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Excersus CVIX: Consider the Liliths


There has been all manner of cleverness employed to try and make Genesis seem like one continuous account rather than the patchwork doll comprised of several different stories that it almost certainly is. The literary calisthenics on this are impressive, but not remotely convincing. Here is a pretty representative example, where everything makes sense as long as you are allowed to say that God starts off relating events in a normal narrative order, then starts on another story, then remembers something that he wanted to tell you before, switches dialect, starts to tell that story over again with more detail, except changing the order of things here and there, and then switches dialect back to the first one to pick up the first story exactly where he left it off, forgetting Everything He Just Said In the Second Story. Because apparently it is more comfortable to think of God as quasi-schizophrenic than it is to admit that a couple of guys were working on this thing and some poor bastard did the best he could to stitch them together into a whole cohesive story without leaving either account out.

In other news, I wanted to talk a bit about Archer and Armstrong, a relaunch of an old Valiant comic that I never read in its original run. The Death of Comics turned me on to it, and after the first issue I was convinced that this is something that you all would love, but wanted to wait to see if it kept up its promise in the second issue before gushing about it too much. I now stand prepared to gush with all due confidence. Archer was raised in a Biblical Theme Park as an arch assassin. Armstrong is a well-nigh invulnerable 10,000 year old alcoholic with a weakness for strippers. What we have in Armstrong is a living Long Perspective on the growth and development of religion - its fickle tendencies towards en vogue beliefs that come and go in a relative flash, leaving behind what is actually important- humanity, the pleasure of being a flawed being very much in the world. If the philosopher Richard Rorty had written a superhero, Armstrong would have been it - somebody who has worked past epistemology, theology, and ontology to get down to What Makes Life Good. Archer is the perfect foil - a young fellow who has been twisted by his parents into ignoring his basic nature in favor of dogmatic purity. It will be interesting to see the development of the two, but in addition to that there is a larger framework which is equally delightful. Archer and Armstrong meet in the bowels of a secret society known as The One Percent, and that thread of over-the-top satire weaves its way through the whole setting of the book, pushing at the boundaries of how messed up we believe the controllers of our world destiny to be. This could all devolve into pure silliness, the suspension of disbelief broken by topical political reference, but van Lente is excellent at balancing the heft of the characters and their personal drama with the lighter veins of contemporary satire so that, in the end, there is something for everybody, and everything for a few. There are a lot of great new comic series out there - Saga, Fatale, Avengers Academy (about three years now, but still), Hawkeye (no, really, it's pretty awesome), but this is the first one in a long time that has made me feel that a month's wait between issues is impossibly long. In short, if you like The Vocate, you'll love A & A. Pick it up, and after you've given it a read, tell me what you think over on The Twitters!

- Count Dolby von Luckner