Featuring more murder, more heels, and a fresh helping of racism. Objecting to any of this means you are literally Hitler.
We open this issue with our wonderful hero in the freaky white void that is future prison, because neither the writer nor the artist understood that this effect is only impressive when it’s a movie with real people standing in the void and not when it’s a comic book and accomplished by just failing to draw a background.
We learn that the future has reverse three laws of robotics that are all about how humans must not harm and must obey robots, and must prioritize both over their own safety. Considering we’re seen no sign robots want to hurt humans and at least one human who wants to hurt robots, having “protect yourself” as third priority doesn’t really come off as big a deal as it should. If anything it just reminds me of how much the traditional rules hurt robots.
See, like most comics, this is not a progressive book. Humans > robots. We’re told the main character lived in a wonderful community of equality, but we’re also told the humans owned the robots and we only see robots serving humans. When he came out of the fantasy and ran into the street to see robots rather than people, he freaked out. When the lesser robotic race dared lay hands upon him, he tore them to bits.
So this is not a clever way of pointing out that the three laws are a horrible thing for any creature to be forced, requiring not only that you sacrifice your life to protect another species from injury but that you kill yourself at their order. It’s simply saying how horrible it is that humans are the underclass now. (And unlike robots, the laws are just laws, with the option of disobeying and appealing them later, while an Asmov robot was forced to obey them. The one time a robot found itself in a position where it had no action that wouldn’t cause some form of minor harm to a human, its mind broke, effectively killing it – and this was done to it deliberately by a human because she was angry it had lied to her, when it had no choice in the matter due to those same laws.)
Perhaps realizing this is a weak argument against the current system, the next page shows another robot being accused of possessing “hereti-code”, get it get it do you get it it’s heretic code because the robots have religion but it’s robot religion. It’s then torn apart, because the government is evil. For some reason this offends the guy who spent last issue tearing robots apart, probably because the writer feels mass murder is acceptable only when mildly provoked first.
The very violence we see happening to the innocent robot serves only to hammer in that they’re lesser, because a comic would not casually rip random prisoners limb from limb to prove that this is mildly evil.
(Which is not to say comics wouldn’t have this happen to humans at all. Just that they’d linger on how incredibly horrible it is and maybe throw up two or three splash pages worth of gore, rather than it just happening.)
Then Magnus is hauled off for an interrogation headed by that terrible ice queen bitch who unreasonably shot him over all that murder.
She’s a strong female character! Look at how strong those pointy breasts are.
And the author may well honestly think that because by comic standards, she dresses like a frumpy grandma. Look at that pose! it’s probably humanly possible to bend your spine like that, especially if you keep a grip on something to avoid falling over, as she has. She definitely possesses vertebra and most of them aren’t even dislocated!
I’m not sure what to make of this bit. My best guess is it’s sincere and a matter of him feeling a personal connection to this particular issue that makes him think it’s a valid complaint, while every complaint other people have is PC police bullshit because it doesn’t offend him personally. Another possibility is he just doesn’t have much attachment to using “retard” so it’s no loss, and is throwing this in to have something to point to later for how much he does for you people and how dare you criticize him as being insensitive to the blacks and the females.
And this would be so much better in the non-Comics comic of this, which ends several pages earlier with him being arrested by the first robots.
We learn that friendly robot overmind watching you have sex is considered a bad guy by Strong Female Character, who shows us pictures of previous robot fighters murdering presumably innocent robots while screaming they want their life back. This time it’s a black teenage girl, so it’s less obnoxious than when he did it. Interestingly, he recognizes her as an older version of one of the students he was teaching, Sarah, despite the fact she was running around this city before he even woke up. While it was obvious he was in a simulation, this confirms that it wasn’t a shared simulation. Instead, it seems like the overmind uses the appearance of people it raised to populate the town for the next person.
But there’s something even more interesting here – Sarah is apparently reacting just like he did, so while what we saw of his waking up suggested he was sent out early and without the full explanation, apparently that’s how they all get sent out. My guess is it simply keeps them in the happy simulation until it’s found, then dumps them with its standard “I’m so sorry I meant to explain but there’s no time now so all I can say is if you fight you can get it back.”
So I’m going to have to go with the terrible unfair ice queen bitch yet again on this. Regardless of what he says, the fact his chosen method is to release confused killers who tear apart dozens of whoever happens to be nearby suggests he’s just in it for the terrorism.
And here we see why it’s so especially disgusting this is getting tied to Frederick Douglass. The man is a racist. Upon seeing that people like him are regularly sent out to tear other people limb from screaming limb, his response is how dare she side with the robots – and her response is not “wtf you murdered two dozen people in a fucking temper tantrum, are you saying only human life has any value to you you bigoted monster?” it’s “but robots make better decisions than humans i love being a slave that is my only objection to murder!” because that is this comic.
