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23: Moving On

This story takes place over a period of several days, beginning just after the events of the previous issue, and in a number of locations. Clothing and background details should be suitable for October in North America.

This issue will have no first-person narrator. Captions will be used to give dates and places.

PAGE ONE. Three panels.

Panel 1

The dominant panel on the page shows the interior of a modern bank. We can see tellers behind glass screens, a small number of customers at the counters, and a security guard in the foreground. All are looking towards us, out of panel, with various expressions of amazement.

CAPTION:

City Mutual Bank.

CAPTION:

Detroit.

CAPTION:

Saturday 11 October 2014.

VOICE (off-panel):

Nobody move and nobody will get hurt!

Panel 2

Close-up on the security guard as he reaches for his holstered pistol. From off-panel, a bolt of electricity strikes a pillar near his head. It pulverizes or tears off a chunk of the pillar, showing that it's a pretty dangerous attack. The bolt should look the same as that depicted on the last page of ISSUE 22.

SFX:

Zzzzrrrrackkkk

Panel 3

The guard has dropped his gun and raised his hands.

VOICE (off-panel):

Wise move.

PAGE TWO. One panel.

Panel 1

In a splash panel we get our first look at the man doing the talking (and zapping). He's dressed from head-to-foot in a bulky yellow-and-bronze coloured costume. This includes a helmet, goggles, full-face mask, and heavy bronze gauntlets. He has no exposed skin that we can see. The design of the gauntlets is the same as the one we saw on the last page of ISSUE 22. He has both arms extended, obviously ready to zap again if need be. This is the ELECTRIC RAIDER (though we won't be using that name in the dialogue just yet).

ELECTRIC RAIDER:

I don't want any heroes today.

PAGE THREE. Five panels.

Panel 1

Day time. Outdoors. CHI-YUN is sitting on the back porch of HUEY's house. (See ISSUE 19 for reference.) She's watching something taking place in the garden.

SFX (off-panel):

WHUMP!

JAMES (off-panel):

Higher.

CAPTION:

Chicago.

Panel 2

Now we see what CHI-YUN is looking at. JAMES and SARA are training together. He's in t-shirt and shorts and has those big pads on his hands that boxers hit when they're training. She's in lycra and (for a change) sensible sneakers, and is kicking one of the pads.

SFX:

WHUMP!

JAMES:

Harder.

Panel 3

SARA is leaping high into the air and kicking a pad. JAMES is thrown back by the force.

SFX:

WHUMP!

JAMES:

Ow!

Panel 4

JAMES is lying on his back on the grass. SARA stands over him, holding out a hand to help him up.

SARA:

Sorry.

JAMES:

It's ok. I'm glad I'm not the person you're mad at.

Panel 5

They are both standing, facing each other.

SARA:

What do you mean by th—

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

Teach me how to fight.

PAGE FOUR. Five panels.

Panel 1

They both turn to look at CHI-YUN, who is walking across the lawn towards them.

JAMES:

Huh?

SARA:

Chi-Yun, you don't need to learn how to fight. You've got powers—

Panel 2

Close-up on CHI-YUN, shrugging expressively.

CHI-YUN:

But they don't help me fight—

Panel 3

Group view again.

SARA:

Strength of an elephant? Speed of a cobra?

CHI-YUN:

But I can't do it all. If I'm strong, I'm not fast. If I get faster, I'm not strong enough to hurt anyone that I hit.

CHI-YUN:

I need to learn martial arts!

Panel 4

Similar view. CHI-YUN is pointing at SARA accusingly.

JAMES:

I think you just need to use your powers more efficiently.

CHI-YUN:

Sara has powers and she still practices kick boxing!

SARA:

Yes but I—

Panel 5

SARA and JAMES look at each other with "I can't think of an argument for that" expressions.

No dialogue.

PAGE FIVE. Five panels.

Panel 1

Now a POV through a window, looking out onto the garden. We can see SARA and CHI-YUN, side by side, each balanced on one leg with the other extended in a kick. JAMES looks on.

DON (off-panel):

They're good kids, Huey.

HUEY (off-panel):

I'm not saying they're not. Hell, I'd be sunk if they hadn't helped me out last week.

Panel 2

Now showing DON and HUEY, in HUEY's study, watching through the window.

HUEY:

I'm just saying, I don't understand why you took this job on. You were a great combat leader but I just can't see you as a father figure.

Panel 3

Close-up on DON's face.

DON:

I know, Hu. But somebody had to do it.

