THE NIGHTLY CHILL
By Steve Arviso
Untitled Superhero Pilot, Scene 4.
FIGHT THE DAWN!
As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.
The Nightly Chill is the unstable experience of the mind and madness of Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Mon-Fri. Ish.
WE ARE THE LOST
FAN FICTION THEATER
UNTITLED SUPERHERO PILOT, SCENE 4
Tonight, UNTITLED SUPERHERO PILOT concludes with Scene 4. And FAN FICTION THEATER returns with a full outline for revised take on the DCEU with BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN.
WE ARE THE LOST
The Nightly Chill wants to show some love to a variety of cool shit from local and other independent artists, performers, and assorted creative types!
If you have a show you want to promote, especially if it’s located in SoCal, let’s get your poster and links! Got a cool short film you made for no money, or a song your band is trying to get out there to more peeps? Let’s embed that YouTube video and link new listeners to where they can support you!
Hit us up if you make:
Music, audio dramas
Genre fiction, poetry, films, etc!
The weirder, the better!
We are The Lost. And together, we’ll make sure the world sees and hears us.
FAN FICTION THEATER - BATMAN VS SUPERMAN
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe started off with a risky investment in smaller, lesser known properties and blew up into the hottest pop-culture franchise in the world, Warner Bros. and DC utterly failed in their attempts to replicate that success with arguably two of the biggest icons in American pop-culture of the last century--Batman and Superman.
Man of Steel was an interesting idea with flawed execution. An introspective re-contextualization of Superman for a modern, far-more cynical world should have made for an interesting movie, especially given the advancements of special effects since the days of Christopher Reeves. But it was a cynical movie from a cynical director for a cynical world.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not only a convoluted, bloated mess of a title, it’s also a bad movie. Characters are lifeless, unmotivated, directionless. The story is nonsensical, and not in the delightful “dance-off to save the universe” sense. The stakes make no sense. This massive pop-culture milestone featuring the first-ever on-screen union of two pop-culture icons--both owned by the same company this entire time!--is a mess that fails in any real way that matters for a movie, aside from that historical moment.
And it didn't need to be that way. There were nugget of a good, really fun story in there. Somewhere. They mined classic stories for cool moments but left out what made those moments and stories compelling in the first place. All it takes is reinserting what was already there, making full use of existing material to bring everything to where it should be.
As we saw with Justice League, you can salvage only so much with rewrites and reshoots when most (all?) of the movie is already completed. I did my best to keep the central "themes" (if there is any such thing to really find in the original BvS), characters, and beats. I've minimized and repurposed what felt unnecessary or convoluted. And I expanded and filled in all the gaps I could think to fill. It still ultimately comes across as a significant departure from what we got in theaters, but I think it still feels very familiar and true to the supposed spirit of everything. And I hope you'll enjoy and agree.
After the destructive Battle of Metropolis, Superman has become a polarizing figure across the world. Some see him as a savior. Others see his interference in world affairs as a threat against the freedom and rights of the human race, including the violent vigilante from Gotham City--The Batman.
BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN
The near future. The majority of the world live seemingly peaceful lives in Kryptonian-like, utopian metropolises under the strict authoritarian rule SUPERMAN and his High Council. A war brewing between the nations of Themyscira and Atlantis threatens the public peace. And rumors of a resistance comprised of OUTSIDERS living beyond the walls of the metropolises divides the people.
The Outsiders, comprised of several humans and metahumans led by BATMAN, attempt to recover an ELEMENT believed to be Superman’s only weakness. But Batman and the Outsiders are betrayed and captured.
Superman personally tortures and executes The Outsiders, one-by-one. But just before Superman puts his hands through Batman’s chest, Batman signals, BARRY, a young metahuman dressed in red, makeshift armor.
As Batman is executed, Barry flees, breaking the sound barrier several times over, going faster and faster, with Superman hot on his tail. But before Superman can take hold of him, Barry disappears in a FLASH of red and white lightning.
The Batcave. Years Earlier. BRUCE WAYNE is at his workstation, preparing for nightly patrol when Barry arrives in a FLASH of lightning. Barry warns Bruce of Superman’s reign of terror, and that LOIS LANE is the key to it all. But Barry’s very presence has altered the fabric of HYPERTIME. As Bruce’s mind floods with SHATTERED IMAGES of the future and of his own death at the hands of Superman, Barry’s essence dissipates atom-by-atom, until only pure energy is left. Bruce is left alone, terrified, and now sure of his next mission: kill the Man of Steel.
