A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

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Davies
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

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Looking forward to it!
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

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Davies wrote: Wed Jan 17, 2024 12:03 pm Looking forward to it!
You and me both. *returns to lurking*
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Commander Titan »

(Did I go crazy with this? Yes, yes I did. But its the final round and I wanted to indulge myself as much as I could. I've really enjoyed this group project, y'all. Thank you for taking part. And without further ado --)

Dynamo

In-Universe History

In mid-2010s, Cape Reed-area high school sophomore Elena Del Rio could have cared less about superheroes. Yeah, they were cool or whatever, but she was more concerned with music (making and listening to various electronica remixes), not failing her classes despite her dyslexia, and coming to terms with the crushes she realized she was developing on other women, despite her conservative, religious family.

With her parents disapproving of most of her interests and aspects of her life, whether they knew it or not, Elena found herself spending most of her time with her cousin Grace. Grace Del Rio was a few years older, and had already both stunned and pleasantly surprised the family by getting scholarships to attend college, and later grad school, studying physics at the Knight School of Engineering at Cape Reed’s local university. Elena was simultaneously relieved by her cousin’s understanding attitude, and intimidated by her achievements.

One day, Grace was late for a planned lunch with Elena. So the teenager went to the lab her cousin was at to find out the reason for the delay, only to discover that armed agents of a once more resurgent DEMON were on-site, rounding up and kidnapping the scientific staff.

“Should we take the female assistants as well?” one agent asked his superior, gesturing to Grace.
“Of course, any of them may prove useful.” replied the lead DEMON operative, proving that some things do change, at least.

Seeing her cousin – her best friend, her role model, the one member of her family who cared to try and understand her – being led away by notorious fascist terrorists triggered something in Elena.

Suddenly, her body was aglow with strange energies - she shifted into a glowing blue form that could take on the properties of any substance she touched, physical or energy. At the time, any question of why she had developed these powers was secondary to the fact that Elena now had the ability to do something with them, to save her cousin. Only later would it become clear she’d been one of the many beneficiaries of the mass empowering event known as the Blue Blitz.

Even barely controlled, Elena’s powers were more than enough to thwart the DEMON agents and save the researchers. In the resulting melee, one of the researchers declared she was “like a living dynamo!” Once Grace was safe, a panicked Elena fled, spending a terrifying night on the streets trying to figure out what had happened to her.

She was relieved when Grace arrived:

“Your parents have been worried sick! I’ve been worried sick! Let’s get you home. Oh, and then tomorrow we can talk about your superpowered display.”
“Wait, how’d did you–”
“--know it was you? Prima, you think I didn’t recognize your voice? We’ll deal with this later, I promise. I’m just glad you're safe.”

In the coming weeks, Elena and Grace tested and explored the possibilities and limits of Elena’s new powers. Grace was the one to suggest that Elena might be able to serve as a superhero, but at first she demurred. Other than one eventful rocket launch in the 1960s, Cape Reed hadn’t been touched by the supers craze. They didn’t need a superhero here, did they?

They did.

Other "Blitzers" emerged, many of them turning to supervillainy. Sunny Cape Reed was quickly becoming a more interesting place. And so, reluctantly, Elena worked with her cousin to develop a costumed identity as Dynamo! Her white & black costume could adapt as her body shifted form, and channel her powers more effectively, especially given the samples of useful materials (metals, plastics, fluids, and more) she carried at hand. Adorned with a large delta symbol (“the symbol of change,” as her cousin explained) and a face-concealing cowl, Dynamo took to the streets as a teen hero, stepping up when nobody else would, with her cousin providing technical, moral, and emotional support over a radio communicator as her “mission control.”

She took on Blitzer villains like the rough-and-tumble geokinetic Rattleshake, and the silencer known as Whisper, both for her ability to suppress noise and her quietly murderous ways. Dynamo opposed non-Blitzer foes as well, like the local DEMON cells as well as the insufferably egotistical supervillain-for-hire Captain Elite. But most consequential would be her first, of many, encounters with Dr. Radiance, who considered the Blue Blitz to be “interference by alien forces” (whether they were right or not…).

Not only because Dr. Radiance was by far her most experienced and dangerous foe, but because they were the impetus for Dynamo coming into contact with the long heroic legacy she didn’t even realize she’d represented.

This came when Dr. Summer Knight, the founder and namesake of Grace Del Rio’s alma mater, approached her in the aftermath of Radiance’s latest ploy. Dr. Knight explained that she’d been made aware of the DEMON raid on the facility (she was possibly their intended target!) and tracked subsequent events, appearances of the hero Dynamo. It was clear, from the hero’s powers and scientific knowledge that they had a tie to her facility. And given the way Grace disappeared during crises, well, put two and two together–

–and apparently you get five. Dr. Knight was stymied when Grace explained that in fact the hero was her cousin. Dr. Knight murmured something about “rhymes” that Grace didn’t quite catch, and insisted that she meet Dynamo. A reluctant Grace agreed, and in the presence of the pair, Dr. Knight revealed her true identity...

...as Dr. Gloom! Years of experience had differed the woman who had once thought of herself as “June Nacht” from the original, and she’d selected a new identity as “Summer Knight” in its place. Dr. Gloom was now one of the leading lights of the Crimebusters (the modern incarnation of the famed Crime Beaters’ Club), and thanked the Del Rio cousins for defending what she thought of as her old hometown in Cape Reed. She promised to lend them as much support as she could (Grace would have any “unfortunate absences” from the lab quietly covered and excused, for one) and explained to Dynamo the full legacy she now represented, all the way back to Dr. Sophia Lake

Given Elena was at this point still a high school student, though nearing the end of her senior year, Dr. Gloom couldn’t offer her membership in the Crimebusters just yet, but a place would be awaiting her. In the meantime, Dr. Gloom put Dynamo in touch with a number of other young heroes, like the new, also-teenaged Meteoric (Jayson Dayne), to help support one another.

It seemed Elena had a grand destiny ahead of her, but this would have to wait while she still dealt with her home life. Not the best student before she lost sleep, homework and schooltime to a superpowered career, no amount of Grace reluctantly covering Elena’s assignments for her could prevent her grades from dropping, endangering her graduation. Furthermore, while still in the closet to her entire family save her cousin, Elena had begun to secretly date her classmate Mara Grey. But the stress of these secrets, and battles against devastating villains, pushed her to the breaking point.

