Ménàge à Trois
Back in 1976 for eight months or so Dave Cockrum and I shared a big, three bedroom apartment in Bellerose, Queens, till I eventually found a nice place of my own in Queens Village. Both of us had worked on the Legion of Super-Heroes, of course. In fact, I narrowly missed having Dave draw some of my stories when in the mid-1970’s when I started writing the Legion again for a while, shortly after he left the series.
Though I was working on staff at Marvel, my boss, Marv Wolfman, graciously allowed me to finish the three or four Legion scripts assigned to me by editor Murray Boltinoff before I took the job at Marvel. Dave loved the Legion characters and was very interested to hear about the stories I was working on and kibbitz a little. Roger Stern, who also lived in Queens and hung out with Dave and me once in a while, chipped in on the plots, too. It was fun. Like a barn raising.
Anyway, Dave and I talked a lot about the characters and series, what I’d done with it, what he’d done. He was proud of the fact that he’d gotten away with giving the Legionnaires individual physiotypes rather than the cookie cutter bodies they’d always had before. He had to be subtle about it. DC in general and Murray in particular did not look kindly upon straying from the herd.
Dave being Dave, he had his own funny/clever nicknames for the Legionnaires. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is the one he came up with for Shrinking Violet: “Itty-Bitty Pretty One.”
At some point, he showed me a two-page spread he’d drawn in issue #200 of Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes. Somehow I hadn’t seen that issue before.
The wedding of Luornu Durgo/Duo Damsel and Chuck Taine/Bouncing Boy. Let’s see, she can split into two of herself so…ménàge à trois?
Or had they lost their powers at that point? I forget. DD had her powers when I used her ten issues later. I think. It was a long time ago….
Dave was very proud of that spread. Dave being Dave, he drew the Martian Manhunter in the background, since the wedding took place on Mars. I love the body language, the acting…great stuff.
I don’t remember much about the story, but by virtue of that spread alone the wedding of Luornu Durgo (times two or not) and Chuck Taine is memorable.
About 30 years later, in 2007, I went back to the future and wrote the Legion of Super-Heroes again for a while. That proved to be one of the most frustrating and disappointing professional experiences I’ve ever had, and this is me, remember, so that’s goin’ some. Nonetheless, I think I wrote some good scripts.
The “regular” penciler, a talented young man, had trouble making the schedule. The editor asked me to come up with a two fill-in stories that were in continuity, at least in a token way. Okay….
Mark Waid, the previous writer (aside from some fill-ins) had left me a little gift, accidentally, I think. In one issue of his run, he had Dream Girl, whose prophesies are infallible, predict that she and Brainiac 5 would get married. Later, he killed off Dream Girl pretty convincingly.
I pitched an idea to the editor, who liked it. I wrote out a plot of sorts, mostly for my own purposes, to get the story straight in my head. Below is that plot and a brief description of the second fill-in, part two of the story. Please keep in mind that this isn’t a plot in the sense of a Marvel plot. It was NOT intended to be given an artist to draw. It was for my use and to get across to the editor what I was up to ONLY. No one else saw it.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES
Plot for 22 pages by
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
February 10, 2008
Detachable, Two-Part Fill-in
for the “ONE EVIL” Saga
Part 1: “Blind Love”
In the LAB COMPLEX, BRAINIAC 5 works on the replica Alien Destroyer DATA RIPPER he has constructed using info acquired by Chameleon. We establish his brilliance, intellect and scientific “cool.” DREAM GIRL looks on, idly amusing herself with some interesting gizmo—say, a snow globe in which it really snows, thanks to B-5’s miniaturization techniques. Or something.
Dream Girl says she’s getting one of her glimpses of the future. No, there’s no news about the ADs—which is probably a good thing—but…Brainiac 5 is going to be traveling somewhere very soon. It looks like he’s traveling into the past, into an ancient time.
Not likely. Time travel isn’t feasible—yet—says B-5.
Well, she’s got another one. She sees them making love. Real…physical…and ooh-la-la intense.
B-5 is very immersed in his work. “Uh-huh,” he says….
DG complains that B-5 is always working, even when he’s….
Suddenly, the Data Ripper starts to grow a new AD body to go with itself! B-5 has replicated the Data Ripper too perfectly, and has triggered a secret program built into the thing that re-grows the monstrous warrior that once wielded it!
