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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A STRATEGIC ASIDE

In this essay I said:

Dirty Harry inspires ADMIRATION in terms of his physical and strategic abilities...
 
Some may observe that a more usual pairing would be "physical and mental."  I didn't want to parse that particular issue at that point, but I had reasons for choosing the word "strategic" instead.

In defining my "mode of the combative," it's entirely necessary that no less than two exceptional forces should clash in order to yield the sublime-affect Kant termed "dominance."  However, though there is a long-standing tradition wherein a momentous battle ends with a final triumphant blow-- be it Aeneas ending THE AENEID with the killing of Turnus, or Captain America clobbering the Red Skull-- a conclusion using a battle-related strategy is just as valid a conclusion as a punch in the jaw or a sword in the belly.

In TWICE THE MIGHT 2 I made this narratological assertion regarding 1956's FORBIDDEN PLANET:


To be sure, when the Id Monster is defeated, it isn't because of the clash between the weapons of Earth-science and the power of the Krell machines. The Monster is defeated by undermining the source of its power in Morbius, who is in essence the Monster's Achilles heel.

Nevertheless, without the clash of energies that establishes how potent the Id Monster is, there would be no narrative perception of the need to seek such a vulnerable point.
 
Thus the conflict in FORBIDDEN PLANET concludes not by one force conquering another in a direct sense, but rather in an indirect one, as the Earthmen use strategy to divine the Id Monster's weakness.

I consider this sort of "Achilles Heel" maneuver to be just as related to battle as an actual physical triumph would be, and therefore its presence does not negate the combative mode.

In contrast, there are other ways to work against one's foes that I do not consider to have common kinship with the principles of *forza.*  In KNOWING THE DYNAMIS FROM THE DYNAMIC I wrote the following estimation of Doctor Who.


The Doctor is typically portrayed by a male actor who is, for one reason or another, not meant to resemble the typical he-man of adventure-fiction, which is one element that signals the serial's intent to avoid the pattern of dynamization set by those more typical stories. The Doctor, though, does not triumph over his many foes solely by luck-- though on many occasions he is considerably outgunned, and luck is at times invoked as a force that keeps him from being vaporized. But typically, the Doctor fights his foes with the centuries-spanning knowledge of a Time Lord, not with martial abilities. His doctrine is *froda,* not *forza.*
 
Some might view the Doctor's assorted schemes to undo evil aliens to be allomorphic with the "Achilles Heel" strategy of the Earthmen in FORBIDDEN PLANET.  But even though DOCTOR WHO can't be combative anyway, due to the lack of seeing any exceptional energy manifested by the hero, I want to underline that "strategy" should only apply to the combative mode when such exceptional energies are present in two or more opposed parties.  By making this determination, it is possible for me to include characters who may function largely behind the scenes-- as with the Fu Manchu of the original Sax Rohmer novels-- as being in control of the literal forces they unleash upon their antagonists.

"Strategy," then, when allied to the unleashing of *forza,* becomes a form of *forza.*  When not so allied, it can only be viewed as an aspect of *froda.*


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