It is often said thatWatchmen是有史以来最具影响力的漫画。没有它，漫画就不会有今天，不管是好是坏。但我们到底是怎么走到这一步的?更重要的是，《守望者》对漫画世界有何影响?最终，守望者的遗产是什么?谁监视守望者?
[covers by Mike Del Mundo and Dave Gibbons, respectively]
X-Men: Legacy#9’s Double Homage to Alan Moore’sWatchmen
InX-Men: Legacy#9 by Si Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat, there’s an obvious homage toWatchmen#9 and then there’s a rather subtler homage toWatchmen‘s mystery villain, revealed in the 11th hour, quite literally in the frame of Moore’s narrative, to be an erstwhile superhero, Ozymandias, world’s smartest man. Let’s look at theWatchmen#9 homage first.
1. David and Ruth’s Lunar “Date” Echoes the Martian Sequence inWatchmen#9*
*Spurrier’s timing for his homage is a bit precious—but just you wait! By the time you finish this little essay, that will be the first thing you forget about the shambling freakout that isX-Men: Legacyby Si Spurrier.
Nine years ago, in the ninth issue of Si Spurrier’s two-yearX-Men: Legacyrun, reallya Legion solo book*, David Haller and Ruth (Blindfold) Aldine had their first in-person date, on the Moon of all places—and it wasn’t just vaguely reminiscent of one of the most famous scenes from Alan Moore’sWatchmen(1986); Spurrier alludes, by way of Ruth’s own pop-culture musings, to that eerie and heartbreaking scene between Doctor Manhattan and Laurie Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre) on Mars, a last meeting between jaded ex-lovers (though calling the naked man-god a lover gives the lie to their former relationship). It was a loving homage to what is still the superhero genre’s central critical achievement—a position from which, for almost four decades now, it has yet to be dislodged by any subsequent graphic narrative deconstructive of superheroics. Of course, there was a pressing need for that kind of story at the height of the Cold War (which soon turned out to be the twilight of that long era, to everyone’s surprise). Since the early ’90s, however gradually, the most talented storytellers in mainstream comics (Image included) have simply found their moment, their pressing needs and how to articulate them, elsewhere.
*A Legion solo book?Pffft. Marvel couldn’t get away with that. PutX-Menin the title and have those meddling merry mutants appear throughout to meet adequate sales figures for the two years it ran. (Also, anyone familiar with David Haller’s history before this series will notice that he appears more mature here, which is sensible—letting him grow up just a bit—on the other hand, Ruth is a young teen, so even though these two are presented as roughly of the same age and maturity level (albeit with David having a lot of catching up to do), this sudden romance might justifiably cause discomfort for some readers, especially given the 20-year gap between their respective debuts as preteens—not that such glossed-over awkwardness is in any way exceptional for Big 2 comics. As to the rest of the X-Men guest appearances, we’ll get to that, as Xavier’s son taking up his recently deceased father’s dream for mutant/human harmony is the stated remit of Spurrier’sX-Men: Legacy; and yet the title’s more glaring flaws should be addressed first.
Meanwhile, at least with his Legion and other X-verse work, Spurrier then and now has tackled big issues with the bluntest tools in the superhero medium, rolling himself and readers along in what quickly becomes a narrative avalanche that impresses with its density of ideas and references—but falls apart on a closer look. His storytelling style could not be more different from Moore’s formal mastery of narrative and medium. And what his goals as a writer are, I have no idea.
Now it’s not like the issuesWatchmen处理消失了，但我们感觉和思考它们的方式已经;我们的问题也变得更加复杂，这同样意味着我们的故事实际上继续在回避它们!事实上，在撒切尔/里根(Thatcher/Reagan)时代，财富和生活质量的显著差异随着几乎所有形式的社会福利(无论是以前由国家保障的，还是像美国那样由工会遗留下来的(工会已经衰落，而且在结构和文化上往往具有根本上的种族主义)的崩溃而呈指数级加速，艾伦·摩尔创作了一些大胆的故事，这些故事在政治上更直接，也比当今许多同样人口群体的创作者所能做的更有说服力——在这个世界上，资本主义的可怕贪婪已经成为“事情本来的样子”，世界自然秩序的一部分。
Of course, for our limited purpose in this essay, none of this fascinating historicity really matters. After all, Spurrier’s allusion toWatchman#9 is just focused on the danger of the superpowered orsuper-intelligent*becoming super inhuman—like Doctor Manhattan.