The AD attacks! B-5’s force-shield protects him. The AD turns on DG!
Before B-5 can do anything, the AD is on DG, apparently destroying her. B-5 vaporizes the AD using something instantly jury-rigged—say, for instance, he opens a wormhole portal into the heart of a star and allows a single, concentrated burst of energy to disintegrate the thing. Or something.
B-5 is shattered! DG is no more!
Or is she? Suddenly DG, unharmed, is standing over the weeping, traumatized B-5. She helps him up. She’s fine. He’s puzzled. She explains—this is a DREAM, my love. It’s all in your mind, literally. Nothing can hurt me here…
…she gives him a hug, and adds…
B-5 wakes up. He’s on his cot in the lab. The Data Ripper replica he’s working on is in view.
After ablutions, B-5 dresses. He puts a SMALL GADGET in his pocket. Then, he goes to the Bridge to check on the current status of things. No major developments, though the situation is tense. The Intruder Planet remains, a troubling presence. A U.P. military fleet is deployed around the IP. The IP’s deadly shields remain up. Communications with its mysterious denizens continue, but little of substance emerges. “Peace, peace, peace,” they say in broken Interlac, and little else. B-5’s speculation: they’re stalling, waiting for something…reinforcements? Every Legionnaire is at the HQ or nearby, on alert. Per Secretary of Diplomacy LaFong, the U.P. won’t let the Legion take any overt action, like sending in the Espionage Squad. LaFong believes that “negotiations” with the “Guest Planet” are the solution. All the Legion can do is wait.
We establish the Legionnaires making the best of this somewhat tense downtime, playing Mini-Magno-Ball, working out, making out, whatever. Colossal Boy and Atom Girl are tentatively developing a relationship. Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are still on the outs.
Princess Projectra is with Phantom Girl. For the hundredth time, PP is demanding that PG tell her the 20th Century comic book story of the original BRAINIAC. (PP can’t read it for herself, of course, because it’s written in ancient English, not Interlac. PG and several other Legionnaires have mastered ancient English, by the way. Wish I could.) PP wants PG to change the ending, to have Brainiac’s quest to repopulate his world and restore his kingdom succeed. PG is creeped out by that a bit, and beginning to be annoyed by PP’s pushiness. We establish PP’s situation—i.e., Orando has been destroyed, and she is enduring “reduced circumstances.” We also establish PG’s good-heartedness and long but not endless patience.
On the Bridge, Brainiac 5 notices the time, says he has an “appointment” and leaves.
PP sees B-5 pass by. At this point, PP empathetic senses have become so heightened that she can read feelings and emotions from across the room. She feels a flicker of suspicion of her cross B-5’s back brain. Just a flicker. (She has been acting strangely.) But, he’s preoccupied with other things—the ADs and…a matter of the heart?
The subject of B-5’s dreams or visions of DG comes up between PP and PG. PP ponders for a moment, then excuses herself.
PP goes to her dorm apartment. There are a number of small “housewarming” gifts there, mostly from Legionnaires. One, however, an Orandoan teddy bear-sort-of, came from a “fan.” PP opens a hidden compartment in the bear and removes a small package wrapped in a thin foil of what I’ll call MAGIC METAL for now. Magic Metal is impenetrable to any kind of transmitted signal or scan. It’s also undetectable—great for smuggling things past security systems—like the HQ’s. Inside, is a LEGION FLIGHT RING—but not a real one. It’s one of the stripped down, “authentic” licensed Flight Rings marketed by Galacticorp. PP creates an ILLUSION of herself sitting in the solarium, reading a holo-book. The illusion can easily be seen from the outside and from many windows of the HQ. She leaves her REAL flight ring beside her illusionary self, puts on the licensed Flight Ring and slips out a window and flies away. Now, not only does she appear to be in her apartment, but the DUTY ROSTER will confirm it, because her Flight Ring is there.
(NOTE: It’s not that licensed Flight Rings aren’t allowed in the HQ or anything—it’s just that PP doesn’t want anyone to know she has one, thereby protecting her alibi.)
Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 travels (transmatters?) to New Orleans, and we get a look at the Big Easy of the future. B-5 discreetly disguises himself using the Small Gadget he put in his pocket, earlier, a MORPHER. He also checks an ad in the holo-Yellow Pages, the equivalent of an eighth-of-a-page (cheap) ad in the 2008 Yellow Pages. It says, among other things, “The Marvelous MEANDER, New Orleans’ #1 Spiritual Adviser.”
