Of all the hard pages to make in this chapter, this one was hard in a unique way. Over the past few years, due to the rising number of real-life school tragedies in my country, I’ve become extremely sensitive to the prospect of young adults being shot. Even if the argument can be made that Ken deserves what he gets, the echoes of reality in a scene like this—complete with armed military storming the building—chill me to the bone.
Which begs the question “Then why did you write it like this, Jim?” As I was coming up with reasonable conclusions for this finale, I looked at a few possibilities and all of the ones that didn’t involve the authorities coming in at the end lacked the bite of seriousness this story needed to conclude in a satisfying way. If I didn’t bring in an external law force, I’d be sidestepping the truth that this school is already not safe for these kids, and that the actions that unfolded today are too big, too consequential, to be contained to just the building and just the student population. For the series to take the next steps that I want it to take, a line needs to be crossed.
I don’t know if I did the right thing, but that line is now crossed, and we’re going to see what waits on the other side.
Lookit all these already-transformed characters we’ve never seen transform.
Just look. No backstories. They’re just appearing for flavor to add to the diversity of the looming fight sequence.
*sobs* What am I even making this comic for.
I like having a varied pool of background characters that can develop into contributing characters. July started as a friend of Keris’ to fit a single scene in “New Tricks,” and over the next few chapters she’s had a supporting role in establishing Ken’s plot. Obviously she’s gone from being somewhat supportive of Ken’s group to being so against it that she’s helping to thwart them. And she’s only had three pages in total devoted to this across four chapters. These types of storytelling tricks are still new to me, but I realize I should have been using them far earlier.
I hadn’t intended for Jen to be wearing pantyhose, but this felt like a great way to show how much she’s shrunk. From what I’ve heard, women sometimes wear hose under pants for comfort or insulation, and considering there is a full-on winter storm outside, it seemed pretty plausible.
I was a bit iffy on Keris’ self-defeating attitude here. It feels almost like a step back from her growth in “New Tricks,” but given the crushing circumstances and the fact that she doesn’t have an invention that can be used against Ken, I believe her decision to stay out of the fight is appropriate for this stage of her character arc.
The page title comes from the sixth season cliffhanger of Star Trek: The Next Generation. An earlier page was titled “Redemption”, and after a bit I realized that “Redemption” was coincidentally the title of STTNG’s fourth season cliffhanger. I thought “Cool! I can foreshadow the upcoming cliffhanger by naming all of the rest of the pages with Star Trek cliffhanger titles.” But when I looked through my options, there weren’t many that could be used that matched the context of what was going on in the pages. The only one that fit was “Descent”, so that’s all that ended up being used.