As such, we don’t really get any insightful peeks into the psyches of these characters that will emotionally invest us in their continued survival (or in the Black Panther’s case, we were rooting for him anyway), so all we’re left with is some moments of the Black Panther and his Wakandan soldiers acting like hard dudes, a couple of twists (one of which is kind of horrifying when you think about it, but horrifying things just kind of happen when a full-scale invasive assault is on your doorstep), and a whole lot of fighting — which, you know, is perfect for a fight comic.
Make no mistake, this is a fight comic, pure and simple. Where I think it differs from something like a war comic is that war comics usually concern themselves with making the audience with a group of soldiers by looking into their motivations or reasons they’re in this war so that we are provided with an emotional stake in their survival.
I don’t know much about fight comics in general, but I think this is a compelling point. It seems as though fight comics set in the context of war have a way of both trivializing and intensifying the overall conflict, turning a war into a two-man fight, albeit one with significant stakes (there also is mad precedent for this in the classical epic tradition).
Here are some plays that are good, but they’ve been around for a while, so I’ve taken it upon myself to reboot them to keep them fresh, and maybe they’ll catch on.
Waiting for Godot
Dana and Tim are two best friends who probably used to date. They are fresh out of college twenty something selfish jerks who land jobs waiting tables at West Virginia’s most exclusive new restaurant, Godot’s. Tim lands in hot water with the local mob boss, Pozzo, when he can’t find the money to cover some outstanding gambling debts, so Dana comes up with a plan: Tim will invite Pozzo to a free meal at Godot’s, and Dana will poison his meal. Matters get complicated when Pozzo’s lieutenants, after figuring out that Dana was responsible for Pozzo’s death, approach Dana to be their new boss.
A Streetcar Named Desire
Mickey Donovan (“Mickey the Don” to his friends) has the fastest hot rod in New Light City. He’s the coolest kid in school, he’s got the super-hot Tawny Rome going steady with him, and he’s never lost a race. When Alice MacAllister moves into town, Mickey can’t stand her. She’s tough, rides around in her own souped up Cadillac, and unlike Mickey, she has an actual criminal record. The two butt heads all year, and inevitably Mickey realizes that he’s fallen for Alice. As he heads over to Alice’s apartment to tell her how he feels, he sees Alice and Tawny making out on the fire escape. Filled with rage and regret, Mickey goes for a drive to clear his head. He finally understands that all his macho posturing was the only way he knew how to deal with the cruelties of a life filled with hollow relationships, and he makes a vow to be true to himself. Later at a stop-light, Alice pulls her cadillac up next to Mickey’s hot rod. Mickey turns to see her pulling out a gun aimed at his face. A gunshot rings through the streets as the lights quickly cut out.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Set at the funeral for two friends of a really famous celebrity, it’s basically like an episode of Entourage, but at a funeral for the fat friend and the older Dillon brother. The two main dudes talk about how much they’ll miss their two friends, but in the process they realize that they didn’t know their friends at all. The realization that you can spend so much time with some people and never really know them at all drives the two main dudes straight into an existential crisis wherein they understand that the only moment anyone can ever know anyone is in the now. They cast off their expensive designer suits and they run off into the Hollywood hills where they kiss passionately as the lights fade around them.
“Congratulations! You’re having a dinner party! What? What do you mean you’re not having a dinner party? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! I already RSVPed and bought a dress and told you (I told you) I’d be bringing the wine!
So it’s settled! You’re having a dinner party! What a mad tasteful way to spend an evening!
But what’s that you say? You don’t know what to do to keep your guests entertained, apart from feeding a meticulously chosen and lovingly prepared selection of dishes? Don’t worry, broseph. (May I call you “broseph”? *polishes monocle while awaiting an answer*) I have compiled a number of delightful games to amuse the elite group you have invited to dinner.”
“Geoffrey: I liked that about the conflict of ideologies that Schism presented. A sort of civil-war-style thing that didn’t have that sweaty Mark Millar all over it. Tessa: Yes, and I think it gets to the heart of something that has always been a part of the X-Men, which is the division of people with a common goal and different ideas of how that is to be achieved. You saw it with Xavier and Magneto, and now it’s playing out, albeit very differently, with Wolverine and Cyclops. It’s both progressive and a return to form. Geoffrey: It’s not entirely the same conflict as Xavier/Magneto, which is nice. Tessa: Yes, exactly. Because that conflict is fairly outmoded at this point. Geoffrey: We get Wolverine as the new Xavier, albeit more isolationist, and we get Cyclops as the new Magneto, but acting more on the defensive. So the question remains (well, two questions, actually): 1. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?? and 2. Whose face will it blow up in first?” (More)
For those who didn’t catch it yesterday, Geoff and I had a chat about the new X-books.
“Back on the motorcycle in the woods, Abby informs Alec that just as he is connected to “the green,” some are connected to “the black” (the rot), and that this kid is one of them. It is worth noting at this point, that if you picked up Animal Man this week, you are also aware that “the red” (fauna) are marshaling their forces against the rot. Looks like we’re all going to learn the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.”