[Watchmenart by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins]
这个术语通常不是指大多数人认为的实用或成熟的智力;相反，它实际上是对经典的傻瓜自我最糟糕冲动的过度强化，远远超过了超级力量或类似的东西:对超人智能的幻想几乎总是对其他人类的不耐烦，以及最终变得更像机器/计算，更不像人类的渴望(即，削弱我们作为根本上的社会/合作动物的本性)。Moore critiques this power fantasy through the figure of ManhattanandOzymandias。但斯普瑞尔放大了这段幻想曲的吸引力，尽管他把它埋在大卫对泽维尔遗产的伤感序曲之下(在他选择的使命中，本质上是拯救世界本身);当然，大卫担心他的任务会把他变成一个怪物，但他为避免这场灾难而做的最后一件事都是关于他的自大。The odd mix of punked-out aesthetic and New Age-y sentiments throughout the Spurrier run ultimately feels like some of the more insufferable aspects of ’90s UK rave culture—an unaware arrogance still on display inLegion of X．(事实上，斯普瑞尔的风格与摩尔完全没有相似之处，但却与莫里森相似得多，尽管有点弱，但可能更像彼得·米利根(Peter Milligan)的风格:古怪、偶尔迷人，但并不完全犀利。)
Now, with just a littleeffortfulreading, we can readmoreinto Ruth’s Manhattan reference than what we get on the page, as we’ll get into below, but nothing about the strange comparison is serendipitous, because Spurrier’s version of Legion is a wild mess and, as chaotic manipulator, significantly more reprehensible to his “romantic” interest than Alan Moore’s dry-ice man-god is to the hapless “girl next door” (Laurie). (Unfortunately, none of this bodes well for the currentLegion of X标题马刺制造者。)
如果读者真的想要比较两个截然不同的角色，那么大卫的挣扎可以被视为曼哈顿的对立面。First off, David is thoroughly embroiled in a fractured emotional life that would be totally alien to Manhattan—who would, indeed, see “the mutant problem” as yet further reason to wash his hands of Earth,not作为一个合理的奇迹。然而，尽管他们有种种不同，他们都可能被诬陷为受伤的自恋者，这可能会让他们很难被爱，但即便如此，这也会让他们作为人类产生共鸣。
Doctor Manhattan is a Cold Fish
Of course, Manhattan is an inherently much harder sell in this regard; his problem as a character and person is that he’s little else beyond a static, godlike ego with no real connections to anyone; he doesn’t spark drama of any kind, except insofar as he is feared or used as a weapon. Nobody inWatchmencares about his abstractions, unless his alienating thoughts cause him to abandon Earth, which is what happens, temporarily at first and then, ultimately, for good. That first time, he returns thanks to the hapless Laurie, not through any sort of clever strategy but simply by exhaustively appealing to whatever sense of humanity he still retains. Whisked away to Mars, without even any air to breathe initially, she is understandably overwhelmed and confused—but her struggle to make sense of what’s happening with Jon almost accidentally results in his low-key/flat affect revelation that humanity might have some worth, after all.
Each uniquely embroiled in his own inner problems, Manhattan and Legion are otherwise almost total opposites.
