WRITER: Jason Bonine (@Hazardpay)
PANEL 1 (LARGEST PANEL)
A human skull looking straight at us. The top of the skull has been removed, exposing the brain. Several dissecting pins are stuck in different parts of this brain. There are little labels adhered to the pins, labeling the different things that are stored there. (I’m sure IRL, those pins would all be IN THE SAME section of the brain, but please allow me a little creative freedom here…it looks more impressive all spread out!) AND because it’s Matt’s skull, there’s a pair of sunglasses placed over the empty eye sockets.
The pins are as follows: LEGAL STRATEGIES, CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, PRO-BOXING STATS FROM THE 1960S, FAVORITE PASSAGE FROM THE MUHAMMAD ALI AUTOBIOGRAPHY, NINJUTSU, AIKIDO, KUNG-FU, KARATE, BRUCE LEE FILMOGRAPHY.
CAP 1: I present the wealth of knowledge I have at my fingertips. (Humble brag.)
CAP 2: I don’t go to sleep at night, so much as I pass out. I’m either reading over my brail law library, or refining my fighting techniques. I don’t have the luxury of passing out in front of the T.V.
CAP 3: Thanks to my double-life, it’s usually the physical exhaustion that does it. But lately, it’s been mental exhaustion. Everybody needs a break, and I’m no exception.
Close-up of Matt’s hand reaching for the Mike Murdock hat. It is a White hat, with a feather sticking out of the headband.
EXT. MURDOCK AND NELSON LAW-FIRM. Matt walks out the door, facing us. Wearing the MM hat, a snake skin jacket and matching tie. Black jeans and matching snake skin boots. In the foreground is a waiting Uber car.
DRIVER (OS): YOU MATT MURDOCK?
INT. Backseat of UBER CAR. Black leather seats, but it is NOT A limo. No extra frills save the leather upholstery.
MATT MURDOCK: NO.
ECU Matt’s face. We only see the brim of his hat, and one darkened sunglass lens.
MATT MURDOCK: I’M MIKE MURDOCK.
MIKE MURDOCK emerges from the Uber car, one hand holding onto the car door, surveying the lay of the land.
UBER DRIVER (OS): VERY GENEROUS TIP, SIR. YOU HAVE A GREAT NIGHT!
CAP: YOU KNOW HOW ‘NORMAL’ PEOPLE USE HALLOWEEN AS AN EXCUSE TO DRESS UP? ACT LIKE SOMEONE ELSE FOR A NIGHT?
MIKE is in the foreground, his back is to us. In the background is a min-golf course. DANTE’S NINTH HOLE is etched into a large bolder near the entrance. Surrounding the property (and inside) are men and women in various stages of transforming into trees. http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Italian/DantInf8to14.htm#InfCantoXIII109
ELEKTRA (OS): MATT?
CAP: WELL, IN THE SUPER HERO BIZ, EVERYDAY IS HALLOWEEN. IT GETS OLD FAST.
ELEKTRA and THE PUNISHER wait for Matt by the entrance, near some vending machines. HOWEVER, they too, are dressed like normal people. (And go by fake names.) Elektra is dressed like a soccer mom. Hair in a ponytail, unflattering t-shirt with a bra-strap showing, mom jeans. Punisher wears a pencil thin John Waters style mustache, torn jeans and a black t-shirt with the sleeves cut off.
ELEKTRA: I’M SORRY. IT’S MIKE, ISN’T IT? GOOD TO SEE YOU.
MIKE MURDOCK (OS): LIKEWISE…?
ELEKTRA: PAGET. PAGET BRUISER. PUNISHER. JOHN DOE.
CAP: OUR SOLUTION? DRESS LIKE ‘REGULAR’ PEOPLE AND LET GO OF OUR PRE-ASSIGNED ROLES.
MIKE and ELEKTRA hug. Punisher leans up against one of the machines, trying to look cool. He is not successful. His hands are tucked into his armpits, thumbs out. It looks dorky, not intimidating.
MIKE MURDOCK: SO, WHERE’S THE COMPETITION?
