Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Return Stroke"-Comic Book Script

This story would ideally be published in a Secret Files and Origins book or perhaps a second story in an annual. However, it could easily be pushed to twenty pages for a script with a little more of the Zoom scene.

“Return Stroke”

Narrations are Barry Allen unless otherwise designated. In one section, they will be Jai West’s.
1—The Flash—Barry—races past a Father’s Day sign on a diner in Central City.
NARR: I’m not a father.
NARR: Not really.

2—Barry races over the bridge from Central to Keystone. A picture of Keystone’s welcome sing greets us.
NARR: I’d like to think that I had some parental responsibility for Wally.

3—Flash zips into Wally’s home.
NARR: I never raised my children, the “Tornado Twins,” but I’m a grandfather and a great-uncle.
NARR: Does THAT make me feel old.

4—Barry’s now dressed in his civvies—sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers—as he comes to a stop before Wally in the living room. Wally’s sitting at his couch, worried.
WALLY: I just don’t know what to do with him. Even Linda’s doing a show with a child psychologist hoping to learn something.

5—From behind Barry, we look inside the Wests’ family room, where Jai sits in front of the TV, playing a video game.
WALLY (off): Jai—He sits in front of the Xbox all day or uses his PSP. When I was his age, I was always outside, always running.
BARRY: You can’t relate.

6—Wally looks up, barely holding it together.
NARR: Wally reminds me of the tearful teenager who used to crash on my couch when his parents set up for Normandy.
WALLY: He wasn’t like this before Zoom attacked. I wonder sometimes, Barry.

1—First half of the page—Barry and Jai walking along a busy Keystone street at normal pace.
WALLY (off, no pointer): When Jai lost his powers, did I lose my son, too?
NARR: It took some coaxing, a growling whine, and a little bribery for Jai to join me for a walk downtown.
BARRY: Your mom and dad are worried about you.

2—Jai stuffs his hands in his jean pockets.
JAI: Yeah.

3—Barry looks down at him. Jai’s not looking up at him.
BARRY: Losing your powers, must have been hard.
JAI: Yeah.

1—Barry plucks the PSP from Jai’s hands.
BARRY: You know any other words other than—oh, no.
BARRY (linked): I thought we had a deal, kiddo. I take you to GameSpot, and you and I talk the whole way there and back.

2—Jai crosses his arms and pouts.
JAI: We WERE talking.
BARRY: No, I was talking. You were muttering.

3—Barry looks down at the boy, his pout close-up.
NARR: I suddenly feel ancient, like one of those elderly people who shake their canes at the neighborhood kids.
JAI: Why don’t you just RUN us? We’d be there already.

4—Barry pats the boy’s shoulder.
BARRY: Sometimes you have to slow down. Enjoy life and the people within it. Trust me. It’s worth it.
JAI: Is that what you thought when you ran yourself to death?

5—Barry narrows his eyes. He’s getting pissed but holding his cool.
NARR: Captain Cold has nothing on me at this moment.
BARRY: I was thinking of your aunt.
JAI (off): GREAT aunt.

6—Barry’s a little more angry.
NARR: Strike two.
BARRY: Yes, I was thinking of your great aunt, and how I’d miss her, but I’d have saved her and your father, and the people I cared about.

7—Jai looks up at Barry finally, his own face contorted with anger.
JAI: Is that what you thought when you didn’t go back in time and save your mom and dad?

8—Barry’s taken off guard.
BARRY: Wha—?

1—People dash from the park, screaming in panic. Children are dressed in soccer uniforms and cleats. Perhaps we can show Barry getting into his Flash suit, grabbing Jai, and heading toward the park.
FLASH: Come on!

2—Flash places Jai behind bleachers at a soccer field and rubs the boy’s head.
FLASH: Stay put.

3—Jai doesn’t look at Barry, his head ducked.
NARR: I can’t help but feel for him.
NARR: This could have been our first run together.
JAI: Whatever.

