California! Knows How to Party!

Eponymous Kid

Dodgers 1, Giants 0!

This issue's (sort of) about baseball, so sue me.

This cover's all over the place. There's a Zombie Apocalypse in the making, featuring what are totally not Re-Animen.

The star of this issue is my personal favorite member of the team, "Calamity" James Wa. He, wearing a baseball t-shirt reading "Tigers", opens his interview by mentioning that his father played for, well, the Tigers. No, not Detroit, Hanshin. The second-oldest team in Japan. He's really upset that the interviewer's never heard of them. He played center field, and he was good. He retired after, well... The key to being a consistent hitter is controlling your strike zone, making the pitcher afraid to to hit you. Pops was too consistent, leading to a bad pitch hitting him in the head so hard his helmet broke. After that, the league didn't have any use for a pitcher with vertigo and double vision.

Before James was even born, his dad moved to San Diego so he could go to Rancho Bernardo high school. More pros have come out of there than anywhere else. James isn't sure if his mom knew he had planned this so far in advance. The interviewer asks if he ever wanted to play baseball, and the answer's actually no. James wanted to be an engineer. Then dad took him to a Tigers game. Hanshin, not Detroit. After that, he was hooked. Talk turns to James' own baseball career. He was never a "long bomb" guy, but dad taught him how to control the strike zone. Oh... and James was fast. His game revolved around speed. He could turn a single into a double and a double into a triple.

The interviewer asks where he got his nickname, "Calamity" James, and James' expression turns sour. He doesn't answer. We see James sliding into first. Moving on; James went to LSU instead of joining the majors right out of high school (note that this is extremely rare in baseball, which goes to show you just how good James was). He majored in engineering, and was also on the track team. It was his work on the track that got him on the cover of Sports Illustrated. James hates the blurb for that issue, "The Boy Most Likely to Succeed." On his way to a state finals meet that he missed the College World Series to attend, something... happened. James was in a car accident. Maybe a nickname like "Calamity" was Tempting Fate...

"A drunk driver named Carl Crenshaw saw to it that I went into engineering after all.", he says as he stands up... and we see that his legs are prosthetics. High tech prosthetics designed for running, with a second set of backwards-bending knees and all that. "The Calamity-Brand Cheetah Prosthetics I designed made me a millionaire at twenty-two. I'm the boy most likely to succeed. Hi."

Cut to the present, where Calamity is fighting robot zombies with the Order. He's holding an uprooted parking meter and adopts a batting stance. This is gonna get messy. "Batter up!" He splatters a zombie's head with that swing. The act gets blood all over an innocent bystander, who understandably continues freaking out. This issue's quotes are all from Suishu Tobita, renowned in Japan as the "God of Baseball", and concern baseball below the pro level in Japan. As Calamity makes another zombie's head explode into a shower of blood and coins (parking meter), the final quote summarizes the previous two: "Practice until you die."

I mentioned before that Calamity is my favorite member of the team, and it's not just because I love sports. His father wanted him to play baseball, which he eventually abandoned begrudgingly because he was ultimately better at other things. And then even that got taken away from him. Yes, he wanted to be an engineer when he was a kid, but the fact that his big project was a set of running prosthetics to replace his legs tells me he's not even close to over the experience of having his life pulled out from under him.

Pepper tells the team that these aren't movie zombies, so there's no contagion and nothing's spreading. LAPD says the area's clear, so they just need to finish up — and make sure to cause as little property damage as possible. Veda and Supernaut are back at base, benched because their abilities lend themselves directly to property damage. They're both upset about not being out there nonetheless. That's when Anthem misjudges his thunderstorm and shatters every window on LA's famous Rodeo Drive. Pepper facepalms and tries to compose herself when she realizes Mulholland isn't actually using her powers. She's using her hammer, but just to swing it around, not to channel the city's energy. Calamity thinks she's choking and not pulling her weight. Mulholland responds to his insult by elbowing him in the gut, which lights a fire under him.