Finally, she felt she couldn’t hide her true self from her parents anymore. She sat them down one evening and told them she had something to tell them, something big.

To her astonishment, her mother interrupted her. “Mi hija, we already know.”
“You do?”
“Of course. We’ve seen you sneak off, run away. And then suddenly Dynamo saves the day, sounding just like our daughter? You’re a hero, and we are proud of you.”
“No, mama, I mean, yes, si, but that’s not all. I’m a superhero…and I’m gay.”

This her parents did not take as well. Shattered that her parents could accept her risking her own life day after day without telling them, but couldn’t accept who she loved, Elena moved out, staying with first Grace, and then Jayson Dayne / Meteoric, after graduation.

In the years since, Dynamo continues to be a hero in Cape Reed, and across the entire Sunshine State. Now in her early twenties, she works odd jobs between DJing and producing gigs, applying years of odd technical expertise gained from her superhero career. Slowly, her parents have begun to soften and start to lose their bigoted views, but a long road lies ahead. The now Doctor Grace Del Rio continues to aid and advise her, while working on superscientific developments of her own (she’s even had to go into the field, wielding modernized DAZERs, once or twice, but she flatly refuses to adopt a costumed name or identity). Even Dr. Radiance has proved to be a sometimes-ally, as often as they are a foe, coming to an understanding of sorts with her.

So, even as villains, politicians, the world, and her own family try to bring Elena down, tell her to be someone else or something else…when danger calls, Dynamo puts on her costume, dons her headphones, blasts her “pump up - HERO WORK” playlist, powers up, and says–

“I’ll show you what I can do.”

Meta History
Spoiler
The EVERYWAR was BIG, it was BOMBASTIC, it was UNPRECEDENTED, it was–

–a tough act to follow. Sales spiked huge, and a number of good comic runs continued afterwards like Rachel R. Kelly’s Dr. Gloom or Neel Kelly’s Radiant Youth.

But by and large audiences seemed more interested in the AfterDark comics like K - The Curse or Altered Egos. So Apex focused on AfterDark, putting out more and more “mature” or “edgy” or “adult” lines, but with less and less of the care and talent that made the former work. Some were well-regarded, but the glut of content sucked all the oxygen out of the room. The occasional gem couldn’t make up for the sheer glut of content, and like other publishers in the 90s, the bubble burst and sales began to tank.

The AfterDark line was shuttered until its relaunch in the late 2000s, and mainline Apex was only able to put out a handful of core titles. There was real danger of the company having to close its doors for good.

Enter Acme Entertainment. A multimedia conglomerate with a rodent mascot (not that other one you’re thinking of – he’s a beaver, reflecting Acme’s Canadian origins), they were a surprising buyer for a struggling comics publisher. But not if you knew that the VP who championed the acquisition: Nicole “Nicky” Bunsen.

Growing up in a painfully-small town in British Columbia, Nicky had few friends growing up. But she did have comics. Specifically Apex Press comics, her father’s collection of original and reprinted issues, and the few more recent issues that made their way to a comic shop an hour drive away. She saw the world beyond her hometown through the adventures of Flint Maddox & Susano in Two-Fisted Tales. She learned not to be ashamed of her interest in math (which would lead to her business degree) from Dr. Sophia Lake and June Nifty. Morag/Morgan Greene taught her to be brave, strong, and unyielding. And the Golden Rings inspired her to behave ethically and morally, even when it might cost her.

Decades later as a high-powered entertainment exec, Nicky couldn’t bear to see Apex go out of business and its stable of heroes disappear into limbo, so she used her sway to have Acme buy the ailing comic book publisher.

The immediate effect was to stabilize Apex, allowing them to slowly start putting out more monthlies. But the long-term effect would be to allow the Apex Universe to slowly start expanding into other forms of media.

First was a series of video games throughout the 2000s. They had varying levels of success, and varying levels of fidelity to the comics, but were notable for Acme partnering with various studios to explore different gameplay styles to fit the tone and style of the Apex cast. They proved lucrative enough to justify the purchase, but the next big step, however, came with the expansion to television.

While previous attempts, like the 90s Morrigan show, had failed to come to fruition, in 2013, the first Apex Television Productions (“ATV Productions”) show debuted, on the ACME Channel. Despite some questionable changes from the comics, it proved to be a ratings hit, and more entries in the “ATVerse” would follow, including 2014’s Gloom.

Gloom, like the other ATVerse shows, drew from across Apex Press’ comics history to create its depiction of June Nacht (a younger version for whom “Nacht” was her birth name, not from marriage) as Doctor Gloom, who returned from space (ala Doctor Dynamic II) with strange shadowy powers, to deal with various superpowered and alien threats. She developed a support network known as the Stellar Trio (later the “Stellar Brigade” as various actors joined and left the cast). This included, in the second season, graduate student Grace Del Rio, who appeared for half a season as a regular cast member and was eventually suspected by Doctor Gloom to be the newly appearing hero “Dynamo,” only for it to be revealed, in a twist during the mid-season finale, that it was her sister Elena instead, played by unknown actress Ximena Jacobs.

The modern popularity of the Dynamo / Elena Del Rio character can be put down to Ximena Jacobs’ portrayal.

When the writers of Gloom created Dynamo, a rejuvenated and thriving Apex Press decided to incorporate her into the comics. Due to production timelines, the comic debuted before the episode featuring Elena. This meant the twist had to be kept hidden, with Dynamo never being clearly depicted getting into costume, amongst other convoluted turns.

But what was worse was that Dynamo was one of several characters to make their debut as part of the Blue Blitz publishing initiative / storyline.

In summer of 2015, Apex brought out a whole new series of characters, in a crisis crossover event where mysterious azure storms enveloped the globe, releasing strange rain and lightning that empowered those caught in them.

