortune, who are the materializers; Agents of Death, the assassins, and demons in human form for the possibility of infiltrating human society...like, say, masquerading as the richest man in the world, and controlling Mexico's telecommunications.

Masquerading as a narco trafficante.
Masquerading as the American security liason.
Masquerading as a developer along the Baja Penninsula.
Masquerading as a border patrol inspector.
Masquerading as a U.S. Senator...or his lover...
Masquerading as the latest American Idol sinner...


...but the best part is, a lot of villains who aren't supposedly demons at all run riot in places lacking basic justice. As long as they are getting their kicks, Vera knows the Machiavellian buttons to push. The purpose? Just pure human suffering. It's seasoning for her next offering to the Outer Faces. Yes, the Outer Faces I just made up.


Weapons
I have been pondering the degree to which Payne is telekinetic. I believe he has some limited telepathy and definitely a sixth sense for danger. His problem is he is always trying to avoid confrontations with demons in places with innocents in the way.

(Heh, "my arch nemesis, Angel Slayer!" I'm just kidding.)

I don't mind if DS pulls a weapon like something out of the hands of Reed Richards once in a rare while, but I love the idea of him having to master himself to gain the psychic magneticism that calls each weapon to him, and how many heroes have to directly pay the price for the powers they are about to use? Or weapons? There's so much more danger if even arming yourself is occasionally next to impossible.


It's the ultimate potency metaphor, isn't it? If you are going to get your ass kicked and innocents suffer because you can't pull together your tortured psyche, then the battles become metaphorical struggles that play out inner conflicts and thus retain relevance. I think, some day, his relationship to his cloak will change, as he evolves. He may evolve some day right out of being Devil-Slayer. You know he wishes he could. This path of redemption is precisely what makes him a Defender in the tradition of Nighthawk, even Namor and Hulk, while for, say, Patsy and Val, it's about belonging.

Patsy

Former child model, tomgirl, and divorced adventurer: I'd write Patsy as her old happy go lucky self, but she's still going to need DS's help bigtime! I don't know how her "dedication to evil by her mother as a child" came out, do you?

I just know she commits suicide after seeing Daiman's true face, goes to hell, gets better in a Limited Series by Steve Englehart, and participates in government Registered Superhero Initiative, in stories I don't have, plus some Sex in the City type limited series they tried with her and other heroines, which sorta made sense as I too wanted to depict a modern single woman even if I'm not a SITC fan)


Forgive me, but if we were using old friend Valkyrie and Patsy, I would not hesitate to allow them a very touchy feelie relationship, but lots of girl power and friendship. It makes me feel good to watch people hug, put their hands on one another's face, and so on.

I like her best as someone quick to make friends, thoughtful and inclusive of outcasts, and generally someone whose company you'd find a privilege. At any rate, if you do any Defenders at all, I just love her. A lot of her friends crush on her because she's beautiful, sweet and positive.

In my head, I might consider something that would blow the comic book press sky high. I would write at least one of them as bisexual. However, that could be something I know I don't necessarily show. Furthermore, two women can be close friends and do a lot of things guys often don't without being lovers.



I'm not attempting shock value, but while the comics world's still fine after gay couple Midnighter and Apollo, a more complex world of relationships hasn't...actually, I suppose Cloud was an original attempt to literally create a character who challenged sexual identity, while I have yet to have those comics. Would Disney then proceed to soil their snow white drawers?

Well, let's face it, this is why I write my own characters, and one reason this would be controversial is hardly anyone realized they cared about the characters. But lore, in the hands of the wrong writer, this would be so fucking horrible. I'm sure the fan art's out there somewhere.


My sister-in-law is probably the best gay friend I'll ever have. It's mostly like writing anyone else. I just realized if I was already juggling a relationship for DS in my head (with Vera's twin? Is she even real?), heterosexual couples are not the only way to write romance. You'll see my work by the end of the year, though the notes are around any time this summer you wanna look over Portal Immortal.

Sif

At any rate, i WAS already considering spotlighting Sif, Norse Goddess of War and Vanity as we launch female gods into adventures with the kind of respect Chris Claremont is famous for giving Ms. Marvel. I'll bet she's good in Simonson's Thor, but what if she could be nearly so awesome a character as DS is proving to be? Val's history is so convoluted I just wondered if a character who makes more sense having adventures outside that duty of Chooser of the Slain wouldn't be healthy.

But you know something abandoned after Kraft left? Valkyrie decided to enroll in college to fit into the modern world, at Kyle's suggestion. Don't get me wrong, I love her, too, and her occasional weakness when fighting other women, but I threw Sif out there. I am thinking of making her archetype one of my super heroes, anyway. She doesn't quite have all of Thor's variety of powers, and I would give her a non-lethal weapon for butt kicking, like they should have with Val long ago. Flat of her blade, my ass.

