Sometimes plans change. Originally, I ‘d meant to review the second half of Earth X’s storyline, then take a closer look at the artwork of both the covers and interiors. However, on rereading, one main concept of the book is overwhelming my thoughts: sacrifice. Heroes must always sacrifice. It is what sets them apart from everyone else. The idea of being selfless is often foreign to many. Too often, people are too selfish to do what is right. By contrast the characters in our comicbooks sacrifice and selflessness it look so easy.
Heroes make these selfless decisions all the time: often, they give up the right to a normal life. Countless times Peter Parker has wanted to ignore the calling of “Spider-Man” in his life; however, he always went back to the costume, giving up his desire for an average life in the process. Without that initial desire, there would be no sacrifice. If there is no passion to hold on to something, there is no value to what is lost. If there is no love, there is no sacrifice.
By the end of Earth X, there are multiple sacrifices. Tony Stark gives his life to buy the Earth some time from the Celestials. Black Bolt loses his life while calling upon Galactus for help. Colossus, Sunfire, and King Britain were all willing to risk the safety of their nations for the sake of helping Captain America defeat the Red Skull. All of these sacrifices were made in love, with the hope of saving lives.
However, a pair of sacrifices stands apart from all of these. The first is by Black Bolt. Prior to the story, but revealed at the end, Bolt left his only son under the care of King Britain. Bolt knew one day the Inhuman race would need a new king to lead them. Bolt sacrificed being with and knowing his son so that his son could lead their race. Bolt loved his people, the Inhumans, so much that he gave up his son to them. In this way putting their need for a leader above his own desires.
The second of these two sacrifices is made by Reed Richards. Reed’s son, Franklin, has become Galactus with no knowledge that he is, or ever was, Franklin. He talks to Reed just as Galactus did, and Reed must follow suit, taking care not to reveal his son’s true identity, thus putting Galactus’ legitimacy into question. Reed must ignore his feelings and instincts to tell Franklin he loves him, so that the universe can maintain balance, because Reed knows Galactus is needed in the universe more than he needs his own son.
In both of these instances, a father gives up his son. Not to death, but to others. The father-son relationship is sacrificed so that others may live and flourish. Somehow, writer Jim Krueger is able to lionize this as the greatest of sacrifices. Krueger skillfully shows an inner turmoil; that these two men sacrificed their sons out of a sense of their own love for their species.
There is something to be said for a comicbook that is so thought-provoking. Earth X offers deep meditations on selflessness and the love it takes for a father to sacrifice a son for the sake of others.
Sometimes, comicbooks are just pure entertainment, just a really entertaining read. These books work out well. But sometimes, as with Earth X, deeply insightful and contemplative books make a profound impact on your daily life. Such books are even better.
// Notes from the Road
"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.READ the article