8FOLD: Daylighters # 12 (Annotations)

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Wed Jul 8 21:13:53 PDT 2020

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              |___/     |___/  ANNOTATIONS

      # 12 - VIOLENT ENDS

[1] working together back in August

This is in reference to "The Last Story" in MIGHTY MEDLEY # 16, which
saw the Earth confronted with several seemingly unrelated crises on
the same day: the FEVER virus, the return of Gregory Dingham, the
invasion of China by Pulse forces, the awakening of Venus, the
emergence of the great monsters, and a plot by Hotspur and the Gorgon
to take down worldwide communications and electronics. All of these
were in fact coordinated by the Pulse, hence Derek's supposition that
FEVER and Hotspur were in cahoots.

(Speaking of Hotspur, canny readers will note that the cyborg zombie
t-rex we met in DAYLIGHTERS # 8 was revealed in DAYLIGHTERS # 9 to
have been running on Hotspur code.)

[2] thrills at the possibility

A reminder that in JOURNEY INTO # 25, while in the Kyklokos system,
Bethany was infected with a corrupting cosmic evil by the space god
Maledux. This was supposed to make her his catspaw, but this was
mitigated by the intervention of Monad. As a result, Bethany's natural
goodness coexists with the perverse evil of Kyklokos, and thus she
contains "the paradox heart". Careful readers of that Kyklokos story
will recall that Maledux mentioned that "evil heart must beat in time
'gainst good", a recurring line from the RED HART series, which hints
that this might have something to do with the Never-Lord.

On a less cosmic and more human scale, what this means for Bethany is
that she occasionally gets violent impulses like this one, and she
doesn't understand where they're coming from. Being that she's
unknowingly at war with a primordial corrupter, it's put her on edge,
and that's one reason why throughout the DAYLIGHTERS series, she's
been less patient and less forgiving.

She knows that there's something wrong, but she doesn't know what it
is. To her credit, she wanted to open up about this with Kate (well,
Claire-as-Kate) in DAYLIGHTERS # 9, but set herself aside to deal with
what she thought Kate was going through re: the bathtub.

Of course, none of the Daylighters know what "the paradox heart" is,
or that Bethany has it - all they know is that it's supposed to cause
the dark future they're trying to prevent.

None of this is going to be especially relevant to this issue, or to
the BRAVE NEW WORLD crossover one-shot, or even to the next stretch of
Pulse War storyline that follows it. But I will from time to time be
reminding you, gentle reader, that this particular shotgun is hanging
over the fireplace, as one generally does when writing a tragedy.

[3] how long it takes Julie Ann to recover

We first and last saw Julie Ann's eye beams in DAYLIGHTERS # 5, where
they likewise took a lot out of her.

[4] Lacey Trimmer

Lacey Trimmer was Dani Handler's replacement as Jolt City's Four-Color
Liaison. Her success there led to her becoming Barack Obama's
Secretary of Super-Human Affairs, where she advocated for the
disbandment of the Seven Wonders in favor of Derek's Daylighters
network. In JOLT CITY # 23, we saw that Trimmer unknowingly had the
cybernetic eye-camera implants mentioned here, which allowed FEVER to
spy on operations meant to oppose it. Presumably it was after this was
discovered and removed that Anders Cradle offered his company's
services as a partner to the Daylighters, giving him another in.

[5] the time I laughed

Way back in the GREEN KNIGHT series.

[6] Demand me nothing

Famously, Iago's final lines from Othello. These are spoken after his
machinations have been revealed, and he is asked to explain why he did
these terrible things. He declines to provide any answer, and indeed,
one of the strangest and most compelling things about Iago and about
the play is that we are never given any real explanation or

Anders's reveal as the monstrous and depraved Caracalla in JOLT CITY #
23 is one that wasn't fully explained then, and won't be now.
Partially this is because I think it's more unsettling as something
mysterious and incongruous - there's enough about his past behavior
and personality in the GREEN KNIGHT and JOLT CITY series to build a
case, but it's a case with gaps.

