8FOLD: Daylighters # 1, "Pursued By A Bear"

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Mon May 27 21:47:18 PDT 2019

On Monday, May 27, 2019 at 11:40:53 PM UTC-4, Drew Perron wrote:
> Hokay, time to read Daylighters! I'm only six months late on this one, whee! X3


> > Came out of that - how long ago,
> > Mouse?"
> >     "Week ago?" says Knockout Mouse.
> >     "A week ago," says Shimmer. "No belt, still have the powers. Go fig."
> NICE. I expected this to be a dramatic onscreen reveal, but it works really well 
> as this casual drop. (...and if it's a dramatic onscreen reveal in something 
> else, maybe I've forgotten X3)

In the Darkhorse mini. It was kinda casual there though too.

> >     Knockout Mouse punches a hole into a robotic belly. Once inside his
> > metal midriff, she squeezes her fist, increasing its mass
> > exponentially, creating an irresistible gravitation pull that
> > collapses the eight foot robot in on itself. It forms a small ball the
> > size of a gumdrop.
> >     It's impossibly heavy, and she lets go of it immediately.
> > Featherweight scoops it up before it touches the ground and, with a
> > show-off pirouette, he flicks it high in the air.
> >     Shimmer grabs each of her comrades by one hand, and the three
> > become like ghosts. They don't budge an inch when the ball touches the
> > earth. The street immediately gives way, collapsing into a cone-shaped
> > hole that swallows up the robots.
> THAT'S SO AMAZING! What a good combo!

That's very kind, thanks. Team-up moves and action sequences are one of the appeals of doing a superhero team book. It's one thing I really don't get to do with something like Mancers, which doesn't properly have superheroes or action in that sense.

> Hmmmm. Thoughts on bad luck that maybe the story will bring up so I'll hold 'em 
> for now~

Did the story bring them up? Interested as always to hear your musings.

> > If I had his powers, you know what I'd do with them?"
> >     Featherweight shakes his head.
> >     "Nothing," says Bethany. "I wouldn't put myself in situations where
> > I'm going to risk hurting people. I wouldn't be around other people at
> > all."
> Oh, sweetie. You should probably have some therapy. Like... people don't need to 
> be useful to be worthy of living, and that includes you.

I think from her point of view it's more like, "hey, whether you mean to or not, you're causing harm, so you shouldn't be doing that". In a way, Jonah's situation is kinda like a Typhoid Mary situation (actual person Mary Mallon, not the Daredevil character) -- and I'm not sure if there's an easy answer there. So it's not so much that he needs to be "useful", or that Bethany would even see him that way, but that he needs to not put other people at risk of serious injury and death.

That said, Bethany probably needs therapy for other reasons that I'm not going to spoil for you yet. She's older than she was in JOLT CITY - a lot can happen in six years, and frankly a lot has. She's less shy, more confident, less patient, more pragmatic.

There is a certain degree of cynicism that's seeped in as she's gotten older, part of which has to do with The Last Story, which again happened about four or five months before this series, and saw some catastrophic suffering. As is kinda touched in on this story when she's talking about what happened to Las Vegas at the end of JOLT CITY, she feels responsible for when bad things happen on her watch, feels like she's failed, and it is to a degree just wearing her down.

Kate is more sympathetic toward Jonah, and is also the one who tells Bethany that she can't blame herself for what the bad guys do. And it's not like Kate hasn't been through her share of terrible superhero drama - she's been running around in tights since the very first-ever Eightfold story, was severely abused as a child, was one of those Spider-Man type "superhero the cops are always trying to arrest or kill" for a long while, disappeared into nothingness for months on end (and quite recently!).

But I think Bethany probably internalizes things more - broods on things - while Kate externalizes. Probably because since that very first-ever Eightfold story, she's been stuck as de facto parent for her two younger siblings, and that is where she's had to put all of her energy. She literally hasn't had time to dwell on things until very recently - and once she does, you see her flirting with retirement, being worn down herself, in stories like "Her Face in My Mirror".

She's kinda come out on the other side of that dark night of the soul, more or less, and has a generally sunnier and more forgiving outlook than Bethany does right now.

As you know, I'm very wary of knee-jerk cynicism and grimdark. But I do want my characters to be human. Good people, mostly, but with foibles and blind spots, and bouts of doubt and darkness. Kate's able to extend a lot of sympathy toward Jonah that Bethany can't, and yet Kate couldn't/can't really extend that to Cal.

> >     Kate looks at Jonah. "Your powers aren't cancelling each other
> > out," she whispers. "They're reversed!"
> >     Jonah's perpetually irritated hang-dog expression disappears almost
> > immediately. His eyes go wide and bright, and he smiles, no, he grins,
> > big and open-mouthed and full of teeth and joy, a rictus,
> > uncontrollable, almost manic smile.
> oh my goodness Jonah. X3 <3

I'm happy for him, too. I'm actually a sucker for this sort of thing - it's kinda sorta similar to what happens to the Human Zeppelin and Cal Morgan, in that they were kind of miserable and then something Genre happens that makes them better and happier people.

> > His luck is depressingly back to normal by the time they bring Fortuna
> > to the surface.
> He's a Good Boy.

We'll see more of him, though not in this arc.

> >     "Oh, that's a relief. Between you and me, the squirt was about as
> > clumsy as this one." She points at Jonah with her thumb, then extends
> > her other hand to shake Bethany's. "My name is Pam Bierce." [4]
> ...
> ...
> *!!!*

I have been sitting on this reveal for such a very long time, and all the while I've been looking forward specifically to your reaction. :-)

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