Nearly two-dozen Blue Blitz-branded-and-bannered titles came out in two months, most featuring immediately disliked and shortly forgotten characters. Some were totally new, and others featured new incarnations of old names, like (Doctor) Dynamic / Dynamo, in what was correctly assumed by fans to be a mass attempt at re-asserting copyrights. A handful of new legacy characters debuted during the Blue Blitz without being “Blitzers” themselves, like the new Meteoric title featuring Jayson Dayne which managed to find an audience. But on the whole, the Blue Blitz is considered a flop that nonetheless had a few gems within it.

The comic Dynamo was not one of these gems, but Ximena Jacobs portrayal of Elena Del Rio in the Gloom show was highly regarded. The reluctant teenager, swept up into a bigger world, working with her cousin, and trying to do the right thing despite all that, was a breakout hit. That Grace Del Rio was a popular supporting character on Gloom, portrayed by ACME Channel veteran Melanie Dare, and Jacobs & Dare had a believable family dynamic helped immensely.

Apex realized they had a hit character on their hands, and in 2016 a new volume of Dynamo was launched, written by Anna Garzia (no relation to former EIC Jerry Garsia) and illustrated by Brett Yang, with some initial input by Neel Kelly, and taking after her depiction in Gloom.

This included two aspects of the Elena Del Rio character derived from Ximena Jacobs herself. The first was requested by Jacobs – making Elena, like herself, dyslexic, to hopefully encourage others with the condition. The second was requested by the creative team, and cautiously approved by Jacobs, to make Elena queer. Jacobs had recently come out herself, and while she didn’t necessarily buy that this meant all her characters had to be queer as well, she eventually accepted. The show touched on it less, but the comics went into it further depicting Elena’s complicated family relationships as a result.

Dynamo, the comic, was a hit, and a matching ATVerse show, a spinoff of Gloom, would follow a few years later. The show only ran for two seasons, due to production difficulties, but Jacobs would continue to guest star throughout the ATVerse shows.

The Dynamo comic would bring Elena & Grace Del Rio into contact with the comics version of Dr. Gloom (who had adopted the Samantha Knight name in the mid-2000s) and Dr. Radiance, and have her meet Meteoric and the Crimebusters (which carried over to the ATVerse, which never had a full Crimebusters show, but would run yearly multipart crossover specials under a “Join The Club” banner).

Eventually Acme and Apex expanded to films as well, under the aegis of Nicky Bunsen's successor upon her well-deserved retirement. When the announcement came that a Dynamo film would be part of the slate for 2023, there was a fan campaign to have Ximena Jacobs reprise her role from the TV show. However, in various interviews with geek media outlets, Jacobs affirmed that she was now too old to believably play a teenager, and would rather a new up-and-coming actress be given a chance to star, which they were, when Logan-Maria Machado was cast.

However, in a rare case of Hollywood managing to avoid a spoiler leak, when fans went to the August 18th premiere of Dynamo: Cape Chaos, they found to their delight that while Ximena Jacobs had refused to star in the film, she didn’t say she wouldn’t appear in the movie. Ten minutes in, when Machado’s Elena Del Rio calls her cousin, it is Ximena Jacobs as Grace Del Rio who picks up the phone (theater audiences were known to have cheered).

The film itself was a hit, with a sequel in the works, with accompanying ongoing Dynamo comic, and to this day, the future of the Apex universe, in all its forms, looks bright.
Notes
In-Universe Notes
Spoiler
  • I really wanted to incorporate inspiration from each era. Having shifting energy-like powers from Dr. Radiance. The connection to Samantha Knight / Dr. Gloom, being in Cape Reed ala Doctor Dynamic II, and having a twist on the original's role and origins. I like what everyone added to this legacy so much!
  • We had Port City for the Golden and Silver Age characters like the Crime Beaters' Club, then Starboard City for the Radiant Youth, and but the one mention of Cape Reed called to me. So I grabbed that and said it at least seemed to have remained largely mundane until the Blue Blitz & Dynamo's debut.
  • I thought, ala Ben Reilly, Dr. Gloom might choose a new civilian name, akin to but different then her "original" -- Summer Knight was a fun play on June Nacht for me. I liked the character a lot and given her origins it seemed logical she wouldn't have to worry about aging and could be a top-tier hero now.
  • The Blue Blitz is meant to be a mass super-empowering event, which we hadn't really had before. Think of it like a White Event from Marvel's New Universe / newuniversal or the Terrigent Mists being released in Inhumanity. If others want to reference "Blitzer" characters, go ahead. I only would like to request that it not be tied into the Atlantean / Zeta Ray / Possibility Shadow concept, for variety's sake.
  • There was mention of a revived Crime Beaters' Club, possibly as the Crimebusters, but this wasn't really followed up on, so I've suggested "the Crimebusters" are perhaps our modern Avengers / Justice League, but I leave it to others to confirm or subvert that notion.
  • Like when I used the Yellow Veil in my Halo writeup, I liked the mention of the character Meteoric and wanted to follow up on that. If Dynamo is the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle + the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel, then I see Jayson Dayne as perhaps a riff on the Sam Alexander Nova, but again I leave others to do with that what they will.
  • Life updates that weren't quite clear -- Elena no longer lives with Meteoric/Jayson Dayne (though I see them having had an era akin to Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends), and she has broken up with Mara Grey (for fairly mundane reasons, and Grey is alive but simply reduced to recurring character, not fridged or anything). Elena's parents are regular cast, and they are gradually coming around - a full reconciliation plotline, as they come to drop their homophobia, is probably in the next few years of planned storylines. This would not make them suddenly become atheists or anything. Nuance and complicated people exist.
Meta Notes
Spoiler
  • I felt that since we'd done an almost Modern Age-sort of "all parts of canon come together", Al Ewing-style, in the EVERYWAR than perhaps it was the sort of thing that led to a crash after, to give time for more new ground to be tread. But the "rough" financial history of Apex I outlined might be overstated if people wish, and they still published whichever titles necessary for everyone else's plans.
  • Acme and Nicky Bunsen, of course, take from the whole WB & Disney owning DC & Marvel thing, but I see them also as akin to Acclaim buying Valiant. And Acme Entertainment as a whole is not nearly the juggernaut the former are. I'd prefer nobody reveal Nicky was secretly a b**** the whole time or anything. I just liked the notion that the Apex characters had enough cachet in this meta universe to leave an impact on someone eventually in a position to do something about it.
  • For the Acme/Apex video games, I was thinking of the era of great comic book video games like the Batman Arkham series or The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and anyone can fill those in as they like.
  • I intentionally left which TV show started the ATVerse ambiguous, so anyone else can claim it, if they want. And other than Gloom and Dynamo, feel free to add any number of shows you like. likewise, I tried to leave it open that while the 90s Morrigan show didn't happen, as Davies established, the ATVerse isn't necessarily the first time these properties made it on-screen. The ATVerse shows can still be on the air, if people want.
  • From a publishing / meta-perspective, the Blue Blitz is meant to stand in as a New 52-like initiative, unpopular but with plenty of potential for good & popular characters to have resulted. Feel free to go into its genesis and why it failed, if interested.
  • The films coming out may or may not be some big, MCU-style connected verse. Like the ATVerse, they may be very similar to the comics or not, but I'm only intending we outline the comics version of the Apex universe.
  • A comics take on Dynamo beating the show to the market is inspired by how certain characters, like the Young Justice Aqualad debuted in one medium before another.
  • Given that my original inspiration for A Game of Legacies was seeing the Blue Beetle film, Dynamo: Cape Chaos shares its release date. How deep that places it into a cinematic universe timeline is up to others.
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Davies
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Davies »

