Tuesday, September 27, 2016


In combating alcoholism or other substance addiction, a traditional twelve-step program involves some degree of faith in a higher power. Alcoholics Anonymous's current wording of the third step is "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." This can cause some issues with those with different beliefs, like atheists. (A quick Google search and "twelve step program without god" was the fourth search...right above "twelve step programs don't work.") Some people may have a legitimate problem with "surrendering" to a higher power...like Bane, in today's book: from 2006, JSA Classified #18, "The Venom Connection, part 2 of 2" Written by Tony Bedard, pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Andy Owens.

The new Hourman, Rick Tyler, had been working with Bane to stop a designer drug epidemic that may have had its roots in the Miraclo formula. Bane claimed to have found notes from the formula's creator, original Hourman Rex Tyler, but he also claimed to have been forced back onto his drug, Venom: both were lies.

Bane double-crosses the Tylers, since his plan all along was to destroy anything related to Venom, saying he'd "rather die than be a slave to that drug again." Rick gets a solid thrashing and his power-gauntlets taken away; while Rex is not afraid of Bane: he had straight-up been killed and brought back multiple times, he wasn't scared of a bully in a luchadore mask.

Unable to finish Rick right away, Bane takes Rex hostage, back to Santa Prisca. Rick follows, with only one power left: his "time vision" that prophecies moments an hour ahead, where he sees Bane throwing him in a cell. Still, it gave him the lay of the land: Bane was going to blow up the abandoned Pena Duro prison where he had grown up, and had rigged the cells to lock and stay locked. Bane rolls all over Rick, and is pissed since he doesn't believe in "overcoming addiction by admitting your weakness..." He wouldn't believe in a "higher power," Bane would be all about gutting it out yourself. Which makes sense, since Bane has never had anyone or anything he could rely on; while Rick can rely on his team and his dad.

Bane throws Rick into a cell, and tells him he can either die in the upcoming explosion, or take some Venom to save his dad...and later die of withdrawals. Rick has outmaneuvered him, though; by grabbing the detonator. Bane uses Rick's gauntlets to hulk-up on Miraclo, but Rick tosses the detonator into the cell Rex was in, then gets Miraclo to Rex, who seems willing to go toe-to-toe with Bane. Rick blows the detonator as Rex runs them out of there, leaving Bane to possibly-but-probably-not get squashed in the explosion. (Even though Pena Duro was abandoned when it was blown up...I'd be mildly surprised if it didn't appear again. Bane's prison seems too good a location to let go.)

So Miraclo seems like a step up from Venom, which is probably super-addictive. Versus the only somewhat addictive Miraclo...Rex may have been less addicted to it, then the rush of "goddamn, I'm a super-hero, let's go!" Rick is admittedly an addict, but it's OK because he's a superhero? And at a glance, I think Bane was back on the Venom five years later in Secret Six #36, if not earlier. But it has to be tough to "let go and let God" when the next writer or editor puts you right back on the stuff!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Yeah, he was definitely on it again at the end of the Secret Six, as he juiced up and gave the rest to the team to go out in a blaze of glory.
Rick was definitely an admitted junkie, as I remember when that infamous AA meeting took place, and Rex did the same in an issue of Mike Parobeck's JSA series.
The imagery of Rex fighting Babe is very appealing though. He's old school, and had fought Solomon Grundy, so yeah, i don't see him sweating someone like Bane, even with his rep.