Thursday, December 30, 2010

Defenders/ TRANZ #3 A momentary lapse of Nighthawk (complete)

Break through: a moment in time must be seized. Holt gazes down upon the face of the warrior women who saved him---who he’s seen fighting for the world in shadows somewhere free of the fallen world.

HOLT I guess I understand this as much as I ever will.

BLANCLEY: You know...if everyone were ready to perceive one another’s inner lives...

HOLT: Yep. That’s exactly why there’s privacy: ‘cause we ain’t there. But it’s true we are what we are.
Maybe they’re meant to be cosmically aware, but they just don’t---or refuse to believe they can—they don’t do it on Earth. We just lose the ability to be face to face more each day. The rough going is the anger and anxiety mixed into the sharing...and people miserably just long to leave this planet.

BLANCLEY: And if it weren’t for our imaginations--! We could never bear to be trapped in this life together, when our spirits say we should live free.

HOLT: Because maybe love is all you need..but we’re stuck with so much more...that makes us so much less.

Holt gets up from the still body of the Valkyrie. Blancley’s stepped off into the bushes a moment himself. He looks up at the tree next to him, and then, his shared vision both ends and culminates, with the mental plane free of the fallen earth abandoned---for the immediate action in this world!
The Flames of Faltine erupt from the chamber containing the Slay Box, and on their trail emerge the physical elements---the bodies---of Sharptooth, Corpse Flower, and the Defenders. The three Dragon’s Line hold hands tight around the Box, heavy arms that forge a soul magic bond, an immortal portal. This configuration prepares to travel through time; yet from above and below, the ectoplasmic pull of Remus and the levitating Corpse Flower hold them in stasis.

BLANCLEY: Do we both see the flying horse?

HOLT: WHO can tell anymore?

BLANCLEY: Look, she’s waking up...

HOLT: Just in case that pegasus is really diving towards us..

BLANCLEY: Yes. We should move!

HOLT'S thoughts: Valkyrie springs up to her feet without using her hands. She looks ME in the eye. “Thanks,” she says, as the horse nestles beside her, barely stopping in any way; he lifts her high above, reins pulled tight, as fire erupts from the cavern, followed by belching smoke. The horse darts straight into the chaos.

Hulk and Nighthawk soar out of the top of the cavern; Kyle looks around for his fellow Defenders as he attempts to gain altitude. From the edge of the cave where sits the super comoputer, Hellcat leaps out boldly ahead of a fireball of scorching heat and death!

Before Hellcat drops to her doom, soaring Aragorn sweeps in, to impart the impact of her fall as his rider, the Valkyrie, catches her friend in her arms. With Patsy quickly sorted behind her, Val races with alongside her fellow Defenders, glancing back to see Machine Man.

MACHINE MAN: I do not favor being discovered as ill-used scrap! My occasionally humble personality is all that gives these circuits and motors meaning! So don’t let me down, anti-gravity unit: cancel my subscription to the ground! Hmm, I almost made poetry---or doggerel! I seem to be discovering my own creativity even as an implosion’s calling my body back into the cataclysm! Please, telescoping arms, don’t fail me---this is really full of suck!!

HULK: rArrgh! Hulk must DO something! Hulk knows too much---feels too much!

NIGHTHAWK: I’m with you, Greenskin; this could be an unimaginable torment.

HULK: They can’t handle each other’s inner lives being shoved into each other’s inner lives!

NIGHTHAWK: Guys, I don’t think it was meant to be like this, but I don’t think it has to get worse before it tears sanity completely to tatters. It’s way ahead of the evolutionary curve or something!

HELLCAT: It might be the bus to where we’re going, but maybe it’s here so far ahead of schedule, most of humankind’s missing it!

MACHINE MAN: Or possibly, sleeping in!

VALKYRIE: There’s so much fear in humanity, this massive empathy’s proven overwhelming. I wish to reach out to it, with my own own identity.

HELLCAT: Maybe these people who’ve disappeared did so through some kind of cosmic release valve, LIKE they were scared right off the face of the Earth! The imagination’s there to allow us to be---well, anywhere we choose to be, mentally! Too many hang on to and mistake these things for their identity---and that anxiety over all which you have no control is sky rocketing!

VALKYRIE: Our compassion is our only means of strength. This may be our final test.

NIGHTHAWK: With nature’s laws showing such reckless nature, I can’t stop to ponder the hopelessness. The effect of our feelings upon our destinies at this point is all I have faith in.

Patsy (Hellcat): Chalk it up to my psychic sensitivities, but who realizes the key to stopping the Tranz-Rupture effects within the minds of humanity lies with Nighthawk---
VALKYRIE: who has once had the awareness of his brain being separated from his form.

NIGHTHAWK: There’s a place in ourselves where we are as truly alone as possible, and sometimes it seems like I’ve lived most of my life at that address! But underneath the heartbreak hotel, fundamentally beneath our brain and its business, down below where we start and live each day, we exist---and no one knows it better! Those twisted Headmen took my brain from my head and suspended it in reserve---but they gave me a gift of being alone with my thoughts!
The first time I remember realizing why my possessions and undeserved privileges really didn’t define me...was when I became conscious without my body!

HELLCAT: Right now, Kyle, there will be peace on Earth a moment...if we can just share that detachment with the flow of memes.

HULK: Hulk wants Bird Nose to make the minds shut up a minute!

NIGHTHAWK: I’m willing, big guy...what do I do?

MACHINE MAN: I may have a couple of tricks up my sleeve! Believe me, there’s a way to transfer a mass the size of an angry alien robot outside the solar system; a fine tuned version of the dimensional transfer effect might convey that most gossamer of burdens---a single thought!

VALKYRIE: We all share your sensations, Nighthawk---the freedom from your body, the existence we all have beneath the busy days...

MACHINE MAN: Watch the hypnotic effect in my optic sensors; let the shifting patterns relieve you of conscious thought, and you’ll dive right into your subconscious and contact your intent!

HULK: Expand...GROW, friend, grow NOW!
Doctor Strange: By the Eye of the Vishanti, Clea, let’s work together to amplify the link; his disembodied state, from his memories, is transferred through the Tranz-Rupture connection between all minds.

CLEA: Then---now it is THEY who make---the decision!

With that moment of silence, free of the illusion of existence, the peace everyone feels allows the stillness to take hold. The forces throwing together the psyches of humanity cease their torrential, invading nature, and individuality is restored. Yet all the energies unleashed remain at play---and on the loose is the wolf at bay!

A momentary lapse of Nighthawk Defenders/ TRANZ story

The effect of our feelings upon our destinies. : With her psychic sensitivities, Patsy (Hellcat) realizes the key to stopping the Tranz-Rupture effects within the minds of humanity lies with Nighthawk, who has once had the awareness of his brain being separated from his form.

There’s a place in ourselves where we are as truly alone as possible, and sometimes it seems like I’ve lived most of my life at that address! But underneath the heartbreak hotel, fundamentally beneath our brain and its business, down below where we start and live each day, we exist---and no one knows it better! Those twisted Headmen took my brain from my head and suspended it in reserve---but they gave me a gift of being alone with my thoughts!

HELLCAT: Right now, Kyle, there will be peace on Earth a moment...if we can just share that detachment with the flow of memes.

HULK: Hulk wants Bird Nose to make the minds shut up a minute!

VALKYRIE: We all share your sensations, Nighthawk---the freedom from your body, the existence we all have beneath the busy days...

HULK: Expand...GROW, friend, grow NOW!

By the Eye of the Vishanti, Doctor Strange and Clea work together to amplify the link; his disembodied state, from his memories, is transferred through the Tranz-Rupture connection between all minds.
With that moment of silence, free of the illusion of existence, the peace everyone feels allows the stillness to take hold. The forces throwing together the psyches of humanity cease their torrential, invading nature, and individuality is restored.

Monday, December 27, 2010

DEFENDERS/ TRANZ #3: By Force and by Fang! 12 Days of Defenders, pt.10


Having travelled from the refugee camp with Bali, who he met at the Castles Made of Sand Bar, Hillie shuts off his camera to conserve battery power. They know there is no sanction for them to wander this close....but what does any of that matter? Everyone can see the super beings in the center of our attentions, battling on some comfortless plane, and we look right into the thoughts of those around us and transparently watch each thought arrive and pass, what is fantasy and what is perception changes like the wind, and everything’s up to eleven, pushed out of bounds, and the moments are not measurable. The long drive of existence on Earth; the ball that swirls with the strange super beings in a nebulous void within all who observe, one mind space unites the highly distracted and distressed.
He watches the mountain side, as rain begins to descend and relieve the scarring of the wilderness blaze. Spout of water from the Submariner? Water now seeks to come to the mountain, and its source seems everywhere at once.
If The Wolf cannot defeat the Valkyrie in time to re-unify his self and complete the spell, how will existence continue its moves forward? Already, the summoned “cosmic-blink” M’Krann energies destabilize. An erasure of Earth would be possible...if its Sorcerer Supreme were not carefully coordinating with Madame Blavatsky and Clea, absolutely handling with care all that Earth has been to now, so no more of it need be lost than necessary. There may be a need to press a button and feel things are “normal.” It may be necessary to start again. It may contain thoughts born in the very beginning of the universe.

