Monday, June 11, 2012

Feeling good about yourself? Well-adjusted? At peace? Or at the very least not completely depressed? Well, don't get used to that: it's Abject Depression Week! Where we'll be looking at some of the most soul-crushing, heartbreaking, just plain sad comics I could find. And we're starting with a tear-jerker...although since this is comics it still involves a ton of fight scenes: The Question Quarterly #2, "Gomorrah Homecoming" Written by Dennis O'Neil, art by Denys Cowan.
We took a look at the (almost as depressing) last issue of the regular Question series last year, and while he's had a couple adventures since then, Vic Sage has been in Brazil with Jackie, the daughter of Vic's love interest and mayor of Hub City, Myra Fermin. And Jackie is dying. She had been unwell before, but had been kidnapped the prior issue and left tied up in a shed in the rain, and now probably had pnuemonia if not worse. Vic knows she's dying, and she does too, and she wants to go home, to her mom.

Easier said than done, since Vic is starting with about forty bucks to get several thousand miles; and he gets a bag thrown over his head and beat up as well. Vic even recognizes his attackers--three drug dealers he had beat before--but is off his game. Only the intervention of new character Marco saves him; but Marco's saving Vic for himself, since he plans on fighting him to the death.
Marco is a capoeira master (predating Tekken's buttonmasher Eddy Gordo by six years!) who has devoted his life to fighting. After losing to a fighter we know as Lady Shiva (who, apparently just wanted to check out the fighting style) Marco requested a rematch, but she told him he would have to earn it by beating someone better. Like Richard Dragon. Or maybe Vic Sage. Vic thinks Marco is more than a little crazy (which Marco admits is probable) but he's a great help in getting back to Hub City.
Vic is also working through the trauma of having killed: in the previous issue, to save Jackie, he had to shoot a knife-wielding transvestite drug dealer. (That one was better than I'm making it sound here...) Now, repeatedly faced with the utter worst of humanity, he wonders if he could kill again. In Hub, Myra is reunited with Jackie, but she needs medicine. And the hospital's been taken over by a motorcycle gang. Vic is afraid of what he might do, but Myra gives him his old "No-Face" mask and gear: as the Question, Vic is able to get his head back in the game, and he and Marco clear out the hospital. Just not in time for Jackie, who dies before they get back.

The story ends with Vic agreeing to fight Marco, and to honor his friend by fighting him to the best of his ability...but I don't think you ever find out who won. The next issue, both of them are beat up a bit, but don't seem especially put out about it. And I'm not sure poor Jackie even gets a funeral. In fact, the GCD points out Jackie's referred to as alive in Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood #3.


Dale Bagwell said...

Yeah I don't know what Denny O' Neil's mindset/frame of mind was during this time period, but yeah optimistic and hopefull he wasn't.

Maybe it was just the Question character, and he felt he need an 80's angsty-edge, but damn, talk about having to down a bottle of anti-depressants or some windex to get through this series w/o wanting to off yourself afterwards huh?

googum said...

I'm trying to remember the third issue of the top of my head, but compared to the first two Quarterly's, they're happy little cakewalks.

I just wrote up two more depressing issues, which is weird since I'm not in a terrible mood today. Maybe.