Showing posts with label The Legend. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Legend. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

I Know What The Bee Knows

“But you, Watson"—he stopped his work and took his old friend by the shoulders —"I've hardly seen you in the light yet. How have the years used you? You look the same blithe boy as ever."

"I feel twenty years younger, Holmes. I have seldom felt so happy as when I got your wire asking me to meet you at Harwich with the car. But you, Holmes—you have changed very little—save for that horrible goatee."

"These are the sacrifices one makes for one's country, Watson," said Holmes, pulling at his little tuft. "To-morrow it will be but a dreadful memory. With my hair cut and a few other superficial changes I shall no doubt reappear at Claridge's tomorrow as I was before this American stunt—I beg your pardon, Watson, my well of English seems to be permanently defiled —before this American job came my way."

"But you have retired, Holmes. We heard of you as living the life of a hermit among your bees and your books in a small farm upon the South Downs."

"Exactly, Watson. Here is the fruit of my leisured ease, the magnum opus of my latter years!" He picked up the volume from the table and read out the whole title, Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. 

"Alone I did it. Behold the fruit of pensive nights and laborious days when I watched the little working gangs as once I watched the criminal world of London."

"But how did you get to work again?"

"Ah, I have often marvelled at it myself. The Foreign Minister alone I could have withstood, but when the Premier also deigned to visit my humble roof—! The fact is, Watson, that this gentleman upon the sofa was a bit too good for our people. He was in a class by himself. Things were going wrong, and no one could understand why they were going wrong. Agents were suspected or even caught, but there was evidence of some strong and secret central force. It was absolutely necessary to expose it. Strong pressure was brought upon me to look into the matter. It has cost me two years, Watson, but they have not been devoid of excitement. When I say that I started my pilgrimage at Chicago, graduated in an Irish secret society at Buffalo, gave serious trouble to the constabulary at Skibbareen, and so eventually caught the eye of a subordinate agent of Von Bork, who recommended me as a likely man, you will realise that the matter was complex. Since then I have been honoured by his confidence, which has not prevented most of his plans going subtly wrong and five of his best agents being in prison. I watched them, Watson, and I picked them as they ripened. Well, sir, I hope that you are none the worse!"

The last remark was addressed to Von Bork himself, who after much gasping and blinking had lain quietly listening to Holmes's statement. He broke out now into a furious stream of German invective, his face convulsed with passion. Holmes continued his swift investigation of documents while his prisoner cursed and swore.

"Though unmusical, German is the most expressive of all languages," he observed when Von Bork had stopped from pure exhaustion. "Hullo! Hullo!" he added as he looked hard at the corner of a tracing before putting it in the box. "This should put another bird in the cage. I had no idea that the paymaster was such a rascal, though I have long had an eye upon him. Mister Von Bork, you have a great deal to answer for."

The prisoner had raised himself with some difficulty upon the sofa and was staring with a strange mixture of amazement and hatred at his captor.

"I shall get level with you, Altamont," he said, speaking with slow deliberation. "If it takes me all my life I shall get level with you!"

"The old sweet song," said Holmes. "How often have I heard it in days gone by. It was a favourite ditty of the late lamented Professor Moriarty. Colonel Sebastian Moran has also been known to warble it. And yet I live and keep bees upon the South Downs."

" As I mentioned in my introduction to Frank's Dark Knight, one of the things that prevents superhero stories from ever attaining the status of true modern myths or legends is that they are open ended. 

An essential quality of a Legend is that the events in it are clearly defined in time; Robin Hood is driven to become an outlaw by the injustices of King John and his minions. That is his Origin. 

He meets Little John, Friar Tuck and all the rest and forms the merry men. He wins the tournament in disguise, he falls in love with Maid Marian and thwarts the Sheriff of Nottingham. That is his Career, including love interest, Major Villains and the formation of a superhero group that he is part of. 

He lives to see the return of Good King Richard and is finally killed by a woman, firing a last arrow to mark the place where he shall be buried. That is his Resolution --

you can apply the same paradigm to King Arthur, Davy Crockett or Sherlock Holmes with equal success. 

