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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I read the first volume of Exiles, the comic book featuring alternate-universe X-Men hopping around various version of the Marvel Universe to right wrongs and restore the time-stream's temporal malfusions of cortical respiratory defibulations to their proper states. It's, um, okay. I really can't stand how Marvel tends to over-render their characters to the point of being completely unrecognizable as human beings. The whole point of super-hero fantasy is that you get to identify with characters who may or may not jump around the city fighting crime in their jammies, and that takes giving them real human conflicts and not, "Oh, no, why, this universe is TOTALLY different from the one I know!"

But also, I'm sick of alternate universes. There's absolutely nothing in human experience that can relate to it, besides maybe culture shock. I have a hard time (Sonic comic issues 50-75 spoilers ahead... not that the comic is worth reading) understanding why Archie Comics, publisher of the Sonic The Hedgehog comics, decided that Dr. Eggma--Robotnik should die in issue #50, only to bring him back (this was PLANNED) in issue #75... by a Robotnik from an alternate universe (an alternate universe from #22 or so; these people get around) who defeated the Sonic in that universe, at the cost of turning himself into a robot.

In English, that means that the villian that the heroes had been fighting since their childhood--the focal point of the series' drama--died and then came back but it's not really him, it's him from an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. So Sonic is kinda sorta fighting the hero who took his childhood away. Kinda sorta. (I also find it disturbing that he defeated the Sonic from his universe, but that's just another example of how infinite alternate universes can quickly do away with the recognizability of your characters. Sonic seems aware that there are thousands of different versions of him, and that doesn't seem to bother him. How would it change us if we realized we were only dust specks in a sea of people who shared our identity?)

So, that brought me back to the puzzle of what to do with this robot Robotnik who kinda sorta has dramatic resonance but not really. Of course, I would have him become possessed by the original Robotnik, but that's just a fangirl fantasy; I suppose any new writer would have to chuck all the mystical mumbo-jumbo that the continuity has accumulated and focus on the drama between the characters. What a novel idea! But in a comic which established the fastest recorded turnaround time for a character death (they killed a major character in earnest, and then brought her back within four issues), I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.

But personally, I find Sonic to be an absolutely fascinating character. I would love to get inside Sonic's head someday, and the comic really has established that as its purpose; make sure that these anthropomorphic animals, who might seem silly to a self-respecting adults, are actually living, breathing creatures with real human dramas and conflicts (more importantly, ones that are interesting and fun to read about). The problem is, of course, that the Archie comic has about three writers and three artists on board at any given time, all trying to pull Sonic in their own personal direction (for instance; one writer was determined to have the "rings" be like the rings from the Sonic videogames; another writer used the "power rings" from the Saturday morning show). So what would I do at Archie? Declare myself most high priestess of Sonic The Hedgehog, fire everybody but a good artist or two, and get to work. All it would take is one talented, dedicated writer to put the Sonic universe on track, rather than a twisted hodgepodge of alternate universes and resurrections and whatnot. Did you know that one issue established that Soinc's sidekick Tails isn't really Tails? The plot point, which may have been the biggest--and worst--bombshell in the history of the comic, akin to finding out that the Spider-Man you grew up with is actually a clone, was never mentioned again. Funny.

Now that I've posted something which only 3% of my readers will make any sense of, begone! I have work to do. And by work I mean masturbation. Quiet.
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