At some point after the outline phase and before we started actually drafting pages, we wrote down some extra ideas that occurred to us. It was around that point that Phil realized the political awkwardness of these guys meeting one of their kinda-sorta employers on the battlefield. This gave Syr’Nj something to do that got her to a midpoint between “why doesn’t anyone ever listen to meee” and “here’s why you’re our allies now, sky elves; beep me when you realize I’m right.” (We’ll see another step in that journey when she confronts Frigg at the end of this chapter.) Plus, it established that Gigundus has certain “authoritarian instincts” that would be important much, much later. It was certainly a lot more interesting than “syringe needles vs. armor.”

That face on Frigg is still a bit of a gut punch for me. Her faith in herself is wavering and her muscles are barely responding. This is pretty much as dark as we wanted things to be for her: it all gets better from here.

Byron’s original punchline here would’ve been something like “nice shoulder armor there,” which wasn’t bad and foreshadowed who’d end up wearing it. But it would’ve stepped on Bandit’s later big line about hats, which we’d led up to more effectively. I mean, I still side-eye Syr’Nj’s “she stole my hat” bit, but one thing I’ve learned from writing serial comics is that even if you dislike the planting, you still need to deliver the payoff.