Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode 4

Here at Erik's Random Assortment of Thoughts, we try to keep in mind that, without readers, there isn't much point to writing posts.  We're also aware that not everyone is interested in the same things Erik is.  That's why we have "Ask Erik," where you can bring up the topics you're interested in and subvert discuss them.

To Erik:  Zombie team.  Humans only.  Three people.  Who do you pick?  Bonus round: historical figures only.

Okay, I'm going to lay down some ground rules to begin.  First of all, my team are not the only survivors left alive.  If I realize it's down to four of us against a world, and knowing that repopulating a species is impossible even if it was two men and two women, I'd save myself the struggle (and inevitable defeat) and eat a bullet.  Because seriously, even if we found that tropical island that could sustain four people and not run out of food, and even if my three choices were Kari Byron, Elin Grindemyr, and Kym Johnson, eventually "the only people left alive" madness would settle in, and things go downhill from there.  This will just be my "initial team," as we try to get to more survivors or secure an area.

Second rule, if the fictional human exists, the rules of their home dimension exist.  If I take a Green Lantern, odds are I'll have to eventually deal with cosmic yellow space bugs, and who wants that?  If I pick Douglas Quaid, I might have the benefit of all of his shots being head shots, but then there's a good chance I'm fighting three-breasted prostitute zombies on Mars.

So, before I reveal my top three choices, I need to discuss who won't be making my list and why.  After all, in a land where the dead roam the Earth, you really do get opportunities to pick your friends, am I right?

So the first person I'd pass on, if I found them wandering the wasteland, is Frank Castle, the Punisher.

"But Erik," you're saying, "Frank Castle is a stone cold antihero with an arsenal bigger than the entire United States military and has survived everything from being turned into Frankenstein to fighting monsters in space!  Why wouldn't you want him?".

"Well," I'd say, despite the fact that there is no chance we can hear each other from where you are to where I'm typing this, "that's because, for all of the pluses in the "yes" column, there is one major point in the "no" column: to Frank Castle, I'm a liability."  See, one thing that many people who write the Punisher know is that there is no happy ending for this guy.  So, even if crime is limited only to the shattered remains of civilization, in the eyes of this guy, "helping this nerd with glasses survive" is pretty low on the priority list.  Hell, survival for himself might be low on the list, as the collapse of civilization probably means all major crime families have fallen apart.  Either way, I could picture him watching the zombies get me and thinking, "finally, no more distractions."

This next one is going to feel like heresy, but the next person I wouldn't pick is Angus MacGyver.

I know, I know, just sit down and listen!  Look, I love MacGyver, I really do.  It was my favorite show growing up, and having a guy who can build anything out of anything would certainly be handy, but where the Punisher is too focused on his mission, MacGyver is a proven pacifist who has never intentionally taken a life (or unlife).  His creative (non-violent) solutions are amazing, and while they might work with spies and mobsters, I need something a bit more permanent and spectacular, so I'm taking someone else.

Besides, having MacGyver along means eventually we'd meet Murdoc, and I'm not ready to have that happen.

Other people I considered and turned down:

Judge Dredd (likely to shoot me for jaywalking)
Arcade (I love the thought of using Murderworld as a hideout, but Arcade really has no loyalty)
The Medic from Team Fortress 2 (the medic always dies first)
Doctor Doom (again, I'm not so much a teammate as a convenience)
Batman (again, bringing him in allows for things like random Joker appearances and I'd rather face the zombies)
Susan Sto Helit (technically she is's just "some things run deeper than genetics" so I'm disqualifying my #1 pick)
Techno Viking (he already is a one man zombie team, I'd be redundant, and redundancies die)

So, who are my final picks?

1). Agatha Heterodyne

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Who?"

Well, without spoiling too much, Agatha Heterodyne is the main character from the Phil and Kaja Folio web (and printed) comic Girl Genius.  She's what happens when you take someone like MacGyver and imbue him with the ability to make sweet steampunk gaslight fantasy (Kaja's term) devices and then imbue her with just a liiiiiiiiiiittle bit of mad scientist.  

