After seeing the first part of this Comics Commentary in print, I’ve decided not to list the page numbers going forward. I hope to impart a feeling of moving through panels and pages by use of dialogue and description. If I’m describing a new setting, it’s a sure bet that we’ve changed panels.
When we were last with new parents Marko and Alana—and newborn infant thus far nameless—they had just been found in their body shop hideout by a cannon-handed robot and a trio of winged soldiers.
“Go,” Marko says, heroically. “I’ll try to buy you two some time.”
“Go? Go where?!”
“They never cover the roof,” Marko says. Above their heads a round portal irises open as Marko slides a switch.
“Because they know my wings are useless! I couldn’t fly a kite, much less all this fucking baby weight!”
“Bullshit! Please, you can do this! I know you can!” Marko the motivator. Behind him, there is a TSSssss sound as a torch is cutting through the garage door.
“She needs a name,” Alana says. “I don’t want my child to die without a–”
There is a sudden, fiery explosion that silhouettes our young parents.
Baron Robot XXIII, the armed winged trio, and—for some reason—the grease monkey all enter the body shop.
“Drop whatever you’re holding and put your hands in the air,” Baron Robot says. His right hand, the cannon one, is smoking. His left fist is cocked on his hip.
“Suck my hemorrhoids!” Alana says, angrily.
“You don’t have to do this,” Marko says. “We just want to live our lives.”
One of the soldiers says, “Is that moony speaking Language?”
Moony. Another new word and worldbuilding clue.
His soldier buddy says, “We should cut its fuckin’ tongue out.”
Alana says, “You can’t do this. We’re on civilian territory, not a sanctioned battlefield.”
“We are duly licensed military police officers on an approved law enforcement mission. Now step away from the prisoner and – “
“Your excellency!” One of the winged soldiers says to Fancypants Television Head. This implies that the robot is some sort of royalty, maybe? I guess that would explain why he called himself “baron.” Could this be one of the “bluebloods” Alana mentioned earlier?
The soldier who just interrupted Baron Robot XXIII is holding a device called a D-meter that looks like a cross between a television remote (for the baron’s head?) and an iPhone.
“D-meter’s picking up exotic matter,” he says. “We’ve got magic incoming.”
“You greedy shit,” Baron Robot says, grabbing the grease monkey’s throat with his non-cannon hand. “Who else did you tell about this?”
Suddenly, four new characters appear, as if by magic. All of them are wearing sashed robes and high boots. All have horns. Not exactly like Marko’s, but more goat-like, except for the main figure, who appears older and is bearded. He has a giant rack of antlers like Bambi had when he grew up. Bambi is also wearing a cape and wielding what appears to be a wizard-like staff. The other goat soldiers have swords.
The wizard-looking leader says, “Alta Soldato Marko!”
“No,” Alana says.
“Haltu!” Marko responds. “Mi avertas vin, ne tusu min!”
Wizard Bambi says, “Vi estas kompatinda!” He’s pointing a finger, I think at Baron Robot XXIII.
“Wait,” Marko says, “let’s all just talk about this!” Marko is a pacifist.
One of the winged soldiers says, “Their Chaplain’s readying a spell!”
Marko hugs Alana tightly, saying, in a low voice, “My family.” At first I thought he was referring to the other characters with horns. Now, I’m certain he’s referring to Alana and the baby.
Baron Robot XXIII fingers an area on his TV head roughly corresponding to the human ear. “Central, I need emergency clearance to engage Wreath contingent off-theater!”
I guess this is what’s known as civilized warfare. There are definite Rules of War to be followed. The horned faction here is referred to as a “Wreath contingent.” I’m not sure what that means yet. The character I referred to as Wizard Bambi was called their “Chaplain.” More furious worldbuilding going on here.
As Alana and Marko stare into each other’s eyes, Alana says, “I loved you so much.”
Past tense. She’s expecting to die here.
Then all Hell breaks loose. Baron Robot’s side is using firearms and arm-cannons.
