Full Circle - Issue One - critique and praise welcome )
This may be a repost, but before I only posted the middle bit, now I'm doing the whole thing. If there is an issue, please remove the previous post.
This is the first draft. Known issues:
- Action scene too long. I am aware, and it's already been reduced by 2 pages, but I can't think of any way of reducing it further or splitting it without altering the whole structure of the first arc. The only thing I can think of is combining some middle pages (between 9 and 12), but I'm not sure if that would be too cluttered. Advice could be useful.
- I have detailed character descriptions, they are just not here. The only thing worth noting is that Say'vek is a white-furred 7 ft-tall very agile and slightly feline creature with nose slits rather than an actual nose.
- Sound effects will follow on the final draft.
- The first arc is projected to be 3 issues (with a further 4 issues planned out)
- Again, this being the first draft, 21 pages probably won't be the final page count.
- Torrent = Paul
Bird’s eye view of CERN at night.
A man in a military uniform, sat in a small office reading a newspaper, looking around confused (because of the rumble). The office is underground but has a window looking out at a hell of a lot of machinery. Headline reads:
Adam Lance saves the world from aliens... again!
He is stood at the window now, looking down at whatever caused the rumble, his room now looking much brighter because of a fire outside the window.
RRUMBLE CRASH BANG!!!!!!
He’s flying down on the ground as the blast reached his office and blew the window in, a gust of fire coming to the room.
The gust of fire flying into the room begins to assume a man-like (or woman-like, rather) shape. This is MASHA, codename CRIMSON-4.
So yeah, Masha is not fully formed yet, but she basically looks like Human Torch only less solid as she was kept in the fire form for over 40 years. She is a bit all over the place while maintaining a general human shape, but in reality she can assume most shapes. And sizes. The officer is cowering on the floor, face in terror.
Panel 1 small in the corner
Full front shot of Masha, a massive pillar of flame where her arm is supposed to be.
Panel 2 Splash
Same shot of CERN from outside, only now Masha is flying away from it, and a lot of it is on fire.
Lance Tower, Adam Lance’s office. Lance is stood in front of his window, looking out on the city, sipping from a miniscule cup of coffee. He’s wearing a business suit. It’s a massive and very clean and neat office. There are bookcases, a desk for him and a large meeting room table in front of it. The whole wall is a window.
Floor 9. The Dojo. Say’vek is training against a multitude of androids advancing on her from all sides.
A bedroom. Sun is creeping in the room. Jai and Phil are lying in bed together, sleeping, Phil’s arm wrapped around Jai.
Outside in the streets, Torrent is shown staring at a strange portal appearing in the middle of the road, causing havoc with the traffic behind and in front of it, as we show cars having swerved to avoid hitting the portal. Torrent is wearing civvies: black t-shirt with some band name, jeans, sunglasses, wearing a rucksack.
Is one day off really too much to ask?
Panel 1 Wide and tall shot.
GWYDION in full glory unleashed. He is your stereotypical sorcerer villain. He has long white hair and beard, exotic and OTT red robe with various patterns drawn on it. He is calm, composed, and silent. One hand holds a staff much like Lance’s, only with a glowing blue gem. The staff and the arm are surrounded by the swirling fire. The other arm is surrounded by black wispy smoke. Between him and Torrent stand two dog-like shapes, not quite clear yet as they are slightly silhouetted out as they are being summoned. Imagine the biggest dog you ever seen, take that, make it evil (i.e. red eyes, Rob Liefeld teeth), give it a second head, make them armoured with black scales and a sharp pointy spearhead like thing at the tail, and surround them by thin bits of black wispy smoke. And yeah, two of them.
Ummm, may I help you?
I am looking for Adam Lance.
Of course you are. If you just come with me...
You know him! I can sense his touch all over you, all over this city!
A smaller shot. Torrent is beginning to look nervous, Gwydion’s face is turning to rage.
Well he didn’t touch me much...
Gwydion throws a fireball in Torrent’s direction, but the latter ducks so the fire hits the car behind him resulting in an explosion. At that point Torrent begins to “charge up”, i.e. he has thousands of thin yellow sparks all around him.
We can hear it, Torrent.
Panel 4 small
Torrent is stood up. Angle from Torrent’s POV as the dogs are slowly advancing at him.
We’re on our way, Paul. Hang on.
We don’t have to do this! Surely this is a...
Close up on Gwydion’s face
Adam Lance! Will you once again cower behind the lines while others bleed for you?
