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America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch

Written by Arion on Wednesday, October 17 2012 and posted in Blog

In a generation of superpowered teens, Tommy Watts had always been a zero: a boy no one would pay attention and also someone without any superpower. Things have changed, and now Tommy could be the most powerful teenager on Earth. Quickly seduced by the offers of America’s Got Powers, the world’s most successful reality show, Tommy will fight in the arena against other kids, thus betraying his former ideals.

Nonetheless, Tommy ignores the secrets of the Company behind the television show. Not content with billions of dollars of revenue, these businessmen have been secretly experimenting with the teenagers powers. They have hooked them into a machine to suck the especial energy that makes them superhuman. We have already seen corporate greed and now we’re seeing what Slavoj Žižek refers to as a “consumerist paradise” (in his article “The Matrix or the Two Sides of Perversion”). First, we have the actual consumerism which translates into endless merchandising derived from America’s Got Powers; and on the other hand we have the bodies of young men and women trapped inside a machine the sucks the joy out of them. Is this starting to make sense for you? 
America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch
Company labs / laboratorios de la Compañía

In “The Matrix” humans are connected to machines to provide the necessary energy for the mega-computers that rule the Earth. Here, we have countless of underage kids being submitted to a machine that absorbs their vital energies, in narrative terms we might be seeing a simple case of prisoners being tortured and / or neutralized, but the truth is that all these elements are fundamental for the Company’s definitive perverse fantasy. Here, the teenagers are not prisoners, not even victims, they are ultimately instruments of the Other's  jouissance. While they are connected to these machines the youngsters get their life-substance sucked out of them because the Company needs to feed on their jouissance.
America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch
the machineries of perversion / las maquinarias de la perversión

In the previous chapters we had seen reality as it would appear on a television screen, but there is also a Lacanian real which is embodied by a ragtag group of superpowered teenagers that have neither respect nor love for the world’s most famous reality show. They see in Tommy their last hope. And they risk their lives to rescue the young boy from the arena.

Before the battle in the arena, we also get to meet some of Tommy’s comrades. They are all young, they are all powerful, and they are all scared to death. One of the kids can’t stop vomiting; even Tommy, despite his amazing display of power, is nervous. Dressed as superheroes they are now in the arena. Will they turn into the idols of millions or will they meet a quick and brutal death? 

Once again, the creative team of Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch hit a homerun. Finally, I would like to mention the extraordinary artistic work of Bryan Hitch, who has some truly gorgeous double page spreads (such as the one in which we see the Company labs and the experimentations that take place there); the design of the machines that suck the boys juice (and jouissance) is outstanding; the pages with Tommy getting ready for the fight and the subsequent large panel in the arena are also top notch. 
America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch
Tommy before the battle / Tommy antes de la batalla

En una generación de adolescentes con súper-poderes, Tommy Watts siempre ha sido un cero: un muchacho al que nadie prestaba atención y también alguien sin ningún poder. Las cosas han cambiado, y ahora Tommy podría ser el adolescente más poderoso de la Tierra. Rápidamente seducido por las ofertas de "Estados Unidos tiene poderes", el reality más exitoso del mundo, Tommy peleará en la arena contra otros chiquillos, traicionando así sus antiguos ideales.

No obstante, Tommy ignora los secretos de la Compañía detrás del show de televisión. No contentos con billones de dólares de ganancias, estos hombres de negocio han estado experimentando en secreto con los poderes de los jóvenes. Los han conectado a una máquina para chuparles la energía especial que los hace sobrehumanos. Ya hemos visto la codicia corporativa y ahora estamos viendo lo que Slavoj Žižek denominaría el "paraíso consumista" (en su artículo "The Matrix o los dos aspectos de la perversión"). Primero, tenemos el consumismo en sí mismo que se traduce en inacabables mercancías derivadas de "Estados Unidos tiene poderes"; y, por otro lado, tenemos los cuerpos juveniles atrapados dentro de una máquina que les chupa el goce. ¿Empieza a tener sentido para ustedes?

En “The Matrix” los humanos están conectados a las máquinas para proveer la energía necesaria para las mega-computadoras que dominan la Tierra. Aquí, tenemos a jovencitos menores de edad siendo sometidos a una máquina que absorbe sus energías vitales, en términos narrativos esto podría ser un simple caso de prisioneros siendo torturados y/o neutralizados, pero la verdad es que todos estos elementos son fundamentales para la fantasía perversa definitiva de la Compañía. Aquí los adolescentes no son prisioneros, ni siquiera víctimas, ellos son en última instancia los instrumentos del goce del Otro. Mientras están conectados a estas máquinas, la substancia vital de los muchachos es succionada porque la Compañía necesita alimentarse del goce de ellos.
America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch
Tommy in the arena / Tommy en la arena

En capítulos previos habíamos visto la realidad tal como aparecería en la pantalla de un televisor, pero también hay un real Lacaniano que es personificado por un heterogéneo grupo de adolescentes súper-poderosos que no tienen ni respeto ni aprecio por el mayor show del mundo. Ellos ven en Tommy a su última esperanza. Y arriesgan sus vidas para rescatar al chico de la arena.

Antes de la batalla en la arena, llegamos a conocer a algunos de los camaradas de Tommy. Todos son jóvenes, todos son poderosos, y todos se mueren de miedo. Uno de los chiquillos no puede dejar de vomitar; incluso Tommy, a pesar de haber demostrado su poder, está nervioso. Vestidos como súper-héroes y de pie en la arena, ¿se convertirán en los ídolos de millones o tendrán una muerte brutal y rápida?

Nuevamente, el equipo creativo de Jonathan Ross y Bryan Hitch dan en el blanco. Finalmente, me gustaría mencionar la extraordinaria labor artística de Bryan Hitch, que tiene algunas páginas dobles verdaderamente bellas (por ejemplo, esa en la que vemos los laboratorios de la Compañía y los experimentos que realizan); el diseño de las máquinas que les sacan el jugo (y el goce) a los adolescentes es tremendo; las páginas con Tommy alistándose para la pelea y la viñeta grande subsiguiente en la arena son también de primera.

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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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