In the preserved, ancient French Quarter—what DG foresaw that appeared to be the “past”—B-5 arrives at a run-down building. Next door is a much better-preserved, grander building with lit-up, ostentatious signs advertising THE AMAZING AMBROSE, GREATEST SPIRITUALIST IN THE GALAXY. The small, shabby, peeling sign on B-5’s destination says “MEANDER, BEST SPIRITUALIST ON THE BLOCK.” B-5 shrugs and goes to see MEANDER, who’s a Tarot Card Reader, Spiritual Adviser, Life/Death/Afterlife Coach, Astrologer, Wiccan Hedgewitch, Aura Expert, Dream Interpreter, Karma Doctor, Yoga Teacher, Meditation Therapist, Reincarnation Analyst, Feng Shui Designer, Reiki Healer and Sheet Metal Repair Specialist. Her motto: “Enlightenment and Spot Welding.”
Meander is young, pretty, light brown-skinned and dark-haired. She has “thousand-year-old-eyes” that one would swear had seen the pyramids rise—piercing eyes of unusual color.
Brainiac 5 enters. Meander is futuristically spot welding something—maybe the fender of a 1956 Thunderbird. Meander also sells AMWAY.
It seems that on this oh-so-scientific planet, there’s not much call for spiritualists—and the Amazing Ambrose gets most of the traffic. Meander has to make a living somehow. She says she’d do better in the outer rim somewhere, maybe on Rimbor. Even Winath…Sirenia…or Doopa. And it’s expensive here in the French Quarter. The only reason she stays is that the crumbling building has been in her family for a looooong time. Besides, nobody would come to see a spiritualist who lived in one of those futuristic spires or beehives.
Gotta make a living.
Brainiac 5 is way put off, but at Meander’s insistence, goes through with his appointment. Payment up front.
Brainiac 5: “I’ve been seeing this girl….”
Meander: “How long has she been dead?”
Brainiac 5 is taken aback. Meander correctly identifies him, first by what kind of person he is—intellectual, analytical, empirical, scientific, skeptical—then…
M: So, your name is…wait a minute…Brainiac 5.
B-5: How did you know that?
M: Because the girl you’ve been seeing just whispered it in my ear.
B-5: Preposterous! She’s dead.
M: She’s here.
B-5: Then why don’t I see her?
M: You’re awake. And not in touch with reality, like me.
B-5: No one is more in touch with reality than me!
M: Oh, sure, this level. What about the other four?
B-5: Other four? If you’re talking about the primary dimensions, there are ten of them.
M: Yes, I know about those. Mathematical masturbation, if you ask me. I’m talking about the five major planes of existence…
M: …though some say there are seven…or 32…or….
B-5: This is absurd!
M: Am I right? Are you Brainiac 5?
Brainiac 5 sheds his disguise. “You’re good.”
M: “You should have seen my grandma.”
Brainiac 5 argues with Meander. He doesn’t know how she works her scam, but “spiritualism” is bunk. He shouldn’t have come here. This is ridiculous.
Meander has the same sort of disdain for Brainiac 5’s science as he has for her mysticism. “Ingenious fool! You speak with a spirit every night!”
Brainiac 5 hesitates. He starts to ask Meander something. She cuts him off.
M: That’ll be another 50 creds for the next ten minutes, please.
B-5: Nonsense. You haven’t told me anything.
M: You haven’t asked anything. Pay up or get out.
M: Right. So…what do you want from me?
B-5: I’ve been having these lucid dreams…this girl keeps appearing in them…
Meander looks over her shoulder and asks, apparently of thin air: “What’s your name, hon? Nura Nal?
“I see why they call you Dream Girl. Look at you, all hottie-hot…! That face, and that figure…! Yes, I know, the name comes from your having prescient dreams. Every under-ager in the galaxy has heard about the Legionnaires.”
Meander turns back to Brainiac 5. “She’s a dreamboat! A sweetie! So what’s the problem? What do you want?”
M: Okay, let me tell you. You wanted me to be a flimflam. You wanted to “expose me” with your keen scientific eye. You wanted it all to be bogus. So, smart guy, what do you think is going on?