Panel 6 small
Torrent jumps out of the way of one of them as it smashes into a lamppost.
Panel 7 small
Close up on the two heads of that dog. It’s got a full-teeth snarl going on for it right now.
Torrent picks up a conveniently near metal tube and there’s electricity crackling all around it as well. As opposed to slightly awkward looks and posture he had so far, he now looks more business-like,
Just get here fast. I’ll be fine.
Page 5 (unofficially titled “Badassery”)
You must appreciate that I am new at this. Action scenes are hard to write when you have no idea what to expect from the artist or how they would interpret what you write. But I’ll give “Badassery” a try. I’m thinking 3x3 grid, all relatively the same, although may want to showcase the bits in panel 2, 5,8, either by making them bigger or more prominent in some other way.
One dog stands on top of the overturned car, its two heads looking around. Torrent and the other dog go at each other; Torrent is crackling with electricity, the metal tube striking one head of the dog. The other head has jaws open wide roaring at him.
He flies up in the air at only a short distance, and electrocutes the hound, sending it far away back.
The second hound jumps at him from behind, pinning him to the ground about 10 meters away from where the other dog is trying to recuperate.
He’s lying on his back as he plunges the tube in the dogs chest, straight down in between the necks.
POV from behind Torrent’s shoulder, so we can see the dog in his sight, and wreckage of a few cars in between them. It looks as though he’s holding a sphere between his palms with lightning crackling inside it. The dog is getting closer.
Close-up on the sphere as it moves out of Torrent’s hands and kind of hovers a few feet away of him. Metal objects in the car wreckage nearby begin moving, vibrating.
The sphere is now surrounded by small jagged metallic shrapnel that got attracted to it from the car. Show some stuff already there and some stuff flying. I am talking small things: nails, other bits and bobs.
A flash of lightning and movement trail between where the sphere and the dog was, with the sphere now on the other side of the dog along with all the shrapnel, i.e. we just pierced the dog. If anyone has any physics issues here, you can sod off.
Shot of Gwydion just floating in mid-air, his flamy staff still flamy but lowered. He is staring somewhere up, at a distant dot in the skyline, seemingly oblivious to the melee.
2. TORRENT (off-panel):
And now, you.
Gwydion throws his hand (the one with the black wispy smoke around it) out towards Torrent and has a grasping position to his fingers, Darth Vader style. Torrent is clutching his throat.
Torrent is standing up unnaturally, like he is being pulled up on strings. The black wispy smoke around Gwydion’s hand is now thicker.
It is a shame, really. My quarrel is with Lance. You are an innocent.
Suddenly he points the staff at Torrent, along with a relatively small yet heated fireball forming at the end. He looks like he’s really disappointed he has to do this.
Panel 4 Small horizontal
The camera is following the massive fireball flying towards Torrent. At the same time show a man-sized shadow dropping from the air covering Torrent.
More or less same shot only taller. The fireball meets JAI’s chest, who just dropped from the air right in front of Torrent. Jai’s forcefield is shimmering as the fire breaks against it, and he is grinning widely. Behind him, Torrent, now released from Gwydion’s telekinetic grasp falls on the ground.
Torrent, you’re well?
Panel 1 Splash
Gwydion, Jai slowly walking towards him almost in arm’s reach, the LanceJet hovering a good 40 ft or so in the air, ramp open. From the ramp we get the classic superhero thing of people jumping off to the fight. SAY’VEK is out both hands gripping daggers, in mid-air and aiming straight at Gwydion with an animal-like grimace. A bit behind her LANCE is lowering himself on the ground, holding in his left hand a small staff similar to the one Gwydion has, with a glowing purple gem at the end, pointed at the ground, and a short yet broad sword strapped to his back. Depending at the detail, we could show PHIL sitting at the cockpit.
1. JAI (big):
Well, rest safely, because the SCARLET KNIGHTS are here!
First Jai hits Gwydion the face, with the forcefield shimmering around the fist. In the meanwhile show Say’vek breaking her fall with a roll, Lance descended just in front of Torrent. Lance has raised his staff and there is purple shield in front of it. Torrent is struggling to his feet. The jet is also lowered in the middle of the road but not all the way down.
Torrent. You alright?
Are we called the Scarlet Knights now?
Then yes. Go put him down.
Don’t worry, Stormy, he’s practically down already.