2. David’s Actions Against the Ozymandias-like Aarkus Echo –Ozymandias
Spurrier’s second allusion toWatchmeninX-Men: Legacy第9条就没那么简单了。一开始，作者对阿库斯的随意吸引，一个漫威黄金时代的跨维度生物，有点像奥兹曼迪亚斯:独自躲在遥远的堡垒里(位于月球而不是南极洲)，这个聪明但孤立，可能是疯狂的超自然生物正在想办法拯救地球，根据大卫对露丝令人恐惧的独白，这肯定包括消灭变种人——马上就消灭。
But Spurrier goes one better than a mere cute riff here. For David, too, has his Ozymandias moment in this issue, and if I had been Ruth, this would certainly have been an irreversible dealbreaker. But the author was adamant on having these two stick to each other, despite the fact that here David pumps horrific images into Ruth’s mind: of her fellow mutants annihilated by Aarkus as if it’s already happened, when in truth, it’s a vision from one of David’s more twisted personas (tied up with his tortured relationship to his father).
[X-Men: Legacyart by Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung and Jose Villarrubia]
In David’s own arc during the Spurrier run, this does mark a turn for him in recognizing that pursuing his father’s dream on his own could turn him not just into a monster but one that could very well end the world to boot.
Does Spurrier follow through with these various but connected themes with anything like the clarity Moore achieves inWatchmen? Maybe that’s an unfair comparison, but it’s one that he invites by way of his homage inX-Men: Legacy#9.
Spurrier’s Legion Has Always Been a Hot Mess
仅看这两本书，我们可以看到《曼哈顿》和《军团》各自的命运走向了相反的方向，尽管它们都涉及自我放逐(在大卫的例子中，我认为这是一种自杀——通过明确的暗示而不是严格的文本;so if you’re going to quibble about that fragment left behindin Ruth’s mind*, that’s missing the point, and allowing Spurrier off the hook for not in the least acknowledging the tragic connotations of what David says at the end of his existence, this being just one ofmyriad problems with his Legion run**．
*David inserts a fragment of himself into Ruth’s mind without at all asking for consent. He assumed this young woman would be happy with this piece of a man she hardly knows—and Spurrier assumes exactly the same, which is the last frigging page of hisX-Men: Legacyrun (which may also reference Manhattan’s farewell to Earth/Ozymandias at the end ofWatchmen, to no meaningful effect, because Manhattan, much to Alan Moore’s dismay, was correct: Endings are anathema to Big 2 comics).
Inside Ruth’s head, on issue #24’s penultimate page, David says, “I’m in your head. Always.” On the last, Ruth walks down a hallway among her peers, declaring, “I rule me.” Really? Who exactly is ruling who here? Throughout the run, that line was David’s mantra, not Ruth’s—until she is occupied, without consent.
(Oddly enough, inWay of X#3, Spurrier depicted David attempting to help along a budding romance between Mercury and Loa by allowing their psyches to mingle in a way their bodies could not, due to their powers, but that too-sudden closeness, the dropping away of all barriers to another’s mind, backfired grotesquely. It was ineptly handled on the author’s part, characteristically muddled, and yet contrary in message to the resolution inLegacy．Odd.)
**Another glaring problem这里最突出的特点是他的反派大量使用种族主义语言来说明种族主义是愚蠢的，而他的那些很小的亚裔反派们在一开始说英语的时候，只会延续种族主义的刻板印象;在这里，斯普瑞尔不成熟的幽默尝试似乎愉快地鼓励了那种狭隘/排外的白痴行为，而这种行为长期以来一直是白人主导的流行文化的主要内容。
If anything, it is specifically Spurrier who took the character out of the ignorant Claremontian mold (as “autistic” and/or “schizophrenic”) to depict what seems much closer to a classic narcissistic disorder, which resonates with David’s suicidal language at the end of the series (“I refuse to submit to a universe where I cannot rule myself”; “This is never being born”; “I was too bloody good for this place anyway”).
(As to Legion’s eventual return, this occurred four years later, sort ofex nihilo, in the 2018LegionMini-Series by Peter Milligan and Lee M. Ferguson, with no explanation of how this was supposed to work followingX-Men: Legacy—which was maybe for the best.)
