Observance of the Superhero

Crime of Biblical Proportions

by Andy Smith

3 June 2010

Have you heard the bad news: DC's Crime Bible stories lionize the Biblical figure of Cain.

One of the more fascinating concepts born out of 52, the year long, weekly DC Comics event, was the Crime Bible. The text, central for members of the Religion of Crime, details a historical narrative and guide to being a legitimate evil-doer.

Beginning and focusing on the Biblical figure Cain, perhaps the world’s first criminal, the text also features several other figures with additions like Book of Lilith and Book of Moriarty. The Crime Bible’s own Ten Commandments, titled Four Lessons of Blood, outline the concepts of Deceit, Greed, Lust and Murder. A fourth.

And while the idea may be either disturbing or utterly creepy even in context (especially concepts like the coded message containing the Book of Lilith printed on the first page of all five issues of the Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood miniseries), one can see a simple truth in the Crime Bible’s existence.

The DC Universe is a scary place.

Whether you are a Marvel or DC guy, or if you never really got over that whole Valiant thing, it’s fascinating to see what concepts define each mainstream universe. The DC Universe, especially within the past decade, has cast a brooding shadow despite still containing some of the most optimistic, colorful and inspiring characters in its narrative.

Blame it on the “Final Crisis” or a certain event titled “Blackest Night” if you wish, but it’s always felt more dangerous to live in the Earth of DC lore. The Crime Bible, and the Religion of Crime itself, work because the DC Universe narrative has reveled in this kind of darkness. Its part of a long line of tragic deaths, heroes born from the demise of others and anti-life equations.

Sure, Marvel’s had its share of the grim in the past few years. But as both companies head in a lighter direction in the coming year (between “Brightest Day” and “Heroic Age”), take note of which company feels at home and the other a little too bright.

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