Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crisis On Earth-Blog: The DC Challenge

Welcome to The Atom's "The Tiny Titan" blog, launched on Monday, November 19, 2007 by the actor Damian Maffei. While stabs were taken at covering the Golden Age Atom Al Pratt, Red Tornado and other heroes, the blog was really concerned with the stories and merchandise produced for shrinking super-hero Ray Palmer, his successor Ryan Choi, and their avian buddy Hawkman. I discussed here how that blog went on a two year hiatus, before I asked its creator if I could resurrect it as part of a blog crossover event, Crisis On Earth-Blog: The DC Challenge

"The DC Challenge" was a rambling mid-80s mini-series where different creative teams would craft a chapter in a twelve part story, each ladling on plot complications with few bothering to resolve anything. I thought that sort of contrivance could also apply well to blogging, which makes me kind of an idiot, because that stinkin' thinkin' set me up as the guy trying to negotiate all these shenanigans. You see, there's a group of bloggers who throw together comic book style "events" to connect one another's wares, and I decided this tomfoolery would be my contribution to the irregular shindig.

Not being completely mental, my original notion was to just have everyone come up with some kind of puzzle or quiz for their readers, with answers linking to other blogs. That never came together, and after a couple months and much gnashing of teeth, the result is a jumble of interactive fan fiction bouncing between authors, characters and blogs, interspersed with random leftover puzzles and other such trivial pursuits. If you stick with it long enough, you'll find some sort of resolution, and maybe some nice scans.

The Atom seemed to me the perfect character to launch my story stream, with a direct connection to the DC Challenge mini-series as a major plot device. I'll be writing a bunch of other heroes and streams, usually with an introduction to the characters for new readers. However, since I just covered an article about Atom comics from 1961-1989, plus Damian posted The Atom: Who's Who Entry from years ago, let's just get started...

The year is 1982. Ray Palmer is a happily married scientist, working on projects in his Ivy Town laboratory, when not stepping out occasionally with the Justice League of America as the Atom. Today though, Palmer is busy studying a piece of unbelievably sophisticated machinery sent to him by an anonymous party. Almost magical in nature, the 3" X 4" brick is capable of opening access to the Plane of Holes, a dimension of connective tissue between a seemingly limitless number of wormholes extending to various points in space and time. However, the longer the device is active, the more directly the "holes" integrate into our reality, contaminating all related points in space-time. Also, the device only offers access to the holes, not a means of determining where they led.

That's where Ray's own brilliance came in. Partially disassembling the "warp-box," Palmer extracted some seemingly non-essentially elements and married them to other super-sophisticated technology he'd encountered in his super hero adventures. This allowed him to form a sort of "key," which would help guide passage through the wormholes and quickly re- & de- activate access. That way, an explorer could reasonably guide their self and minimize damage to the space-time continuum while doing so.

Of course, the liability associated with the very existence of such a devise is staggering to consider. This would explain the extraordinarily elaborate security system put in place around Palmer's lab when he began work on this project. This would also explain the sickening lurch in Ray's stomach when the claxon alerted him to the presence of a fast approaching super-human intruder.

Ray had to think fast. The warp-box couldn't fall into villainous hands, but there was no time and, most likely, no earthly means of destroying the devise. It could not be shrunk by the process through which the Atom was conceived, and there was no way Ray could escape on foot from whatever could surmount his security measures. Ray thought he could perhaps turn over the devise while secreting the "key," which he could then use to track the warp-box, and insure some complication in its immediate use.

There were three problems with this notion. The first was Ray's considering the amount of damage even limited use of the warp-box could have, the so-called butterfly effect ravaging history and even reality as we knew it. The second was the unreasonable assumption Ray would be left alive to do anything with the key. The third and most immediate was that, impossibly, the "key" was nowhere to be found.

What should Ray Palmer do next?

For More Challenges, visit these fine blogs!

The Anti-DiDio League
The Continuity Blog
The Aquaman Shrine
The Atom: Tiny Titan
Being Carter Hall
Comics Make Me Happy
Crimson Lightning
Dispatches from the Arrow Cave
El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Firestorm Fan
Girls Gone Geek
I Am The Phantom Stranger
The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Justice League Detroit
Once Upon a Geek
Pretty, Fizzy Paradise
random picture day
Reilly2040's Blog
Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
when is evil cool?


Anonymous said...

Awesome web site, I had not noticed earlier in my searches!
Continue the excellent work!

Anonymous said...

Wow neat! This is a really great site! I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
like this in the past? Keep up the great work!