DON:

Teenagers on the run. Super-powered teenagers. Hunted by aliens — or the government, or whatever — how long do you think they would have lasted?

DON:

They needed me.

Panel 4

HUEY hands DON a drink.

HUEY:

Need-ed

DON (softly):

I know.

Panel 5

Return to the POV of panel 1, looking out of the window. JAMES has donned the training pads again and CHI-YUN is kicking in his general direction.

DON (off-panel, softly):

Aim higher, Chi-Yun.

PAGE SIX. Five panels.

Panel 1

Out in the garden again, FRED is leaning on a tree and smoking a cigarette.

SFX (off-panel):

WHUMP!

JAMES (off-panel):

Ufff

JAMES (off-panel):

Can we try training with the strength of a—mouse, or something?

Panel 2

JEROME is now standing beside FRED. They are both looking in the same direction (presumably at the martial arts lesson).

JEROME:

Good day, Fred!

Panel 3

Same view of JEROME and FRED.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

Same view. JEROME is now looking at FRED and frowning.

JEROME:

Do you not wish to join in the training session?

FRED:

I already know how to handle myself in a fight, thanks.

Panel 5

JEROME continues to frown after FRED as the latter walks off in the opposite direction.

FRED:

Training session. Right.

FRED:

As if we're a team or anything like that.

PAGE SEVEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Night. It's a section of city street in front of a warehouse -- in fact, it's the warehouse that our heroes entered back in ISSUE 19. A figure is on the pavement, kneeling down and examining it. From the long black coat and military haircut, alert readers might deduce that it's a K-MAN in human form.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

Pull back to a view from an overlooking roof -- and this is now an identical view to that seen in ISSUE 19 PAGE 19. On this roof, looking down at the figure on the ground, is the cloaked form of KNIGHT OWL.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Close-up on KNIGHT OWL's masked face. (Unfortunately we can't register surprise on a face covered by a full-face mask, so we'll have to have a bit of dialogue.)

KNIGHT OWL:

What the—?

Panel 4

Back to the K-MAN and he is now in WOLF form, with his snout against the warehouse door.

SFX:

<sniff sniff>

PAGE EIGHT. Five panels.

Panel 1

This scene takes place in the office of POLICE COMMISSIONER JOHN HARRIS, seen in ISSUE 20 PAGE 20. In this initial panel, we don't see much of the office -- just a close-up of two hands shaking: a black man (HARRIS) and a Caucasian female (ELLIOT). Through the window we can see that it's now morning.

CAPTION:

Sunday 12 October.

ELLIOT:

Thank you for making time for me on the weekend.

HARRIS:

I'm not exactly going to ignore a request from you, Director Elliot.

Panel 2

This is a wider panel so more of the office can be shown. The commissioner's name-plate (on his desk) should be visible. Readers should recognize HARRIS (from ISSUE 20) and also the woman -- it's the FBI Director STEPHANIE ELLIOT, seen previously in ISSUE 14. They are now both seated (on appropriate sides of the desk).

ELLIOT:

Congratulations on bringing in Powl the Samurai.

HARRIS:

Bringing in? I wish.

HARRIS:

He's under police guard in the hospital but we've got no evidence to hold him on. He'll walk.

Panel 3

Same scene (I know, boring...)

HARRIS:

You came all the way from Washington to ask me about Powl?

ELLIOT:

No, there's more than that.

ELLIOT:

I'm setting up an inter-departmental committee to study the rise of vigilante activities.

Panel 4

HARRIS is now standing at the window, looking out, with his back to ELLIOT. We'll show a POV of his back so we can't see his expression any more than she can.

HARRIS:

So?

ELLIOT (off-panel):

So I want you to sit on it.

HARRIS:

Why me?

ELLIOT (off-panel):

Because I think you have some... unique insights into the problem.

Panel 5

Now we'll show his face. His back is still to her.

ELLIOT (off-panel):

For example, I think you know who impaled Powl the Samurai on one of his own swords.

HARRIS (softly):

It wasn't who you think it was.

PAGE NINE. Six panels.

Panel 1

HUEY's garden, night (or evening, late enough to be dark). DON is walking with the aid of a crutch. He's alone (and talking to himself, evidently). He's probably wearing his coat, as it is October in Chicago. Our POV is looking through foliage, as if we're hiding behind bushes.

DON (softly):

Come on, damn it. You can't afford to rest here forever.

Panel 2

Same view, but now he's turned his head to looks directly at "us".

