Concepts, Lore, & New Developments.
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TO HOPE IS TO RESIST
JUNE 19TH, 2020
Fool Me Once
by Christopher Campbell
Lately there has been quite the turmoil on the superhero world, from the invasion of distinct universes to the falling apart of the SOS to a newly revived TFL, there has been much to mull over. I found myself incapable of attending the Society of Superheroes' press conference, therefore I had to take my time to analyze facts and formulate an appropriate response. One I'm sure might surprise a few, given the lighthearted aspect of my past articles, yet needed nonetheless. It may be unfortunate, yet stirring the pot is a reporter's duty, and the one who writes to you is no different.
"If the so-called Hyper-Corporation is hunting you, the Society will protect you. If your city is under threat from the forces of evil, the Society will save you. Just call SOS." This excerpt from Invictus's response to Deterrence actions was made March 8th of 2019 and I think I speak for many others rather than only myself when I say it was the first semblance of hope we had for a combined effort in quite a while. Standing up to corporations, vowing to protect those cast away from society, it was needless to say it catapulted the SOS into a spotlight, one very well deserved, one they enjoy even nowadays. This was, perhaps, their first major breakthrough and, unfortunately, with that brazen acronym and a significant following, all eyes were turned their way, analyzing every minor action with absolute scrutiny. They were, after all, positioning themselves as the beacon of hope and heroism amidst turbulent times, it was only fair to see if such statements would hold true, if one should truly 'just call SOS'.
For that matter alone, I cannot abide to sit quietly while we are given excuses and promises for what feels the nth time in such a short span of months. The latest press conference has been, to put it bluntly, another blunder on a long trail of similar mistakes. It not only displays an absolute lack of firm morality, but also sheds light on new events that, in all honesty, do not paint our would-be saviors in more empathetic light. I was, quite frankly, apalled and extremely disappointed, as I am sure few of you probably are. Recently, ex-SOS member James Novak, professionally known as Proton, released a public statement filled to the brim with occurrences that may or may not be factual, yet were quite damaging in their own right. None of which were properly rebuked in their press conference, either meaning they did not consider them to be relevant - an intriguing train of thought, considering they would rather spend the entirety of the conference focused only partially on events of a not-so-distant past rather than current ones - or they simply had no rebuttal for there is truth held in such words.
Novak also provided a name: Lethe. A name well-known to us living in Chicago, partaking in the infamous prison break of one of Assurance's facilities and having her past violent acts and unconfirmed possible mercenary ties, with a little digging around old files and reports of similar activities, I stumbled across a few more known incidents involving the same individual, including the killing of multiple people in Millenium City, ties to a missing body of a presumed dead man and several accounts of assault in Solar City, against police officers no less. Even citing such name in the same letter addressing the Society of Superheroes should be outrageous, let alone tie both it's leader and this underage vigilante into some form of good terms. Even if untrue, the absolute lack of a response is both worrisome and terrible for their image.
However, that wouldn't be the first mistake relating to children they commit. Surgath returned to Earth earlier this year and the SOS gave their best to halt his advances, which they succeeded in doing and should be commended for doing so, although such victory had it's toll on our planet's side as well. The SOS member Tremor, then at the age of 17, was put into a coma by the Mad Titan's fist, one which she unfortunately has not recovered from to this day. While supporting an argument on a tragedy seems in poor taste, the recent addition of one Manaria Goleme, a Millenium Academy student, should not pass by unnoticed. Reckless leadership has endangered the life of a teenager once, and before she even recovered, they recruit yet another with not a semblance of care for their development into the heroes of the future, but rather as means of protecting her from threats - which did happen - while dooming another similarly aged girl's adolescence by those very same threats they should be protected from.
There is much more to be said on this topic, such as - if proven truth - why not bring Lethe under their wing since their intent seems to be ceasing her rampant murderous sprees? Why the seemingly distinct approach on Manaria Goleme's kidnapping and that of Alfonse and Jordan? Teja put it herself, she pushed for an immediate strike, whereas with Manaria's hapless situation there were no qualms with getting the police involved to attempt a less violent approach. I believe there is much more to be said, although it would much likely be based on speculations and inconclusive fact until further addressed, and as a reporter I should deal with facts over anything else.
So let us address the elephant in the room.
"That is why I am suspending all public and high-profile activities for the SOS on my behalf. I've hurt enough people in this lifetime-- and while I work every day to try and make up for the lives lost, either through my actions or another's, I can only try." These were the words lacerating many hearts in the Aftermath of the Tragedy of Los Angeles, where a quick decision made by then SOS member Hector Williams, professionally known as Akhilleus, cost countless lives. In retrospect, I believe many lessons should be learned from this melancholic event, ones that we should apply to better ourselves as Hector Williams himself would have wanted, rather than sweeping it under the carpet. While the villainous threat ran wild, there should have been more of a focus on rescuing civilians from the fire, there should be a better line of communication between our heroes so desperate choices made under pressure can be minimized, and giving up your mantle, by no means, erases the good man you were. Hector put it best when he stated "I'm not quitting. Not today-- not ever.", in what would have been a perfect response to said events, owning up to his shortcomings while maintaining the image of the Akhilleus many aspired to be intact.
For all intents and purposes, Hector Williams retired that day out of his own will, and out of his own compassion. It is specifically why I feel disturbed and disappointed when looking at footage from the events after the so-called Ruination. Hector Williams' attempted murder. There is no other way to address this, for this was a retired man out of his own volition, someone bowing out from the scene who got dragged back in quite ruthlessly. Hector Williams, in my eyes, was not a member of the Society of Superheroes in their stand against Surgath in Alaska, he never got his earnest wishes respected, and to sit back and pretend it was all due to his own 'self-destructive powers' by no means does the man any justice. After Akhilleus answered the call, after he very well gave more of his life away so ours could last longer, what was done for him? Was he praised? Was he questioned on why he had such a sudden change of heart? Was he, in any means, aided? No. He was stabbed, arguably in response to his own pleas, in some form of twisted suicide pact with the SOS's leader herself. Hector Williams was not a member of the SOS nor was he even a human in some eyes, instead he was but a tool, discarded once his function was done and he was no longer useful.
That is why I cannot sit idly as they stand in a room calling themselves Society of Superheroes, acting as if all the good they have done somehow puts them above all the misteps and blunders in this thorny path. When new member, and leader, Maximum Man announces their stand for justice, and when new member, and leader, Ryoko tells us to simply sit back and witness their evolution. We have sat back for far too long. These caped crusaders float in a distant station in space meanwhile, distant from those they are somehow oath-bound to safeguard, only making the occasional appearance when everything gets dire. Superheroes inspire hope, superheroes lead the change of the future, superheroes do not discern threats into bigger or smaller.
Posteriorly to a chance meeting with the newly appointed leader of the SOS Ryoko, I do believe a change of leadership was a step on the right direction, and while my words would hold deceit if I were to say I earnestly look forward to it, I do wish her and her fellow teammates the best of luck in such endeavor. Still, I wholeheartedly believe we have been burned far too many times to simply be fed the same excuses and empty promises until they are proven to be more than just that. In the meantime, all I can do is suggest a change of names. Superhero is a powerful title, and the SOS simply has not earned it.
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