Sunday, December 02, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of December 3rd, 2007)

Last night I was A Bit Ill, and unfortunately, Gentle Reader, this has been Quite the Usual Case this past semester. But one great advantage of feeling ill is the self-permission to lie down in bed and read. Not a Room of One's Own, per se (gratitude, Ms. Woolf), but it does allow one to let herself go, just for a moment.

So This Humble Author decided to read some graphic novels scooped up from the library, and on the docket were Iron Man: Director of Shield, Moon Knight vol 1: The Bottom, and the graphic novel version of Gaiman's and Avary's Beowulf. Beowulf and Iron Man are, of course, Quite Familiar to This Humble Author, but not so much Moon Knight. I was surprised and a bit pleased by the foray into Marvel Comic's answer to The Batman Question.

Ultimately, what I enjoyed most was the introduction (to me, at least) and what I can only assume for familiar readers, reintroduction to a rather varied and interesting cast of characters. Marc Spector is a man driven half-mad over his god's abandonment of him. He finds himself alone, seemingly abandoned by all those who love him and who he loves: namely, best friend Jean-Paul and girlfriend Marlene.

What he discovers in the end is that if one has friends, one is not alone. And Marc does have friends, two of them, who despite the horrors he has put them through (horrors unknown to This Humble Author who is Rather New to This Storyline), trust him, and help him.

Help, and trust. Trust becomes the most important piece of humanity in this work, as is revealed when Jean-Paul's partner--and therefore his sexuality--is introduced to Marc. Marc tells Jean-Paul, "You should have told me," to which Jean-Paul responds, "C'est merde, Marc. I did. [...] Every day. I told you with my trust. With my life. With the hundreds of times I risked my life for you. For your cause. Your... god."

Ultimately, this is a book not about the hero but about those with whom the hero surrounds himself. The ones caught in the crossfire. The ones who, like Jean Paul, lose parts of themselves in sacrifice to the larger quest. The ones who, like Marlene, love the heroes enough to tell them the truth, even when it hurts. Even when it wounds. She tells Marc, "We sacrificed everything for you! We gave up our lives for yours. But when it got hard? You quit." The hero quits, and it is those left behind who must pick up the pieces. Marlene, despite the fact that she and Marc are no longer dating, despite the fact that she tells him, at the end, "I like my life. I don't want to go back all that--" she loves, and helps, and trusts.

Ultimately, Gentle Reader, this is a book about the evolution not of a hero but of the hero's life, separate, perhaps, from the hero himself. Marc finds not that his life has changed suddenly, but that his life has been different, always different, from what he perceived it to be. And that is, in the end, an excellent way to reintroduce characters to familiar readers, and to introduce, for the first time, characters to a new reader such as This Humble Author.

This is a Dark Little Offering from Mr. Huston and Mr. Finch, and by the end, I found myself Quite Intrigued by the complicated and rich storyline. In particular, I found the complexity of the minor secondary characters, Marlene and Jean-Paul, to be Utterly Fascinating.

Now, however, I must return to Work, Work, Work, as it is That Time Of The Semester. Which means, of course, grading, writing, dissertating, and reading, always reading. But We Reads do have lovely plans for the future, including holiday trips and shopping and Much Festive Making, particularly for This Humble Author's 31st birthday celebration next week. Let us hope it is better than last year's, which saw This Humble Author felled by a nasty virus!

And yourselves, Gentlest and Most Constant of Readers? Any plans for the winter festivities to come?


Fanboy said...

Enjoy the 31st bday. Good luck with that grading too. Turns out that a woman I work with is from the same town as where you live. She spoke well of it. Never read Moon Knight myself. Perhaps I'll try and ILL it since our library doesn't carry it. I just picked up the GN's Goldfish and Fortune and Glory (both by Bendis) and Shooting War, all 3 of which look promising. I'm babbling now. Have a great week.

M said...

Hey!! I'm excited about your birthday--we should have lunch! On a different note, I've tagged you for a meme, so get to work!