Hardcase | Issue 4 | Page 3
Story: Scott Bachmann | Art & Ink: Matthew Sparks; Colors: Tonin Cezar and Ozzy Longoria
Some of this story was always in the cards. Jolt was always a construct, it just never came up in the other stories she appeared in. It also became necessary to show it because Jolt is still young while Flare and Liza have aged. (All three appeared in my novel The Paragon of Animals.) Well necessary to me. I doubt anyone else noticed!
Mad science that fails and governments with ethical isues has always been a part of my comic writing, and this page is really the nadir of that. This is also a million anime and Japanese movie cliches rolled into one, without losing the core tragedy and message in of all them. The japanese don’t come out to well in this, but in this comic no one does. Though I’d love to do a spinoff with Jolt kicking A, or Night’s origin story, or a SciMage adventure. Some day.
This is also an effort to redeem SciMage to the reader. Would a man like this really be the monster he’s accused of being?
JOLT watches in shame as SCIMAGE being hauled away, she’s chewing her nail.
The Japanese wanted their own hero to counter those appearing in the west. So they invented one. Jolt is an artificial being.
Flashback, scared little girl in a vertical tank of fluid, face covered with breathing mask, cables and wires everywhere, she’s writhing in pain, electricity arcing all over. Japanese Scientists in lab coats dispassionately take notes.
The original Jolt was the Prime Minister’s teenage daughter. She was gene spliced with DNA stolen from Zeus, the European mega hero. It granted her powers over electro-magnetic fields.
Flashback. JOLT looks emaciated and old, hair mostly fallen out, face cancerous and blotchy as she lays in a hospital bed hooked up to a dozens of life support machines. SCIMAGE, in a lab coat, looks over her in civilian clothes, holding her hand compassionately.
After a few years, Jolt’s body rejected the splicing. It left her ravaged with incurable tumors.
Dr. Bova has come through – your cloning worked! The clone looks just like you at fifteen. And now it’s my turn. I’m going to transfer your mind into the clone.
Flashback. Young cloned JOLT is hooked up to an EEG machine. Her bald head is covered in a skull cap with hundreds of wires attached. JOLT looks blank and confused, like a little girl who’s lost her mom. The EEG machine readout has lines scrawling all over the place. SCIMAGE, in a lab coat, looks on, troubled.
The transfer was experimental, and in the end, only partially successful.