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"IN THE BEGINNING"
Panel One: Ext. shot of hospital. Includes sign saying "St. Thompkins Hospital".
CAPTION: One year from now:
VOICE (o.s.): AAAAAAA!!
Panel 2: Shot of a delivery room, with doctors trying to deliver a baby from Stephanie McMahon. She's in her late twenties/early thirties, and obviously in pain (and it's making her cranky). The doctor(s) should be arranged as tastefully as possible.
STEPHANIE: They shouldn't call this "giving birth", they should call it an exorcism!
STEPHANIE: Get this damn thing out of me!
DOCTOR: We're doing the best job we can, Mrs. McMahon. We've almost got it...
Panel 3: Blurred shot of the baby flying out.
DOCTOR (o.s.) Whoops!
STEPHANIE (o.s.) Oww!
Panel 4: (This might be pushing the boundaries of good taste a little.) The baby hits the floor. We can see the umbilical cord. Everything else is up to the artist's imagination and, again, judgment of taste.
DOCTOR (o.s.): Omigod! The baby's hit the linoleum!
STEPHANIE (o.s.): My baby! My baby's...
Panel 5: Back to Stephanie on the table and the doctor. Both are looking surprised and confused.
DOCTOR: That's impossible...judging from how hard he fell, the baby should have broken something.
DOCTOR: But instead...
"Splash" page of the baby lying in a crater, crying his eyes out.
DOCTOR: ...the floor broke.
TITLE: IN THE BEGINNING...
CREDITS: Writer: Timothy Shanahan Artist: ?????
Panel 1: Ext. shot of a school.
CAPTION: Ten years from now:
CAPTION: "The student's name is Sharizad Kashmira Raschim. She's nine years old, and an American-born Muslim."
Panel 2: The inside of a school psychiatrist's office. The psychiatrist, Mrs. Donnely, is a pleasant enough-looking middle-aged woman, and there is also a young Arabic girl in a headscarf. They are seated at opposite ends of a table.
CAPTION: "While praying at a mosque last Friday, she complained of hearing the other attendants' thoughts."
CAPTION: "Today she's undergoing an evaluation."
MRS. DONNELY: All right, Sharizad, I'm going to ask you some questions, and I want you to answer whether they're true or false.
Panel 3: Medium close-up of Sharizad's face. She's mostly curious.
MRS. DONNELY (o.s.): The Earth is round.
MRS. DONNELY (o.s.): The sky is yellow.
Panel 4: Close-up on Sharizad looking particularly thoughtful.
MRS. DONNELY (o.s.): Ice cream is sweet.
MRS. DONNELY (o.s.) I can move objects without touching them.
Panel 5: Sharizad's hand in from off-panel, closed in as if holding an imaginary object. We see Mrs. Donnely's coffee cup shake.
Panel 1: The coffee cup is beginning to rise. We see Sharizad's face, a mask of concentration, in the background.
Panel 2: The coffee cup is floating in front of Mrs. Donnely, who looks like she's about to go catatonic.
SHARIZAD (o.s.): Is the answer still "False", Mrs. Donnely?
Panel 3: This should take up half the page. Mrs. Donnely's fainting out of her chair. Sharizad looks confused and concerned.
SHARIZAD: Mrs. Donnely...?
Panel 1: Ext. shot of the Domingo residence. It's a middle-class home: not exactly a mansion, but not a stereotypical "barrio" home either.
VOICE (o.s.): Hola, Casa de Domingo.
Panel 2: Maria Domingo is answering the phone in the kitchen.
MARIA: Senora Alvarez? Como estas?
MARIA: Bueno, gracias.
MARIA: Carlos? Excellente...
Panel 3: A robotic module enters the room. It has metallic arms and legs, and there is a "cockpit" containing a nine-year-old Hispanic boy. The boy seems to be born without arms and legs, and has wires cybernetically attaching him to the machine by the back of his neck.
MARIA (o.s.): ...The robotic body he helped design is a tremendous help.*
FOOTNOTE: *Translated from Spanish.
Panel 1: A video screen image of a pen floating in front of Sharizad. She has a slight look of concentration on her face.
CAPTION: Twelve years from now:
SHARIZAD: (electronically recorded voice) I don't know, exactly, how I do it.
SHARIZAD: (ditto) Sometimes, when I think really hard about something, it happens. I like to think of it as Allah, or one of His angels, answering my prayers.
Panel 2: Two pensive-looking scientists are watching the television. One, Dr. Elizabeth Sanger, is a redhead who's starting to get long in the tooth. The other is Sharizad's father, Dr. Jaffar Raschim, a man in his mid-thirties.