Physically, Remus seeks to grow, intangibly, and contain all the Defenders within himself, before materializing more large, more grand, more unstoppable than ever. With the Five Dragons, he says, I will end this Earth.
Those mulling over this apocalypse watch Prince Nicola and the Marc Kane battle in darkness lit only by the red of Sharptooth’s eyes, alongside Captain Awen. Their resistance, with Corpse Flower and the energy programs sent by Sulinar Vix, will wear down in almost no time.

But Machine Man’s dimensional effect transferred arm telescopes to the chamber of the Slay/ Slave Box. The Box: permission to proceed with the greatest agenda, in collusion with the Earth itself. Permission: Denied!
Now, suddenly, the only reality that the fast approaching present in reality.
Remus Sharptooth attempts to flee again to the material world; his appearance there precedes a massive explosion of his devices, for the Incredible Hulk finally has something to smash!
The Defenders quickly follow him, as the spell-place fades and they return to the world upon a violent wave of expulsion. Nighthawk, and after his fashion, the Hulk, fly out as well It’s truly a daredevil leap for broke---Hillie’s afraid he is filming the demise of an all-too-vulnerable human being...when, poised atop Aragorn, Valkyrie glides under her, and of the flying steed’s power they advance to the margins of a shockwave of surrounding, implosional force.
Only the will of horse and rider hold the escape together.
Determined not to be blown into indiscriminate parts and left for scrap, Machine Man accesses his anti-grav units just in time to vacate the shattering mountain top. He ponders how, while he doesn’t have a childhood like the other minds with whom he’s shared this peril, this time, now, is like childhood to one who might years without mortal limit.
But---how will this Tranz-Rupture end? Follow the Wolf’s Flight!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Defenders/ TRANZ: part NINE, w/ guest Machine Man "Spectacle" 12 Days of Defenders

“Every Where in Presence” Dedicated to Steve Gerber

STRANGE: Now attend we the journey of the warriors true: the Dragon's Line. They were the searchers in a dark age lost to antiquity; yet artifacts and treasures they assembled have carried on to museums of the present age. Those caretakers' last mission involved the deadliest secret of their era.

The Box they had guarded together is conjured from outside time and space to reappear here and focus the energies of the Tranz-Rupture. They, its final guardians, the last defenders of humanity, have come to this place and time to prevent it once more from being misused: once, as a coveted weapon of war, and now, as an agent to shape all of human consciousness and the earth itself.

Thousands of years of greater understanding of the Box are at play---the present spell of the wolf that holds Transmetamorphosis together, that increasingly makes all in its contagious awareness to feel everywhere in presence. Many, indeed, vanish for the stars beyond---so porous is the command of intention over reality.

MADAME BLAVATSKY: Clea, I’m fascinated! Handcuffed by more than a century of time, we have communed with the Prince and the Marc Kane, who search from a thousand years past for her brother---and this Box. By hand-scrabbled runes have we domesticated the most critical place in the wilderness that is becoming your present Earth space-time. STEPHEN STRANGE, thinking (I had suspected Cagliostro, but I sense not his hand in this, lest he has staked out some far-flung future next!)

BLAVATSKY: You are my first visitors, it seems, from the future itself! At least, the first to have tea!

CLEA: The focus of Dragonfang, bearing the magic of Nicola Dragonvayne and the Marc Kane (who is---a woman, disguised as a soldier, sailor), has breached a critical point in the make-up of this being---the very fulcrum of his pastiche existence. What lies within?

STRANGE: For this do I call upon the Moon of Munipoor, that I might aid the manifestation in this stage of the mind: to call into seeming-enough, a cave. From this cave, then, may man by his own design decide to follow shadows, or return into the light.

Cleaving his form, now from its nimbus springs Remus Sharptooth, grappling viciously with Valkyrie.
A cavern appears; the spirits of Nicola and Marc Kane enter.
Inside is the other half of Sharptooth’s form, the essence of the sorcerer is revealed: her lost brother, Ray, taken by the enchantress’ spell between his vanishing at the Break through and Valhalla. Strange now feels sure this hidden being was aiding them in finding the way inside Remus’ mind.
MARC KANE: Ray was always in sweet spirit, unfettered from care---and all responsibility, save assist Prince Nicola Dragonvayne in wandering his kingdom and beyond, as one, along with Marc Kane, of the Dragon’s Line.

Every land, terrain, battle, and boat became Ray’s teacher. So long as his curiosity and daring were challenged; ever did his barbed words fall asway his good nature...but not that day. For one time, truly, you were determined to keep your own council, believing not believing in the curse of Slave Box did leave you free of its power. What thing have you glimpsed that confused you, brother, as we scrambled to complete our mission: break through enemy lines, dispose of Slave Box.

RAY: The night...the maiden, Wanda...
NICOLA: She was in your heart.
RAY: As were you, and Prince Nicola, in your own fashion. Now do I perceive we fell victim, rather, did I your Captain, to a manipulation! The slightest breach in our rapport did render us vulnerable, as the heathen hordes did challenge us before I took the Box in my charge to the volcano.

NICOLA: Then, the break-through...the ice must've melted, we were merely a day too late in the year, and like thunder did the land beneath our boots cave...cave into a world of smoke, fire, and darkness.

MARC KANE: Something you saw...Ray, you were the one who caught me into this world with your bare hands, as I cried and our mother grew cold. I have ever been the student of all things you do, brother.

What you saw the night before we carried Slay Box to its volcanic ensconcement, I see all too clearly in its awkwardness to discuss. My brother, I wish you free, I have felt your hand in much of our “luck” against Remus Sharptooth...even in your bonds are you strongest and wisest in this world.

RAY AWEN : I raised a soldier, more than a princess, a sister more adept at mother’s ways than I ever took a mind to be. I feel how you and Prince Dragonvayne---boon companions of mine, now half of your natural born lives---have an irreplaceable need for the man in side of me. I may remain merged in this being until---until some other way is found---but now I have swam from the brackish mind beneath the thoughts men find idly daily. Emerged, I find myself, my essence, bound to a most grandiose trickster.

MARC KANE: We will find a way, do not quit fighting Ray!!!

Valkyrie: I may be here to carry you to a final reward, Ray Awen Mycearyn, or perhaps your spirit’s been taken this far from your earthly life to discover how this box you guarded well fits into the puzzle of what is meant to be, even while enigma remains: who has control over what is meant to be?
Ray: Maybe this is the Ragnarok about which I’ve laughed so many times. It is well we are together without fear. And without Nido!

Val opens way to Valhalla for Ray, Nic and Marc to find Nido again) As they join in a circle of hand to bond their energies, a word seems to emerge from the triplet indigo forms: "Mother?" "Father?"

Swirling, they vanish into destiny, beyond time and space.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Defenders/ TRANZ: 12 Days, part eight, w/ guest Machine Man

Day 8 With the souls of Prince Nicola Dragonvayne and the Marc Kane aligned within Dragonfang, Valkyrie surprises the sorcerer with a strike of that sword, flowing with the Flames of Faltine. Cleaving his form, now from it springs Remus Sharptooth, grappling viciously with Valkyrie.

A cavern appears; the spirits of Nicola and Marc Kane enter. Inside is the other half of Sharptooth’s form, the essence of the sorcerer is revealed: her lost brother, Ray, taken by the enchantress’ spell between his vanishing at the Break through and Valhalla.

Meanwhile, the Hulk leaps into the Fire Dragon, over eighty stories tall; apparently he has some substantial impact, but the damage is hard to discern.
Machine Man: (telescoping his limbs to evade the four armed men) I tapped into their program. From what I understand, that is an archetype of one of the elements of Earth itself!
Nighthawk: You understand this apocalypse?
VALKYRIE wrestles nearby with the blade-riven sorcerer hand to hand; they go to the ground with him on top.

MACHINE MAN: Can only tell you what I know: they’re activating a force inherent in the Earth itself to speed along a trajectory of thousands of years of changing conditions. That apparently includes the conditions of Earth-based conscious minds.

NIGHTHAWK: I know you’re a machine, but...your mind and feelings...

MACHINE MAN: Boy, it’s never been this easy to share; thank you!

Cut by his talons and teeth, Valkyrie kicks the jacketed, tattooed werewolf away, and delivers a sweet fist in the jaw. His left hook catches her guard.

NIGHTHAWK: This wolf’s keeping me away from the one fighting Valkyrie! How’s he still going, with Dragonfang chopping him like prime rib?

MACHINE MAN: The mastermind cobbled his engineer together, using a powerful old consciousness bound to a relic called *klong!!* (Machine Man’s battered by two four-armed man.)

