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The Contenders #49: Peace of Mind
...the final fight has begun! On the brink of success, Aroxion the Voidbringer marches out of Racta Magna and towards the spot where he shall unleash the Void! Only three stand in his way now: Raxonax, Idonax and Shadonax, finally united as allies! But do even they have the strength to stop the maddened Makuta, and save the world as they know it?
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Characters in this Issue:

Galia
Montu
Cilla
Dorru
Tyranca
Sohbec
See the completed bio of Aroxion here!
Raxonax
See the completed bio of Shadonax here!
See the completed bio of Idonax here!
See the completed bio of Thanatos here!
See the completed bio of Mordath here!
See the completed bio of Migor here!
See the completed bio of Edoth here!
"Voltwhip"
Apothrahk
Kunar
Depravitie
Krode
Clank
Solorak
Catcher
Astrok
The Beastly Gostok
Helda
Slave Driver
Turaga of Racta Major


Phew! -and that's it done; the third and final book of Contenders! I won't talk too much for now, given that we've still got one more issue to go before it properly ends, but I'll bang on for a little bit, given that I've gotta have something to accompany these three pretty pictures!

I really hope you enjoyed Book 3 in particular- it was considerably darker than the other two, but I feel that it was appropriate, as the stakes needed to be at their highest, and it's the point where the reader needs to be most invested, too.

I hoped you liked the lighting in this book, too- when conceptualising it, I was unsure whether people would be on-board with it, whether they'd like the moody atmosphere or the prominence of the colour yellow at all. However, I think the experiment was successful, don't you?

Thank you for bearing with my delays, too- it's been at its worst this year, both because I've been more busy in my private life, and also because each issue, being more visually complex than the rest, has taken far longer to complete than ever before. But, hopefully you're satisfied with the series enough that it felt worth the wait each time! :D

Once again, my most gracious of thanks for following me throughout this third book- man, it feels like an eon since I started it- it feels so good to be done!





Stay tuned, my friends, for the Contenders' final outing! Coming in two weeks time!