You cannot apply it to most comic book characters because, in order to meet the commercial demands of a continuing series, they can never have a resolution. Indeed, they find it difficult to embrace any of the changes in life that the passage of time brings about for these very same reasons, making them finally less than fully human as well as falling far short of True Myth. 

The reasons this all came up in the Dark Knight intro was that I felt that Frank had managed to fulfill that requirement in terms of Superman and Batman, giving us an image which, while perhaps not of their actual deaths, showed up how they were at their endings, in their final years. Whether this story will actually ever happen in terms of "real" continuity is irrelevant: by providing a fitting and affective capstone to the Batman legend it makes it just that... a legend rather than an endlessly meandering continuity. 

It does no damage to the current stories of Batman in the present, and indeed it does the opposite by lending them a certain weight and power by implication and association--every minor shift of attitude in the current Bruce Wayne's approach to life that might be seen in Batman or Detective over the next few years, whether intentionally or not, will provide twinges of excitement for the fans who can perceive their contemporary Batman inching ever closer to the intense and immortal giant portrayed in the Dark Knight chronicles. 

It also provides a special poignance... while I was doing some of the episodes of "Under the Hood" for the Watchmen text backup and especially upon seeing Dave's mock-up photographs of the Minutemen in their early, innocent days, I felt as if I'd touched upon that sense of "look at them all being happy. They didn't know how it would turn out" that one sometimes gets when looking at old photographs.  

Dark Knight does this for the Batman to some degree, and I'd like to try to do the same for the whole DC Cosmos in Twilight. I feel that by providing a capstone of the type mentioned above, but one which embraces the whole DC Universe rather than just a couple of its heroes, I can lend a coherence and emotional weight to the notion of a cohesive DC Universe, thus fulfilling the criteria set out in my ramblings about the effect of all this on the idea of DC continuity as mentioned above.  

Being set in a possible future, it does nothing that cannot be undone, and yet at the same time has a real and tangible effect upon the lives and activities of the various characters in their own books and their own current continuities. 

At the same time, by providing that capstone and setting the whole continuity into a framework of complete and whole legend, as Frank did in Dark Knight, we make the whole thing seem much more of a whole with a weight of circumstance and history that might help to cement over any shakiness left in the wake of Crisis and its ramifications. 

Even if we pull the threads of these various characters' circumstances together at some hypothetical point in the future, this does imply that there is a logical pattern or framework for the whole DC Universe, even if the resolution of the pattern is at a point thirty years in the hypothetical future.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Stan “The Legend” Lee

The Legend

First appearance is issue 7. An as-yet-unnamed elderly man who, while not an official member of the Boys, works as their informant.
He is a former comic editor/writer who worked for Vought-American’s Victory Comics subsidiary, writing all the comics based on Vought’s superheroes to “give people supes like they wanted supes to be”. 
His work on superhero comics gives him incredible knowledge of them and Vought-American.  
He hates “that comic-book crap”, though he lives under a comic store surrounded by his work.
The Legend has no family other than his two sons, both of whom are deceased. 
His elder son was killed in Vietnam as a result of faulty rifles produced by Vought-American (which ironically resemble the British Army’s SA80 bullpup rifles). 
His son’s death is the impetus for his association with Vought: to gather information in the hope he could one day assist in their destruction. 

It is also revealed in issue 54 that once Vought-American introduced The Homelander to the world in 1969, The Legend made a strategic move and got himself filmed at a memorial service for the air cav that his first son served in. 
Greg Mallory didn’t buy the fact that a Vought-American man felt guilty about what his company was doing. 
His second son is revealed in issue 22 to be the Teenage Kix member Blarney Cock, from whom he was estranged and was satisfied that Hughie killed him.
He was produced by The Legend and Queen Maeve during a relationship that the two had together, which was confirmed in issue #57 when Hughie discover surveillance photos and transcripts of The Legend having sex with Queen Maeve.
Unlike other heroes, the Legend has shown a certain fondness for Queen Maeve, serving as her confidant at times, and showing an almost fatherly approach during her encounter with the Boys after 9/11 and on Doc Peculiar’s transcripts. 
Butcher has accused The Legend of developing feelings for Queen Maeve, which could set up dire consequences for both The Boys and The Seven. 
 In issue 67, after informing Hughie of the death of Vas, he is confronted by Butcher and dies from a heart attack.