Sunday, February 26, 2012

I, Crimsonstreak Commentary: Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Chaotic Family Reunion

Author’s Notes

  • The chapter title indicates that we’ll be seeing Chris interact with his father very soon.

  • Lugging Imperator Chris for just a few seconds has left Crimsonstreak fatigued. Again, this presents the idea that they are somehow linked. This may remind some people of Tomax and Xamot, the Crimson Guard Commanders from G.I. Joe, something I realized after the fact.

  • I like how Warren taunts the Imperator about his uniform. Note how he refers to it as a costume. He also takes a not-so-subtle jab at superhero capes, which offends Imperator Chris.

  • One interesting aspect of having Chris and his clone interact is that it gives Chris a chance to see himself in a different light. Could he have been pushed to that extreme under the right circumstances? On the other hand, you have Imperator Chris. Does the core of a person remain intact? Do genetics shape us? Are people inherently good or bad or do outside influences shape our personalities?

  • I have soft spot for the Tom Clancy movie adaptations. Clear and Present Danger has some great action, but the president makes the film.

  • ”Better go double-tight on the leg restraints.” This is a callback to Chris’ time at the Clermont Institution for the Criminally Insane. Had the guards gone “double-tight” on his restraints, he probably wouldn’t have been able to escape, and Chris wants to make sure the Imperator doesn’t get the same benefit.

  • When Warren IV was a whiny, annoying teenager, the tussle between him and the Imperator didn’t pull much weight. In fact, it was suggested that the Imperator had actually tried to attack Warren, who wasn’t the aggressor. As Warren’s character became stronger, this scene needed to be rewritten. Warren’s wailing on the Imperator to avenge his father.

  • Originally, Chris told Warren that this “isn’t Abu Ghraib." Readers would have immediately gotten the reference, but it became clear that I couldn’t use it. While the universe of I, Crimsonstreak mirrors our own history in many respects, some events never took place. The 21st century played out very differently in this world. No 9/11, no War on Iraq. Thus, no Abu Ghraib…which meant Chris wouldn’t have known what it was. Alternate history can get very tricky.

  • I’m not like them. Chris is repulsed by what he sees and hears from his doppelganger. For a few seconds, he considers letting Warren teach Imperator Chris a lesson, but it’s not in his nature to allow that. He has no desire to go down the path that Imperator Chris and Colonel Chaos have traveled.

  • Chris is preparing to go into the heart of the New World Common Wealth to confront his father, much as Luke Skywalker surrendered himself to Imperial forces to meet his father in Return of the Jedi. The parallel was strong enough that I referenced it. For better or worse, sometimes Chris sees the world like he sees movies. Since he’s a geek culture buff, situations often remind him of something from movies or TV.

  • ”Bluetooth for your brain” is a device that allows Chris to learn a little bit more about the world. I could’ve conveyed some of these details through conversation, but I liked the idea of our hero getting information on the go.

  • The bank building Chris refers to is the Chase Tower (formerly the Bank One Tower) in downtown Indianapolis. It’s still there…it’s just…the massive silver spire now dominates the downtown skyline.

  • Lucas Oil Stadium is an absolute monstrosity in downtown Indianapolis. It’s gigantic. Huge. Indy folks often refer to it as “The House that Peyton Built,” a nod to the impact Peyton Manning has had on the city of Indianapolis and the Colts franchise. In real history, the groundbreaking on “Big Oil” took place in September 2005. It didn’t actually open until August 2008. Chris was imprisoned during the latter stages of construction, but he certainly knew the stadium was being built.

  • The silver spire is, in fact, a remnant of the Kiltech Incursion. Colonel Chaos made it his homebase to remind people of the looming Kiltech threat and reinforce that he’s the one who drove them away. The “Roman” interior is a hint for the return of a certain supervillain down the road.

  • SPOILER ALERT! DON’T READ UNLESS YOU’RE 100% YOU WANT TO KNOW!!! HIGHLIGHT TO READ: During the first encounter with Colonel Chaos, Chris believes he’s talking to his real father. The gray/white temples could be from the stress of running (or ruining) the world. Chris finds it hard to believe, however, that his father would ever actually strike him.

  • The flashback with seven-year-old Chris is meant to show he was precocious as a kid. He remains rather precocious as an adult, actually. The brief scene also shows us a more patient Colonel Chaos. Patience doesn’t seem to be one of the High Imperator’s traits, so the scene also demonstrates the dissonance between the two characters.

  • Anyone recognize the last name “Kapowski?” It comes from Saved by the Bell.

  • My mother’s side of the family has a reunion every July. Those reunions, remarkably, are not “soul-sucking” experiences, but I get the idea that’s a fairly uncommon phenomenon.

  • Again, I draw upon some events in my own life to give some extra texture to Chris’ memories as a kid. I rammed into my father’s Shop-Vac. I couldn’t stop my bike in time and ran into some trash cans. I did not, however, kick a soccer ball through the garage window. That was my brother.

  • Breakfast at Denny’s rocks, just in case you didn’t know.

  • Pulsating blue color? Where have we seen that before? Hmm…

  • In the family flashback, Chris is watching an IU game with his Dad. I don’t recall that particular scene with Bob Knight actually playing out, but it’s close enough to reality to work.

  • The flashback also shows that while Chris’ parents were loving, they also had other responsibilities. Miss Lightspeed was dedicated to making the world a better place and often went on diplomatic missions in hopes of settling tension-filled disputes between countries. Deep down, Chris understood and admired his mother for it, but he’s also a kid who needs his mom.

  • For a brief moment, Chris wonders if the NWCW is really all that bad. After all, his mother is back. He hasn’t been able to see his mother in a decade. This would be a shock to anyone’s system. Chris also expresses regret for failing to see his parents enough while he was in college. Sometimes we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.

  • Something about Miss Lightspeed’s smile leaves Chris unnerved, and the spell of seeing his mother alive again is broken.

  • Chris comments on the stupidly tight outfits worn by female superheroes. Miss Lightspeed didn’t roll like that.

  • As the chapter ends, Chris decides to investigate the strange blue light coming from his father’s room.