Accessibility is key ladies and gentlemen. For those just joining us, shame on you and here’s what you’ve missed…
We meet Taylor Hunter, one half of the duo known as Counter-Balance, as the young man forcefully retrieves his partner, Roosevelt West, from a drunken stupor in a New York bar. Also revealed is that West is the pedophile that molested and murdered Hunter’s twin sister, and that they’re forever bonded by an alien source. The unlikely heroes take to the sky and send us to Florida in search of Timbre, the team’s token female, who’s being accosted by a paparazzi looking for an inappropriate photo opportunity.
The buxom heroine believes the best course of action is to split his eardrums for him using her natural affinity for manipulating sound waves….
3 PAPARAZZI: AAAGGGHHH!!!
PANEL TWO: Close-up of Blaire’s agent as her jaw hits the floor in shock…Allison’s doing it again.
PANEL THREE: Allison begins nonchalantly filing her nails waiting patiently for the man’s eardrums to burst.
PANEL FOUR: Timbre’s agent is screaming at her to stop.
PANEL SEVEN: The man hits the ground hard.
PANEL EIGHT: Camera’s on Timbre’s back as she’s walking away.
16 TIMBRE: APPARENTLY, THERE’S A WORLD THAT NEEDS SAVING.
PANEL ONE: Splash. This is our first glimpse of the amazing Architect. He’s the resident genius of the Crucible. On this page, he’s currently in the middle of his lab’s complex information hub. Let me elaborate a bit. Mr. Able is well aware that he’s unarguably the smartest man in the world. To remind himself of this, in his free time he holds an open forum for all scientists, researchers, and general eggheads during which he effortlessly answers any nagging questions they have regarding their individual research or personal entertainment efforts. It’s an ego thing. In order for him to do this, he’s assembled a large monitor array comprised of floating flat television screens. He sits in the middle of this array in a hover chair and answers questions as quickly as they can be fired off. Enough expository. This may get a little complicated. We need to see the floating televisions, (four will suffice) and there needs to be a different human face present on each of them (but depending on your placement, all of them may not be completely visible). Then we need the Architect hovering in the middle of this situation, with a nonchalant expression on his face. He’s having questions fired at him from all corners of the globe on a variety of different subjects and he’s not even breaking a sweat. Behind him are all manners of technical trinkets. Regarding the Architect’s physical appearance, he’s a Caucasian male in his early thirties. He has short black hair and a neat goatee. Currently he’s wearing nothing but a pair of black boxer shorts.
3 CAP: HE’S ALWAYS THE LAST ONE ON THE SCENE.
4 CAP: TOO BUSY HAVING HIS EGO STROKED, I GUESS.
5 CAP: PROBABLY COMES FROM HOLDING PhDs IN BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS, PSYCHOLOGY, COMPUTER SCIENCE, ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHEOLOGY, QUANTUM MECHANICS, ASTRONOMY, GEOLOGY, U.S.HISTORY, SOCIOLOGY, AND FILM AESTETHICS.
6 QUESTION: WE’RE HAVING DIFFICULTY WITH THE PROPULSION SYSTEM…
7 QUESTION: THE BONES ARE ALL WRONG MR. ABLE!!
8 QUESTION: …MY MP3’S TAKE FOREVER TO DOWNLOAD…
9 QUESTION: PHANTOM MENACE: SUCKED OR ROCKED?
10 CAP: IMPRESSIVE RESUME FOR A FIRST CLASS BIGOT.
PANEL ONE: Panel stretching from one end of the page to the other. The Architect is answering the current questions on hand. I basically need a shot of his face, and plenty of room for him to rattle off answers.
3 ARCHITECT: JERROLD, THE BONES DO NOT COINCIDE SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU AND YOUR INEPT DIGGING TEAM ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE. I COULD RECOMMEND A MORE VIABLE LOCATION SO YOU COULD STOP WASTING MY TIME.
4 ARCHITECT: JONES, I COULD NOT EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND YOUR FASCINATION WITH MP3s, BUT IF YOU MUST WASTE VALUABLE SPACE ON YOUR COMPUTER’S HARD DRIVE, UPGRADE YOUR SYSTEM OR UTILIZE AN ETHERNET CONNECTION.
