HJU Interview w/ the Dragon Knight Lead Writer: NATHAN LONG


A Toku Action Interview
w/ Dragon Knight Lead Writer
Nathan Long

A huge industrial complex rose from the smog of ruined Ventara. Steam belched from exhaust vents, and strange silhouetted figures moved along the factory’s catwalks, keeping watch for intruders.

Within the steel walls, a half-conscious man was being dragged into a dark, fog-shrouded control room by hideous armored monsters. In the center of the room, a huge cylinder turned, revealing a towering figure.

For an instant the figure appeared to be wearing glistening black armor, but then, as it stepped into the light, it seemed only a man in a black coat, with a sly smile and a malevolent twinkle in his eye.

“Well well well, Nathan Long,” said the man. “The ‘writer’ of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. It is a pleasure to finally meet my ‘creator.'”

Nathan raised his head, peering up at the man, confused. “Xaviax? But… you aren’t real! I invented you!”

“Invented me, Mr. Long?” said Xaviax as he stepped forward with a strange, collar-like device. “Or spied on me?” He opened the collar. Its inner curve was ringed with needles. “Now, lets see if we can discover how you–”

“Eat my JUSTICE!!!” The sound of a chainsaw roared through the darkness and a man leapt from the shadows, wielding a rifle underslung with a chainsaw bayonet. The monsters that held Nathan turned, readying their claws, but the mystery man ripped through them in an rain of pain from his Lancer Assault Rifle, sending them all flying back, screaming.

“Come on,” the man shouted, hauling Nathan to his feet.

“Who are you?” asked Nathan as he stumbled after him.

“Justice,” the man replied, and pumped a few rounds into the monsters as they climbed back to their feet. “Keith Justice. Steve Wang sent me to get you out of here before the War really begins. Come on. Through here.”

Justice raced into a side corridor, then down a metal stairway. Behind them they could hear Xaviax shouting curses and the heavy footsteps of his armored monsters.

“In here,” said Justice, pulling Nathan toward a utility closet. “We’ll stay here until they’ve given up the hunt. I’ve set up a mirror near here, but we won’t get to it with those bozos running around.”

“Fine,” said Nathan. “And thanks. I think you just saved my life.”

“No worries,” said Justice, “but, uh, since I have you here… mind if I ask you a couple questions from the fans?”

“Huh? Now? In the middle of the chase scene?” Nathan blinked, then shrugged. “Well, all right, but you’ve got one hell of a funny way of scoring an exclusive interview.”

“I do it for the fans,” says Justice with an overly exaggerated wink to the camera.

* * *

HJU: Okay. Here we go. So, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I grew up in State College Pennsylvania, which is the town where Penn State is located. My dad was a professor at the university and my mom was an office manager there.

I am a professional writer, and have been one, on and off for fifteen years. I have written movies, TV shows, novels, short stories, and gaming modules. About the only things I haven’t written are plays and comic books, and I’m working on it.

HJU: Nice. Can you tell about what novels and game modules you’re done and tell us what some of your favorites are about?

Well, lets see. I have six books out from Black Library, the guys who publish Warhammer fiction – three in the Blackhearts series, which are sort of fantasy covert ops stories. They are: Valnir’s Bane, The Broken Lance, and Tainted Blood, and they’ve been collected into a big omnibus edition which is called, strangely enough, The Blackhearts Omnibus. These are the books that are, so far, closest to my heart.

I’ve also written three novels in the Gotrek and Felix Series, which I picked up from the orignal author when he moved on after the seventh book. My installments are Orcslayer, Manslayer and Elfslayer. These are classic monster-fighting sword and sorcery novels – and the next one, Shamanslayer, is coming out next year in October.

I’ve only done one game module, “The Thousand Thrones”, and it too was for Warhammer, for the Warhammer RPG. They put out a HUGE adventure book with ten interconnected senarios in it, and I wrote two of them. That was hard work – harder than writing novels.

HJU: What was it like growing up in State College? What kind of geek stuff were you into?

It was a nice place to grow up, except for the usual high school trauma. You know, the jocks beat up the geeks, etc. And I was definitely a geek. I always liked fantasy fiction and comic books, and got seriously into D&D when I was twelve. I spent a lot of time designing dungeons and drawing my characters and creating adventures for my friends to run through.

HJU: Ha! I might have guessed. What comics did you collect?