Just a touch.

While MacGyver could easily create most anything from supplies lying around, if I'm facing the zombie horde I'd much prefer someone who can cobble together things that don't go together to wind up with ray guns, a runcible chaingun, or a miniature mechanical combat suit that can stalemate one of the best sword fighters in the world while the wearer is asleep.  Now, to be fair, I'm skirting the "human" here as she's technically classified as a "spark," but as near as I can tell it doesn't make you not human to be a spark, it's more like an interesting way your brain is programmed.  I'm going to let it count because it's my blog, and I make the rules.

And, since I'm allowing things from their original dimension to "bleed" in, hanging out with Agatha means I might come upon anything from a dirigible city to an intelligent mechanized death trap castle.  Whatever it is, it would quickly go from "zombie adventure with steampunk ingredients" to "steampunk adventure!  ...with zombies, I guess."

Now, I could complete my task with two other Girl Genius characters (Zeetha and Higgs), but that'd be cheating.  ...though, having Higgs would be awesome.

really awesome

 2. Juliet Starling

I'm going to do a full review of the game Lollipop Chainsaw soon, but as soon as I was asked to build my zombie team, in the back of my mind I had a feeling this character would show up.  Juliet Starling is the titular (in every sense of the word) star of the afore-mentioned video game, and she brings two very important things to this struggle.

1)  A chainsaw that never needs refueling.

2) She's been trained from childhood to be a hunter of dark, demonic (and frequently undead) forces.  Her entire family does this for both fun and profit.  While her older sister and father have more experience in dealing with horrors from beyond the grave and other monsters whose existence man can barely comprehend, I'm going to side with the one who seems to have just as many skills while having the edge of youth and a positive attitude that cannot be stopped.

Plus, if I get bit, she can turn me into a sentient head and I'll just hang around on Agatha's hip until the whole thing is resolved.  S'cool.

Okay, I've got my tech geek and I've got my combatant, now I just need my survivalist who'll help us keep track if the group of local survivors want to help us or kill us and take our stuff.  Who can I call on for that?

3) Vic Sage, a.k.a. The Question

Vic Sage is an odd choice, I agree, but there are certain attributes that I think he brings to the team that makes him essential.  One, he sees connections where nobody else can.  The man has perception down to an insane level, where he's able to connect boy bands to global warming and the girl scouts to crop circle phenomenon.  Two, he never gets worked up.  Whether it's ancient horrors, like above, or alien yeti hybrids, he knows how to survive and simply says "Obvious, with hindsight" like it's something he should have predicted.  Nothing fazes this man (or if it does, you can't tell with that mask).  Three, he was trained in combat by Lady Shiva.

I've discussed Lady Shiva before, so hopefully people have realized that this is no small feat.  Against the best martial artists in the world, he might be seriously outclassed, but being a skilled martial combatant as well as a skilled gunfighter should help him survive a zombie apocalypse.

But there's one other thing I need him around for, and that's to observe everyone we meet.  As someone who has seen many movies and played many video games about zombie apocalypses (apocalypsi?), I know that the "end of the world" drives other people out of their gourd, all inhibitions flee like rats from a sinking ship, and they'll stab their own mother because "what's the point?"

Vic Sage can read people like they're wearing their TV Trope identity on a chalkboard hanging around their neck.  That's a completely under appreciated skill post-end of all, and one that I think makes him a key player.

And now, the bonus round!  Historical figures only!

...well, if I'm going to play dirty, I'll go with the fictional versions of historical figures.  In which case I'm taking Nikola Tesla from Atomic Robo, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, and Diana, Warrior Princess.

If they can't be fictional renditions, then I'm going with Jack Lucas, Simo Hayha, and Jasper Maskelyne.

Remember to keep those questions coming!

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