LinkExchange FORWARD

"Only the Good…"
Featuring Sparx

by Gil Carter

Page One (Five panels)-

Caption: Prologue…

Panel one: Eye level view of the JFK International School playground with several kids playing.

Panel two: Ground level view of small group of six kids in a circle visibly arguing. Each has a shirt with an emblem of a different hero on it (S, Bat, W, lightning, etc.)

Kid 1: Wonder Woman!? What kind of lame choice is that?

Sumita: She's as strong as Superman!

Kid 2: Flash leaves them all in the dust!

Kid 3: Yeah, but Batman's baaadd!

Panel three: Eye level – The kids acting out flying, pointing fingers like shooting blasts, etc. Kid 2 is running.

Kid 3: Wonder Woman, watch out! Joker's shooting at you!

Sumita: Thanks Batman. My bracelets will take care of those bullets.

Kid 1: I'll melt them with my heat vision.

Kid 2: No! I'll catch them first.

Panel four: Kid eye level - Kid 2 runs into a figure we can only see from behind and at his waist. The kid is visibly startled. The figure is in a trench coat.

Kid 2: Yow! I didn't see you, sir.

Panel five: Ground level – From behind the kid looking up at the shadowy figure in the trench coat and hat. From under the hat, we see glowing eyes.

Force: No harm done. I'm here to play too. I mean, with all these good guys, you need a bad guy.

Caption: End prologue

Page Two(Splash page)

Caption 1: She is Donna Carol Force. To her family and friends, she's called D.C. In public, she's known as …..Sparx!

Panel one: Above eye level – Sparx is flying and the Earth is a blur beneath her. Hair is blown back and she's smiling, obviously enjoying herself.

Sparx: I…Love…these…..powers!

Caption 2: (Bottom page) It had only been three months since a brush with death activated her metagene, giving her the energy powers of a living lightning bolt. To say she has become comfortable with her new state would be an understatement.

Page Three (five panels)

Panel one: Eye level view from the side. She is streaking along with the Washington memorial in the background.

Thought Caption 1: The past couple of months training with Uncle Harry sure has paid off. I've circled the globe ten times and I'm not even winded. Working on using my powers is tons more fun than school too.

Panel two: From ground level as she crisscrosses the sky over the city.

Thought caption: I've got some time to kill before the audition for the Bloodpack TV show so I might as well do some sightseeing. I can see the headline now, "D.C. in D.C." Ouch, maybe not. What the….

The sound of screeching tires gets her attention.

Panel three: Bird's eye from over her shoulder we see an Indian/Hindu girl running across a highway and traffic reacting to her. Seen also is a man in a black suit chasing her.

Thought caption: Yes! Hero stuff!

Panel four: Eye level from behind little girl as a truck bears down on her.

Sumita: Oh, no! Papa….

Panel five: Same scene with lightning bolt across the panel and no girl.

Sparx: Gotcha!

Page Four (six panels)

Panel one: Ground level from side showing little girl crying and Sparx comforting her.

Sumita: Help me, please! He's gonna get me like the rest.

Sparx: Whoa, slow down sweetie. What's your name?

Sumita: Sumita.

Sparx: Good. Now who's after you and what others are you talking about?

There's a click from behind them.

Panel two: Eye level showing them both turn to face the man in black. He has a gun and very grim face.

Terrorist 1: As to "who", I can answer that. Step away from the girl. Walk away and you might live to see 18.

Panel three: Sparx pulls the girl behind her and looks defiant. Energy crackles about her eyes.

Sparx: Mister, I love it when bullies threaten me. Especially with metal guns.

Panel four: Ground level showing smoking, unconscious body of terrorist with Sparx and Sumita walking away in the background.

Caption: Seconds later…

Panel five: Eye level with Sparx sitting on a bench with Sumita. She has a hand on the scared girl's shoulder.

Sparx: Okay, Sumita, tell me what's going on.

