Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 45

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Since my villains list thus far has consisted of Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, and Victoria Hand (with a brief aside on Norman Osborn), I think it’s safe to say that this exercise is somewhat self-indulgent. In that vein, I’d like to talk about Chaplain Action, He-Man of the Cloth!

Chaplain Action, He-Manof the Cloth appeared in The Authority arc “Transfer of Power,” where the original team was presumed dead/murdered and a government-sponsored team I refer to as The Republican Authority took their place as the center point of the story. Chaplain Action, He-Man of the Cloth was originally part of a publicity effort to cast the new Authority as devoutly religious (to contrast with the…somewhat hedonistic style of their predecessors). When the cameras turned off however, he continued to (mostly somewhat) bring the team to heel on their moral excesses. Even when success pushed the team itself to the same hedonistic heights (depths? No. Definitely heights.) as the original, it was him who provided the bulk of the leadership and integrity. While his main focus was on bringing The Colonel (the racist, sexist electricity-manipulating jerk who was team leader) in line--with violence of course--he also managed to focus on the best parts of the team and attempted to bring them to the surface.
Image courtesy of ComicVine.

I like Chaplain Action, He-Man of the Cloth because, well, his name is over the top and seriously, it gets that three-dimensional Superman treatment every time they say it in the comic and it’s lovely. I also like him because he manages to bring the team to task for both their failures and triumphs. He’s an even-handed character despite a run that features everyone being jerks. Well, I already described “The Authority” as being an entire comic where everyone is jerks…it’s a run of a comic where everyone is jerks that makes you stop and say, “Man, these guys are fucking jerks.”

He’s a character who’s existence is ludicrous, and who defies the expectation of both the insanity of his design and the context which he was created within to provide the moral center of a politically-based bizzaro-world that could just as easily exist without the nod to the opposition’s ability to have a moral center. The entire run is just off the map of reason (featuring not one, but two superteams who are just Authority rip-offs fighting each other over drilling rights in Alaska and enjoying the hell out of it) and Chaplain Action, He-Man of the Cloth, is one guidepost you gives the reaer a measure of just how far off it is.
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