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Behind the Scenes

B-Cell Cloning Process

The B-Cells’ ability to transform into BioWarrior mode is only the first step in their preparation to wage war against invaders. They actually have another trait that makes their BioWarrior mode seem almost quaint — they can create up to seven clones of themselves. It’s sort of the immune system equivalent of having LeBron James play shooting guard, point guard, power forward, small forward, and center. It radically increases the odds of triumph. And once the battle is over, those clones simply disintegrate, their genetic material recycled by the body for future use.

But how could we portray this? We discussed a number of scenarios, none of which really felt right. Here’s how we described the process in the script to issue #1:

Panel Two

Biggest panel on the page: The transformation takes on an even more amazing facet as Blastor and co. begin to clone themselves: their bodies tense as the armor plates over their backs open, and duplicates pull themselves apart from the exposed cytoplasm.

CAPTION: To increase their numbers, they are able to create genetic duplicates of themselves.

CAPTION: Their exoskeletons shift and unfold, allowing clones to emerge from exposed cytoplasm, each fully armed and prepared to wage war.

Panel Three

Moments later, Humron stands surrounded by clones of himself. They resemble him, we can tell they're his clones, but they're not an exact match — their colors are more muted versions of Humron's, they're just a wee bit smaller (I'm talking like 5%). They are B-Cell clones, and we can tell they're clones, not as powerful, nor permanent, their temporary existence is to aid in battle.

CAPTION: The B-Cell clones' offensive capabilities are similar to, though less powerful than those of their creators'.

CAPTION: And while life itself is a battle for the BioWarriors, the clones' lifespans will last only as long as this battle.

Now, I think this could have looked very cool and creepy if it were in a movie — if you could see the “birth” of the clones happen in action, rather than by way of static panels that show parts of the process, leaving the reader’s mind to fill in what happens between panels. As written, the scene could have gotten the point across. But it somehow didn’t seem to quite capture the unique ability in a dynamic, distinctive way. So we encouraged our art team to experiment, think beyond what was described in the script, and as they did with the BioWarrior mode, they delivered something that has much more visual impact:

The minute our artists shared this with us, I thought “that is it!” Our artists’ take sidestepped the problem of how to show clones emerging from the B-Cells, and did it in an action-oriented, distinctively comic book fashion.

As our art team progresses through the storyboarding stage, interpreting the action in ways that sometimes like in this instance I adjust the script accordingly, so it aligns with their vision. I’m very eager for readers to see and read the final result.