Commander Titan wrote: Mon Jan 22, 2024 7:11 am
One day, Grace was late for a planned lunch with Elena. So the teenager went to the lab her cousin was at to find out the reason for the delay, only to discover that armed agents of a once more resurgent DEMON were on-site, rounding up and kidnapping the scientific staff.

“Should we take the female assistants as well?” one agent asked his superior, gesturing to Grace.
“Of course, any of them may prove useful.” replied the lead DEMON operative, proving that some things do change, at least.
Heh. Cute. Nicely done.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by TheStray7 »

I think I'll be splitting mine in two, as I have two ideas now for Modern takes on each of the characters.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by TheStray7 »

Image

Mad Maddox, The Wasteland Warrior
AKA: Flint Maddox
Origin: Daredevil
Concept: Post-apocalyptic adventurer
Quote: “Make it STAAAAAAHP!
Vice: Lust. Maddox simply must know. He covets knowledge, even when it leads him across the hellscape of the Glooming Wastes.
Virtue: Fortitude. Maddox wants to get to the bottom of whatever mystery or horror has caught his attention, and he's never willing to just give up.
Nature: Explorer. Maddox seeks to see what’s new in The Glooming Wastes, even as it threatens his sanity.
Demeanor: Curmudgeon. Maddox has grown outwardly cynical and sarcastic since the EVERYWAR ended the world, mostly as a way to keep his sanity than out of any true disdain for things he criticizes.

Description: Maddox is now a grizzled man of middle-age, sporting more scars (including a wound on his left eye that gave him an 8-ball fracture) and dressed in whatever clothes he can scavenge. He usually carries a number of makeshift weapons, made out of whatever’s handy, and frequently replaces them with new weapons when they inevitably break.

Background: Flint Maddox was there from the beginning, and he saw the world end in the EVERYWAR. And now, it was time to pick up the pieces and rebuild. To rebuild, though, people would need to know the state of things, and so Flint Maddox, reporter extraordinaire, set out across The Glooming Wastes to see what there was left to see.

The people he encountered started calling him “Mad” Maddox, as he’d frequently seek out places and monsters that now roamed the lands in the wake of The Gloomsmen’s triumph – things that no sane person would have anything to do with. Some thought he might be suicidal, but he always managed to pull through and leave journals behind with notes about what he encountered in whatever settlement was nearby. He called these journals his “Glooming Wastes Survival Guide,” usually sarcastically claiming “it’s a guide of what not to do if you see the things I’ve seen.”

He’d frequently build weapons out of whatever was handy (and just as frequently have to abandon them as they broke, usually at the worst possible times), and managed to explore the ruins of Port City, Starboard City, and a number of other once-thriving but now fallen metroplexes. He survived encounters with The Shadow Youth, corrupted versions of the Radiant Youth, including The Grey Lady (formerly Titania) and The Tarnished Ring (formerly The Burnished Ring), escaped a maddened Dr. Radiance (who transformed the ruins of Chicago into an ever-burning fireball), and matched wits against The Nightmother (formerly Dr. Gloom). He even encountered Amaterasu, trapped in the decaying husk that had been her last host and unable to even move, and destroyed the husk as a mercy that allowed her to go back to the godly realms forever.

Legend says he’s still out there, traveling The Glooming Wastes, leaving behind new versions of The Survival Guide to mark his exploits.

Powers: Maddox has no powers. He is supremely talented brawler, a crack shot, knows people everywhere, and knows a little bit about everything, but other than that he’s a normal human like everyone else.

Hooks: Maddox, as always, gets into situations that start simple and then balloon into bigger things, though this version seeks out his adventures instead of getting dragged in like his Golden Age self. He is frequently in over his head, especially since he has no access to a powerful ally like Susano in The Glooming Wastes.

Complications
  • Motivation: Curiosity and Responsibility: Maddox is, and always will be, driven by his sense of curiosity to find interesting situations, and by his sense of ethics to get involved in them when those situations seem to be hurting people.
  • Unreliable Arsenal: Maddox made most of his current weapons himself. As innovative as he is, he’s not the world’s best weaponmaker, and the improvised weapons he fashions have a habit of breaking on him at the worst possible time.
  • Quirk – Trauma Tics: As the series goes on, Maddox accumulates more and more strange quirks and habits as a result of the terrible things he encountered out in the Glooming Waste, making him come off as erratic. Some would diagnose him with a form of Complex PTSD.
  • Trouble Magnet: Maddox just cannot keep himself from getting in over his head, and has to find his way out of trouble through his wit, courage, and collection of weapons fashioned from junk.
Game Traits

As a character, Mad Maddox is mostly a Weapon Master/Crime Fighter archetype. He doesn’t differ greatly from his Golden Age version, except he uses a number of makeshift and improvised weapons instead of Kusanagi.

