Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Gospel according to a Nerd: Part 3

This nerdy thing is working pretty well. I enjoy writing it, and it seems that people enjoy reading it, so I'll continue. I'd say, of all the nerdy things I'm into, my main focus would be comic books (I have been called a movie nerd, which is a big focus as well... and a literary nerd... we'll get to those later.) Comic books are awesome. I love them. They portray amazing stories with (most of the time) awesome artwork that just add so much depth. I love that they come out in segments, leaving cliffhanger endings, constantly leaving you wanting more. Whether you do just the single issue, where you have to wait a month for the next installment, or go through the finished works and get the compiled graphic novel every two weeks when you get paid again (like I did), there's always that longing and anticipation, wondering what becomes of your hero in the next issue! Often the ending left the characters in a perilous situation, and you're wondering how they could possibly get out, or they're in good circumstances, but that obviously can't last long.
If I were to make a top three list of favorite comic book series, it would be: 1) Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, 2) Watchmen by Alan Moore, and 3) Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan. They're all so original, and exciting. They keep you hooked throughout, and Watchmen is a classic, even earning a spot on Time's All Time 100 Novels.
Y: The Last Man: The story follows Yorick Brown who has, for some reason, become the last living male. Him and his monkey, Ampersand (the last living male non-human), team up with Agent 355, from a secret government organization meant to protect the President, and Dr. Allison Mann, the world's leading geneticist (even before all the male competition was wiped out) to find out what caused this, and see if they can't fix it. Along the way, they run into lots of problems, including the Daughters of the Amazon, a group of women headed by Victoria Waverly who are happy all the men are gone, because they viewed them as evil, and Tse'elon, a gun toting leader of the Israeli Army who wants Yorick for the salvation of Israel. The trio first proceed to Dr. Mann's lab in Boston, only to find it destroyed, but Dr. Mann is a good scientist, she naturally has backups to everything, they're just in her other lab... in California. All the while, Yorick is worried about his girlfriend, Beth, who is in Australia. He just wants to reunite with her, Dr. Mann wants to bring back mankind, and Agent 355 just wants to make sure Yorick doesn't die.
Watchmen: This is a classic. I'm sure most of you have heard of it (at least from the movie). The Watchmen was an organization of superheroes, comprising of The Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II, The Comedian, Rorschach, Ozymandius, and Dr. Manhattan, who were just trying to do their job. However, public unrest forced most into retirement. Dr. Manhattan and The Comedian started working for the government, Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II just blend in with society, but Rorschach still dons the costume and fights crime, vigilante style. The story starts with an investigation into the murder of Eddie Blake, soon discovered to be The Comedian. Rorschach starts his own investigation, which leads him down the rabbit hole to a huge plot that involves the death of millions. But is it for the greater good? He enlists the help of Dr. Manhattan, who is carrying on a relationship with Silk Spectre, and Nite Owl, and they eventually get to the bottom of it all... but is the plan really that bad?
Ex Machina: Mitchell Hundred is a civil engineer who's called in to take a look at the Brooklyn Bridge because of a strange green glow coming from it. The green glow ends up, literally, exploding in his face. He's left with strange scars on his face, as well as the ability to communicate with technology. He uses this to create new technology, like a jet pack and strange laser gun thing, and become The Great Machine. However, he soon realizes that he's hurting more than helping, and retires. He sets his sights higher, then, and decides to run for Mayor of New York under the Independent ticket. As part, he reveals his identity. Shortly after, on the morning of September 11, 2001, he's asked to don the Great Machine once more. He saves the second tower, and as such is elected in a landslide. Now, strange things are happening (naturally), including the re-emergence of his former nemesis, and strange hieroglyphics in the subways that are causing people to die.
All of these are fantastic stories that follow the same basic outline: Good vs. Evil. There is a definite line between the villains and the heroes. You root for the heroes, and boo the villains. As the fight continues, and the evil side seems to strengthen, and it seems like all is lost for the good guys, suddenly something amazing happens. Someone shows up at just the right time, or the hero does something crazy that works out, or something fantastic happens, and they come out okay! The world is in this battle of Good vs. Evil. There is Good, Christ and his followers, guided by a prophet and knowing who they are and what they stand for, clad with the whole armor of God. There is Evil, Satan and his followers, temptation, and wickedness. Bad things that people reason into acceptable, and follow their vices, regardless of the repercussions. We see the path, we have the Iron Rod to guide us, and the Spirit, but sometimes it seems easier to step off the path. Sometimes, it seems like we're left abandoned, our friends aren't there to save us. We're alone, trapped in this place, surrounded by the enemy. How can we possibly get out? But there's hope. At the last second, someone swoops in and saves us! Jesus Christ, our Savior, is always going to help us. It may be right away, where the battle was no problem, or it might be at the last second, just when we think all is lost. No matter when it may be, it will come. He wants to help us. He wants us to win. He wants our story to have a happy ending. Good guys win, bad guys lose. And as always, the Lord prevails.

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