A DELICATE BALANCE
Present day. Reporter LOIS LANE flies into a political hot zone to speak with a GENERAL from the island nation of Themyscira, a highly-advanced, female-led democracy with a penchant for aggressive military action. But as Lois and the General engage in a heated debate about the moral and ethical implications of pre-emptive military actions, they find themselves under attack.
Amidst the chaos, Superman arrives. He pulls Lois out of harm's way and single-handedly puts a stop to the conflict, much to the chagrin of the General. But as Superman plays the smiling boy scout in light of his concern for Lois, the General isn't buying it. Instead, she warns about an alien interfering with the affairs of humanity.
HEROES AND VILLAINS
Metropolis. Superman is a polarizing public figure. Some see Superman as a savior for his proactive approach to crime and world conflicts. Others see him as a menacing outsider upsetting the natural order. This public and political opposition to Superman is led by LEX LUTHOR, the billionaire hometown hero responsible for rebuilding Metropolis after the Kryptonian invasion. They demand a public hearing against Superman by the United Nations.
The Daily Planet. CLARK KENT soaks in the political shit storm. PERRY WHITE informs Clark of the latest local threat--the urban legend of Gotham City known as the Batman. The Batman is said to serve up his own violent brand of justice, frequently brutalizing and occasionally killing criminals. Recently, he's taken to branding his "victims" as a warning to others.
We witness the latest incident. The Batman breaks up a human trafficking ring, one supposedly headed by businessman and alleged criminal kingpin, Oswald Cobblepot. Among the rescued is the plucky, CARRIE KELLEY.
Upon learning this, Clark takes the Batman story and heads to Gotham.
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
Clark ventures through Gotham, interviewing the criminals harmed by The Batman and the locals aided by him. The criminals fear The Batman, but civilians adore him, believing the Batman’s violent tactics are the only way to deal with criminals that the corrupt Gotham PD allow to slip through the cracks. A corruption that Clark soon witnesses firsthand.
Night. Batman hunts and chases SCARECROW--currently brewing up a new batch of fear toxin--through the streets of Gotham, resulting in severe collateral damage. As Batman beats Scarecrow half-to-death in mindless rage, Superman intervenes.
In a brief altercation, Superman threatens to put down the Batman if he continues down this violent path. But Batman, recalling Barry and the visions, stands his ground. He points out that Superman has let the Scarecrow go free, and has no idea the sort of repercussions his actions have. He’s not a man, he’s an alien. A demon playing God.
As he awaits his hearing at the UN, Clark confides in Lois. He worries about his place in the world, about his future among mankind. A family. Where does he belong? But as Lois eases Clark’s mind, she receives an anonymous tip about Luthor conducting illegal activities down at the docks that evening. Clark departs for the UN alone while Lois chases the story.
The United Nations. The Themyscirian representative, DIANA PRINCE, makes her nation’s case against Superman and calls for action. Lex delivers an impassioned speech about the losses suffered at the hands of Superman during the Battle of Metropolis. He claims that only mankind can be allowed to shape its future, and presents JOHN CORBEN, former soldier gravely wounded during his service and defense of the city, now rebuilt and given a second chance at life with Lex Corp medical cybernetics. As Superman attempts to defend himself against the accusations of Luthor and Prince, he loses his composure, growing into a rage before leaving, ashamed.
Night. Metropolis Docks. Lois and a photographer, JIMMY OLSON, investigate an anonymous tip regarding Luthor receiving an illegal payoff.
Batman arrives on the scene. He attacks Luthor and his PARAMILITARY HENCHMEN, searching for evidence and answers about Luthor's ties to the recent activities in Gotham. But he’s exhausted, injured, outgunned, and outmanned.
Carrie Kelley, in a cheap costume and armed to the teeth, saves Batman. She gets him to the BATMOBILE in the nick of time and escape into the night.
During the chaos, Jimmy is killed and Lois is abducted by none other than THE JOKER.
PREPARING FOR WAR
The Batcave. ALFRED tends to Bruce's serious injuries. Carrie discovers and is enthralled by a damaged costume that once belonged to Batman's "sidekick," ROBIN. Bruce recalls the Joker brutally murdering a teen boy, JASON, dressed in the very same costume Carrie is looking at. All he can manage to tell her is that the "uniform" once belonged to a soldier, a dear comrade in arms that he failed to protect.
Superman returns home to find Lois missing. He soon learns Jimmy has been killed in the line of duty. And that Batman has brought his war to Metropolis.
