Questions for a Super Hero based story I'm writing.

In addition to possibly being in the wrong forum (GQ? MPSIMS?), I foresee this thread dying a fast death. :stuck_out_tongue:
Nevertheless, here’s hoping for some useful responses!

This is for a (ill-concieved) X-Men fanfiction I’m trying to write, but the questions themselves aren’t about X-Men lore; between my own recollection, Marvel’s database, and the Wikipedia articles, I’ve got that stuff covered. To be honest, this’ll probably never see the light of day, as I’m mostly just planning on writing it as an outlet for my own frustrations at what passes for “storylines” in Super Hero comics*

1.) I like Jean Grey, and wish she had a decent code name. Because of her death and rebirth, keeping the Phoenix name would be good, except there’s Rachel Summers, who has the Phoenix Force. So what’s another reincarnation-related name that is easy to pronounce and appropriate for a female character?

2.) Is a character with the ability to break down matter and absorb the energy as fuel, so as to temporarily perform one or two other super powers (basic stuff like strength, flying, super healing, electricity and/or fire projection, partial invulnerability, etc.) too powerful? Hee Hee, I’m naming her** Half-Life! :smiley:

3.) I’m thinking of changing the Summers brothers’ powers for my story. If Cyclops’ eyebeams are always on (unless he has the visor, special shades, or closes his eyes) and has superior power and range, and Havok’s blasts are prone to random misfires (unless he wears special gear) and allow for a great deal of control over the way in which their projected (rapid-fire vs power, multiple-directions vs point-blank area of effect, etc), how could Vulcan’s powers be differentiated? He’s way too powerful as a cannonical character, and I’d like to make his powers fit more of a theme with his brothers’ (ie, make it a form of concussive energy projection).

*I stopped reading comic books in '98. While I loved the overall plot concepts, character designs, and most fights, I couldn’t stand the near-constant ret-cons, the character death-orgies, and overall short-sighted mega-event one-upmanship that these writers attempt. They create these great characters and long-term story ideas, then throw it all away for one dramatic scene, or to show off how “bad-ass” their new villain is. :mad:

Or they do stupid things like de-powering almost every mutant in the world, to “make it easier to get into the series.” Except you still need to play catch-up on 30+ years of background, not to mention they just negated the underlying theme that made the X-comics so interesting in the first place. :mad: Having recently been reading up on what’s happened since I stopped buying books, it’s shit like this and DC’s inability to make up their minds about what does and does not count that convince me I did the right thing. Anytime a good adaptation is made, that actually provides some resolution without resorting to such tired tricks or going against the central plot point, I’ll gladly support it. But I’m done with super hero comics.

…few! Didn’t mean to rant. :o

**Kind of “her,” one of the side effects of Half-Life’s constantly variable powers is a kind of broken shapeshifting; Half-Life can change between male and female forms that are basically like genetic twins. Though born male, Half-Life’s rest-state form is female for the majority of each month, male for a little over a week (guess why…).

Oh! for the record, I’m going to post additional questions as I come up with them.

For the most part I’ve been doing research on my own, like finding out what language(s) people from Monaco speak.

But for some creative consultation, I figured why not tap into the vast reservoir of intelligence (and for this thread’s purposes, comic book nerdery) that is the SDMB?

Thanks in advance for anyone who actually bothers to suggest anything. If I ever actually finish this thing and post it, I’ll be sure to give you credit in the author’s notes.

“Rerun” probably won’t cut it. I’ll have to give it some thought.

“Renaissance” sounds cool and literally means rebirth. “Samsara” is the Hindu concept of reincarnation and “Gilgul” is the Kabbalist equivalent, although you might want to avoid using a genuine religious terms. “Bahir” a Hebrew word meaning illumination was also the title of a Kabbalistic work which discussed reincarnation. Norse mythology has an epic about a valkyrie named Svava who was reincarnated twice; first as Sigrun, then as Kara.

Huma is the Persian equivalent of a phoenix and, for what it’s worth, Half-Life is already the name of two other Marvel characters. I like the basic idea for the character, though. How would she break down the matter? I’m imagining something like Gambit in reverse.

How about Lazara?

Better yet, because it’s already a feminine name, Tabitha (the girl that Peter resurrected in the Gospels).


And Lazara’s been taken, at least in DC.

