04/22/2004: "The Planeteers"

Listening to: StaticBeats
Current mood: sleepily bemused

I think this post needs a preface, as it's not along my usual complaining vein. So I had this idea last night, sort of just a funny thought. How or why any of this popped into my poor beleaguered brain I have no idea. And because my thought process works the way it does I had a basic plotline worked out in about 20 seconds. Three words: Vertigo Captain Planet. (For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, comics company DC/Vertigo was doing this thing in the mid to late 90s where they would re-envision certain comic book franchises in a much darker, grittier light. Usually full of sex and violence. Some were excellent, others... not so much). Amused with the idea, I mentioned it to Tim, and he suggested that I post it. So here, in the spirit of Earth Day, I give you -

The Planeteers!

The main character of this book is Kwame, a young solider in the army of [Topical African Warlord]. After being severely wounded in a major skirmish of some sort he stumbles onto the ancient ring of Earth (cliché, I know). After discovering the ring's power he begins using it in battle before he is confronted by the earth spirit Gaia. Gaia sends him on a quest to find the holders of the other four rings so that the guardian of earth, Captain Planet himself, can be summoned to save the world from its polluted, war-torn state. So far so good, yeah? Over let's say, a 12-issue run, Kwame eventually meets:

Wheeler - Since Wheeler is a terrible name, he'll now be called Jason Wheeler III. JW is spoiled rich ivy league college student from an obnoxious socialite family (is there any other kind?). When Kwame finally tracks him down, he discovers him, you guessed it, using the ring of Fire to burn hobos to death in back alleys. Why? Cause that's how he gets his kicks.

Linka - Ok, next we've got Linka. Linka is from the "Soviet Union" which back in the 80s meant Russia (though her accent was not even remotely Russian). There's not much that goes on in Russia that's good material for a Vertigo book except, of course, running heroine for the Russian mafia. She's of course hooked on the junk herself because that makes it edgier. Since the Wind ring basically sucks she mainly uses it to gain respect and fear within the organization. This backfires though and she is discovered by Kwame after barely surviving a hit placed on her from the higher ups.

Gi - Then there's Gi. Gi is from "Asia". Way to be specific there. But since we're talking Vertigo, Gi can only be from one place: Bangkok. And we all know what happens in Bangkok right? I don't have to spell it out. Though Gi possesses the ring of Water, she keeps it solely as an heirloom from her mother and is unaware of its powers, until a trick turns ugly one night and she discovers not only that she can control water, but that, interestingly, people are made mainly of water. After this she spends her days in hiding and her nights preying on lecherous men, which Kwame is mistaken for on their first encounter. Hilarity ensues.

Ma-Ti - I saved the best for last with this kid. For anyone familiar with the show, Ma-Ti is a young effeminate boy from South America who holds the ring of "Heart" (wa... wait... the Fifth Element is LOVE?!). He was always a little disturbing somehow. Now I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who gives it a half second of thought how this would play out. Kwame would find Ma-Ti the leader of a small cult comprised of naked nubile young boys, influenced by the power of the Heart ring to love and worship him and do his bidding. I mean, this right here is pure Vertigo, people. There'd be Ma-Ti sitting on a throne of naked boys, drinking wine. He'd probably try to use the ring on Kwame. It would be classic.

Along this string of wacky adventures you would need to throw in that cool woman villain with one eye. She was great. I don't remember her name at all. Now, eventually everyone would be brought together for the summoning ceremony. I'm assuming that you couldn't just summon up the guardian of the earth whenever you wanted to like in the cartoon because that would be stupid (for example, why didn't they just summon up Captain Planet at the beginning of every episode instead of floundering about getting captured, losing their rings, and generally being idiots? It would have saved me several hours of my childhood). So there they are, somewhere remote, ready to summon up CP, and One-Eyed-Villain-Lady shows up to try to stop them. She gets run through or something edgy like that and the summoning begins. Only too late do they realize that she was right all along! Captain Planet is there to save the Earth from pollution and war and so forth. Not *humanity*, the Earth. And of course what's cause of all these problems? You guessed it, humanity. So of course, the Captain culls the human herd back down to more manageable numbers, killing off some 90-95% of the population. Go Planet!

Admittedly there are flaws in this narrative, and I could probably extrapolate even more, but I've thought about this way too much already. Still, I bet if I'd pitched that back '95, I'da got me a book. It's a way better plot than Black Orchid.

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