Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Iron Man - The Armory - Simon McDonald

1. Establishing shot. We're in Pattaya, Thailand, midday, the sun shining down, looking at the rather uninspiring edifice of the go-go bar THE ARMORY. A man clad in a white suit - his back to us, his identity unknown - is stepping through the door.

This guy is going to be trouble.

2. Inside THE ARMORY. We're viewing this from behind DUANE CHERCOVER; he's standing to one side, allowing himself a nice outlook of the joint. From what we can see of the guy, he looks like your archetypal dumb-muscle - shaved head, bulging biceps - the kind of guy you don't want to mess with. His arms are folded and we can't see his right hand. THE ARMORY is your standard setup; a bar, a stage - where girls clad in bikini tops and hot pants are dancing - and a viewing area in front of the stage. What sets the joint apart from its competition is its theme - armor. Restorations of medieval knight armor, statues of Iron Man armor, even Dr. Doom's armor - pay homage to as many identifiable armors as you wish - they all adorn the walls. The place is half-full - a decent patronage for this time of day - and most of the patrons are dressed in t-shirts and shorts; which makes the mysterious fellow in the white suit all the more conspicuous, halfway between the entrance and the bar.

And trouble is something Mr. Albion likes to avoid.

It's my job to ensure that every gentleman who enters this establishment isn't going to cause trouble.

I size 'em up. Every guy who steps through that door . 
And if he's too drunk - if he's too belligerent - if he's going to be a problem - I get rid of him.

3. Focus on the girls on the stage, in the midst of their routine. Men watch them, entranced by their movements, alcoholic beverages in hand.

You can watch Mr. Albion's girls. 
You can buy 'em a drink. 
You can chat to them out here or in one of the back rooms. 
Hell, you can pay the fee and take them out for the night - for the week, if you've got that kind of cash.

4. Our first proper look at DUANE. He's glaring at White Suit, who is chatting to the bartender a couple of  feet away, seated on a stool. Our earlier assessment is correct; DUANE'S a tough looking dude, but there's intelligence behind his eyes - he's not quite the dumb muscle we might've thought. His arms are still folded, right hand still hidden.

But if you hurt them - if they come back damaged - you'll have me to deal with.

And I'm bloody good at my job. 
Got the SAS to thank for that. 
And if those particular talents don't do the trick - -

5. DUANE unfolds his arms - and finally we see his right hand, on which he's got an Iron Man palm gauntlet, maybe not quite as streamlined as the real Iron Man's, but intimidating nonetheless. 

- - there's always the more extreme method.

6. Pull back. DUANE heads for the bar, towards White Suit. His gauntlet glove is GLOWING, prepped to fire.

Mr. Albion, he cares for his girls. Likes to see 'em smiling. Enjoying their profession. Which is why he employs me. To keep the riffraff away.

7. DUANE places his left hand on White Suit's shoulder.

This man - this man could certainly not be classified as riffraff. 
But he's trouble. I know he is. 
Knew it from the moment he stepped through the door.

8. WHITE SUIT turns his head - revealing himself to be TONY STARK, smiling, at ease.

And for the first time ever - - 

- - I've got no idea how I'm gonna deal with it.

Ah. Maybe you can help. I'm looking for a Mr. Albion.

And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen;  a teaser to a done-in-one issue I plotted out entirely. Too many panels and too much text? Too much exposition? Critique away!  All commentary is welcome here at thoughtballoons!


  1. I like it. Very simple, descriptive words which clearly paint the panels in my mind. Out of curiosity, was the bit in the middle about Mr Albion's girls significant to the storyline, or just a way to get get the reader to realise how much of a force DUANE is?

    After reading Ryan's article, perhaps it is a tad long to fit on a page (which is harder to do than I thought!)

    This opening page gives us many questions (such as the one above), which wants me to read more. Why is Tony there? How did Duane get a gauntlet? Did Tony sleep with one or all of the bikini girls?

    Well done!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Ben.

    Honestly, the caption about the girls was one I was tempted to remove for the sake of a plausible page-layout. If I was scripting an entire issue, the girls - one in particular - would play a very prominent role; I just didn't have the room to get into that properly in the one page. But every time I tried to make alterations I wasn't happy with what I came up with - so I kept it as it is! Lazy, perhaps!

  3. I really liked this one -- it reads as a very solid beginning. I want to know what happens next, which I think is the best indication that you've done a good job. And it's a shame it's too long, because it works well as a unit.

    One thing I'd suggest -- like Ryan, you have a really good button on the page before you reach the end. Tony's line is important to the plot, maybe, but not a good hook; we can assume he's there on important business, especially given the model of his suit you showed us earlier. Duane's unsettled caption is a much more exciting page ending than Tony's casual greeting.

  4. Thanks, James; you're probably right about Tony's line - it doesn't really add much at all to the scene. At the time of writing I felt I simply *had* to include some kind of dialogue on the page - but looking back on it, it does feel unnecessary.

  5. I like this a lot. it's got a lot of good stuff going for it, but more than anything it's doing something I don't see much in comic scripts; It's laid out like a hybrid with a film script. That works solidly with the format of comics whilst also painting each panel as a 'shot' in your mind quite vividly. nice stuff.

  6. Simon well done, you had me hooked pretty early in and I was honestly a little miffed that it ended!!! I guess I'm going to have to get used to that on this site!!!

    You painted a vivid picture with words but I agree with the others that the scene with the girl although I'm sure it fits well into your whole issue plan, for one page needed to be kept out.

    3 very impressive openings, glad I'm not the 4th!!!

  7. It's interesting, I don't get the feeling that Duane is actually a bad guy, he's just a mercenary, a guy doing his job. And a bouncer with an Iron Fist gauntlet is a very cool thing, hence I used one too. I think that image of Scarlet Johanssen wearing one is seared into my brain.

    I also really dug the shit out of your idea for this club, The Armory. I just wanted one big tracking shot (Snake Eyes style) of the place, I could only imagine the other cool armours you could have in there, it would/should be an artists wet dream.

    The only issue, and I think we've all had it so far, is that we cram too much into the page. We want to establish all of our ideas, so I think we all need to be more selective. I'm pouring over my next script right now, ha. But that niggling aside you've completely won me with this idea and I do want to know who this Mr Albion is and what he does. Perhaps one day we'll find out...hint, email me the rest of the script. Now.

  8. Very strong opening, and I join those who'd love to read the rest.

    As someone who likes his comics densely panelled (as you'll soon see), I could have happily lived with this 8 panel intro, Simon (maybe that's why I'm not an artist!). I wonder if the Tony Stark reveal might not work better as a splash page intro on page 2 though. That's more a question of pacing than density, I guess. Very strong panel descriptions too. As a dialogue-king, I sometimes find my mind wandering when reading lengthy panel descriptions (step forward, Alan Moore), but nothing here seemed superfluous or controlling, you still left the artist plenty of room to manouvre.

  9. Good entry, personally loved "The Armory", really original bit. Bad Simon, that's one of those ideas you keep to yourself! Haha.

    The pacing is well done, and the plot is intriguing. There isn't a whole lot to fault in this script, besides what people already mentioned (the line about the girls, and just how much you can fit in those panels), which I don't think are major issues. So, good job!

    A personal nit pick of mine is that I didn't like the name "Mr. Albion". "Albion" is such a charged noun that it instantly brings up a lot of imagery: union jacks, British Gentlemen, Beefeaters and the like. Maybe that's where you are going with your script, so it may not be a problem at all. Like I said, personal nit pick of mine, and entirely my unfounded personal opinion.


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