May 26 2012

Carl Shinyama’s Review Forum

Published by at 1:41 am under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Carl Shinyama’s Review Forum”

  1. Carl Shinyamaon 03 Jun 2012 at 11:29 am

    Premise:

    Born without powers, Will Sommers is an ordinary 17-year old. The people in his life, however, are not. They are extraordinary. Both his father and his brother are superheroes, while his mother, who has the ability to create any fabric she wants, is a successful sports apparel designer/innovator. (Even Will’s best friend, Sumitra, has superpowers, fighting crime as M.R.I.)

    Not one to be content with letting others make a difference in the world, Will does what he can to help, volunteering at a homeless shelter in the city after school, but because of the extraordinary people in his life, Will naturally wants nothing more (besides to date a pretty girl at school) to have superpowers and to be a superhero, believing he can do more good if he had powers and that he would fit in better with his family.

    When Will makes a wish for superpowers one night, his wish comes true when he meets Feema, a wishgiver from another world.

    Wishing for and granted the ability to transform into a superhero with good old-fashioned superstrength, superspeed, invulnerability, and flight, Will adopts a superhero identity (to go with a costume that his mother makes for him), choosing the name, “Megapower.”

    Plot:

    But there is a catch: Wishgivers are a race magically bound to the laws of balance. For every positive force that they create, they must also create an equal negative force.

    This means that while Will was granted extraordinary powers to do good, Feema must also grant equally extraordinary powers to a person whose evil nature is the exact opposite of Will’s own good nature.

    A middle-aged, greasy dark-haired man by the name of Myrlyn Thames, often called “Hollow” for his expressionless and cruel demeanor, and also for his crimes against his victims, which usually involved young children, in which he would grotesquely rearrange their faces and tie them to a tree using their own skin (which he finds to be extremely beautiful), is chosen by Feema to be Megapower’s opposite.

    When presented with the opportunity, Myrlyn wishes for abilities far beyond mortal men to “make this world beautiful” in his image, to go with “a beautiful new face.”

    Thus, the supervillain by the name of Hollow is born.

    While Will is busy making a name for himself saving lives and fighting various supervillains, Hollow is quietly working his way towards becoming the most feared supervillain in the world. Abandoning children, his victims are now superheroes and authority figures.

    Hollow’s crimes continue to increase in profile, and continue they do, because no one knows where he is to catch him or who his next victims will be.

    Hollow eventually eyes Megapower as a target, for if he could remove Megapower, the world could be made in his image.

    Needless to say, Megapower and Hollow will be led down a path to an inevitable confrontation.

    —————————————————–

    I’ve got a whole world built up in my head, with other unique, interesting characters and plots, but I’m giving you the very, very basic gist of it. I’d like to get your feedback – anything, really.

  2. YoungAuthoron 03 Jun 2012 at 3:54 pm

    This sounds like a really interesting story!! I like the plotline of it. But what’s Will Sommers character like?

  3. B. McKenzieon 03 Jun 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I like the setup–the kid trying to be as incredible as the people around him. However, the Wishgivers are a deus ex machina which take away one of the more interesting things about him (that he’s not the same as the people around him). At the very least, I would recommend having the Wishgivers give him something besides just 100% of what he’s always dreamed about. There’s not much challenge there and it sounds like it works out pretty much the same as a mundane superhero origin would have. Maybe there’s some sort of catch to what they’re offering. Maybe there are interesting side-effects. Maybe Will didn’t get the powers he was hoping for and/or his powers are not a great match for his temperament or skills. (For example, if he’s always dreamed of bumrushing supervillains and rushing into battle, there might be some ass-kicking in his future if he has to adjust to a powerset which doesn’t include incredible toughness). Maybe the Wishgivers have an agenda of their own and aren’t just a plot device. Maybe the Wishgivers are playing some sort of cosmic game along the lines of fantasy football or Henry Higgins’ bet in My Fair Lady (“I bet you couldn’t train THAT guy to save the world.” “The hell I can’t!” “Alright, but I’m picking the superpowers…”) I think that’d give them more personality than being more or less unthinking things which are bound to inscrutable rules beyond their control.



    Of all the people on Earth who have unfulfilled dreams, why does Feema choose to grant Will’s request? I think it would probably help if Will does something which impresses Feema on some level. For example, if Will gets involved with some superpowered situation (e.g. running in to a danger zone to rescue somebody so that an actual superhero doesn’t have to stop fighting to save the civilian), Feema might find it heroic and/or amusing that someone would be so brave and/or stupid to take that risk even though fate didn’t apparently have that role in mind for him.



