ASH/HCC: Coherent Super Stories #29 - "Leftovers" featuring Iguana Jack

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Sat Jul 28 00:45:53 PDT 2012

On Mon, 23 Jul 2012 20:39:06 +0000 (UTC), Dave Van Domelen wrote:

>      [The cover shows a titanic lizard-man struggling in the grip of a bone
> dragon of some sort, on the shores of a burning lake.]


>      The turn of the Century was a tumultous time around the Coherent Comics
> offices.  The editors had made the bold decision (later imitated by another
> superhero universe beginning with the letter "W") to shake things up by,
> well, killing off all the superhumans and taking Earth to the brink of
> destruction.


> Eventually, it was decided that the market really couldn't
> support more than a couple of titles with that tone, and most of Coherent's
> output jumped ahead to tell stories about the next generation of superhumans
> in the 2020s, leaving only "From the ASHes" as an anthology series to
> continue telling "present day" stories, and it petered out a few years
> later.

Ooooo. Nice way to do it. (Now if only Wumbostorm had tried that.)

>      The story you are about to read, however, fell into a bizarre shadowland
> between those that fit the intended tone and those that were so bizarre they
> had to be explained away.  It didn't quite break any of the rules, but it
> bent them so badly that no one would approve any further stories using the
> characters from it.  And so it was swept under the rug and forgotten for over
> a decade. 
>      It is with no small trepidation we present the backup story from October
> 2000's From The ASHes #24, "Leftovers".


>      "I presume you do not refer to the young men with their pants down
> nearly around their knees, although that fashion trend is indeed deplorable
> and is clearly impeding their ability to flee."


>      "A dragon, they're not real...well, they're magic.  Which means someone
> either found a dragon a few years ago and skinned it, or just made a dragon
> skeleton out of pure magic because he was a sicko with a thing for bad
> fantasy game art,"

Either way!

>      "Okay, that's twisted!" Kate sprinted over by his side.  "Someone made
> an undead dragon skeleton out of chicken bones?  REALLY?!"

Hey, waste not, want not, lady!

>      "Gah," Kate spat.  "It's like reviewing a really bad but really popular
> matter how many holes I put in it, it keeps going!"


>      The bone dragon had decided it could ignore them, and had moved on to
> destroying the waterfront buildings.  Either its creator had been intent on
> demolition, or his instructions had gotten muddled over time and neglect.

Not the abandoned warehouse district!

> But Cleveland still had over half
> of its pre-crash population, and this was one of the more heavily-populated
> parts of the city core.

Never mind.

>      "In a manner of speaking, yes.  All Scout Units need a way to wreak
> havoc if our reconnaissance determines that a target must be destroyed
> immediately.  The specific means depends on the nature of the engineered
> entity, and the cybernetic varieties DO have bombs.  But my breed is
> different."

Nice build of tension.

>      "Eating, at first.  Quite a lot.  The base modifications of Omega Mode
> won't be enough, I need to add mass at a reckless rate, which will allow me
> to grow into a beast that can match the dragon blow for blow.  But it is not
> magic, and even if I survive the transformation, I do not know if I can ever
> return to my current form...or my current mind.  The Omega Mode is meant to
> die in the process of doing as much damage as possible, none has used it and
> lived long enough to see if it can be reversed.  Kate," he held her shoulders
> and stared unblinkingly into her eyes.  "I will not be the same person once I
> have completed the transformation.  I will try very hard to limit my rampage
> to just the dragon, but I may become as mindless as it seems to be.  If that
> happens, I want you to be the one to kill me."

Ooooooooooooooooooh. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Yes, I love this.

>      But now he knew it was more than pragmatism that caused that catch in
> her voice.  And he felt something akin to it himself, fear and regret for
> what must happen.

Such great characters. <3

>      With no further conversation, Iguana Jack dashed towards the wreckage of
> the diner, triggering the hormonal changes within himself that would lead to
> Omega Mode.  On their own, these changes would merely rearrange his existing
> form within limits imposed by natural law, perhaps tripling his strength and
> making him recklessly savage.  But any organic matter he could consume in the
> next few minutes would be quickly converted, adding to his mass and power.
>      With a restaurant's entire larder to work with?  
>      It would be GLORIOUS.


>      Then the Omega Mode bit down hard on the head of the necromantic menace,
> swallowing shattered bones and throwing them into the horrific biofurnace
> churning away in his belly.
>      The spell shattered in a burst of nauseating anti-life energy.  Whoever
> had cast it, for whatever reason, it no longer mattered.  Just one more
> leftover from an age of wonders destroyed.  It had been a monster rather than
> a thing of beauty, but its loss still diminished the world a tiny bit.


>      "KAAAAATE...."
>      She blinked, shaking off the mystical miasma.  "Jack?  Are you still in
> there?" 
>      "Do you need me to...?" she started to lift the guns.
>      Jack shook his massive head slowly.  "PUSHED.  TOO FAR.  TOO BIG.  TOO

Aaaaaaaaaaaugh. ;.;

>      Kate kept watching the lake until long after the last ripples had
> vanished into the normal wind-driven waves.
>      "See you later," she said, then vanished into the gathering crowd.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugh. ;.;

> Previously,
> I'd mostly worked from the premise that the fictional Coherent Comics just
> jumped ahead to 2022 stories after blowing things up in 1998, but who's to
> say they didn't try something like the Wildstorm Universe first, a few years
> of post-apocalyptic stories with few or no superheroes?

It's a pretty neat idea, in theory!

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, Jaaaaaaaaaack ;.;

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