Comments

  September 21, 2017
i must say i am impressed with your contenders story and plus i like how you finally got tyranca and sobec together now that sobec has redeemed himself. my question is why did you have tyranca punch sobec? are you going to post the contenders final soon, if you are, then good luck on it dude ;) if you do see this comment please be sure to reply to it?
 I made it 
  September 2, 2017
Quoting Wondering Person
That's fair enough, man; I suppose some death amongst the good guys could have heightened the stakes, though I try not to use death in abundance, as it tends to end up being a bit of a writer's crutch, a low-effort way of getting a reaction. I was looking to experiment with creating pathos outside of death, but if it hasn't worked then that's fair enough. Takathorax wasn't the only hero to die, by the way: Mary Windbird also died in Book 2, and generally I would consider the likes of Helda and the Gostok children (pre-mutation) to be good guys too, but I guess that's more subjective really. It's cool that you're able to relate and empathise with some of the villainous characters, even the nastier ones like Astrok; one of the morals of Contenders overall is that ultimately, none of these people are truly evil; at the core, they each have reasonable and justifiable motivations, and it's the context of their lives that twist them into unsavoury people. In order to communicate this, I had to work extra hard to justify each individual villain in their own way, and perhaps this means I didn't spend enough time justifying the heroes; It's a shame that you didn't take as much to them. I would like to think there was a little more to them than just generic heroes as, while the villains tend to have the more exciting backstories and motivations, the way that the Contenders and their allies interact is a lot more human, and I thought that their dialogue made them more relatable- but I will agree that not enough time was spent on them in order to make them the emotional core of the story. And yes, my biggest regret about Contenders is the humongous cast which, as you said, makes it hard to follow everything. I guess that makes the series good for multiple readings, though; you read it once from the perspective of one set of characters, Aroxion and all who relate to him for instance, and then on a second read you might look at it from the perspective of another group, whose scenes you might not have taken in the first time. Oh well, guess I won't know until someone reports their second read-through :P Thanks very much for your feedback again, man- I'm happy you read my response and in turn answered that- I'm glad to get this kind of extensive feedback, it helps me a great deal! :D
 I made it 
  September 2, 2017
Quoting Dark Aeon You wait a while to gather your critique, and other people say it before you can :P My only bit of unique critique is that, with the final push against Aroxion, you have Raxonax, Thanatos, and the Destroyer's Three all gathering together for one final fight, and then Takatorax/Voltwhip just comes up and steals the kill. Still a fitting ending I suppose, but a bit anticlimactic.
Hahahaha, always the way I suppose! Yes, that's fair enough- he did end up being a bit of a deus-ex machina, and not in a good way. Honestly, I probably should've taken him out, but I guess I felt like it was needed, given I had already established that combining all their energies wouldn't have stopped him, and it was his power over light specifically that undid him. But yeah, a bit of a rough ending I suppose. Thanks Aeon! :D
  September 1, 2017
I feel like a stronger way to communicate the stakes was for more people to die. Yes, the Contenders were humiliated, yes Clank (who tbh I never really cared for), was blown up in da face, but nobody on the side of good really died, except for Takathorax.. From what I've seen. I don't count the contender wide death, because Shadonax resurrected them really quickly. Only villains truly died. It's depressing, and it honestly, like I said before, makes me dislike the contenders. Your villains are portrayed very nicely. Astrok has legitimate reasons for her acts recently, and one can understand them. Not empathize, because she's an evil witch, but most certainly understand. There is no real depth that I've seen in the good guys.. Or at least, not as much as the villains. Aroxion wanted to put everything in a state of, what he saw, was bliss. Astrok wanted vengeance for being betrayed. Sohbec I don't really even remember. Shadonax is a fragment of Raxonax's mind, and his entire goal seems basically to mess up Rax's life as much as possible, perhaps out of jealousy or something, I dunno. But Raxonax, Galia etc, they don't have depth, I don't think. As someone who wasn't present to anything pre-Contender Book 1, I saw more depth in the Turaga, than I did in the Toa.. I read all I could, and essentially, I saw them go on a journey, of sorts. They became Turaga, for goodness' sake! Tyranca? She seems actually pretty decently fleshed out, which, in my opinion, is somewhat hard to do for a Toa of Light. You just expect certain traits of them. Tyranca, on the other hand? Nope. She's got it down solidly, she's pretty fleshed, to me. The Jankori? Ehh, I like him, he's got personality. The others just seem somewhat of a generic good-guy mold, with slight tweaking. It may because you have so many characters in the main cast, not including non-main cast members, that it makes it hard to keep up with everything.