    One thing about Feema’s contrived rules of balance which I would find a bit annoying is that I think explicitly using a depraved serial killer as Will’s moral balance makes it too explicit that Will is an 100% nice/virtuous/heroic guy. I’d like a bit more moral depth. For example, is the ONLY thing that disappoints Will about not having superpowers that he can’t do enough to help people? Or is it at least a little bit because he wants to do cool and exciting things and/or that he’s a bit jealous of the perks? (Among other things: it is apparently written down somewhere, perhaps by a Wishgiver, that every superhero will have smoking hot love interests*).

    *In The Taxman Must Die, tentatively a super-desirable lady starts hitting on a very unsexy IRS agent days after he gets transferred onto a team of superheroes and the team immediately starts a betting pool about whether she’s a spy, an assassin, mentally damaged, or blind.



    “Hollow eventually eyes Megapower as a target, for if he could remove Megapower, the world could be made in his image.” Hmm, what? Megapower is sort of an upstart, isn’t he? It might make more sense if Hollow’s final act is a bit more ambitious. (Maybe Megapower initiates the rivalry and Hollow only gradually realizes that Megapower might be more of a problem than just another rookie superhero without particularly impressive superpowers).

  4. Carl Shinyamaon 03 Jun 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you for that response, B. Mac!

    ————————————————————-

    “I like the setup–the kid trying to be as incredible as the people around him. However, the Wishgivers are a deus ex machina which take away one of the more interesting things about him (that he’s not the same as the people around him). At the very least, I would recommend having the Wishgivers give him something besides just 100% of what he’s always dreamed about*. There’s not much challenge there and it sounds like it works out pretty much the same as a mundane superhero origin would have. Maybe there’s some sort of catch to what they’re offering. Maybe there are interesting side-effects. Maybe Will didn’t get the powers he was hoping for and/or his powers are not a great match for his temperament or skills. (For example, if he’s always dreamed of bumrushing supervillains and rushing into battle, there might be some ass-kicking in his future if he has to adjust to a powerset which doesn’t include incredible toughness). Maybe the Wishgivers have an agenda of their own and aren’t just a plot device.** Maybe the Wishgivers are playing some sort of cosmic game along the lines of fantasy football or Henry Higgins’ bet in My Fair Lady (“I bet you couldn’t train THAT guy to save the world.” “The hell I can’t!” “Alright, but I’m picking the superpowers…”) I think that’d give them more personality than being more or less unthinking things which are bound to inscrutable rules beyond their control.

    * I have been considering this strongly, and the way that I was leaning towards doing it was that he didn’t get the powers he wanted; he wanted specific powers, and didn’t want generic superpowers, but he got the generic ones anyway.

    ** This, too, I have been considering. I’ve been trying to add a dimension to the plot in such a way that the wishgivers had a motive or agenda, but could not think of one. I really like your ideas, particularly the Mary Higgins bet; I think I will use that because it would be a great way to do an opening scene in the first issue.

    ————————————————————-

    Of all the people on Earth who have unfulfilled dreams, why does Feema choose to grant Will’s request? I think it would probably help if Will does something which impresses Feema on some level.* For example, if Will gets involved with some superpowered situation (e.g. running in to a danger zone to rescue somebody so that an actual superhero doesn’t have to stop fighting to save the civilian), Feema might find it heroic and/or amusing that someone would be so brave and/or stupid to take that risk even though fate didn’t apparently have that role in mind for him.

    * And he does. There is a reason why Feema chose Will. It’s not completely fleshed out, but Feema took notice of Will throwing himself onto a falling school bus to save a fellow student (one that was bigger than Will and one that Will didn’t particularly like) while MRI (who was also on that bus) was occupied with a super baddy.

    However, I have had some trouble with why Feema singles out Hollow. Working on that bit.

    ————————————————————-

    One thing about Feema’s contrived rules of balance which I would find a bit annoying is that I think explicitly using a depraved serial killer as Will’s moral balance makes it too explicit that Will is an 100% nice/virtuous/heroic guy.* I’d like a bit more moral depth. For example, is the ONLY thing that disappoints Will about not having superpowers that he can’t do enough to help people?** Or is it at least a little bit because he wants to do cool and exciting things and/or that he’s a bit jealous of the perks? (Among other things: it is apparently written down somewhere, perhaps by a Wishgiver, that every superhero will have smoking hot love interests*).

    *Admittedly, I’ve not given it that much thought, but I do agree with you. I’ve always pictured Will as someone whose biggest strength was his compassion, not necessarily his moral compass. He’s not some infallibly virtuous character, but I definitely see what you’re saying when I choose to have Hollow as Will’s opposite. Hollow is this complete sociopath, so it can certainly give the reader the perspective that Will is probably a one-dimensionally virtuous character.