Anthem and Aralune can't believe what they're seeing - Calamity fighting the zombie horde all by himself, and winning. They need one of them still standing so they can find out what caused all this. Unfortunately, by the time they stop him, it's too late. He's pissed because he was the only one who had the situation under control. Back at HQ, Mulholland rags on Calamity (who we now see has new, even more sophisticated legs to compliment his powers) for freezing up on Drenkov Island. Calamity counters that she can't seem to use her powers at all anymore. They start arguing, when Heavy shows up - with a faceplated helmet instead of a mask. The Gargoyle's laser blast really did a number on him, apparently. I'm also noticing for the first time that his skin has a greenish tint and blemishes, implying that he's amphibious or something. He does represent Poseidon, after all. Heavy angrily breaks up the fight and tells James that Henry wants to see him, and Mulholland that Pepper wants to see her.

Milo wonders what their problem is, and Becky compares it to a litter of puppies - "even the runts gotta fight to survive." In Henry's office, James is chewed out for not being on his game. After all, either he ran into Mulholland's attack, or she managed to nail a guy moving faster than a hummingbird. James says he couldn't kill those men even if it meant an A-Bomb going off, and it's all he's been able to think about. Henry admits that he doubts he himself would have been able to do it. James worries he's being fired, but that's far from the case. Henry just wants him to do better. And stop worrying about Mulholland.

In Pepper's office, Pepper tells Mulholland that she knew where James was going to be... which means her powers work. They hadn't been working because she was scared and under pressure. Right now, they need her to do something for them. Use her powers in a smaller way. She shows her Avona's body. It turns out she actually killed herself only a few hours after she was fired. They aren't sure how she managed to get a hold of Bluetooth or her costume. Mulholland doesn't understand why they're showing her this. Well, it turns out that after Pepper asserted federal authority to have the body turned over to them, the cops told her to get her own forensics team to look at it.

I have to admit I'm not sure I understand Mulholland's powers, but she says she absorbs latent psychic energy all around. "The history of this city is like a giant solar panel I can access. When it, you know... works." They've established that she has an issue with performance anxiety. But right now, there's no pressure. They just need her to tap into a very recent bit of history for them.

At Pepper's giant supercomputer, Milo is helping out by using her information gathering equipment to do some research. Since a lot of the stuff is hardcoded into his neural system anyway so he can control the Supernaut suit, he's actually more efficient at this than Pepper is. James is bugging him about it. He wants to know who those guys were who took the Infernal Man after the team's first mission. The Mi B leader guys has been identified as "The M.A.N. from S.H.A.D.O.W.", which Milo says "sounds like movie crap." Still, it's important that they find out what the deal is with this guy and his men. James doesn't see the difference between the "dataspine" and the regular internet. According to Milo, the difference is insane. He can find anything or anyone in the world with this. James is interested now. "Anyone?"

Cutting back to James' interview, the interviewer asks what happened to Carl Crenshaw. James says he never found out, never asked. In the present, James asks if it's easy to use, and it is; anyone can use it, and it's very intuitive. Milo starts to pick up more "zobos", robot zombies, in Culver City, and before he can say anything else James is already gone.

In Henry's office, he's getting harassed by some city representatives who want the Order to vacate. James changes into the Calamity costume and tells him that the Zobos are downtown already. In fact, they're outside right now. There's also in Culver City and Bunker Hill, meaning three concurrent outbreaks. Pepper orders the entire team to deploy, but Anthem wants Calamity to sit this one out until his head's clear. Pepper sends Supernaut to Culver City, Veda and Heavy to Bunker Hill, and everyone else outside the HQ building. She's got Mulholland staying behind on a special project, and notes that Henry's benched Calamity... when she feels an odd rush of wind. Calamity sped into the control room and used the dataspine for a fraction of a second before leaving. Anyway, Anthem defends his decision by saying he's got a lot on his mind, and the rest of the team can take care of the zobo outbreak. "He's the one that's got the real work to do."

In a dingy Louisiana trailer park, a man named Carl Crenshaw gets the door to find a baseball bat-toting Calamity. "Carl Crenshaw? Hi." Back at the interview, James is asked what he would say to Carl Crenshaw now. First, he'd look him right in the eyes, say "Hi", make sure he recognized him. And then...

And then it depends on what kind of day he had.

Next Issue: L.A. Story


Ah, the Sports Illustrated curse.
SKJAM 30th Apr 11
Well, as James points out, he was a millionaire at 22, which is pretty successful.
EponymousKid 30th Apr 11