Say’vek jabs one dagger into Gwydion’s torso, and the other in his foot. Show his staff in the shot.
My dear, if only it was so easy.
With the foot she stabbed he kicks her in the chest.
Big panel. Show how as Say’vek is flying away from the kick Gwydion gave her and about to fall on her back, Lance points his staff towards her and forms a purple shield behind her to catch her, at the same time leaving himself defenceless. Meanwhile, Gwydion grabs Jai by the throat with his smoky hand. The latter’s forcefield is shimmering like mad, but he can’t do anything, paralysed.
Your compassion always was your greatest enemy.
Gwydion pulls the entire jet down on Lance, making hand gestures, with Jai hanging in his other hand like a ragdoll.
And so it is done.
Lance seems buried underneath, and Gwydion, now floating much higher, also throws Jai at the cockpit.
I am sorry, Ron’vek.
What a terrible way to repay you for saving my life.
Panel 3 (maybe split it in a few smaller ones)
Close-up of smashed cockpit where Jay is lying somewhat helpless with Phil, with face scratched from the glass is staring at him, hysterical. There’s a faint purple lighting coming from behind them but they seem oblivious.
Shit! You alright?
Scarlet Knights, seriously?
It’s catchy, heroic.
We’re not called the Scarlet Knights.
We need a name.
There’s NO Scarlet at all on our uniforms.
Shut up, you big nerd. Now let’s get the hell out of Boss’s way.
I thought he was dead.
Think about that sentence for a second.
Panel 4 Small in corner
Phil is supporting Jai as they climb out of the downed jet.
Lance with an angry face, sword and staff both drawn is flying out of the cockpit, closely followed by battered but determined Torrent, all aiming directly at Gwydion. Lance’s Staff is glowing bright purple, Lance is surrounded by purple shield. Torrent is practically alight with electricity, and it looks like there are clouds gathering overhead.
There are definitely clouds gathering overhead.
Torrent flew past Gwydion as the latter meets with Lance. Lance clashes his sword with one that Gwydion just made out of black smoke.
Why are you doing this?
Because it must be done.
Lance kicks Gwydion in the gut.
We’re friends, dammit!
We were friends!
Torrent is still hovering in the above them, gathering thicker and thicker clouds. Gwydion blasts Lance’s sword far out.
You left me behind, Ron’vek. Alone! Against...
Wide shot as Lance throws a massive purple blast at Gwydion driving him back down at the road.
Say’vek, recovered, daggers in hands once again, is looking ferally at him.
Shot of Say’vek observing as Lance descends on the ground, Gwydion still lying in the man-shaped hole in the asphalt. Say’vek is all ready to rush Gwydion. It’s now dark from the clouds and it’s raining.
1. JAGGED (Torrent):
Where are you?
3. JAGGED (Torrent):
4. JAGGED (Torrent):
There’s a plan. You need to find something first...
Another wide shot of Lance and Gwydion duking it out.
Lance is being pushed back, Gwydion is now up, fire raging all around Lance, black smoke conjuring a horrific monster shape that descends on Lance’s purple shield and shatters it to pieces.
It doesn’t matter. Relent, Lance. You do not stand a chance!
Lance rolls away from another fireblast.
Relent? Does that sound like me?
Big shot of the two staffs colliding, the two gems lighting up the street if not the whole damn country. Gwydion is practically crying but not giving in, Lance is angry, tired but resolute. It’s still raining.
Panel 2 Small, Black
Only showing the two staffs crossed in front of a black screen, with Gwydion’s snapping.
Gwydion is down on the ground, on his knees, the black smoke and the fire from his two sides going insane, Lance is lying on the ground, senseless caused by the backwash of the energy released when staff destroyed, and dropped his staff on the ground next to the head of Gwydion’s staff.
2. JAGGED (Torrent):
3. LANCE (Weak, small letters);
No... wait... don’t
Say’vek runs up to Gwydion with the same metal tube that Torrent used earlier on to mash up the dogs and stabs him straight in his chest with the tube pointing up, as Gwydion does nothing, eyes closed, still on his knees.
Panel 1 Big splash
On the side show Say’Vek dragging Lance away towards where Phil is standing over the unconscious Jai. A massive targeted lightning bolt from the sky strikes Gwydion straight in the chest at this makeshift lightning rod.
Some SFX here.
Panel 2 small in the corner
Say’vek & Phil are covering their eyes as they observe the proceedings. Lance is a bit delirious.
