So, I went with the classic superhero for this contest. I tried to cram some of the worst possible things that could happen to a hero into a time span of about thirty minutes. Once again, I got burned by the five page rule. I really want these to be six pages. I'm sure a very talented artist could do better than I did, and maybe make it work with less space, but I am not that artist.
COBALT: LEAVE THE MASK ON
1/ The rooftops. Where else would a budding young vigilante go to think? Nearly every hero he had ever read about, seen on television or the movies, or listened to in ancient radio serials, has stood perilously close to the edge of a building at one point or another. Inclement weather was not necessary, but it did wonders for the atmosphere, and helped further entrench the mood.
Letting the rain mask his presence, Cobalt waits with gritted teeth. Across the street from the building he is perched atop is a similarly nondescript brownstone in a rundown part of the city. A dozen floors up, the lights are on, and a silhouette can be seen bustling back and forth doing who knows what.
Caption: The City. 157 days after The Event.
Caption: Cobalt has been busy. From the alleyways to the rooftops. Looking for The Doctor. Now that he's found him, … What next?
2/ Cobalt bursts through the window, sending tables and files and home-made machinery flying. Shards of glass sparkle as they catch light. The hero himself is crackling with energy, stray arcs shooting across his limbs and torso, but concentrating around his left arm and chest. We are unable to currently see it, but he has a severe Lichtenberg Figure underneath his costume. A constant reminder of The Event which gave him his abilities. The design on his jacket mimics the scar.
Cobalt: Stop right there, Doctor! I kn--
3/ He crumples to the floor in pain, clutching at his head. What kind of attack this is, he does not know, but it is crippling.
1/ The Doctor stands above him. He is clad in a modified radiation suit with a number of other cobbled gadgets, similar to the ones that were up were neatly categorized and arranged mere moments before. He holds a small device, his finger depressing a button as the LED at the tip lights up.
The Doctor: You know, if you were really planning on attacking me, maybe sitting across the street from my workshop pretending to be a gargoyle for twenty minutes isn't such a good idea, hmm? Just five minutes earlier and you might have caught me with my pants down. Or, at least, less firmly secured around my waist.
The Doctor: Instead, I got to put the finishing touches on my new toy. How much do you know about EMPs? They're usually associated with dangerous levels of radiation, say, from a bomb, for example. But if one is able to harness the power of a magnetic field, or electric field, or both, and they know the math, like I do, then engineering something like this should be relatively simple. Granted, reducing the numbers to an almost infinitesimally smaller scale in the grand scheme of things can prove to be a bit of a challenge, but my unparalleled genius is not on trial here, is it?
The Doctor: You are!
2/ Cobalt reaches out, coming up short.
Cobalt (weakly): T-talk, … too, … much, …
Cobalt (weakly): Gonna take you, … down, … for good, …
3/ The Doctor smirks.
The Doctor: Is that so?
The Doctor: Well, you have roughly ten minutes before your bioelectric field shuts itself down and restarts. Until then, you'll continue feeling that dull throbbing pain and those intermittent surges you're feeling right now. The process should take another five minutes or so based on your power levels, which I admit, were gathered somewhat haphazardly, so I can't absolutely guarantee their veracity, but one does what one can with one's materials. True, your basic geiger counter may be remarkably affordable, but the modifications took quite some time, all things said and done, and I am a monster on a budget!
The Doctor: Monster, right? That's what you think of me? It's okay. All how the game is played. Still, if we're going to continue this little charade of ours, and you're as powerful as I think you are, and I think you are, …
The Doctor: We're going to need to up the ante. Make things a little more, … personal.
4/ He saunters through the doorway as Cobalt shivers, still recuperating from whatever The Doctor had used against him.
The Doctor: I'm off to visit the little lady. When you get feeling back in your extremities, feel free to join us. This will be a momentous occasion in our history, and I'd really like to take my time with it.
The Doctor: No pressure, though.
The Doctor: Take your time.
5/ The Doctor is through the door. Cobalt is still incapacitated.
Caption: It feels like an eternity.
6/ Suddenly, Cobalt's eyes light up.