For any readers interested in real-world DID, which as a diagnosable disorder afflicts a tiny percentage of the world population, you can compare how vastly different it is from the comic-book version of Legion:Dissociative Identity Disorder – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)．事实上，没有一个写大卫的人真正处理得了这种疾病的痛苦现实，这表明我们对这种极其罕见的疾病的持续无知。(In the 2017-2109Legiontv show, he’s diagnosed as schizophrenic, which is unrelated to DID, and frankly, that was a very wise decision, as was the depiction of David’s ongoing treatment, which was in starkly pointed contrast to theX-Mencinema trope of simply prescribing drugs to mentally ill telepaths.)
That Marvel has “officially” diagnosed Legion with DID (Legion (David Haller) In Comics Powers, Enemies, History | Marvel) is just embarrassing.
Why Clarity on Mental Health in Fiction Matters
Diagnosing fictional characters is always dicey, but if there’s anything about David that’s relatably human it’s that he suffered intense parental neglect, with one parent being a supreme narcissist, and that has indeed resulted, perfectly understandably, in a wounded narcissist. However, in our current culture, consumers are more interested in fantastical limit cases of neurodivergence than garden-variety narcissism. So labeling Legion a narcissist here, I’ll bet nobody else will run with this. And why should they? Readers nowadays want protagonists who are either more aware of their social privileges or actually do struggle with some form of marginalization. One of the early results in Big 2 comics of this cultural shift, Spurrier’sX-Men: Legacyrecasts a character who’d previously been more ofa cipher*as a personality suffering fundamentally (i.e., beneath a fantasticated caricature or façade) from a relatable, everyday problem endemic to the US (and modern, capitalist cultures of the West more generally)—while masking this mundanity in the “spectacle” of what we now call DID (while getting that disorder almost totally wrong).
*Again,David’s seemingly permanent status as a cipherwas for most writers all too easy to maintain when for the first 20 years of his publication history, our cultural awareness of mental health was practically nil. Until very recently, labeling someone “autistic,” fictional or otherwise, was typically an excuse for neglect, abandonment or simply dismissive indifference. However, I’d like to argue that for a writer to actually deal with this, with a realistically autistic protagonist, would be much more meaningful than reading stories that ignorantly purport to be about one kind of disorder but only really represent another that goes unnamed or unrecognized. In other words, most readers want greater clarity about their heroes, not more confusion and ignorance.
If a writer is going to deal with mental health issues, they need to do so with clarity and not leave readers guessing as to their intentions or level of awareness or ignorance on the particular subject. We shouldn’t be left questioning whether we should diagnose a character ourselves; again, that’s always dicey—the author needs to present this material with care and intelligence if they’re going to handle it at all. WithX-Men: Legacy, Spurrier simply did not do this, and he’s still not doing it withLegion of X(which is just chockfull of broad/vague gestures at fostering a culture of care and mutual aid and yet it’s clearly Vita Ayala who’s been leading in this area with much greater understanding and focus over inNew Mutants, if only at the level of close friendships).
The Dry as Dust Tragedy of the Naked Man-God
InWatchmen, Dr. Manhattansort oflearns better, via his own highly abstract reasoning process in solitude, and returns to Earth to save humankind from itself—which, through further rationalizations, leads him to accept fellow superhero Ozymandias’ plan to destroy most of New York City to avert World War III. The ease with which the godly Manhattan solves this particular Trolley Problem is chilling, and that’s Moore’s point: Manhattan’s humanity is his inhumanity, the kind of modus vivendi we see in practice from those who run the world. That this paradox remains unbearable to Manhattan isn’t unique to him either: Practically by virtue of their positions of power, the wealthy and powerful often wish themselves far away from the mess of their own kind, in some far-off place “less complicated,” never mind the unpleasant reality that their very inability or indifference in effectively wielding the resources at their command is central to what’s wrong with our society.