TV: Of course, if that offends you, you could say it's more like a genie granting my wishes.
TV: Though personally, I think that's racial stereotyping.
DR. SANGER: Hmm...
Panel 3: Side view of the two doctors.
JAFFAR: When she first complained about hearing the other worshippers, I thought it was some kind of psychological problem.
DR. SANGER: And instead, it turned out to be parapsychological.
DR. SANGER: Your daughter seems to be a true telekinetic, Dr. Raschim. Quite possibly a telepath as well, and God knows what else.
Panel 4: Bird's-eye view of Dr. Sanger. She has a dismissive expression on her face.
JAFFAR (o.s.): I hope it is God behind her talent, and not the other fellow.
DR. SANGER: Well, that depends on how she uses it, doesn't it?
DR: SANGER: Anyway, it was a figure of speech, Dr. Raschim. Don't get bent out of shape over it.
Panel 5: We see, from Dr. Sanger's POV, a photograph of Stephanie McMahon's young son, the baby we saw born. He's brown-haired and wearing glasses.
DR. SANGER: Although...I'm reminded of being informed by a doctor, eleven years ago, of another person born with an unusual talent.
Panel 1: We see the boy, Michael "Mike" McMahon. His glasses have been broken and his clothes are rumpled. Other than that, he's none the worse for wear.
STEPHANIE (o.s.) Mike! Are you all right?
Panel 2: Mike looks nonchalant, while a now forty-year-old Stephanie checks him out concernedly. She's a cop, as her uniform shows.
MIKE: I'm always all right, Mom.
STEPHANIE: I know, Mike. I'm just being motherly.
STEPHANIE: What the hell happened to you, anyway?
Panel 3: Mike has taken his glasses off. Stephanie looks even more concerned.
MIKE: Some school bully called "Rocky" or something was pushing me around.
STEPHANIE: And you let him?
Panel 4: Mike looks like he's quoting something. Stephanie looks embarrassed.
MIKE: "Now, Mike, I want you to remember something. You have to hide how strong you are, or people will be afraid of you."
STEPHANIE: I said that, didn't I?
Panel 5: Mike is still quoting.
MIKE: You also said, "But when the time is right, you must use your powers to help mankind."
MIKE: I don't know about you, Mom, but I hate having to wait for that.
Panel 1: Int. shot of a factory. Billionaire Michael Chandler and his sixteen-year-old daughter Beverly are touring the facility. Chandler's in his forties/fifties, with graying dark hair. He wears glasses and looks mildly corrupt. Beverly is the classic spoiled "popular girl", and has blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes.
CAPTION: Sixteen years from now...
CHANDLER: This, Beverly, will all be yours when I'm gone: Chandler Industries, a multi-billion-dollar empire.
BEVERLY: It doesn't look like much, father.
CHANDLER: Pay attention, now. We're developing fuels for space exploration. We're a nation addicted to oil, and it's estimated the world will run out of it years from now.
Panel 2: Two delivery guys move a heavy crate. One bangs into Beverly, knocking her over a railing.
DELIVERY GUY #1: Watch it!
DELIVERY GUY #2: Sorry!
CHANDLER (o.s.): Beverly!
Panel 3: Beverly has fallen onto a tank of liquid nitrogen. It's ruptured although not completely crumpled, and the super-cold liquid/gas is spewing from the cracks.
CHANDLER (o.s.): She's fallen on the liquid nitrogen!
CHANDLER (ditto): Get her out of there, or I'll have your heads!
Panel 4: The two delivery guys and Chandler have formed a human chain.
CHANDLER: My daughter injured, and months of work ruined! I don't know which makes me angrier!
DELIVERY GUY #1: We're sorry, already! Geez!
DELIVERY GUY #2: I got her! I'm pulling her up...
Panel 5: Michael Chandler's holding the frozen Beverly in his arms. He's looking supremely upset. The delivery guys are running for it.
CHANDLER: Get out! Get out, or I'll have you arrested!
CHANDLER: Oh, God, Beverly, not you...
Panel 6: Beverly's right eye has opened. It's radiating an ice-blue glow.
CHANDLER (o.s.): Beverly?...
Panel 1: Beverly is holding a flower in her hand. It's dead, as if from cold.
SANDY (o.s.) Beverly? Come on...
Panel 2: We have pulled back to reveal the ice-white Beverly, and Sandy, one of the less attractive and popular girls. We're also shown our establishing shot: the outside of a high school (not necessarily the one we saw before). Sandy's trying to make nice, but Beverly's too preoccupied with the flower.
SANDY: ...we're gonna be late.
SANDY: Look, Beverly, I heard about your accident. I want you to know that we all feel bad about what happened.