B-5: I…think that my subconscious mind calculates probabilities, comes up with predictions and cloaks them in the guise of dreams featuring Dream Girl. Or, outside, rationally credible forces have beguiled my mind. Or…or….
M: So, you came here hoping to get some justification for your stupid hypotheses/explanations by debunking the truth! Ah, what a comfortable reaffirmation of your worldview, your “sanity” that would be.
B-5: This whole thing CANNOT be real.
M: Wrong, zork-head. Dream on. So to speak.
M: You should have gone to my neighbor, the Amazing Ambrose. He is a fraud. That’ll be another 50 creds, please.
B-5 ponders. Finally, he says, “I want to know what to do.”
M: Do you love her? I know the answer. Do you?
M: How sweet. Does she turn you on?
B-5 sputters. Well, she’s…startlingly beautiful. And, let’s face it, he’s male and humanoid. Of course, he…has the hots for her.
M: Gotta be careful with those id-urges. Some of them can be nasty, wicked and horrible—no matter how nice a person you are consciously. They can be dangerous to her. On the Spirit Plane, nothing can harm her, but by entering your mind, she makes herself vulnerable to…your dark side. Gotta keep that contained.
B-5 isn’t worried. His mind is disciplined.
Meander puts out another of her many shingles: “WEDDING PLANNER.”
M: So…ask her to marry you.
B-5: But…she’s dead, and…!
Meander puts away the Wedding Planner shingle and replaces it with a “RELATIONSHIP ADVISER” shingle. “You’re right. You two need to get to know each other better first. You need to go out on a date.”
B-5: How? Dream up some dinner and candlelight?
M: There is a way…but it costs extra—a LOT extra.
Cut to Princess Projectra arriving at the opulent home of one of her few remaining subjects. She is welcomed in by the owner, BARON BIEHLER, who bows. Other Orandoans present similarly honor their Princess. Among them is the SHAMAN, established in the previous issue. Also there is the THAUMATURGE-ALCHEMIST who created the Magic Metal. There is mention made of a NEW PALACE for the Princess, currently being prepared.
PP sits in council with her devoted subjects. PP and all present hold the U.P. and the Legion responsible for the destruction of Orando. They want retribution and justice. PP’s position as a Legionnaire may come in handy as their plans evolve.
PP is worried that B-5 is suspicious that she’s up to something. He alone is the one she fears, not only because his mighty intellect could, conceivably, suss out any plans she might make—but also, because he is visited nightly by Dream Girl’s spirit. DG still, in post-life existence, is prescient. She might intuit, predict and warn B-5 of any schemes PP and her subjects concoct.
Orandoans are a very mystic, spiritual, “New Age” sort of people. This is not unfamiliar territory. The Shaman says that, first, this “Dream Girl” must be gotten rid of—utterly destroyed, banished to higher or lower planes, or otherwise neutralized. But how? PP could influence Brainiac 5’s id and perhaps turn it against DG, but that would be hard to do without such a mighty, well-ordered and supremely controlled mind sensing interference. On top of that, Dream Girl is probably watching over B-5 constantly. It’s not like spirits have to sleep. Slipping past her vigilance wouldn’t be easy.
Princess Projectra offers that she sensed some…romantic complications troubling B-5. She wonders whether or not this might present opportunity. The Shaman thinks it might. Love blinds one on so many levels. They’ll start keeping close watch on B-5.
Using a crystal ball, the powers of the Shaman and Princess Projectra’s vast new powers, the Orandoans begin to spy on B-5.
Brainiac 5 is arriving home at the HQ carrying a big bag of Amway products….
Later, Phantom Girl zeezees Princess Projectra’s Flight Ring. No response. PG can tell PP’s in her solarium…but the sun has long since set…and there no lights on in the solarium or anywhere in her apartment. PG had wished to apologize for being annoyed about PP wanting the Brainiac story told again, but now she’s worried. Is PP okay?
PG “phantoms” into PP’s solarium. PP seems to be ignoring her. PG tries to tap PP on the shoulder, but her hand goes right through the illusory PP. What?! What’s up with that, PG wonders.
Later, PG is discreetly watching as PP returns (through a solarium window). PG sees PP dispel the illusion and put her REAL Flight Ring back on.
Phantom Girl can’t figure out what that all means, but she resolves to find out.