Sumita: That guy and some others grabbed me and some of my friends from school. They want money from my Papa and the other parents.

Panel six: Higher than eye level from behind Sparx' head. Shows little girl wide eyed and scared. Still crying too.

Sparx: Do you know where they took your friends?

Sumita: The Lexcorp Microwave Station across the street from the school. I heard them say it was good cause it didn't have windows. They said our parents were to pay ransom. Will you save my friends?

Page Five (five panels)

Panel one: Ground level showing Sparx standing up, crackling with energy. The girl has her back to us and is still sitting.

Sparx: Sumita, saving people is what heroes do. First, I call 911 for some backup and then I go get your friends. Things'll be okay. I promise.

Panel two: From in front of her and below as she flies. The background is a blur.

Caption: After the police respond….

Thought Caption: Slow down, girl and remember what Uncle Harry taught you. No rash stuff. Check it out and make a plan. I'll do a quick light speed recon.

Panel three: Bird's eye level. Large technological complex with no windows and massive microwave dishes. Also seen are two men dressed like the other terrorist setting up machinery on the roof near a skylight. There are also several lightning trails cutting back and forth over the building. At the end of one trail is a barely visible figure.

Thought Caption: Two lookouts visible. If I remember my Bruce Willis movies correctly, those are rocket launchers they've got. This could be seriously ugly if they're as professional as they look. What if they're too good?

Panel four: Bird's eye view from over Sparx' shoulder. Beyond the building is a cordon of police cars, media, and on lookers.

Thought caption: It would be real easy to let the pros take over. That's what they get paid for and there's gotta be a caped type in Washington. This is my first gig since the parasite war. What if I can't cut it as a spandexer? There are real lives at stake now, D.C., so what are you going to do?

Panel five: Close up of Sumita in the crowd below smiling and waving.

Sumita: Yay, Sparx!

Page Six (Four panels)

Panel one: Close up on Sparx. She's biting her lip.

Sparx: Man, I hate when people depend on me. Okay, D.C. girl, tighten up and get it done. Luckily I don't have to worry about peeing in my pants in energy form.

Panel two: Eye level on the roof of the building. One terrorist is working on a machine while the other is watching the crowd.

T-2: How much longer until the jammer's up?

T-3: Two minutes. Then electronic surveillance will be out.

T-2: What're you going to do with your eight mil?

T-3: Disappear. The heat after this Op will be bad. Prime will…Hey, what's that ozone smell?

Panel three: Ground level looking up at the two terrorists as Sparx swoops and shocks them both. Hair should stand on end and radio sets clipped to their heads should be seen discharging.

Sparx: Lights out, boys.

Panel four: Over the shoulder shot as Sparx looks through the skylight into the building. Visible are six kids huddled in a corner and four men in black.

Thought caption: So far, so good. I can only see four, but there might be more. First step should be taking out their guns. Kids'll be safer and the bad guys might surrender when they see what they're up against. Deep breath and then…

Page Seven (three panels)

Panel one (Lg panel): Ground level view. Looking up, we see the skylight explode toward the four men. Electrical discharge shocks the guns out of their hands as Sparx arcs around the room past each man.

Sparx: Party's over!

Thought caption: I've gotta come up with better one liners than this. I sound like Ah-nold

Panel two: Eye level behind the men as they face Sparx who stands between them and the children. She has her hands on her hips and smiles.

Sparx: Sparx is the name, guys and what I did to your guns could very easily happen to you. Give it up and head outside to the cops.

Panel three: View from the rafters. The men spread out into a semi-circle. One has an electronic clipboard-type device and is punching buttons on it. Sparx is stepping toward them away from the kids.

T-P: Four, threat status?

T-4: New kid, Prime. Active less than six months. Threat level gamma.

T-P: Boom, in sync. Now!

Page Eight (five panels)

Panel one: Eye level with Sparx as three grenades lob toward her. Energy crackles around her hands and she looks panicked. Hands are outstretched to ward off threats.