**1). So what’s another reincarnation-related name that is easy to pronounce and appropriate for a female character? **

Karma or Nirvana, obviously




You could consider feminizing some other people/dieties who’ve been resurrected:




Jaysas Chris

2.) Is a character with the ability to break down matter and absorb the energy as fuel, so as to temporarily perform one or two other super powers (basic stuff like strength, flying, super healing, electricity and/or fire projection, partial invulnerability, etc.) too powerful? Hee Hee, I’m naming her Half-Life! **

One, Half-Life is already taken, come up with another name. Two, the character as described is not too powerful.

**3.) I’m thinking of changing the Summers brothers’ powers for my story. If Cyclops’ eyebeams are always on (unless he has the visor, special shades, or closes his eyes) and has superior power and range, and Havok’s blasts are prone to random misfires (unless he wears special gear) and allow for a great deal of control over the way in which their projected (rapid-fire vs power, multiple-directions vs point-blank area of effect, etc), how could Vulcan’s powers be differentiated? He’s way too powerful as a cannonical character, and I’d like to make his powers fit more of a theme with his brothers’ (ie, make it a form of concussive energy projection). **

Well, Cyclops’ powers are optically-projected, Havok’s are redirected plasma based cosmic energy. Vulcan is a psychic gifted with kinetic manipulation. His powers are a form of concussive energy projection; they’re just vastly more varied and powerful forms of energy.

But another way to look at them is based on human sensory output. Cyclops’ powers are clearly visual, Havok’s power manifests itself as (essentially) transformed sound projections. Which would leave touch, taste/smell and another kind of psionic sense that could project concussive energy by Vulcan. Vulcan implies heat: perhaps his new concussive power could be temperature manipulation. Heat as well as cold.

Disclaimer: I speak as a gamer more than a historian of comic book canon or history.

Like all powers, it comes down to its “level” of power. For instance: the ability to shoot beams of energy from your eyes that can blow through a wall of concrete 1 foot thick is powerful, but not extreme. The ability to shoot beams of energy from your eyes that can blow through a mountain is another beast entirely.

With that said, the more open ended a power is, the more potential it has to be “too powerful”. The creativity with which the user uses it defines how powerful it can be. For example: someone like Storm who can control weather might get by with just minor flight and lightning bolts… powerful and dangerous to be sure, but not nearly as nasty as someone who also figures out how to use barometric pressure to knock people out, hurricane force winds to throw around cars, and ball lightning, etc.

So, having the ability to break down matter to convert into other super powers has the potential to be incredibly over-powering, depending upon just how much energy can be converted and the creativity of the user. I mean, if someone throws a rock at me and I can absorb it and turn it into strength enough to jump over a 10 foot high fence to get away, that’s not so bad… but if someone throws a rock at me and I can convert it into the ability to lift an SUV to throw back, it’s over-powered.

If you’re concerned with it being too easily abused, my suggestion would be to place some kind of limitation on it. Perhaps instead of absorbing matter to convert to energy, it might be more controllable (and make more sense, in my mind) to have her absorb the kinetic energy of matter. Or perhaps the strength of the converted power is based entirely on how much matter was absorbed… but then you’d need to worry about limitations on how much matter can be absorbed, or else what’s to stop this person from just absorbing skyscrapers or jumbo jets or all the train tracks in the country?

As described, she’s potentially a very powerful character. She needs some limits. I’m going to hesitantly introduce some physics into a comic-book discussion to help establish a baseline, then go on to the handwaving.

Converting even a tiny amount of matter to energy produces a lot of energy. If her conversion is reasonably efficient, she should be able to get the juice for her powers by converting small amounts of the air around her. That doesn’t make for a dramatic power, though–she’d look like just another generic character with super strength, flight, and so forth. If she converts substantial amounts of matter, but doesn’t absorb all the energy, there should be a big, big boom. That’s probably not a good idea. Some possible handwaves for this:

  1. She converts only part of the matter in an object–individual particles scattered throughout its structure. This results in the object she’s touching collapsing into dust or goo, depending on how moist it is.

  2. She converts only part of the matter in the object, but doesn’t have enough fine control over the amount she converts. The excess energy is released in an explosion that blows the object apart.

  3. The conversion process itself requires considerable energy, and takes up the bulk of the energy liberated, leaving only a relatively trivial amount available for her use. This is the cleanest choice, but results in drained objects quietly vanishing, which may not be dramatic enough. Maybe there’s a little flash from waste energy to spice things up.