Alana lets out a “Nahhh!” as one of her fragile-looking wings gets nicked by a projectile.
The Wreath contingent is apparently using magic. What look like blue flames are issuing from the goat-soldiers’ swords. It appears that the Chaplain is quickly taken out of action by gunfire.
While Marko and Alana continue to hold each other tightly in the center of the off-theater battleground, their baby between them, all of the combatants are wiped out.
Marko opens his eyes. “Are you . . .?”
“I’m. I’m alive,” Alana responds. “We’re alive.”
“Stupid,” another voice interjects.
“Show yourself!” Marko demands.
It’s the grease monkey, lying in a pool of his own blood. “Stupid . . . kids. Stop talking . . . and go.”
“I trusted you,” Marko says to the grease monkey.
“Like I said . . . stupid. Now hurry . . . before the constables get here. That grate behind you . . . leads down to the sewers. And here . . . for you, Pops.” The grease monkey offers Marko what appears to be a rolled parchment with a wax seal. “It’s what I bought . . . with the cash I got . . . for selling you out. I know it don’t make us square . . . but . . . but . . .”
The treacherous grease monkey dies. Now everyone in this battle is dead except for Marko, Alana, and the baby.
NARRATOR: It was a time of war. Isn’t it always.
This narration, which I think of as a voiceover, is from the baby’s perspective. I think. As she talks, the shot widens from the street, to the city, the planet and finally the galaxy.
NARRATOR: I was born on a planet called CLEAVE, an ancient ball of mud circling a faded old star. It never had much strategic value, but the place still mattered. To me, anyway. See, this is where my parents met, but it’s not where they were from. They grew up way over here, back where the war began.
An arrow points to a distant spiral arm of the galaxy. Then we see a shot of a largish planet swirling with clouds and its relatively tiny moon.
NARRATOR: This is LANDFALL, largest planet in the galaxy, and also my mother’s home. Its one and only satellite is WREATH, my father’s native moon. If there was ever a time these two got along, nobody remembers it.
So, now we know why Marko was referred to as a “moony.”
Next, a longshot of Landfall’s capital city. The buildings in the background look like precarious stacks of children’s blocks. In the foreground, two figures are riding what appear to be winged horses. There is a moon in the sky. Wreath, one might assume.
NARRATOR: When the war with Wreath started, it was fought amidst the general population, in cities like this one, Landfall’s capital.
Next, an exterior shot of THE ROYAL EMBASSY, with its large barred gate. In front of the embassy, there’s a character with what appears to be a lemur-like ringed tail, apparently handing out tracts. Another character, with diaphanous wings like Alana’s, seated on the ground with a cup in front of him—possibly a beggar. Two other winged figures walking on a sidewalk.
NARRATOR: But because the destruction of one would only send the other spinning out of orbit, both sides began to OUTSOURCE combat to foreign lands. While peace was restored at home, the conflict soon engulfed every other world, with each species forced to pick a side—planet or moon.
A middle shot of two winged soldiers. One has the bird-like wings we saw on the soldiers who just died in the firefight. The other has those diaphanous, somehow insectile wings, similar to Alana’s but much larger.
NARRATOR: Some of the locals never stopped thinking about the battles being waged in their names on distant soil. Most didn’t really give a shit.
“Deeper!” we hear a female voice say, urgently, off-camera (or off-panel, whatever).
And this is where we’ll stop, as the scene and viewpoint are about to change.
The worldbuilding continues. We know that the war is between Landfall (where Alana’s people are from) and its moon Wreath (where Marko’s people are from). Those from Wreath seem to be magic-users as well. Our heroes have managed to escape from a rather prickly, Tarantino-esque showdown, with an item of unknown merit given to them by a dying monkey-man. Marko and Alana’s immediate character motivation is escape, of course. Where will they go? How will they keep from getting captured?
Whose story is this? Is it the story of the hybrid child, who is probably our as-yet-unnamed Narrator? Or is it something else?
Still intrigued. More later.