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Heroes: random notes on comic-book morality
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
While kestrell and I were watching the latest episode of Heroes, we had to pause for a bit in the middle for a discussion on comic-book morality.

Kes asked me (as the local expert on the subject) whether it was actually kosher to do something like "steal a sword" just because you thought it was "your destiny". I opined that it was probably *not* ok, and that Hiro would end up "paying for it" somehow (like maybe his guilt sending him back in time to almost get eaten by a dinosaur), but that after that trouble was dealt with, he was allowed to keep the sword free and clear.

Kes felt, quite reasonably, that those ethics were dodgy, but I explained that that was just how it worked: once you pay your 'karmic debt', all sins are forgiven (and usually forgotten). Heck, it usually only takes a single issue. Even mass murder and the attempted destruction of the multiverse can be redeemed within the span of a mini-series.

Sadly, Kes couldn't just let that lie, but asked for more details. So I had to explain (at least briefly) about what Hal Jordan has been through in the last decade or so. Including the part about the 40-year-old fanboys organizing to pressure DC into eventually rehabilitating him. I won't go into it all again here; if you really must know, I'm sure that Wikipedia must have an article about it.

Of course, as it turned out when we un-paused, Hiro hadn't stolen a *real* sword, so no harm, no foul. And the real sword appears to be in the hands of a Bad Guy, so Hiro should have no qualms about taking it from *him* :)

This reminds me of an earlier discussion Kes and I had about the morality of of Heroes. When Matt, the telepathic cop, used his powers to have Great Sex with his wife, Kes indignantly brought up the whole issue of "I thought you weren't supposed to use your powers for personal gain!" I maintained that he wasn't doing so. "Hey, she gained too! Heck, it looked to me like she multiply gained..."

Speaking of Heroes, folks who haven't lately might want to check out the "graphic novels" portion of their web site. While the show was on break, they posted a four-part story to introduce an entirely new character, who will apparently be showing up on the show soon. Pretty nifty.
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So I had to explain (at least briefly) about what Hal Jordan has been through in the last decade or so. Including the part about the 40-year-old fanboys organizing to pressure DC into eventually rehabilitating him.

To be fair, it's not a great example -- his case was so extreme that they had to resort to possession to rehabilitate him. That is, they "established" that Parallax was actually an entirely separate entity that had taken possession of him, so he wasn't morally culpable for all that killing and nearly ending the universe and all that.

There are plenty of "villains made good" that make better examples of this principle than GL (including nearly the entire cast of Thunderbolts)...

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