Monday, March 5, 2012

I, Crimsonstreak Commentary: Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Here We Go Again on Our Own

Author’s Notes

  • The chapter title is a misquote of a Whitesnake song. The real lyric, of course, is “Here I go again on my own.”

  • Crimsonstreak spent a little more time at Chaopolis South than you’d expect. Several days, actually. This is a quick, sudden turnaround in Imperator Chris’ behavior. He wasn’t evil after all, just needing a little guidance from Morty and Jaci to whip him into shape. They opened his eyes to what Colonel Chaos and the NWCW were doing to the world. It seems quick, yes, but Imperator Chris had been so sheltered from the rest of the world.

  • Imperator Chris is ill-tempered and mean because that’s what he was bred to be. The branding and locator tag speak to his father’s controlling ways.

  • One major difference between Crimsonstreak and Imperator Chris is their musculature. Imperator Chris is still a speedster, but he’s much more “ripped” than Chris. The Imperator’s build is more NFL, whereas Crimsonstreak’s build is more Olympic sprinter.

  • Chris still isn’t sure what to make of Imperator Chris. The most obvious explanation is that he’s a clone. Our hero is a little stubborn here, unwilling to admit what’s obvious to everyone else.

  • “Bizzaro-World Me” dovetails nicely as both a Superman reference and a Seinfeld reference.

  • Originally, Morty sat on the sidelines during the final chapters, running operations from Jaci’s apartment in Chaopolis South. It certainly worked, but ended up making for a deus ex machina ending and squandering Warren’s character arc. Chris, ever protective of Jaci, instead assigns the venerable butler to accompany Jaci and his doppelganger. By the way, I love the word doppelganger.

  • Another quick flashback to Franklin College. Cline Hall is a residence hall there. It’s split so that boys are on one side (Hoover Hall) and girls live in Cline. The romantic encounter there is purely fictional.

  • Warren’s “Parcheesi” line gives us a hint that he’s not all that thrilled with the sudden defection of Imperator Chris.

  • Warren is strong, especially for a teen growing into his body. He admits the armor is heavy, but has little trouble with it. Chris, on the other hand, struggles with the suit’s weight.

  • Some of the tension between Chris and Warren has subsided. The teenager is finally accepting that Chris had to leave his father behind during the escape at Clermont. He gives explicit permission for Chris to do the same with him should they encounter a similar situation.

  • “The New World Common Wealth has now become so ridiculous I want to save Scarlet DashBoy.” This is a callback to an earlier chapter when Chris effectively says he wouldn’t save Dashboy if given the chance. He didn’t really mean it, of course, but the current situation is forcing his hand.

  • So how did Scarlet Dashboy end up in Chaopolis? That’s left up to the reader. Perhaps he escaped during the Clermont jailbreak. Perhaps Chaos had him shipped to Chaopolis to serve as an example. Dashboy kind of reminds me of Squeak Scolari from Baseketball.

  • Chris tries to turn the abandonment of Dashboy into a “teaching moment,” but Warren’s not letting it happen. The tension between the duo hasn’t completely dissipated.

  • “I think the Fairbornes have been getting enough press lately.” So, um, Warren, do you think it’s the best idea to give up your secret identity to prove a point?

  • At some point, the Crusading Comet shared his idea for the Comet Accelerator with Colonel Chaos. Chris and Warren get that familiar feeling of being displaced, although this time Chris is reminded of Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

  • The tech for this Comet Accelerator isn’t quite as advanced, and both Chris and Warren lose the contents of their stomachs.

  • Another flashback provides insight on how determined Colonel Chaos was to bring back Miss Lightspeed. Lookalikes, clones, memory implantation cycles…the man was so lost that he’d try anything. I think the line “Your mother and I. We were a team” is particularly jarring for Chris, who thought he and his dad were a team. With his father beyond reason, Chris leaves.

  • The flashback about Miss Lightspeed’s funeral gives us another look at Chris’ views on religion. It’s an intangible thing to him, but his mother always believed in a higher power, a belief she passed on to her son. Chaos, a man of science, probably has a different view. This is another downer of a scene, and a difficult one to write as well.

  • Another Colonel Chaos? What devilry is this?

  • “Special” Enforcer Jenkins captures our heroes. Of course.

  • Warren talks about “the Santa Prisca story.” Can’t you just imagine the Crusading Comet telling his son bedtime stories about his great adventures? It’s worth mentioning that the Comet has such high standards for competency that he would taunt his son for getting caught.

  • Santa Prisca is a comic book reference, by the way. It’s the prison where Bane stayed during the Batman Knightfall storyline. No backs broken in this book, however.

  • Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man is a reference to Tim Allen’s book. Remember that time when Tim Allen had the #1 movie (The Santa Clause), TV show (Home Improvement), and book? No, me neither.

  • In an earlier draft of the book, Warren had Spongebob Squarepants boxers and the characters sang the TV show theme song. Occasionally, I do realize that my ideas are stupid.

  • So Crimsonstreak designed his uniform to prevent chafing. That’s probably a little TMI.

  • The line about taupe being soothing is a reference to Ocean’s 11.

  • The “You’ve got me. I’m not a clone” speech is a riff on the awesome “Maximus Decimus Meridius” line from Gladiator.

  • Warren and Chris use some teamwork to escape from the clutches of Special Enforcer Jenkins. Now it’s off to the cloning vats to see what’s up with the second Colonel Chaos.