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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...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ADDENDA TO MARSHAL LAW REVIEW

Re: last week's mythcomics review: I spent so much time recapitulating the backstory of the hero that I somewhat neglected the "psychological myth" that I credited with making it a "mythcomic." I usually don't have any scruples about disclosing plot-developments, short of tossing out a spoiler warning at times, but for anyone who wants to know what the Oedipal narrative was behind Mills and O'Neill's FEAR AND LOATHING, here's a short summary.

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MARSHAL LAW #1-6 (CB) (1986-87)--  “Fear and Loathing”—(M/S):I/S.1, (M/S):I/V.3 (+)—The superhero-hating policeman MARSHAL LAW is faced with a mystery: who is the SLEEPMAN, who goes around raping and killing women dressed like the celebrity-superheroine CELESTE? It eventually comes out that the killer is DANNY, the offspring of (1) CELESTE’s current superhero- boyfriend THE PUBLIC SPIRIT, and (2) the SPIRIT’s previous lover VIRAGO, whom the SPIRIT tried to murder when she revealed herself pregnant. VIRAGO survived the murder-attempt and raised DANNY with an eye to avenging herself when her son was old enough. During his childhood his mother punishes DANNY for any display of his powers, so that he acquired a sense of inferiority and worthlessness. Additionally, he may have associated his mother with pain, so that when he became the SLEEPMAN in adulthood, he was in part raping and killing his tyrannical mother—who may or may not have used a few feminine wiles on him to make him do her bidding. It’s also clear that DANNY has the same tastes as his father, so in killing women who look like CELESTE—as well as, eventually, the real thing—he’s transgressing against his evil, neglectful father. To complicate matters further, DANNY works for MARSHAL LAW as a computer-tech, and admires the lawman as a substitute father, and in his killing-campaign he also manages to kill off LYNN, the girlfriend of his “good father.” In the final confrontation THE PUBLIC SPIRIT finally manages to murder his former inamorata VIRAGO for real, and MARSHAL LAW takes out both him and his demented son. 

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