Wow. Uh, let me see if I can remember. It was a long time ago. I always sort of liked the stuff that was on the fringes of mainstream, so American Flagg by Howard Chaykin, the Walt Simonson run of Thor, Savage Sword of Conan, Love and Rockets, Groo the Wanderer, Sandman, Johnny Nemo by Milligan and McCarthy.

Also, I was, and still am, a huge fan of fantasy illustration, so I had all the Frazetta books, lots of Lord of the Rings art books, all that kind of stuff.

HJU: What in your background led you to become a writer?

I’m an alien in my own culture because my mom and dad wouldn’t have a TV in the house, so I never saw any of the pop culture stuff that all my friends saw. I missed a lot of the TV sci-fi at the time – no Star Trek, no Space 1999, no Planet of the Apes, nothing. So all I had to do was read, and I soaked up books at an incredible rate.

I read just about every fantasy book I could get my hands on, starting with Narnia and other kids fantasies, then moved up to the Lord of the Rings and John Carter of Mars, Peirs Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, all kinds of stuff, bad or good, it didn’t matter. I also read mysteries, spy stuff, and sci-fi, and from early on I decided I wanted to write the stuff, not just read it.

For a while in high school I got distracted by art and acting – yes, I was in drama club – but I took a year off before I started college and ended up watching a lot of movies. That made me think that what I really wanted to be was a screenwriter. So I took film in college, specializing in screenwriting, then headed off – in a sort of round about way – to Hollywood.

HJU: Got any favorite writers that inspired you in your profession?

Absolutely. Fritz Leiber is my favorite fantasy author, followed closely by Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock. I also like George MacDonald Fraser and Raphael Sabatini, who are swashbuckling historical adventure guys, and P.G. Wodehouse, who writes humorous novels about upper class English twits. Variety is the spice of life.

HJU: What was the first thing you had published?

My first published story was a fantasy called “Uncrossed Stars” for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.

HJU: What was the first show you wrote for?

If you mean TV, I wrote about seven episodes of a low budget cop show that used to show on TNT called “LA Heat.” It was pretty much a “Lethal Weapon” rip off.

If you mean movies, my first produced script was Guyver – Dark Hero, which I co-wrote with one Steve Wang. We have been friends and sometime collaborators ever since.

HJU: And what was that like?

LA Heat was quite a learning experience. I learned how to write to guidelines, and on time. They had a formula for that show in order to keep it on budget. There were 45 pages per script. 30 of them had to be on interior locations. There could only be five actors per episode. There had to be four action scenes per episode, etc etc. This was very good training for Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, as we were working under a very strict budget and time constraints as well.

Writing Guyver was just a stone blast. My first produced script and it is an off-the-hook superhero vs. monster kung-fu mash up. I loved it so much that I worked as a production assistant on it for free, just so I could hang out and see how it all worked!

HJU: Got any other projects you’ve enjoyed writing for?

Well, I love my current job. Since 2004 I have been writing blood and guts fantasy novels for Games Workshop, the guys who make the Warhammer and Warhammer 40k miniature games and computer games. In fact, I’ve been so busy writing for them that I almost said no when Steve asked me if I wanted to be head writer for Kamen Rider Dragon Knight.

HJU: So what led you to LA?

The screenwriting dream, baby. The mirage in the desert that fades away the closer you get to it.

Bitter? Who, me?

HJU: Got any other projects you want to work on? Anything else in the works?

It’s funny, until Steve called me out of the blue last year, I had pretty much turned my back on Hollywood and concentrated on novels. My dream is to publish my own fantasy novels, outside of any licensed universe. I also have a few dusty old screenplays that I’m still kinda fond of. I might bring ’em out and see if they still work.

And Steve and Mike and I are always talking about doing something else. We really came together as a pretty good team on Kamen Rider, so it would be fun to work together again. We’ll see.

HJU: How did you end up teaming up with The Wang Brothers, anyway?

I have known Steve for almost 18 years now, I think. We met when I cold-called him after seeing Kung-Fu Rascals and thinking, “This is the guy to make my scripts!” We hit it off right away and worked on a whole bunch of original ideas, but then Guyver II came along and we did that instead.

We have kept in touch since then, and when Adness came to Steve with the idea to do Kamen Rider, he called me up and asked me if I wanted to help out.

HJU: Is it pronounced “W-ay-ng” or “W-aw-ng?”

Heh. It rhymes with sang, bang, gang, and fang.

HJU: So, tell us…. how did all this start? What was the first thing you heard about the coming of the Kamen Rider Dragon Knight?

Well, it went something like this….

“Uh, hello?”