Caption: But then, ...
1/ In a blinding flash, Cobalt is through the window. His electric aura trails after him, leaving an obvious swath of where he's been.
2/ He lands on the roof where he just stood before bounding off again. His bright trail illuminates him hopping from rooftop to rooftop across the dark city. Purposeful.
3/ A brief flash of a girl's face. The all-too-familiar haze of love. She's turning to look out at the reader, smiling as if she just heard the funniest joke that's ever been told. It's a sepia tone snapshot of what Cobalt is fighting for.
4/ Cobalt's chest and arm surge. He thinks of Lane. His girlfriend.
Caption: Get to her. Save her.
5/ He accelerates his pace. He is determined.
6/ He lands on the street in front of an apartment complex in a more dangerous part of town than The Doctor's loft. His apartment. His and Lane's. One light, several stories up, is on. He can't see through the window, but a scream pierces the night, and there's only one place it could be coming from.
1/ Cobalt bursts through the apartment door, busting it off of its hinges. He is alive with energy now. The Doctor has Lane by the throat. He and Lane both turn to look at Cobalt. The Doctor in triumph, Lane pleading for help.
Lane: Cutting it a little close, aren't we, boy?
Cobalt: Let her go!
2/ The Doctor drops her. She is unimportant.
The Doctor: But of course!
The Doctor: My real qualm is with you, after all. Not your precious little girlfriend. I mean, haven't you learned by now that such attachments only make you weaker? That's fundamental! Focus! But then, you always did lack ambition.
3/ The Doctor turns to begin his monologue in earnest.
The Doctor: Too busy playing the short-game and reaping the immediate benefits to see the world for what it truly is. I tried to teach you! I'm still trying to teach you! And you still refuse to pay attention! But listen to me, we'll have plenty of time for all of our lessons. Years! When I think of our fut--
4/ But Cobalt throws a punch, connecting with the Doctor and sending lightning through the villain's skull. He's been hit so hard, with so much energy, his skeleton is briefly visible.
The Doctor: Uurrgh!!!
5/ Another punch. An overhead slam to send The Doctor to the ground. Beaten and slightly crispy.
The Doctor: Hhurk, …
6/ Cobalt is hunched over the body. His pulse races and his breathing is heavy. In the background, Lane has her hands to her mouth. Her dead father has just burst into her home, threatened her life, and been beaten to, presumably, a second death by her boyfriend, who is dressed like a superhero, and has waves of ambient electricity pulsing in the air around him. She can taste the ionized air.
Lane: Daniel, …?
1/ He turns to look over his shoulder.
Cobalt: I can explain.
2/ He stands. His arms are open, like he's trying to think of what to say. Lane takes a step back. She needs just one more step away from the crazy. What has she just seen?
Lane: Explain? My father is alive? You're covered in, ... lightning? How can you explain? No. You know what? No. No way. I don't even--
Cobalt: I love you.
3/ She stops. Puppy dog eyes.
4/ They embrace.
Lane: I love you, too, … But, …
5/ They pull back, still mere inches away from each other. As they start to talk, a siren wails through an open window.
Lane: That doesn't answer any of my questions.
Lane: What's going on? Why are you wearing a mask? How can you shoot lightning? How is my father still alive? Why didn't he recognize me? Why was he trying to kill me? I'm kind of having a quiet mental breakdown in my head here and it's taking everything I've got not to let it out completely so please talk quickly because I really really need some kind of explanation before I pass out from the stress.
Cobalt: Yeah. It's a lot to take in.
Lane: The accident at the lab?
Cobalt: That's a good place to start. But first, can we--
SFX: A siren. WEEEEOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOO
6/ Cobalt looks towards the window. Longingly but guiltily. He has to go.
Lane: It's okay. I get it.
Cobalt: What are you going to do with him?
Lane: I don't know. I'll handle it. Just, ...
7/ Her lips. She is encouraging him.
Lane: Come back to me.
8/ Cobalt is on the windowsill, ready to jump. The grin on his face is enormous. Lane is behind him. Literally and figuratively.