NIGHTHAWK: So Val’s fighting the key enemy?

MACHINE MAN: Half of the key. (He pulls one four armed man by the legs and slams him into the others; they jerk their comrade loose.) I’m almost surprised to find myself manifested on this mental plane. Without understanding the tech, it’s virtually spiritual.

NIGHTHAWK: Try to shape events with your intention. We may only be out of control because we perceive they have the upper hand.

Valkyrie and Remus Sharptooth sling each other around by the arms, and as they are whipped apart, Valkyrie gains her balance first, but wolflike he recovers by springing at her off all fours.

MACHINE MAN: Or twelve.

NIGHTHAWK: Welcome to the non-team, metal guy.
MACHINE MAN: Call me Machine Man, Batman.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Part 8: The Dragon's Line and the Defenders

Day 8 With the souls of Prince Nicola Dragonvayne and the Marc Kane aligned within Dragonfang, Valkyrie surprises the sorcerer with a strike of that sword, flowing with the Flames of Faltine. Cleaving his form, now from it springs Remus Sharptooth, grappling viciously with Valkyrie. A cavern appears; the spirits of Nicola and Marc Kane enter. Inside is the other half of Sharptooth’s form, the essence of the sorcerer is revealed: her lost brother, Ray, taken by the enchantress’ spell between his vanishing at the Break through and Valhalla.
The Box they had guarded together is conjured from outside time and space to reappear here and focus the energies of the Tranz-Rupture. They, its final guardians, the last defenders of humanity, have come to this place and time to prevent it once more from being misused: then, as a weapon of war, and now, as an agent to shape all of human consciousness and the earth itself. Their misunderstanding is shelved for another time; they three conclude some manipulation at work, the night before they carried Slay Box to its volcanic ensconcement. As they join in a circle of hand to bond their energies, a word seems to emerge from the triplet indigo forms: "Mother?" Swirling, they vanish into destiny, beyond time and space. (Day 8) Medium-Hard

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tranz/ Defenders #3: Part 7, the Hulk (12 Days of Defenders)

(Day 7): As the Valkyrie, atop her winged steed Aragorn, flies into the jaws of dread, the Flames of Faltine light the presence of two time lost Vikings connected to the great change---and fly they must. Only inside the jaws of utter destruction can they find their way to the mystery of this conjurer...only so may they reach the humanity captured within!
Before the eyes of those assembled to fire fight, Nighthawk and the Hulk begin to disappear in the physical sense...yet the darkness into which they reappear is present before everyone! They watch this central event, as thought forms of all the Defenders surround the Sharptooth sorcerer.
From the shadowy reaches of the violet arena of space surrounding Sharptooth, three mysterious forms of indigo observe a towering man-form, crackling with power, robed with sharp, probing angles that reach like a castle of doom from his shoulders and head.
Before him appears a blond, beautiful enchantress dressed in emerald and black, leering. “Even should these meddlesome Defenders discover the double nature of your pawn---pawn, or prince of the world to come---as an immortal of Asgard, I shall live on, either way! “
HULK: Hulk saw wolf head swallow up Sword Girl! Now Hulk must get revenge.
Hulk a castaway. Hulk always the same, though: Hulk stands up for Hulk’s friends, for they are all Hulk has, and they, too, get lost as days go by. But Hulk never gives up! Never!! Rrargh, Hulk, SMASH!!!

NIGHTHAWK: Only Hulk can keep me together!
SULINAR VIX (turned towards the approaching Valkyrie; he has not acknowledged the Hulk or Nighthawk):
Behold, they advance now from the abyss. You, who bound the warrior to the wolf sorcerer--- what payment do you extract?

“Come what may,” the enchantress replies, “I will take my rewards where I find them. I cast this spell upon her, who is also two people in one; the warrior maiden, the woman beneath. Even as the valkyior come in time to become goddesses of the Norn, so shall I place within her astral aura my spell, to call her to join, bound within the Norn stones...and when they again become mine...but hark now, ‘tis done! Amora takes her leave, Sulinar Vix of Kolpar!”
With a lift of his chin, he regards her. “May you scheme in interesting times!”
With a humorless laugh, at the nimbus of a spell, she vanishes.
Hulk still strains against the barrier; “must stop villains’ plans! Play with Hulk and Hulk’s friends, while they mess up the world!”
The three indigo forms consult with one another telepathically, grateful to have thus escaped notice. They see Sulinar Vix cast a light over the Machine Man, probing him as the heroes advance from the nothingness. Then he turns to an approaching form, a tall, ebony young man, who seems to espy them, by his eyes; to Sulinar Vix, his face reveals nothing. “So now,” he speaks, “upon my birthday visit to this world, I await the completion of the spell of the wolf...”
“Hail to Sennil, Dark Poet,” says Sulinar Vix. “ No doubt, you await also the return of what is taken from Semeicardia.”
“Your fellow Sinister has engineered cells swiped there, to become henchmen to your pawn of pawns. His fate also belongs to Semeicardia.”
“These are the last moments of the Spell of the Wolf,” says Sulinar Vix. “I bid you observe the resolution of this gambit, Dark Poet, and we shall see if the nature of the world yet shall be formed by the Tranz-Rupture.”
Obscured, the sibling trio observe the dark Poet dissolve into the indigo light as he walks on, while the wolf sorcerer conjures fierce lights, bolts of power escaping his claws.

The Hulk shreds the way into the force field; his charge, unstoppably close.
Vix, with a pass, restores his four-armed henchmen and she-wolf by his side, as the Defenders attack before the towering form of the Fire Dragon. And in a voice of great volume and pain, Sulinar Vix speaks

Defenders/ TRANZ: 12 Days, part six, w/ guest Machine Man

MACHINE MAN: I think of what these explosions must sound like to regular guys like those soldiers I bumped into in the woods, before finding that weird hutch.
I wonder what their world will be like, as the colossal disturbances of these superbeings fill the air with the promise of forces beyond their control?

What clue will reflect this mission: the human adventurer Hellcat, and the cybernetic Machine Man, confronting the living conduit of enormous trigger energies: what this supercomputer identifies as Sharptooth, guarded by his partner the she wolf Corpse Flower, beside the extraordinary devices used to focus the M’Krann energies.

Extraordinary: the after effects of an event beyond even my ability to see, to the Milky Way’s edge!

And what of the origin of this source, tapped by Sharptooth; these machines, I’d estimate, reflect the engineering genius at least 5,000 very optimistic years of human existence. Is that where Sharptooth and company came from? Somehow, it seems the source of this machinery holds the strings back to the puppeteer of this whole she-bang!

Nice work, really---
to multitask communication with the machine, while battling the giant she wolf. Good luck!
(still HELLCAT): I'm momentarily safe, but it falls to me: disrupt Remus Sharptooth now! If I dive for him, engage him in the physical plane...

Now he breaks out the blue flash balls to ward me off! What's with this ripple above the box? Another plane?

Soon Hellcat finds herself floating in darkness.

HELLCAT: I'm being drawn into the same mentally-accessed plane where Val is flying!
Cheese 'n' crackers!

Patsy wills a bottom to meet her boots and allow her to walk, and now she discovers Sulinar Vix has erected a translucent shield. Where from comes this light? She lifts her head to see Valkyrie astride Aragorn, with her blade Dragonfang possessed of a transfixing light. Now she sees Remus again, as a giant head, a cavernous maw of doom. The Flames of Faltine light the way for astral Clea (through the Orb of Agamotto’s reach), Valkyrie, and the two Viking ghosts who comprise the blade’s flame; the team must fly onward, nonetheless.

On a fantastic plane of the mind and soul, Sharptooth’s head devours Earth’s Mightiest Defenders!

DEFENDERS / TRANZ #3: Five Dragons to End the Earth (12 Days of Defenders)

to End the Earth!

I try not to get too distracted by the Dog person I’m distracting. I notice this amazing box, but all my attention goes to...Remus Sharptooth. I feel you at the borders of my mind.

So let’s be friends, huh? I’m Hellcat! I bet there’s handsome fellow under all that fuzz!

REMUS: I DO have a handsome fellow inside!! Snarl!! Why do you taunt me, Woman Cat? What is your purpose here?”

HELLCAT: His mixed essential nature becomes an apparent truth.

Have I struck a nerve? He’s both flattered and...defensive...what is going ON here? It’s like two minds... or even make that three or four at play; we’re not alone! There’s one I see above, and some other around me---!

REMUS: A nerve, a body, a sliver, a cell!
You don’t know what it’s like : plucked out of one history, one continuity, one set of stories, and put together in some new, melded form for the sake of unseen players?

HELLCAT: You might be surprised what i know about that! Wolfie, I have to be frank, I get no sense you as either inherently good or this thing happening with everyone’s opening inner lives permanent? What’s going on? Maybe if we could just understand what you are doing can feel some people are afraid, and I picture some disappearing, stressed out---how can all those folks be spared the fright of their lives? Are the people vanishing able to come back by their own will?

