Monday, May 20, 2013

Universal Comics Movieverse 10

10: The Inevitable Crossover!

I’ve been hinting at this for a while, but we’re here now – the movie in which we link together the other films.

Now, in theory we should have had teaser sequences linking one film to another (a good reason to sketch first acts in advance) but nothing is immediately coming to mind. In theory we should also have another movie – either Captain Nostalgia 2 or Aeaea 2 – before the big film to fit in the Iron Man 2 movie, but I’m skipping that. Yes, I could probably use the screen real estate but I also have to take into consideration spotlight time issues.

In any event, we should now look at primary and secondary characters. Everyone should have their main hero and a back-up hero at this point. The main heroes are obvious, but here are potential back up heroes
·         Either Lee or Buzz. Yes, they’d be in their 90’sbut perhaps they’d been in some Ad Astra designed cryogenics or temporal suspension as the Ad Astra’s secret leader. This works best if Nostalgia downloaded some Uberjager information into one of them to explain strange skills or powers.
·         Aldebaran Brody’s Yoda-like astral form; Death is just another dimension, after all.
·         Dr. Robinson: If he’s still alive after the Doc Toltec movie then he needs to die here. Makes a great Agent Coleson.
·         Nurse Betty: her unique power of Summon Bondage Incident, but the fact that she’s written to be quick witted and not unskilled in combat, might work to place her here in a stretch, but it’s a real stretch.
·         Dr. Sun: in the comics she’s a legitimate second string hero with her custom drugs, toxins, healing skills and high tech sensory gear, so she’s obvious

I expect things might play out as follows
Main Hero
Secondary Hero
Captain Nostalgia
Dr. Robinson
Dr. Sun
Doc Toltec
“Buzz” Buznek
Note that Dave just started playing Jim’s PC from the Phoenix movie. No reason not, and Jim didn’t want to have two super-smart scientist doctor PCs in the game. Besides, I think the idea of an in and out of temporal stasis Jimmy Buzznek as the oracular head of the Ad Astras is something that would appeal. Besides, none of Dave’s supporting cast members fit the bill for being back up heroes of the requisite power level.

As usual we’re going to sketch out the first act of the movie – given how many moving pieces we have. A quick aside here about time: once we hit the contemporary movies we assume a one year time lag between films. This means that it’s a year later for Doc Toltec, 2 years for Phoenix and, um, 32 years for Aeaea – fortunately his powers keep him from looking too much older.

For this first movie I feel like we should have the Conflagration – the crisis on infinite universe-esque crossover that unified the various comics lines, with some appearance by ONI from the Doc Toltec movie for a greater tie in. (This matches, somewhat, how the Avengers movie drew from two different Avengers stories – the Ultimates Chitori invasion and the Loki brings the team together origin from the Avengers). Everyone agrees to this and we get ready to sketch out act 1

Frequency, Part 3

I spent time last post discussing the power frequencies from the first films, which is something we need to do again specifically for this because now we’re at the point of having a team of heroes with heavily overlapping abilities, just as teams of solo heroes have in the comics. To make matters worse three of our heroes are medical/scientist/inventor types (Doc Toltec, Dr Robinson, Dr Sun), two are mystical types (Aeaea, Aldabaran) and two are Uberjaager style detectives (Nostlagia, Buzz). Buzz and Toltec both have fancy vehicles, Nostlagia, Aeaea & Phoenix fly and fire blasts. That’s why we have Frequency.

The players state the frequency for their Main Heroes first
Captain Nostalgia
·         Historian – Primary
·         Gravity Gear – Secondary
·         Uberjager Detective - Tertiary
·         Eugenically Bred Human – Tertiary
·         Time Travel Device – Rare
Nostalgia actually downplays the detective work for this movie, instead pulling his Historian skill to the fore. Remember that his History is our present and future, so he has the huge advantage of knowing what’s going on. (Remember how Thor shows up exactly where he needs to be and can spell out the basics of Loki’s plan re the alien army? Yeah, like that, but turned to 11.)

Aeaea’s powers and frequency for his film are
·         Magical Rituals (Growth, Astral, d-travel, etc) – Primary
·         Magical Spells (Transmute, force fields, flight) - Secondary
·         Magical Force of Will – Tertiary
·         San Francisco Urbanite – Rare
·         Commercial Artist – Rare
Aeaea’s private life and city knowledge are meaningless in this movie, and for purposes of big movie flash rituals are front and center, followed up by his other spells. 

Phoenix Powers and frequency for her film are
·         Wings - Primary
·         Stellar Channeling - Secondary
·         Heightened Speed - Tertiary
·         Heightened Strength - Tertiary
·         Powers enhanced in Space – Rare
·         Musician – Rare
Very little changes for her, but notice how Nostalgia and Aeaea have both downplayed their Flight abilities relative to hers, It’s not that they can’t/don’t but they don’t lead with it the way she does, protecting her niche

Doc Toltec’s powers and frequency for his film are
·         Bronze Hard Skin - primary
·         Theosophical science- Secondary
·         Vehicles – tertiary.
·         Vast Gold Supply - Rare
·         Medical Skills - rare
He’s still super smart and leading with his fists, but it means that he’s likely to get knocked back and then come up with a master plan. His vehicles have moved up the list, all but asking for the chance to use his ornithoper or space ship in this movie.

