Equilibrium #3 (American Mythology)
Everyone remember Equilibrium? No? Okay… you need to hunt this down.
It’s basically Fahrenheit 451 and… no. No, it isn’t. It’s a future tale about a world where humanity pulled itself out of the ashes of another world war caused by greed and humanity did something stupid: someone decided “dur, emotions = bad” and decided to get rid of emotions by drugging the populace. This had the effect of getting rid of art, literature, anything that wasn’t designed for strict production.
Choosing not to take the drug would make you a sense-offender and is punishable by death. Because the people sent to deal with this lack imagination (that comes from emotion), they would regularly get beat until someone came up with the Gun Kata.
I hear you asking: what is the gun kata?
Is that in any way a feasible thing? No. Is it damn fucking cool? Yes.
And that is Christian Bale, so you get to see Christian Bale in an action movie that is a disguise for a philosophical treatise on the meaning of humanity and class struggles in late-era capitalism, as we discover that the ruling classes aren’t on the drug – it’s meant for everyone else.
It’s a pretty cool movie, one that holds up despite the age, and this comic acts as a direct sequel. The city fell into chaos and anarchy in the wake of Christian Bale, but the comic shows the city trying to crawl up from the ashes. They have a new means of making sure their emotion-suppressant drug is taken – they’re going to gas the city.
Thing is, Christian Bale and his kids and his dog went missing, so people have been looking for him and now they’ve found him and they’re going to drag him back into the fight. Christian Bale proved that someone using the Gun Kata with emotion is much more dangerous than someone using the Gun Kata without, so there’s a good chance a lot of very stupid people are going to die.
Any why are they stupid? Emotion allows us to dream, to find meaning and attach quality to our lives, yes, but emotions and passion drive us to do things we would not otherwise do. An emotionless people is cold, detached, and no trouble to manage. There is no raging against the machine from people that cannot feel. No sense of love, hate, faith, no real sense of anything.
But emotions come with a cost, and that cost is feeling. Some emotion-suppressing drugs are a good thing, as anyone on anti-depressants will tell you. There are entire religions and philosophies that come from the idea that attachment can become suffering. The movie was about that, about how some people might try to enforce a sort of enlightenment on others, and the comic follows suit and shows the damage inflicting belief can cause.
Writer Patrick Shand very clearly got the substance that made the movie cool and is applying it here but moving the themes and story forward in a way that is intriguing and plays to established mythology. This is awesome, balancing breathless action with a deep sense of consequence. Artist Jason Craig, likewise, does a good job of capturing the ruthlessness of the Gun Kata with the fragile humanity of those it is used upon.
Check this out. It’s good stuff.