From left to right, we see BULLSEYE, KINGPIN, and FOGGY NELSON standing at the edge of the parking lot, several cars parked behind them. Bullseye is dressed like an old man. Salt and pepper hair, bi-focals, and a cardigan sweater. KINGPIN wears an I HEART NY t-shirt and unflattering shorts. FOGGY dresses like he normally dresses i.e. sweater vest, tie, and pressed pants. Both Bullseye and Kingpin emit a steely confidence, Foggy looks uncomfortable/frightened.
BULLSEYE: RIGHT ****ING HERE.
KINGPIN: HELLO, MR. NELSON. HOW’S THE WIFE AND KIDS?
FOGGY: I DON’T HAVE ANY. I LIVE A LONELY, CELIBATE LIFE FOR FEAR OF YOU TORTURING AND MURDERING THEM, KINGSLY.
KINGPIN: OH, YEAH. THAT. I FORGOT.
MIKE MURDOCK and ELEKTRA stand in line to obtain clubs/golf balls. We only see their profiles while they talk to one another.
ELEKTRA: MIKE, ISN’T IT A BIT STRANGE TO PLAY MINI-GOLF WITH YOUR MORTAL ENEMY?
MIKE: HMMM. FISK AND I TEND TO SWITCH ROLES EVERY DECADE OR SO.
Medium shot of Mike Murdock talking, pontificating.
MIKE: I’VE WORKED FOR HIM. HE’S WORKED FOR ME. SOONER OR LATER, HE’LL BE THE HERO AND I’LL BE THE VILLAIN!
MIKE: WAIT, DID WE DO THAT ONCE? IT’S HARD TO REMEMBER…
Over-head shot of Mike and Elektra standing at the counter. Two Golf clubs lying flat on the counter. A bucket of golf balls in-between them.
MIKE: LOOK AT US. WE WERE BOYFRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND ONCE…AND THEN HERO AND VILLAIN. WHAT’S NEXT? WE START DATING AGAIN?
CAP: *Greek exclamation of pain. -Editor.
ELEKTRA: PICK A COLOR.
MIKE: I CAN’T.
MIKE’S POV. Medium shot of the bucket of balls, as filtered by his radar sense. All the balls “look” the same. No way to differentiate between them.
MIKE (OS): I SERIOUSLY CAN’T. I’M GOING TO NEED SOME HELP!
Close up of Elektra’s painted lips kissing a golf ball.
Mike’s POV. Radar senses showing a single golf ball with a lipstick kiss on it.
ELEKTRA (OS): READY TO PLAY?
MIKE (0S): READY AS I’LL EVER BE.
BULLSEYE is in the foreground, putting. Head down, concentrating. The golf course obstacle is a statue of a naked man, on all fours in agony. (The ball looks like it will fit in the space between his elbows and his stomach, but it won’t.) The other characters hang out in the background watching him putt. Mike grins, Foggy looks like he’s having a panic attack.
KINGPIN: WHAT’S YOUR COLLATERAL THIS YEAR, MURDOCK? PUTTING UP THE LAW-FIRM AGAIN?
MIKE: NO. SOMETHING MUCH BETTER. SPIDER-MAN’S SECRET IDENTITY.
MIKE: MATT’S NOT HERE, MAN!
CAP: HIGH STAKES MINI-GOLF! DO THE TRUMPS AND KARDASHIANS DO THIS OFTEN? THE ADRENALINE RUSH ALONE IS WORTH IT.
Bullseye swings his club. He hits harder most, so, the club is up by his hips.
KINGPIN (OS): AND IF YOU WIN?
MIKE (OS): WE GET THE KEYS TO YOUR LIMOUSINE. WHAT’S IN THE CHILLED COMPARTMENT? CRISTAL?
CAP: IT’LL BE AN INTERESTING AFTERNOON, TO SAY THE LEAST. SO MANY FACTORS AT PLAY. MY RADAR SENSE. ELEKTRA’S LASER-LIKE FOCUS. BULLSEYE’S ‘PERFECT AIM’. WHO’S GOING TO WIN? AND HOW? SUPER-POWERS? MYSTICISM? OR LUCK?
The camera is now on the other side of the naked man statute. The ball lands effortlessly in the hole.
Bullseye back is to us. The golf club up on his shoulder. Mike, Elektra, and Foggy standing together. Elektra is shooting daggers at Mike, Foggy has his head in his hands. Mike smiles, exuding false confidence.