Meta History

One of the AfterDark titles that had a lasting effect on Apex lore was Mad Maddox, a post-apocalyptic story about a Possibility Shadow that was essentially a riff on the Mad Max franchise. It was a limited-run series following Flint Maddox as he struggled to survive the wasteland that remained of the world after a successful Gloomsman takeover – it also featured a number of other post-apocalyptic versions of Apex characters.

It wasn’t a spectacular success, and was buried in glut of AfterDark titles that Apex leaned into in the 90’s. What unearthed it, and gave the Mad Maddox character lasting memetic power, was when Mad Maddox was featured in an early episode of Blood In The Gutters, an internet review show hosted by Steven Swinson, AKA BiggiePig27, who took a look at comics and made fun of them, often using particularly absurd lines from comics he reviewed as in-jokes. Swinson used an image from Mad Maddox, showing Maddox melodramatically clutching his forehead and screaming “Make it STAAAAAAHP!, as reference whenever he encountered what he called “Grimderp” in comics he reviewed (by which he generally meant over-the-top cynical or gritty elements that he felt were particularly gratuitous).

Blood in the Gutters continues to air on YouTube, so the “Maddox Make It Stop” scream is still regularly featured, a meme among BiggiePig’s fandom. This has translated into a small amount of increased attention to the original limited series, which has led to some amount of fanmail requesting a revisit of the world, or of transporting Mad Maddox to the main continuity.

Notes
:arrow: This version of Flint is a play on all the "Elseworlds" continuities that spring up in modern comics. While the version of the character is more tied to the Iron Age chronologically, it's still the sort of thing that regularly pops up in comics -- Old Man Logan, Kingdom Come, Kamandi at Earth's End, and so on.

:arrow: The main meta drive here is the rise of YouTube Nostalgia reviewers bringing attention to things. Steven Swinson is very much a pastiche of Louis Lovhaug, AKA Linkara, who does Atop The 4th Wall, which has introduced me to quite a few comics (bad and otherwise). We're now in the time period where meme culture is a thing, and this gets to touch on that a little.

:arrow: I still plan on ding something for the Susano half of the legacy, but I'm still working on ideas and might want to see what other people post. I left out Dr. Totentanz here because Neo-Paladin wanted to use him and I wanted to see what he did first.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Neo-Paladin »

The Morrigan

It is a sad truth about humans that, once a war is over, someone is already making plans for the next. And the EVERWAR was no different. The Possibility Shadows had left all manner of exotic technology and occult artifacts in the world which a lot of interested parties wanted to get their hands on. Among them Morrigan's old enemy Totentanz.
The Nazi necromancer was seething, for even his alliance with the Gloomsmen had not brought about the downfall of his enemies and the reestablishment of the 1000-year-Reich he so yearned for.
But much like the shrivelled, mutilated remnant of his soul, forever bound to his necrotized body and defying death with every second, so was he unwilling to face defeat. For months, he delved deep into the Esoteric Underground, called on old allies, raided collections of rare artifacts, facing off against Morrigan and Dr. Gloom time and again.
Their efforts were valiant, but this time, fate seemed to favor the necromancer, for he managed to get his hands on an Anathema Larva, a parasitic pan-dimensional organism whose parent had beached itself during the EVERWAR and which was able to feed on cosmic energies, weakening the barriers between dimensions.
Genius that he was, Totentanz integrated the creature into a device which would allow him to once again access possibility shadows, especially those which resonated with the dark spiritual energy that mirrored his own.

Spiteful as always, he first unleashed the device inside London, opening a gateway to a possibility shadow where the Nazis had gotten access to alien technology and won WW2. Hordes of cybernetically-enhanced Wehrmacht soldiers stormed into the city, killing indiscriminately. It took not just the Morrigan but several of her allies days before the 'Reality Canker' was finally subdued and the invasion stopped.
But no sooner had they dealt with it when another breach opened, this time near Bristol, releasing hideously mutated corpse-things from a timeline where Totentanz himself had usurped Hitler and led the necromantic Eternal Reich to victory.
A third would soon open up in France, the invasion spearheaded by mind-controlled superheroes made loyal to their timeline's Reich.

It was obvious whho was behind this, but no matter where she looked, Morrigan could not find Totentanz. And the constant fighting did not help matters. A fourth breach opened in Berlin, letting the SS Mecha-Division through. Once more, Morrigan would have been reduced to just reacting, but this time, Dr. Diabolos, an old minor enemy who was still active in the Esoteric Underground (one of these on-off villains you have to have in any comics continuity), contacted her. He told her he had been chosen by a council of black magicians to contact her because Totentanz had unleashed something far worse than even he could have predicted.
The machine he'd built had jumpstarted the Anathema Larva's development by basically overfeeding it. The thing had grown enormous within moments, integrating itself into the machine and was now munching on dark cosmic winds while slowly eroding this dimension. Totentanz himself had tried to direct its attentions but was finding himself less and less able to do so. The dimensions the Larva accessed became more and more horrifying, the residences of unspeakable horrors born from the dark dreams of the cosmos itself.

But Diabolos could show the Morrigan the way, his cabal having scried out the position of the machine. When she arrived there, after some harrowing fights along the way, somewhere in a forgotten Atlantean colony deep below the surface of the earth, she was greeted by a sight of horror. The larva nearly filled the entire cave, having absorbed the machine and Totentanz himself. But still, he was conscious and his exposed head laughed as he saw her.
There would be no stopping him this time. It was out of his hands. This machine, this creature, would keep on devouring dimensional matter and execrate gateways to terror...until there was nothing left.
He would succeed where the Gloomsmen had failed, for by now, he wanted nothing back. He just wanted the world to suffer. In insanity, he had found liberation.
And Morrigan stood there, silent, for a long time. She was tired. She had been a hero. A villain. Something in between. And she thought that, deep down, she could even understand the lure of insanity. Was there a kinship between her and this...thing?
But then it dawned upon her. There WAS a kinship. But not of belief. Of essence. Her mind wandered back to the Redcap and to things she had read about the celtic gods. Morrigan was a dark goddess. But that did not make her evil. This was about balance. Because there were caretakers of the day, there had to be caretakers of the dark and all things in them. Darkness was as sacred as the gentlest light.
She smiled. Stepped towards the undulating horror and put a hand on it. Breathed in. And as she did so, she allowed all the darkness this thing had devoured to flow into her, her divine essence purifying the cloying, suffocating dark and turning it into nothing but the absence of light.
Peace. Quiet, And Silence.