Elsewhere. Joker prepares for one last joke. He mocks and tortures Lois, eager to prove that Superman isn’t a pure boyscout safe from corruption and compromising his morals.
BATMAN VS SUPERMAN
Superman arrives in Gotham City, almost immediately discovers the location of the Batcave beneath WAYNE MANOR, and smashes into it. He demands Batman show himself. And then, he does. Batman tackles and pins down Superman with the aid of a highly-advanced suit of (bat-themed) armor. He’s completely ready for war with the Superman.
The two engage in a massive battle that obliterates the Batcave, Wayne Manor, and a good chunk of Gotham. Superman is going to put a stop to the Batman and his war. Batman won’t yield for no man or god--this is his city, his war, and his planet.
But the cost is great and Superman proves to be too powerful, more powerful than Batman ever thought possible. For the first time ever, the Batman is the one afraid. He’s too old, too tired, and too broken. He’s too human. And his body finally gives out, fighting until his literal final breath.
Carrie runs to his side, begging Superman to leave her and the now-dead Bruce alone.
This isn’t what Superman wanted. He’s not a killer. He only wanted to bring a violent vigilante and terrorist to justice. Physically unharmed but emotionally and morally destroyed, Superman leaves.
THE KILLING JOKE
Later. Elsewhere. As Superman struggles with the reality that he can't find or hear any sign of Lois, a terrifying broadcast hits all of Metropolis. It's the Joker.
Joker laughs about Superman killing the Batman. He never thought Big Blue would do that on his own, that he'd take out his most prized plaything. Guess the jokes on him, for once--and he hates it. And that's why, for one last huck-yuck, he's planning on taking away everything dear to Superman. He reveals he's broadcasting from the Daily Planet and that, in a short matter of time, Joker, the Planet, its staff, and all of Metropolis will be nothing but a smoking crater. A number of nuclear weapons are scattered across the city and in the foundation of the Planet. However, Lois is somewhere else. So, Superman will have to decide: his city or his lady. Man or God, make your choice.
In the ruins of the Batcave, Carrie and Alfred discover Bruce is somehow still alive, coming to just in time to see Joker's broadcast. He realizes that this is the moment Barry warned him about. Carrie isn't sure what they can do, or what they should do. But Bruce knows. He understands Superman at this point. He'll go after the bomb, save the city, even if it means losing Lois. But Batman can't allow that to happen, because it'll mean the dark future he witnessed will come true. And that's why they have to save Lois Lane.
Superman races across Metropolis, dealing with various traps and tricks as he snatches up each bomb. And Batman and Carrie--now donning an alternate Robin uniform--track down Lois and kick some ass.
Superman manages to nab all the bombs, taking them into space where they safely explode. However, he's nearly killed by the experience. Half-dead, enraged, and believing Lois is now dead, he returns to Earth to kill Joker.
Batman arrives, revealing to Superman that Lois is safe. The Joker is his cross to carry, not Superman's. That it only takes one bad day for a good man to be driven to dark future. But Superman isn't a man, he's something else. Something different. Something more. He has to be better than them. Be an example for others to live up to, not fear.
With Lois alive and safe and the Joker stopped, Superman calms. He leaves Joker in Batman's care and departs with Lois.
A NEW FRONTIER
Weeks and months pass.
Luthor eagerly leads the public charge against Superman, Batman, and all metahumans and vigilantes acting of their own volition. Against the will of the people. The destruction of Metropolis, the recent near-destruction of it again would have never occurred if not for their presence and action. Lois, alone, investigates and reports on Luthor's political efforts.
Superman has retired to isolation, in his fortress of solitude somewhere in the Arctic, healing from his injuries and reflecting on his role and impact as a God among humans.
The Joker, alive but brutally injured--teeth missing and jaw broken--is locked away in the depths of Arkham.
A private gala. Bruce Wayne tracks down Diana Prince. The two flirt endlessly and discuss art, but are both aware that the other is hiding something.
Later. Diana returns to her hotel room only to find the Batman waiting for her. She swiftly and easily disarms him. Batman smiles. He knew there was something different about her. And much to his amusement, she also knows that Bruce Wayne is under the mask.
He makes a peace offering: an old photograph. It’s Diana, somehow alive and armed for battle in a strange costume during the Second World War. He knows about her too. This isn’t a threat. Just a friendly reminder that he’s watching her, just like all the others.
