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Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley

Written by Arion on Monday, October 22 2012 and posted in Blog

Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley
I am enjoying Brilliant for reasons that would appear unclear to most readers. There is something special about this creator-owned series. Neither the action nor the violence would suffice to keep me interested. I think what Brian Michael Bendis accomplishes here is an appropriate balance between powers and the real world. He has really thought things through. And in this fourth chapter the narrative unfolds in a most unexpected way.

Faithful to the premises of the series, Bendis keeps reminding us that this is the real world. We had already seen Amadeus using his superpowers to rob a bank and then a casino. He thought he had gotten away with it. But money always leaves a trail. And eventually he’s cornered by the FBI. In a couple of great double page spreads, penciler Mark Bagley and inker Joe Rubinstein take us to the heart of the storm. And we see chaos and destruction.
Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley
el corazón de la tormenta / the heart of the storm

Amadeus might personify today’s cynic youth, but he is also the epitome of selfishness. His motivations are wrong, and perhaps his love for money is a way of sublimating his sexual lust and his disrespect for moral codes. After all, as Izzy recalls, Amadeus’s father was a criminal, and wouldn’t it be deliciously Oedipal for the kid to step into his father’s shoes?  Surely Amadeus lacks the spiritual elevation of the conventional hero, and that made of him a very captivating character.
Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley
naked power / poder al desnudo

Before his untimely demise, Amadeus is stark naked and radiant; his energy glow is almost blinding. It’s a strange thing of beauty and yet something completely lethal. In seconds, he annihilates several police officers. As Slavoj Žižek would explain “cynicism mocks the public Law from the position of its obscene underside”, there is certainly an “inherent obscenity of Power in a most distastefully-enjoyable way”. With his dangling penis and his lethal lightning bolts, Amadeus is both, the erotic side of youth and the grotesque excess of power.  

Ultimately, this obscenity must be punished by society. And so it’s an FBI agent who blows his brains off. Amadeus is dead. Which is only logical considering the premises established in the first issue of “Brilliant”. Izzy, Kindred, Albert and Marie knew things would end badly. And as they are interrogated by the FBI, a few questions remain... what will be the repercussions of Amadeus’s death? Who will be the next superpowered kid? How will the FBI approach a threat they are only beginning to understand? And, finally, how will the world change now that being a superhuman is possible?  

Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley
Albert and the press / Albert y la prensa
Estoy disfrutando "Brilliant" por razones poco comunes. Esta colección de autor tiene algo especial. Ni la acción ni la violencia bastarían para mantenerme interesado. Creo que lo que Brian Michael Bendis logra aquí es balancear de modo apropiado los poderes y el mundo real. Ha pensado en todo. Y en este cuarto capítulo el hilo narrativo se desenvuelve de un modo más que inesperado.

Fiel a las premisas de la serie, Bendis nos sigue recordando que este es el mundo real. Ya habíamos visto a Amadeus usando sus súper-poderes para robar un banco y luego un casino. Él pensaba que lo había logrado. Pero el dinero siempre deja un rastro. Y, eventualmente, el FBI lo acorrala. En un par de grandiosas páginas dobles, Mark Bagley (lápices) y Joe Rubinstein (tintas) nos llevan al corazón de la tormenta. Y vemos el caos y la destrucción.

Puede que Amadeus personifique a la juventud cínica de hoy, pero también es el epítome del egoísmo. Sus motivaciones son erradas, y tal vez su amor por el dinero sea un modo de sublimar sus ansias sexuales y su falta de respeto por los códigos morales. Después de todo, como recuerda Izzy  el padre de Amadeus era un criminal, ¿y no sería deliciosamente edípico que el muchacho usurpara el lugar del padre? Seguramente, Amadeus carece del espíritu elevado del héroe convencional, y eso hacía de él un personaje muy cautivador.
Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley
my drawing / mi dibujo

Antes de su prematura muerte, Amadeus está totalmente desnudo y radiante; su brillo energético es casi cegador. Es un objeto de extraña belleza y no obstante completamente letal. En segundos, aniquila a varios policías. Tal como explicaría Slavoj Žižek "el cinismo de mofa de la Ley pública desde la posición de su reverso obsceno", hay ciertamente una "obscenidad inherente al poder que se expresa mediante el goce-rechazo". Con su pene colgante y sus letales rayos de energía, Amadeus es ambos, el lado erótico de la juventud y el exceso grotesco del poder.

En última instancia, esta obscenidad debe ser castigada por la sociedad. Así que un agente del FBI le hace estallar el cráneo. Amadeus está muerto. Algo lógico si consideramos las premisas establecidas en el primer número de “Brilliant”. Izzy, Kindred, Albert y Marie sabían que las cosas terminarían mal. Y al ser interrogados por el FBI, quedan algunas preguntas... ¿cuáles serán las repercusiones de la muerte de Amadeus? ¿Quién será el próximo chico con súper-poderes? ¿Cómo enfrentará el FBI una amenaza que apenas pueden comprender? Y, finalmente, ¿cómo cambiará el mundo ahora que ser sobrehumano es posible?

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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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