 I like it 
  September 1, 2017
You wait a while to gather your critique, and other people say it before you can :P My only bit of unique critique is that, with the final push against Aroxion, you have Raxonax, Thanatos, and the Destroyer's Three all gathering together for one final fight, and then Takatorax/Voltwhip just comes up and steals the kill. Still a fitting ending I suppose, but a bit anticlimactic.
 I made it 
  September 1, 2017
Quoting Wondering Person
Aw man, don't worry, I'm sure Aroxion is resting peacefully- well, given his description of the afterlife, probably not- but still! :P Glad you liked the issue, my friend! Apothrahk could indeed strive to resurrect Aroxion, though not with the Gate; the last remnants of that faded along with Shadonax. I appreciate your criticism about the stakes, though I did try to demonstrate what Aroxion was trying to do with the Void, adding to that with Thanatos describing how it would essentially end all life. We even got to see how devastating it would be for a few moments when Aroxion actually did cast the planet into darkness. But, if this was not communicated effectively enough then that's a failure on me as a writer. I see what you mean about Takathorax, and how his brief cameo might have undercut his ending with Book 1- what I was trying to do was not so much give him a happy ending, for I understand the need for pathos in a story, but simply to bring the entire story full-circle with him briefly coming out for one last outing, before returning to the afterlife. It's not like he's returned for good, his end in Book 1 still stands; just consider this more as a cameo than anything else- though perhaps the inclusion of Takathorax didn't work out to well after all. However, I do have to disagree that the protagonists didn't suffer any losses: the Contenders were broken down and humiliated throughout the entire first half of this story, and in issue #41 they were even killed, only to be brought back by Shadonax to prolong their torture and denigration. In addition to this, Clank had half his face blown off by Solorak in the very same issue, rendered mute for the rest of his life; there's also Galia's negative feelings over the death of Windbird in the last book, which sapped her motivation to fight back against the Shadebringers. While these might not be tangible deaths like with the Gostoks or Sohbec, it was still something that the heroes had to work through and rise above. But, if you felt that the stakes weren't high enough, and that there wasn't enough pay off, then I shan't contend that. (badum-crash :P) Thanks very much for the feedback man, always glad to hear your thoughts! :D
 I made it 
  September 1, 2017
Quoting Callum ~ It's smelly.
Thanks so much man, I'm really grateful to hear your feedback! I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts about this series overall! Yes, I did try to make sure that things came full circle, which was what the reappearance of Takathorax was meant to signify, and there was a satisfying sense of progression amongst the characters, Thanatos and the Destroyer's Three included. Yes, there will be some time dedicated in the next issue to Raxonax and his new state of "peace". I perfectly understand your gripe with the absence of the Contenders in that last fight, and now that you say it, I agree that it would have been much better if they had joined Raxonax and Takathorax in taking down Aroxion; it is their comic, after all :P I'm glad you enjoyed the book overall, I was worried people might not take to how much darker it was, both literally and thematically, but it's good that you liked it; I can understand your preference for Book 2 though, that story went down really well it seems. Yeah, the story between Rax, Shadonax and Idonax was really the core of the story, perhaps the entire Contenders story overall; I too feel like it's much more satisfying for them to unite together as opposed to destroying each other, and it's also a much better message for people to take away: to make peace with the darker, more malicious part of their personality and try to work with it, rather than letting it consume them entirely having it suppressed. I'm glad you also liked the inner conflicts between the factions too; I feel like they show that the villains aren't all just one faction; they all have their own dreams and aspirations, and characters such as the Gostoks aren't on the same level as Astrok and her minions, and Shadonax isn't on the same level as Aroxion ect. Speaking of which, I can understand why you'd not take to the Makuta so much; with all his talk of spreading darkness and such, he could definitely seem like a downgrade from the likes of Reshak and Dread, who had very grounded and relatable motivations; however, his whole 'darkness' theme was very deliberate; I was trying to re-contextualise that whole Makuta thing and demonstrate what it actually meant to 'spread darkness' and why they would ever wanna do it- so it's not so much "I like shadow because I'm evil" and more "I think shadow is a genuinely beautiful thing and I wish to share it with the rest of the world, don't believe the fake news!" :P But still, Shadonax is probably the more compelling antagonist, and thematically he was still the focus of the book. -and yes, perhaps the whole resurrection thing kind of lowered the stakes and took the weight out of the deaths, though in it's place I did try to introduce a more severe pathos than death, when the Toa couldn't even die as martyrs, and were completely at Shadonax's mercy. I personally still quite like the more mystical stuff in this Book, though I understand how that's not to everyone's taste and respect that. Thanks very much for the insightful criticism man, can't wait to hear from you in the next issue ;)