We see brief flashes of Bruce’s interaction with several metahumans. A scarlet speedster (a younger BARRY) in makeshift armor stopping a robbery. A supposed "AQUAMAN” attacking illegal fishing vessels and oil rigs. A gravely injured COLLEGE STUDENT receiving cybernetic augmentation by Lex Corp.
Diana looks up from the photo and discovers the Batman is gone. Impressed, her sentimentality and smile quickly turns into a focused, serious look.
PULPBUSTERS - THE SHADOW KNOWS
Adena’s lil’ audio love note to the (great) granddaddy of pulp vigilantes, The Shadow. Listen to it now on Spotify, sub to the PulpBusters audio feed, or even download a free MP3 of The Shadow Knows using the links below.
UNTITLED SUPERHERO PILOT, SCENE 4
An absurd tale of superheroic nonsense. Concluded.
Previously, on Untitled Superhero Pilot,
negotiations with Slither-o failed!
Gnatman takes matters into his own hands!
Ugh. Screw this.
GNATMAN OPENS DOOR.
Hey. Where are you going?
I’m gonna handle this myself.
But you haven’t paid me yet!
(OFF. Down the hall.)
Fuck you, Barry!
SCENE 4. THE LAIR.
SOUNDSCAPE: THE MUFFLED SOUNDS OF A MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD AS HEARD FROM WITHIN A CONVERTED DETACHED GARAGE.
in a converted detached garage...
located somewhere in a middle-class neighborhood...
Slither-O sends a message to his loyal followers…
(NOTE: SLITHER-O SPEAKS WITH THE STILTED NARCISSISTIC CADENCE OF A TYPICAL VLOGGER.)
ANNOYING SFX BLARES.
ya’ll wouldn’t believe the shitty day I’ve been having!
ANOTHER ANNOYING SFX.
(Wooden. Weird inflection.)
But before we get to that:
Are you tired of seeking sustenance?
Don’t you wish someone else
would deliver a
box of food
straight to your door?
That’s why I subscribe to
Food in a Box!
BOOM! MULTIPLE SWAT OFFICERS BUST INTO THE GARAGE, ARMED TO THE TEETH.
(NOTE: SWAT SPEAKS AS A GROUP, STAGGER TALKING OVER ONE ANOTHER.)
(Rabble-rabble. Barking orders.)
Hands in the air!
Hands in the air!
He’s got a computer!
Down on the ground!
What the shit!
SOUNDSCAPE: THE INTIMATE INTERIOR OF A 2002 DODGE NEON.
from the safety of a 2002 Dodge Neon…
DangerDolphin tunes into Slither-O’s live-stream
while Gnatman watches on with a pair of binoculars he doesn’t remember buying.
Yes! Suck on that, you—!
(Struggling for something clever.)
The entire SWAT team has to be in Slither-o’s bedroom!
I know, right?
Goddammit. You’re not gonna ruin this for me, are you?
(Suddenly cheered up.)
Ugh. Here it comes.
Don’t you think this might be just a bit much?
What? What’s wrong?
(Blatantly changes subject.)
So, where’d you even think of something like this?
I stole the idea from some kids on the internet.
(Suddenly, deadly serious.)
Right? Buncha psychopaths, if you ask me.
Speaking of which!
PLOP! DANGERDOLPHIN PULLS PAPERS OUT OF NOWHERE.
This is for you.
DANGERDOLPHIN SERVES GNATMAN PAPERS.
You’re shitting me, right?
You still haven’t paid me!
UNCOMFORTABLE GLARING. THEN...
GNATMAN PUNCHES DANGERDOLPHIN IN THE ARM.
(Wincing, flinching in Dolphin.)
(Swearing in Dolphin, under breath.)
(Returns to his binoculars.)
Take it up with my idiot lawyer.
What? But that’s--
(Finally sinks in.)
(Finally “gets” it.)
READ IT ALL NOW!
Tracks I’m currently chillin’ with. Tonight, other nights. Follow the Playlist on YouTube to keep up with all the changes.
GRAND GHOULISH - THE E-BOOK!
Originally serialized in the digital pages of The Nightly Chill, Steve Arviso's Grand Ghoulish collects the completed absurd twisted romance between a photographer, a housewife, and her husband--a surgeon who enjoys getting a little blood on his hands!
Read it for FREE in the back issues of The Nightly Chill, or directly support The Nightly Chill and other works by purchasing a copy of the e-book!
SUBSCRIBE FOR THAT WALK-OF-SHAME FEELING EVERY MORNING AFTER!
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
THE NIGHTLY CHILL