DON:

You might as well come out. I can hear you.

Panel 3

KNIGHT OWL steps out of the bushes.

KNIGHT OWL:

Only because I wanted you to.

DON (off panel):

Yeah, right.

KNIGHT OWL:

You're right, you can't afford to rest here.

Panel 4

KNIGHT OWL and DON size each other up, standing a few yards apart.

KNIGHT OWL:

Don Newman. Former agent of DICE.

DON:

Ok, you've established your credentials as the world's greatest detective. Now tell me what you're doing here, Knight Owl.

KNIGHT OWL:

Warning you to get out of town.

Panel 5

Close-up on DON's face, and he's ticked off.

DON:

I don't take threats kindly—

KNIGHT OWL (off panel):

Stop being stupid, Newman.

Panel 6

Close-up on KNIGHT OWL's face, and of course it's impossible to read because of the mask.

KNIGHT OWL:

You've got people—things—hunting the kids you're trying to protect.

KNIGHT OWL:

Now, want to hear me out?

PAGE TEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

A close-up on a newspaper -- the old-fashioned paper kind, not the on-line edition most people read. The paper is held in such a way that the fold and the panel border cuts off most of the page, leaving the headline:

ELECTRIC RAIDER STRIKES AGAIN

There is also a picture of the ELECTRIC RAIDER with the caption, "SECURITY CAMERA FOOTAGE". Any other text on the page can be greeked.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

In a wider view, we see that JAMES is holding the paper. It's in HUEY's house. HUEY is sitting nearby reading something on a hand-held device. CHI-YUN can be in the background, watching TV. Note that everybody can be dressed differently from their previous appearance, as it's a different day. JAMES is looking at HUEY.

JAMES:

How could you make a TASER that works without wires?

Panel 3

Close-up on HUEY, who looks up thoughtfully.

HUEY:

I don't know. Well ... you could use a laser pulse to ionize the air. The electrical current would travel down the ionized path.

Panel 4

JAMES and HUEY still talking. CHI-YUN is now looking over at them.

JAMES:

So, you wouldn't need super-human powers?

CHI-YUN:

I could do it by changing into an electric eel!

HUEY:

No, just a lot of technical know-how. Why?

Panel 5

Close-up of JAMES looking down at the paper, frowning.

JAMES:

Just wondering.

PAGE ELEVEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Morning again (judging by the light from the window) and HUEY is making coffee in the kitchen when DON walks in.

CAPTION:

Monday 13 October.

DON:

Morning, Hu.

DON:

Seen Sara around?

Panel 2

HUEY hands DON a cup of coffee.

HUEY:

At the pool I think. She left an hour ago.

Panel 3

HUEY regards DON.

HUEY:

So you're really leaving?

DON:

Don't sound so eager!

DON:

But yeah. We're still being hunted and we need to stay one step ahead.

DON:

So as soon as we can make travel plans...

Panel 4

HUEY heads out of the kitchen door.

HUEY:

Funny you should say that.

HUEY:

Come on. I've got something to show you.

PAGE TWELVE. One panel.

Panel 1

Full-page splash panel of what HUEY shows DON -- parked at the side of the house is a big RECREATIONAL VEHICLE, the same model DON has been driving since ISSUE 1 (and trashed in ISSUE 17). HUEY and DON should be in the panel, as they have dialogue, but the RV is the dominant feature.

DON:

When did—

HUEY:

Luey's been outfitting it since last month. He knew you wouldn't be able to keep the last one in one piece for long.

DON (softly):

Gee, thanks.

PAGE THIRTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Close-up on HUEY's and DON's faces as they regard the vehicle.

HUEY:

It's got the dual power plant, armor plate—upgraded, full comms suite, stealth electronics—

DON:

Fluffy seat covers?

HUEY:

I've even pre-loaded your crap music into the sound system.

Panel 2

HUEY holds out the keys to DON, who makes no move to take them. (Of course, car keys are electronic in 2014, so this is a key card. It should still be obvious to readers that this is a symbolic "handing over of the keys", though.)

HUEY:

This is a substantial dollar investment. Try not to go flying in this one.

Panel 3

Same view. HUEY still holds the keys out. DON look at them but still doesn't take them.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

Same view.

DON:

You'd better give those to James.

Panel 5

DON limps away from HUEY, who watches him in silence.

No dialogue.

PAGE FOURTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Indoors again (doesn't matter which room). JAMES, FRED, JEROME, and CHI-YUN are listening to DON.