When next she opened her eyes, she was lying under a starlit sky, a gentle breeze caressing her as a female voice welcomed her. As she asked where she was, the answer came quick.
" This is Elyisum. The final rest for gods."
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Davies »

Diamond

My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame.
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again. -- Mr. Mister


2001. At eighty-five years of age, Michael Dunn had long since lived longer than he felt he had any right to expect. He'd outlived the only woman he'd ever loved, he'd outlived some of the children they'd adopted. He was ready for whatever came after this, and if that was nothing, well, there wouldn't be a him to be disappointed, would there? And then, of course, Dr. Radiance had decided that Michael was just too darn interesting to die, and now he was back to being the twenty-something he'd been at the start of all this.

After loudly questioning his old foe's ethics, sanity and parentage, Michael decided that he had to make the best of it. But how? A few months later, walking through a shattered New York City, Michael found himself back at the pier where, more than half a century ago, he had cast away the golden ring. He'd learned more about it in the years afterward than he'd ever learned in the years when it was in his possession, that it was an Atlantean probability manipulation device -- a tool, capable of great evil and great good depending on who wielded it. And standing there, in the world about to break, tormented and attacked, he found himself wondering, "what if?"

He sought out help from the smartest person he'd ever known. Dr. June Nacht gave him a version of the "I told you so" speech he would have expected from Sophia if he'd approached her about this, but nevertheless agreed to help him first recover the ring from where it still lay in the silt of the Hudson, and then to attempt to reprogram its Metallic Consciousness so that it could never again cause the harm it had in the past. This was accomplished through the use of a device she had used to do just that to a number of different MCs in the past, sending Michael inside the ring to confront its "daemon".

It was a struggle unlike any he had known, at once psychic and apparently physical as well, and yet Michael was able to persuade the mind within the golden ring to work with him, where it had previously striven to anticipate his needs. The Metallic Consciousness warned him, though, that their conflict had marked them both in unimaginable ways. Michael returned to his body, apprehensive about what he might discover on awakening, but determined to face it nonetheless.

At first, everything seemed fine. Despite some odd hesitations, he explained what had happened to Dr. Nacht and, satisfied, she dropped the ring into his hand. "Are you going to go back to calling yourself --"

"No," Michael answered firmly. That name had been borne by another man -- a better man than him -- for far longer than he'd used it, and he would have to come up with something else. He asked for some privacy while he considered that, and June agreed.

As soon as he was alone, Michael let out a shuddering sigh -- and looked outward. "Good God Almighty, how long have you been there?" he asked. "How many of you -- oh -- you can't talk to me, can you? I can see you, and you can both see and hear -- um, no, you're perceiving the sounds that I make as images, right? Well, they're legible images, at least. What am I even saying? No one is ever going to believe this, are they?" Depending on one's perspective, Michael had developed a bizarre paranoid delusion or achieved the realization that he was a character in a comic book.

And so began his strangest adventure. Ever since then, under the name Diamond, he has used the ring -- once again bound within his silvery costume, but now enhancing his abilities well beyond the limits of human achievement -- to fight against the forces of evil, while doing his best to keep people from realizing that he has either lost his mind or discovered the terrible truth that all the struggles that he and his friends and foes have ever engaged in are just cheap entertainment for the beings of another reality. That never-ending struggle has continued with him occasionally finding himself as a character in a TV show, or a video game, or even a table-top role-playing game on -- of all things -- an Internet forum! They still have those? Shouldn't you all be on Discord or something?
In game terms, Diamond is a PL 10, built as a non-flying Paragon; while his powers come from his costume, they are not Removable. He also has Medium Awareness as an X-trait.
Meta History: Nah, man, it's already meta enough ...
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by TheStray7 »

Image

Agent KUSANAGI of G.O.
AKA: Tanaka Mei, Mei Kamikaze, Mei-no-Mikoto
Origin: Blitzer
Concept: Electric Speedster/Sword wielder
Quote:"KAMIKAZE MODE! GO!"
Vice: Envy. Mei is prickly about growing up in poverty while others dine in luxury, and she often talks about bringing such people "down to our level." Her commitment to social justice is motivated by noble ideals, but one can't deny she takes more pleasure in "humbling" others than necessary.
Virtue: Justice. Mei is a big believer that wrongs cannot and should not go unpunished, even in the face of great personal danger, and will stick her neck out for anyone.
Nature: Penitent. Before Mei gained her powers, she had to do things she's not particularly proud of to survive. Much of her current drive to make the world a better place now that she has powers comes from guilt over things she did without them.
Demeanor: Rebel. Mei is not a fan of the status quo, and she will say so, frequently and at length.

Description: Mei is a mid-20's Japanese woman who keeps her hair in a short, punky bob. She dresses in a flamboyant purple racing outfit with golden trim that bares her midriff, a trendy jacket, and a facial mask. She has Lichtenberg Scars from her encounter with The Blue Blitz, which light up with electric energy when she's actively using her superpowers. She currently wears a metallic gauntlet on her right hand which allows her to safely handle the K-Blade, a mechanized sword.

Background: Mei, an orphan growing up in the Akibahara district of Tokyo, had a rough childhood. She doesn't talk about her life before The Blue Blitz, but she still bears a number of scars and has a deep disdain for authority. Her life was on a downward spiral when she was caught in the blitz, manifesting lightning-based powers directly from her body's "bioelectric field". Initially only able to "power up" in short bursts, she would engage what she called her "Kamikaze mode" in desperate straights, relying on her own aestheticism and moxie in less risky situations. This lead to her first codename, "Kamikaze no Mei" (or Mei Kamikaze to Westerners).

She turned her new powers against the Yakuza clan than had dominated her neighborhood, taking on anyone who would mistreat others. This quickly became complicated by the Yakuza recruiting their own Blitzers to improve their operations and, in some cases, counter her specifically. This included Kumo no Aki, a once-close friend (and possibly more, though Mei shuts down discussion whenever the subject comes up) who had gained amazing telekinetic power over man-made objects, able to reshape entire streets to her whim and transform cars into mech suits.

