Hey, everyone! Another project I’ve been working on for a while now is a graphic novel entitled Omega Reign, which deals with a superhero world that has changed radically, and the heroes and villains who remain must ask themselves: what is a hero with nothing left to protect? And what is a villain with nothing left to destroy? It’s a story about what happens when all of the heroes and villains of a superpowered world must suddenly and forever hero away their masks and costumes and live amongst each other…kind of like normal people.
I have been developing this story in conjunction with two friends of mine – Jay Pascale and John Radosta, and John is also working on artwork for the story as well. While we’re all working through this, I thought I’d post the scripts of the issues as I write them. They are very loose on detail,so I could give John a lot of leeway. John already knows the story much better than these scripts let on, so hopefully, there will still be enough detail for you guys to follow what’s going on. If not, I trust somebody will tell me.
Thanks for reading!
written by BILL COFFIN
artwork by JOHN RADOSTA
story by BILL COFFIN, JAY PASCALE & JOHN RADOSTA
Somewhere up in the mountains. Late autumn, or early winter. We zoom in and close in on the sound of somebody chopping down a tree. Chok…Chok…Chok…
Finally, the massive pine tree teeters and falls with a terrific crash. And as it does, we see standing in the background, once blocked by the standing tree, what appears to be some kind of mountain main with an ax in hand. He is broadly muscled, and wears a shaggy beard. It looks like he’s been living out here on his own for a while.
He sort of frowns at the tree with a look of mild approval on his face. Not bad, he thinks.
He moves to the tree and takes his axe to the limbs in what is certain to be a very long job. Chok…chok…chok…
Suddenly, he notices that something is wrong. Showing no change in expression, he buries the axe in the tree trunk and walks off in a different direction. What is he walking toward?
He goes for a short distance, then we hear it. The growling of wolves. They approach him from the shadows of the forest. There are at least a half dozen of them, and they look as if any one of them could tear the mountain man to shreds.
He looks at them, unimpressed. They look at him. Dinner time.
The wolves stand there, not advancing.
The mountain man loses his patience.
“Come on, then,” he says.
The wolves all turn and run away. The alpha is the last to run. He lopes off and disappears into the trees with the rest of the pack.
The man is confused. Why’d they run off?
Then his expression changes. Now he knows.
A shadow falls across him. He turns and sees standing over him an enormous brown bear. It is absolutely massive. He does not stand a chance.
“Is that you, Kodiak?” the man asks.
The bear roars and stands on its hind legs.
“Guess not,” the man says. He stands his ground before the bear. He looks almost disappointed.
The bear just stays there, unable to attack. Just like the wolves.
It’s always like this, he thinks. They always know.
“If you’re not Kodiak, then you’re trespassing,” the man says. “Get the hell out of here.”
The bear looks a little confused. Then it stands down to all four feet again.
“I’m not kidding,” the man says. “Go.”
The bear turns and walks off in a different direction then where the wolves went. it stops, looks over its shoulder at the man, and then leaves. The man watches the bear walk off into the distance.
The man breaths slowly, a puff of his breath visible in the chilly air.
He walks back to the tree, and sees the ax still in the wood, waiting for him.
Who am I kidding? he thinks.
He grabs the tree by one of its larger, lower branches.
His face turns into a slowly simmering mask of anger, and within his eyes, there is…a crackling of energy.
I told them this wouldn’t work, he thinks.
His grip tightens on the tree.
I told them I couldn’t just walk away, he thinks.
His teeth grit.
EVEN IF THEY ALL DID.
In an explosion of power, he swings the entire tree like a giant baseball bat, and it blasts through the surrounding trees, which all blow apart into clouds of broken limbs and splinters. The tree he swung is destroyed; all he has left is a chunk of it he’s holding like some caveman’s club. The surrounding stand of trees has been destroyed in a single action.
He drops the wood and turns to walk away.
Nothing has changed, he thinks. Except…everything.
We cut to a log cabin elsewhere in the woods. It is night, and there is a glow from within the cabin from where a low fire burns in the hearth.
