Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top Cow Talent Hunt - Pandora’s Quest - MK Stangeland Jr.

Page 4

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: Smaller Panel. Four of the mercenaries approach JI XI with their weapons drawn.

JI XI stands and waits as they approach. He looks mostly harmless in his present position.

MERCENARY COMMANDER: (From Off-Panel) [Something]

JI XI: (Thought Box) <They choose to attack.>

Panel 2: Smaller Panel. Close up on JI XI’s face, with special attention paid to the symbol for the 13th Artifact on his forehead. His eyes are now filled with aggression – you can tell things are about to get serious and that the mercenaries approaching are about to be destroyed.

JI XI: (Thought Box) <I am disappointed by their decision.>

Panel 3: Panel is positioned behind JI XI.

Combat starts as JI XI crouches and sweeps his arm across the ground in front of him. The force he does this with kicks up a wall of dirt and dust in front of him, obscuring the four mercenaries and making it impossible to see anything beyond them.

A smoky, steamy trail follows the movement of JI XI’s arm to represent the extra power the 13th Artifact is granting his moves. This should continue throughout the fight with any other combat moves that JI XI performs.

SFX: (Accompanying the wall of dust that’s kicked up.) k-K-k-rrr-ii-sHhhh

JI XI: (Text Box) <The Artifact, it seizes upon the moment.>

13th ARTIFACT: (Text Box) KILL THEM.

JI XI: (Text Box) <For now, I will oblige its demands.>

Panel 4: This is a very active panel - JI XI bursts through the wall of dust as it hits its climax. The back half of his body is still obscured as it hasn’t come through yet.

JI XI leads with a closed palm strike to the chest of the nearest mercenary (#1). The impact is clearly visible all across the mans body as he reacts to being hit with a force that is about to send him flying several feet backwards.

The smoky trail of JI XI’s movements should be mixed with some of the dirt and dust from the wall JI XI created in the previous panel as it gets caught up in the movements.

JI XI: <But I shall attempt to be merciful.>

JI XI (2): <Quick deaths. No suffering.>

JI XI (3): <They shall hardly even know what is happening.>

SFX: (From the point of impact on the mercenaries chest.) CRACK!

Panel 5: JI XI follows by swinging his other arm around to hit the next closest mercenary with a palms up spear hand to the throat of MERCENARY #2. The Mercenary is just starting to react to the blow in a way one might expect someone to react when being hit in the throat by an exceptionally powered martial arts master.

The smoky trail follows his movements from panel 4 to panel 5, showing that the two moves have happened in relatively short order – not super speed, but far faster than any normal human should be capable of.

Some of the dirt and dust that got mixed into the trail from the previous panel should follow the moves through into this panel as well, and while JI XI has passed the wall of dirt and dust he kicked up in panel 3, it hasn’t fully settled on the ground yet.


SFX: (From impact with throat) tthhuk

Panel 6: Panel set near the ground from behind MERCENARY #2’s position.

JI XI drops to sweep MERCENARY #2’s legs out from under him before he’s even finished reacting to having his throat collapsed. Bullets fly over the heads of both JI XI and MERCENARY #2 as MERCENARY #3 and MERCENARY #4 shoot at JI XI from off-panel.

SFX: (From impact of leg sweep) Crrk

SFX: (From guns firing) thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw

Panel 7: The smoke trail follows JI XI’s leg as he completes the sweep and brings the leg behind him. He has used this same leg to help propel him up and forwards as he delivers a blow with both fists at once into the chest of MERCENARY #2, who is half-way to the ground and currently ‘lying’ horizontal in the air – the panel takes place right at the moment of impact as the fists hit the chest, allowing us to see the very beginning of the connection.


(I decided to go one step further than Dan Hill and post an actual page from the first draft of the script I'm actually planning on using and am currently in the process of writing. It wasn't until the idea of doing a week specifically for the Top Cow talent hunt was used that I actually decided to get involved. So for better or worse, I figured I'd just go ahead and use a page that hints at what I'm going for without giving away too much of what I'm planning.

It should also be noted that according to the podcast that Top Cow put together regarding the Talent Hunt, the part about only being able to use characters from the list is a tad misleading - people are free to use misc cannon fodder, 'Cab Driver X', other smalltime misc characters that already exist in the Top Cow universe, or other characters of that nature. Their main concern was people trying to write stuff for characters they already have plans for or introducing new characters which would create legal problems.

So since the Mercenaries here are random cannon fodder, the script should still be good despite not using Ji Xi exclusively.)


  1. This was a nice juicy page to sink my teeth into.

    Like you MK will be sharing a work in progress age from my actual script and I was pleased to see I wasn't the only one.

    As for your page I love a heck of a lot about it. The fact that this is page four and so much is already underway is an exciting protect. I must also commend you on the way you write action. I find it difficult to choreograph an exciting and interesting fight scene, something you do with skill and style here.

    Your work on display here is really impressive, and if you want any feedback on the first draft of script I would be more than happy to read more of this.

    Lastly that Top cow podcast was the most helpful thing in regards for what I could use in my script. I like you have a lot of general characters that I needed for my tale and I am glad to have that confirmed as being ok.

    1. Thanks for the offer. Expect me to take you up on it once I have my script finished. ;^)

    2. Shot it over to me at any point mate.

  2. Much like Shaun I am impressed with your ability to write action. It is something that I often side step in order to not write it. There will come a day when I am forced into actually penning an action script.

    Great work.

  3. This is some brilliant action stuff here, MK. I'm blown away at your keen sense of pacing for this scene, as the whole thing just works so well. Like Ben, I tend to shy away from this type of thing more often than not, so I'm even more impressed by what you manage here. Awesome stuff.

  4. If I can affirm the above sentiments: the fight action is well done. Even more so because you start the page on a slow burn; makes the explosion of violence that much more potent. Well done on all fronts!

  5. This is some nifty action going on here, and kudos for including an actual page from the script too!


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.