The Victories Volume 3: Posthuman by Michael Avon Oeming is a comic series where superheroes have been locked up in internment camps, unable to save the world (available June 24, 2014).
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories is taking a page out of the A Game Of Thrones playbook, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Without giving away any plot points, allegiances in The Victories change and characters (that I love!) die, and while it all makes sense story-wise, my fangirl heart feels entirely too bruised by the losses.
Fortunately, it’s easy to shunt aside my personal issues to lose myself in the deepening plot. When we last left our titular superhero group, the majority had voluntarily accepted internment in government camps in order to prevent further bloodshed. Champions, as superpowered heroes are called in this version of the near-future, are thought to be the vector for a plague that has descended upon mankind, so most accept government quarantine as a good thing…until it soon becomes clear that the plague was just a ruse to neutralize them. A powerful, secretive cabal has seized the reins of power, and wants both the good guys and civilians out of the way while they implement the final steps of their evil master plan.
After helping to engineer a break-out, Sai and Faustus (with a traumatized Scott in tow,) head to a Georgia landmark to investigate its possible role in the cabal’s plans. As they examine the Stonehenge-like structure, Faustus and Scott have a difficult conversation:
Faustus: Some believe it conceals a code written by unseen powers who want to rule the world from behind the scenes. Though they work in secret, they can’t help but show their hand like this—out of arrogance.
Scott: Are we any different? Working in secret, hiding behind masks so we can mold the world the way we think it should be? No one voted for Champions to defend justice, but we use our power and our influence to tell people what to do or not to do.
Faustus: Look at this place! Their “laws” are written in stones that are aligned with a solar calendar. We aren’t trying to rule the world—we aren’t trying to be gods.
Meanwhile, Lady Dragon is having the same doubts as Scott, compounded by the fact that she was raised to be one of the cabal but chose to work for humanity instead. Her decision to turn her back on her Nephilim heritage caused her family to erase her from their histories. Now she wonders if, for the sake of the humanity she believes in, it wouldn’t be better if she returned to the fold. Her struggle against this decision makes up a large part of this story arc, and provides background for the cabal:
While [Father] told me this great history we were meant to be a part of, how Nephilim had ruled the world—I heard a very different story… He was describing monsters, who ate humans and destroyed cities. Somehow that seemed noble to him. The Visitors had become displeased with their creations, the Nephilim, and caused a flood to wipe them out—judged them not worthy. Those who survived the flood were mostly wiped out by humans, like Joshua at the battle of Jericho. We Champions are what’s left. My father tried to convince me the Nephilim blood was going to rule the earth again… but what I heard was the story of powerful hybrid humans who were punished by “God,” and then eventually hunted down and wiped from the face of the earth!
The Victories Vol. 3: Posthuman takes the decidedly technologically dystopian future laid out in the first two books and injects a healthy dose of Erich von Daniken-style cosmology and conspiracy theory. While it was mostly peripheral in the first two volumes, the cabal takes center stage in this one, and will likely play an even more prominent role in future. Interestingly, Michael Avon Oeming and guest writer, Aaron Walker, also provide several fascinating essays on conspiracy theories in the bonus section, as well as an illuminating sketchbook. I thought the short stories, barring the excellent “Schrodinger’s Man”, were a bit superfluous, but appreciate any insight into this fascinating, complex universe.
Now if only Oeming would stop killing off the characters that I love.
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Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.
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