Now on to the second string heroes. Each of these should have 3, maybe 4 powers to rank because they just aren’t as competent as the core heroes – they don’t have to carry their own books and be a little bit good at everything.

Dr. Robinson’s attributes, for example, are
·         Genius Epidemiologist – Primary
·         Two Fisted World Traveler – Secondary
·         Excellent Bedside Manner - Tertiary
This means that he will be smart earlier than Doc Toltec, who would otherwise dominate the smart doctor role. Still, Toltec is so much better than him at both the smarts and the two-fisted ness it means that Robinson will probably have to solve a secondary problem is the third act.

Dr. Sun’s attributes are
·         Coat Full of Toxins – Primary
·         Sensor Engineer - Secondary
·         Genius Biochemist – Tertiary
Dr. Sun is also a genius doctor (says something about the Universal Comics continuity, doesn’t it?) but r Sun is a currently appearing second string hero in the UC books – with her bullet poorf lab coat and pockets full of gas grenades, toxin injectors and science-sensor stuff- whereas Robinson is dead and had been for years. As such we want to make Dr. Sun more action oriented and let Robinson take the doctor spotlight.

Aldebaran’s attributes are
·         Astral Form – Primary
·         Prophetic Advice - Secondary
·         Mind Control – Tertiary
Fort his movie, at least, Aldebaran is a sneaky type with her astral form which can go undetected but also has a limited ability to do things. She can, however offer up prophecies and advice and in a pinch can enter people and mind control them, but it’s very tiring and of erratic duration. These are things no one else is particularly good at, so she doesn’t hog any spotlight.

Finally we have Buzz
·         Ad Astra Organization – Primary
·         Plane Crazy Kid - Secondary
·         Uberjaager Combat – Tertiary
We stripped the Ad Astras out from Captain Nostalgia because they more clearly fall on Buzz as another player character. He has vast resources and the Ad Astra psychohistory apparatus at his disposal, but when he wants to get his hands dirty he is still an expert pilot, in great shape (chronologically in his late 30’s) and carries the downloaded memories of the Uberjaager combat techniques he got in the first film. Neither he nor Nostlagia have this sort of thing as primary but it does let him holds his own for a fight scene. Like the other back up character’s he’s just not as good as the main heroes, but he’s an awful lot better than a normal person.

The First Act

Again we do a quick sketching out of the first act. The difficulty here is that we want some room for mystery but we also have to make sure that the audience gets the answers they need – who is the bad guy, what is his plan – quickly enough that they don’t lose interest. We should also open with the secondary heroes so that they get a little more screen time before the big guns take over. This means we open with Dr. Robinson and Dr. Sun investigating a disease that has to do with a dimensional cross rip not dissimilar to the one that created Phoenix two year ago. This leads to them facing a super-threat (how about one of Phoenix’ rogues gallery, make it Roc with her growth/flight). The pair have to fall back and go get help – they call Ad Astra HQ, then one heads to New York and the other to San Francisco.

Back in Chicago we pick up with Doc Toltec, who is also en media res fighting something extra-dimensional menace, when he gets back to West Side general hospital he is able to pinpoint where the next outburst will be and takes off to intercept it, letting the Ad Astra organization know where he’s heading.

Dr. Sun meets up with Phoenix in New York, brings her up to speed on the problem and gets her to head for the located next outbreak site. Dr. Robinson meets with Aeaea in San Francisco, explains the problem and gets him to head for the outbreak site. Let’s have the next outbreak site be…I dunno, Denver. Get some mountain scenery in for the inevitable mistaken identity fight. Naturally Aeaea and Phoenix pummel on each other before being redirected by Doc Toltec to take out the outbreak villain (who, as with Toltec’s fight, isn’t a named villain).

The heroes take the outbreak villain prisoner and head to the Ad Astra HQ, where the we have six of our eight PCs (Aldebaran hanging out astrally). There is a long tracking shot of the heroes being there when the time cube is opened and Buzz steps out and starts barking orders and asking incomprehensible questions so the main heroes have to follow in his wake to a ‘staging area’. Once there Captain Nostalgia appears out of time, gives Buzz a handshake and proceeds to infodump the hell out of things because he’s from the future and he can bloody well do that. Said infodump reveals that the end of the world, indeed all worlds, are coming and they have to work together to stop it.

That’s the end of act 1, with the enforced teamwork being the big plot turn. None of the players (save Tom) have any idea what’s in the infodump and again there’s no advance plotting past that, save that Dr. Robinson really honestly needs to die in the second pinch. He’s been kicking around long enough.

I could work out what the main villain’s plot is, but it could be anyone – ONI, the Nazi’s even poor Ralph Crabtree having descended into madness. It doesn’t matter for my purposes, and I have Roc and any number of other outbreak victims as super-powered threats for them to fight before a big boss battle.

Next up, the rest of the movies!