“Hey, Nathan, it’s Steve. Wanna be head writer on a TV show called Kamen Rider Dragon Knight?”

“Steve? Steve who?”

That was pretty much it. After that, it got interesting. Steve gave me a fist full of disks that had the whole 50 episode Ryuki series on them, plus the movie and the special. Unfortunately, they were the infamous “Don’t molest the lawyer” translations, so they didn’t make much sense.

I came onto the project after Steve and Mike had already made the pilot, and what they asked me to do was help them take all their really cool ideas and make them make sense – give them a grounding in reality and logic Steve’s idea of Ventara, and the fact that there would be two sets of riders, one from Ventara, who had been defeated before the series started, and one from Earth, who had been given the cards by Xaviax, was already in place. I just had to work out all the logic of it and come up with a way to make the story work over a 40 episode arc. That might have been the hardest bit of writing/plotting I’ve ever done.

The next hardest bit was making all the existing action scenes fit into our storyline. Not easy when you think that one week, Wing Knight and Dragon Knight are fighting side by side, and the next week they’re beating the hell out of each other. We had to work out the loyalties and rivalries in the show based on who beat up who in the various fights. Fun.

HJU: And what did you think of the Kamen Rider franchise?

I have to admit, I don’t know all that much about it. Steve is the uber fan. I learned as I went. But what I do know, I really like. I like that every incarnation of Kamen Rider is always pitted against the authorities, be they the men who made him, or men who want to use him for evil purposes. I like that he’s usually a loner and works outside the law.

Kamen Rider Ryuki is a little bit different. Ryuki is often with Knight, but he’s still a pawn who’s fighting back and trying to find out what’s really going on. Though our story is very different, we took a lot of that “who can I trust?” feeling and put it in our show.

HJU: Did you get to see any of Kamen Rider Ryuki?

I saw all of it, many times, but like I said, we never had access to anything but the “Don’t molest the lawyer’ dub, so I never knew exactly what was going on.

HJU: What’d you think of it?

Some of it was incredibly cool, and the basic story line of a madman pitting these poor saps against each other so that one could win his fondest dream was cool, and we took some of that for Dragon Knight too.

There were other parts that I wasn’t so hot on. I didn’t care for the comedy relief at the TV station. I didn’t think we needed to have Len and Kit wearing aprons and working in a tea shop either. There was a fair amount of girly soap opera stuff that I thought we could do without. But the fights and the infighting between the riders was terrific stuff, and it’s that feeling of never knowing who your friends are that we borrowed most heavily from Ryuki.

HJU: What can you tell us about the other people you worked with in creating the World of Dragon Knight?

Steve and Mike are great. Both have strong personalities and strong opinions, but that’s because they care. I think, if you want to point to one thing that made this show more than just another run of the mill Power Rangers clone, its that the Wang Brothers cared. They cared about making a show that they would want to watch, and a show that wouldn’t talk down to its audience. They are fans, and they made a show for fans. That made them a joy to work with.

HJU: Can you think of any of the cast and/or crew that you’d like to give a well deserved compliment to?

The cast of the show is all around terrific, but two people that I’d like to praise in particular are Matt Mullins and William O’Leary. We were a little worried about Matt (Len) at the beginning. He was a martial artist first and an actor second, and he was a kinda nervous early on, but as the show went on, he really relaxed into his role, and became one of the most interesting guys to watch on the screen. Great stuff.

William O’Leary, on the other hand, was an old pro from the get go, and he made Xaviax into a really cool, slimy, but compelling villain. Just as important, he lent his expertise to the other, younger actors on the show, and helped them with their scenes. The series as a whole was brought up a notch because of his involvement.

He was also instrumental in bringing Carrie Reichenbach (Kase) into the series – and I think we all owe him for that.

HJU: Were there any talents from the actors that were discovered during the shooting of Dragon Knight that were later incorporated into the show?

Hmmm. Mike Moh was hired for his acting, but he turned out to be a very capable martial artist as well. Trust me, we put that to good use.

HJU: What is your method when it comes to writing? Do you have any special routine or atmosphere that’s most conducive to getting the ideas flowing?

A pot of tea, some rousing action soundtrack music on the iTunes, and off I go. I used to write a lot in cafes, but now I’m spending more time at home. Either way, it’s caffeine and the Conan soundtrack that gets me rolling.

* * *

Justice paused, then got up and listened at the door. “We’re clear,” he said. “If we go now we can make it. Let’s go!”

