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 Post subject: Solar #3
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:58:40 pm 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
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I'm starting with 3 because it's the earliest Solar in my collection. Not because I'm weirdly arbitrary, although I can be that from time to time. Anywhoo...



We open with Solar apprehending a couple of criminals, destroying the living crap out of their car in the process and welding them inside. Then he lifts the car for no apparent reason, and puts it down when police arrive. Maybe I'm supposed to think that he was going to fly around with the car until he spotted some cops? If he really wanted to get ahold of the cops, couldn't he have broadcast on the same frequency their radios use?

Anyway, things degenerate when the cops show up and want to take Solar in to get his statement and go through some questioning. This seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but Solar is a superhero and can't be bothered with the legalistic ramifications of his actions. So he just flies away. Somebody's not going to impress Tony Stark and the Initiative :D

Next scene, Solar's talking to Dwight and Tammy, and establishes something funny for later on: That he can sneak through a window as ultraviolet light. He gets into his origin story a bit, and that gives me a little smile; splitting himself into ideal Solar and evil Phil Seleski strikes me as something of a precursor for the Sentry/Void relationship at Marvel. In the recap, he talks about a cataclysmic battle with Seleski [important later]. Then he whines about having no place in the world because the cops were less than perfectly thrilled with him. I guess he pictured superheroing as being way cooler, with no paperwork.

The superhero talk leads Tammy to bring up the Harbinger Foundation (phone number: 1-800-555-1337. Because Harada's so 1337?). On the phone, Solar is surprisingly self-aware and candid and reasonable. Foreshadowing? Then there's a short scene with Dwight, where Solar confesses that he's thought about dissipating himself. He's so emo! Lonely and out of place and no one understands...

The arrival at the Harbinger Foundation seems kind of odd; panels, in order: Flying to the Foundation, landing, getting directions in the lobby, riding the elevator, speaking to the receptionist, being greeted by the Director of Research, and then in the conference room with Kuramoto. Why is this odd? Because he's acting like a normal person, respecting normal procedures. Also, and this may just be me, but the sequence feels overly detailed -- why didn't they show him en route, or putting on his costume in the morning for example? They just feel unnecessary.

Now to the meat of the story. Kuramoto states the goal of the Harbinger Foundation as helping people "achieve their potential... and so help the world." Pretty noble, huh? Solar then uses his powers to "see" that the conference [and his demonstrations of power] is being recorded and wildly overreacts. I say wildly for several reasons:

1) The Harbinger Foundation manages Harbingers. Finding out what they do seems like a totally logical thing for them to do, hence recording devices and sensitive equipment.
2) He had previously informed the Harbinger people of what he had done to the criminals earlier in the issue. Is it so shocking that they might be worried about the potential damage that he could do?
3) Kuramoto basically described Harbinger as the good guys, and offered a reasonable explanation for the recording. Maybe it's a touch off-putting, but there's nothing really there to indicate that Harbinger isn't what he said it was.
4) Up until this point, Solar has been cooperative and reasonable and respectful of human conventions to the point that he rode the elevator rather than just barging in on some random floor to show off his sweet rainbow generation power.

But instead of talking things over, he /breaks/ through some one-way glass (remember the earlier reference to passing through a window?) and starts rifling through the Foundation's data. Kuramoto is still responding to Solar as a normal, rational person, but Solar is too busy trying to read data that is company property. A Harbinger destroys the disk to keep it from being read, so maybe something can be salvaged from this mess? No.

Solar is asked to calm down, but he takes offense at having a hand put on his shoulder and proceeds to attack - unprovoked - several Harbinger employees inside the Harbinger Foundation. Maybe we're stretching the definition of superhero, but I fail to see how that escalation is not entirely Solar's fault.

It gets more ridiculous when Solar teleports through a phone directly to Harada. Harada tells Solar that he's a danger to the world and, accordingly, tries to destroy him. Remember the Solar/Seleski confrontation? That makes the danger Solar represents reasonable. He /is/ dangerous. He /does not/ belong in this world. He thought of dissipating. But suddenly Solar accuses Harada of being a cold-blooded killer (I'm guessing because he tried to kill Solar, but again, cold-blooded hardly fits given that Harada gave a rational reason why Solar ought to be destroyed). Meanwhile, Solar is generating all kinds of heat and fire, which forces the plane to crash into a mountain.

Now, there were at least five people on that plane (four were pictured, including Harada, and the pilot), but it was Solar's actions that led to their deaths. For that, he is shockingly unremorseful; in fact, these deaths are not even mentioned by Solar. Apparently the noble superhero just doesn't care. With the kind of overreaction Solar displayed in this issue, he was showing exactly why Harada was right about him.