BULLSEYE: YOU’RE F***ED!
CAP: WE’RE F***ED!
PANEL 1 SPLASH PAGE
Further inside the hellish mini-golf course. They are surrounded by grotesque tortured souls guarding the green and the human trees on the edge of the property. MIKE stands in the foreground, mostly in shadow of a person-tree. He is using his radar sense, so we have an outline of what we’d normally see. There are only three EKGs present. They are labeled to indicate which heart we’re hearing. (Kingpin’s is slow and steady. Bullseye’s is elevated. Foggy’s is also elevated, but not for the same reasons.) ELKETRA and PUNISHER stand near Mike. Further in the background, are FOGGY, BULLSEYE and KINGPIN. We just see their outlines, which are very distinctive from one another.
Artist’s note: there is an electric shaver in Mike’s snakeskin jacket pocket. I don’t want people to be able to identify it right away. We just see the handle poking out, give it a distinctive shape/outline so nobody thinks it’s a gun.
CAP: IT’S A CLOSE GAME, BUT ON THE FOURTEENTH HOLE, TEAM KINGPIN LEADS BY FIVE POINTS.
CAP: IT OCCURS TO ME THAT I DON’T KNOW, EXACTLY, HOW BULLSEYE’S ‘PERFECT AIM’ WORKS…
CAP:… AND THAT COULD COST ME EVERYTHING.
CAP: I LISTEN INTENTLY FOR ANYTHING THAT CAN SAVE THE DAY. AS PER USUAL, THE WORLD GIVES ME A BEVY OF SOUNDS, BUT NO ADVANTAGES.
CAP: A BLESSING? CHECK. AND A CURSE? DOUBLE CHECK.
In the center of the frame, Mike is putting. Head up, tapping the ball lightly. Immediately to his left, is the image of Bullseye’s face. He is still wearing bi-focals, but even through them, we get a view of his crazy stare.
CAP: IS IT LIKE THE BLACK CAT’S BAD LUCK POWER? CAN BULLSEYE AFFECT PROBABILITY?
Mike has made his shot, but still standing there. Scratching his chin with one hand. Leaning on his putter. BULLSEYE’S image still lingering in the air.
CAP: I’VE SEEN HIM THROW A TOOTHPICK WITH THE VELOCITY OF A BULLET. FLY A PAPER AIRPLANE BETWEEN TWO BUILDINGS AND KILL A MAN WITH THE PAPER TIP…THAT SUGGESTS CONTROL OVER GRAVITY, SPEED…DENSITY…
Bullseye stands next to Mike, yelling at him to move. Mike continues to stand.
BULLSEYE: EARTH TO BLIND ASS****! MOVE!
CAP: BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE! WHY WOULDN’T HE USE THOSE POWERS TO FLY? OR INCREASE THE GRAVITY TO LITERALLY CRUSH HIS ENEMIES? UNLESS…
BULLSEYE putting. Mike has moved off center, staring at Bullseye while he putts. Bullseye has mathematic equations floating around his head.
CAP: IS HE MORE LIKE THAT AMADEUS CHO KID? CAN HE DO COMPLEX EQUASIONS IN HIS HEAD? HAVE I MISJUDGED HIS INTELLIGENCE ALL THESE YEARS?
Overhead shot of the green. Mike’s lipstick kissed ball lays on the very edge of the hole. Bullseye’s golf ball is touching Mike’s golf ball.
CAP: HE MISSED! HE DIDN’T SEE ELEKTRA KISS MY BALL! THAT LIPSTICK ADDED ONLY A FRACTION OF A GRAM TO ITS WEIGHT…BUT…IT MIGHT BE ENOUGH!
Mike (left) is ducking slightly, an enraged Bullseye (right) has the golf club raised high over his head, ready to smash Mike’s skull.
BULLSEYE: PANEL 2 M******-F***ER!
Close-up of Mike’s hand catching the club by the neck.
FX: FUP! (Metal striking his hand.)
Mike has turned, and the club is now safely tucked under his arm. Mike and Bullseye are arguing face to face.
BULLSEYE: YOU CHEATED! I NEVER MISS! WHAT, YOU GOT P*** ANT-MAN DOWN THERE? CONTROLLING WHERE THE BALL GOES?!