The next evening, Brainiac 5 primps and preens. He puts on his best, dressiest clothes. He’s as nervous as a teen-ager going on his first date, which come to think of it, isn’t far from the truth.
Brainiac 5 uses the Morpher to make himself appear to be wearing his usual uniform until he’s safely out of the HQ.
Phantom Girl tries to get B-5’s attention, but he’s in a hurry. He’s late. Lightning Lad is too busy. Phantom Girl ends up telling her tale to Saturn Girl. Saturn Girl agrees that PP has been acting funny lately. They’ll keep an eye on her and bring it up to B-5 later. PG urges SG to bring it up to LLad right away—he’d make time to talk to her. No, SG isn’t ready to face him yet.
B-5 Morphs back to his fancy clothes after he is out of sight of the HQ. He meets Meander (who has traveled to Metropolis) on a beautiful promenade in the heart of Metropolis’s Entertainment District, a part of the city rife with bistros, restaurants, nightclubs, shops and futuristic entertainments of all types. This area was first depicted in issue #41, but not well.
The view here is spectacular. There are many establishments on terraces, along the pedestrian boulevards, even floating in mid air. There are waterfalls, gardens, sculptures…it’s beautiful.
Meander is dressed to the nines. These aren’t clothes I would choose, she says, tugging at her daring décolletage. She picked them. She’s here, and I’m letting her take it from this point on.
Meander allows Dream Girl to possess her.
No spirit can wear a sheathe of flesh again without the full cooperation of a living person with the necessary skills—except in rare cases. (Certain empowered spirits, like Deadman, can force a possession…..)
Brainiac 5 is uncomfortable at first. Though she speaks with Dream Girl’s voice, he can’t get past the fact that it’s Meander’s body he’s escorting.
Back at the HQ, Princess Projectra is, once more, demanding that Phantom Girl tell her “the story” again. PG plays along. Saturn Girl is discreetly observing. She won’t invade PP’s mind—she’s sworn not to do that to other Legionnaires—but she can see that this chick, PP, is not quite right.
PP suddenly looks distracted. (She’s receiving a message mystically transmitted by the Shaman, who’s keeping tabs on B-5, that “opportunity” is “presenting itself.”) PP hastens away. SG and PG are worried, puzzled.
PP sneaks out again, tracks down B-5 and discreetly observes.
As the date progresses, Brainiac 5 gets used to the idea that this is Dream Girl—inside, at least. After dinner in an elegant place, there’s a futuristic carriage ride or something similarly romantic. In a romantic setting, they kiss.
Princess Projectra is nearby, watching from a hidden vantage point. Now is her moment! B-5 is as distracted as one could hope for. Dream Girl can’t be watching over B-5 from within, because she’s possessing Meander.
PP invades B-5’s id! (And we go in with her!) In the dark recesses of B-5’s lizard brain, she finds demons to serve her will—one UBERDEMON and THREE HENCH-DEMONS. She undoes B-5’s careful containment of them and frees them. They will do the deed.
(P.S. Killing possessed Meander wouldn’t accomplish getting rid of DG. Her spirit maintained after her own death, and would probably do so after the death of a host body. I’ll make this clear.)
PP leaves unseen, undetected.
After the kiss, Brainiac 5 has a bit of a funny feeling. No, not that kind. Well, okay, that kind, too—but also some little tickle in the back of his mind. Oh, well. He’s never had a kiss like that before…maybe it’s normal.
The next morning, Brainiac 5 strides through the HQ with a jaunty bounce in his step and a song in his heart and a smile on his face. He’s nice to everybody. The other Legionnaires suspect that he’s been replaced by a pod person…. B-5 can’t wait to take a nap later!
Meander wakes up in a lavish hotel room. Her hair is a mess, her sexy gown is disarranged, her makeup is smeared. She has that combo delicious sated afterglow/did-anyone-get-the-number-of-that-truck feeling one has after a wild night. We ain’t saying that they had sex, but we ain’t saying they didn’t. Meander gulps down the last of the champagne from the bottle and tries to pull herself together. Wow. That B-5 must be an animal! There’s a note, one of those thanks-for-last-night-notes from B-5, and a single rose. Meander shrugs. Apparently DG and B-5 had a great time. And she ends up with the headache. Oh, well. She heads home. God, does she want a bath!
Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl attempt to speak with Brainiac 5 about Princess Projectra’s strange, troubling behavior. He has no time. He has to work double-hard to make up for the time he’s taken off.
Later, that night, Brainiac 5 yawns. Time for a nap. (He hardly ever sleeps through the night—usually 20 minutes here and there.)
Brainiac 5 drifts off. He dreams. Dream Girl enters his dream. They kiss, they cling to each other. Their love is beyond measure.
Brainiac 5, on bended knee, proposes. He’s dreamed up an impressive engagement ring!
Dream Girl accepts.
And then, the UBERDEMON attacks. I want to call this guy IDJIT. I see him as almost comical/cartoony in a way, but in a horrific way. That chilling combo of goofy-cute and blood-curdling terror. I never saw any of the “Chucky” films, but I think that’s what they must have been going for. Stephen King’s It and others went a little that way, too. He is the antithesis of B-5’s conscious mind in many ways.
At first, B-5 doesn’t react. He thinks this is like the AD at the beginning, a dream thing that can’t really hurt DG. DG screams! This one is different.
IDJIT carries Dream Girl off to murky depths. Brainiac 5 tries to stop him, but his “power,” the force field, is defensive, and there’s nothing at hand to fight with. B-5 tries to follow….
The HENCH-DEMONS—I want to call them BEATER, BITER and LAFF—see IDJIT’s approach with his quarry. The can’t wait to get their talons on DG.
Brainiac 5 arrives at some nightmare/horror locale in his id. In some pit, out of sight, the Hench-demons torture Dream Girl. Idjit stands guard, barring B-5’s way to save her.
B-5 battles Idjit in spectacular ways I’ll invent. But…B-5 is losing! Idjit is a mighty urge, an inner demon of immense power. B-5 is being cut to bits, eviscerated—his will is eroding, his strength failing. He seems ready to succumb.
Dream Girl’s screams fire his courage and will once more. Nothing he has thrown at Idjit has done much good. He remembers, and focuses on Dream Girl’s words, said re: the “AD” at the beginning. “It’s all in your mind….”
This is his mind! He is master here!
Brainiac 5 rises up. He stops trying to fight and starts taking command. It is his mind…his mind…his mind…!
Suddenly, Idjit cannot harm him. Suddenly, B-5, here, in his mind, is utterly godlike. He is all-powerful.
Brainiac 5 screams “Get out of my mind!”—or somesuch—and Idjit VANISHES! Cast out!
B-5 storms into the pit where Beater, Biter and Laff are working their horrors upon Dream Girl. Glowing with almighty power, B-5 stalks toward them. Uh-oh….
Brainiac 5 utterly destroys the Hench-demons! But…before Laff is unmade, he stabs his claws toward Dream Girl’s eyes!
B-5’s “godlike” glow and power fade.
Brainiac 5 cradles badly-hurt Dream Girl. He’s crushed. This is all his fault.
She comforts him! She knew there were risks. She would face anything to be with him.
It is revealed (probably earlier) that Dream Girl could have escaped the hideous torture at any time by simply allowing her spirit self to “go toward the light”—to be drawn into the highest plane, the BEYOND. Heaven, though we’ll avoid religious references, where she belongs. But, there is no return from there—and so she chose to stay here, no matter what. (Driving her to escape to the Beyond was, in fact the goal of the Demons—the mission Princess Projectra gave them in return for freedom. What better way to be rid of DG forever?)
Brainiac 5 gently carries her out of the pit. She needs medical help—but how does one mend a spirit?
Dream Girl tells him that her wounds will fade—all but two. When Laff clawed her eyes, he blinded her. And worse, his claws struck deep—and took away her second sight as well.
Brainiac 5 is crushed. His remorse is endless, his grief palpable, his guilt….
NO! says DG. No guilt. That’s the key to the door that would free more demons. What happened, happened. It’s over. The important thing is that they’re together.
B-5 thinks maybe she should go toward the light. Being with him, much less marrying him, is probably the worst thing that she could do.
No, says DG. He proposed, she accepted, and she desperately wants to be his wife. Even if he reneges, she will remain with him. Unless he casts her out, she won’t go.
The dream they’re in starts to dissolve. Something is waking him up. An alarm, DG says. There is an emergency in the real world for which he is needed. She wishes she could tell him what it is, or how things will go, but….