The man is sleeping, and he is dreaming troubled dreams.
We see an image of a incredibly tall skyscraper, with a person standing near the top, at its edge. It is a woman. She is young and beautiful, and she is wearing what look like some kind of stylized military fatigue pants and a rash guard for a shirt. Like what an acrobat would wear to war.
She looks at the camera. She smiles a creepy smile.
The man is sleeping on his bed. His eyes are closed, but he is talking in his sleep. “No…don’t…”
She moves slightly off camera. Then she is off it entirely. She has jumped.
He grimaces in his bed. The dreams continue.
A bird’s eye view of a marvelous city, a sprawling metropolis of the near future and all the technology that implies.
Somewhere, we are hearing a disembodied voice. “I know what she did,” the voice says. “And I know what you did.”
He grimaces in bed.
We see a series of bird’s eye shots showing flight over the city. Many marvelous buildings pass by until a single apartment complex comes into view. The camera homes in on one particular window until it blasts through it.
We see a disheveled figure inside surrounded by the kind of technology an insane conspiracy theorist might assemble. This is the workshop of a mad scientist, clearly. And there he is, looking like some supertechnology Ph.D dropout, holding some kind of remote control in his hand. It is black, shiny and ominous. It has a red trigger button, and his finger is extended, clearly not on the trigger.
“You know I’m serious,” the scientist says.
“Then do it,” the man in bed says.
“I’m serious!” the scientist screams.
The man in whispers. “I know.”
The scientist has a crazed look in his eyes. He puts his finger on the trigger. He begins to depress it.
The man wakes. It is still night. The fire has burned out.
He swings his feet to the side of the bed and holds his head in his hands. He stays there for a few frames until morning comes and shafts of sunlight cross the room.
He stands and walks to the cabin door. “I have to go,” he says to the empty room.
He opens the door, but before he leaves, he pauses.
“You know why,” he says, and then turns around.
The cabin is empty. It’s just him and a few meager possessions of a hermit living out in the woods. No creature comforts, really.
“Because it’s what I do!” he yells.
Another pause, as he angrily stares into space.
“Well, I’m not them,” he says. “I’ll never be them.”
He turns to leave once more.
“I don’t know. A day? It depends.”
He leaves, closing the door behind him.
“I know you don’t. But I do,” he says. “I have to make sure.” He speaks as he walks, and then runs, from the cabin. His strides get longer and longer as his body shimmers with energy. Something is awakening in him after a long sleep. His eyes are afire with energy, and he bounds once, twice, three times, each time, doubling the ground covered. An then…
…he is gone. Perhaps a nearby tree has the snow blown off its branches, as if a gust of wind just hit it.
High up in the sky. The mountains.
Elsewhere. higher up in the mountains. At a tall, snow-capped peak.
He is there, standing in the snow. He walks up the incline, leaving behind footprints in the snow. There are none leading to the point from which he began walking.
A doorway shimmers into existence, floating in the air before the man. He stands at full height before it. He is being scanned.
“Rand, Simon,” he says.
The door opens, and he steps inside it. Once he is in fully, the door winks out of existence.
We are looking down a deep, high-tech elevator shaft of some kind. Simon is floating in it. He slowly descends, and as he does, the shaft lights up. He passes the levels. 29. 54. 73. Finally, he comes to rest at the bottom. Level 99.
A door opens and Simon moves from the shaft to a large room that looks a bit like a hospital ward. Everything is white and the room has this huge, curved wall to it that seems to be divided into dozens of cells. It almost looks like a funeral vault of some kind, except each individual vault has its own control panel.
There is a big control panel area that powers up when Simon draws near. He waves his hands over the panels and holographic projections of what appear to be sleeping people project before him. They are wearing supervillain costumes. Names and titles hang by each of the people.
A woman with a tall, athletic build. Sasha Winter. Lady Sanguine.
A man who is is gangly and sinewy, except his right arm is freakishly oversized and bulging with muscles. Alphonso Krimmiken. Fiddler.
