No Halcyon Days for this Speedster

It took me a while to really get on board Halcyon, the Image Comics–published miniseries about a world in which all crime stops, leaving the super-heroes with nothing to do. Issue #3 has one of those “wham!” moments where it feels like the story sneaks up behind you and hits you with a two-by-four, though, so I’m following this one through to the end.

But there’s something that really bothers me about the premise.

All crime and aggression has stopped, worldwide. Criminals stop attacking people, nations stop fighting wars, terrorists dismantle their own networks, and the world’s most dangerous supervillain not only turns himself in, but devotes his intellect to medical science.

The world’s super-heroes find themselves obsolete, except for one: their speedster, who is the only one fast enough to respond to natural disasters. So while they’re all longing for the bad old days, he’s running himself ragged helping out in the way that only he can.

Except…

It doesn’t take a speedster to respond to an earthquake if you’re near the earthquake. It doesn’t take a speedster to help evacuate the coastline ahead of a hurricane or (given proper warning) tsunami, or to divert a flooding river away from populated areas. It certainly doesn’t take a speedster to help out in relief efforts after a disaster hits.

A hero with super-strength or X-ray vision can hop on a plane and arrive within hours to help search for survivors in the rubble left behind by a major earthquake, or industrial explosion, or meteor strike. They can respond even faster to something that hits near their base of operations. If something happens in your city, you don’t necessarily need super-speed to deal with it.

There’s nothing stopping the rest of the world’s heroes from finding something to contribute…unless all they want to do is find someone to punch. This is probably true of Sabre, the Batman equivalent, but the rest of them seem to think he’s a psychopath.

I could overlook it as a form of genre blindness, except that Transom is right there, in each issue, pushing himself to the brink as the world’s only remaining active hero.

Share

4 thoughts on “No Halcyon Days for this Speedster

  1. Mark Engblom

    “Transom”?

    Wow….we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to speedster names, aren’t we?

    Yeah, I don’t buy the “can’t get there” excuse, either. In a world of no crime, there’s logically more time to devote to expanding technology, such as rapid-transit technology. Sure, they still wouldn’t be there instantly, but even if Transom gets there instantly, is he equipped to deal with any and all situations (speaking as someone not clear whether he has other powers as well)?

    Kind of a dumb premise.

    Reply
    1. Kelson Post author

      It works if you ascribe it to genre blindness, but when you’ve got a character pointing out the contradiction, it’s a bit hard to do that.

      And yeah…worst speedster name since the Whizzer. (At least that one suggested speed…not to mention movement.)

      Reply
  2. kyer

    Shoot….I’d actually like to read this book despite the inconsistencies. (Are there no jet planes, planes or autos on this world?) That would make it doubly interesting if they explained such a mystery. Maybe some sort of advanced EM pulse wiped out anything that could travel more than 40mph?

    But then…heck. I’m still trying to figure out The Speed Force so, yeah, wouldn’t let a little thing like that get in the way of enjoying the story itself. ;P

    Reply
  3. Xian

    I’ve enjoyed this series as well although I started with #2 for the speedster issue, then went backwards and got #1 and recently #3 (did the same thing with Thunder Agents).

    Without spoiling too much, it’s clear that mental aggression and impetus to investigate is being suppressed by some form of artificial manipulation, so the apathy of the other heroes might be something specifically being pushed onto them with a yet as unknown purpose. Their inactive status does have an effect on them and if the manipulator has the ability to affect thought and emotions- probably to read them too and impose what the manipulator wants them to feel (relaxed and apathetic, depressed and useless, unaggressive and unquestioning, etc).

    Why leave Transom with an active hero’s heart? Maybe because the manipulator needs Transom to be physically run down and out of the picture. We’ve seen that someone pushing hard and fast enough to fight through the nosebleeds can actually start to get somewhere in their investigation… who can think faster more overwhelmingly than a speedster? So keep Transom physically out of the fight while sedating everyone else’s minds and attitudes.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.