Power fantasies are almost always subtended by howls of despair, a learned helplessness when it comes to just dealing with the world as it is; once the consolation of these fanciful dreams of power begin to fade, reality returns, no less discordant, cacophonous and difficult to understand—perhaps more so. Of course, fantasy, or rather the whole toolkit of fantasticated storytelling (its tropes and metaphors), can help us to see and feel the world more clearly, in a way that’s empowering to the individual without just being escapist. However, Manhattan as a type in the literature of the fantastic never inspires a reengagement with the world, unless taken as a cautionary tale. (At least he is ultimately happy for Laurie in finding human comfort with Daniel, even though there is surely a trace of condescension in the man-god’s parting smile, before he turns away from the overly “complicated” Earth, to fly off into deep space, to a distant galaxy, where he may well have followed through on his passing suggestion that he could recreate humanity on another world. Why? We could ask the same of, say, those in Silicon Valley who want to evolve sentience out of artificial life merely because it’s a thing that’s possible; plus, such a bizarre method for realizing a power fantasy could simply be a way of sustaining lonely but pampered egos who believe they’ve found their highest calling. This doesn’t seem much different from Manhattan’s far-off vanity project.)
This tragic line of thinking is painfully relevant to Spurrier’s Legion in that it just isn’t for Manhattan—who is in his very presentation monadic. The idea of the monad comes from the ancient Pythagoreans, denoting the prime cosmic substance, i.e. the pan-creator or cosmic totality, but since Leibniz it’s morphed into simply referring to an indivisible unit, a solitary, impervious particle in a universe made up of such particles. The Pythagorean symbol for this concept was the circled dot,almostexactly like the hydrogen symbol on Manhattan’s sleek, hairless head, symbol of his indivisibility and imperviousness, whatever his ability to ghost through and reshape matter; he is always no more or less than what he is, a man who forgot humanity.
Again, this just isn’t David’s own tragedy.
David Is Not a Monad
But it’s the caution taken from Moore’s critique of the inhuman man-god that Ruth voices on the Moon, the pair safely cocooned in David’s little bubble of air—though no less potentially disconcerting than what Laurie experiences when Manhattan teleports her to Mars without thinking of her need to breathe air (because that’s no longer among Manhattan’s own personal concerns).这真是第一次(面对面)约会!Yet the notion that David was really likely to become anything like the naked man-god is hard to fathom—if for no other reason than his central conflict is explicitly his mental health issues, which, again, no writer has really been able to clarify yet, even if we see glimpses here and there, almost by chance, as if writers are relying more on intuition than a thoughtful application of research (which you kind of need to do if you’re dealing with a rare personality disorder).
*How Blindfold isn’t disgusted by Davidmanipulating their encounters into what he calls “dates” when David’s motivations are all about getting her to validate his aggressive power fantasies just deflates the irony of her codename—Spurrier and Legion treat her as alternately gullible or reactive, leading her along until what is, as noted above, a gross violation of her privacy and autonomy.
Manhattan’s emotional state couldn’t be more different, though it would be very unwise to try to diagnose such a fantastical character with a real-world disorder. Regardless, the only overlap the two characters have may be their godlike powers potentially alienating them from humanity (including mutants)—which seems to stand in for the narcissism that clearly defines their isolated personalities, each in his own way. Certainly, David’s situation is more relatable and understandable: the wounded narcissism of the child neglected by narcissistic parents*．
*InX-Men: Legacy#15, his mother, Gabrielle Haller, is a grim depiction of narcissist who’s been as married to her work (Israeli national security) as Xavier ever was—grimly lacking in humor and self-care and yet clearly insufferably smug and driven by self-importance, all very briefly before she takes a bullet meant for her son—who beneficently undoes her death in the series finale, as he deletes himself from reality, retroactively. (If you got a headache from trying to work out how David’s ontological suicide—or whatever you choose to call it—don’t worry: It really doesn’t make any sense, though the story seems to argue that David can make it all work out because he’s just that godlike—“I was too bloody good for this place anyway.”)
In-universe, Ruth makes her passingWatchmenreference where the specific referent (Manhattan) isn’t meaningful beyond exactly what she says (i.e., don’t forget your humanity). Does Spurrier intend us to read more into it, though? Regardless of authorial intent, a closer comparison between the two characters only highlights their lack of meaningful similarity.
