Issue 60
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JLU - Patriot Act

Anyway, Patriot Act.

A bit heavy handed at points and yet…

An episode where it was not so much, “With great power comes great responsibility,” but with or without power comes the necessity of engagement in the world around you. Heroes not being just abilities. Star girls with their sparkle power. Vigilantes that in a name aren’t good role models, but what’s in a name? Police officers. Firefighters. Heroism not defined by tights, or even uniforms and a badge, but by action and speech.

Action.

Not that I want to condone children in the fray of a fight, because there’s a certain amount of scoot. And yet, Vigilante seeks to protect children by actively engaging them in the process of saving people. Not you’re too small, or weak, or young to help, but here’s a task you can do. Now go do it.

Speech.

The cranky, crabby courage of that little old woman facing the monstrous implacable down. Demonstrating that you don’t have to be from Krypton to have a spine of steel.

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a balloon. Pop.

Bellow all you want creature, for all his powers and hearing, Superman cannot hear you. He’s a galaxy away, saving stars. And all the crowd goers and the Generals of Disorder must make do with the second string. Plucking on the gut and bravado.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Cadmus, throughout its comet journey through the JLU cosmos, was about fear. Fear of the ally. The enemy. Fear of power without parameters. The mindset that matches guns with guns and nuclear bombs with nuclear bombs until the mutual destruction of the world is assured in multiple degrees.

“There speaks the moral decay of the last thousand years.”

Or perhaps just the decay of the shining ideal into the dirty.

The glamorous appeal of doing dirty deeds, because they must be done. To serve. To protect. To smash. Dirty Harry relentless. Violent and unpredictable. Requiring more power. Larger guns. Stronger muscles. More impervious skin.

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

That odd thought that the Nazi serum only made manifest what was inside Eiling. The grey flint of the muscle bound abyss.

The very interesting contrast of the Eiling’s defense of America’s hegemony versus the Justice League of…without limits. Unlimited. Throwing open the gates and sending resources to every distant corner.

Honor. Understanding not just the surface appearance of it, but the function. The oblige of noblesse. I guess it is that with power comes responsibility, but also the responsibility to use it…umm…responsibly.

Eiling missing the essential message of the Shining Knight’s story that when ordered to carry out an immoral act by the source of supreme authority in his world, Sir Justin refused. That the JLU isn’t made up of faceless mindless minions, but individual voices. Perhaps Superman can and could just walk into Cadmus and knock the walls down. But the Justice League isn’t an army. It isn’t made up of depersonalized minds that can label lives as mere collateral damage. That protects by destroying.

It’s made up of the ideal. Of people, in all the permutations of the word, who when given a criminal order, will disobey. Who will give every last breath to protect.

And I don’t know, but there was just something about when Sir. Justin lost his helm that really struck me visually. The transformation from a knight to a young man. A brave boy who fought ogres, but is still not all that old. A lamb. In blond disarray and broken on the ground.

Protected in the end not by guns or explosions, but by an old woman. It would have been easy to make her Martian Manhunter in disguise, but instead, she’s nameless. Old. Small and weak. Human. Heroic.

 
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