The GeeksverseIncomplete Plots: Halycon

Incomplete Plots: Halycon
Published on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 by

Halycon was the first title from Image imprint Collider Entertainment. It was created and written by Marc Guggenheim and Tara Butters, with art by Ryan Bodenheim. The 5 issue mini-series was supposed to tell the story of what happens to the super heroes when there is no more aggression or violence in the world. The world’s greatest super-villian created and employed a device that stopped people from being aggressive and violent towards eachother. This was a great thing, except, in the minds of some of the super heroes it was a form of mind control. That was what set the Batman-like hero, Sabre, on a crusade to find out what caused this effect and to stop it. Along the way he became the villian and had to fight his fellow heroes in the team, which is called Halycon.

The idea is very solid. The execution wasn’t. The big idea of “is mind control acceptable if it results in peace” was barely touched on. It was a background thought and amounted to “there’s no more violence, we don’t care why” attitude by the other heroes. Only Sabre thought it was wrong and it was more of a “free will more important then anything else” mindset. That and without violence he’d have nothing to do.

And again, that last thought was barely touched on.

Instead the series focused on.. well, it’s hard to tell what the series focused on. It was kind of all over the map and thats what qualifies it as an “Incomplete Plot”.

There were 7 members of Halycon, including Sabre and it was never really said if he was a true member of the group or just an ally. Aside from Sabre and Zenith, a female “superman”, the others were barely memorable. There was Transom, a superspeedster (who we’ll get to in a minute). There was an ape-like person that was supersmart. There was a robot (think the Vision) and there was an amazon female in a cape. I don’t even know if the amazon’s name was ever mentioned.

Breaking the series down, there was alot of parts that led to an overall incomplete story.

1) We’ll start with Transom. In one issue (two or three), he’s shown to be running himself ragged stopping natural disasters. He makes a comment that he’s the only one that can. Okay, that’s fine, except WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH NO VIOLENCE?? Why, all of a sudden, is Transom the only one that can stop the natural disasters? What changed? If he’s the only one that can do it now, why wasn’t he before? It stands to reason that the same conditions are still in play. Nothing about a natural disaster response has been changed.

EXCEPT….

A) With no more super villians able to do villiany things, they wouldn’t be causing disasters so there would be LESS disasters in the world for Transom to deal with.

B) With no more super villians able to do villiany things, the rest of the super heroes have nothing else to do but help stop natural disasters and be on the response teams.

If anything, the non-violence/aggression wave should have made it easier for the heroes to help Transom out. There’s no excuse for him to say that he’s the only one that could do it. Everything points to there being less to do and more help to do it. Heck, even the Police/National Guard/Coast Guard/Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force/Fire Fighters would have less to do with no violence/aggression in the world. That means even more people that would be able to respond to natural disasters.

2) The female amazon commits suicide because she feels useless. She’s shown as over muscled and wears a cape. She jumps off a building. Her powers were never once mentioned, except that she couldn’t fly. So we have no clue if she’s invunerable (obviously not) or just super strong (never saw evidence of it). But why does she feel useless? So she can’t punch out bad guys anymore. There’s still plenty she can do.

She could help out Transom with disaster relief. How useful would someone that is super strong be in a disaster response situation? Extremely useful. She’d probably be even more useful then she was as a super hero. Construction? She’d be extremely useful helping build new homes for those displaced by fires and floods.

There is a ton of stuff she could be doing. Instead Guggenheim goes for the simple idea instead of the good idea. And thats the only time an example of “what do super heroes do when they can’t be super heroes” is shown. The rest of the book is about finding out what caused the effect.

Not enough time is spent showing the results of the effect and how it affects everyone else from police to kids.

And let’s not forget that she shouldn’t have been able to commit suicide. That’s an aggressive and violent act, doesn’t matter that it’s against yourself, the mindset is still the same: you intend to cause harm. So having one of his own characters commit suicide contradicts what the overall story is about. It shouldn’t have been possible for her to kill herself.

And it was nice seeing how much her teammates cared about her. Never mentioned again.

3) Sabre’s obsession is understandable. He’s shown to be an “all about justice” kind of guy and he’s definately not meant to see things as black and white. He’s meant to be an extreme Batman. He kills and he doesn’t accept the new status quo because it was created by a super villian and it gets rid of free will.

This is a case of where an origin story would have helped define this character and his motivations better. Batman does what he does so no one else will suffer loss like he did. So he would have accepted and defended this anti-violence machine even if Lex Luthor had created it. Batman would have researched the hell out of it and made sure there were no negative effects. Sabre is supposed to represent the obsessive nature of Batman. The Batman that couldn’t and wouldn’t stop doing what he does.

But with no origin story we don’t know why Sabre does what he does. What is his true view of justice? Why would he be upset that free will is taken away? Wouldn’t he be happy that there’s no more violence?

Guggenheim does lay the groundwork for Sabre being obsessed with being a super hero and that’s why he goes to stop the machine. But too much time is spent on Sabre saying it’s about free will. So when he becomes the villian at the end it makes no sense. Where’s the justice in that?

And how can he become the villian? There effect is deadened at the machine itself, so in order to do anything he’d have to do it there. And it’s now heavily guarded by the remaining super heroes and the military. So he’s effectively rendered himself useless.

And he’s not a super genius like Oculus was. So what can he do? Sure he can use the weapons, but eventually he’ll be overpowered.

What is the point of him becoming the villian?

How does that tell a story about “being a super hero in a non-violent world”?

The problem is that it doesn’t.

The other odd thing about the overall story is Oculus himself. It’s a cool concept that the villian really does win. His grand scheme is carried out and the heroes have to (choose to) allow it to succeed. That’s a great idea.

Except, the villian’s grand scheme puts himself out of business, so to speak. He was able to succeed but what good did it do him? He effectively made himself the world’s greatest hero. He didn’t conqueor the world, he saved it. And then he turns himself in.

There was a bit about Oculus visiting the “oculus vacation world”, a place where all the multiversal Oculi can go and hang out with eachother. They talk about how this one is ready to start his grand scheme. That part makes no sense in how the rest of the story unfolded. What was the point of that?

The whole Oculus turning himself in thing made no sense either. The story could have been so much stronger if he had remained free. It almost feels like Guggenheim had an idea that he shopped around and then proceeded to write the story and ended up straying a bit from the original concept.

That’s probably why it makes sense to have all the issues of a mini-series plotted out before shopping the idea around.

Halycon started out as a great idea but ended up being a plotless mess.

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