Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Here we are folks, we made it! After a whole month of listening to me ramble on, this is part four of my four part discussion of potential powers in The Nevers. The upcoming Victorian Sci-Fi drama from Joss Whedon.
Now, I hear you shouting, if we've already covered Physical, Mental and Magical enhancements, whatever could be left?
The answer is as simple as it is meaningless. This time, we're covering the more bizarre side of things. Powers which don't really belong in the other categories, or any category. Enhancements and abilities which simply defy classification!
So without further ado, on to our first mind-boggling ability!
In the history of Marvel comics, never have three words caused more chaos, than Scarlet Witch's infamous "No More Mutants". With three small words, she managed to instantly wipe out 90% of the mutant population. That, my friends, is the power of a high level Reality Warper.
In a series where people can throw fire from their hands, construct giant steampunk monstrosities, or punch at lightning speed there is still no power greater, no Touched more feared, than the Reality Warper. Reality Warping is an ability reserved for only the HIGHEST tier of heroes, because by it's very nature, it grants god like ability to anyone that possesses it. So, the question then becomes: How do you make a Warper interesting?
Here's a couple of ideas. As always, Joss, feel free to borrow any of them. Send the cheque to the usual address.
Take a second. Imagine that the world is totally under your control. Everything and anything can be changed at your whim.
Someone bumps into you, while you're out walking? Their head is now a pumpkin.
Waiter gets your order wrong? Pumpkin head.
Your sports team loses? Pumpkins. Every single one of them.
Now in this new, pumpkin filled world, how long do you think you could stay sane?
If you're anything like me, the answer is "Not very long". They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. I've always found it's closer to "Absolute power turns you absolutely insane." I can totally see Joss giving ultimate power to some waif like lady, but in return, making her mentally unbalanced. The only problem with taking this path is it's been done to death. And while it does make for easy plots, as the cast need to placate a childlike character with the power to blink them all out of existence, making an original plot in that area is actually quite hard. Thus, we move on to option two.
The Unaware God. What if one of the Nevers was blessed with the power to control reality. What if everything they wanted was within their grasp.
But they had NO idea.
What if they just thought they were kinda lucky, and things tended to go their way, because they didn't realize that they were subconsciously altering reality, in order to make things work out for themselves? I don't know about you, but I'd love to see what Joss could do with that.
Our next topic for discussion, is the gift of Prophecy. But you already knew that, didn't you? Not every power needs to be combat based. While we need people out there, fighting the good fight, we also need a strong group back at home base. And there's no better support, than a prophet!
The ability to accurately see the future is another incredibly powerful ability. However, much like with Reality Warping above, it's an ability which can be quite tricky to write for. How can there by any drama, when you have a prophet predicting every twist ahead of time? How can you write compelling arcs, when Senor Spoiler lets everyone know the butler did it, right in episode one?
Well, let me tell you how!
There are two ways to write compelling arcs, once prophets get involved.
Cassandra is a figure from Greek Mythology, a woman of noble birth, she was blessed with the gift of Prophecy. And, her prophecies were accurate! There was only one problem; while she had a great success rate when it came to predictions, her success rate at getting people to believe what she said was zero. So what if Whedon takes his usual "Damage Waif" route, but puts a twist on it? What if, deep inside the Asylum, there's the crazy lady who shouts of coming dangers. No one believes her of course, she's a crazy lady! But what if she's not? What if actually, she's blessed with foresight, but cursed with being a woman in the Victorian Era, and thus lacking the credibility to have people actually take her prophecy seriously? Because, as previously stated, the Victorian era was kinda the worst.
Or, he could flip that around. The whole season, our loyal prophet is feeding us info. She let's us know all kinds of important things. Her prophecies are both accurate, and timely!
And then, once her credibility is firmly established. Once everyone trusts her implicitly, they use her gift to find out where the big bad is going to be, so they're ready for their final strike!
Only to walk right into an ambush. It's then revealed that our Never friend has some weak gift for prophecy... but all of that left her open to manipulation, from the Big Bad himself, who was feeding her information this whole time in order to lure the Nevers into his final trap!
Who would see that coming?! Except, ya know, for all you good people. Who totally will, because I've warned you.
There we go. A couple of ideas, of how to write a prophetic arc, without getting too cliché with it!
Adaptive Regeneration, also known as Adaptive Self-Healing, also knows as Holy crap this dude won't stay dead.
This is not to be confused with your standard healing factor, which simply repairs you whenever you're injured. No, what makes this such a brutal power is that after you're struck down by a particular effect, not only will your body repair itself, but you'll also develop an immunity to whatever struck you down. As far as defensive abilities go, this one is pretty much the gold standard and is one of the most problematic skills, for an enemy to overcome.
After our recent podcast about casting, (which can be found on all good Podcast sites. Just saying.) I noticed something quite interesting.
We now have a pretty solid idea on the power sets for most of the Nevers. From Penance's Tech Genius, through Bonfire's pyromancy, ending on Mary's vocal powers. In fact, there's only one question mark remaining: Amalia True. Our Heroine, and leader of the Nevers. As yet, we don't even have the vaguest hint about her potential abilities.
What if the whole way through the season, she displays no abilities. She knows she has them, but she doesn't know what they do, yet. The season passes, she learns a few combat skills, hoping that'll tease out her powers, but it doesn't work. Eventually, the penultimate episode arrives! They go to confront the Big Bad, all hell breaks looks, awesome fight. Amalia is hurt, Badly. She dies in Penance's arms.
Everyone takes a step back, shocked at this unexpected turn of events.
The Big Bad approaches, being all menacing and evil. He steps over Amalia's body and goes to strike down the next Never...
And a blade bursts forth, from his chest. The camera pans around and Amalia is standing behind him. She makes a trademark Whedon quip, and finishes the bad guy off, once and for all! (unless he's a Lich, of course.)
How cool would that be!
I can see a lot of great arcs, coming from that little twist.
So there we have it, folks! My four week, four part discussion on powers in The Nevers is done! As always, if you have any other ideas to discuss, feel free to mention them in the comment section below!
And stay tuned, for whatever rambling nonsense I decided to write about next. Again, if you have any subjects you'd like me to cover (or any of the great people here at The Nevers Podcast) feel free to leave your ideas below, and we'll see what we can do!
See you around!