It's like the ideas are there, but the execution leaves something to be desired. Maybe it's just the difference in storytelling over the last decade or so, but this seemed overly simplistic in a kind of "ur the bad guy so im going 2 fight u b/c im teh good guy and i dont need a reason lol" way. I didn't read this looking to be so critical, but I just couldn't help it. With that in mind, I didn't comment on the last scene with Erica Pierce because I couldn't find anything to complain about.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:47:37 am 
We clutch at lies 'n pray they’re truths
We clutch at lies 'n pray they’re truths
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Good discussion. You should also check out this thread:

http://valiantfans.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8515

:thumb:


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:47:49 am 
...remember that they are just paper.
...remember that they are just paper.
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BloodOfHeroes wrote:
Good discussion. You should also check out this thread:

http://valiantfans.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8515

:thumb:


Thanks for posting the link BOH


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:02:34 am 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei

Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:41:06 am
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Heh. That's what I get for not using the search feature.

But reading the earlier thread... Am I being too harsh here? I mean, sure, the spirit of a story is important, but it's also important to have the details gel well too, isn't it? I just didn't get that here.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:47:14 am 
Here I am, happy as a clam
Here I am, happy as a clam
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Pre-Unity, for all its glory, has a few spots where it creaks, but you know, I think that the good far outweighs the bad. For every "off" scene you get at least 6 "great" ones.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:09:48 pm 
We clutch at lies 'n pray they’re truths
We clutch at lies 'n pray they’re truths
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:14:36 pm
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In spite of some opinions expressed by members past, present (& perhaps future), Pre-Unity was not without its own continuity "issues." As the universe grew and continuity got more complex, the "issues" were easier to spot, granted.

Now, having said that, Pre-Unity, although Bloodshot-less, was, IMO, VERY well-done.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:38:22 pm 
I do embrace my inner geekdom
I do embrace my inner geekdom
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Solitude wrote:
Heh. That's what I get for not using the search feature.

But reading the earlier thread... Am I being too harsh here? I mean, sure, the spirit of a story is important, but it's also important to have the details gel well too, isn't it? I just didn't get that here.
might be because you are reading it out of order and context...there were things that came before that were quite important to the tale.


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 Post subject: Re: Solar #3
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:59:52 pm 
Turok #12 is the 1st appearance of Turok
Turok #12 is the 1st appearance of Turok
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Solitude wrote:
The superhero talk leads Tammy to bring up the Harbinger Foundation (phone number: 1-800-555-1337. Because Harada's so 1337?).


what does this mean?

Quote:
The arrival at the Harbinger Foundation seems kind of odd; panels, in order: Flying to the Foundation, landing, getting directions in the lobby, riding the elevator, speaking to the receptionist, being greeted by the Director of Research, and then in the conference room with Kuramoto. Why is this odd? Because he's acting like a normal person, respecting normal procedures. Also, and this may just be me, but the sequence feels overly detailed -- why didn't they show him en route, or putting on his costume in the morning for example? They just feel unnecessary.

remember, the point was always to show how these heroes ARE normal people. later we see phil "sleeping" in bed with gayle, and eating and doing other stuff, so that he could be "normal". the pacing of the story, i believe is purposeful. the same way that moore set us up in killing joke..."oh i'm just gonna get the door, it's my friend and we're going to go to yoga glass...."bam!"
Quote:
1) The Harbinger Foundation manages Harbingers. Finding out what they do seems like a totally logical thing for them to do, hence recording devices and sensitive equipment.

remember when this was written. in 1991 we did not have the same sort of surveillance that we do today. we are more accepting of the security that we have today, and the invasion that it represents. in 1991, most people would be creeped out by secret recording.
Quote:
3) Kuramoto basically described Harbinger as the good guys, and offered a reasonable explanation for the recording. Maybe it's a touch off-putting, but there's nothing really there to indicate that Harbinger isn't what he said it was.
Harada always describes his efforts this way.

4) Up until this point, Solar has been cooperative and reasonable and respectful of human conventions to the point that he rode the elevator rather than just barging in on some random floor to show off his sweet rainbow generation power.

