REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #32 - August 2006 [spoilers]

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Mon Sep 4 11:01:57 PDT 2006

Martin Phipps wrote:
> Tom Russell wrote:
> > -- in JOLT CITY # 1, Paradise Snake beats up the Green Knight (1) and
> > ends combat whenever Martin seems to get the upperhand, citing some
> > imagined infraction of the rules of honour (A); Martin, unable to
> > defeat him in hand-to-hand combat, appeals to that sense of honour (B)
> > to bring their combat to a conclusion (2).
> To be perfectly honest (oh oh), I prefer villains without a sense of
> honour.  If the villains are "honourable" then I don't understand their
> motivation to be villains in the first place.  Surely there is a way

Well, you're right that in this case that Paradise Snake really doesn't
qualify as being honourable, when compared to other "honourable
supervillains" such as Doctor Doom.  Say what you'd like about the guy,
but the fact is, he keeps his word.

I think the concept of the villain with honour is something we've
inherited from the first half of the century: "villains" like Von
Richtoften and Rommel, for example, are honourable men and, especially
in Rommel's case, who may or may not been behind an attempt to
assassinate Hitler, not really villains at all.

Or, as Wikipedia states, "Rommel is often remembered not only for his
remarkable military prowress, but for his chivalry towards his
adversaries-- being one of the German commanders who disobeyed the
commando order [an order in which Hitler advocated the execution of all
enemies captured in Africa]."

In many ways, this makes Rommel a sympathetic figure-- a magnificent
bastard, if you will-- but not a villain in the same way someone like
Hitler is a villain.  And I know it's passe to refer to Hitler as evil
but, c'mon, let's face it-- genocide? world domination? -- things don't
get more black-and-white than that.

With someone like Paradise Snake, I was trying to craft a
contradiction-- someone who seems himself as an honourable man, but at
the same time uses that honour specifically for his advantage-- and so,
in reality, he is not honourable.  At the same time, he certainly has a
leg up on Joey Jericho and Samson Snapp-- people who have no remorse
for the suffering and death their drug trafficing causes.

I think beyond an appeal to his honour, the Green Knight is also
appealing to a sentimental side, a human side, in Paradise Snake-- the
side that would say a prayer over an empty bed where a young girl once
lived and died.  Jericho doesn't have that sentimental side, and that's
why the ploy-- the somewhat maudlin appeal to sentiment-- doesn't work
in that case.

Of course, the Green Knight couldn't be certain that the appeal would
work with Paradise Snake-- he tried it anyway, because he didn't really
have any options left.  But Paradise Snake's sense of honour-- real or
imagined-- is something he was very sensitive about.  (GK picked up on
that sensitivity when he chided PS on the rooftop.)  So maybe it was
less an appeal to a real sense of honour so much as it was an appeal to
Paradise Snake's sensitivity about it.

>> allowing his foe a brief respite out of respect for his skill.  If I
> were to have written the ending to Jolt City #1, I would have had
> Paradise Snake follow Martin to a circus full of acrobats and
> contortionists and have Paradise Snake see these people and then break
> down crying, knowing that he had chosen the less honourable path.

Well, that certainly would have been interesting. :-)

> I hope you're not angry.  I mean, I did read all of it. :)

Why would I be angry?  I need criticism in order to grow, and
discussion is healthy for both writers and writing groups.  Don't sweat
it-- I love this stuff.


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