JAMES:

On our own?

DON:

Yes. Jerome, are you well enough to travel?

JEROME:

Aye. My injuries were not serious.

CHI-YUN:

'Tis but a scratch!

Panel 2

Same scene, focus on FRED and DON.

FRED:

Splitting up didn't work too well last time.

DON:

You guys did fine on your own, and you know it.

FRED:

No, I meant for you!

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

I've had worse!

Panel 3

Close up on DON for this next speech.

DON:

That was different. We'd just gotten our asses kicked and I made a knee-jerk decision to try to protect you.

DON:

This time, we're not backed into a corner. The initiative is with us and we have time to plan ahead.

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

Just a flesh wound!

Panel 4

Wider view to show them all again.

JAMES:

All right, let's consider our options.

JAMES:

One, we have strength in numbers if we stay together—

CHI-YUN:

I'm invincible!

FRED:

Two, without you around I'm likely to kill Chi-Yun before—

PAGE FIFTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Back to a close-up of DON.

DON:

Ok, knock it off.

DON:

Thing is, I really can do my job better without you. I need to uncover who's pursuing us. I have leads to follow up and I still have contacts in high places—people I can deal with much better if you're not around.

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

I'll bite your legs off!

Panel 2

DON now looks exasperated.

DON:

Chi-Yun, are you even listening?

Panel 3

CHI-YUN, looking guilty.

CHI-YUN:

Yes!

Panel 4

CHI-YUN leans conspiratorially towards JAMES, speaking out of the corner of her mouth.

CHI-YUN (softly):

What was the plan?

PAGE SIXTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

SARA is in a clothing store, looking in a mirror while holding a shirt against herself. (There's no real reason to show her rather than the people speaking, I just wanted to break the talking-heads monotony.)

CAPTION (voice-over):

"You haven't told Sara the plan, have you?"

Panel 2

JAMES and DON are alone in the kitchen. DON is pouring coffee; JAMES is drinking milk. (See, that panel of SARA served as a scene transition, so it was useful after all!)

DON:

I was going to tell her separately...

Panel 3

JAMES just regards DON impassively.

DON:

I'll tell her as soon as she gets back.

DON:

I'll tell her. Really, I will.

Panel 4

The two of them still talking in the kitchen. (I really hate these static stand-around-and-talk pages, but sometimes it's the only way to get the dialogue in.)

JAMES:

I was hoping we could leave tomorrow morning.

DON:

Sounds good to me. Do you have a destination in mind?

JAMES:

I was thinking we'd head for Detroit.

Panel 5

Close-up on DON.

DON:

Why Detroit?

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Two panels.

Panel 1

Sudden scene cut -- to the ELECTRIC RAIDER in a big action panel. He's in another bank, or rather, in the process of leaving a bank with a large bag (presumably containing cash). He's hampered, however, by a female bank guard who is holding on to the bag and trying to wrestle it out of his grasp.

CAPTION:

First State Bank of Michigan.

CAPTION:

Detroit.

ELECTRIC RAIDER:

Let go!

ELECTRIC RAIDER:

I mean it, lady!

ELECTRIC RAIDER:

I don't want to hurt you!

Panel 2

Still holding the bag with one hand, the RAIDER points his other hand at the heroic guard -- and a huge electrical discharge leaps from it to hit her at point-blank range, throwing her to the ground.

ELECTRIC RAIDER (softly):

Aw, hell.

SFX:

Zzzrrrackkk

PAGE EIGHTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Back to the kitchen and a close-up of JAMES wearing his best innocent look.

JAMES:

No particular reason.

Panel 2

Wider view of the two of them again.

DON:

My contact came through with new identity papers for you all—

JAMES:

I'm still not comfortable with using a fake ID.

DON:

I know you're not, James. But as long as you're being hunted, you can't take any chances. Think of it as witness protection.

Panel 3

CHI-YUN and JEROME wander into the kitchen in this panel (so this will probably be the biggest panel on the page). CHI-YUN is laughing, JEROME is looking baffled.

JAMES:

Will we ever learn who this "contact" is who's setting up these IDs and credit cards for us?

DON:

I'd rather not share that. Security.

CHI-YUN:

—Then he chops his other leg off!

JEROME:

Chi-Yun, he would not be able to fight.

CHI-YUN:

That's why it's so funny!

Panel 4

Close-up on JAMES and DON again. They are both looking off-panel, towards CHI-YUN and JEROME.

DON:

Too much chance somebody would say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

JAMES:

I see what you mean.