REMUS: You sense it, do you not? Yes, particularly with the gifts I sense within are the first living human I’ve yet encountered here. I do not seek to persuade nor offend you.

HELLCAT: Could I help you figure out why you seem so uncomfortable?

REMUS: i KNOW not your role, nor bare enough, mine. Two voices in me, divided serving my master---
Sulinar Vix! Let the crystal power flow, as now all dragons arise. Let all become so wide minded as they, Returned One! Almighty Zavox, power of the empirical world, let rupture forth your change across the hastened reality of this planet!

HELLCAT: So bright! Vibrations...hurt! Drop...the Shatner, Patsy’s no worse than that headache I channeled from Dude in the Sandcastle* ---it’s like agony with his spell.

He senses me opening up, reaching out to understand with an ESP probe, Remus turns it around and responds with an effusive---overload.

REMUS: All but too much! Perceptions with accurate interactions as they occur throughout the effected space/ time of Transmetamorphosis, including the minds of ever more humans.

HELLCAT: The natural turning of the world towards this ultimate change begins to APPEAL to me

But ---is it just the mystery, the amount of sheer unknown that's taking form? I see minds piled in minds...barriers beyond this life, opening to perception.

caption: Such a world, however, cannot be held hostage by terror.


Now she sees the image of sulinar vix, as he feeds the M’Krann powers to me. He drifts above, equipped in armor forged from a world I've yet to see...

SULINAR VIX: (above great dissonance and wind): The purpose of your incarnation here is at hand, Remus Sharptooth. Open this world by your imagination...use these energies to unwrap the form of the Slay Box/ Slave Box to trigger the Five Dragons to End the Earth!

Where did that gigantic black she-wolf come from? It’s ---She’s on the scent of my metallic playpal; could being a machine camouflage him? Cat Claw cable---and put your best foot forward, ol' girl---**whoa!

Congrats, Happy Go Lucky Girl---you're bait now...
try not to end up wolf chow!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DEFENDERS/ TRANZ #3: Hellcat! 4 of 12

The Script, first half of the scene:

Day 4: Hellcat:. Part of the 12 Days of Defenders

As we sneak into the mountain together, I’m suddenly feeling very lucky. Imagine, we follow some kind of gnomlin creature through the woods* (See “Calinferno”) and meet the ultimate computer whiz who’s made of machine head to toe.

Steel skinned brother gives me the thumbs up, and just cuts gravity to float into the device somewhere three or more stories off the ground, built right here in the cave floor! While the Living Robot gets digital with Super Computer from the Future, you have your work cut out for you, Patsy Walker!

Disturbances in the passages of the timeline prevent Doctor Strange and Clea from returning to the present, yet through the Crystal of Agamotto they aid and observe Valkyrie and her ghostly partners. For now, I’ve got to let all this slip my mind. If this sorcerer reads minds, why open the whole playbook? One thing is no secret, though: I’m headed straight to the corporeal brains behind this operation.

The advanced science at hand seems to tap into a natural force of change inherent in the Earth, sped up now, affecting all the biosphere.

I was being careful, in case of mind control, too, but this is deeper. This isn’t just my mind---this is a sea change, and we’re all just swimming along. But can we figure out if this tide is right or wrong in time to change it? It’s...fascinating. Swirl of emotions...reshaping of the natural world, like some time lapsed photography of thousands of years of geothermal tantrums.

Everything you know about the entire fabric of the world, in its physical and mental states, undergoes a rupture, in waves of increasing change! At its core is an alien sorcerer, Remus Sharptooth, conjuring what he believes is the rapid evolution in nature and human consciousness!

I run the length of the corridors, and three sprints later, I find the wolfman. Now

I even my pace, as though no, I’m not scared in the slightest. Happy Go Lucky Hellcat attempts peace, smooth talking to draw attention, while he grimaces and promises his new world.

Empty mind

Walks right up What’re you doing, man?

The Plot:Day 4: Hellcat:.

Hellcat’s agreed to let Machine Man explore the super computers used by Remus.
The advanced science at hand seems to tap into a natural force of change inherent in the Earth, sped up now, affecting all the biosphere.

Everything you know about the entire fabric of the world, in its physical and mental states, undergoes a rupture, in waves of increasing change! At its core is an alien sorcerer, Remus Sharptooth, conjuring what he believes is the rapid evolution in nature and human consciousness!

Disturbances in the passages of the timeline prevent Doctor Strange and Clea from returning to the present, yet through the Crystal of Agamotto they aid and observe Valkyrie and her ghostly partners

She attempts peace, smooth talking to draw attention, while he grimaces and promises his new world. When she flirts with him, Remus reacts in disturbance, because “I DO have a handsome fellow inside!! Why do you taunt me, Woman Cat? His mixed essential nature becomes an apparent truth. Sensing her ESP probe, Remus turns it around and begins to overload her perceptions with accurate interactions as they occur throughout the effected space/ time of Transmetamorphosis, including the minds of ever more humans. The natural turning of the world towards this ultimate change begins to seduce Patsy, as she envisions a world of empathy.

Such a world, however, cannot be held hostage by terror. Now she sees the image of sulinar vix who feeds the M’Krann powers to Remus. guarded by his partner the she-wolf Corpse Flower. Patsy feels genuine terror (whereas she senses in Sharptooth a being who could be good or evil). The futuristic sorcerer Sulinar Vix, having harnessed the signature of that energy, provides the channel to Remus Sharptooth’s efforts.

The explosions Holt hears from inside the mountain’s caverns reflect the human adventurer Hellcat and the cybernetic Machine Man confront Sharptooth, beside the extraordinary devices used to focus the M’Krann energies.

Another part of the revelations of the nature of this power and transformation comes from Machine Man’s digital analysis. Hellcat senses Corpse Flower is more physically powerful, and also, that she senses her colluder’s intrusion. She breaks stasis of action to attempt to distract Corpse Flower, which helps, but nearly costs her her life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DEFENDERS/ TRANZ #3: it's really Namor, saving the whales 3 of 12 Days of Defenders

Day 3 of 12: Prince Namor, the Submariner

A whale watching boat full of passengers passes a submarine, surprisingly close to the surface in San Diego Bay. We over hear them randomly:

The news feed just mentioned a wilderness fire, but it’s somewhere north of here.
The whole loo shook, pitched right off the bowl! Expected as much: I come on deck, the weather’s become very violent.
I would separate your attraction from people from your decision to talk to anyone, especially when you have designs on what that person should be to you...
It did happen unexpectedly, but they expect to dock in time
We’re only some three miles out on the pennisula.
Tell me the one in the pink windbreaker’s not underaged!
I mean, separate your attraction from your reaction. Also, you don’t want to make the mistake of just talking to a girl because she’s pretty.
At least we got to see loads of whales!
That was Taft.
That volunteer? Nah, she’s an undergrad, from what I---
Bad news for the whales, though---isn’t that one caught on the beach over there?
Your carnal impulses might separate you from a good friendship...
Got a picture of one’s tail over starboard! That’s seven for me!
Wish I had the patience to try that approach; you’re probably ri—whoa!
Are those dolphins?
I think that whale’s really stuck!
It’s this storm. I’ve never seen anything like –
I think it’s just frustration, over time, that our efforts to help her...cure herself of her bad habits don’t seem to have worked. Yet she knows by now I won’t gi-- Damn, did you feel us drop into that trough?!?
These are shallow waters, already. The stuck one looks pregnant!
Okay, now, I see a man flying through the sky. Just so we’re all clear on that.
Look! Over this side! These waves are coming out of nowhere; they must be fifteen feet!
Drowning was not my first beach birthday option, frankly!
That’s the feckin’ Submariner. Sod me, he’s real!!! Hahaha!

The Savage Submariner, Prince Namor, busies himself rescuing breeding whales trapped in the shallow waters beside Baja California, as the earth ruptures. As he tenderly raises the bedraggled behemoth from the rocky shoals, he perceives the mystical joining of twin eternal flames, and their entry into a great mouth of darkness.
Drawing closer to the shore exposes him to the waves of emotions of those below; he strives to separate his thoughts from theirs.

NAMOR: By the Seven Seas, it is good the Avenging Son chose today to watch over the breeding whales; I have never witnessed such a tempest on the Pacific Coast!
There is something more here, amiss. My perceptions give me no recourse however. This very unease I feel closer to civilization might be my impetus---might goad the monarch of Atlantis to discover what secret imparts these dangers and mysteries.
What I do know is these beasts need the strong arm of Namor the First! Even with my great strength, this takes gentle care---and leverage!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DEFENDERS/ TRANZ #3: No. 2, Even a ghost can dream! 12 days

(Ain't that cool?)

Here, I've left my original draft. I created a new piece for here, though.
It's very cool!

