I mentioned last week that I would talk about what proceeded my comic, or the history prior. There was a group formed that would address the immediate problem of the things following ‘The Event.’
What was that problem? People with superhuman abilities. While this portion of the premise of the story is very “Toxic Avengers,” the reason they exist was not that it was becoming popular to bathe in toxic sludge.
The nuclear fallout from a nearly earth-wide holocaust would create a new element (of sorts). This element affected human physiology by making some develop abilities beyond your typical human. There was endless variety to the genetic ‘mods’ and rarely did one person have abilities identical to another (when they had them). The one thing I didn’t have as a change was a dramatic change in physical appearance. Outside of two characters having an unusual hair color, the changes would seem to only be to what a person could do.
The story of the agency that proceeds the comic was not an exhaustive one. The comic’s canon did touch on what happened before since once everyone realized the fallout was causing some people to be unusually strong or can suddenly fly, studying the changes was secondary to dealing with the new law enforcement problems presented. By modern standards, the typical ‘show of force’ in an American police drama may not be up to the task of dealing with a person with bulletproof skin.
But it also presents a new dynamic: What about the ‘regular’ people? The comic presented a reality where there were people with these abilities, but the overwhelming majority of survivors would not. So you still have individuals trying to make a living, trying to advance their situation, but now competing with people who are genuinely smarter and more capable than they will ever be. I even had in my notes a licensing approach, to allow people to be rated on their superhuman skills beyond a typical person. The scale would be a numerical scale of multiples greater than the absolute best a person was capable of before ‘the event,’ with the idea of presenting the stark the division that there could be.
I even added an element of people who would be known as 0.9s. With a 1 representing the best an elite person could ever do, a 0.9 would be someone so close to that it would present a separate concern: Are they still ‘superhuman,’ possessing an abnormal ability, or are they just really good at what they’re doing?
The agency is formed both to assess this and thereafter address it. They conducted both the research and the de-escalation ops. The research they conduct is what would fuel the second phase of ‘creating’ children with these abilities and putting them to work at adulthood (they don’t make it there before they break out).
I would mention that I was about their age when I came up with the comic, and while today I look back at the development notes and at times cringe at what these ‘kids’ were into, I also realize that I was working from a premise that they had limited parental guidance. To me now, it seems absurd to institutionalize these kids just because of their abilities (ones that were given to them, not that they were born with). I think officially The Agency was supposed to be where they came from, but I never got that far along with deciding the shape of the bureaucracy. And given the secrecy that was to surround the existence of the program it would appear that once they did come on the scene, it became a PR mess that was never fully explained by me (I’m still trying to figure out what would make me think everyone would be okay with this). Before they could use them, they would need to use somebody, so I developed a backstory explaining (to myself) what would come before Project M.
The First Wave
One of the first Agency recruits is an abandoned child, left on the steps of a government agency (I didn’t specify; I wasn’t fluent in ‘government’ then. I’m still not, but let’s not dwell on the present..). The person who would adopt him would eventually work for the Agency, and would soon discover her adopted son manifested skills that would make him an ideal recruit.
I would point out that a lot of what I will describe is likely illegal in most developed countries, and may even be ridiculous to consider as even a viable option against a known threat like ‘superhuman’ bad guys. I’m thinking my justification was after the event, with earth’s population in the hundreds of millions instead of billions, it became essential to do some things that might be distasteful.
Like using child soldiers. Which is what I see this kid was now. Then I thought it was neat to have a young person (someone my age) doing all this cool stuff. Today I’m glad I never would’ve experienced anything close to what he would have, given what he was tasked to do.
His gift was called Clarity. He basically had vision like that of an eagle, which allows him to see long distances away. But he also had the intellect to determine how to strike an object over that distance and the mechanical prowess to develop the tools that would allow him to. If you haven’t figured it out, he would be employed as a sniper.
I had composed a scene for his introduction that was almost as ridiculous as the premise of child soldiers saving us, one involving him taking a shot from the belly of a commercial flight at cruising altitude. Never mind the logistics of moving from inside to outside the plane undetected, but the idea that this was the best approach? I still love the idea, but woefully unrealistic.
While he would have two people who would work with him, the first a ‘Minder,’ basically a regular person to evaluate him and ensure there are no problems (like what, PTSD? I really don’t know where I was going with that). But this person (she would be a covert ops-type) would also provide cover for this kid traveling the world. Since a little kid with a sniper rifle is not typical in most places outside the US.
Which brings me to the naming of this team. Rather than tell you, I think this is a better way to explain my thinking. Just so you know, he is a young African-American child from the central US, and she is not. This part of the story was all notes, so even the premise was in flux as I developed it, so rather than nail anything down, I’m just leaving it in the air.
His second partner is the one that he actually appears in the series with. And while she also has abilities (flying, energy-based weapons, and protection, etc.), the reason for her gifts is entirely different.
She was an alien. And though she reveals this early on to readers (duh, thought bubbles), no one else would know for quite some time. Or it would seem.
In some of my notes I was wondering if the Agency would know, even though it would seem a dangerous precedent to allow her to come to the aid of ‘humans’ when they knew she wasn’t (I would also point out that I was also the young guy who thought child soldiers were a good idea, but let’s not dwell on that part of the past), and possibly even he may have known (Their cover was that they were married, and I wrote her in such a way that it was very much how she felt about him, though I’m never sure if I really had a chance to put his thoughts to it. Also, I don’t remember why I thought that this was a good cover story for a sniper team. Yes, they were old enough then to be married). She would be one of the first aliens to appear in the series, though not the first.
In case you’re wondering, her appearance still maintained the premise of their codename. Unlike the previous woman, though, she would have fair skin because of Albinism and would otherwise have the features of an African-American woman.
These two would cross paths with the escaped kids early in the series (to return them to their facility), though they wouldn’t follow thru. The reason, though is lost, other than I didn’t want them to be fixtures in the series yet.
The final member of the team would be introduced in dramatic fashion, both to the story in general, and their entry to the team. We’ll talk about her next week.
(7/31/2018) – The blog now includes Still Images! Aren’t you excited! Using your eyes, you can look at them, drawing conclusions without a single word! Try this new feature today!
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