 I made it 
  September 1, 2017
Quoting RaptorTalon ~ A wonderful end to MOCpages' finest series. Congratulations on seeing it through...if only I could follow your lead.
Thanks Raptor, though we're not quite done yet! Be sure to stick around for issue 50 in a week or so! :D
 I made it 
  September 1, 2017
Quoting Solias Toa of Earth dangit werty! The moment I finish your selfmoc you have to go and change the entire color scheme!
Hahaha sorry Solias! :P Well, the red and silver version is still the definitive one, so you're alright :P Can't wait to see it! :D
 I made it 
  September 1, 2017
Quoting High Emperor Duckie Excellent series! Wertman, this is one of the greatest feats of literature I've ever seen! Can't wait for the epilogue!
Thanks Duckie, glad it struck you so much! And yes, I'll see you at issue #50.
  August 30, 2017
I'm personally quietly crying off in my little corner of Broken Makuta, wishing Reshak had done something, but I guess this was good too :P Just kidding. This was really good. I liked it. A somewhat-satisfying conclusion, and as far as conclusions go, this one left almost every string neatly tied up (Apothrak, plz go find the gate and resurrect your brother and your papa.) It was a genuinely interesting read, although I felt like the stakes just weren't.. High, at all. We never got to see the bad guys actually do anything evil. Sure, Astrok kidnapped two kids and mutated them, big whoop. We never got to truly see what anyone was capable of. It ultimately didn't feel like there was anything to lose, or to gain, either outcome. If people had actually died on the good side, instead of just the bad side, that might have changed it, but nobody did. Takathorax did, but he sacrificed himself, not because he had to, but because he felt it was "morally right" or something. Then he came back, which basically ruined the semi-closure we had for him and Reshak, which I felt was a beautiful ending. It's hard to kill your favorite characters off, I understand. You want them all to be perfectly fine and be happy, because otherwise ya feel bad. But you have to, sometimes. I'm still satisfied with this story, I just felt there was something missing: Results. We saw all this wonderful tension, but the only losses were on the side of the antagonists. If anything, it made me anxious and want the antagonists to WIN, because they had already lost a lot. The protagonists? They didn't lose anything. They were scared, boo hoo. It just, didn't feel like there was anything to happen, to show how dreadful the situation was.
 I like it 
  August 30, 2017
Wow, truly some excellent work man. I'm really happy with how this fantastic series turned out. I'll leave my full review of the series on the next issue, but right now, I'll say what I thought about this book. As a finale, this really worked. It brought the entire story full circle, and it ended as it started. There was some really neat revelations and the characters really felt like they had evolved when all was said and done, particularly Thanatos and his minions. They were introduced as villains, but they learned respect for the people of Racta Magna, and to balance death with life. The recombining of Raxonax was interesting to see. I'm excited to see how he has changed as he is now whole once more in Issue 50. I did have one gripe with this finale though. Personally, I think it would have been a lot more impactful if all of the Contenders came together to defeat Aroxion, and I suppose they did in a sense, but having Taxathorax come out and just kill him didn't feel that just to be fair. Taxathorax wasn't the one who was being punished by the Shadebringers, it was the rest of the Contenders. I don't know, I guess it would have just been more satisfying that Rax, along with the other Contenders, all made the final push to destroy Aroxion. Other than that, it was a really good finale to an awesome book! The third book overall was very distinct and unique. I think the darker tone felt really fitting for a final chapter in this years long saga. I don't know if it personally beats "Platonic Justice" as my favourite book, but it was still really excellent. I think the focus on Raxonax and his struggles with his other two thirds was a nice twist and was an fascinating turn the series took. When this book started, I thought the worse for Rax, and that he'd have to die to take down Shadownax, but I think that re-combining and making amends with Shadownax was much more unexpected, and as a