Perhaps it’s intuition---or some side effect of the increasing ripple effect of the Transmetamorphosis changing the Earth---but the soldier’s aware of another presence suddenly arrived upon the seen. He has never heard of the blessing of the Vishanti, but across time and space, he is aware that heroes gather---perhaps to stop this change rocking the Earth with change, or perhaps, to make sense of it as chaos has its sway.

Holt looks at Blancley, and now both see in their midst a dark stage, figures stabbing the darkness with the lights of their essences, though their bodies assemble from various places across time and space.

To stand before such a door way is to immerse one’s self in facing the direction of all one’s fears, and sense, moving forward, your survival’s path, its methods.

Now both soldiers become aware of aid, not only from the strange non-team of beings diving with Valkyrie into the perilous recesses of the spreading phenomenon...
...but surfing atop turbulence as extra-dimensional energy from the astral plane is the consciousness of Doctor Strange---presently, from across time, in the 19th century!

In the act of discerning, clarity is everything. Sometimes, an act must be made certain with only the most doubtful perceptions. From the core of his being, Doctor Strange becomes a mental mirror to the crystal ball, an eye rolling over events of no less than a reality storm.

This distorting vision of the interlacing consciousnesses of the soldiers and fire fighters in the distance (as well as the Hulk and Nighthawk) suggests why unprepared humanity and Earth seem destined to shatter from this process of Tranz-Rupture. The adaptation of their minds to the accelerated empathy seems achievable---yet what is this? Those who fear most seem to simply ---vanish! The Eye of Agamotto finds no evidence of them in their passing, save for traces of energy that radiate outward into the corridors of the fifth dimension, hinting out some existence elsewhere in the beyond.

The mystery is not beyond a sorcerer supreme---indeed, the hidden nature of the plan’s abandoned now, as pretense is no longer necessary in the face of naked power.

I discern the source of power for this change, this rupture of normal reality, even such that it is: the M’Krann Crystal Its energies created a blinking of reality: fantastically, all ceased to exist in a barely detected split second, during a battle for the crystal involving the mutant X-Men. The energy was born in waves which proceeded the end of the universe as we experienced it--- save for the destiny of a universal force and its bond with a woman of Earth, an atom-child named Jean Grey.

Once the description of the M’Krann Crystal and its intersection with human life was told me by my fellow Defender, the space faring Silver Surfer:
the artifact source, the M’Krann Crystal, lies within the Shi’ar Galaxy. Its existence before the Milky Way existed has been marked with a special stargate alignment occurring regularly but extremely rarely throughout its existence.

The alignment was manipulated by the mad Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken, whose ties and plans to involve Earthlings remain unrevealed. How now does an object, dormant throughout most of Eternity, shed consequences all the way from the Shi’ar Galaxy now? Return from the 19th Century requires reserves best left exploring the source and nature of this amazing changed landscape.

Reverberations in that very blinking of existence, as recorded by Peter Corbeau via Star Core One on that occasion have been harnessed, with minimal efficiency, into the necessary transformative power to choose an acceleration of evolution in both man and Earth. Is it his duty to put this to a halt? Would this be the manipulations of one sorcerer-for another’s ? Still, the master of the mystic arts can’t take anyone’s master plan for Earth very lightly. In fact, I usually find unfortunate reasons to number in the opposition.

Broken bells rustle by the oak door. Madame Blavatsky has proved a commendable tolerance, even enthusiasm, for these, her two touring guests, Stephen Strange and Clea. Their good conversation has led to quite an eventful afternoon.

As she turns from her wood stove top with a tray of tea, she senses something ineffable at stake, yet, she recognizes benevolent, yet awe-inspiring, energy in the traveling couple---even as she suspects they journey from the very place of Strange’s vision that dances and darts within the crystal set before him.

He looks up. “Thank you. I trust you to understand the strenuous nature of this emergency.”

“Trouble at home?”

“You might say that.”

“Have no fear. You came to me to speak of other places where dwells the soul, friend. Now I must share my impressions with you, as I see outside you while you concentrate so feverishly.”
“Clea seems to be recuperating energy from contact with our friends. The tea is very thoughtful.”

MADAME BLAVATSKY: “Enjoy the ease in its heat, doctor. I feel the need to tell you of the three ghosts who surround the crystal ball’s tempestuous vision. What we gaze upon in this orb seems to be the very dreams of ghosts, lucid in the light of thousand year slumber coming to the threshold of wakening.”

CLEA: “Stephen, do you recognize?”

STRANGE: Their language is Old Norse. They are adepts of some proficiency themselves; their intentions give me some notion what occurs in the most impenetrable place wherein Valkyrie’s astral self seeks breech.

BLAVATSKY: Two are united as one...and the third is united into another pairing, as though merged, captured, one who is not of this world.

CLEA: I seek to use the Orb of Agamotto’s power to guide Valkyrie at the eye of the material storm opened by the Spell of the Wolf.

STRANGE: Yet the wolf is a pawn, I think, to some greater outside presence!
Nonetheless, Stephen, says Clea, it seems sure that this werewolf enchanter---his body, clearly stolen from another universe---holds the key to humanity grabbing some stake in the actions that cut and paste

The world we know.

He nods. He begins to probe where the energies radiate, how they mix with the very fundamental place where human thought becomes human reality. “But should I discern the nature of this Transmetamorphosis,” he asks himself, “what then?”
Indeed---what then?
Clea’s trance reassembles its contact with Valkyrie, and now Blavatsky, Strange and
Clea all see the two ghosts united of which the Madame spoke.

United as a body of flame, they dance about the sword Dragonfang,

held aloft by Barbara Norse’s arm, while her body holds aloft the spirit of brave Brunhilde.

Her lips carry a soft chant to Freya as her pegasus Aragorn bears down upon the dark arena

where stands the transfixed wolf-man-god: Remus Sharptooth, drawing a echno-sorcerous circuit

triangulating the M’Krann energies and manipulation from the future itself,
as the world of our knowledge shatters.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Joker's Utility Belt! Power Records style pt. 2

Just as I promised: part two of the joker's utility belt, a classic Batman story Power Records style!

Here's a good little tribute (yes, you are, yes you are!) to Power Records. Remember: they're ACTION as you READ!

The Joker's Utility Belt! Power Records style

No way, that's pretty cool! I love this idea, it's been on my mind a lot: essentially, this is the prototype of the motion comic. I am thinking of audio as an indispensable part of our operation and am very ready to begin incorporating audio. I think this year's going to end with a lot of sound from Integr8d Soul Productions.

As for this, who doesn't enjoy a really good old fashioned Joker match-up with the Batman?
(Personally, I've watched three of these this morning upon their discovery. The Power Record I had as a kid was the Captain America one. Captivated much of my playtime!)

Tune in for part two tomorrow!

The Twelve Days of Defenders, Begin! Part one, from DEFENDERS/ TRANZ #3

Defenders/ TRANZ original story, "Free of the Fallen World"

Our saga originally began in and

even there's a sequel, too:
DEFENDERS here copyright Marvel Comics Group, inspired by the David Anthony Kraft (1978) Era.
Part One: "Mama I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier"

PVT. HOLT: Any other time, I’d love to be in Southern California. Even coming to this mountain on National Guard fire-training maneuvers with the Canadian Mounties isn’t the worst day I’ve had.
But now I’m sitting in the midst of a blazing ruin, beside a tank I drove over a ...troll or something, cradling a woman who saved my life, wondering if I am in love with her and why won’t she wake up.
I can’t say I’m losing my mind because of all those things. The strangest part, no, no, was all that, in the midst of the sensation I’m feeling the feelings and observing the thoughts of every person I see. I was glad to be apart, as that seem to make it quiet again in my head.
Feels like that’s about to end; someone’s reading my thoughts at this very minute. I don’t think it can be helped.
I know I can’t help how I feel about this chick. Wow: she threw me to safety, right before the hideout for these creatures blew sky high and set off this mess. I feel like she’s fighting the hidden conflict underneath it all, with her spirit, and I don’t know how I know that, but I can almost see her flying into the darkness, towards this sinister plateau of red light.
I don’t even know you, lady. You’re the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. For all I know, you’re married. Maybe I feel this way because you saved my life. Maybe it’s the adrenalin. And you’re hot. Maybe I’ve never known just what I’m doing on this planet, but maybe I’ve always wanted to feel this way.
“All you know is that you want to help her...” His mountie friend Dave Blancley has walked out of the brush, into the bright afternoon sun.
“Damn! Blancley, you read---“
“---That right out of your mind, I know, ‘Sarge’, it’s happening to that thing under your tank alive?”
“I haven’t checked...but you know that. I’m just standing guard over this warrior lady’s body.”
BLANCLEY: On that subject, you’ll have to excuse my thoughts, buddy. Maybe she’s just in a trance!
PVT. HOLT: But you know that’s what I think.
BLANCLEY: It’s bizarre: seeing other’s inner thoughts, their loved ones, their frustrations, and every feeling that comes out fighting this wildfire. One minute, Steve, we’re laughing over the Happy Show and by the end of the day it’s like...the end of the world. Not exactly, can sense it...this is happening elsewhere, too. It’s rather distracting, really; I had to get my head in the game and deal with the fire.
HOLT: I don’t know how else to thank the lady, bro, I just hope there’s more help than me.