Panel 3: Beverly's turning the dead flower in her hands, not really listening.
SANDY (o.s.): I was thinking, maybe we could get a second chance to be friends. Maybe we could go out to a movie or something.
SANDY (ditto): Look, you could at least listen to me. I'm trying to be nice to you.
Panel 4: Beverly is now looking at the off-panel Sandy, out of the corner of her glowing eyes. A demented smirk is on her face.
SANDY (o.s.) Unless maybe you want us to make bitchy jokes about you being an "ice princess" or something...
BEVERLY: "Ice princess"?
Panel 5: Sandy has been frozen alive, a silent scream of agony on her face.
Panel 6: Beverly pushes the frozen Sandy down, literally shattering her.
Panel 7: Beverly trots off to class.
BEVERLY: What an odd turn of phrase.
Panel 1: The McMahon Van, a sort of small camper/RV owned by the McMahons, has entered Washington. Unfortunately, they have also come up against a police blockade.
STEPHANIE (o.s., inside the van): Huh? The hell --
Panel 2: Stephanie, now in her forties/fifties (but in such good shape, she looks like she's in her thirties) leans out of the driver's seat to talk to a cop.
STEPHANIE: What the hell's going on here?
COP: The whole square's been blocked off. All the national monuments -- everything.
Panel 3: Stephanie has just pulled out her badge.
Panel 4: The cop looks reluctant.
COP: We don't wanna panic anyone, but there's been reports that a nuclear missile has been launched from a hidden site. We think it's the Rockies...
COP: No, the Rockies, in Colorado. That's where we think the site is.
Panel 5: A fifteen-year-old Mike is looking out another window.
MIKE: I see it, Mom. It looks like it's headed for the Washington Monument.
Panel 6: Stephanie is looking horrified.
STEPHANIE: Jesus Christ...if it hits, it'll wipe out the White House, the Capitol Building...everything.
Panel 7: Cutting back to Mike, looking determined.
MIKE: You know how you always told me about "when the time is right?"
MIKE: I'd say that's right now.
Panel 1: Mike has jumped out the door and is running at super-speed.
STEPHANIE: Mike, no --
COP: What the hell's that?
Panel 2: Stephanie looks embarrassed.
STEPHANIE: My son.
STEPHANIE: Whom I never told I meant "in secret".
Panel 3: Mike surges toward the Washington Monument.
CAPTION: I can't fly. I never developed that power for some reason.
Panel 4: Mike "wall-runs" up the side of the Monument.
CAPTION: I'm fast as hell, though.
CAPTION: I keep under six hundred mph just in case, to avoid making sonic booms.
Panel 5: Mike has reached the top of the Monument, and leaps off.
CAPTION: And I can jump real far, too.
CAPTION: Add invulnerability and super-strength --
Panel 1: Mike grabs the nuke. It's relatively small, but he's struggling with it.
CAPTION: -- and maybe I can pull this off.
CAPTION: Whoa! Maybe not.
Panel 2: The nuke's slamming Mike back into the Washington Monument. He's still between the two, though.
CAPTION: Apparently there are certain physical laws even I'm subject to.
Panel 3: Close-up on Mike's face as it scrunches with determination.
CAPTION: But I'll be damned if I let them stop me.
Panel 4: Mike begins to slide down the Monument, still holding the missile. It's held at an angle, pointing it as far from its target as possible.
CAPTION: Too many people are counting on it...especially Mom.
Panel 1: Mike's feet have touched the ground.
Panel 2: Mike is holding the missile, the rocket of which has gone out. This shot should be big, as dramatic as possible.
MIKE: There. It's out of fuel.
MIKE: Now, could someone get a bomb squad or something, so I can put this thing down?
Panel 1: Stephanie is in the foreground, with an I-can't-believe-he-did-that expression. In the background are cops, reporters, tourists, etc. looking somewhere between awe-struck and just plain stunned.
Panel 2: Same as Panel 1, except everyone's smiling and clapping their hands.
STEPHANIE: Ah, what the hell.
Panel 3: Center-of-page. Stephanie and the others are cheering.
STEPHANIE: You did it, son!
MIKE: Aw, c'mon, Mom! You're embarrassing me!
Panel 4: Cameraman holding camera. Female reporter giving orders, pointing at Mike o.s.
REPORTER: Zoom in!
REPORTER: No, no -- wrong angle, airhead! Over there!
Panel 5: Camera's POV, centered on Mike.
REPORTER (o.s.): Yeah, you got it! Right at that --
Panel 1: "Screen" of a TV news program, close-up of Mike holding the nuke (and looking stressed).
REPORTER (o.s.): --teenage powerhouse responsible for stopping the missile. He...seems to be holding it in his bare hands. Whether this is a hoax or not has yet to be determined.
REPORTER (same): Sir! If it's safe, can we conduct an interview?
Panel 2: ECU on Mike, sweating and obviously uncomfortable.
MIKE: You might...wanna ask...later.
Panel 3: Mike and Stephanie are sitting on a couch in the camper, watching the program on TV.
TV: While the parties responsible for launching the missile are as yet unidentified, authorities say it is only a matter of time before positive identification is known. This is Linda Lovejoy, WRAD news.
STEPHANIE: I gotta hand it to you, you've arrived.
Panel 4: 3/4 angle on Stephanie and Mike. Stephanie's smiling; Mike's worried.
STEPHANIE: I should have told you -- when I said I wanted you to help mankind, I meant secretly.
MIKE: Are you mad at me?
STEPHANIE: Only for asking such a stupid question.
Panel 5: Close-up on Stephanie, looking misty-eyed yet smiling.
STEPHANIE: You saved millions of lives, prevented a nationwide panic, quite possibly averted World War III -- I couldn't be prouder if you were the President.
MIKE (o.s.): Yeah, well, give me twenty more years...
STEPHANIE: Ha, ha.
Panel 6: Stephanie and Mike are getting up from the couch.
STEPHANIE: C'mon, I'll make your favorite -- spaghetti and meatballs.
MIKE: I'll see if we still have any Parmesan cheese.
CAPTION: Sixteen years and one day from now:
Panel 1: Carlos Domingo, now age fifteen, with gleaming nanotechnological limbs. A cynical smirk twists his handsome features.
TV VOICE (o.s.): I cannot believe this, it's too fantastic --
CARLOS: That's what they said about me, amigo.
Panel 2: Sharizad, age fifteen, is watching TV with a big smile of delight on her face.
TV VOICE (o.s.): ...he seems to have genuine superhuman powers...
SHARIZAD: Insh'allah! I knew I couldn't be the only one like me!
Panel 3: Beverly is watching TV. A slight frown crosses her features.
TV VOICE (o.s.): ...Authorities have taken away the missile he captured...
Panel 4: A shadowy figure watches TV in a darkened room. From what we can see, the figure is massively built, and has glowing red eyes.
TV VOICE (o.s.): He has been identified as Michael McMahon, from New Hampshire...
FIGURE: Ya don't say...
VOICE (o.s.): Rakim? Dinner's ready...
FIGURE: I'll be there in a minute, Mom.
BLURB: Next: THE AGE OF GODS AND MONSTERS
Splash page of a newspaper's front page. The now-iconic image of Mike holding the missile graces the page as the headline reads...
TITLE: "THE AGE OF GODS AND MONSTERS"
CREDITS: Timothy Shanahan - reporter (Artist's name here) - photographs
STEPHANIE (o.s.) : I still can't believe it.
Panel 1: Stephanie's reading the paper at the table, beaming with pride. Sitting at a side perpendicular to her is Mike, eating a bagel with lox. Their house should look middle class-ish.
STEPHANIE: It's official. You're a hero.
MIKE: That's cool. Now all we gotta do is wait for the million-dollar endorsement deals.
Panel 2: Stephanie is looking shocked, but Mike's wearing an I-know-what-I'm-doing expression.
STEPHANIE: You're turning mercenary, after all that's happened?
MIKE: I'm turning pragmatic.
MIKE: If I'm gonna be a superhero or whatever, I'll need to take up law, criminology, psychology, and various advanced physical sciences.
Panel 3: Medium CU of Mike, still with an I've-got-a-plan look.
MIKE: All those things are gonna mean college, which in turn means tuition fees.
MIKE: And with my talents, it wouldn't be fair to get an athletic scholarship.
Panel 4: Stephanie looking thoughtful as Mike heads for the door.
STEPHANIE: So you know what you're doing after all.
STEPHANIE: Speaking of going to school, you'd better not miss your bus, powers or not.
MIKE: Got it, mom. I wonder how being a famous superhero's gonna affect me now, though?...
Panel 5: The school bus is in the driveway. Teens are jeering, and even the bus driver's getting jokes in. Mike looks embarrassed.
STUDENT #1: Hey, Mike! Why don't you fly to school?
STUDENT #2: Yeah! Or better yet, how about picking up the bus and flying there with us? That'd be cool!
DRIVER: He'd better not! My bus is powered by Kryptonite! HAW HAW HAW!
MIKE: (Groan!) I had to ask...
Full-page panel of Carlos Rafael Domingo, with pictures of websites floating around his head, seeming to rush into it. An arrogant smirk crosses his features.
CAPTION: Lightspeed connection/no timeouts/no crashes
CAPTION: Trillions of gigabytes/hundreds of billions of sites/infinite input
CAPTION: A computer of meat hybridized with nanomachines, capable of calculations and computations beyond mere meat comprehension
CAPTION: If knowledge is power...
CAPTION: ...then I am God.
Panel One: Ext. shot of a hospital-like building. There is a sign in front.
SIGN: Center for Transhuman Studies
VOICE (from inside the building): Dad! Dr. Sanger!
Panel Two: We see Dr. Jaffar Raschim and Dr. Elisabeth Sanger dashing into a room with...multiple Sharizads??
SHARIZAD #1: Look how many of me there are!
SHARIZAD #2: You mean how many of me there are.
SHARIZAD #3: No, me!
DR. RASCHIM: What in the name of Allah...?
DR. SANGER: What the -- ?!
Panel Three: The Sharizads are still arguing, while the first one has a look of consternation on her face.
SHARIZAD #4: I'm the real one.
SHARIZAD #5: No, I am.
SHARIZAD #1: It all started when -- excuse me, we're all me, okay? Can we focus on being one person again?
Panel 4: The Sharizads are compressing into each other, becoming one being. Their/her eyes are closed in concentration.
Panel 5: Sharizad is looking up at her father and Dr. Sanger. Dr. Raschim is trying to comfort his daughter, while Dr. Sanger looks thoughtful.
SHARIZAD: As I was saying, Dad...It all started when I was trying to make my bed. It was real hard, and I found myself thinking about how it was a two-person job. I was gonna call Mom when, well, it happened.
DR. RASCHIM: How'd you get here so fast?
SHARIZAD: Well, all those "me"s got scared and thought maybe you'd know about what was going on, and the next thing I knew...
DR. RASCHIM: I see.
DR. SANGER: This is strange...her abilities used to be just telekinesis and telepathy. Unless...
Panel One: We see the three of them having lunch out on a patio-like area located on the Center's premises. They're eating stuff from the Center's commisary: mashed potatoes, chicken, etc. out of trays.
DR. SANGER: I think what happened to Sharizad is related to holonomic brain theory.
SHARIZAD: Huh? What's that?
DR. SANGER: Well, it's something like this:
Panel 2: I'm gonna get high-concept here. It wouldn't hurt to have a picture (preferably CGI) of what I'm talking about.
CAPTION: The universe has been likened to being a gigantic hologram. Each piece of the hologram contains some information about the entire image, replicating it indefinitely.
Panel 3: We are back at the Center patio. Dr. Raschim is now speaking to Sharizad.
DR. RASCHIM: Do you remember how the multiple "you"s argued about who was the real one, and then you said how they were all you?
DR. RASCHIM: That's because you all contained the same information. All of "you" were real.
SHARIZAD: Oh. For a minute there I thought it was like the story about the blind men and the elephant.
Panel 4: Close-up. Sharizad is concentrating very hard. Something ethereal seems to appear in her hands.
SHARIZAD: And there's something else...
SHARIZAD: If I concentrate hard enough on something, it sometimes appears in my hand...
Panel 5: Medium shot. Sharizad, flushed but proud, is holding up a diamond (formerly the ethereal stuff she held in Panel 4). Dr. Sanger and Dr. Raschim are stunned.
DR. RASCHIM: Bismillah...
DR. SANGER: My God...could that be quantum entanglement in action?
Panel 1: Long shot of an inner-city environment. Not a slum area exactly, just a place where a lot of people live and manage to eke out enough money for their kids to go to school. Rudy "Slo-Mo" Jones, a young hip-hop-looking type, is chasing the bus.
RUDY: Aw, man! I'm late for school again!
Panel 2: Kids on the bus are making fun of "Slo-Mo" Jones.
KID #1: Ha, ha! "Slo-Mo" Jones does it again!
KID #2: Rudy's gonna be late for his own funeral!
Panel 3: Worm's eye view. Rudy's feet start blurring.
RUDY: Damn it! I'm really gonna...
Panel 4: Rudy's feet and legs are a blur now.
RUDY: ...have to motor...
Panel 5: Long shot of Rudy showing amazement at outrunning the bus.
Panel 6: Rudy gets on the bus.
BUS DRIVER: How'd you manage to get ahead of us?
RUDY: ...When I find out, I'll tell you.
Panel 1: Mike's standing in front of his school. Normally, it looks like your average high school, but today there's paparazzi all over, news helicopters, and a huge crowd of people standing between him and the school doors. There's even a banner reading...
BANNER: THE "POWERHOUSE" COMES HERE!
MIKE: Aw, man...
MIKE: This is getting out of hand...
Panel 2: Long shot of an annoyed-looking Mike pushing through the thick crowd, gently but assertively applying his strength. There's a babble of voices, unintentionally forming a humorous sentence:
VOICE #1: Yo, Mike! You think you could beat...
VOICE #2: ...the energy crisis...
VOICE #3: ...to heal my child...
VOICE #4: ...you Godless spawn of the Devil!
MIKE: (thought balloon) (sigh) Maybe I should've gotten a secret identity...
MIKE: (thought balloon) Naaah. Mom's always saying only the bad guys have something to hide.
Panel 3: Long shot a classroom. Mike has finally -- and I mean finally! -- entered. Everyone's staring at him, including his teacher, MR. WILKINS.
MR. WILKINS: Glad you could make it, Mike.
MIKE: Sorry, everybody. What with the religious fanatics, comic book nerds, and whatnot, I thought I'd never get here, powers or not.
Panel 1: Medium shot of Mike taking up his seat.
MR. WILKINS: (o.s.) Now, class, today we'll be discussing a rather controversial subject: evolution.
Panel 2: Medium shot of Mr. Wilkins writing the word EVOLUTION on the blackboard.
MR. WILKINS: Can anybody explain to me what that means?
Panel 3: Vincent, who looks like an example of what "goth" fashions will develop into sixteen years from now, is raising his hand.
VINCENT: Oh, that's when something changes to survive its environment better. Like how we descended from monkeys.
VINCENT: (smaller type to suggest muttering to himself) Man, my parents still get their undies in a bunch about that...
Panel 4: Mr. Wilkins is smiling at Vincent, who's looking animated.
MR. WILKINS: That last part's a theory, Vincent. Other than that, very good.
MR. WILKINS: And what do you think causes evolution?
VINCENT: The question, Mr. Wilkins, is what ain't causing it? We're the ones dumping all kinds'a crap -- pardon my French -- into our environment. We eat fatty foods, we dump toxic waste into the ground and the water, we breathe smog, we got all kinds of microwaves and radio waves and whatnot from our cellphones and crap -- pardon me again -- and global warming's making the freakin' weather go nuts! What gets me is, why ain't we all superdudes like Mike?
Panel 5: Mr. Wilkins looks at Mike with interest. Mike looks both amused and embarrassed.
MR. WILKINS: Good question, albeit ungrammatical. Mike -- can you come up with the answer?
MIKE: Maybe you're not all like me yet.
MIKE: (thought balloon) I feel like the old joke: "What did you study in school?" "Nothing, they studied me."
Panel 1: We are now in a different classroom, with a female teacher (MRS. HAVISHAM) etc. The only constant is Mike. One of the desks is empty.
MIKE: Mrs. Havisham, what happened to Rakim?
MRS. HAVISHAM: He seemed to come down with some sort of skin disease.
OTHER STUDENT: Yeah, it was real gross. He was getting all lumpy and...
Panel 2: Mr. Havisham has produced a CD and is inserting it into a computer.
MRS. HAVISHAM: (ahem) Yes, well, he did manage to send in a book report as part of his English assignment. I'll play it now...
Panel 3: The computer screen comes on. All we see is a dark shape.
RAKIM: (electric) Word up, y'all. It's me, Rakim. The reason I'm doin' this in the dark is because I'm all messed up from my, uh, "disease".
Panel 4: CU of Mike's face.
MIKE: (thought balloon) Something about the way he said "disease" sounds fishy, especially to my enhanced range of hearing.
MIKE: (ditto) And the way his voice sounds...
Panel 5: CU of the computer, centered on the dark shape.
RAKIM: (electric) And it's making my voice sound funny, too.
RAKIM: (ditto) Anyway, here's my report:
Panel 6: CU on a book.
BOOK TITLE: THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA by Fredrich Nietzche.
RAKIM: (electric) Thus Spake Zarathustra by...uh...Fred Nicky: A report by Rakim Azad.
Panel 1: Mrs. Havisham looks both impressed and confused. Mike looks focused.
MRS. HAVISHAM: Fredrich Nietzche's Thus Spake Zarathustra? That's a very advanced book...especially for someone with Rakim's IQ.
RAKIM: (electric) I saw this book while on shelving duty at the school library. I read on the back that it was about the concept of the Ubermensch...otherwise called the Superman. Thinking it was about you-know-who, I borrowed the book and began reading.
Panel 2: The dark shape seems to be smiling.
RAKIM: (electric) By the time I realized my mistake, I got the basic idea of what the book was about, which is this:
RAKIM: (ditto) A long time ago, back when cavemen was ruling the earth, the toughest, strongest, smartest and plain baddest mutha in the tribe was the Superman. He was the leader, got all the women, an' everything. I like a brother like that.
Panel 3: CU of Mrs. Havisham's face. She doesn't like what she's hearing now.
RAKIM: (o.s.) Anyway, everybody who wasn't the Superman got jealous and wanted to show him up, and put him in his place. So here's the funny part: they invented a guy called God, an invisible but all-powerful, all-controlling being mighter than the Superman, so everybody hadda obey him instead. And since God was invisible, only guys called 'priests' could see or hear him, so they gave the orders.
Panel 4: Rakim seems to be grinning cynically now.
RAKIM: (electric) The priests said everybody hadda be equal, but they were 'closer to God', so they got to be more 'equal' than everybody else. Which goes to prove that 'equality' is made-up bull, just like God.
Panel 5: Mrs. Havisham is starting to look angry.
RAKIM: (o.s.) That's why when a big fish eats little fish, we call it "nature's way" -- but when a big guy throws his weight around, he's labeled "bully," "evil," "cruel".
RAKIM: (o.s.) Even when the ones doing the labeling act like "big fish" themselves because of concepts like power and authority, or just because they're "adults". I'm talkin' to you, Havisham. It's all bull, all of it.
Panel 6: Mrs. Havisham's angrily reaching for the computer, but Mike's grabbed her.
MRS. HAVISHAM: I'm turning this off --
MIKE: Wait --
RAKIM: (electric) If you're still hearing this, I got something important to say before I sign off.
Panel 7: Worm's eye view. A pair of massive grey feet that look roughly carved out of stone, or covered in stone, are advancing.
SFX: BOOM BOOM BOOM
Panel 8:Rakim seems to smile evilly as the booming continues.
RAKIM: (electric) I'm gonna be coming into class as soon as you get this report.
Panel 9: We see the feet again, closer this time. The booming gets louder.
RAKIM: (o.s.) I should get there any minute...
Full panel. A massive grey stony form (think Marvel Comics' Thing, but evil) smashes through the wall to the classroom, bursting through the blackboard. Mrs. Havisham is terrified; Mike is grimly determined.
RAKIM: (electric) ...now.
Panel 1: Long shot of all the other kids fleeing in panic.
Panel 2: The only ones in the classroom are a cringing Mrs. Havisham, the stone monster, and Mike. Mike is valiantly standing between Havisham and the monster; the monster is blocking the door. (And the CD, in case you want to know, has come to an end.)
ROCK: Not anymore. Now it's just "Rock" -- the only name that fits.
Panel 3: Worm's eye view of Mike confronting the massive Rock.
MIKE: Okay, "Rock" -- what the hell happened to you?
ROCK: Same thing I think happened to you -- only faster and more extreme.
ROCK: Which means it's my turn to ask -- if you've been some kinda superhero all along, how come you never fought back?
Panel 4: CU of Mike's face, looking pensive.
MIKE: I asked my mom that, and she said: "With your strength, it'd be you who's the bully, wouldn't it?"
Panel 5: Medium shot of Rock annoyedly slapping Mike, knocking him off-panel.
ROCK: Huh. Figured it was some wuss approach like that.
ROCK: Oh, by the way, Mrs. Havisham -- you can go now.
Panel 6: Wide shot of Mike being knocked out of the school, and nearly out of the comic!
CAPTION: (Rock) "'Cause things are about to get messy."
Panel 1: Medium shot of Mike landing in the middle of the school football field, causing players and cheerleaders to scatter in fear and confusion. There's even the coach, looking alarmed.
COACH: What the -- ?!
MIKE: Everybody, get the hell off the field!
Panel 2: Rock has just stormed onto the football field. People are running, etc. Long shot with Rock in foreground.
ROCK: You heard him, people...
ROCK: ...Get out of my way.
Panel 1: Mike and Rock are standing in the now-deserted football field. Rock is in the foreground (or at least his hand and massive forearm are).
MIKE: C'mon, Rock -- what's your problem?
MIKE: I mean, you've read Nietzche, for crying out loud! Surely, you can see how stupid this grudge match is...
Panel 2: Now Mike dominates the foreground, but gigantic Rock still looms over him ominously.
ROCK: You're right about one thing...I ain't as dumb as most people think. I noticed that no matter how hard I hit you, or how bad you "jobbed" to me, you never really got hurt. I'd mess your clothes, break your glasses...but you never bruised or bled.
ROCK: Well, thanks to a little favor you performed for the USA, I now know you ain't gotta pretend no more. And I'm superstrong and invulnerable, too...
Panel 3: Rock gives Mike another flying-out-of-the comic punch.
