Saturday, January 09, 2010


Comic Art


Some bad guys defy broad characterization. You can't pin down who they are or why they are bad - they just are bad. And so the story goes for the bad guy we examine this week - from the pages of the Teen Titans - Brother Blood. Now, the title "Brother Blood" is an inherited one, and there have been a lot of them over the years. The single most unifying characteristic seems to be that they are leaders of a "blood cult." Sometimes appearing to a vampire with a church of thralls and sometimes just being a guy that likes blood as a cosmetic, Brother Blood's unique evil is that he needs the blood of others - a lot of it. I guess the whole cult thing is just a way to have some muscle always hanging around, but I have to tell you it makes me nervous.

You see, the thing is, depending who is writing the latest storyline with Brother Blood as the baddie, it can be made to appear that his greatest crime is not stealing blood form the living, but holding people n a religious thrall. Oh, it's a brainwashed cult to be sure, but there is little effort to create a distinction between that an genuine religion and religious conviction. Titan battles with 'Ol BB are often cast as the forces of secular reason against the mind-numbing effects of religious devotion. Never mind that this religious leader likes to take baths in giant pools of human blood, that's not what makes him bad. It's this habit he has of making people join his "church."

Needless to say, if I encountered a church that asked its members to obtain warm human blood for purposes of enriching its leader, oh it would be on - but one of the first things I would be doing is distinguishing between that bad church and my good church. The Titans need a religiously devoted character to help make that distinction. Instead they have the devil's daughter just trying not to eat her team-mates. What-a-world-what-a-world.

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