Sword of God: The Edge, p. 8

sog_01_ink08

Art by Michela Da Sacco

The “blunt sweep” is what he used on those guys on page 1 – it’s a neural impact, or near as much to that as defining a super-power gets. He’s out of range for that now; it’d hit whatever over there, and be too diffuse to do much. Now you’ll learn what the title of the story means.

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About Ron Edwards

Game author and publisher via Adept Press / Biology author and former professor

Posted on September 13, 2016, in Adept Comics, Sword of God and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Oooh, I get it now. The classroom scenes were a flashback, that’s why they had those “fading” edges, and then we got back to what was happening on the parking lot. I guess it’s one of those things that may make you confused when you’re reading it only one page at a time. Since he was leaving the building at the end of the school scene, I thought he had been ambushed on the school parking lot. I reread it and got it right.

    I do wonder, why doesn’t he wear a mask? Won’t the FBI recognize him? (I may be projecting a superhero dual-identity thing on a villain, for all we know the flashbacks are from years ago)

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    • I definitely do not have the knack of writing for page-a-week reading; all my stories are ten-page sets and I even took care to design the pages in sets of 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10, as if they were physical pages.

      The flashback’s temporal position isn’t stated in the text but it’s intended to be not too long beforehand. Maximum drama would suggest earlier on the same day, but suffice to say that while he was teaching that day, he was also investigating and planning his counter-strike at the FBI.

      I think it’s understandable as a recent flashback when it’s read in total, and I couldn’t bring myself to add “earlier that day/week/whatever” captions. I’m really trying to save voice-in-the-air narration of any kind for critical moments.

      I also invoke “author’s word” to state that he didn’t know about Randy’s father being in the FBI, much less implicated in his upcoming extracurricular activity, until that moment in class.

      I’ll have to double-check to make sure we didn’t mess this up at some point, but he only wears that longcoat when … uh, when he’s not teaching.

      As for the mask … well, my thinking is that life isn’t a movie, in which faces are both highly individualized and emphasized for identification or repulsion. Also, and again contrary to film tropes, that visual witness descriptions are among the least-valued forms of evidence. I think even the most accurate witness statement would be … “um, Arab guy? Maybe Mexican, I dunno. Kinda average height. Black hair. But glowing red eyes for sure!” Not a lot to go on, especially since his English is un-accented. Even an FBI agent will have trouble getting past the striking glow, and Michela has made sure that the glow casts serious shadows on the rest of him. You can look forward to some “blacked-out shadow-face with red eyes” shots, even in lighted scenes.

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      • So interesting! Tropes aside, so he’s really smart enough to see beyond fictional tropes that everyone believes in? Like what you stated on bank robbers, I think people do believe you need to cover your face if you’re going to clash against FBI agents.

        The eyes kind of make it a moot point, though, I get that everyone’s gonna focus on that.

        Now I also find myself wondering if he ever has to restrain himself in day to day situations to not to smolder when someone pisses him off on his civilian identity… This must mean I’m a fan 🙂 it’s the kind of speculation that’s only a couple steps away from becoming “Who would win in a fight?”

        It’s weird. I plan to say more about it on a later comment, but I really liked One Plus One at the beginning and lost a bit of interest on it towards the end, whereas Sword Of God seemed kinda boring at the beginning and really, really grew on me. Symmetric.

        *

        I think I keep projecting superhero tropes on him – by which I mean, instead of villain ones. For instance, I meant to ask you kind-of-randomly why did you choose to have the character be born on Lebanon – if that doesn’t diminish in some capacity the goodness and values of the character, instead of having a blond-haired, blue-eyed American like Steve Rogers do the same things out of conscience. (Is that the right English word – I mean morals, values, guilt, responsibility, duty.) Then I remembered these are supposed to be villains, and they are traditionally (I think?) more personally intertwined into whatever their deal is, down to their very identity.

        Or maybe I’m just confusing myself.

        Now I’m remembering your writings on Luke Cage and it really wouldn’t be right to have a white hero saving minority people from their problems, it would diminish those people.

        I dunno, it may just be I’m from South America, but it kinda bugged me when he said “I’m from Lebanon but I’m sooo American”. It’s that familiar little sting we third-worlders feel every time a comic book character gets patriotic for a couple of panels. Then again I do get that being patriotic is just (just?) part of your culture and I probably should respect that and file it under “Reminders I’m Reading A Foreign Comic”.

        But I can’t help but wonder whether something’s gonna happen down the road that will put our dear professor in conflict with his patriotism.

        P.S. I realize he might behead an FBI agent on the next page, but so far he seems like a superhero to me. A vigilante. Well, one could say he’s very focused on a specific kind of crime, which would put him more on the villain side, but one could almost say the same about the Punisher and drug dealers.

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        • Hi! I think all the super-characters avoid those tropes, or as I hope to keep showcasing, employ them in ways which make sense after all. The Bandit and Topaz are actually unusual in maintaining “secret identities” in a comics-traditional way; almost no one else does. I figure that for most of the super-characters (whom you haven’t seen yet), it’s like being a rock star – no one cares what your prior life was like, and it’s not like you’re living it that way any more anyway.

          Just to keep myself sane, I think I’ll avoid the “involuntary smolder” problem, or use such effects only in symbolic ways, like when Ditko used to draw Peter Parker with half his face being Spider-Man.

          The character’s Lebanese birthplace is important, obviously, but so far it’s not explicit why. Look forward to more about that soon. You’re right that in traditional comics, villains’ ethnic and cultural origins are coded very tightly, but most heroes are written or depicted similarly – at least they were back in the 1960s and 1970s, which is my model.

          Let me see if I can explain this “villain” thing a bit better for Adept Comics …

          1. The term applies most literally within strict in-fiction bounds. These are characters who are designated villains, whether they’re called criminals, terrorists, psychos, or whatever, by most people.

          2. The term does not necessarily apply out of fiction, i.e., to your reading of the character. I don’t designate whether it does or doesn’t through simple signals.

          3. Usually, in comics or their allied media, when #1 and #2 apply, it’s because the character is misunderstood, too wounded to respond positively, or both. I’m NOT using this tactic at all. When I say, “#2 is up to you,” it’s because I’m not relying on easy means for you to connect the last two dots in a pre-arranged picture.

          4. Finally, I’m grounding as much as I can for every single character in his or her specific geographic, cultural, and personal history – without making the character represent that history in some total or totemic way. He’s supposed to make sense as an Arab-American, not to be coded “bad” because of it, nor to stand in for any and all people in that demographic.

          As for the “I’m an American” statement – well, the crisis you’ve identified is already in full force. I suppose he could be said to be seeking a meaning for that phrase that he can live with, which I think is implied on the next page.

          i) As the son of immigrants (he would have arrived in the U.S at about age six, and if you count on your fingers, that would have been in the early 90s, right at the nominal end of the Lebanese Civil War), he was raised with a certain idealism toward opportunity and ‘freedom’ in the U.S.
          ii) He wouldn’t be the first idealist who decided the FBI, or some of its activity, was the real enemy-of-the-state, and vice versa.

          So I think I’m doing something that’s either new or rare. I think it’s allied to what Lee and Kirby did with Dr. Doom’s origin in FF Annual #2, which incidentally was conceived and produced at the same time I was.

          P.S. Give him credit, he’s trying not to behead the agent …

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