Old Shames: Energycore of Power #19
Hi, Iâ€™m Matti Mali aka HedonisticActor and I continue Old Shames in text form and chronicle the unfinished part of my old superhero comic series. In the previous blog I recapped some elements of the story so anyone not seen my videos are better on map as we tackle with issue #19. It was originally meant for March 2006 but was delayed to next yearâ€™s July until I finally decided to give up. The issue is titled Together and Not.
Before I start things proper I have a confession to make. Issue #33 wasnâ€™t intended to be the end of Energycore of Power, it was intended to be the end of the first series. My original plan was to first write 33 issues, then wait for five years and allow characters to grow in real time (comic book time wasnâ€™t allowed to this series causing all kinds of troubles in story pacing and inner logic), write 33 more issues, another five year break and write 34 issues and finally end Energycore of Power to its 100th issue. If I had stuck to my original plans Iâ€™d be currently writing issue #57 and Energycore of Power itself wouldâ€™ve ended in December 2022. Yeah, back then I honestly thought I would still write this plot hole ridden mess at the age of 33. Donâ€™t worry tough as Iâ€™m not planning to talk about my plans beyond issue #33 as they are rather hazy although I would have largely improvised depending on the world events.
Oh right, the issue. It opens right after the events of issue #18 with the main antagonist Chemistâ€™s grand father Ferdinand Forrestal, an Anglican priest who received a phone call from his grand son and gets to know that Chemist and Witch are about to get married. Indeed, in the previous issue they promised to tie the knot after five months of dating and the events of this issue revolve around their wedding in Marseilles, France. Ferdinand, who is also their wedding priest, isnâ€™t the only family member attending to the ceremony as from Chemistâ€™s side thereâ€™s also going to be grand mother Rose and little brother Joel and from Witchâ€™s side the guests are father Marcel, mother Caroline, big sister AmeliÃ© (plus her husband and son), little sister Dianna and little brother Pierre. Chemistâ€™s parents wonâ€™t be attending as they died in a car accident when he was eight years old.
I have to say at this point that introducing these family members deepens the characterization of the wedding pair as they reveal some interesting bits about their past and general attitudes and overall this issue does a good job in humanizing some of the most notable members of the rouge gallery. Perhaps too good job but Iâ€™ll get to that later.
We cut to March when its only two weeks before the wedding but Witch still doesnâ€™t have a maid of honor. Chemist has chosen Ripper as his best man because he has was one of the founders of Protectors of Humankind but Witch havenâ€™t been in contact with her school friends and the other female member of the team was Emily â€œZombie Grannyâ€ Patterson who died three issues ago. Therefore sheâ€™s going for a bold solution and asks Gravity Girl who, as you may remember from the previous blog, was a good friend of hers but they are now serving in the opposing teams. Or she could, I donâ€™t know, ask one of her sisters but apparently in this world a blood relative as a maid of honor is not allowed. However Chemist is surprisingly open to the idea as he is ready to negotiate for peace with Energycore of Power.
Speaking of our heroes they are currently guests for another superhero team United Heroes of Europe who were briefly seen in issue #14. I introduced their ex-members Witch and Gravity Girl in the previous article but here is their current roster:
Gerhard Niffenkoff/Superleader â€“ The leader of the team is a 64-years old Belgian politician and as with Witch his political stands or position is never specified. He has kind of formed the team to serve the interests of European Union but that is also vague as you will soon find out. Power-wise heâ€™s pretty much Superman-lite; he can fly but he has no invulnerability.
Eduardo Spizena/Matador â€“ The third founder member is a Spanish vaguely defined politician whoâ€™s not only skilled with sword but can cause berserk to his enemies. He also has zero personality.
Lauri Nummila/Shaman â€“ Because of course there has to be at least one Finnish character. He has vague shamanistic powers, non-existent background and zero personality. He will get a tad more character development than Matador but not much.
Tiffany Dannington/Sizer â€“ A 13-year old British orphan who Superleader took as his warden and who can change her size up to a three story building. Sheâ€™s silent most of the time which admittedly brings an intriguing mystery but itâ€™s going to be somewhat stupid.
