Priest Solar Hell on Earth

SOLAR: HELL ON EARTH!


Solar: Hell on Earth # 1

Solar: Hell on Earth # 2

Solar: Hell on Earth # 3

Solar: Hell on Earth # 4

Reprinted post by Christopher Priest, writer of Acclaim's Solar: Hell On
Earth mini series, on rec.arts.comics.misc. December 12 1997


I knew I'd get hammered over issue #4. A lot of "huh?!" and cries of
Deux Ex Machina!! and so forth. To be fair, you couldn't have guessed
EVERYTHING that was going to happen, but there were significant clues in
issues #1-3, some clearer than others, that would have had you well on
your way to figuring some of this stuff out. Issue #4 should not have
felt so out of the blue as it apparently did to many of you. Maybe I blew
it, but here are some of the clues I'd shown you, and what they represent:

*spoilers for SOLAR #1-3

SIDNE WOULD BECOME SOLAR
Issue #1's God joke-- "first of all, she's black," was a dead giveaway. A
lot of you DID get this.

HELENA WAS THE BAD GUY
The Weed Whacker Guy from #2 was the big hint. Helena uses her powers
(a) independent of Frank, (b) capriciously, and (c) while being
half-asleep and barely aware she'd even done it. Helena has always been
nuttier than a Snickers-- as established by Ellis, she'd driven old
boyfriends to suicide. Frank, OTOH, is the scientist, always measuring
his words and deeds carefully. Regrettably, the WWG sequence, on pages 3 &
4 of issue #2 were near completely incomprehensible due to bad
storytelling. Here Patrick changed Cross' layouts, and all the copy
obscured what was going on.

Page 3, I imagined these as three simple panels stacked one on top of the
other:

2 DETAIL: A WEED WACKER WHACKING SOME WEEDS. COLOR: IT IS LATE
AFTERNOON (6:00 PM).

ELECTRIC 2: ?and, glory be to God, the Lord healed that thyroid condition?

ANNOYING SFX 3: WWRRRMMM---WWWRRRRRAAAAAMMM--!!

3 IN CLOSE: HELENA IN BED, A PILLOW PULLED OVER HER HEAD IN AN EFFORT TO
DROWN OUT THE NOISE. HELENA IN AN OVERSIZED TEE SHIRT. REMEMBER, SHE's
SEXY NOW, NOT FRUMPY.

ELECTRIC 4: ?and that sister just got on up out of her wheelchair and
shouted all over this place! Somebody needta shout "Thank Ya!!"

ELECTRIC 5: Somebody needta wave ya hand and say "Thank ya Jeee-zus!"

ANNOYING SFX: WWRRRMMM---WWWRRRRRAAAAAMMM--!!

4 SWITCH TO OVERHEAD ANGLE: ESTABLISH: HELENA IN BED, THE PILLOW PULLED
DOWN OVER HER HEAD, HER BODY CONTORTED SOMEWHAT IN A FRUITLESS EFFORT TO
SLEEP.

HER BED SHEETS ASKEW, HER BED IS FILLED WITH BIBLES, TALMUDS, QU'RANS,
(THE OPENED BOOKS CAN BE ASSUMED TO BE BIBLES, HAVE A FEW CLOSED BOOKS SO
WE CAN READ THE COVERS).

AT LEAST ONE FRAMED PICTURE OF JESUS LYING HAPHAZARDLY ON THE BED. ALL
AROUND, CANDLES BURNING.

PARADOXICALLY, HER TEE SHIRT HAS RIDDEN UP IN THAT THOUGHTLESS, INNOCENT
WAY, THE EROTICISM AT ODDS WITH THE EERILY SPIRITUALISM.

THERE IS A TV TUCKED INTO THE CORNER SOMEWHERE.

BOOKS 6:
THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD
THE HOLY KORAN
SUTRA PITAKA
BARDO THODROL
LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF IN SPITE OF THE PAIN

ELECTRIC 7: (From TV) Just lay your hands right there on your tee-vee!
Feel that warmth? That's the love of Jeee-zus at work in your life--

FRANK 8: (Off) Helena--!

