“All endings are difficult, only made tolerable by the promise of a new beginning.” – Cosmic Kid
I think some readers of West Pacific Supers have been disappointed by Cosmic Kid in Victory at Any Cost. In Rising Tide, Cosmic Kid succeeded in large part due to his confidence and self-righteousness, but those same strengths worked against him in Victory at Any Cost. I’ll admit I too was a little disappointed in Cosmic Kid as events unfolded in Victory at Any Cost, but his actions were true to his character. Our books develop in a very organic process and sometimes characters truly do the unexpected. This works so long as the characters have a foundation that we as writers can internalize. Cosmic Kid has a very clear foundation.
Cosmic Kid’s real name is Patrick Minor, which is the same name as my best friend from elementary and middle school. The real Patrick was an all-around great guy and that is fundamentally the essence of Cosmic Kid: he’s a good guy. However, Cosmic Kid’s personality in West Pacific Supers isn’t primarily based on my friend but instead on a far more flawed personality: my own. Particularly, he’s based on my personality when I was teenager in high school and early college. He’s smart, a little lazy because things come easily to him, self-righteous, and a stickler for the rules. He truly believes he knows what’s best in most situations. You don’t always see the extent of his arrogance because he’s also a likable guy who cares for other people and is truly a hero. However, he’s opinionated, prejudiced, and flawed – very much like I was as a teenager. These character traits have been consistent since his introduction in Rising Tide. However, it’s only in Victory at Any Cost, when he comes into conflict with the team, that the reader learns something else about Cosmic Kid – he doesn’t bend very well.
From a writing perspective, this is why Cosmic Kid is part of a triumvirate. Stephen Murray is his agent and the mercenary voice of reason. Honestly, Stephen is one of my favorite characters in West Pacific Supers because he is perhaps the most honest, or at least most accurate, in how he views the world. He’s what an agent, lawyer, or counselor should be. He’s totally on Cosmic Kid’s side but not afraid to lay down the law and explain how things really work. The third member of the triumvirate is John Minor, Cosmic Kid’s father, who isn’t as smart or driven as his son, but who is the voice of experience and compassion, two qualities his son sometimes lacks. John Minor doesn’t really know the superhero business but he does know people and what really matters. When Cosmic Kid, Stephen, and Mr. Minor are in harmony, then Cosmic Kid is right where he should be. When he starts to veer from them, he’s on shakier ground.
Then there’s Cosmic Kid’s relationships. Let’s face it: he’s very unlucky in love. This really goes back to the point that he doesn’t bend well. Yes, he’s a great guy (and knows it) but relationships require compromise and that’s why he struggles here. Even his friendships are shaky due to his arrogance. Paradigm Shift was once a friend of Cosmic Kid but they had a falling out. Cosmic Kid may have been in the right but once again he was unwilling to bend. This is a truth that Cosmic Kid hasn’t realized about himself but it’s costing him friendships and threatening his position with the team. To make matters worse, he has a tendency to pursue relationships that are doomed in some fashion from the beginning.
Let’s be fair to Cosmic Kid though; his determination and stubbornness make him a great superhero. Cosmic Kid succeeds because to him that is the only choice – he won’t ever bend to defeat. His weakness when dealing with others is his strength when dealing with crises. It’s important to keep in mind that Cosmic Kid is still young. I have certainly experienced a lot of character growth since my teenage personality, and we can hope that Cosmic Kid will grow as well.
Right now Cosmic Kid is very much like so many talented athletes who begin their careers with lots of promise and hype and then hit some problems. Some are unable to deal with their problems while others overcome them and even surpass expectations, but it’s never an easy process. No one hits all of their grace notes. Cosmic Kid was brought in to be West Pacific Supers’ franchise super and this looked sewn up after Rising Tide but now after Victory at Any Cost and the numerous changes to the team, it’s in question. Even as one of the writers who will determine the fate of Cosmic Kid, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I do know that he understands things did not go well in his second season. Changes need to be made and Cosmic Kid is not one to give up. He is also not one to admit he was wrong, especially when he did what the law and his beliefs said was right. Ultimately, this is a conflict he’ll have to work through to get his career back on track.