And partially it's because while I'm deeply interested in why people
do things, and even in extending sympathy "to the damned", I don't
really have any interest in understanding why people do truly heinous
and monstrous things, or in eliciting sympathy for people who have a
depraved indifference to human life and suffering. Canonically, Anders
has killed dozens of people - mostly women, including children -
through his body-control implants, and these killings often had a
sexual component. He's a nasty piece of work, and once he crossed
those lines, I stopped having interest in seeing things from his point
of view, or asking the reader to do the same.

(Claire shares some basic personality traits with pre-heel turn
Anders, and certainly has blood on her hands, but not on the same
scale; it's one reason why I still find her interesting, and perhaps
worthy of empathy.)

[7] sixty-five

This being a gentle reminder that the Daylighters are a world-wide
network, essentially encompassing any superhero or adventurer worth
knowing that can also play well with others. The exact number is fuzzy
but it's in triple digits. We've only seen about two dozen of them
over the course of this series, though we'll be meeting a few more in

[8] And Kate closes her eyes

This leads us right into the big crossover team-up story, BRAVE NEW
WORLD. It also brings us to the end of this twelve issue series!

So, my intention with Daylighters was to write a proper team book,
something I had never really done for 8FOLD. Years and years ago, when
my writing was more concerned with another (and much sillier)
fictional universe, team books were my bread-and-butter, and it was
easy to see why: the ensemble cast, the soap opera elements, the
relationship stuff, people punching supervillains real good. Now, the
vast majority of that writing was junk, and even the stuff that was
"pretty good if you squint" came with major caveats.

When I started writing for 8FOLD, the writing got better - I dare say
a lot better - but my continuing series tend to have a singular focus
and viewpoint character. This allowed me to get a bit deeper into
finding out what made that protagonist click, but it also made for a
somewhat cloistered and claustrophobic reading experience. It was
something I started to push against with the last few issues of JOLT
CITY, which saw Martin share the spotlight with Derek and, eventually,

The first "team book" I did for 8FOLD was MANCERS, though that doesn't
really "count" as it's not really a superhero story. Yes, the
characters have powers, and sometime they use them, but it's very much
a sort of espionage apocalyptic horror story, and it plays by the
rules of that genre. I knew that with DAYLIGHTERS, I wanted to write
something that would contrast with that; I wanted to tell
honest-to-gosh superhero stories, with codenames and villains and
team-up moves and adventures.

The loose structure of the team, with its huge roster, allowed me to
assemble interesting squads for each mission. But it also could pose a
problem, in that if you're changing the cast of characters every issue
or two, you're not really going to get to know them all that well.
Part of the appeal of the team book, after all, and of serial
literature in general, is watching the characters grow and how they
relate to each other.

For this reason, I largely focused my character work, and the major
beats of the overarching plot, on a core cast: Kate, Bethany, Claire,
Melody, Cal, Raidne, Derek, and Pam. This was made easier by the fact
that each of these characters had some established history and/or
relationships with the other characters. Into their orbit I weaved in
a cast of colorful bit players, which let me experiment with different
character concepts and power sets. I liked one of them so much - Dan
Washburn, a.k.a. Strikeout - that I built up his part quite a bit in
the backend of the series.

While there's one larger story running throughout the twelve issues -
some threads of which will be wrapped up in BRAVE NEW WORLD, while
others will persist throughout the Pulse War mega-narrative and beyond
- the appeal of the series for me was being able to tell a wider
variety of mostly self-contained stories. I got to do a big
robot-fight action story, a spooky dungeon crawl with traps, body
horror, a superhero funeral, paranoid spy stuff, a defend-the-base
story. I got to write Dot's sacrifice aboard the space station, Kate's
attempt to do the same, and Claire being moved to acts of kindness
that left her vulnerable. I got to write Pam giving her all to make
sure no one dies on her watch. I got to do some great fight scenes -
Claire and Klutz's tussle with Flintlock, and this issue's desperate
battle between Bethany and Julie Ann being among my favorites. Oh, and
I got to write Lobsterman. It's always a good day when I get to write

I loved writing these stories about these people. Obviously, at the
end of this issue, things aren't exactly looking up for them, and
BRAVE NEW WORLD does not treat all of them with gentleness. It will
leave scars: some physical, some mental or emotional, some that will
take a long time to heal, some that perhaps never will heal
completely. If the Daylighters still exist afterwards - c'mon, I'm not
going to spoil it here! - then they're going to be quite different.

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