Even A Ghost Can Dream

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Complete the Series: the end of Machine Man's first run

Might I say, Frank Miller and Terry Austin knocked it out of the park on Machine Man's last cover. For a change, the creative team knows it's the end and try their best to wrap things up.

I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but this issue marked a turning point for Machine Man's disguised civilian life at DelMar Insurance. There's a super-embassy, designed to withstand a terrorist attack by sealing the occupants within and relying on high technology security. A huge Halloween party is the chosen way to showcase the embassy for interested parties.

Masks have reached a crisis point for Machine Man; his face has been ruined during his battle with Alpha Flight, but his facade of humanity both seems to be leading him into confusion with Pamela Quinn and repudiation in the form of violent blackouts, as began when fighting Madame Menace and the revolutionaries in #17. Machine Man has to get to the bottom of his behaviors while dealing with the debut of the Jack O'Lantern, a pogo-mounted professional mercenary who relies on gadget weaponry and his horrible, flame-lit helmet.

For some time to come, this last of the Ditko Machine Man rogues also has the greatest longevity in the plotlines of Marvel comics to come. He eventually reappears as a foe of another Ditko co-creation: his most famous, the Spectacular Spider-Man, starting with Peter Parker #56 written by Roger Stern.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

But if----I were Kirby's Partner!

has my quick take on Machine Man 18.

Here, I'm going to conduct a thought experiment: if I were working with Jack Kirby, starting with issue ten, could I help him as a writer? Well, we'll just put aside personal conflicts a minute, imagine he's made it over that with the help of a little friendship and the advice not to take crap personally, and, having won his trust, he's listening, as I put down the first story arc:

So, our MM starts off teamed next with Captain America, two generations of Super Soldier. They face a machine man named X-Tinction that was the grand daddy prototype of the X models before the military built them. X-Tinction became sentient, went insane, and arises like some kind of Sixth Sleeper.
Next: MM needs to face some kind of Dinosaur Man. I am trying to think of a name for something that sounds like it could eat a puny Machine Man like a drum of thanksgiving turkey. Carnivex was where I stopped, and thought, "not terrible! But somethin that eats meat?" It gets a two issue arc.
So, in other words, if it's so much easy to be doing better, then you do it!

So what you thinkie?

Next up: Doc Ock. And the Defenders. Channeling Steve GErber AND Jack Kirby, who I wish could've been doing this run in my place.
Only, with Doctor Strange and Doc Ock both in the picture, guest art by STeve Ditko! And here, introduce future 2020 villainess Sunset Bain, created with Tom DeFalco. I kinda liked Gears Garvin, too, but I would've kept Tracey Warner. Maybe she will be the real primary character; that's what STeve GErber would do if he were writing this issue.

Doc would probably have a smaller role, though I really need to put Machine Man and Dr. Strange together in a scene, right? But Strange may be called on to face some horror in a dimension outside space and time.

Then I want to turn Machine Man loose with Valkyrie, Black Panther, and Power Man & Iron Fist as his fellow Defenders. The villain struggling with Doc Ock behind the scenes is Klaw. I'd been saving Klaw and Black Panther, but this soon after Cap in #10 it would be an effort to attract Marvel readers, plus ask Kirby to revisit two of his creations that he did, in fact, draw and write earlier in his return to Marvel.

So that's 10-13.

Now...I'd talk to Jim Starlin about Magus...and ask Kirby if he's in the mood to draw some Eternals...maybe a Celestial? Ooo...and I'm not out of ideas, yet! Two more original characters would be coming soon. Tell you more later!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arms and the Robot!

“Arms and the Robot !”
Machine Man’s search is interrupted by the remnants of Brimstone’s Satan Squad; the first of many fights ensues. At the end, he’s no closer to the arm...which is in the hands of a skeevy sort who’s taken it to minions of Madame Menace. The robot arm impresses them, so they send the signal to coy Sunset Bain, who flirts and suggests to a senator her real story would shock him.
She leaves the party in his hands, and comes to examine her blindfolded visitor. She offers a thousand for the arm, and he wants twenty. The flesh-eating roach they’re working on is his cue to take what he can get. Like the Corporation, someone else sees a super=weapon to mass produce on the market, perhaps in components. Like Kublai Khan, someone else wants his body for profit.

Gears and Spalding banter, while MM decides there’s no choice but to find his irreplaceable arm. He disregards advice to “listen to Billy Joel...or plug into the Carson Show!” He decides to take a cue from TV and stir up trouble at a local bar; soon we’re in another fight, but for nothing. MM next takes apart one of Peter’s chairs to fashion a false arm to disguise in a sling, so he can go back to work at DelMar Insurance. Pamela notes his aloofness, and wonders if he realizes she’s alive. Maggie and Eddie banter.
Soon we’re back at Garvin’s Garage, where Gears affixes a home-made power booster, mounted in another false arm, and away he floats! He jumps into the trap: a seemingly deserted pier hosts a warehouse, where he’s instantly detected in the open skylight and blasted with electro-magnetic energy. He snarks with Madame Menace, who stretches his limbs out magnetically to leave him hanging in the air. He has a plan, though: recharge, first, then deal with the stasis trap.
He pulls a Samson and extends his limbs into the sides, shoving his telescoped appendages into the walls until the magnets overload! Kwak, Thud! Machine Man speeds away, levitating over the pier, where Menace has departed for a meeting across three miles of chilled ocean from Ambrose Lighthouse. The terrorist Zarkoff’s ready to make a deal to add robots to the revolution, but one fighting made but slowly moving living robot clambers aboard spoiling for a fight.
Zarkoff decides to snatch the case from Menace in the confusion, commanding his thugs to pile on. They’re spun away in a whirl and flicked over board. Menace has no time for his double cross, so she shoots Zarkoff in the arm, then decides “a good business woman knows when to liquidate her assets!”

Over goes the arm. MM snaps out of his wild rage; his homer’s active, and his finger sensors detect a timed device set off by Zarkoff. The ship explodes, but thanks to a prearranged signal, Machine Man seems the only one caught in the blast. His booster’s still tracking, he’s still ticking; he reaches into the “murky depths” for “my objective...Menace’s Sample Case! For within it lies...*click!* arm!
He’s whole again, but as he floats away he wonders why he behaved so irrationally. “And what of Menace? Did she truly perish in that fiery explosion?” He shudders to think.

Sunset Bain and the Machine Man to come

Then the hand culminates in a finger pointing to the credits. Genius.

This is probably my favorite Ditko splash page of his run; the arm is the border against pitch blackness, representing the lost limb that carries the plot ---straight to Madame Menace.

There’s a terrific metaphor---the hero sacrifices his arm for one person he finds worthy and inspirational---then his arm becomes subject the attentions of greedy manipulators who want to sell the value of his arm to the highest bidder. Whoever thought up the plot could’ve been talking about Kirby, or many others besides, and if it was Ditko, it has a nice Randian subtext while maintaining the crackle of a superhero adventure.

Machine Man searches the area of his battle (near the cathedral last issue) but gets no signal from his detached arm. He checks in on Pamela Quinn, who finds him cold and unemotive but senses something mysterious beneath well as a touch of déjà vu, like she knows him.

The next-to-last piece of MM’s rogue’s gallery enters the stage: vivacious Sunset Bain, sophisticate and schmoozer of the power elite. Her exclusive parties enable her to rub elbows with senators and many of their donors---but this life is a cover. The card presented to her signals her secret terrorist organization.

She is the least bizarre Machine Man enemy; in fact, even with the necessary hi-tech weapons for gloss, she’s uncomfortable realistic, for me. Particularly if you think of her in context of international high finance. I don’t want to point a finger and turn this into the Political Thread, but you see what I’m saying.

Finally, best of all, she comes back one day as the cyber punk Barry Windsor-Smith design in Machine Man 2020, a four issue limited series that came out when I was ten. That was really my first actual Machine Man comics, and the two issues I got my hands on rocked my socks. The story centers around his revival in a New York absent of super heroes, so we got Machine Man as Kirby intended---a science fiction story not set in the Marvel Universe we knew---with one villainous heir to the Stark Iron Man armor that captured the flair of the 1984-85 sharp edges and gears look that is punk rock future nihilism and classic comics at one go. I love it that I realize now Steve Ditko created or co-created (with Tom DeFalco) Gears Garvin and Madame Menace from that story, bringing Kirby and Ditko together in a new way. Machine Man just becomes pure Machine Man again, no secret i.d., and, in a world of muted tones and dark skies and moral ambiguity, he's fire engine red.

Maybe my favorite Tom DeFalco story!