2. LANCE (still small print):
Could... could’ve saved him.
Torrent descends next to Gwydion’s body, pulling the lightning rod out.
Gwydion’s body falls apart into ash.
Close up to the ground at Lance’s staff, where before there was one gem at the head of the staff, now the patterns on it look different and the head now holds 2 gems, his and Gwydion’s.
Night time, pitch black, a small Russian village. This is summer, so there’s no snow! A wooden house, a car parked up in front, a man coming out of the car with a torch in his hand.
Inside of the house, a relatively old man named OLEG PUKHIN (in his 60’s) put the lights on, clothes and boots off, walking down his corridot.
*Translated from Russian.
He’s in his kitchen, putting the kettle on. He doesn’t notice a crying naked woman - MASHA - wrapped in a towel sat in a corner behind him. (To give you an idea, Masha looks 30, it’s all in the detailed character background that aren’t here)
He turns around and drops his cup in astonishment, eyes wide.
<Oh my God!>
<Who are you?>
<Are you alright?>
Close up on Masha staring in Oleg’s direction with eyes puffy from crying.
<It’s me, Olezhka. No, I’m not alright.>
Close up on Oleg as he’s now sitting on his knees leaning over to her, staring with astonishment.
<Yep. I need help, little brother.>
A hospital room, Lance is lying on a hospital bed, some monitoring equipment hooked up, a few bruises on the head, he’s wearing a gown, and he’s got a laptop in front of him. Next to him another bed, where Jai is sleeping, also monitoring stuff.
I just can’t understand... We were never close, but when we parted ways, we were, I thought, friends.
He was never a friend to my people.
But he changed.
Perhaps he has not.
POV from behind Lance’s shoulder, with the laptop screen in sight, where we can see STI’VEK, essentially like Say’vek, only male and older, with maybe slightly different colour patterns in the fur. He is pretty close to the webcam, but we can see that there are rainforest trees behind him, and it’s sunny there still.
Perhaps. How are you doing?
Jazar and I continue to see your world in all its beauty. We are currently exploring the continent of South America. Very different to North America.
Yes it is. Thank you, old friend.
Shot from behind the laptop at Lance’s pensive face.
Walk in peace, Ron’vek.
If peace will let me.
It is up to you to let it let you.
Back to the hospital, Lance is looking up as GRACE walks through the door.
Probably senile. How’s CERN?
Send Paul and Say there, the two of them should handle it.
They’ve already been and gone.
Torrent is going through the file cabinets in the room that Masha smashed in the first page. The charred body of the guard is being covered with a blanket by people in labcoats. Say’vek is looking out the cracked window. The office looks trashed and scorched, much worse off than how we left it on page 1.
No. Everything’s burned... wait a second.
Say’vek stood next to him, their combined POV as they are looking at an undamaged file. The file has Masha’s picture, and the following words thrown in.
MARIA PUKHINA; 1975; Crimson 4; Chimera
A Russian name.
Back in the hospital room.
They are now en route to St Petersburg.
Notified, ready to meet them, says he has intel.
Show Lance getting out of bed, Grace looking at him unimpressed.
Good, keep me posted. I’ll be in my office.
You should rest...
Nonsense. It’s not like we will be attacked tonight, are we?
I will do the panels on this page later once I’ve edited the rest of the issue.
1. CHIMERA ONE:
The CERN clean-up crew screwed up.
2. CHIMERA TWO:
3. CHIMERA ONE:
Some of Lance’s people are on their way to Russia.
4. CHIMERA THREE:
How much do they know?
5. CHIMERA ONE:
Unknown, but they’ve contacted the Russian military liaison.
6. CHIMERA TWO:
We have to move fast. Execute everybody on the Red list.
7. CHIMERA ONE:
Yes. But we can’t stop there. He’s too much of a danger now. We need to take action.
8. CHIMERA ONE:
Lance is weakened after his fight, and his spirit is gone. Our distraction only failed partially.
9. CHIMERA THREE:
Are you sure about this? We were going to wait.
10. CHIMERA TWO:
No, he’s right. Release the Duke. Put together a demo team. Shoot down the jet that’s en route to Russia.
11. CHIMERA ONE:
Yes. Lance and his empire will dying ahead of schedule.
Nighttime, but the sun is just beginning to show up from the direction that the jet is flying to. The LanceJet is flying relatively low in the sky above a forest.
Interior of the jet.
Something’s wrong. I can’t call home.