If Manhattan is a chilly, godlike monad, David is much more a “nomad”—not necessarily literally (although that too inX-Men: Legacy); this playful but meaningful pun helps us invert and subvert Leibniz’s concept of the modern rationalist (Enlightenment) subject. This clever philosophical punning is from one of the most engaging (and headiest) works of 20thcentury philosophy/theory,Mille plateaux(1980; trans. into English asA Thousand Plateaus哲学家吉尔·德勒兹(Gilles Deleuze, 1987)和心理学家Félix Guattari，都是在20世纪60年代中后期出现在欧洲的后马克思主义左翼。不过，就我们的目的而言，我们可以简单地说，大卫的游牧生活方式在早期得到了证明，他是无数人物的载体，然后在斯普瑞尔(sprrier)中由他与父母和其他变种人的关系运行，尽管关系很不稳定。现在，需要明确的是，德勒兹和瓜塔里对两种存在模式的认同在道德上是中立的，即使他们主张允许更多的“游牧”进入西方的日常生活。
All this is to say that while Manhattan is an isolate personality who acts unilaterally, Spurrier’s David couldn’t be more different: He’s defined by his relationships even as we see him struggling to establish them for the first time inX-Men: Legacy．(当然，当他擦掉自己时，这一切几乎都是徒劳的。)事实上，在《x战警》的整个宇宙中，我们快乐的变种人之间的互动是无止境的;fans delight in imagining all the permutations and bare degrees of separation between all these characters, whereas the formally contained cosmos ofWatchmenis much more, well, monadic—we have one set of “heroes,” and the story astutely deconstructs their supposed heroism but also goes further in deconstructing their internal relationships with heavy doses of cynicism that are harder to stomach. Coldly self-enclosed, theWatchmenmythos does not lend itself to the kind of ever-broadening fandom as the X-Men.
然而似乎斯普瑞尔认为，让大卫加入不断变化的人际关系的最好方式是让他继承他刚刚去世的父亲的梦想，建立突变人和人类的和谐。And in the wake of Xavier’s brutal murder by a Phoenix-possessed Scott Summers inAvX, this probably did seem to make a lot of sense. But were there perhaps more sensible options? In theAvXaftermath, Legion’s comeback was maybe going to inevitably be tied up with his father’s legacy, and of course, the titleX-Men: Legacywas a shoo-in, since its first iteration was from its inception an Xavier-focused book (although it shifted focus toward the end of Mike Carey’s long run, which was throughout the real highlight of a dark time for the franchise).
Potential Still Untapped
David’s struggle in the Spurrier run is essentially “cure yourself before you use your powers to help humanity (including mutantkind).” However true a sentiment, this is a homily of our own time—i.e., it’s rather alien to much of late 20thcentury Western culture, including Moore andWatchmen*. This simply isn’t something that gets explored, much less articulated, even if readers can read through the works of ages and find instances where this moralizing could have been put to good use.
*Watchmen它不只是那个世纪的产物，它是一个矛盾的现代主义-后现代主义作品，后现代主义通过“低级”文化媒介及其比喻和人物传达严肃的政治信息，但现代主义在对这种材料的作者和艺术控制方面;它当然缺乏后现代主义的娱乐性——它在态度和形式上，或者说在叙事控制上是现代主义的。Watchmen’s own potential was pretty much exhausted the first time round, resulting in a “perfect” graphic novel; directly mining this vein decades later, DC is only stupidly undermining the story’s original impact and its legacy.
If I were suddenly tasked with writing a Legion book, rather than looking to the regular X-Men mythos, more likely sources of inspiration for me would be classic psi-talent stories like Stephen King’sFirestarter, Roald Dahl’sMatilda, or even John Wyndham’sThe Chrysalidsor, most idiosyncratic,And Chaos Diedby Joanna Russ. These are all excellent novels, however imperfect in their way, that explore matters resonant to David Haller, far more so thanWatchmenor even the current Krakoa narrative.