Mei's fight against the Yakuza attracted the attention of Secretary Pritchard, the newly-promoted head of Global Oversight, now renamed Global Overwatch. Pritchard was looking for new agents for a team to challenge the resurgent forces of DEMON, as well as other threats to international security in the wake of the Blue Blitz and the EVERWAR. Mei hesitantly accepted, and became Agent KUSANAGI, along with Agent EXCALIBUR, Arthur Foxlowe (the team leader, a Brit), Agent GLEIPNIR, Brynhildr "Hildie" Odinsdatter (a woman who claimed to be a Valkyrie, the team's muscle), Agent BAJIAO, Bau Shan-zhi (a Chinese Blitzer who could control the winds, but was more often the team Know-It-All), and Agent KALASHA, Riju Nirmala (the team's Indian medic).

Mei and Arthur clashed often -- Agent KUSANAGI acquired the reputation as the "team hothead," prone to leaping before she looked in contrast to the more reserved and prudent EXCALIBUR. This came to a head when Mei, frustrated over a mission that saw her expend all her inner reserves of bioelectricty leading to a humiliating defeat and a dressing down, heard about the legendary K-Blade and decided to go looking for it, reasoning it might help her bolster her inner reserves. Her search lead her all the way back to Tokyo, and to the ruins of a lab that had made biomechanical supersoldiers for the Yakuza in the 90's. There, she discovered she wasn't the only one searching for it -- her old friend-turned-foe Aki (who revealed she'd been recruited by DEMON as DEMON-21 since their last clash) was also seeking the blade.

Their fight demolished what was left of the lab and was then derailed by the intervention of a mysterious cyborg with a blade for an arm, but Mei managed to get hold of the legendary sword...only to find that it was, in fact, still cursed with the mysterious, murderous spirit. She fought the spirit in a mental battle, while her physical body was still engaged with the three-way conflict with Aki and the cyborg. She was saved by the intervention of the rest of her Overwatch team, who had tracked her down after she'd gone AWOL. They extracted her and took her back to base, worried all the while about whether she'd succumbed to the madness of the K-Blade like so many others.

In the battle of minds, Mei felt herself flagging as the spirit raged, until she found within herself a font of hither-to-untapped potential. DIVINE potential. As it turned out, Mei had the blood of the Kami in her veins, and was a descendant of one of the ancient Japanese Amatsukami acting through a human host...though which one, she didn't learn until later (she thought she was the descendant of Susano-o The Great until she discovered the truth). The mental battle also unlocked a memory which contained her family name, Tanaka, which she had never known until then. With the sudden connection to both mortality and divinity these provided her, she was able to fight down the spirit and put herself firmly in control. The K-Blade was now hers to wield.

Since then, Agent KUSANAGI and the Agents of Overwatch have continued to battle the forces of DEMON and numerous other threats to international security. They are more a team of troubleshooters than espionage agents, deploying into hotspots to handle ongoing crises. The K-Blade has been a massive aid to Mei, indeed doing what she hoped it would to help her better control her bioelectric powers without exhausting herself. She still has to contend with the spirit inside the blade, which often attempts to assert control. She has explored some of her ancestry, attempting to discover leads about who she really is, but her quest has had a few twists -- her divine heritage does not seem to be responsible for the powers she gained from the Blue Blitz, and she recently discovered that she's not related to Susano-o like she assumed...but to Lady Ameterasu instead! This last tidbit she learned from Lord 44, the new head of DEMON, who has also hinted that he has some sort of "family relationship" with her (though she's positive she's an only child and he's too young to be her father -- or at least, young-looking). She doesn't know what to make of this revelation yet, and is still working through it.

Powers: Thanks to the Blue Blitz, Mei can generate and channel "bioelectric energy" at a prodigious rate. She can move at literal lightning speeds (including up walls and over water), misdirect attacks aimed at her, fill her punches with enough power to blast or stun people, and direct electricity through her body to manipulate machines and animate them. She can't actually shoot lightning well, though -- instead of a concentrated beam, it leaps like real lightning and has a tendency to ground itself out or harm unintended targets.

The K-Blade is made of extremely rare metal alloys, and can block, absorb, redirect and project all sorts of energy, while cutting through nearly anything. Mei has discovered that, combined with her own powers, it has the ability to "cut" wormholes into the world, allowing for long-range teleportation and even travel to different dimensions (such as Possibility Shadows), though it can't do short-range travel at all well -- the closer the destination, the less reliable the effect. She'll sometimes use that offensively, cutting short-range wormholes under enemies to try and trap them in solid objects or launch them into the sky. The K-Blade also allows her to "recharge" her bioelectric field if she runs low on energy.

Hooks: As mentioned, The Blue Blitz is a "new" phenomenon in the Apexverse, and Mei's divine heritage isn't responsible for her powers. What, then, was? What X-factor transformed some people into Blitzers?

Both Lady Amaterasu (Mei's divine parent) and Lord 44 (related to her in some yet-undefined way) have reached out to Mei to tempt her to join them (with some more coercive recruitment tactics thrown in for good measure). She's rebuffed them so far, but how much longer can she hold out?

The K-Blade is still cursed, and the spirit within is as mysterious as ever. Who is it, really? What does it want? Is it truly defeated, or is it just biding its time?

The original Kusanagi blade, containing the spirit of Susano-o, has been missing since the 80's. Who has it now? How far along is Susano-o along in his quest?