4—Close-up on Flash’s hand upon Jai’s head, where tiny purple lightning bolts zap his fingers.
NARR: Hesitation is not a trait of Flashes, definitely not one of Wally’s, but a darkness, a coldness, brushes my fingers.
NARR: I wonder if it’s just my kinetic energy expelling through my appendage and touching his non-powered skin, but I’ve never felt it against Iris.
FLASH (off): I’ll be back.

5—Flash zooms to meet Double Down on the field, and between them, three people—including one boy dressed in a soccer gear—are dead.

1—Close-up on the dead soccer player.
NARR: He’s no older than Jai.
NARR: Double Down killed a CHILD.

2—Double Down smirks, an ace of spades between his fore and middle finger.
DOUBLE DOWN: It was my day with the prince of hearts. Even the dealer said I could see him.

3—Flash’s hands fist at his thighs.
FLASH: So you KILLED him?
DOUBLE DOWN (off): It was time for the burn.

4—Flash slams his fist across Double Down’s face.
NARR: I’m moving even before I realize it.
NARR: I should hit him harder. It should have sent his head back onto the soccer field and used it for the ball.
FLASH: Just what kind of sick monster are you?

5—Double Down huddles in the fetal position. Flash’s looking down at him.
FLASH: You kill a child—your own?

6—Double Down smirks over his shoulder.
DOUBLE DOWN: I never said he was mine.

7—Bottom tier—Double Duck chucks his cards.
DOUBLE DOWN: You’re drawing dead, Flash!

1—Flash zooms about the field, ducking and catching cards before they hit bystanders.
NARR: I only have a few seconds to catch them when I realize they’re not aimed at me.

2-Flash catches one just before a frightened woman’s face.
NARR: They’re aimed at the people who didn’t flee.
NARR: Five seconds, six max, to save them all.

3—From behind Flash, we see Jai peaking through the bleachers with purple lightning clashing about his body and a card heading toward him.
NARR: Sometimes I wonder who’s crazier, the villains who menace or the innocents who watch?

For this scene, narrations are Jai’s.
4—Extreme close-up on Jai’s eyes, from where the purple lightning flickers.
NARR: It happens ALL the time, the purple lightning.

1—Pull out—Jai has his knees to his legs, the purple lightning clashing about his body like a net. Perhaps his head is lifted upward. He’s in pain.
NARR: I’m Jai West, B-T-W.
NARR: I used to be the fastest kid on the planet (I WAS faster than you, Bart!), but when Irey tore the speed from my body, she didn’t take the pain.

2—Behind Jai, we see Barry zipping for the cards, missing the one aimed at the back of Jai’s head.
NARR: Which is KEWL. I wouldn’t want her to have this.
NARR: As Great Uncle Barry races toward Double Down, the lightning strikes grow stronger.
NARR: It’ll go away.
NARR: It always does when my family’s done using their powers, especially my sister, but usually it’s not this bad.

3—Focus on his clenched teeth, which trap his bottom lip in his mouth.
NARR: It hurts.
NARR: It REALLY hurts.

4—Now see the purple flash behind him, perhaps making the first half of the cell’s background, the second
half a cozy living room.
NARR: Barry’s angry, and the speed force knows it.

1—Now we’re looking down at the woman face-down in the living room.
NARR: And then I’m no longer in Keystone but in Central, standing before a woman I’ve never met but I know her.
NARR: I’ve seen in my uncle’s pictures.

2—Jai’s looking down at her, scared and shocked and clearly not able to take his eyes off of her. In the right hand side of the cell, we see a yellow-cladded silhouette. Surrounding the house (perhaps we can see it through a window) is the purple lightning.
NARR: It’s Barry’s mom—dead.
ZOOM: Hello, boy.

3—Now we’re looking at Zoom, and he’s looking down at us—and he has a creepy, Joker smile. He’s holding his lightning bolt cane. Jai’s now the silhouette.
NARR: This guy—Zoom—he attacked Irey.
ZOOM: Are you prepared to join her?
JAI: Huh…huh…

1—Jai’s eyes open, and he’s back at the park.

