The full concept for Katsuko’s bears was originally developed to be its own full story, but it got shelved early in UTC’s lifespan and I’ve had to resort to dealing aspects of the bears out piecemeal whenever there is an opportunity.
I don’t usually like seeing “…” balloons in comics to indicate silence–it seems like it’s overstating the point. Noah wasn’t going to have any speech bubble to indicate that he was gaping silently, but upon reviewing the page, I was worried it would give the impression that I had forgotten to put in a speech bubble. I wonder if that’s why most comics do this sort of thing?
This is the part of the story arc that many writers (particularly screenwriters of action/horror films) hate. At some point you need to assemble all of the various groups and they need to share information with each other that the audience has already learned. It can get clunky and repetitive. Robert Rodriguez brilliantly found a way to skip this section of his film Planet Terror by literally cutting it out and claiming that the theater had misplaced that reel of footage. I have no such fallback option, so I have to just make this as entertaining as possible. Cue crowdsurfing Flint!
The inspiration for Katsuko’s bears comes from an unlikely place — Action Comics #657. It’s the earliest Superman comic I owned, and in it, Toyman kidnaps kids using sleeping bags that transform into giant plush bears that carry the children inside while they’re still asleep. It was creepy then, and it’s creepy now. I love it.
Disclaimer: Katsuko did not invent these bears to kidnap children.
The scene in the maintenance room was going to dismiss Morty as useless and then immediately focus on Jen’s worsening problem, but I just had to add a comment about the irony of Cass putting hope in Morty.
With this page I realized that Ken and Kestrel appear to be Magneto/Mystique expys. This was not what I was going for at all. Kestrel being a chameleon made sense as far as her function in the story (a ninja saboteur) while Ken is the end result of how certain entitled individuals with low regard for others would push back against an institution that placed rules on them. I’m not going to deny that Ken and Kestrel have a lot in common with Magneto and Mystique, but they definitely do not have the same interpersonal relationship as we saw in the X-Men films.
The page title is not a true French phrase. It’s a play on “coup d’état”, swapping the French word for “state” with the French word for “school”.
The orange “telephone receivers” are cellular destabilizers. They were first seen in “Day of the Dork”, where Gareth (the guy holding Cass) used them against were-poodle Keris. I added them into the establishing shot of the advanced equipment room on a whim, presuming that Jen would have a problem with a teenager creating a portable device that could literally break apart living tissue. (It also helps explain why Gareth is working with Ken in the first place.) On this page, Ken originally subdued Cass with a taser he kept in his pocket. I thought that idea was too “normal”, and when I realized that the destabilizers were right there on the shelf, I drew the page to show Ken moving into the room, where he could reach for them quickly.