    I will definitely give that some thought, probably tonight.

    ** Great question: Yes, while I don’t have it fleshed out yet, I do have other motivations for why Will wants superpowers: I like this idea of having his brother getting all the attention not just from his parents, but the media as well, and usually being the winner of their sibling rivalry, particularly at the dinner table, a fact that Will detests: “I saved all the construction workers on the Narrows Bridge just before it imploded. What did you do today, Will?” / “I dissected a frog.”

    Giving Will powers would be a great way for him to one-up his brother in their sibling rivalry. I can do things where they try to compete against each other in battle not unlike Legoals and Gimli.

    ————————————————————-

    “Hollow eventually eyes Megapower as a target, for if he could remove Megapower, the world could be made in his image.” Hmm, what? Megapower is sort of an upstart, isn’t he?* It might make more sense if Hollow’s final act is a bit more ambitious. (Maybe Megapower initiates the rivalry and Hollow only gradually realizes that Megapower might be more of a problem than just another rookie superhero without particularly impressive superpowers).

    * Yes, he is, but when I said eventually, I was thinking after several issues in, when Megapower has begun to establish himself, that Hollow took notice of him. But looking on it, I do like your suggestion of having Megapower initiate the rivalry better. It will make him appear more proactive, like any superhero should.

  5. B. McKenzieon 03 Jun 2012 at 7:50 pm

    The sibling rivalry sounds promising.



    “However, I have had some trouble with why Feema singles out Hollow. Working on that bit.” I don’t think it’s a huge problem for the villain. However, if I was in a My Fair Superhero sort of bet, where I was betting that my villain could beat my competitor’s superhero, I’d want to “draft” a criminal with some of the following traits:
    –A history of serious crimes, particularly violent felonies. It’ll be harder for him to have any second thoughts or give himself up if he’s facing the death penalty.
    –Experience with firearms (e.g. hunting, military, crime, dated a Canadian, etc). This might lead to useful combat instincts (like immediately diving for cover when appropriate).
    –Careful planning and reconnaissance. I’d stay the hell away from villains who’d rob a bank by just running in with weapons drawn. That sort of criminal will blunder into every sort of trap, miss critical details, and leave enough evidence that Scooby Doo could get a capital conviction.
    –Discretion and the ability to improvise.
    –Mindfulness and an attention to detail.
    –Creativity.
    –Unusual toughness and an interesting injury history. It’ll help in battle.
    –At least basic social skills.

  6. Carl Shinyamaon 20 Jun 2012 at 3:39 pm

    @ YoungAuthor: Meant to reply to some time back:

    As to what his character is like, his three biggest traits are:

    – Compassionate
    – Shy
    – Impulsive (this has and will get him in trouble)

  7. Carl Shinyamaon 22 Jun 2012 at 1:34 am

    After some more consideration, I’ve tweaked the Wishgiver part of the plot a bit.

    Plot:

    When Feema, who is a low-ranking Wishgiver, is assigned to Earth, she disguises herself as a human, working for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    Because she is low-ranking, she is not allowed to grant the people of Earth superpowers, a sacred privileged reserved for only the highest ranking Wishgivers. Punishment for those who break this law is severe.

    She doesn’t mind this, and even enjoys getting by without it, granting simple wishes like a bathtub full of ice cream to dying cancer patients, granting a child’s wish to see a cartoon character of himself in his favorite cartoon show, or even to aid a young man’s first date with the woman of his dreams by making sure the evening goes smoothly.

    But it isn’t until she meets Will Sommers, who impresses her with his bravery/stupidity in a bus accident and his compassion, that she changes her mind and decides to grant him the one wish he’s longed for his whole life.

    When Feema is detained for this, she is punished severely. So that she would learn not to do this again, one of the conditions of her punishment is that she must grant powers to a very evil, vile man, one who is chosen by another Wishgiver.

    That man is Myrlyn Thames.

    [You can stop reading here, since the rest is basically a copy and paste of the rest of the plot].

    A middle-aged, greasy dark-haired man by the name of Myrlyn Thames, often called “Hollow” for his expressionless and cruel demeanor, and also for his crimes against his victims, which usually involved young children, in which he would grotesquely rearrange their faces and tie them to a tree using their own skin (which he finds to be extremely beautiful), is chosen by to be Megapower’s opposite.

    When presented with the opportunity, Myrlyn wishes for abilities far beyond mortal men to go with “a beautiful new face.”

    Thus, the supervillain by the name of Hollow is born.

    While Will is busy making a name for himself saving lives and fighting various supervillains, Hollow is quietly working his way towards becoming the most feared supervillain in the world. Abandoning children, his victims are now superheroes and authority figures.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply