Wednesday, October 5, 2016

LIMINAL: SHADOW AGENT (a comic book script synopsis) by Jon Cone

In an alternative universe, the superhero Liminal, Shadow Agent,  receives a mysterious communication from Bobby Smith, Genius Child. Smith is so designated because he belongs to a rare group of humans known as the Genius Children. They aren't literally children. They can be any age, race, gender; they come from all classes of society. Thus a poor farmer is just as likely to be a Genius Child as a professor of philosophy. What they share is participation in an unexplained, unpredictable transformative event that seems, to the rest of the human population, to have given them complete understanding regarding the mysteries of existence. The terms 'Genius Child' and 'Genius Children' were coined by the popular news media, when the early accounts of the Genius Children were reported.

 goes to Bobby Smith’s place of business. There he learns the nature of Smith’s predicament: a malevolent being, known as the Nihilist, is invading Smith’s astral body, threatening his existence and that of all other Genius Children with whom Smith shares a metaphysical hive-mind connection. Smith asks Liminal to enter the astral realm and do battle with this evil presence. 

Liminal agrees, but first he meets with Base 39, his colleague in the practice of metaphysical arts. Together, they enact a magick ritual that gives Liminal greater powers to use against the Nihilist. From a meditational launching pad on the top floor of Base 39 's apartment, Liminal leaves the material realm, while Base 39 stays by his side, watching over his inert, vulnerable physical body. Once in the astral realm, Liminaconfronts the Nihilist in a series of metaphysical battles. As they battle, Liminal and the Nihilist constantly change forms. 
The final confrontation finds them on a high-cliff, above a vast sea of flame into which the Nihilist  prepares to push the wounded, dying Liminal. (This scene relies heavily on Frazer’s The Golden Bough.) However, a sudden reversal causes the Nihilist to experience a storm of tumultuous despair. Liminal suggests the Nihilist end his astral-psychic pain by leaping into the sea of flame. Which the Nihilist does. After defeating the Nihilist, Liminal returns to his material body just in time to witness Base 39’s  own transformative event.  The story ends by moving beyond the world of the comic book. This script is an homage to the great metaphysical comic books from an earlier era – "Doctor Strange", "The Specter”, “Deadman”, as well as well as Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” series – and is undeniably marked by the influence of Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, and Alan Moore. 

Jon Cone
Iowa City, 2016