MIKE: ANT-MAN. IT’S JUST ANT-MAN. NO P***. AND NO, HE ISN’T HERE.
Profile of Mike’s face, as he talks slowly, calmly. No emotion showing on his face.
MIKE: WE DIDN’T CHEAT. TAKE THE ONE POINT LOSS, OR FOREFIT. IT’S YOUR CHOICE.
Close-up of Bullsye’s head. A 9mm gun pressed against the side of his face, coming from the right.
PUNISHER (OS): YOU DON’T MISS, HUH? THAT’S FUNNY…
Bullseye’s POV. Punisher pointing a gun at us.
PUNISHER: …I DON’T MISS EITHER. NOT AT THIS RANGE.
Wider shot of the group. Frank and Bullseye are center. Foggy, on the left. His hands out, trying to talk everyone down. Mike is lurking behind Frank.
FOGGY: C’MON, FRANK. YOU DON’T WANT TO DO THIS.
PUNISHER: THE HELL I DON’T!
ECU of Frank’s face, angry/shouting.
PUNISHER: I’M GOING TO ICE THIS GUY! AND THEN I’M GOING TO ICE THE FAT MAN! THE NINJA CHICK! AND FINALLY, THE TWO SLIMY LAWYERS, FOR FRATERNIZING WITH THE ENEMY!
ECU of Frank’s face. His eyes are wide open in surprise, like he’s been attacked.
FX: BZZZT! (electric clippers.)
Punisher stands in the center of the group. He has a clean line shaved through the center of his hair. Grasps bits of his shaved hair in his fists. His mouth open, aghast at what has just been done with him. Everyone around him laughs uproariously.
Punisher stands in the foreground, people still laughing at him in the background. His dialogue is all lowercase letters, indicating he is muttering to himself.
PUNISHER: I will inflict great bodily harm on all of you.
Wideshot of the group dispersing. Punisher, Bullseye and Kingpin in the background, Mike, Elektra, and Foggy watching them walk away in the foreground. Everyone’s back is to the reader.
Close up of Elektra’s hand, dangling a set a limo keys from her fingers.
MIKE (OS): ELECTRIC NACHOS FOR THE WIN!
Inside the limo. Back seat. From left to right: Foggy sits, laughing, holding an open beer can. Dead center is Mike Murdock, holding an enormous black tome in his lap. The book is opened to a random passage in the middle. He is using his left hand to ‘read’ the book, and holding a martini glass in his right hand. On the right is Elektra, also holding a martini glass, laughing uproariously.
MIKE: “ War journal entry 9,889. Did the ol’ gut n’ dump in Brooklyn this morning. Exit: The Scardina brothers, and fifteen assorted Goombas. I fill an oil drum with the blood of my enemies… I was going to paint a big skull on the wall…but police presence prevented me from doing that.”
Matt sips his martini and reads from the book.
MIKE: “Which left me wondering: What do I do with the blood?”
Foggy has a bag of peanuts in one hand, can of beer in the other. Obviously enjoying himself.
MIKE: “I drag that oil drum up three flights of stairs. Either I’m getting older, or Goomba blood is getting heavier. I’m not sure which. I put the stopper in the tub, and start to pour. If it’s good enough for that Bathory lady, it’s good enough for me, right?”
Elektra laughing, spilling her Martini on the seat.
MIKE: “UGH. I’m in and out of the tub in 30 seconds. I have sticky, coagulated blood in all my crevices. It’s been a week, and I’m still finding new hiding spots. I”ll never do it again. Bragging rights or no, it’s just not worth the agita.”
ELEKTRA: Who’s driving the limo?
Driver’s seat of the limo. The Purple man is driving, simultaneously looking in the rearview mirror. The partition glass is sliding up, and in that space, we see Elektra waving goodbye.
PURPLE MAN: ELEKTRA! FALL IN LOVE WITH ME! KNOW IN YOUR HEART THAT I’M THE ONLY MAN YOU’LL EVER LOVE! WE’LL KILL FISK! WE’LL KILL MURDOCK! STICK! STILT MAN! MISTER FISH! NO MORE ROMANTIC RIVALS! LOOK AT ME! I’M TALKING TO YOU! Aw, dammit all to hell!