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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, May 17, 2018

POWER AND POTENCY PT. 4

While reading some online Golden Age comics courtesy of the site COMIC BOOK PLUS, I investigated the now-obscure company known as "Chesler/Dynamic." Scarcely any of the superheroes published by Chesler became renowned, even within the small enclave of Golden Age enthusiasts, but one character caught my eye because he (almost) fits my parameters for the concept of "potency" as expressed in earlier sections of this essay-series.

MAJOR VICTORY didn't create much fuss in his time. He only had about four-five adventures, and though he appeared in three issues of his own comic, all of the Major's stories in the comic were reprints of stuff that had appeared earlier, particularly in DYNAMIC COMICS, where the Major almost lost the cover-spot to Chesler's hero "Dynamic Man."

Nevertheless, he had an interesting origin. Unlike many costumed heroes, Victory never has a name. He's introduced as a guard at a wartime facility. A saboteur breaks in, and the guard sacrifices himself trying (and failing) to defuse the saboteur's bomb.




Simply coming back from the dead was nothing special even in the 1940s, nor was it unusual to see a revival take place thanks to some celestial presence with some vague patriotic appeal-- this one being "Father Patriot," who I guess is the propaganda-version of "Father Christmas." Anyway, the mentor revives the heroic no-name and gives a flag-themed costume, resources, and a superhero name so that he can go forth and battle the Axis evil. It's a decent enough costume, but one wrinkle I for one have rarely encountered. Major Victory has no powers here. He shows off admirable athleticism as he boards a plane and manages to take out an enemy squadron--


But he had no real powers as such, unlike comparable types like Kid Eternity and the Fighting Yank.

To be sure, there's one incident when Victory gets his strength ramped up by hearing a simulacrum of the Liberty Bell. But this seems to have been a toss-off, not integral to the original idea, particularly since he doesn't use the super-strength for the remainder of the story.



So if one were going to ignore the temporary super-strength and focus only on what makes the Major "marvelous," it would be the fact that he's come back from the dead, Since he tries to avoid getting shot or falling from great heights, the implication is that he can't come back to life ever again, either in his original body or another one. So he's marvelous not in terms of his personal powers, but in what might called an "existential" sense: the fact that he's a man alive when he shouldn't be. This provides a strong parallel to the line of thought in POWER AND POTENCY PT. 3, where I discussed various time-traveling protagonists whose only "super power" was that of existing in a time-frame where they never would have existed, except for a time-travel device. I will attempt to explore these parallels in the concepts of potency at a later time.




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