hannah: (Castiel - poptartmuse)
hannah ([personal profile] hannah) wrote2017-04-18 07:58 pm

Putting it down here.

Of all the media coming out in 2017, one of the pieces I'm most excited comes out tomorrow. Astro City #43, the long-promised origin story of The Gentleman. For those of you who haven't heard of the series, you're lucky you get to read it for the first time. It's a fun and delightful take on superheros that understands there's a lot of joy to be had in stories with those sorts of characters, and wants everyone to have a good time. It's full of light and color, and while there's shadows and sorrow, people earn their happy endings.

One of the greatest things about it is that it's a single universe, told with limited narration for each point-of-view character, which means there's always something more just waiting to be learned.

Which is why I'm so excited for The Gentleman, because I've got a theory I've been waiting months to find out about one way or another. I wouldn't even mind being proved wrong, because I'll know why I didn't get it right.

For context, The Gentleman is: A powerful, immaculate, apparently non-aging, and unfailingly-polite tuxedo-clad hero. He has a charming personality, displaying wholesome, old fashioned sensibilities, and extremely good manners. In short, a perfect Gentleman. Supplementary material mentions he supports children's humanitarian charities including UNICEF and the March of Dimes.

The series loves playing with tropes and archetypes, and his is DC's Captain Marvel - the story of which is a young child who, when they say a magic word, is transformed into a majestic superhero.

Personally, I don't think he's a young child who turns into a superhero. I think he's a young child's imaginary friend brought to life. He's very much what a scared, frightened child would imagine as a great, grand protector: someone unflappable, magical, strong and kind, who wears a tuxedo and can fly.

During the Confessor's story arc, when all the superheroes were rounded up or driven out of Astro City, the only ones who escaped were the Confessor, who's a vampire, the Hanged Man, who's a semi-human eldrich abomination, and also The Gentleman. This points to his powers coming from the magical side of things. The Captain Marvel archetype points to a direct connection with a young child. In the world of Astro City, stranger things have happened than a child's imaginary friend coming to life. And maybe the child doesn't need them anymore, or maybe they outlived the child. And it's very much in the vein of the comic to ask "what happens to the imaginary friends?" and answer "they fight crime and save the world."

The seven-page preview supports some of this. I called the direct child connection months ago, in another conversation with a friend. But as for the rest of it, I'm about sick I have to wait until tomorrow.

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