B-5 is loathe to leave her. Do what you must, she says. She never thought she’d hear herself say these words, but…“Get to work!”
Brainiac 5 awakens. He’s grim, serious, hurting badly inside, but forcing his mind to focus on whatever the problem may be. That is his super-power. (The problem is, of course, that the Intruder Planet/ADs are attacking.)
In the home of Baron Biehler, Princess Projectra, the Shaman and others celebrate their victory. Better if Dream Girl had been driven out, but blinded will do.
In a dark, grimy alleyway on the lowest level of the city, IDJIT pulls himself to his feet. He touches his arms, his face and things around him. There’s no doubt. He exists in the real world! Cast out, indeed! What to do now…? What to do…?
END PART 1
Part 2: “Mystical Union”
The gist of the wedding issue, #50, is this:
It takes place immediately after the ADs are defeated. (And, therefore, there’s another small “break.”)
Brainiac 5 is taking lessons from Meander re: the mystical realities. He’s determined to understand all there is to understand about the un-realities so that he can make absolutely sure that nothing menaces Dream Girl ever again.
This issue will be almost entirely devoted to the wedding and events leading up to it. The bachelor party, the rehearsal, whatever. Fun stuff. The Legionnaires participate by means of shared dreams.
I envision a “four-page spread” for the climactic wedding scene. Don’t panic, Mike, I’m not asking for a fold-out. I figure to do it the way Steranko did—two consecutive two-page spreads designed so that if you bought two copies and laid the books side by side, one opened to spread “A” and one opened to spread “B,” they would fit together to make a four-page-wide spread.
On that four-page spread, I propose to feature a horde of people and characters. The Legionnaires, of course, Meander, other heroes I can logically justify (especially any who are dead), a few non-DC characters hinted at discreetly, other notable fictional folks, AND Shelly Moldoff, Curt Swan, George Klein, E. Nelson Bridwell, Edmond Hamilton, Otto Binder, Al Plastino, Jack Abel, Win Mortimer, Murray Boltinoff, Dave Cockrum—you get the drift. NO LIVING CREATORS! This ain’t about self-aggrandizement. Also, a super-fan, the late Rich Morissey. I’ll ask LSH expert Glen Cadigan to help me with the list. I might throw in Julie Schwartz trying to crash the party.
The presiding official…? Don’t know yet. Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson? Harry Donenfeld? Sol Harrison? Mike Marts? Dan Didio? Paul Levitz? Dave Cockrum? President Kieselbach? R.J. Brande? A made-up character?
There will be action via an opportunity provided by one of the guests—either the guest him/herself will cause a ruckus that is quelled by the Legionnaires and other guests, or some “hitch-hiker” that tagged along with a guest will cause a disturbance. This won’t be as grim and serious as the set-up issue. The “threat” will be colorful, the action will be fun, but nothing dire enough to really mar the occasion. Potential “foes” might be the dreaded “Y-ZINGER” (as in Mort), or the ghost of the SUN-EATER. Or whatever. Whoever/whatever will be defeated or destroyed by the Legionnaires and the guests. I see the artists doing battle with spear-sized pencils and pens, the writers—who are chained to their typewriters ball-and-chain style—swinging them like medieval flails, and the editors shouting orders.
Possibly IDJIT plays a role, or attempts some mischief in the real world and is rebuffed—but he’ll be back.
The good guys win, the reception is a blast and the honeymoon…? Ooh-la-la.
On the downloads sidebar you’ll find the finished script. It’s the “balloon placement” script, which has some adjustments and modifications in the copy I had to make to accommodate the fact that the penciler, Rick Leonardi, ignored some scene descriptions, ignored some reference, added panels, eliminated panels, failed to allow room for the copy—working from a full script!—and otherwise made my life difficult. Just like most other artists these days, who seem to take full scripts, approved by the editor, as suggestions.
There was never time to have art corrected at DC, and it was always okay to keep me up all night rewriting to accommodate the artist’s “editing” of my story.
Here is a supplementary package of reference I provided for this story.
WARNING! SOME OF THE REFERENCE PHOTOS ARE OF AN UNCLOTHED MODEL! If you find such things offensive, please avoid the following supplementary reference package. P.S. the editor and artist did not find them offensive.