Complications
  • Motivation -- Doing Good: Mei had a rough upbringing, and wants to make the world a place than the one she grew up in. She has the power to help people that she didn't before, and by the Kami she's going to do so -- no matter who is standing in her way.
  • Prejudice -- Blitzer: Even for a world filled with super beings, Blitzers are a phenomenon that's not well understood nor trusted. It doesn't come up often, but Mei's powers coming from the Blitz are an occasional impediment when dealing with people.
  • Instability: Like many Blitzers, Mei suffer occasional power incontinence -- her powers either wane at inopportune times or go into overdrive in stressful situations. Also, she can "run out" of power, exhausting her reserves after sustained activity (this was an active Flaw on her powers early in her career, but she's since become practiced enough channeling her power that it's only an occasional Complication now).
  • Chip On Her Shoulder: Despite being on a team, Mei doesn't get along well with her superiors, mistrusts Global Overwatch's motives, and chafes at the restrictions the organization places on her and her team -- she's prone to haring off on her own if her conscience demands she do something.
  • Curse of the K-Blade: Mei is able to wield the K-Blade, but the cursed spirit inhabiting it hasn't gone away, and occasionally attempts to influence her actions or tempt her into selfish acts.
  • Family Ties: Mei has recently discovered her mother was one of the human hosts of the Goddess Amaterasu, and that she might be related to the mysterious Lord 44, the new leader of DEMON -- she's not sure how, since she swears she's an only child and he's much too young (or at least young-looking) to be her long-vanished father. Both Amaterasu and Lord 44 seem interested in "reaching out" to her, which leads to interesting situations aplenty.
Game Traits wrote:Mei Kamikaze was a PL 9 Energy Controller without flight (using Speed and Movement powers associated with speedsters instead) with an array of lightning-themed energy control effects and descriptors before acquiring the K-Blade. The K-Blade's abilities bump her up to PL 11.
Meta History

Kamikaze was one of the two dozen titles launched as part of the Blue Blitz event, featuring Mei Kamikaze, a Blitzer with lightning-based speed powers, a mysterious past, and a sarcastic, devil-may-care attitude, fighting yakuza in Tokyo. Her title was one of the strongest selling of the new characters, and outlasted many other Blue Blitz titles. When Kamikaze was canceled, readers still wanted to see the character.

So Mei was one of the characters chosen for Overwatch, a relaunch of Agents of G.O., and was renamed Agent KUSANAGI. Originally, she was one of the ensemble, but quickly eclipsed the rest of the team in exposure and importance. She started acquiring elements from previous Agents of G.O. and GO-Getters titles – particularly the cursed K-Blade and hints that she might have family ties to some of the leadership of the new DEMON.

Her current writer, Haruha Mamimi*, has gone even further back. She’s the one who introduced Mei’s divine heritage as a child of one of the human hosts of Amaterasu, after her original pitch (that she was the daughter of one of the Flint Maddox clones from K – The Curse) was shot down by editorial. She also introduced Mei’s official surname, Tanaka, as a nod to the late Alex Tanaka.

Overwatch is in preproduction to become one of the ATVerse series, but it’s in development hell thanks to the casting of Cindy Lyou, a Chinese-Canadian actress, in the role of Mei – Japanese fans of the character are crying foul and accusing producers as seeing all Asians as the same.

*not to be confused with the characters Samejima Mamimi or Haruhara Haruko from the anime FLCL.

OOC Notes

:arrow: I decided to handle the Susano portion of the legacy with a nod to the Agents of G.O. that have more fully defined the legacy, while also expanding a bit on the Blue Blitz idea.

:arrow: Kumo no Aki is actually a villain called Aki The Spider in my Brave New World setting, and Mei herself takes some inspiration from Jolt, a PC in one of my games (mostly in her powerset). This was a fun thing to hook ideas on to.
Last edited by TheStray7 on Thu Feb 08, 2024 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Commander Titan »

What great work, everyone! Thanks for taking part in this! It worked better than I could have possibly expected, and I really dig the Apex Comics world we built. Still plenty of territory left to uncover, if anyone feels like popping back in to flesh something out in the future.

I love the ongoing back and forth of Morrigan along the hero / villain scale, the radical reinventions of some characters, the constant new themes for each generation of GO agents, the exploration of Atlantis / Possibility Shadows / the EVERYWAR, and the various groups and names we made mention of! In that final round alone, we touched on the post-apoc genre, meta characters, finales that let a character get their final rest, for a time. The constant, different, bad timelines that Totentanz drew in were a nice touch!

I welcome any thoughts or observations on this process! We had a lot going on here.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by TheStray7 »

This was fun! I always love bouncing ideas off others and I find a lot of my best work is collaborative, so playing around with the shared universe concept was a real treat. I personally enjoyed the expansions on the Meta history, acknowledging all the foibles of the comics industry as a whole.
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Davies
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Davies »

My initial, half-baked plan was going to have the entire Apex universe somehow merging with the world where they existed as comic book characters, inspired by Sam Hamm's Watchmen script, with the last sentence of my planned article being, "And so began our greatest adventure ..."[1] but I decided that was way too indulgent for the diverse settings that had been developed so far.

[1] Having put a "his greatest adventure", "her greatest adventure", and "her darkest adventure" in the previous ones. If I ever got a chance to write The Doom Patrol, I'd have someone using the phrase "my greatest adventure" in every issue.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Neo-Paladin »

This was a lot of fun and if we keep going on to flesh out some aspects of this setting, I am game.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Davies »

Well, I have one detail --

As mentioned, Tommy Asakura did not return to American comics for nearly a quarter of a century. Specifically, in 2010 he helmed a series as part of a new "Mangaverse" for one of Apex's major competitors, which proved to be a big hit. Two years later, he was finally offered a chance to return to Apex and pick up the Agent MUSASHI title where he had left off. He agreed to the former, but pitched something else instead, writing a series entitled On Crimson Wings about Tennin, a fierce red-haired biracial superheroine using an updated version of the wingsuit employed by Agents SCATHACH and ATHENA before her, unassociated with Global Overwatch. (Some of his friends, familiar with the reams of fanart that he commissioned and personally drew about a certain fierce red-haired biracial android jockey in the late 90s, reportedly sighed in amusement at this.) Her parents have never appeared on panel, but there have been numerous hints that they must be Kathy Grosvenor ... and Ken Yoshida, whose body, after all, was never seen. Tennin has yet to appear in any of the cinematic, televised or digital expansions of the Apex universe.
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Re: A Game of Legacies - Living in the Modern Age!

Post by Neo-Paladin »

I actually have a meta tidbit...there are two films about the Morrigan, but their production had been so rife with accidents and other misfortune that they are considered cursed.
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