Justice threw open the door and ran smack into one of Xaviax’s red-armored minions. The monster grabbed Justice, and threw him against the wall of the corridor before he could get his bearings. Thinking fast, Nathan grabbed the minion’s X-shaped boomerang off it’s back and brained it, knocking it toward Justice, just as he rebounded off the wall–

–chainsaw roaring!

In an explosion of sparks Justice chopped through the monster with the chainsaw gun, then spun back to Nathan. “Nice move, man. Thanks for the save.”

Nathan shrugged. “You write enough of this stuff and it becomes second nat– Look out!”

Nathan shot a hard punch past Justice’s face, while Justice simultaneously fired a kick past Nathan – both knocking back monsters that had suddenly leapt from the shadows.

“I hear ya,” says Justice with a wink. “Now come on. Mirror’s this way.”

He led Nathan down the hallway to a hidden alcove. In it was a cracked bathroom mirror. Before Nathan could wonder how it had got there, Justice took out something that looked like a black PDA, then grabbed Nathan’s wrist and pulled him through the mirror.

Nathan shook his head as they stumbled out into a funky little bookstore. “That felt weirder than I expected.”

A beautiful girl behind the counter was talking to two friends; a nerdy looking kid, and hot alterna-chick in wild clothes. They turned to stare as Justice and Nathan headed for the exit.

“Hey,” said the girl behind the counter. “Who are you?”

“Just passing through, ma’am,” said Justice.

“And what’s that?” asked the alterna-girl, pointing at Justice’s Rifle. “A weed whacker?”

The nerdy kid rolled his eyes. “Don’t you know anything, Lacey? It’s from Gears of War 2! You get it extra with the game.”

“Totally worth the money, too,” said Justice as he and Nathan hurried out the door. As it slammed behind them, the girl behind the counter frowned, confused.

“Who gave that guy an Advent Deck?”

Justice turned to Nathan as they continued down the street.

* * *

HJU: So, where were we? Oh yeah. What was it like in the war room where you and Steve and Mike all came together to compose all elements that created the DKU?

It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. Steve and Mike are “cool idea” guys, very visual, visceral thinkers. My job was often to be the nerdy wet blanket who sat in the corner and said, “Yeah, but that won’t work because we already set up a rule where this would happen instead.” So we had a lot of battles over stuff. I on the other hand can sometimes get a little overly complex with my plotting and my ways of solving dramatic problems. Steve and Mike’s job in that case was to sit on me until I agreed to simplify it all.

All this took place in Steve’s kitchen, with all these half finished sculptures and monster heads sitting around, and often with Steve carving away as we talked. It was a blast.

HJU: So, why Ryuki first? Were there any others considered? And which ones did you consider more than others?

Steve, Mike and I had nothing to do with that decision. It was decided long before any of us were hired. What happened was, Adness acquired the rights to Ryuki from Toei, then came to Steve and asked him if he was interested in developing it. Steve’s only decision was whether to say yes or no. Fortunately for me – and all of us – he said yes.

HJU: Was there any reason Ryuki was chosen other than the amount of toys that could be sold when it was released?

I doubt it.

HJU: From what I’ve seen and know, Dragon Knight is almost a complete overhaul to the Ryuki mythos and a new world all together. What made you guys go the route of the creation of Ventara, the 12 Knights, and Xaviax instead of maybe doing more of a translation of the Ryuki story with heroes protecting a girl from a mad scientist?

Good question. Part of the reason had to do with the US market. You can’t have straight up murder on kid shows in the US, and so the concept of the Rider War seemed a little too harsh. But I think a bigger reason was that we wanted to make something original – something that came out of our heads rather than just a carbon copy of an old show.

Believe me, if someone had come to us and asked us to make a completely new Toku show from the ground up, without adapting some previous property, we would have jumped at the chance. That would have been so cool! The decision to use the Ryuki footage was the producers’, and it was primarily budgetary. They didn’t have a lot of money, and re-using existing action scenes was a lot cheaper than shooting new ones. Also, Kamen Rider has world wide name recognition, where as ‘Steve and Nathan’s Super Cool Hero Show’ does not.

So, given the task to make an American show out of Ryuki, we decided that we would do something completely different. If we’d tried a straight adaptation we would have only ended up making a watered down “child safe” version of the original, and we didn’t want that. That would be lame. If people want the old show, its available, and better than any US adaptation could ever be. We made a completely new show that can be watched as something entirely separate, and which stands on its own two power-armored feet.

HJU: You know that this is not the first time Kamen Rider has been adapted for the US?