Monday, December 6, 2010

An early homage to the Silver Age of Comics

It is arguable that everything in the Marvel Age of Comics is a type of homage to the intense period of activity and creative excellence of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby. With these late issues of Machine Man, we have the pure Kirby character creation, drawn by Steve Ditko, and then scripted, edited, and presented in a style reflective of Stan Lee, with Tom DeFalco and Denny O'Neil as writer and editor. Some might call it a version of a microcosm of the actual creative breakdown: one character creator, separated from the final product sometimes by an additional artist, and then an editor/ scripter, packaging and presenting rather than demonstrating raw creative ideas, but instead, ideas about communicating them. That is one fundamental assessment of Marvel's creative history, and not the only one. The precise elements of the synthesis are a puzzle attended by many longtime fans.

By 1980 comics were a little different than they'd been in 1964-1966, though establishing the differences by an objective standard is not my goal here. The point would be simpler to make how much this comic tried to parlay the advantage of having a primary Marvel creator's style. You can find the template of the Silver Age Comics (so-called by historians and fans) present in these last Machine Man comics. Whether it was the wrong time for this style or execution, or just a character who didn't hit home with a large enough audience, the experimented comes to an end with #19.

Now, let's wrap up Machine Man #16. If old comics reviews are not your thing, I will have fresh stories up here very soon! I am not sure what's sidetracked me, save for the nuts and bolts of starting Integr8d Soul Productions and pleasant three hour phone calls (but hey, I still sketched)!

Last column, the co-worker Aaron Stack likes was kidnapped. Unaware of this, Aaron, a.k.a. Machine Man, has used an interface with the company computer to assemble the clues for Baron Brimstone's next strike related to mass producing his stolen Sol-Mac: gold, for shielding. the golden bell of St. Gabriella of the Highlands Cathedral. MM rolls up as the thieves prepare to dismantle the bell and take it away in a helicopter. He walks up the wall, saying "Though I can not understand the need for opulence in a world where many go duty is clear!" (You can only imagine the other fundamental questions available to a living robot if art and philosophy were primary over telling a scintillating superhero saga!)

The thieves are surprised, but "just as long as it ain't Spider-Man..." they'll try to "skrag this over-rated tinker toy!" and continue the heist. Snake Marston wraps around Machine Man, who loosens his waist couplings and spins his upper body at fantastic speed and flips him away. He seems more troubled by the Hammer's love of violence than the solid shots to his chin, but one chimney, ripped clear and placed around the villain's body, leaves Hammer smoking.

The Baron gives Pamela Quinn a shove from his helicopter. Machine Man reprograms his arm, magnetically detached, and prays "with whatever soul I may possess" that like Elvis Costello, his aim is true. The anti-gravity units inside the curled, telescoped arm lowers Pam to safety. He then swings up to the helicopter on the grappling hook and bursts in. The goons are short work, but he must stand the "murderous microwave energy" blast from Brimstone to punch into the hull and locate the copter's power source.

He punches through the hole; he hopes his gold shielding can hold out just long enough. Machine Man reaches into the ship’s recesses, and electrifies the copter’s hull, stunning the Baron, with energy siphoned from the copter battery. He’s still not able to determine how much of Baron Brimstone’s abilities derive from technology and some other mysterious power.

Machine Man delivers the Sol-Mac to an awaiting police chopper then dives earthward to check on Pamela. He tries to re-establish radio contact with his arm, but someone’s taken it! Now there’s a unique superhero problem.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ditko draws a Master of the Mystic Arts!

“Baron Brimstone and his Sinister Satan Squad!”
A Journey into Far Out Fantasy by Tom DeFacto and Steve Ditko
w/Bob Sharen, D. Albers, Denny O’Neil, Jim Shooter

Stack and idiot co-worker Eddie Harris tour Chem-Solar Corporation as investigators for Delmar Insurance. Aaron notes to himself Eddie takes nothing serious outside of baseball scores. “A highly-amplified microwave transmitter” demonstration melts through a block of titanium. They believe it will lead to a break-through in powerful data transmissions across the stars. With a burst from his finger tips and a smile on his face, from the green smoke suddenly appears Baron Brimstone. Eddie mistakes a mock-evacuation for show for them, but Machine Man feels the fear and panic. His clothes are hidden quickly in his legs, and he’s racing up the side of the wall using gravity negation to pinpoint the uproar.

Proclaiming himself a master of the mystic arts, Baron B evokes a bullet-deflecting shield, and then “a spell of slumber” while he nabs the “Sol-Mac.” One extended fist greeting later, the surprised Baron contrasts the witticisms with the emotionless voice (a little different than the way I heard him, but oh well). The Living Robot keeps up the snappy patter, braving a radiant beam before lifting a wooden table. The Sol Mac beam, however, leaves him defenseless, and beneath the collapsed table MM’s chest plate is exposed and his energy systems are incapable of battle. Brimstone brags he could kill Machine Man but won’t, fleeing instead with a warning. “I’d tremble in fear, but my internal stabilizers won’t let me!” With his auxiliary power, MM escapes the firing police.

Now how Gears Garvin can apply a refractory coating...I guess he’s just welding on the chest plate that already has that capacity...anyway, our low-tech genius fixes him up. Does Aaron believe in magic? He has enough trouble believing in flesh-and-blood human beings. :-D

Gears takes him back to his sleeping quarters for some solid gold insulation, while MM mentally notes how humans “are the only creature capable of surviving amid their own debris.” Turns out, Gears has two wedding rings, but no Mrs. Garvin “after I blew our honeymoon stash on parts for my hog.” No regrets: she’s had three husbands, he still has the bike. He plans to hammer these out into protection for Aaron’s brain casing and chest plates.

Next up, we meet Brimstone’s two enforcers, boxer Hammer Harrison with his “diamond hard” steel gloves and Snake Marston, unsmiling contortionist. I met them first in another DeFalco joint, my jump-on point as a monthly collector, Marvel Team-Up #138 (with the Sandman!). Brimstone and co. rough up a mobster rival. He continues claiming his powers are mystic, but back at the ranch we find he has a hybrid of true mystic abilities and simulated ones aided by technology. They plan to steal the components needed to mass produce the Sol-Mac.

At the office, Eddie notes to Maggie how personally involved Aaron seems on this case. He’s handed specs courtesy of Mr. Benjamin through Pamela Quinn, who he considers “sweet and different than the other humans I’ve encountered!” One of her contacts calls even as Aaron formulates a pattern from the multiple robberies involving Brimstone. She shortly meets a man named Dawson, but before he can drop a dime, Marston’s wrapped all around him, and Pam’s knocked cold by the Hammer. (Ouch.)

Dawson’s dead, but they take Pam for questioning. (Hardly ever a good plan.) MM’s using a relay he’s rigged up to communicate with the data base in Compucord. He reasons a large quantity of gold is necessary for shielding purposes, and he rules out some possibilities. I guess since this is a race against time, figuring the place out and heading over via boot skates is the Machine Man thing to do.

Tune in tomorrow!

Countdown to new fiction Machine Man 15

Basically a hard-working lady scientist devoted to alternative fuel. She can produce an "electro-magnetically charged gas---but I can neither confine nor contain it!" One power overload later, Dr. Violetta Todd transforms herself accidentally into a gaseous creature dubbed Ion. Machine Man's sent, as Aaron Stack, to investigate. His fight with her leads to his compassionate take and also, damage to his legs. (His repairs are an ongoing shtick in this series.) He's found by Gears Garvin, who enacts repairs and then mounts him atop a wheel, like a unicycle. Meanwhile Ion goes to the Fantastic Four for help. Only Ben and Johnny are home.

The battle and wisecracks ensue. Machine Man finally uses his refrigeration unit to cool down the gaseous Ion and solidify her once more as a person. His battle with her has left him thoughtful.

Everything from the splash onwards deliberately plays up the Silver Age of Marvel, which has a sensible aesthetic as a mode for DeFalco and Ditko. If you read this, be ready for that.

Steve's version of Blue Eyes doesn't send me, though.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kurt Busiek, Machine Man fan

I always read the letters column first, each time I get an old comic. I always loved trying to recreate what the issue must've been like when I'd read the comments; sometimes a writer makes suggestions that are fun to imagine, too.

Names like Ed Via and T.M. Maple and "Uncle Elvis" Orton used to pop up from time to time in many of the l.c.s, always sharing honest opinions and insights. You sometimes find Marvel luminaries such as Ralph Macchio or J.M. DeMatteis. One of these fans-turned-pros is Kurt Busiek. If you haven't heard of him, you haven't been reading any super hero comics in the past couple of years; I particularly recommend his "Astro City" and its various series.

Here, Kurt wrote to praise the return of Kirby's very last red-headed step child for Marvel, and I can't complete my Machine Man series without mentioning his letter.
He pointed out that Marv and Steve Ditko had addressed what he perceived to be the biggest problem with Machine Man: too powerful! Another power could always unexpected come from nowhere, like Mister Miracle and his many escape gadgets.