I thought this script was one of my better efforts. I wish I’d gotten to finish the story. It would have been fun.
DESIGNS REQUIRED FOR ISSUE #47
Meander is young, pretty, light brown-skinned and dark-haired. She has piercing eyes of unusual color—“thousand-year-old-eyes” that one would swear had seen the pyramids rise. Facially, Amel Larrieux, could be Meander, perhaps with slightly lighter skin:
I see Meander as slender, graceful, sylphlike, distinctly smaller-busted and thinner than any of the Legion girls! This girl’s body is perfect:
Meander wears “retro” 21st Century clothing. Please avoid Goth clothes—don’t want to make her look like Death from the Sandman series. I see her as wearing a very tight baby tee shirt that doesn’t quite reach to her waist, allowing us to see some yummy tummy between it and her extreme low-rise, super-tight jeans, which are rolled up above her ankles. Here are two baby tees:
Maybe the tee has an iconic 20th Century image on it. A smiley face?
She also wears lace-up sneakers with no sox. She might sometimes wear a hat. Could be a bonnet, a baseball cap, a beret, a bicorne, a tricorne, a sombrero, whatever. On top, I’d suggest that she wear an opera cape:
Key features of the opera cape are the hood and the slits that allow the arms to poke through.
NOTE: When Meander becomes a Legionnaire, her uniform will be different. This is just for now. Though we might keep the opera cape, if you like it.
Idjit is an Uberdemon, the manifestation of all the twisted, dark, depraved yearnings in the blackest corners of Brainiac 5’s id. He’s all of what Brainiac 5 tries to repress given form. I see him as tall, thin—even a little gaunt—handsome in a bad boy sort of way, human-looking, possibly with some subtle differences. I don’t know what—something to give him a devil-ish aspect without resorting to the cliché symbology (horns, tail, pitchfork, etc.). I think we could do pointed, Mr. Spock-like ears without looking too corny, but…dunno. I think it would be good to do something subtle but interesting with his eyes—say, make them vary from yellow to orange to red when seen from a distance, and in very close up shots show, literally, fire inside them! Or something…. I don’t know. They might even literally be smoldering—that is, there might be tiny wisps of smoke wafting from his eyes, visible only in extreme close ups.
The above is when he’s “normal.” When aroused, in anger, in combat, he’ll become bigger, stronger and more dangerous-looking. Then, possibly his eyes are really ablaze, then, possibly his nails grow clawlike, and, what the hell, maybe he sprouts horns—unique and interesting horns, not the Hot Stuff cutesy kind.
As for clothes, I picture Idjit wearing some subtly kinky, fetish-y stuff, like a leather harness over his bare chest. He wears leather pants and boots. He probably has on women’s lingerie under the pants.
Here are a couple of leather harnesses, just for (lame) example:
Over the above I see him wearing a coat sort of conceptually similar to the one Neo wore in the Matrix—something that flows and blows, cape-like. We have to do something distinctly different than Neo’s coat, of course. I’m thinking maybe we could base his coat on a cutaway tux jacket:
BEATER, BITER and LAFF—the “Three Stooges” demons:
I see this guy as a demonic version of a redneck brute. Here’s a scribble:
Big Popeye forearms and big hands with oversized, rock-like knuckles. Stupid-looking. He wears a wife-beater tee-shirt!
I see this guy as an anthropomorphized pit bull. Here’s some pit bull ref:
I see this guy as a big, fat, demon with really nasty-looking knife-like claws. Here’s a scribble:
UNITED PLANETS SPACE FLEET SHIPS
U.P. Military Spaceships appear in this issue, and I don’t think they’ve ever been seen before. They’ll pop up here and there, and will be important at the climax of “One Evil.” I think it would be a good thing for you to design them, since they’ll be around for a while. They include:
SMALLER “ESCORT” WARSHIPS
Another item that will appear in one of your issues first, but that Rick will be drawing before you do, is the “Intruder Planet.” It’s described in the script as a “gas giant” (like Jupiter) but “strange.” I sort of picture it as a planet that has a lot of odd “features” like Jupiter’s famous “red spot.”
If you’d rather leave any or all of this stuff to Rick, I understand, but I hope you can squeeze it in.
|Francis Manapul's interpretation|
NEXT, OVER THE WEEKEND OR MONDAY: Disney Adventures