ANNOYING SFX 9: WWRRRMMM---WWWRRRRRAAAAAMMM--!!
Page 4? didn't work. Didn't establish the Weed Whacker Guy so we don't get
it that he's gone. Never established the television set, so we don't know
where all that electronic noise was coming from. Readers are lost during
this critical scene.

MAGNUS
Solar is Magnus' god. Magnus was there because of his religious beliefs.
Yes, you have to know something about Magnus, but the only hint you really
needed was his T.I.M.E. vault. Big hairy clue. It wouldn't have been so
prominently featured unless we intended to use it. Going to the future to
read the "bible" and figure out what he's supposed to be doing-- not sure
why, but I thought I broadcast that from the moment Maggie came onstage on
page 17 of issue #2. And, once you tossed time travel into the equation,
anything was possible.

It was fair, by this point, to speculate (and remember, if you've read
MOTA or REVELATIONS) that SOLAR can move through time. Which means he
could fast forward to see how things end, and go back to the beginning and
cause things to happen.

THE GOLF GAME
Issue #2 page 20. Frank Seleski putting in his yard. Gets it wrong.
Cheats. Tries again. Gets it wrong. gets pissed and throws the golf
ball. This is how Frank thinks. This is what Solar (V1) has done all
along; make a mess and start over.

Goofed up by either Cross or Zircher (a pox on one of them). You can't
properly show motion by moving things towards or away from us. I asked
for a L-R motion. You can't tell what's going on because Patrick/Cross
keeps moving his camera when I asked it to stay fixed. The CAMERA
shouldn't move-- the BALL should move, so we clearly see Frank miss the
putt, Bozo puts the ball closer, Frank misses again. I have no idea what
I'm looking at here.

LOOK AT WHAT WE'VE DONE
Helena's suicide. I got clubbed here for writing the "wimpy Jim Krueger
Helena." No, I was writing the nutty Warren Ellis cigar-chomper who, with
the crazed expression of a fanboy stumbling across GIANT-SIZED X-MEN #1 in
a quarter bin, dived into Cardinal Montini's secret library. For THAT
person to try and off herself, something's gone very awry, something she
blames herself for. It's not that big a leap to think, rather than I got
Helena wrong, that Helena is somehow responsible for what's going on-- and
possibly for Jimmy Six.

THE RESURRECTION
The spread in issue #3 didn't work because Patrick/Cross made the figures
too big and you couldn't tell that, behind them, in a series of panels,
the city was being reconstructed. Figures are nearly three times larger
than they should have been. Solar's monologue DOES NOT WORK broken up into
these hulking captions. Nice drawing, but a reasonably unreadable page.
The wrong subtitle is listed (XIII was from last issue and refers to the
level of hell where the suicides go to.). We should have been at
purgatory: canto vi. We're finding our way BACK out of hell now. This
should have foreshadowed the ending where Solar puts the world back where
he found it.

DADDY
Page 14, Daddy's dead, Frank is happy. More there than meets the eye.
Helena blaming Frank, I thought, was a reasonable clue that the kids had
something to do with Dad's death.

THE WEAPON
Ellis' prophecy about "The smallest part of God touching the Earth (from
MAN OF THE ATOM)." I thought that was a gimme. Issue #3 page 17 we see
the black dot inside the crystal, I was sure somebody would guess that was
a piece of Solar himself.

THE TIME STOP
Page 25 Solar stops time with a gesture. Very nice panel 1. The rest
makes no sense at all. here Solar steps out of the time stream just as
he's being fired on. This only works if the motion is moving L-R so we
can see the missiles are hanging in mid air. It looks like Solar is
CATCHING a missile because Patrick cropped the thing off and we don't get
it that the missile is hanging in mid air, stopped in time. It's also
unlikely they'd be firing missiles at Solar, I asked for guns.

He steps out of time altogether and goes to find Phil Seleski, which is
the biggest hint of all that literally anything is possible.

Okay-- NOW bash me in the head. :-)

--CJP