5 ARCHITECT: AND MR…LUCAS IS IT? DON’T BE STUPID. PHANTOM MENACE ROCKED.
PANEL TWO: Arthur Able is now concluding this conference to respond to the Crucible alert that he received a few minutes ago. He’s depressed a button on his chair, and the floating television screens are disappearing from his view.
PANEL FOUR: A door opens on the ground level and Able’s assistant enters the arena… his black assistant. He has a baldhead and is wearing stylish designer glasses along with a white lab coat. He’s also carrying three small black marbles.
11 ARCHITECT: (off-panel) BLACK WILL SUFFICE. ALWAYS BET ON BLACK, ISN’T THAT RIGHT MR. DAVIES?
12 TYSON: IF YOU SAY SO…SIR.
PANEL FIVE: The two are now having a conversation with the brilliant scientist several feet in the air. His dialogue is coming from off-panel of course.
15 TYSON: WHY HAVEN’T YOU RESPONDED YET?
PANEL SIX: Tyson throws one of the small marbles into the air in the direction of the hovering Architect.
PANEL ONE: Take the camera up as we follow the bouncing ball so to speak. Able has leaped out of his chair and is plummeting to the ground. Rushing to meet him is the small black marble that his assistant just tossed in the air. Here’s the kicker though, expanding out of the marble is a collapsible black bodysuit. This is similar to Flash’s costume ring. If you can, include a few afterimages to showcase Able’s athletic prowess.
3 ARCHITECT: DON’T BE SO DRAMATIC TYSON. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS DYING. AT LEAST UNTIL I DEVELOP A CURE FOR THAT AS WELL.
PANEL TWO: The Architect touches down in this panel ready for action.
PANEL THREE: Tyson hands the Architect a small computer chip.
PANEL FOUR: The chip expands and becomes a pair of high-tech boots along with matching gauntlets that instantly attach themselves to the great thinker.
PANEL FIVE: The Architect bolts off panel, the boots having enhanced his speed.
11 TYSON: FINALLY.
PANEL ONE: Two men are shaking hands. One of the men is African-American, the other Filipino.
PANEL TWO: Pull out for an establishing shot of the two men. The black man (Damon Knowles) is a well-dressed man in his forties wearing a very expensive suit. He has on glasses and is smiling broadly. The Filipino man (Wayne Price) is wearing a suit that appears to be the sole one in his wardrobe, not too shabby but not too impressive either. He’s holding a briefcase in his other hand and his face is marked with apprehension. They are standing in Damon’s office, which has an almost antiseptic look to it. Everything’s arranged in its own place and there isn’t a speck of dust in the place.
5 PRICE: TH-THANK YOU MR. KNOWLES. I’LL TRY NOT TO DISAPPOINT YOU.
PANEL THREE: Close-up of Damon Knowles.
PANEL FOUR: The two men are walking down a hallway lined with enlarged posters while the newsroom buzzes in front of them. The posters are actually covers to some of the publication’s most successful issues.
10 KNOWLES: STOP. WHATEVER YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS IS IRRELEVANT. YOUR JOB IS TO CUT THROUGH THE P.R. AND THE B.S. AND TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT REALLY MAKES THESE GUYS TICK.
11 KNOWLES: THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE THE WORLD’S FIRST CONGLOMERATE OF PUBLICLY-ELECTED SUPERHEROES. THAT SUBJECTS THEM TO BOTH A HEIGHTENED LEVEL OF SCRUTINY AND RESPONSIBILITY. THE PUBLIC DEMANDS TO KNOW IF THEY’RE LIVING UP TO THE TRUST WE PUT IN THEM. AS WELL AS A FEW OTHER THINGS…
12 KNOWLES: WHO’S SLEEPING WITH WHOM? WHO’S AFTER THE SPOT OF FIELD COMMANDER? WHO HATES EACH OTHER’S GUTS?
13 KNOWLES: THAT’S WHAT THE PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO KNOW, WHETHER THEY ADMIT IT OR NOT. AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT THE SALES FIGURES SAY.
