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.
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.