He wondered if maybe they'd gone a little too far, though, particularly in taking out the "hands weapon system." "He always announced it each time, like it was a favorite son!" You can see his insight and feel for characters as well as witticisms.
Scenes from Machine Man #8, by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer, with Petra Goldberg. copyright 1978 Marvel Comics Group.

My favorite Busiek comic at the time was Untold Tales of Spider-Man: just a little like my Kirby partner brainstorm! In fact, he created another layer of stories that would not contradict the Stan Lee/ Steve Ditko originals, but rather, fit cleanly in between the story arcs. He even created a couple of new enemies and gave us a tragic figure in Bluebird, based off a character who appears for maybe a panel or two of the 1960s Spidey comics.

He wrote a run of Avengers with George Perez everyone likes, rebooted Iron Man with Sean Chen, and once again, all the Astro City I'd read up until 2004 was just top notch. I should catch up! If I had to recommend one thing to judge him upon, I'd say pick up MARVELS with Alex Ross.

Write about comics, if you want to write comics. Take them apart, look at the parts. Learn to read literature, period! Being able to analyze the parts of a story will give you skills in putting it all together your own style.

YOur friend, Lue Lyron

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hulk's high voltage rock'n'roll

West Coast Corporation boss Jackson’s pleased to hear the Hulk seems likely to dismantle Machine Man, and with a pair of “hyper-binoculars” he can watch, from the top of his 80 story skyscraper. As Roger Stern describes ala caption Trish Starr—“free thinker, former model, and hostage---“ musters courage to continue challenging Jackson’s bloodthirsty pleasure. He warps murder into “business efficiency---and advancement!” He recalls Machine Man’s resistance to analysis and replication, chronicled in #8,9 of his series, so his revenge is business. He counters Trish’s question---“do I get ‘recalled’ as well?” ---by complimenting her profiled skills, but now sees the Hulk at a distance, pondering his use in “other...endeavors!”

Aaron Stack, a.k.a. Machine Man “cancels the gravity equation!” He soars out of Hulk’s reach, hovering. One thousand pounds of raging fury springs towards him, but MM sends him earthward with a kick!

The crash shakes Central City; at “nearby Camp DeSprague” (pulp fiction fans catch that one?) Spaulding arrives along with a “3.5 quake.” Kragg gives the order: contact Hulkbuster Base! But will it be far too late?

Machine Man lands beside the impressively deep hole. He expects Hulk to be buried for hours beneath the ruptures of “weak pavement” but picks up a “high frequency radio transmission---from that truck!” He extends the long arm of the law into the dairy truck and tells the spy he’ll report him for him...since he’s got a spot “(a) few blocks away” for him. Gladys and Dick, a middle aged couple, argue about the pool being “filled early” but Dick smiles when Scheuring flies in for a ballistic dip.

MM recognizes the Corporation boss’ voice, and modulates his own to resemble Scheuring’s. “Still no sign of Machine Man! Awaiting instructions! He’s about to home in on the signal...but behind him, our irrepressible green goliath’s crawling out of the pit unnoticed. He sees the wires he’s dug up, and flashes back to a dim memory of F.F.#25 itself, where the Thing surprised him with a handful of such voltage. Not a bad strategy...too bad he misses the escaping hiss of gas!

Hulk’s burrowed directly beneath Machine Man with his cables; he now represents with one serious Aaron Shock! The attack overloads his circuits—“breaking down insulation!” MM grabs his throat, observes he’s grounded, too, as “two mighty figures soak up voltage.” At this point, we learn Machine Man does have olfactory sensors, for he notices the natural gas pipe leak---as the volts and gas blast them both with city-shattering force.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gamma Goodness

Stern/Buscema/ Esposito, Novak, Sharen, Milgrom, Shooter

"Kill or Be Killed!"
Let's skip the recap: look, Machine Man's rushing up to the Hulk carrying his detached arm (no King's X jokes about detachable parts, please) and "Kang!"s him in the head with that and a smart aleck remark. Hulk starts working him over with his own arm, but MM's remote circuits do, as he hopes, work. The fist telescopes, wrapping around Hulk's neck, then bashes him flush in his jade kisser. The hand then jolts him with a shock blast to the face, buying him time to get it reattached. (Esposito's keeping the Royer method of inking him to look heavy metal!)

Spalding's innocent confusion in turn confuses Freddy, but Pete calls his bluff. Upon handing over the gun, Freddy finds out it's a replica. "You don't think I'd collect real guns, do you?" (Well, hell yes!) Freddy recounts the Machine Man-like figure who appeared to kidnap Trish and gas him and the Hulk---who's just crashed into the wall with Machine Man leveraging to rip off his head, and back through the other wall they go, ripping out everything! [img][/img] (Peter David wouldn't let this pass without a sitcom moment, but this is still 1979.) Fred Sloan cries out that he must stop the Hulk, but Doc Pete puts the kibosh on that momentum and literally jerks his shirt in a mad dash for the car, to get help. Hulk misunderstands this as yet another kidnapping!


The panels open up for two more pages of battle fury, where Aaron observes the truth that "the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets!"...while Schuering reports the tableau to Jackson.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Machine Man vs. the Hulk: Round One! fight!!!

Hang on ! “Hulk has carried many this way.” About twelve miles past Modesto, Freddy checks the road map for Spalding’s “Central City hang-out.”
The Forest Ranger who spots them is working for Jackson, stogie-sporting fat cat and West Coast executive of the worldwide Corporation. Trish Starr asks what Jackson has to gain by kidnapping her; she’s a pawn, he tells her, to bring two foes who’ve interfered with the Corporation destructively together, as the Hulk believes Machine Man’s responsible. This would make the Hulk a murderer, Trish thinks, “...and I’ll be ...what?”

Glide with us past the billboard announcing the ‘birthplace of the Fantastic Four’ here in Central City; follow us to the Mariposa hotel, and the silhouette of “a guest so unique---that his very humanity is in question. It’s the sole survivor of the thinking machine secret project, visited now by his friend Dr. Peter Spalding and his recent nemesis, Colonel Simon Kragg---amused and amazed, respectively, to find him repairing a casually crossed leg. Significantly, he’s spot welding into place a leg that still carries “a few damaged circuits from the day when your troops hit me with their sonic guns (Mmhmm, Machine Man #1, Al tells us.) Peter reminds our sardonic friend they have a Congressional hearing to attend concerning his status as citizen.

The soon-to-be lost character from his Kirby cast, TV reporter Tracy Warner, walks in to be greeted by more cynical Machine Man mirth; he is, after all, a huge story. Senator Stivak, as you’ll find out in Bob’s thread, died “yesterday” (the Captain America guest appearance, #232), and Congressman Brickman’s his newly appointed replacement. (His character is so thinned out by obsession later in the MM revival as to become shrill and one dimensional.) He indefinitely postpones the investigation of Aaron’s rights “if any” and adjourns the meeting. (How do they decide he should be remanded to the custody of Peter Spalding? I suppose it makes some sense; it’s very favorable to Aaron, perhaps in gratitude for acing Ten-For.)

Tracy smooches the rarely-smiling Machine Man, as Peter congratulates him for his “de facto” legal humanity. Col. Stagg offers a hand, acknowledges “we’ve had our differences” and wishes him the best. Aaron correctly reasons it would’ve been best if the hearings had been concluded, as the government can hold these committees over his head.

Meanwhile, Brickman’s set up as a possibly very sinister type, evidenced by his smirking thoughts after being addressed by other committee members.
But let’s join Freddy and ol’ Greenskin at 125 Calvin Lane, where fate has determined the clash to come. Freddy talks him out of leveling the house---Trish might be inside---and to Freddy’s surprise they enter an empty house, with a little Hulking hand. Their search reveals it’s a psychiatrist’s house, and a drawer contains apparent high-caliber pistols; Freddy’s sure “these Corporation guys are everywhere!”

Paul Scheuring’s Meadowlake Milk Truck sits a few hundred yards away---but what is he delivering in the afternoon besides information for Mr. Jackson? Now Peter arrives with Machine Man, who apologizes for rushing off without cleaning it (in M.M.#7---boy did Al and Roger love that title!!)---but not so rushed as to leave the door wide open! MM takes the lead, remembering his Corporation kidnapping. The Hulk’s growl makes Peter lose his pipe...because this is the next thing he sees:

What else can you say? Hulk smashes Aaron through several stands of trees, and they clash louder than a Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute, leisure suit. (Now THAT's reaching back to the times, Saturday Night Live fans.) Peter runs inside to call Kragg, to apparently face a gun held by a desperate young man. MM tries to reason with the Hulk. LOL. Out comes the hand weapons system to enflame the ground, which Hulk rips up and throws away before pouncing on MM and smashing him to pieces.

Hulk decides Spalding is the real target. As he walks away, MM crackles back to life from a beating “worse than Ten-For” (MM 3-6---Al). He activates his “power magnetics” in an attempt to reassemble---but our issue’s cliffhanger leaves him a man apart.