CHI-YUN (off-panel):

Bring up the holy hand grenade!

PAGE NINETEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Night, by the ocean. A few fishermen sit on a boardwalk, tending their rods. All is still.

CAPTION:

Interlude: Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Panel 2

Close-up on one of the fishermen (not an important character; just an "extra" reacting to some action). He's sipping some steaming drink.

SFX (off-panel):

Sploosh

SFX (off-panel):

Thud.

FISHERMAN:

Huh?

Panel 3

Continue the close up. The cup is falling from his hands and his face is showing shock or fear.

SFX (off-panel):

Thud.

FISHERMAN (softly):

Holy—

Panel 4

In the dominant panel on the page, we see what the fishermen see: a figure is at the end of the pier and is walking towards the men. It has apparently emerged from the ocean, as water drips from it. And it is best described as a SEA MONSTER. Although it is humanoid, it is bigger than a man, with scaly green skin, festooned with weed-like growths, with big webbed feet, big webbed hands, and big bulbous yellow eyes. It looks pretty fearsome, which explains why the fishermen are heading in the opposite direction.

No dialogue.

PAGE TWENTY. Five panels.

Panel 1

JAMES is in a bedroom. He's wearing jeans but on his upper torso he's wearing his green-and-black spider-silk costume (no gloves or mask, though). The SHIELD is leaning against the bed. On the bed is a folded newspaper. Lying next to the newspaper is a long-sleeved shirt. Sunlight comes in through the window (we don't actually need to see the window).

CAPTION:

Tuesday 14 October.

Panel 2

Close-up of his hand reaching for the shirt. This also means we get a good look at the newspaper. Because of the way it is folded, we only see the headline:

BANK HERO IN CRITICAL CONDITION

And another picture of the ELECTRIC RAIDER with the caption "STILL AT LARGE"

No dialogue.

Panel 3

With a grim look on his face, JAMES is buttoning his shirt over his costume.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

He holds his SHIELD in his hands, looking down at it.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

He's heading down the stairs. Under one arm he carries the large art case that conceals his shield. His travelling bag is slung over his other shoulder. Just an ordinary young guy heading off on a trip.

No dialogue.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. Four panels.

Panel 1

A view of the big recreational vehicle from the rear. FRED is in the process of fastening his motorcycle to the rack on the back. He has turned to look at SARA as she walks past him, heading towards the front. (We see her from the back; not her face.) Just for extra symbology, it's raining.

FRED:

You ok?

Panel 2

SARA is standing by the front passenger door, which is open, reaching up to climb in. Again our POV is from behind her, and looking past her into the cab we can see JAMES sitting behind the wheel. He's looking out at her.

JAMES:

You ok?

Panel 3

The door closes. Our POV is still from outside.

SFX (door):

clunk

SARA:

Let's get out of here.

JAMES:

Seatbelt?

SFX:

*click*

MUSIC (from vehicle):

We dreamers have our ways

Panel 4

From an upstairs window, DON watches through the rain as the RV moves away down the road.

MUSIC:

Of facing rainy days

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. One panel.

Panel 1

A single splash panel of the RV driving away, merging with other traffic. Our POV is high and from behind. The dialogue captions originate from within the RV and move from the front to the back (i.e. top to bottom of the page). (There's an un-prize for working out who says what.) There are a lot of captions on this page but most of the music captions can be off to the side (they don't all have to originate from the RV, as long as the intent is obvious) so it shouldn't cause too many problems.

VOICE #1:

You want me to drive?

VOICE #2:

No, I'm fine.

MUSIC (from vehicle):

And somehow we survive

VOICE #2:

Ok, ok, you can drive!

MUSIC:

We keep the feelings warm

VOICE #3:

Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!

MUSIC:

Protect them from the storm

VOICE #4:

No, I still do not understand.

MUSIC:

Until our time arrives

VOICE #3:

Ni!

MUSIC:

Then one day the sun appears

VOICE #5:

Oh for god's—

MUSIC:

And we come shining through those lonely years

VOICE #5:

Stop the van, I wanna get off!

MUSIC:

I made it through the rain

MUSIC:

I kept my world protected

MUSIC:

I made it through the rain

MUSIC:

I kept my point of view

MUSIC:

I made it through the rain

MUSIC:

And found myself respected

MUSIC:

By the others who

MUSIC:

Got rained on too

MUSIC:

And made it through

Next issue: Sparks

Copyright © 2005, 2018 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.