*Cringe* Yeah.

HJU: What’d you think of Masked Rider?

I’ve never seen it, thankfully. I saw the credit sequence on YouTube once and that was enough for me. Yikes!

HJU: Masked Rider and Power Rangers have both been successful in their own right and also hold their own stigma. What all did you have in mind to make sure Dragon Knight was its own thing?

Our goal from the beginning was to give Kamen Rider Dragon Knight the weight and drama of the original series. The last thing we wanted to do was to infantilize it. Kamen Rider has never been the kind of bouncy super sentai show Power Rangers was. It has always been a superhero drama, and that’s how we pitched it. We didn’t get it without a fight. Our bosses got cold feet a couple times and would come and say, “Can you put more humor in it?” and “Does it have to be so dark?” but eventually I think they realized that we knew what we were doing and left us alone.

The funny thing was, at the beginning, I think they wanted us to do a goofy “monster of the week” show with all the Kamen Riders going out and fighting as a team, just like Power Rangers, but… well, look at the action footage from Ryuki. It just doesn’t support that kind of story at all. The Kamen Riders fight the occasional monster, but most of the time they’re pounding the living crap out of each other. There was just no way we could make it look like they all lived in a big club house and went surfing together. When the bosses finally realized that, things went a lot smoother.

HJU: What do you think makes Kamen Rider Dragon Knight different?

Different from other American toku shows? Well, lots of stuff. It’s an action drama, rather than an action comedy. The themes are more adult. We deal with honor and courage and taking responsibility for your actions, and unlike other shows, we show the consequences of what happens when you don’t. The story is one long arc, rather than a bunch of short, stand alone episodes. It’s more like ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes’ than it is like Power Rangers. The acting and directing is better, and the story has more emotional weight. I think you’re really going to get involved in the characters and their struggles.

HJU: Was there anything from Ryuki that influenced some of the themes and characters of Dragon Knight?

Yes. The idea that all the riders fight for different reasons that mean a lot to them, the look and attitude of Ren/Len, the lady reporter, the crazy aunt, the mirrors (obviously), the hero who doesn’t know what’s going on at the beginning – all that got transferred into our show.

HJU: What did you guys add that you think maybe makes Dragon Knight better that Ryuki?

Hmmmm. That’s a tricky and touchy subject. Like I said before, we had such a terrible translation of the original to work from that I really don’t know how good the original story was. I think the addition of Ventara, and the back-story of the original riders brings an interesting new dimension to the story, and I think as the series goes on, Xaviax’s motives and the way he operates make the show a lot of fun to watch. But I would rather not say one was better than the other. They are two entirely separate animals that just happen to share the same fight scenes, and they can both be appreciated for what they are without having to pick one or the other as better or worse.

HJU: Fans love constructed and persistent universes. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Power Rangers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer… what did you keep in mind when constructing the background for Dragon Knight?

I worked very hard trying to tie all the different bits we had to work with into a coherent whole – the history of Ventara and how the Kamen Riders came to be, Xaviax’s history and why he took over Ventara and is now coming for Earth. All that stuff had to be pretty solid, because I’m a fan of that kind of world building too, and I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me, “It’s just a kid show. You don’t have to go into all that.” To my mind, it is the kid shows where you have to get that stuff right, because kids care. It all had to make sense, it all had to be internally consistent, and it all had to pay off down the line.

Like I said, the construction we did before we actually wrote any of the episodes was some of the hardest writing I’ve ever done, but I think it was worth it.

HJU: Do you think you’ve laid down enough frame work for the KRDK saga that the fight could continue beyond the current Season?

Absolutely. That decision of course isn’t up to us, but if they come to us and say, “We want a Season Two,” we’ll be ready.

HJU: Would you go the “Power Ranger Ranger Route” with a new cast, new villains and new plot? Or would Dragon Knight’s storyline go on with the same cast, suits and so forth?

That’s another decision that isn’t up to us. But we left it open to continue from the current storyline if that’s what they want.

HJU: Have you seen any other tokusatsu/Kamen Rider shows?

I have to hide my head in shame and say that I have not. I am more of a Hong Kong action guy than I am a Japanese action guy, so I’ve seen just about every HK kung-fu flick and bullet drama ever made, but I have only seen a few random scattered episodes of various toku shows. I couldn’t stand watching any of the American ones, even though I knew guys who stunted for them. They were just too cutesy. I think, in fact, that I wrote Dragon Knight like I did in a reaction against that cutesy stuff.