Next, her powers. Most Marvel mutant characters basically have only a single power–the fun is in seeing all the ways they can adapt that power. You’ve got a character who can convert matter to energy, and absorb at least part of that energy for her own use. She’s also a duality, flipping between male and female. So, what can she do that fits the theme?

  1. She converts matter to energy…can she reverse that process, converting her stored energy back in to some form of matter? Maybe she doesn’t have the control to produce specific materials or shapes, but can produce superheated plasma when she’s “charged”.

  2. Rocket-like flight–none of this neat, reactionless flight. She flies on a jet of plasma, which can make an awful mess of her launch site. Maybe let her produce cool plasma to limit the damage.

  3. Damage resistance (pretty much all the mutants have to have some form of resistance). She absorbs energy, right? Well, she can absorb part of any incoming energy directly–kinetic energy, thermal energy, radiation, what have you. It’s not enough to charge her powers, but enough to explain why things that obviously ought to kill her (like getting slammed through a brick wall) don’t. This may only work if she knows the hit is coming or is otherwise combat-ready.

  4. Super healing–At very close range, her control improves, enabling her to create matter in specific forms. If she’s charged, and concentrating, she can use this to replace lost blood and tissue, healing herself. It’s nowhere near Wolverine’s regeneration factor, but if she can sneak off someplace quiet, she might be able to stop bleeding from a wound in time to return to the fight. This power confers no special resistance to disease or poison, just first aid for trauma. Needless to say, pain from a wound should interfere with her ability to concentrate on healing it. In a dire emergency, she might be able to use this power on someone else.

  5. Limited super-strength. I don’t actually like superstrength for this character–she has more than enough other abilities to finesse her way around problems. If you really want it to be available to her: She can use her stored energy to supercharge her muscles briefly, giving her a peak strength roughly twice the max for a normal human. She should try not to use it too often, as it always leaves her terribly stiff and sore afterwards.

Now for weaknesses (all superheroes must have a weakness–it’s in the Rules):

  1. When she’s uncharged, her only powers are matter conversion and her partial invulnerability. She’s still tough, but limited in her options for fighting back or escaping.

  2. Her conversion requires a minimum density of matter to work/work efficiently. She can grab a charge from solids almost instantly. Liquids take a few seconds longer. If she can charge from air at all, it should take at least a few minutes to get anything useful.

  3. The bioelectric field around living things interferes with her conversion power. She can’t convert living material to energy (this would make things too easy).

  4. Her storage capacity is limited. She can only maintain flight for about 15 minutes–less if she’s using her power for other things. A minute or two of full-bore combat will use up a full charge, unless she’s draining things on the fly. Lots of opportunities for both drama and humor with this–I picture a series of panels where she runs out of juice in mid-flight, then is shown falling, then appears at the door of Base X (wherever you have her hang out) with arms crossed in front of a bare chest, having obviously converted her clothes (or just her top) into enough of a charge to land safely. :slight_smile:

Even with these limitations, she’s still quite powerful and flexible for a Marvel mutant. Bear in mind that the various powers I described above are adaptations she’d normally come up with out of necessity over the course of many issues of the comic. Initially, she’d just make things vanish and fire plasma bolts. The others would arise as various writers painted themselves into corners.

Cycle. :smiley:

Why not keep Jean Grey as Phoenix and re-name Rachel? She was a Hound, once upon a time in the future… inspiration for a new name?

whistles slowly

Wow, I did not expect such a strong response. Thanks! Okay, here goes:

names for Jean and Rachel.

First Among Daves I want to give Rachel the Phoenix name in my fic, because she has the phoenix force, and I do intend to use her. The fic would be a series of small installments building up to one major conflict, ala Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex’s season-structuring. The central storyline of the series would be Apocalypse trying to utilize increasing human/mutant tensions to fully achieve his goal, and obviously Rachel and Cable will be playing key roles later on. I’d thought about grabbing another word for Phoenix for one or the other, but Suzaku or FengHuang were the best names I could come up with along those lines, and they aren’t related to rebirth.

As for your suggestions; I really like Bryan Ekers’s “Cycle,” and while I’m sure it’s already used, if it’s not an X-character (I can’t think of one), then it doesn’t matter for my purposes*. I also really like Askia’s suggestion of Demeter. Her association with marriage and sacred law works for Jean too (I always saw her and Cyclops as being something like the Apostles of Xavier’s Dream). Karma’s the name of an Xavier Institute faculty member, so that’s out. :frowning: Jayjay’s Tabitha would be good (especially in light of my aforementioned view of Scott Summers being the Peter of the story), but I do want to use Meltdown/Boomer/Boom Boom, so again, bit of a name overlap. Little Nemo you know, in searching Wikipedia for reincarnation themed stuff, I ran across Svava’s story, and I can’t quite make up my mind about it. Rennaisance is pretty cool though. Good work guys, now I’ve got a few good ones, I just need to pick.