Sparx: No! The kids…

Panel two: Eye level as she is enveloped in light flashes from the stun grenades. Lightning streaks out from her hands in two directions.

Sparx: Argh!

Panel three: Higher than eye level from over the shoulder of Prime as three of the men converge on a stunned Sparx on the floor.

T-4: Prime, Six is down. She got him with a lucky shot.

T-P: He'll live. Stun grenades did their job on her. Now let's finish it before she recovers. Five?

Though Caption: Can't hear or see jack. I can barely think. Pain's on the way if I can't get it together.

Panel four: Ground level looking up at Sparx. Five delivers a vicious kick to her side.

T-5: That's for Six, chippie! That skimpy costume's not much protection, is it?

T-P: Don't get cocky! We've got work to finish.

Panel five: Bird's eye view of the three men pummeling Sparx. She is partially hidden by the men's bodies as they strike her.

Caption: The room is filled with the sickening thuds of flesh battering flesh and the whimpers of the captive children as their hope fades.

Page Nine( six panels)

Panel one: Same view, but a tremendous energy discharge obscures Sparx and envelops the terrorists.

Sparx: Stop!!

Panel two: Eye level as Sparx stumbles into view. She is bruised and her eye is cut and partially swollen. We are looking from over the shoulders of the captive kids. Beyond her, we see the smoking bodies of the unconscious men.

Thought Caption: I'm hurting. There's gotta be some cracked bones here and a loose tooth or two. That can wait until I get these kids out.

Sparx: C'mon kids, we need to boog.

Panel three: Eye level from over Sparx' shoulder. Shows six kids' faces wide-eyed and fearful. One points behind Sparx and she is turning her head to see what it is.

Kid 3: I don't think he will let us go yet.

Sparx: Who….?

Panel four: Eye level from beside Sparx' ear. Seen stepping from the shadows is the large man in the trench coat from the prologue. The brim of the fedora is obscuring the already shadowed features.

Force: Listen to the kid, girlie. I'm not about to let a billion bucks walk out the door.

Panel five: Waist level from the side. Sparx cuts loose with a large lightning bolt that completely engulfs the man.

Thought Caption: He's still up after that shockwave I sent off toasted the others! Gotta take him down fast before I lose it. Quick and hard, D.C.

Sparx: Like you've got a choice!

Page Ten (One panel splash)

Panel one: Shoulder level from beside Sparx. Her hand that's showing is smoking. Revealed by the energy blast is Major Force. Some flaming remnants of his disguise drop to the ground around him. He looks with contempt at Sparx.

Force: You're really starting to annoy me, girlie. You know, I think that was your best shot. Let me show you how it's done in the big leagues.

Page Eleven ( six panels)

Panel one: Eye level looking up from the police cordon outside the building. The wall explodes and Sparx flies in a straight line fifty yards into one of the police cars. The impact knocks in the windshield and crumples the top.

Cop 1: Look out!

Paramedic: Incoming!

Panel two: Higher than eye level looking down from the top of the police car. A paramedic, two cops, and firemen huddle around Sparx' smoking body. The paramedic is checking her pulse while a fireman holds her head.

Thought caption: I'm alive. If I had been in physical form…

Paramedic: You're going to be alright, miss.

Fireman 1: Boy, they really worked her over, didn't they? What could have done this?

Panel three: Eye level medium shot. Force stands at the opening his blast created holding a girl by the hair in front of him. She's crying and holding his wrist, pulling her weight up.

Force: Okay, you all know me. Don't think of playing with me or waste time negotiating. I just sent my demands by satellite to the folks in the Middle East who're the parents of these brats. They have one hour to decide if their kids are worth a billion dollars. To show I'm sincere in my intentions…

Thought Caption: No, don't…

Panel four: Close up on Force's face and shoulders. He grins and focuses as blood splatters from in front of him.

