Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reaching into the Shadow Cloak (for a weapon mightier than the sword)

First, my thoughts on Vera, or as Joe put it : "who knew a washed-up minor half-demon from the '70s could be so relevant in the '10's?"

You have me on the edge of my seat about what she'll do next! I rather imagine circumstances will force them onto the same side, but who will be in control?

Vera will have far more personality and sex appeal than some plot cypher. I think it was telling she came to Payne in #58 as the cult seemed on the verge of their greatest success, that she valued him so. On the other hand, she could not have him running loose outside of her plan, for reasons we could develop more lucidly.

2 Ha, she might even pop in on Victor Von Doom, or Baron Mordo.

3 I wonder if she has enough of a heart to experience a tragic side in her heritage?

4Did you note both our antagonists carry numerical suggestions in their names? Six Fingered Hand, Vera Gemini (the dual nature).

5 does Vera indeed have a twin, on the physical or spiritual plane?

6 Geez, what if she fell for Payne? I actually had this idea, last!)

Vera's never appeared since she went into Patsy's cloak; DAK had every intention of leaving that nugget for himself or a future writer.

The Mexican Connection

With poverty, crime, and desperate people (some quite ill!) waiting at the border, Kyle's thoughts upon crossing into, say, Tijuana might carry a certain ring of social consciousness. But in the Demon War (Saga), who can they afford to trust?

Hard boiled elements, some cyber punk, occultism and dystopian urban fantasy might all serve the atmosphere, but the authentic touches of the exotic locales will unify it all into a world where you can smell the cooking coming out of crowded houses, see the beggars on the street, taste the dust on the unpaved roads. Again, it's tempting to crowd the Defenders right out of some scenes in favor of the complications touching lives that, while not always innocent, all deserve some sort of vanguard against the blood thirsts of the hellbound.

The real life criminals there in Mexico are sometimes the local government; the law has inconsistent influence, and innocent people must be ridiculously brave to attempt legitimate efforts at law and order.

And our center character, Devil-Slayer:

So the weapons he takes out of Shadow Cloak are demons previously slain by his other weapons? If that's what you're getting at, excellent, Joe! I see you mean the power that gives the weapons form---and power to "hit"---is based on inner demons he subdues. Not unlike Buddha Five Swords (I think that's right).

It's also true Simon Payne should be a wanted man in some parts of Central America.
Yet he has the inner traits to be a 21st century "Captain America" for the Defenders.
"Uses his personal journey to aid others in encountering their own inner demons"---you know this deserves a solo title, right? he's a little like Son of Satan and the excorcisms; man, would J.M. ever approve, it's like a pop psychologist superhero!

I might find something useful in that notion of assembling a Mystic Order, a sort of Knights Templar formed for a specific purpose, yet detached from other formulae for teams. Mutants and magic, on the other hand, while blending sci fi and fantasy tropes, were sometimes used effectively by Claremont, and who said all these re-mutated mutants understand they serve a Darker Power? "To Serve a Darker Power" is a title that gives me the willlies, Joe!

What has gone before: the creative tradition of the Defenders

We could make it as adult and relevant (and occasionally as absurd) as MAN-THING under Steve Gerber. But Gerber's characterizations on Defenders were what made his run, IMHO, maybe the best superhero title of 1975, '76.

What did he do? Seize a couple of empty slate characters (Nighthawk and Valkyrie) and build their story, with a pace that includes quiet moments, brushes with the world we know, existential angst and super-hero style absurdism and action, without being a snooty parody of the genre. He was careful to make his absurd elements make sense in relationship to one another, and the reactions were the moments his super heroes transcended the plot-point reciting antecedents and talked like you or I really do.

He got the more famous members right as rain, developing a set of friends you could believe in. His plot set-ups were well ahead of their time, and littered with clues as to larger stories developing alongside the dominant action piece of the month necessary to be sell as a true super hero book.

I know I suggested a limited series for this, and the reason why is I'm thinking about a sporadically published set of Limited Series pieces that continue the saga of the Mystic Order of Defenders until sales warrant the re-establishment of their title, and the volume should carry such a name, I think, to distinguish the book. They should face about as much mysticism as the FF does science...and how different are they, really? But the LS idea is just, "what if we ever got a foot in the door to pitich to Marvel?" and what I think they'd go for realistically.

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