But instead of talking things over, he /breaks/ through some one-way glass (remember the earlier reference to passing through a window?) and starts rifling through the Foundation's data. Kuramoto is still responding to Solar as a normal, rational person, but Solar is too busy trying to read data that is company property. A Harbinger destroys the disk to keep it from being read, so maybe something can be salvaged from this mess?

he no longer trusts them, and wants to find out the truth for himself. THEY destroy evidence rather than allow him to discover the truth. why wouldn't that alarm you, or any rational person?
Quote:
Solar is asked to calm down, but he takes offense at having a hand put on his shoulder and proceeds to attack - unprovoked - several Harbinger employees inside the Harbinger Foundation. Maybe we're stretching the definition of superhero, but I fail to see how that escalation is not entirely Solar's fault.

dude, don't put your hands on someboday when you're trying to calm things down.
Quote:
It gets more ridiculous when Solar teleports through a phone directly to Harada. Harada tells Solar that he's a danger to the world and, accordingly, tries to destroy him. Remember the Solar/Seleski confrontation? That makes the danger Solar represents reasonable. He /is/ dangerous. He /does not/ belong in this world. He thought of dissipating. But suddenly Solar accuses Harada of being a cold-blooded killer (I'm guessing because he tried to kill Solar, but again, cold-blooded hardly fits given that Harada gave a rational reason why Solar ought to be destroyed). Meanwhile, Solar is generating all kinds of heat and fire, which forces the plane to crash into a mountain.

Now, there were at least five people on that plane (four were pictured, including Harada, and the pilot), but it was Solar's actions that led to their deaths. For that, he is shockingly unremorseful; in fact, these deaths are not even mentioned by Solar. Apparently the noble superhero just doesn't care. With the kind of overreaction Solar displayed in this issue, he was showing exactly why Harada was right about him.

the rest of this story is in harbinger files #1.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:28:26 pm 
I'm Chiclo. My strong Dongs paid off well.
I'm Chiclo.  My strong Dongs paid off well.
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1337 is computer speak. It is said as "leet" and seems to be a corruption of "elite".

Basically, it's a way for dorks to signal one another to reveal themselves. Like a Mason ring, but Masons get laid.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:14:57 am 
Turok #12 is the 1st appearance of Turok
Turok #12 is the 1st appearance of Turok
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very punny. :wink:

that is pretty cool then, if it was intentional, which it probably was. harada of course is elite, and considers himself to be so.

is solitude still active?

seems like a deep thinker, and it's always fun to talk a little more in depth about these books. :thumb:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:29:11 am 
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei
Harbinger rank: Ichinensei

Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:41:06 am
Posts: 28
I'm around, but I don't check in regularly. To address your points:


What I was getting at is that Solar was only acting normal when it was convenient. The second things didn't go the way he liked, he didn't hesitate to abuse his powers. The impression I got was that he went to Harbinger to get some guidance or insight or something... and when he got there his attitude was totally different.

It follows from his reaction to the police; did he think citizens who apprehend criminals don't get questioned? Don't have to give statements? He's committed to normalcy to the point that he eats and sleeps, but anything that bothers him, well, that's a thing he can just gloss over. I suppose that for someone with his power that /is/ normal, but it's also troubling how easily he drops the pretense.

Another thing was that I found his use of power to be unnecessarily showy and destructive -- presumably he could have gone through the window without breaking it, but he chose not to. As if he was letting everyone know "I'm a god. I'm going to do whatever I want because no one can stop me."

The surveillance thing... It's not like he was out in the street being watched. He more or less told them what he was capable of when he called Harbinger, and he had some idea of what Harbinger was about. Given that he knew Harbinger dealt with what could be described as human WMDs, and that he was certainly aware that he fit that description better than anyone, surveillance does not seem unreasonable. If I'm going to be around someone who can weld things together with his mind, I'd be surprised if he was surprised if I wanted someone keeping tabs on our conversation.

Destroying evidence... What Solar is not considering is that he is a total unknown to Harbinger at this point. They have no reason to trust him, and as a ridiculously powerful being who is a wildcard, everything he does is suspect. As far as I know, we never found out what was on that disc, but let's do some speculation... It was a list of Harbingers -- Maybe Solar intended to kill potential recruits, or maybe he derived his power from somehow absorbing Harbingers. It contained detailed financial records -- Maybe Solar was some kind of government or rival operative (Hardcorps?) sent to find out what projects Harbinger was working on, what they were spending the most on so they could develop countermeasures. The point is, there are non-sinister reasons why they wouldn't want the outsider accessing their data. Besides that, I find it hard to believe that Harada would have a record of anything illegal or shady somewhere close to where potential new recruits (eg Solar) were interviewed, just as a security precaution.

If there was something incriminating on the disc, you'd think that he would have said something about it; "My God, what kind of animals are you?!" For lack of a statement, I have to think that whatever he read was inconclusive. So at that point, being escorted out of the building is almost a charitable reaction on the part of the Harbinger people -- he's been directly and indirectly responsible for destruction of company property, and he has absolutely no proof that they've done anything wrong. They've done nothing obviously illegal, they've simply done things that he doesn't like, and like a child, he has to have things his way.


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