Is something damaged?
No. Wait. Something’s about to be! WE have a missile heading for us!
Outside, on the ground, a Chimera trooper stands outside a black jeep, holding a high-tech bazooka with a missile trailing away from it to the distant dot that is the jet.
The jet explodes in the air.
I see it as Panel 1 page-wide and fairly tall, panel 5 page-wide and a bit shorter, and panels 2-4 in between side by side. Doesn’t have to be that way, whichever
London, outside of the Lance tower, tall shot from the ground. All lights are off. Phil is coming out of his car right outside the front entrance. He’s wearing something simple and casual.
That’s not right.
He’s at the door, trying to open it, but it won’t budge. I’m thinking make the angle from behind the door.
Same angle. He’s back at the car, in the boot, looking for something.
Same angle, he’s got a small rectangular gizmo in his hand. It will have some lights, a button or two. It will look fairly modern and sleek. We show his hand and one leg phasing through the glass ala Kitty Pryde.
This either works, or I die.
View from his back. He approaches the reception. In addition to the gizmo on his chest we show that on his shoes he attached some more gizmos that look like soles that are also flashing. Also, he is targeted by two masked Chimera gunmen from both his sides, and he is looking at one of them.
Or both. Could be both.
Panel 1 splash
He is leaning back on his desk, sipping a whiskey, legs crossed. Same office as the beginning. The office is dark, like the rest of the building.
In front of him stands DEMON. He is in “demon mode”, bare-chested, there’s fire coming from his eyes, his mouth, his hair’s on fire, and an intricate glowing tattoo like patterns on his body, and his skin has turned charcoal black.
Mr Lance. You have been sentenced to death by Chimera. Any questions?
This is definitely a strong start, however, an artist may get a bit frustrated by pages 4 and 5. I'm speaking strictly from a writer's standpoint (and hopefully an artist may chime in with advice).
The simplest advice is from a pacing standpoint: fewer panels = faster action, time speeds up.
Grab a comic from your stack and check out the action scenes. You'll find that those pages range anywhere from 3-5 panels. It gives the artist more room to draw something fun and keeps the action moving along. The level of detail that you're asking from the artist on those two pages may be a bit unrealistic and may not give you the effect you're looking for.
You're tight on room, so you're going to have to kill some darlings.
Let's look at Page 18 for instance since you haven't done the panel breakdowns yet.
I'm guessing, based on the rest of your script that you'll make this page anywhere from 5-6 panels. To save some room, you could consider condensing the dialogue (and mind those word counts!).
1. CHIMERA ONE:
The CERN clean-up crew screwed up and some of Lance’s people headed to Russia.
4. CHIMERA THREE:
How much do they know?
5. CHIMERA ONE:
Unknown, but they’ve contacted the Russian military liaison.
6. CHIMERA TWO:
Execute everybody on the Red list.
8. CHIMERA ONE:
Lance is weak and his spirit is gone. Our distraction failed.
10. CHIMERA TWO:
Release the Duke. Put together a demo team. Destroy the jet en route to Russia.
11. CHIMERA ONE:
Lance and his empire will (be?) dying ahead of schedule.
There's condensed to 3 panels, which could provide extra space for other scenes which will subsequently help you find breathing room for your action. Do you need 3 characters in this scene? Less is sometimes more, especially when someone has to draw it all
All the best!
While I agree with westonlocher that fewer panels are generally better for action sequences, its important to be careful about combining multiple actions into a single panel. For example, the third panel on page four might have two much going on to be rendered clearly.
There are some grammatical errors [ex. is stood up] that occasionally make it hard to understand the staging of the fight scenes, but nothing so off that it could not have been taken care of with another round of proofreading. This is a problem everyone has, but nonetheless, its important to deal with it.
The dialogue feels a bit off in a few places, particularly between Lance and Gwydion; Phil and Jai's exchange better suits their personalities. Overall, I'm most interested in seeing more Masha; the other characters don't make much of an impression.
Hey, thanks guys, good stuff. I keep rereading it and I keep seeing it. I know what you mean about the general feel of the dialogue, we don't get to know much of the characters in those pages. And having looked over some "real" comics I see what you mean about fewer panels = faster pacing. It is weird how you think what your writing will look like and how it actually reads by someone else. So yeah, thanks for keeping me thinking. I will give it another spin, see what rolls out.
Keep the advice coming, and it would be good to have some words from an artist as well.