Gargoyle

he actually seems rather humble and not overly grand in these early Defenders appearances. I know he feels bad about screwing up and ending up like that. I'm pretty good on his bio. I would write him as rather contemplative. Mortality and community are subjects germaine to his reflections. I don't know why I see him ending up with at least one little kid friend. I would give him a whole orphanage, personally. Too bad I haven't read his limited series, looks like it was a doozy!

Nighthawk

He should be quite uncomfortable with Payne's shady world. he's still got some temper issues, but if he doesn't snap out of it pretty fast each time, he will seem like he's learned nothing in thirty five years. But listen, the story where his brain is removed has a fascinating implication I think we should explore: he's had, this one, ignored time, the experience of consciousness without senses or sense of physical self. Now, I think it should be a few issues before he's convinced DS is n't just trying to take over his mind, but that mystical experience has a key element within it that would be of ultimate use to Devil Slayer, too: the universal level of perception, which renders the things of this world as a conceptual illusion. I think he's wondering, since he is so at home with Patsy, why he doesn't move on her, and then SoS comes into the picture, LOL.


You know what? He's watching Devil Slayer as though he were Captain America keeping an eye on the Swordsman. But in so many ways, Kyle is a rich Hawkeye figure: a hot head who ends up playing second fiddle when he wants to lead, and always, in throwing himself into his redemptive Nighthawk identity, ponders on the job romances?


. But listen, he's also a guy who reads the papers, Wall Street Journal as well as New York Times, because he's trying to grow up a bit, smell the coffee about the world out there. That's why he thinks the world needs her Defenders in the first place, you know?

Why do I think Richmond Enterprises has offices in Mexico, or factories in San Pedro?


I'm not sure there's room for Son of Satan alongside this incarnation of Devil-Slayer, but I like him as a guest star, at least, particularly in the middle of this Demon War Saga. You could change my mind easily, I just find the concepts, if not the trappings, similar. I would probably really enjoy Gerber's stories about him in Marvel Spotlight. Anyway, whenever the Old Gods Return, it will be good to give him a call!!

I also think Namor, Hulk and Dr. Strange will have to come back for an arc, but I'm way more excited about these free-and-clear bargain basement superheroes.

Death Mask/ Day of Death character.

J.M. came onto the book in 1980 and gave us Gargoyle, an original creation. I suppose such a character as you've suggested could become the Luke Cage of the Latino community. Theres a period where they try to make Black Panther a Harlem teacher in the '70s, too. Your new Mexican character doesn't owe to a stylistic genre like blaxploitation, though. He is not generated from art, he is generated from life. In fact, this overall idea is reminiscent to me personally of what I wanted to do with Sheer-Zan in a Middle Eastern setting. Perhaps, in examining how these two characters differentiate, this new off the cuff idea can take on a form that will leave readers wanting more. As for Sheer-Zan, then she is like, Batman year one and still learning how hard crime fighting is, with revolution being the solution to crime.

People dying in border crosses, and "wolves" who sell Guatemalans into slavery, and drug cartels and endangered journalists. I just think basing a character on things you might actually care about is never a bad idea. My hero Gerber created his own Red Guardian so he could discuss the Soviet Union and our trans-continental perceptions. If any character went on to become a social worker, it's this one.

I want lots of Robert Rodriguez-style touches; I particularly loved El Mariarchi. I want to capture some of the romance of Mexico without consigning it to stereotype hell.

Another mercenary connection: Marc Spector, a.k.a. Moon Knight. True, he was chiefly thought of as an African soldier of fortune before his conversion, but I think there's something back there about Central America, too.

And the many faces of the land

The reasons people join armies certainly deserve to be examined, here---gangs, too. Human survival, and what survival does to your character and spirit, is a constant theme. There will be some good people along the way, without a doubt. We have native Indians, Mexicans, discrimination against other Central Americans like Hondurans, and the struggles of orphans trying to rejoin parents who have crossed the border....

Individual issues depicting the Demon Secret War:


So. Can we resist visiting the Mayan Prophecy?

Any of these trappings could suggest the Harvester of Eyes cult, first depicted sacrificing some archeologists in the ruins. I see drug gangs working for their aims at times, too. They might get one of those demonically-recharged mutants as a member, a double agent planted by the Six Fingered Hand. Or we could flip the allegiances around.



I want at least one fairly comical relationship, a demon who almost charms you with his futility, someone to lend observations about the Six Fingered Hand's side...or a hapless cultist in the midst of the chanting, hooded Harvester Cult. (I have my own ficticious Harvester of Eyes, for that matter, as seen in posts in this blog.)

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