At the beginning it is shown that Gravity Girl and Superleader are having some schism between them and so many problems would have been solved if she had told to her team mates right away whatâ€™s the deal here. Then again the team leader Stormkiller isnâ€™t right now the best person to talk to: his battle against Hedgehogboy in the previous issue left him horrifically scarred â€“ and those scars would remain on his face for the rest of the series â€“ and the emotional distress of not winning over Gravity Girlâ€™s heart has caused him anxiety problems that he has to fix with pills. Our main character, ladies and gentlemen.
The two superhero teams are having a team up for two missions. The first one is a simple diplomacy/body guard gig as the higher ups the alien race Kaldrean are visiting the local museum of natural history but the more action oriented task is to defuse bombs that are planted on the local Hilton hotel. You see, United Heroes of Europe doesnâ€™t have a villainous counter part; rather their opponents have been mysterious agents that have caused various mischiefs throughout Europe. According to Superleader their employer is none other that Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Great-Britain but so far they have been unable to prove it. Stromkiller, Lucky Guy, Pirate and Shadowmind are assigned for the more action-filled mission while the rest of them are out of focus. Gravity Girl is assigned to neither as she said to be meeting some of her friends while in reality she attends as the maid of honor in Chemist and Witchâ€™s wedding.
By the way the museum and the hotel both happen to be in the same city, namely Marseilles in France, which also happens to be where the wedding ceremony is held. What a coincidence!
For a while things go smoothly, Chemist and Witch are having their big moment and during the ceremony we get a funny moment where Witchâ€™s father escorts her to the altar and flat out says to Chemist: â€œTreat her nicely, I know where you liveâ€. Man, that requires immensive guts. Meanwhile things in the museum go little sour when the museum curator brings up human evolution and for Kaldreans evolution theory is heresy. Also their ex-president Kreffeck Gardaling gets a phone call from the current president and is informed that they have finally built an engine that goes faster than light. Therefore he orders couple of more war ships so his troops can tackle against the other alien race Denerians.
After the big moment where the happy pair kisses we cut to the after party where their siblings confront them about their life choices. First Witchâ€™s siblings ask why she married such a morally questionable person and somehow they know she freed Ripper from jail in order to join in Protectors of Humankind. She explains that after she left from United Heroes of Europe, Protectors of Humankind was the least immoral choice from superhuman teams that â€œwant to change the world, not just stop the others from changing itâ€. Well if she wanted to be a superhero so badly then why not just go solo or better yet ask her fellow ex-team mate and really good friend Gravity Girl to form a superhero duo? Instead she moved to United States to tarnish her reputation by joining in a team consisting of killers and assholes, although admittedly she has managed to do better job in being the team leaderâ€™s moral backbone than Lucky Guy has.
Chemist gets the same kind of treatment from his little brother. He once again uses the â€˜Iâ€™m like the merciful Samarianâ€™ defense but Iâ€™d like to once again point out that the Samarian helped a near death man and wanted nothing in return where as Chemist helped a bunch of heinous bastards so they could help him to exact revenge. Chemist however does regret some of his past actions and admits to have become a better person due to Witchâ€™s influence although he doesnâ€™t specify how that actually happened. But itâ€™s not just the bride and groom who get this treatment as Ripper is confronted by his mother Juliette Lepuzzi and is given a lecture about his sociopathic tendencies.
The previous two paragraphs showcase well a big problem that has just recently stepped in to the series: the villains are more likable than the heroes. Their relationships are in better shape, they trust each other, their team work has certainly become better now that Zombie Granny is gone and at least some of them want to become better persons. The heroes on the other hand are either self-centered jerks or blank slates. A better written story could pull this alignment shift off and make some commentary about the nature of heroism but Energycore of Power isnâ€™t interested about character development. Instead it wants to pile asinine plot twists after asinine plot twists that are surprising, yes, but they should also make sense.
Back to the events. Chemist speaks to Gravity Girl about making peace with Energycore of Power and where he could meet Stormkiller. She slips that Stormkiller would probably kill her if he knew she was at his worst enemyâ€™s wedding and leaves because of saying too much but says to Chemist he should â€œtry Afghanistanâ€. You might want to narrow it down, lady, itâ€™s still a rather big place.
Meanwhile Energycore of Power has arrived to the hotel to diffuse the bombs but Lucky Guy notices that thereâ€™s no explosive material inside those bombs. He sees an agent and goes to chase him but notices the wedding through a window (yes, heâ€™s outside of who knows how many stories high building). He makes a run for it when Ripper notices him which then reports about this to Chemist and Witch. She wonders if Gravity Girl is involved but he doubts it as our â€˜heroesâ€™ apparently have inner problems. Then the old series got cancelled.