Caption: Even from that distance, everyone in the crowd can hear the crunch of snapping bones. Especially….

Panel five: Close up on a horrified Sparx. Tears are welling in her eyes and she looks about to scream.

Caption: …a girl who would be a hero whose innocence…

Panel six: Ground level medium shot of pair of legs dropping below the opening in the wall. One has no shoe. The body preceded the still attached legs.

Caption: …just died.

Page Twelve (four panels)

Panel one: Eye level from beside the police car. Sparx is getting up and the paramedic is trying to restrain her. The fireman has tears in his eyes as he supports Sparx's back.

Sparx: I've gotta go.

Paramedic: You're in no shape to do anything. I can't let you kill yourself.

Panel two: Close up from the side on Sumita. She looks in shock at the death of her friend. Tears well and her mouth is open.

Thought caption: Tell her that. Her world's never going to be the same.

Panel three: High view looking from the direction of the building at the front of police car. An energy discharge pushes the paramedic back as Sparx shoots into the air. She is obviously enraged. Electricity crackles around her.

Sparx: Worry about that maniac!

Panel four: Eye level from the side of the opening in the wall just inside the room. As Sparx enters the opening, Force is waiting for her and bats her down into the floor. She bounces a couple of times.

Force: Tag!!

Page Thirteen (Five panels)

Panel one: Eye level from over the kids' shoulders. Force is advancing on Sparx, firing an energy blast at the floor to watch her dodge it.

Force: Geez, you guys are so friggin predictable! Especially you amateurs.

Panel two: Eye level. A blast strike a bank of computer controls and explodes outward, throwing Sparx forward.

Force: I've got to give you points for guts though, girlie.

Panel three: Eye level medium close. Force grips Sparx by the neck with both hands and lifts her into the air. She struggles against his grip.

Force: I mean, you could have stayed out there where it was safe. But no, you couldn't take the chance on me crushing another skull, could you?

Thought Caption: Oh God, he's going to kill me! Can't go out like this. I gotta do something to fight back.

Panel four: Eye level medium close. Sparx slams both her charged hands into Force's wrists, jolting/making him release her.

Sparx: Bite me!

Panel five (larger): Eye level close up. Force rubs his smoking, charred wrists and grins.

Force: Ouch. Now you've gone and done it. I'm mad. I was going to smack you around and let you run away to mommy. It would have been a fun way to kill time until the ransom got dropped into my Swiss account. Oh, but now I'm going to snap you into itty pieces and throw them out to your adoring public. I might even off another kid out of spite.

Page Fourteen (Five panels)

Panel one: Waist level view. Force backhands Sparx out of panel.

Force: But you I'm going to do slow. I'm a hands-on kind of guy after all.

Panel two: Ground level close up on Sparx. Force is advancing in the background, smiling in a sinister manner. Sparx is on her hands and knees.

Thought Caption: This guys not gonna stop until I'm a greasy stain on the wall. I could probably get out of here. I'm still faster than he is…

Panel three: Eye level close up of the remaining kids. All are wide-eyed in terror and shock. They are all watching Sparx.

Thought Caption: But that would leave them with HIM. Not gonna happen.

Panel four: Bird's eye view from Sparx' eyes. Shows damaged power conduits unearthed by the battle.

Thought Caption: These are main power lines. I can feel the energy flowing through them. The city's power runs through these. I wonder if I could…

Panel five: Eye level from behind Force as he advances. Sparx rise shakily to her feet She looks terrified. Tears roll down her cheeks.

Force: Still kicking, sweetie-pie?

Page Fifteen (Five panels)

Panel one: Close up on Sparx. She grimaces in pain.

Sparx: Funny you should say that. Kicking is just what I'm gonna do.

Panel two: Close up on Sparx' leg as she jams her foot into the hole with the power conduit. Electricity shoots up and down her leg.

