Date: 2017-02-20 12:27 am (UTC)
reveen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reveen
Aw, yeah. This is an awesome character you have here. The antagonist gives an interesting and in depth critique of Nixon era America foreign policy and domestic politics and is trying to manipulate America's flaws so he can save his country, and the protagonists say fucking NOTHING in response to this and growl about how much it would suck if the war ended. It's not even like they're having their minds blown open like Captain Walker or Solid Snake, theyre already cynical, they just don't give a shit.

I actually think that Garth Ennis is capable of great insight and intelligent themes, but he admires cynical, gun totng angryman action heroes way too much to make good use of it. Trying to have some grand deconstruction of American adventurism is a waste of time because the guy who should have his entire worldview shattered over the course of the series is a cynical angry monolith from the start.

Date: 2017-02-20 01:14 am (UTC)
stolisomancer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stolisomancer
It's not much of a deconstruction. You're mistaking one trope for another.

This shows up in a couple of different books by Ennis as well: the character who is so well-suited to war or conflict, for whatever reason, that to do otherwise is intolerable. Castle is the best-known example, but Fury's up there ("...any war will do."), as is Billy Butcher from The Boys.

There's no real admiration for them in the text. They're capable of being compelling protagonists, even when they're antiheroes or outright villains, but the point of the text has always been that these people are broken. They regard peacetime as a greater personal threat than war.

Date: 2017-02-20 02:14 pm (UTC)
leoboiko: (Default)
From: [personal profile] leoboiko
Ennis portray his war-loving manly men in a critical lens, yes, but overall it still comes off admiringly to me. They're broken, but the way this brokenness is described makes it sound eulogizing, imo; the psychological equivalent of an hero's war scars.

I wish Ennis would write an anti-war story whose protagonist is a pacifist, humanist, pro-human-rights social worker—portrayed positively, not as an ineffectual naïf who, at the end of th day, still needs the backing of the murderous-machoes.

Date: 2017-02-20 03:54 pm (UTC)
stolisomancer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stolisomancer
He did that with Jen Cooke in "The Slavers." She's doing more actual good than Castle at the end of the day, even if she made one bad decision before the story started, and Castle himself admits it.

Ennis finds a lot of stories with characters like this, but part of what he writes about has always been how they're broken and abused. There's really nothing admiring in a portrayal of a character who can only function on a battlefield. Fury's miserable everywhere else, throws away the one real relationship he has, doesn't seem to have any friends; Castle's life is an utter misery aside from murder; the narrator of his Dreaming Eagles spends the rest of his life trying to avoid talking about the war he was in; the title character of Johnny Red is utterly screwed over by both his superiors and the enemy.

Date: 2017-02-20 08:32 pm (UTC)
lamashtar: Shun the nonbelievers! Shun-na! (Default)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
It sounds like you're buying the flawed premise. The antagonist says one thing, but its the rationale of the dictator.

As for Fury and Castle, a cliffhanger is too soon to judge IMO.
From: [personal profile] chortles81
And thus they can't veer too far from where they were in Frank's book, unless for you the lost opportunity is in the seeming lack of a journey because they're already at what seemed to be the destination?
reveen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reveen
This is precisely the core problem that I was having trouble putting into words as a follow up. The story of Punisher and Nick Fury MAX is kind of static, because Nick Fury starts as an embittered, cynical soldier and ends it as a slightly more embittered cynical soldier, Frank Castle starts as a cold, mechanical killing machine long, long before he became the Punisher. The concept that Frank Castle was always the Punisher and the man who lost his family basically never existed is just boring to me.

It's weird and anti-story to me, these aren't men who became demons in a realistic fashion, these are monolithic pulp action heroes. And I guess the point is that these pulp action heroes would be horrid in real life, but it lacks the grounding that seeing actual people turn into monsters has. These are not characters who you could maybe see existing in real life, they're entirely fictional. And it's a waste when the subject matter involves very real and juicy issues like American adventurism and cold war geopolitics.

This is also the reason why I don't entirely buy that Ennis doesn't admire characters like this. Because if the point of the story is that "badass pulp action heroes would be horrible in real life" that's a relatively simple one and done kind of story, except Ennis writes about these sorts of characters all the time in the same way a writer would like writing about ninjas and pirates.
Edited Date: 2017-02-21 04:02 am (UTC)

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