Now that the written material has ended the style of this retrospective changes somewhat. There wonâ€™t be any specific quotes and the stuff is vague in some parts but even after seven years I still remember all the important events I had planned. As the describing of an issueâ€™s content takes a shorter while Iâ€™ll include more than one issue in the future blogs. Anyway, the rest of the issue:
Ripper, Liar and Ratman go search for Lucky Guy and Liar sees an agent which he follows to the roof. However up there heâ€™s ambushed by Superleader who knocks him down. A moment later a helicopter arrives with Tony Blair who takes the unconscious Liar with him. Thatâ€™s right, Superleader has worked with Mr. Blair all this time and you just wait until you read what the underlying plan has been. Unluckily for Blair though Ratman arrives just in time, jumps on a moving helicopter and gnaws some wires cut and causes the helicopter to crash. Miraculously no one important dies but Liar wakes up, makes Blair to confess that he was planning to use Liarâ€™s powers for his own purposes and then makes him think heâ€™s a pig. And that was Tony Blairâ€™s last appearance in this series.
After the copter had left Stromkiller arrived to the roof and saw the agent. He killed them. Lucky Guy scolds him for crossing the line but no other consequences happen, at least for now.
At the end of the issue the heroes confront Superleader who reveals his ultimate goal: to make Europe into a single nation. When he formed United Heroes of Europe he made a deal with Tony Blair: by creating a threat for them to fight the team would seem like theyâ€™re actually doing something important and boost Superleaderâ€™s own image to make him seem like a competent leader. Or something. I have no idea how that plan is supposed to work because I doubt Blair would want to be made into a big evil in the eyes of everyone, nor is it never specified what those agents actually have done. Revelations arenâ€™t over yet as Sizer finally speaks up and tells that she knew about this plan but Superleader forced her to be silent by emotional abuse. I donâ€™t know how thatâ€™s supposed to work either, only thing she needs to do is to grow into a giant and squash the bastard. Also turns out that Witch and Gravity Girl had their suspicions and disgusted by this left the team. Not sure why they didnâ€™t tell anyone though.
Superleaderâ€™s team mates donâ€™t approve this kind of behavior either and thus United Heroes of Europe falls apart. Matador will travel to United States where he becomes a member of Los Angeles Hero Department, Shaman joins in Energycore of Power and Sizer joins in Protectors of Humankind after running into them. And what about Superleader? While heâ€™s crying about how his dream is botched in front of the huge map of Europe that reads â€œUnited States of Europeâ€ in Dutch none other than George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin arrive. As those who have watched Old Shames might remember the presidents of United States and Russia both have superpowers, Bush aka Warmachine can change his body parts into weapons and Putin aka Cheerer can make his opponents to underestimate him. They ask Superleader to replace Tony Blair in their team Worthy And Stupendous Persons which he happily agrees.
However before we end the issue thereâ€™s one unresolved plot thread that has been unresolved since issue #10: the relationship between Lucky Guy and Time Empress. During this time it has been never mentioned and now the series suddenly remembers â€˜oh right, that existedâ€™. Lucky Guy canâ€™t deal with the idea of their worst enemies tying the knot and potentially having a happy life together so he buys a wedding ring with intention of proposing Time Empress. Before he manages to do the deed she confronts him and tells that because of having no time to focus on their relationship they should call it off. Lucky Guy who realizes that he was obsessive towards his enemies just like his brother agrees and silently throws the ring away.
The above incident is another showcase of why Energycore of Power does crappy job with its â€˜realistic time movementâ€™ gimmick. Of course it seems like they didnâ€™t have time to work with their relationship, the only thing the readers see are them fighting bad guys. Keep in mind though that usually thereâ€™s at least a month time gap between issues â€“ the exceptions being #1-2 and #15-16 where the events follow almost immediately after another â€“ and I doubt they fight against crime 24/7. Then again I sometimes I move important works in favor of some less important stuff without noticing it so who am I to judge, I guess.
So that was Energycore of Power #19, the last issue of the old series that has written material about it. In the next blog Iâ€™ll talk about either two or three issues but whatever Iâ€™ll decide be still prepared for Energycore of Power and Super Trio of Asia battling against the hordes of Taliban terrorists, killer ninjas and zombie commies. Also George W. Bush transforms into a tank.