2—Across from Jai huddles a boy by a tree. He’s Jai’s age with sunlight for hair and a nasty, aged scar down his left cheek. He’s wearing a soccer jersey and cleats.
JAI: What are you still doing here?
NARR: I wish I could.
SFX: Sizzzz….

3-Jai whirls to see the card coming at him. It’s an ace of spades.
NARR: I’m not fast enough.

4—Jai sticks out his hand, and the card tears through his palm.
NARR: I never will be again.

5—The card diverts and sinks into the tree trunk, inches from the boy’s face.

Narrations are Barry’s again.
1— The purple lightning pumps the blood down Jai’s wrist, and through the bleachers, he watches as the Flash throws Double Down’s cards at him. One of the cards has to knock him out.

2—Flash stands over the fallen Double Down, who’s pinned to the field by his own cards. He’s out cold.
NARR: I want to do more. He DESERVES more, but I won’t give myself the satisfaction.
Jai (off): U—Uncle Barry?

3—Jai stands before the fallen bodies, his eyes teary.
NARR: When I turn, I imagine Wally there again…

4—Now where Jai is, we see Wally, standing before a police officer, bloody and dead.
NARR: …standing before the first homicide victim he ever saw, tears welled up in his eyes but he was too shocked to cry.

5—Back to Jai. He’s now looking up at Flash.
NARR: He truly is Wally’s son.

6—Close-up on Jai’s body hand.
FLASH (off): JAI!

1—Flash changes from Flash to Barry again, holding Jai close to him as he’s on a cell phone. They’re away from the bodies.
NARR: I call the police, shortening the “Welcome back” from the dispatcher, and I take Jai aside, shielding him from the bloody bodies.

2—Now, Jai and Barry sit on the back of an ambulance, Jai’s hand thickly bandaged. Barry pats Jai on the knee.
NARR: The paramedics stich him up. He’ll be all right…I hope.
BARRY: You did a good thing today, saving Double Down’s son from his father.
BARRY (linked): I’m proud of you.

3— Jai focuses down at his bandaged hand.
JAI: I’m…sorry…about your mom.

4—Barry blows out a sigh and ruffles Jai’s hair.
BARRY: Time isn’t a force to be changed without consequences. I know my mother wouldn’t want me to put all those she loved and would love in jeopardy.
BARRY (linked): Like YOU.

5—Tears finally course Jai’s cheeks.
JAI: Sometimes I can see things…from the past or the future. It happens when Irey runs…most of the time. I saw Zoom and your mom. I—I—

1—Barry pats the boy’s shoulder.
NARR: He’s going to have nightmares.
BARRY: And that’s why you play so many video games. So you don’t think about them.
JAI: Or my powers.

2—Jai puts his good palm to his face to rub away the tears. Barry ruffles Jai’s hair.
JAI: I don’t want them back, Uncle Barry. Irey—Irey needs to be fast enough, and if I had mine, she wouldn’t be.
BARRY: But that doesn’t mean you don’t miss them.

3—Jai holds his hurt hand.
JAI: I was born with them, Uncle Barry. They were MY powers, too.
JA (linked): My dad’s a hero. My mom’s the most awesome TV reporter ever, and my sister’s gonna run faster than anyone one day
JAI (linked): …What am I gonna do?

3—Barry lifts Jai by the armpits and puts him on the ground.
BARRY: I don’t know, Jai, but you’re going to be great at it.
BARRY: I know I have a deal to keep, kiddo, but give me just three minutes. I have to fill out a report for the detectives.

4—Barry looks over his shoulder.
JAI (off): Uncle Barry?
BARRY: Yeah, kiddo?

5—Jai shuffles his feet.
JAI: Dad tried to explain it to me, but what does a fors-in-sac scientist do?

6—Barry offers his hand, smiling graciously. Kid’s talking. All is right with the world.
BARR: Come on. I’ll show you.

1—Full page-Barry kneeling over a dead body, pointing to the dead body with a pencil. He’s holding Jai’s hand, so as not to scare him too much. Jai’s looking interested, if not slightly wary.
NARR: I don’t need time traveling abilities to know this kid going to be a hero, perhaps not just the way he thought.


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