Paladin was to be my new ongoing series for MV1 International. Basically taking this gray-morality soldier-for-hire and doing a worldwide action-adventure/espionage series. I didn't have much more than a high concept at this point, but I would definitely have fleshed out the character more, given him a backstory, but it would have mostly been a chance to tell Indiana Jones/James Bond-style adventure in exotic settings. His appearance in Generation X #53-54 convinced me he'd be ideal for this sort of thing. I still think so, and wish I'd had time to write it. All I had done was come up with some ideas, exotic locales and a gimmick, naming each issue after a movie.

Issue #1 (January Year Five) - "Apocalypse Now" - Stopping a doomsday cult. Told from the perspective of Paladin and a member of the organization checking on him. Location: Japan

Issue #2 (February Year Five) - "It Takes a Thief" - Gambit, Paladin and some other thieves vying for something. Location: Monaco

Issue #3 (March Year Five) - "Dangerous Minds" - A society of mentally active metahumans is a threat Paladin is hired to deal with. Location: Switzerland

Issue #4 (April Year Five) - "Born on the Fourth of July" - Paladin is hired by the government to kill Captain America, whom he is told has been replaced by an evil agent. Location: America

Issue #5 (May Year Five) - "Enemy of the State" - Paladin is targeted by the US Government for failing in that assignment. Location: America

Issue #6 (June Year Five) - "Apt Pupil" - Paladin must deal with a young protégé of the Taskmaster. Location: Mexico

Issue #7 (July Year Five) - "The Bodyguard" - Protecting someone. Location: Australia

Issue #8 (August Year Five) - "Army of Darkness" - Rogue American soldiers causing trouble. Location: Central America

Issue #9 (September Year Five) - "Chinese Ghost Story" - China and ghosts. Location: China

Issue #10 (October Year Five) - "Heaven's Prisoners" - Trapped in a VR simulation, Paladin experiences life as he wishes it had been with his true love. First hints about his past. Location: Scotland

Issue #11 (November Year Five) -  "An Affair To Remember" - Memories of love spurred by his experience with VR, Paladin wants to see the Wasp. Rivalry with Black Knight over Wasp (sort of) - could make for an interesting crossover with Crusaders. (Check with Gow and Harris.) Location: England

Issue #12 (December Year Five) - "A Life Less Ordinary" - Origin story. Location: America
This book, on the other hand, was to be written for the Cosmic Adventures branch. It was going to be my magnum opus, a five year plan that I knew the ending to even when I started writing. It was going to be epic, crossing the entire Marvel Universe and eventually having a grand ending. I'm not sure I could have pulled it off, but it would have been fun to try. This was to be my new creator-owned book after the Vault ended.

The Pitch:
There is a prophecy that, translated into nearly any language in the galaxy, resonates with a group in that race. A prophecy that tells of a great war in the cosmos, of a turning point in the existence of this universe, of the battle that will decide whether the universe will exist for ultimate good...or ultimate evil. The prophecy always tells of a child, born unto normal parents, who will quickly realize his potential. In some of the prophecies, the child is the great demon, and must be destroyed before he rallies the forces of evil to fight the battle. In some, he is the only hope of the side of light, and must struggle past the forces of darkness to reach his true destiny. In a few, the child himself must choose, and as he chooses, so chooses the universe.

The latter is the belief of the Dawning of the Day, a small cult based in California. Two of the members of this cult have just borne a son, and as is the custom of the group, have submitted him to test his worthiness to wear the mantle of the Chosen One. 

Imagine their surprise when their leader proclaimed their son the Chosen One, and announced that he would be taking care of the boy from then on. Imagine their outrage when the leader told them they must leave the cult and join a branch in New York, lest their parental influence corrupt the boy. Imagine the conflict as they struggle to choose beliefs they have based a life on over what they know to be right.

Imagine that they have taken the boy and set out for New York, believing that if he is the Chosen One, they should raise him, not a fanatical cult.

Imagine that galaxy-wide, the news of the birth of the Chosen One has spread, and envoys are coming to Earth to seek the boy. Some to help, some to harm, some to destroy. 

For Todd and Samantha Flynn, the birth of their new child has thrust them into a wider world, and their journey will take them across the universe and back.

Todd Flynn - Born in Georgia, Todd Flynn was the son of wealthy parents. His mother stayed home and wrote cookbooks based on her time as a world-class chef, and his father was a well-known local writer who wrote a mixture of crime novels and science fiction. His father was active in the cult, actually being one of the ones who started it, and it eventually caused his mother to divorce him and take Todd to California, where they lived comfortably on her salary as the head chef of a trendy restaurant. Todd attended college and then medical school, studying to become a brain surgeon. His mother died in a car accident shortly after he graduated, and he reconciled with his father, eventually being drawn back into the cult. 

