June 30, 2020

Content warning: blood, violence


Commentary for June 30, 2020:

In the original Eon’s Comic, there was a story (much later on than the original version of this one), where some of the heroes had to kill government agents in order to free a wrongfully imprisoned character, who was going to be executed if they didn’t. At the time I agonised over the decision to have my heroes straight up murder characters who ostensibly weren’t their enemies; just agents doing their job -- just following orders. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing a hero would do. They should find some other way to save their friend, but I couldn’t think of any way to contrive a victory that didn’t result in them straight up killing government agents. So I ran with it and kept my discomfort with the storytelling decision entirely to myself. Until now, that is.

Now, some fourteen years after I wrote that story, I have very different feelings about the restraint a hero would or should show in circumstances like that. There is a scene in X-Men: First Class, one of my all-time favourite films, in which a joint US and Soviet fleet fire their weapons on a group of mutants on a Cuban beach, hoping to wipe them out. Magneto uses his command over metal to turn the missiles back on the attacking fleet, while Professor X implores him to show mercy to the thousands of men aboard those ships, who are “only following orders”. But Magneto is a Holocaust survivor; he has been at the mercy of people who were “only following orders” before. It’s no excuse. If someone orders you to do something unethical, you have a moral responsibility to disobey that order, no matter what power or authority that person supposedly has over you. You are not a mindless drone. But plenty of people -- police and soldiers in particular -- act like they are just drones and hide behind rank, hierarchy, and orders to excuse hurting innocent people.

Anyway, this is why I’ve chosen to show Antoine going ham on the GUN soldiers attacking Knothole. The younger me wouldn’t have let this fight escalate like this, and even today part of me is a little uncomfortable with showing a hero character from what is basically a children’s comic book outright killing his opponents like this (or at least trying to). But let’s be real here; they’re soldiers mindlessly following unethical orders to harm innocent people. Moreover, I think it’s a question that needs to be addressed one way or another, eventually; are the good guys willing to kill? If you’ve read Vol. 2, you already know the answer to that question, and one way or another I’d have to address it in Vol. 1 eventually. In any case, we are not done with this topic.

Oh yeah, I also decided to try out some different panel arrangements for this chapter, and I think they work well for some scenes, particularly panels 3 through 5. This will probably be more common going forwards now, too. Also special thanks to my friend, Diana Joy for some help with the French used on this page. I wanted to be sure Antoine was insulting Dutch properly in panel 6.

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