*the name thing: I honestly did not know that it was used. From what I can dig up on Marvel’s database , etc., it looks like one of them is something of a one-off villain, and doesn’t have anything to do with the X-comics, so I don’t really care too much about that one. What’s the second one? I guess the real question is, since I’m not worried about breaking continuity and establishing my own in places (what superhero writer is? :wink: ), does it really matter? Would it be too jarring for readers to accept a third Halflife?

Lol, Balance… Y’know, that’s almost exactly the same outline I’d come up with for her powers. Oh, and I’m definitely using your idea for the flight-loss scene. You will be getting credit for that, it’s brilliant. BTW, you got my other idea exactly. To use another GitS:SAC comparison, much like Tokusa is the valuable rookie through whom we learn about Section 9’s world, Half-Life is the newest recruit to the X-Men, fresh off the boat from Japan (?, this may change).

I don’t think I’ll go through with it, but another idea I had was for her to be an illegitimate child of Mariko Yashida and her former lover, Wolverine. This would serve four functions:
1.) She had to leave Japan because she got involved in trying to save her Yakuza step-father from law enforcement officials. She didn’t know why the sinister men in suits were after him, having not been aware of the nature of her parent’s business.
2.) She is introduced to the X-men by her mother’s cousin and former X-man Sunfire.
3.) It gives me a less creepy way to use that “Wolverine becomes close with a troubled teenage girl and thus we see he isn’t completely heartless” plot device without him seeming like a pervert .
4.) Lastly, it sets up a brilliant scene early on where Jean chews Logan out for not supporting his child, to which he responds about not knowing what to do with an almost fully-grown kid popping up out of nowhere, and Jean giving him a “you don’t know the half of it” response. :smiley: And yes, I think I’m very clever. :stuck_out_tongue:

Lastly, on the Summers’ powers:

I definitely intend to rewrite their powers. I want them all to be an undefined emission of concussive energy that gives off visible light (because, honestly, have you read the scientific explanation for Cyclops’ power? It just doesn’t jive). My idea is that they all have different manifestations of the powers: each has unique strengths, and a unique catch. But I thin I’ve got something for Vulcan already:

Cyclops fires a continuous beam that can have extreme range and power, plus it’s hyper accurate (it fires exactly at whatever he looks at). He can’t stop it and see without special equipment though.

Havok can fire from both hands, radiate blasts outward from his body, and even fire shotgun-like spreads of blasts. He has the potential for very high power, and can sustain rapid-fire blasting for short bursts. He needs to wear special equipment to avoid random misfires.

Vulcan, my version of Vulcan, can fire low-power, continuous, beams from his hands at medium-ranges (like a fighter-jet’s “vulcan” gun). He can also slowly charge up a ball-shaped blast and fire it at extreme ranges to unleash large explosions on impact (akin to Vulcan forging lightning for Jupiter). However, he needs to wear special equipment to enable him to discharge the energy at all, otherwise when he tries to charge, he just begins to shudder violently, projecting shockwaves that pick up force as they radiate out from him, before losing strength again.

So that would make it: Cyclops’ is always on, Vulcan’s is always off, and Havok’s is random!

New Questions:

1.) Arch-Angel was apparently given the power to super-heal others (ala Wolverine) by shedding his blood for them (on them or giving a transfusion). This noble self-sacrifice element definitely fits the angelic theme, but I also think it’s kinda gross (and would probably make any medical expert balk, given the potential risks for infection by improper transfusions). I can’t decide whether to keep it in or dump it. I know I’m gonna have AA keep his metal wings, because he’s kinda useless in a fight without them, but I’m ditching the blue skin. I just can’t decide what to do about the blood-letting power. Do you think I should go for it?

2.) I need a character to fill a spot in an X-Team, preferably a psychic, or a teleporter (the team’s got blasting and melee covered). Jean, Psylocke, Gateway, the Stepford Cuckoos, Moonstar, Karma, Xavier, Cable, Rachel Summers, Nightcrawler, and Blink are all either already being used in my story, or I don’t want to use them. So can you suggest an under-used Mutant, or perhaps an original character that you wouldn’t mind me using? My stand-by for this group is Wind Dancer, but since I want Storm to lead the team, she feels kind of redundant.