Gee, Farla, you might be saying. Maybe that’s slightly excessive. The writer can’t possibly mean this. I mean it’s not like he’s actually
So yes. Failing to support a white man being allowed to do whatever he wanted down to killing lots of people with no consequence by virtue of who he is is exactly like a black slave supporting his white masters being allowed to do whatever they wanted down to killing lots of people with no consequence.
Can it get better from here? In terms of a more racist way to appropriate anti-racism thought, no, what’s coming is your more standard racist stuff. But in terms of much of a monster our main character can be?
In that, we have not even begun to plumb the depths.
As he’s brought back to his cell, he realizes that what he thought was the machines telling him everything they were doing is actually him somehow having a superpower to hear internal transmissions. And he also has the power to edit those. He immediately tries telling them that he’s an exception to the cameras and turns invisible. Now he can escape!
Or he could not escape and terrorize them instead.
It’s not just that he’s chosen to kill them for no reason here. That’s just your standard comics awfulness. No, Magnus works hard at this, making sure to turn off his own invisibility so they can spent that last instant knowing the blow was coming. To make sure they suffer.
But back to the non-fantastic racism. A robot labeled H8 then calls out for help, as it’s about to be dismantled, because for some reason the dismantling arms are still focused on imprisoned robots and not the guy smashing robots’ heads in.
I was not kidding about this.
What’s possibly the best thing about this scene is the robot being surprised a human would bother saving it. All “good” robots in this know their place as inferiors to man.
This is a supposedly integrated society that happens to have robots on top. Our main character has not said anything about thinking humans are better than robots in this robot’s hearing, he’s just attacked the guards imprisoning them both. Under those circumstances, this robot thinks it’s unlikely a human would help it.
And here’s the bit about how if you have a problem with the author writing a jive-talking robot sidekick for Mr. Aryan here, you’re part of the PC-police who hate black people and want to murder them for not conforming to how you want them to speak!
Believe it or not, this comes up all the time in comics. It’s more commonly used as a defense for the women’s outfits, where they ask how dare we object to how a woman chooses to dress! If she feels this is empowering, who are you to argue? YOU’RE THE REAL SEXIST FOR SAYING WOMEN SHOULDN’T DRESS HOW THEY WANT! And that’s why Powergirl is a) called a girl despite clearly being an adult woman and b) wears a spandex outfit missing most of its front.
And while I know it’s hard to get around the boobs that are clearly the point of that image, you’ll also see Powergirl here, like so many women in comics, has also decided the standard bathing suit was far too modest and went with the crotch strap that makes it clear that yes, she waxed today, just for you! Because that is what strong women choose to do.
(Incidentally, notice how very blonde she is? We will shortly see how race determines which woman is best and therefore should be given to the hero.)
We’re not done with today’s appropriation, through. Yes, Mr. Aryan keeps saying his life is exactly like a black slave’s, but he can do more.
This isn’t even particularly accurate – I think the author’s getting a bit mixed in with Japan, which just flat-out banned people from having weapons. Chinese martial arts were practised by people across society and generally were integrated with weapons. Also, Chinese peasants used swords all over the place and it’s generally impossible to keep your peasantry from having anything at all they can kill people with because of the overlap with farm tools.
Now, cultural appropriation is a tricky subject. Luckily, we don’t need to debate if it’s really wrong to have a white guy using Chinese martial arts, because the comic thoughtfully went on to appropriate the context and struggle too.
(But for the record, if comics, then yes. While all Asians in comics know martial arts, because racism, the superheroes best at martial arts are white guys, because racism.)
I sincerely hope he means day one of martial arts rather than human struggles in general, because that’s only wrong as opposed to creationist-level insane.
Robot overmind goes on to conclude that flesh always beats steel, as shown precisely never in all human history.
Anyway after this inspiring flashback explaining that somehow martial arts beat robots, he murders the dozen robots standing between him and the book he found upon waking up that he thinks proves he’s not crazy, despite no one so far suggesting there’s been any revising of history. Anyway, that’s worth murdering people for. Also, he could’ve just gone invisible and gotten it without killing anyone.
Hey look, I was wrong, I’ve managed to find another panel with more than one woman in it! I think. I’m not being sarcastic when I say I’m actually pleased to find this. They don’t speak or anything, but for comics, women as background ominous evil darkness council people is actually very progressive. I think there’s also an actual black guy there, who, since he doesn’t get to speak, isn’t saying anything offensive, and everyone’s wearing the same outfit, so this is possibly the best panel in the series.
Oh no, now they’ll…do what he’s been doing to them for two issues straight as opposed to trying to humanely capture him.
Also, it’s really important you see her legs here. And also how the artist has totally taken into consideration complaints about the high heels. Now she’s wearing high heel platform shoes instead, because she is a Strong Female Character who wears what SHE wants to wear.
You can tell she’s a strong female character by the fact she’s able to balance on those shoes while walking with her legs demurely together. That part’s extremely important – it conveys the vital information that although she’s assertive, she’s also a pure untouched flower worthy of being your girlfriend. And that, I think we can agree, is absolutely vital information to develop her character.