Samantha Flynn - A California native, she had a comfortable upbringing amongst liberal parents. Her mother was the classic housewife, as well as being a college professor in the area of comparative religions, and her father worked for an advertising firm as a graphic designer. Her first exposure to the cult came when her mother brought a member home for lunch, as research for her college course. Samantha remembered them in college, and attended a few recruiting sessions. She was a member throughout college, where she studied astrophysics and engineering, hoping to work in the space program. She went to work for a California-based company designing cutting edge spacecraft, and was lucky to be home sick when the Shi'ar launched their attack on Earth's space program, destroying her place of business. She traded that life for the life of her mother, teaching college-level engineering and astrophysics while also preparing for the birth of her son.

Victor Flynn - Samantha and Todd met through the cult, fell in love, and married. Despite having attended the same college, they had never met before. They gave birth to their first child, Victor, on May 1, 2001. The child will mature quickly, speaking by the time he is six months old and manifesting unusual powers by the time he is one. He will use his power to resurrect his mother in the second or third year of the run.

Sharon Hope - Attended school with Victor, and in fact had a very close romantic relationship with him. He proposed after college, and she accepted, but when his mother died and he joined the cult, they started to drift further and further apart until eventually she threw the ring back at him. This contributed in no small way to her later coldness. Now, she is one of the few friends he has left who has no ties to the cult, and she will be drawn into the web to protect the child. She has left Colorado and moved out to Los Angeles.

Warren Holmes - The cult leader, secretly a member of the Enlightenment Foundation who wishes to swerve the Chosen One to their cause. Primary villain, year one.

Bengadi - An alien hunter who has hunted and killed "chosen ones" on every planet. Secondary villain, year one.

The Prophet - An alien who believes as the Earth cult does and will assist the protagonists in guiding the child when Samantha is killed in the close of year one, leading the child to the stars.

Possible Guest Stars
Captain Marvel - Senses the birth of the child because of his role as cosmic protector. Will help defend him from the Silver Surfer.

Silver Surfer - The Zenn-Lavians believed the Chosen One would destroy the Universe, and Surfer will be manipulated into attacking the child

Thanos - Believes the child to be a possible tool, and chooses to try and "teach" him in year three of the series

Terrax - Conquers a world that will adopt the religion of the chosen one in year three 

Magus - Ignites a holy war against the religion that the chosen one will inspire in year four

Adam Warlock - Serves as counselor to the boy in year four

The Arc

Year One - Earthbound
Issue One - We are introduced to the Flynns, on the run from the cult with their newborn baby. They are in a car chase, being pursued by the cultists. They crash, and flee from the wreckage. After staying a night under a bridge, Todd suggests going to Sharon for help. With little choice, they do that. Unfortunately, the cult still remembers Sharon, and they come after them in her home, leading all three on the run. Sharon suggests they head to Colorado, where she at least knows people who will help her. The Bengadi arrives on Earth, as does the Prophet. Thanos, Captain Marvel, Mephisto and Franklin Richards take notice of the birth of the Chosen One.

Issue Two - Holmes uses his contacts to send word to the Silver Surfer that the child has been born, and makes sure he hears about the evil part of the prophecy. He begins streaking toward Earth to seek out the Flynns. Meanwhile, the Flynns have a big argument, as the past of Hope and Todd is revealed. 

Issue Three - Silver Surfer comes after them, and Captain Marvel shows up to defend them. The fight ends when the child telepathically contacts the Surfer. 

Issue Four - The Flynns and Hope stop off at the Vault, seeking help. 

Issue Five - Bengadi attacks, killing Samantha and being driven off by late arriving Guardsmen. Flynn and Hope decide to move on, unsure of when Bengadi will come back.

The Flynns will be on the run from their former cult leader, and will face religious persecution. They will also learn to cope with power, talking with the Richards about Franklin, and face a hunter from the stars who has come to kill the chosen one. One issue will feature Mephisto trying to turn him evil with Daredevil as his protector.

Year Two - Starbound
Taken into space by the prophet, they will begin to realize how big the prophecy is.

Year Three - Temptation
Turns away from the Prophet, and is taken in by Thanos for the year, who encourages him to resurrect his mother with the power he has. He uses his power to destroy a planet.

Year Four - Influence
The religion begins to grow, leading to holy war in the universe. 

Year Five - Eden
The Chosen One lands on an alien planet and his philosophy and power begins to transform it into paradise.