Jun 22, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1213: Enigma #8, October 1993

https://www.comics.org/issue/240553/

Yep, today's issue is titled "Queer." Guess what the story is about?

Narratively, this is a very interesting issue. The final, apocalyptic confrontation with the Enigma's mother approaches (I can't give all the details - just go read it!), and Titus, Michael, and the Enigma spend much of this issue preparing for her arrival. Michael and Titus retread the confrontation from issue 2, in light of Michael's recent conversion.

And it is recent. We find out in this issue that the Enigma manipulated Michael's mind to turn him gay, in order that the Enigma might have someone to fall in love with, and prove his humanity. At first Michael is angry, but then he relents, and when the Enigma offers to turn him back, Michael refuses. He notes that regardless of the origin of his identification, he's happier now than he had ever been, and he can't see going back as being a good move. Now, conservative critics might point to this as evidence of the idea of gay men "corrupting" and "turning" young straight men - you know, the gay agenda and all. But we can also see in this the Enigma having removed the toxic programming from Michael that results in such outbursts as the one with Titus earlier in the series. Michael has been queered, but that queering has removed from him something that channels emotion into violence.

I mentioned the narrator of this story earlier on. I don't want to give too much away, as the identity of the narrator is both wonderful and horrifying all at the same time. And I'm still trying to figure out the nature of the metaphor that Milligan and Fegredo are using in this narrator. I think, however, that's a much longer conversation, and one that can only happen if we've all read the series. Briefly, what the series considers is whether or not a narrator should be allowed to follow the whole story, of if they are simply a tool for part of the story, but not the whole thing. Or something like that.

More to come...

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