Monday, April 16, 2012

From the Beginning

Murder is natural.
Murder was there from the beginning.
Murder is our first instinct.
Murder, for lack of a better term... good.
It makes us strong.
It makes us wise.
It makes us powerful.
 - The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #4
by Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore

Remember when I wrote before about how The Unwritten retold the story of Cain and Abel but twisted it so Cain was the victim/protagonist? A similar corruption of that mythology happens here in The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. Here, though, Cain isn't a victim. He is still the aggressor. But the aggressor is championed in this version.

At this point in the comic, the villain is giving a speech that would make Neitzsche proud. The super-powered villain proclaims that murder is natural for those strong enough to commit it. And those who can commit murder, should. Why not? They are the stronger ones and should exert their will as they please. Might makes right.

The beginning of this speech is said over the visuals of Cain infamously killing his brother. But, like in The Unwritten, their names or specific situation is never said. The visual clues clearly evoke the Genesis story and the reader is expected to make the connection. I must say, I do enjoy graphic literature's ability to visually allude to topics and themes without textually mentioning them.

Concerning the actual act of Cain murdering Abel, Genesis 4:8 reads,
Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. [NSRV]
It doesn't say much of anything about how exactly Abel was murdered. Both The Unwritten and Luther Strode depict Cain bashing Abel in the head with a rock, which makes sense. They probably didn't have too many tools or weapons if this story takes place so close to the beginning of human history. However, Abel would apparently have possessed some sort of weapon for killing his animal sacrifices. The depicted rock might indicated it was a crime of passion and Cain didn't fully plan out his actions.

Scripture remains silent on these details, so it's up to the reader/illustrator to interpret and possibly add some dramatic flair. When we read just the text, we probably gloss over it and refrain from picturing the event too vividly in our minds. But if it is visually represented on the page, we are immediately confronted with an interpretation of just how bloody the first murder could have been. This portion of the Bible may be pretty graphic.

Where's your "family friendly" Bible story now?

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