HJU: Now, this is totally unofficial, but if it were up to you, what Tokusatsu/Kamen Rider show would you use next to follow up Dragon Knight?

Again, I’m going to admit my ignorance here and say I haven’t seen enough of them to pick one. If they ask us which one we want to do next, I’ll leave it up to Steve and Mike. They know better than me. My job will be the same as it was this time, to make whatever they give me work dramatically and logically.

HJU: What kind of advice would you give to the aspiring writer? Both in terms of honing the craft and as an amateur writer trying to break into the business.

Heh. I had a nephew who wants to be a writer ask me that recently, and I wrote out some advice – some of which I wish I had followed better myself back in the day. I’ve taken the liberty of copying and pasting it here. These aren’t all the answers, and they aren’t sure-fire answers, but they’re steps in the right direction.

1 – Write every day. A writer writes. He doesn’t just talk about writing. He sits down and does it. I write four to six hours a day, six days a week – sometimes seven. Even if you only write for an hour, do it every day. And blogging doesn’t count.

2 – Finish what you start. Don’t start twenty different stories and give up halfway through all of them. Pick one and finish it. No one buys ideas. No one buys half-finished stories. They buy completed works.

3 – Show people what you’ve written, and LISTEN to their criticism. A writer only grows by getting feedback. Remember that, if you want to make a living as a writer, you must write to please an audience. If you show somebody a story and they don’t get it, it’s not their fault, it’s yours. You didn’t make your point clear enough. Try again.

4 – Read. Read the kind of stuff you want to write. If you want to write fantasy or science fiction novels you should read them. All kinds. Read other stuff too, different genres, different styles. Read lots of different books on how to write – not just one. They all have good advice, but it’s best not to get trapped in one way of doing things. No one guy has all the answers.

5 – Send your work out – to agents, publishers, producers, and when they reject it, send it to somebody else. Everybody gets rejected. If you let it discourage you, you won’t get anywhere. I have 3 produced screenplays. I have written more than 24. The means I wrote more than 21 screenplays that were rejected. You have to keep trying again. If the person who rejected your work gives you comments, LISTEN to them. They’re not always right, and sometimes their reasons have nothing to do with how good your story is (for instance, “Sorry, we’re already doing a horror movie about giant hamsters.”) But if they make story comments, LISTEN!

6 – Network. This is a piece of advice I wish I had listened to years ago. Meet and get to know the people who buy the kind of work you want to sell. Make friends with them. When I came to Hollywood I thought that all I had to do was write and the work would sell itself. I was wrong. You must write, but if you want to make money at it, you have to learn how to sell it too. In Hollywood that means getting to know agents and other writers and producers, and hanging out with them. I didn’t do this. I locked myself in my room and wrote, and consequently I didn’t know very many industry people to show my work to. A lot of my scripts never got a real chance because they were only seen by a few people.

There you go. Nathan’s Six Rules of Successful (and not so successful) Writers.

HJU: If someone would check your DVD player, your MP3 player and your game console… what would they find currently spinning in each?

DVDs – The Magnificent Seven (Magnificent!)

– Brotherhood of the Wolf (Magnifique!)

MP3s – The Michelle Gun Elephant (bone-snapping Japanese punk rock!)

– Best of Slade (ear-splitting English hard rock)

– Duffy (heart-breaking English soul)

GAME – Fallout 3 (I want to move to the wasteland!)

– City of Heroes (Virtue rules!)

– Warhammer On-Line (It’s for my job, really…)

* * *

“Awesomsauce,” Justice said as he raised his watch and spoke into it, “Lightning Fire… it’s SHOWTIME!!!

A sunburst metallic orange Chevy Cobalt raced up out of nowhere and screeched to a stop in front of the pair. Justice tossed his rifle in the back and they hopped in.

“Where are we headed?” asked Nathan as he pulled on his seatbelt.

“Wang Compound,” said Justice, pronouncing “Wang” correctly this time. “The one place Xaviax can’t get you while we ride out the storm, and hope to Ishinomori that Kit and Len will be strong enough to stop Xaviax and his riders.”

“All right. Let’s go then.”

“Got anything else you’d like to say to our Dear Readers?”

“Yeah,” Nathan smirked. “Check out the preview episode on December 13th and tell me this isn’t going to be awesome. You’re all in for one helluva Ride!”

And with that, the two roared off in a meteoric streak of orange as the cry of a dragon was heard somewhere in the city.

The storm… had begun.
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