Vengeance and Justice
Huggnatics! Huglicans…. Huglicats? Huggertarians?
I know many of you are probably saying, “Scott, didn’t you just review “The Fall” just a short while ago?”
And I’d say “How did you get this number!?”
And then “Why yes, but the awesome folks at PLB liked my review so much (or thought I got so much wrong) that they are asking me to review the other three issues!” Note: The Fall is full of all the things your mother wouldn’t let you read when you were a kid. Blood, cursing, near nudity, and…. did I mention cursing?
But unlike the first review, which reviewed every story within the fall comics, I will not be doing that here. This review isn’t about the quality of each story, this review is about my feelings for the fall as a whole, and how, despite its flaws, is forming up to be one of the best comics about the perils of vigilante justice.
Who is the Fall?
That’s the point isn’t it? No one knows who the fall is. He doesn’t seem to be financially well off, as seen by his relatively undecorated apartment in the city. He does seem to have enough money to keep his supply of pain killers up, as implied by a reference to prescriptions. He is also, most definitely, a man between the ages of 20-40. Why do I say this? Well, in comic number 2, in the first story “Point of View” a woman describes him as a “Young Man”. And in the end, none of that matters.
The Fall is the personification of the synonymous relations between vengeance and justice. To most, the words are clearly defined, differentiated enough that we usually equate justice with impartial judgements, vengeance with emotionally charged eye for an eye mentality. The Fall combines these two definitions, and to him Justice and Vengeance go hand in hand. He is the impartial judge, and the angry executioner.
While the Fall one on hand represents the grey area where Vengeance and Justice overlap, he also represents humanities inability to tread within that area. At first this seems highly hypocritical. The Fall, when confronted with someone doing his job, either reacts by discouraging their actions, or by dealing with them as if they were criminals. The Fall doesn’t permit others to inhabit the zone between Vengeance and Justice like he does, perhaps realizing himself that one day he will have to answer for his crimes.He deals out his punishments because the criminal has caused pain to others, but by killing some of them, rather then rehabilitating those that could be, he causes suffering in others. By this logic he would one day need to suffer a similar punishment. Or, perhaps, he doesn’t see himself as a man at all. Men can be punished, for they are given a choice. But by throwing away his identity, by becoming a ghost, He has already killed himself. He is now a spirit of the city, and incapable of being judged for his decisions.
Or perhaps fighting is his punishment. So many of the criminals he fights see him as the devil, and this portrayal, as often as it happens, may be intentional. The devil, as most people see him, is punished by being sent to hell and overseeing the punishment of others. Perhaps the Fall did something so horrible in his human life, that he saw his only logical punishment as the same given to the greatest evil: living amongst and punishing other sinners and criminals.
This is why the flaws of the comic can be forgiven, because the character himself is flawed. His motives, his life, his decisions are at once highly hypocritical, and yet at the same time a personified version of Vengeance and Justice. He works for good by doing bad. The dialogue is sometimes a bit off. The stories sometimes seems to be missing something. But in those are the flaws of the Fall. The Fall, as a man, as an ideal, is missing something, and the feeling of the books, enhances your enjoyment of just who the character is.
I should mention the banter, much of the art, and some of the short stories within the pages are the parts you will remember, and will like the book for.
The Fall is not a story about a man dealing out his own brand of justice to criminals. You can read any super hero comic to find that. The reason to read the fall is to reach a deeper insight into what happens when a super hero no longer has a secret identity. When he gives himself fully to the cause and is no longer human in any real sense. He is an idea. You read the fall to see how violent vigilantism sees other forms of vigilantism. You read the fall to get inside the head of a man who has given himself to the city he lives. You read the fall because it is at the same time flawed and perfect. The Fall is a diamond, the cuts and flaws serving to enhance the beauty of the whole.