Thought Caption: Hold it, D.C., hold it all.

Panel three: Waist level from behind Sparx. Energy crackles around her as Force steps right in front of her. He dwarfs her.

Force: Come on, no suicide until I kill you. Don't you get it yet? I can't be hurt. I can't be stopped. I have years of training and experience. You, you're just a dead wannabe.

Thought Caption: Hang in there, girl. God, it hurts so much.

Panel four: Close up of Sparx as she grins up at Force grimly. Energy snakes out of her eyes and around her face. Blood trickles down her from her nose and ears.

Sparx: I'm not dead yet. I might surprise you.

Thought Caption: Gotta hold it. My head's spinning. Feel like I'm gonna explode.

Panel Five: Close up of Force. He looks hesitant for the first time, like he suspects something's up. He raises a fist engulfed in dark energies.

Force: Surpr… I don't like that look in your eyes. Say goodbye, girlie.

Thought Caption: Almost there…

Page Sixteen (One panel-splash)

Panel one: Ground level view of outside of building. The whole side of the building explodes outward, shaking the surroundings with its power. The crowd shields their faces from the detonation.

Thought Caption: Now!

Page Seventeen ( Five panels)

Panel one: Waist view beside the police car as a smoking Major Force drops from above onto the pavement, leaving a crater.

Panel two: High view from over a fireman's shoulder. The paramedic looks toward the building.

Paramedic: Who could have survived that?

Panel three: Eye level long shot. Amid the smoke and debris, we see Sparx ushering the remaining kids out the door.

Cop 1: She did it!

Panel four: Waist level view. Sumita hugs Sparx around the waist. There is a crowd of police, firemen, reporters, kids, and parents around them. Sparx looks down at her and smiles.

Sumita: You kept your promise! You're the best!

Sparx: I told you that's what us costume types do. We smack around the bad guys and save the day.

Panel five: Eye level medium close from the side. The paramedic grips Sparx' shoulder and looks her over. She has a hand on Sumita's head.

Paramedic: You're looking like you had a bad day. Come on over and let the doc take a look at you.

Sparx: Yes, mother. Sumita, go make sure your buddies are okay and I'll talk to you before I go.

Page Eighteen ( five panels)

Panel one: Waist level looking up at Sparx' face. She's sitting on the bumper of an ambulance. There's a flurry of activity around her. We're looking over the shoulder of a kneeling doctor.

Doctor: Let's see if we can fix you up, Miss Hero.

Sparx: Sparx. My name is Sparx. Doc, I've got a killer migraine and the world's spinning like crazy.

Panel two: Bird's eye view from edge of nearby police car lights. Sparx falls to the pavement. The paramedic and doctor bend over her.

Thought caption: I did it, Uncle Harry. I'm a hero. I'm a somebody.

Panel three: Close up of the doctor. He is teary eyed and is being interviewed by reporters.

Caption: Minutes later…

Doctor: …an apparent cerebral hemorrhage. I can only surmise at this point that it might have been brought on by excessive use of her powers. Every effort was made, but it happened too quickly. She seemed to be a remarkable young woman.

Panel four: Bird's eye view of a quiet crowd surrounding a covered body on a gurney. They are all looking at it. Some are crying.

Caption: She was Donna Carol Force. To her family and friends, she was called D.C. The public came to remember the name…Sparx!

Panel Five: Eye level view of JFK International School playground. Several kids are standing around arguing. They all have the same white lightning bolt on black shirt. Sumita is one of them.

Caption: Epilogue

Sumita: I'm Sparx this time. You can be Superman.

Kid 1: Superman? You gotta be kidding! Sparx is so much cooler than old blue boy.

Kid 2: Yeah, and she's faster than the Flash ever thought about being.

Kid 3: Sparx is baaadd!

Caption: True heroes never die.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
"alt.showcase.94" concept by Joel Ellis Rea.
This story is © 1999 by Gil Carter.