Sunday, 21 February 2016

A Comics Cosmic Conflict

For a change of pace from prose fiction, I am rereading The Ultimates: Vol 2, Homeland Security (New York, 2004)  by Mark Millar (writer) and Bryan Hitch (penciler).

However, Poul Anderson fans will recognize one of Anderson's basic themes when a shape-changing alien explains his plans to a captured super-heroine. (Villains rarely learn that they explain their plans to a prisoner so that that prisoner can then escape and thwart those plans.)

Herr Kleiser: It was never in our interests to eradicate life, just to cure you of this independent thought problem. Picture the universe as a living, breathing organism and you will appreciate the importance of its many moving parts all working in synchronicity with one another. This malfunction, or free will as you might call it, disrupts the entire body and it's our function to repair these areas before the problem spreads.

Janet Pym/The Wasp (miniaturized, naked and enclosed in a test tube): You mean this isn't just happening here?

Kleiser: Oh no, we've been secreted into trouble spots from the top of the universe to its southernmost tip, Mrs. Pym. We've been doing this since the dawn of time.
What you saw during World War Two when we first made an effort to bring order to the Earth was just a microcosm of what's been happening all across the galaxy. But this isn't war, you understand. The procedure against some isolated cells is nothing more than a simple biological function...
...We're really nothing more than the universe's immune system.

How many of Poul Anderson's human or post-human characters regard human freedom as mere disruption of what would otherwise be perfectly orderly systems? And does any of his heroes not value freedom above everything else?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The sophotects in the HARVEST OF STARS books and the super AI's we see in GENESIS comes to mind. In the first humanity tore apart the smothering cocoon of meaningless luxury to break out into the galaxy. In the second the human race chose to die out if that was the only way to exercise autonomy (and Gaia later brought mankind back using stored DNA).

And we see the Terran Empire stubbornly resisting Merseia rather than having humans and their friends become the pets or slaves of Merseians.