ROCK: ...so let's see what damage I can REALLY do!
Panel 1: Mike slams into a goalpost, buckling it.
Panel 2: Mike is sitting on the now-damaged post.
MIKE: (thought balloon) I can feel my bones vibrate, and I'm sore...but nothing feels broken.
Panel 3: CU of Mike's horrified face, staring at something beside him.
MIKE: (thought balloon) I gotta get back up before Rock --
MIKE: (thought balloon) Oh, crap! Too late!
Panel 4: Mike getting knocked through a hillside. Dirt, rocks, trees, etc. fly everywhere.
Panel 1: Establishing shot: the woods. Mike's getting back up, but Rock's already there.
MIKE: At least one good thing's coming out of this...we're getting further away from the school!
MIKE: Gotta get back up! Here he comes again! --
Panel 2: Mike's back on his feet as Rock punches him in the chest. Mike withstands the blow, staying on his feet.
MIKE: (thought balloon) Made it!
MIKE: Unngh! It looks like you're not so tough when someone gets a chance to stand up to you!
Panel 3: Rock's raising his arms for a sledgehammer blow.
ROCK: I'll show you how tough I am!
Panel 4: Mike has dodged the blow, but the earth's cracking open under the force. It should look like an impressive, all-powerful attack.
MIKE: (thought balloon) Dodged the blow just in time! --
Panel 2: The characters are shaking, as are the trees.
MIKE: (thought balloon) -- only the way the ground's shaking, maybe I should've grinned and borne it!
ROCK: What the hell -- ? Did I hit a fault line?!
Panel 1: Bird's eye view. The entire line cracks.
Panel 2: Rock's pitching backwards.
ROCK: Aw, crap! I'm fallin' --
Panel 1: Rock and Mike fall into the same fault line.
Panel 2: CU of Rock's right hand gripping the side of the fault.
Panel 3: CU of Mike's left hand grabbing the other side.
Panel: Mike and Rock have both grabbed the fault line.
MIKE: Rock! Maybe it's a crazy idea -- but perhaps we can pull the fault closed --
MIKE: --with our combined strength!
ROCK: You're right -- it's a crazy idea! Especially the part about us working together!
Panel 2: CU of Mike looking annoyed.
MIKE: Do you want to be responsible of cracking the state in half?
Panel 3: CU of Rock's disgusted scowl.
ROCK: You're right -- but I don't have to like it.
Panel 4: Mike and Rock start their ascent.
MIKE: Then come on! Climb up -- by pulling the sides together!
Panel 1: Rock has reached the top first -- and with a duplicitous grin, has "snapped" the two halves together, trapping a shocked Mike.
MIKE: What the -- you coward! You're sealing me in!
ROCK: That's right! And you ain't got no leverage!
Panel 2: Mike rips out the two sides of earth he was trapped in, releasing a lot of soil/rocks/ dust, etc. and leaving him standing in a crater. Rock can't believe it.
MIKE: Guess again, jerk! I was holding the sides, remember?
Panel 1: CU of Rock looking pissed.
Panel 2: Medium shot of Rock, still angry but raising his arms in defeat.
ROCK: All right, you win.
ROCK: Geez, it's like the unstoppable force fighting the immovable object.
Panel 3: Rock and Mike are working on repairing the damage to the school. A crowd has gathered, including Mr. Covington, the principal.
CAPTION: And so...
STUDENT: Dude, you look totally badass!
ROCK: (snort) Thanks for the compliment.
MIKE: We're really, really sorry about this, Principal Covington.
COVINGTON: Hmph! From what I hear, Mr. Azad is primarily responsible for this catastrophe.
ROCK: Aww, don't rub it in!
MRS. HAVISHAM: Speaking of rubbing it in, young man -- less talk, and more elbow grease on the mortar!
Panel 1: Inset. The scene of the school being repaired is displayed on a plasma flatscreen HDTV.
BEVERLY CHANDLER: (off-panel) How fascinating.
Panel 2: Est. shot: the living room of the Chandler estate. Most of the usual "fancy mansion" trappings, plus modern conveniences like the HDTV Mr. Chandler and his daughter Beverly are watching.
BEVERLY: Another metahuman surfaces.
MR. CHANDLER: Hmph.
Panel 3: Mr. Chandler is now looking at Beverly.
MR. CHANDLER: Speaking of metahumans surfacing, Beverly -- your coming-out party is this Saturday. I assume you're ready to make your big debut?
BEVERLY: Indeed I have, father --
Panel 4: Beverly is looking at the reader with an evil smile across her icy lips.
BEVERLY: --and I intend to come out in a big way.
CAPTION: ...How Like A God!
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