[META] Why I Love Legacy Characters

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Wed Sep 15 18:47:45 PDT 2010

On Sep 15, 8:49 pm, Andrew Perron <pwer... at gmail.com> wrote:
> Interesting.  On this, I have a different opinion, and I'll explain why.
> In athletics, pains are taken to make sure there's a level playing field,
> that all participants are similarly equipped, that the only thing that
> matters is the task at hand.  And while that task usually requires thinking
> and planning, both strategic and tactical, the biggest limiting factor is
> physical ability, which inevitably declines with age.
> While, for many, superheroing requires athleticism, the physical factor is
> secondary to the mental.  Tactics become a much larger lever, larger even
> than on a conventional battlefield.  The things that make Batman vs.
> Superman a match you'd even consider take significantly longer to degrade,
> I think.  Not that diminishing physical capacity plays *no* part, mind,
> but...

You make a very good point, and I agree with you-- a hero with brawn
and no brains won't last as long (or be as interesting) as one with
brains but little brawn.  I'm going to rethink and revise my analogy a
bit and come back to it in a later reply within the next few days.
(Someone be sure to give me a poke if I don't.)

> > The current Jolt City storyline,
> > for example, is very specifically set in 2008, and there are reasons
> > for that-- perhaps more thematic reasons than plot reasons, but
> > reasons none-the-less.
> Hmmmmm. *looks at ongoing theme of a heroic black man standing up for what
> he believes in as an inspiration to people*
> Nope, couldn't really guess why. `.`

Actually-- while that's a very salient point, especially regarding the
JOLT CITY # 1-11 arc, in which Martin was struggling to really do
something that counts and stands for something, that's not quite what
I was alluding to.  Martin Rock is very much *not* an Obama-esque
figure; he's too conflicted, too hesitant to make decisions, too
trapped by his own psychological baggage, too stuck in the past.  He
might be moving away from it, slowly freeing himself from Ray's shadow
and the tragedy of his own childhood, but he's far too damaged to
really be of the zeitgeist, so to speak.  Also a little too resistant
to "the new".

Whereas Derek is pretty technologically-savvy, very much in love with
"the new".  He's had his share of misfortune and made his share of bad
choices, sure.  The cycle of frustration and anger that reared its
ugly head in "Sensational Character-Find of 2007" hasn't gone away.
But Derek isn't quite as trapped by his past the way Martin is; he
doesn't dwell obsessively about his past misdeeds as a drug-dealer,
nor does he try to pretend it never happened the way Martin does with
his childhood rape.  Derek's not trapped by his past, but he tries to
learn from his mistakes-- even as he's still making them-- and to move
forward.  Martin is, in certain aspects, very self-absorbed; not that
he isn't heroic, or civic-minded, or capable of obvious sacrifices, as
seen in the last issue.  But he's a bit of a brooder in a way that
isn't precisely healthy.  Derek, by contrast, is somewhat more forward-

So I wouldn't call either Martin or Derek an Obama-esque figure, but
Derek is closer to embodying that sense of someone hitting the refresh
button on America's web-page.  That's more the thematic resonance I'm
talking about, that rushing sense of new ideas, a new optimism,
something more tech-savvy and geek-friendly, more we-can-do-it and
less crushing hopelessness.

That, at any rate, is what the storyline is building up to; it's about
that transition from old to new, and about how the old ways/baggage
create the urgent need for the latter.  It is, then, about what we've
been given, and about what we do with it. :-)

> Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, doesn't share everything politically
> with Tom, but...



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