Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I, Crimsonstreak Commentary: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Take Me Down to New Chaos City, Where the Streets Are Clean and the Butlers Are British…

Author’s Notes

  • I’m not a big Guns ‘n Roses fan, but the chapter title seemed extremely appropriate.

  • When I think of superheroes, I think of bright spandex and capes in all colors of the rainbow. The drab armor of the Enforcers is anathema to this. As Crimsonstreak opines, they’ve pretty much ruined the best part of being a superhero.

  • Scarlet DashBoy. What a sap. It’s not that the guy’s evil, it’s just that he’s unlikeable. He’s that person at the office who always talks too loudly on his/her phone. The guy in the theater who won’t shut up. The woman at the ballgame who’s in and out of her seat all game. Scarlet DashBoy is the pebble in your shoe. The lemon Starburst. You get the point.

  • This is one of the book’s first real flashbacks. I used this technique quite a bit for a few reasons. First, it puts us in the mindset of Chris before his capture and imprisonment at Clermont. These flashbacks give us another glimpse into his thought process and development. Secondly, these flashbacks help flesh out Crimsonstreak’s relationships without having Chris literally tell you about a character. What’s more interesting: having Chris tell you about his relationship with the Crusading Comet or having Chris show you their relationship?

  • I like this flashback because it paints a picture of contrasting heroes. Chris is the super-powered one here, yet the Comet is clearly in control. For a time, I was going to make the Crusading Comet more of a Batman parody (almost like Die Fledermaus from The Tick), but I liked the idea of making him a true “pro.” He has little tolerance for Chris’ good humor and quirks, and is too focused on his mission. He still devolves into self-parody; note the mentions of “Comet time” and “Comet bombs.”

  • The Crusading Comet gets a whole appendix in the book dedicated to his storied history. He’s a reliable superhero with a hint of tragedy to him. Both the original and the second Comets met unfortunate ends in their fight against crime. As a result, the Third Comet was pushed into the business in his teens. He gets maimed during Crimsonstreak’s escape, setting the table for history repeating itself by pressing the Fourth Comet into service. I like the idea of “legacy heroes” who aren’t necessarily a singular person; I always thought was a neat concept from The Phantom. I took that concept and applied it to the Crusading Comet.

  • It’s pretty easy to guess who the mysterious pacifist leader is in the book. The fact that Chris hadn’t processed this yet speaks to his time in captivity and reminds us he isn’t quite as sharp as normal. The Comet even tells him, “you have to stop your father.” Crimsonstreak is in pure survival/escape mode at the time and doesn’t really think about it.

  • Baseball plays an important part in my family. My father was my little league coach for several years and was usually the first base coach. In the flashback, Colonel Chaos is standing on third, but he’s giving the same sign my father used to give from first base when he wanted me to steal second. I like the parallel between the hooded visage of Chaos and the ballcap.

  • You’ll notice the theme of propaganda and media manipulation appears frequently in the book. I studied journalism in college and worked in TV news for nearly nine years. It seems news media are easier and easier to “use” these days, with sycophantic reporters saying whatever it is leaders want them to say. When the watchdogs stop watching, society suffers.

  • Escaping from prison should be improving things for Chris, but the situation’s actually getting inexplicably worse. Not only is he shocked to see his father in control of the world, but his dead mother has come back to life. Even more jarring, there’s another Chris Fairborne out there, a powerful incentive to investigate what in the world is going on.

  • Comet pizza is probably overdoing the whole Comet branding thing. The point being made here is that the Crusading Comet is completely enmeshed in his own world.

  • The flashback here is meant to foreshadow the tension between Morty and Chris. Mortimer doesn’t think too highly of Crimsonstreak, and it’s implied that the third Crusading Comet had his own doubts about the hero as well.

  • Their reunion inside the Kensington penthouse doesn’t exactly put them on great terms. Morty first suggests Crimsonstreak is there to capture him. He then has the audacity to call Chris’ suit a “costume.” Oh yeah…things are gonna get ugly between these two.