reader, more riveting. Another aspect I really enjoyed was the inner conflicts between the different parties. There was some neat conflict between both our heroes and villains. It created a really nice effect and kept things fresh. I think where this series fell down a bit was the fact that by the end, the villain ended up just being Makuta again. I enjoyed the turn his character motivations made, but I think someone like Shadownax was just a much better written villain. Any makuta is inherently limited to "I like shadow because I'm evil!!!!" It just doesn't make for the most exciting reading. Personally, I enjoyed the final standoff with Shadownax more than the final standoff with Aroxion. My other problem is that it was hard to feel sad when someone died, seeing as there was so much resurrection and all of that. I just think some of the mystical elements messed a bit with the stakes and tension in the story, but that's a small problem, and most of it was fine. Overall, a really really great job man. I loved this book, and this entire series. I'm super hyped to see the final issue of this series and it's been one heck of a ride. Good job!!! (EDIT: Whoops, big typo there, meant to just comment "it's smelly". Sorry.)
 I like it 
  August 30, 2017
A wonderful end to MOCpages' finest series. Congratulations on seeing it through...if only I could follow your lead.
 I like it 
  August 30, 2017
dangit werty! The moment I finish your selfmoc you have to go and change the entire color scheme!
 I like it 
  August 30, 2017
Excellent series! Wertman, this is one of the greatest feats of literature I've ever seen! Can't wait for the epilogue!
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting Daniel H. Oh, so what do you plan on doing now that the Contenders is done? Will you start a new story?
I'll be chatting about that in a separate post once issue fifty is out! ^-^
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting Daniel H. WOW! That was absolutely AMAZING. Totally geeking out right now lol. Such an epic issue, such an epic book. And holy carp, the new Rax is freakin' WICKED. Can't stress enough how much I loved this episode, and the book as a whole. It was so well done. Great work, my good Wertman, great work.
Awh, thanks Daniel! It's nice to see you so excited! :P
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting Toa Gaim Awesome ending and a nice twist on a fusion reborn you'd pull there.
Thanks Gaim!
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting Luke Legoboy This was amazing! I like how Raxonax, Shadonax, and Idonax join at the end. And the new Raxonax is really cool looking! Are you going to make a profile/project or whatever it is called about him?
Thanks Luke! Yes, been building to that since the beginning! Glad you like the new Raxonax- do you mean a post? Why yes- he'll be getting his new page come the end of the week! :D
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting De Silva Oh, so that's what he looks like as a whole Toa. Awesome conclusion and I can't to see what's planned for the epilogue.
Yes, indeed- that's what he looks like in the traditional Toa of Gravity colours :P Thanks for the comment, and I can't wait to show you guys the epilogue!
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting Werewolff . Fantastic work! The finale was brilliant, and the dialogue was excellent. Good to finally be able to understand the characters motivations as well, after having caught up with it all! A fantastic series all together mate, really well done!
Thanks mate! :D I'm really glad you enjoyed this, and it's good you managed to catch up so quickly! :P Thanks yet again!
 I made it 
  August 30, 2017
Quoting Traykar the swift That bit with the reunification was splendid! I loved the final battle, and the dialogue was spectacular!
Thanks Traykar! Glad you enjoyed it- they were all things I had to get right this issue! :P
  August 29, 2017
Oh, so what do you plan on doing now that the Contenders is done? Will you start a new story?
 I like it 
  August 29, 2017
WOW! That was absolutely AMAZING. Totally geeking out right now lol. Such an epic issue, such an epic book. And holy carp, the new Rax is freakin' WICKED. Can't stress enough how much I loved this episode, and the book as a whole. It was so well done. Great work, my good Wertman, great work.
 I like it 
  August 29, 2017
Awesome ending and a nice twist on a fusion reborn you'd pull there.
 I like it 
  August 29, 2017
This was amazing! I like how Raxonax, Shadonax, and Idonax join at the end. And the new Raxonax is really cool looking! Are you going to make a profile/project or whatever it is called about him?
 I like it 
  August 29, 2017
Oh, so that's what he looks like as a whole Toa. Awesome conclusion and I can't to see what's planned for the epilogue.
 I like it 
  August 29, 2017
Fantastic work! The finale was brilliant, and the dialogue was excellent. Good to finally be able to understand the characters motivations as well, after having caught up with it all! A fantastic series all together mate, really well done!
 I like it 
  August 29, 2017
That bit with the reunification was splendid! I loved the final battle, and the dialogue was spectacular!
 
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