PANEL FIVE: Close-up of Wayne Price as his face seems to ignite in shock.
PANEL ONE: Establishing shot. Knowles has his hand on the young reporter’s shoulder while his other is gesturing to the sight before them…the newsroom. It is much larger than it appeared in that brief hallway shot on the last page. High ceilings, a bustle of activity, small two-sided desks as far as the eye can see and people…lots of people. Reporters, photographers, the whole nine yards, are walking back and forth working on the latest edition. Mr. Price isn’t sure he belongs here.
3 KNOWLES: A LITTLE OVERWHELMING I KNOW, BUT YOU’LL GET USED TO IT. BEFORE LONG YOU’LL BE….
PANEL TWO: Small red signal lights placed on all the desks in the newsroom begin blinking and an alarm sounds.
PANEL ONE: Two men are involved in a heated sparring match in a dark arena. One of the combatants has thrown a roundhouse kick at his opponent and his quarry easily blocks the attempt with his forearm. The reader doesn’t know it yet, but this is our first glimpse of this arc’s evil nemesis. Dr. Rogers is a well-muscled middle-aged man with short-cropped blond hair and dark brown eyes. Another thing the reader doesn’t know, at least until the next page is that Rogers is sparring with one of his legion of clones, therefore for now we can only see the face of one of the fighters, even though it’s the same guy (if that makes any sense). For the time being, hide his opponent in shadows. We don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet. Oh, this is important. The man having his kick blocked is the one true Doc Rogers.
3 BLOCKER: NICE TRY.
PANEL TWO: The blocking man throws a straight punch while his opponent effortlessly ducks out of the way.
PANEL FOUR: Close-up of Doc Rogers as he wipes the blood from his lip.
9 SPARER: (off-panel) OH REALLY?
PANEL FIVE: Rogers lays out his shadowy clone with one strong punch, proving just who is the creator and who is the creation.
12 ROGERS: REALLY.
PANEL ONE: Bring the camera out a little to showcase the workout area that Rogers is standing in. Nothing extremely fancy, but there are a few weight machines in the background along with a couple of benches. Basically I need some room for dialogue. Rogers is speaking into the air to someone on a two-way intercom system.
3 ROGERS: AND THE CRUCIBLE?
4 INTERCOM: SATELLITE TELEMETRY SHOWS THAT MOST OF THEM ARE ALREADY ON SITE.
5 ROGERS: EXCELLENT.
6 ROGERS: THEY’VE SEEN WHAT I’VE DONE. THEY’LL COME FOR ME TO FULFILL SOME CHILDISH CONCEPT OF REVENGE.
7 ROGERS: AND BY DOING SO, THEY’LL ENSURE MY VICTORY.
8 ROGERS: KEEP ME POSTED.
9 INTERCOM: YES SIR.
PANEL TWO: Rogers offers a hand of assistance to his fallen opponent.
PANEL FIVE: Now, we spin the camera and reveal that the man who Rogers has been in combat with was in fact a perfect clone of himself.
PANEL ONE: We are in the skies of Illinois as Counter-Balance is rushing to rendezvous with their teammates in Iowa. Averting a plane crash has made the duo late and Hunter is pushing his limits. In this panel, all we see is a bright flash of light in the distance.
PANEL TWO: Two figures are streaking across the sky at speeds so fast that they appear as little more than blurs of light.
6 HUNTER: SHUT UP WEST.
7 HUNTER: THE USE OF YOUR MOUTH IS A LUXARY…
8 HUNTER:…DON’T ABUSE IT.
PANEL FOUR: The duo touch down on site. They’ve been going so fast that they haven’t gotten a good look of the area.
-21 & 22-
PANEL ONE: Double page splash. All of the members of the Ministry are standing at various locations in the area, which appears to be a public park, complete with a small fountain. Bodies are everywhere. The thing that’s most important about this page is the depth. This scene has to feel deep so scatter the members of the team in the background and foreground. Only character placements that are important are Counter-Balance, who is on the left of the page, and Paragon who is standing forward and to the right with his back turned to the arriving heroes.
Next time: Absolutely no idea.