A woman who has a wide, toothy mouth, and gnarled, taloned hands and feet. Melinda Braithwaite. Abominatrix.
Each time Simon draws up a file, we see a different vault in the wall light up.
He draws up another file. It is a large hulk of a man with nordic runs tattooed across his body. He seems like a warrior from another time and another world. The readout simply says: Erik the Red.
Simon gives a little “Hmpf” to himself with a thin smile. He remembers this one.
He clears out all the holographs. They’re not the one he’s interested in. He brings his finger to the last button on the control panel, and hesitates.
He looks at it. What will he see?
He activates the record. Boop.
The holoprojector shows floating words. VAULT EMPTY.
Simon’s eyes narrow. He hits a few more buttons. New words appear in a different query font: WHERE IS THE FUGUE?
The projector sends up new letters: NO RECORD FOUND.
We see Simon’s face as his expression changes to a kind of stern, mask, permanently frozen between anger and disappointment. The light of the words, NO RECORD FOUND, illuminate his face.
His anger gets the better of him and he raises his fist back to smash the console Stupid machine! STUPID MACHINE!
He brings his fist down…and stops himself just short of destroying the console.
He looks at all those closed vaults. All those supervillains still safely asleep. They said it was escape-proof, Simon thinks.
WHERE IS THE FUGUE?
They said he couldn’t get away.
NO RECORD FOUND.
But he did, he thinks. Simon walks to a side door where he enters. Jets from all sides blast him with something, and the cell fills with a kind of steam of vapor. He disappears in it. Then the jets turn off, and we see a figure emerge from the mist.
It is Simon. But he is immaculately clean. His beard is gone. His hair is trimmed. He looks every part the ubermensch. His old clothes are gone, and instead is wearing a stylized skintight outfit. His uniform.
He walks out of the vault room and back into the shaft. The holoprojectors change words. WHERE ARE YOU GOING, SIMON?
He can tell he is being addressed, even though he is not even looking at the words. He knows what they say.
He raises his hand, and the entire room shuts down, back to standby mode, like it was when he first entered.
He enters the shaft, looks up, and blasts upward, flying faster than a speeding…well, you know.
Outside, the door to the shaft shimmers open again, and out flies Simon, who in and instant is high above the mountains, flying at maximum speed. But to where? Wherever the Fugue may be.
He thinks of the holoprojector one more time. WHERE ARE YOU GOING, SIMON?
The name…, he thinks as he flies into the night sky, …is Praetorian.
We see the cabin in the foreground, and in the background, in the sky, is what appears to be a comet flying overhead in the far distance. It is Simon.
Back to Simon. And back to that dream he had of the girl jumping off the building. We see her taking her fateful step off.
We see Praetorian standing nearby, watching her fall, and making no move to save her. Why is he not saving her?
Simon squeezes his eyes shut, as if to force out the memory. But he can’t. He cannot fly fast enough or far enough to escape the memories that are haunting him.
Back to the dream. She is falling.
He watches her descent.
And falls, until she is just a dot against the ground.
And then, a dot, surrounded by cars with flashing lights.
Alone, he looks skyward and…
…Simon flies past the sound barrier, the boom echoing across the mountain valleys, and causing a few deer to look up at the noise, startled.
He is flying with all his might now. I know where you are, he thinks.
Simon is flying over the Great Plains. There is only one place you can be, he thinks.
Simon is flying over a body of water, perhaps the coastline. In the distance, we see the skyline of a massive metropolis, replete with magnificent towers and soaring bridges. But it is daytime, and we do not see the city lit up.
It has to be with them, he thinks. It has to be…
Simon is over the city, now, and we see him surveying the city from his vantage, where he can see it in all of its splendor. The skyscrapers, the brilliant architecture, the signs of supertechnology – floating highways for flying cars, arcologies, everything surfaced in glass and futuristic looking. The city of tomorrow. Only it is empty. No flying cars. No people. No signs of life. Anywhere.
And Simon hovers in place over it like a watchful lord returning to his kingdom.
…HOME., he thinks.
END OF ISSUE #1