by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
“Oona can handle herself…”
We find ourselves in a wholly irrational place in history — a swing away from progressive ideals. Regressive. Part of what makes this era so fucked up is that we believed ourselves to be beyond history. The concept of the “end of history” is contingent on society having reached a perfect state of civility. There would be no war, no famine, no racism, no inequality, no income disparity if only we reached this civil equilibrium. Here’s the problem: we never got close to perfection before white America declared that we were living in a post-racial world. And why would they? We are Americans and we are exceptional! We saved the world from the most obvious evil history has ever seen, and everything since 1945 has been a victory lap. Essentially, the belief has been that the system would find justice, or that society can “handle itself.” Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s Analog 3 explores the dangers of expecting a situation to fix itself.
Duggan and O’Sullivan hit the ground running by raising this issue in the first two panels.
We’re getting a lot of information here. Frank curses the sun for “being an asshole”. Is he playing out the hard-drinking detective trope, or is the sun’s light actually beating down on him more intensely due to global warming? A quick glance over to the right side of the panel shows a channel 6 news report that appears to be using b-roll of a goddamn mushroom cloud. (What are they reporting on that that’s appropriate? Frank is, evidently, not interested.) Undeterred by either the extra-abrasive sun, or the apparent nuclear disaster on the TV, Frank goes back to consuming. He tosses a bottle into an over-flowing trash can and orders a sparkling water. There’s no pause between discarding one bottle and getting another one. Meanwhile, we see the gears of a broken society spinning behind him. Who’s this guy sitting in the street, leaning against a graffitied wall? He’s hiding out behind a trash can, so it’s not like he’s living a comfortable life. The other side of the panel shows a roomba out on the street, presumably cleaning up the same trash separates the consumer from the forgotten class of people.
These two panels are the result of societal indifference. Jack echoes that same sort of indifference about Oona — the aforementioned “[she] can handle herself”. Duggan and O’Sullivan reinforce that idea by making Oona almost comedically good at taking on her assailants. This move where she slashes one nazi across the belly and pulls his intestine out over the back of her wheelchair is like a Ren and Stimpy fight scene — grotesquely cartoony.
If she’s capable of all this, can we really worry about her wellbeing? Of course, Frank does care about Oona, so rather than resting on his belief that she can take care of herself, he takes matters into his own hands.
This is where his faith in Oona and society’s faith in the system dovetail. Everyone that Frank talks to while infiltrating the hospital seems to have the same attitude towards the one nazi shithead that survived the fight with Oona. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to impede his ability survive and exact revenge on our hero. The woman at the nursing station calls him “that ugly shitbird” and the cops jokingly refer to him as a “nazi piñata.” These are the safe ways to fight nazism — name calling, belittling, delegitimizing. Look, I did it too by using the phrase “nazi shithead”. But that doesn’t stop them. Frank does stop this sole survivor from giving a description of Oona, and he does it by killing the guy.
So like: is it worth it? The system is broken, it is no longer handling itself. If Frank can push back against it in order to protect Oona, what else is he capable of protecting?
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