3.) I’d like Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen to be a mix of races/genders/creeds. Particularly, I’d like a “four corners of the world” feel for them. Any suggestions for War, Death, Famine and Plague? I’ve already got a Pestilence outline that would act as kind of a sidekick to Plague (either a relationship like Full Metal Alchemist’s Lust and Gluttony if Plague is a chick, or something like Snively Ivo’s sycophantic devotion to Robotnik if Plague’s a guy).

4.) While I have no intention of making a lemon (pornographic fanfic), should I have serious, mature depictions of romantic relationships, or skirt around the issue? On a related note: Would it be inappropriate to play a gay relationship between Shatterstar and Richter for humor?

5.) If Longshot shows up, doesn’t pursue Dazzler (with whom he was married, and who presumably suffered a miscarriage while pregnant with their baby), but instead starts to develop a relationship with Domino (Cable’s perpetually almost-but-not-quite girlfriend), does that make him a cad?

6.) Would it be creepy for Multiple Man, in his early thirties, to pursue a relationship with an early-twenties Stepford Cuckoos? The triplets’ powers do revolve around becoming a collective consciousness, and Jamie Madrox can split into separate bodies to date each of them…

Damn that’s a long post… :eek:
That’s all I got.

PS. Yes, I’m establishing “world details” way beyond anything I could fit into one story, because I’m not entirely sure where I wanna go with the stand-alone stories, and this let’s me keep my options open without having to make stuff up on the fly later on.


About Half-Life or whatever you decide to call her… The big problem I see is that annihilating objects is itself a pretty powerful ability, even if you don’t do anything with the energy. OK, so maybe you work in some technobabble about how she can’t use it directly on living things… But what’s to stop her from annihilating the base of a skyscraper, so the top of it falls on her opponent? You definitely need to set some limits, here.

Agreed. Without some pretty tight limits on it, she could be insanely powerful. As in, “fight Magneto to a draw” powerful, possibly.

I think the mass she can annihilate at any given time should be strictly limited–probably no more than a few pounds at a time. Maybe she can’t annihilate anything past the amount required to reach her maximum charge? Anything bigger, and she just destroys part of it. It would make for an interesting balancing act in a fight–if she’s at low charge, she might be able to annihilate bullets (or larger projectiles) as they hit her, but at full charge, they would hurt her. It would also prevent her from just tunneling through whatever gets in her way–she couldn’t annihilate a door, but she could bore a hole through it and reach through to unlock it.

So, no annihilating buildings. If she wants to bring down a skyscraper, she’ll have to find critical supports and weaken them systematically.

Completely irrelevant thought: Make her hobby sculpting. She carves stone with her fingers. :slight_smile:

Well, as I said in the above post, I had already thought of ideas like this, and kind of planned out things like Balance suggests; Half-Life can’t absorb living things, and while it takes a substantial object to activate a major power (like a trash can to fly for a while), she can’t absorb huge amounts of matter at a time, so doing something major like that would be out of the picture. Also that Half-Life’s powers wear off quickly (but, more like an hour than 15 minutes), and she can only really use two, maybe three (if she really pushes it, but some of them would need to be related, like strength and toughness, or speed and agility), powers at a time. The big thing here is that she’d still be good at infiltration (“pick the lock, what lock?”) and fighting non-sentient robots (absorbing part of a Sentinel’s head). I say non-sentient because some of Marvel’s sentient robots (arguably) seem like they would have a psychic presence/aura, and might therefore share resistance with living things.

Peter Morris well, I certainly wouldn’t have thought of it, but looking up Rose on Wikipedia there’s a lot of symbolism associated with the flower besides love. Still, it’s too much of a common name to really work as a codename, eh? This one goes on the maybe list; I think I’ll probably end up using Demeter.

Though the Wikipedia article about him is somewhat confusing to me, I am pretty sure the Egyptian god Osiris was said to have been murdered and then resurrected later on.

You could femenize it as Osira (or just use his wife’s name, Isis, since she is symbolic of Life), or just stick with Osiris, which sounds kinda femenine to my English-listening ear in anycase.

How about Simurgh (or Simorgh)?

Magik (for her teleportation disks, not the demon-stuff)? Or for telepaths: Emma Frost? M? Chamber? Sage?