Mass Effect Foundation #8
AKA MORE THANE!
Y’know, at this point in time I don’t really care enough to give something like this any thought, and especially not a five-paragraph essay of thoughts, but I’m going to anyway. The only real reason I can bother to be worked up about it is because I still play in this sandbox and there’s so much I want to know, and it’s distressing to think all I’m going to get is muck instead. Muck I can laugh at and easily ignore: muck, regardless. And, well, I’m giving it some more thought because I follow a bunch of great fans who’ve been going over why it bothers them, and I wanted to throw in my own two cents.
My two cents are for the worst-case scenario, which is that this will be a weird relationship thing between Thane and (a whitewashed) Brooks. This is not a thing most sane people want. I don’t want it. But if I have to have it there, niggling at the back of my brain, as something I can deny and work around, but always with the knowledge this is the way some assholes on high have decreed it to be, then somebody’s gotta lay down stipulations. I’ll do it. Pick me.
I’m not protective of Thane’s celibacy or anything, and I’m not protective of his ten years of meaninglessness. It wouldn’t surprise me if he slept with people to get close to someone or something he needed to make a hit. I mean, I can take or leave that interpretation — even if on a personal level I find the idea of using someone in order to gain lethal vulnerability over them/someone else to be more detestable than assassinations in general — the point is that it might be seen as just part of the work. So, worst-case scenario: let’s say this comic is like some spy-thriller roll-in-the-hay—type situation. I think I could tolerate that. I could be okay with a short power-based fling, even with some positive elements. I get the impression that’s a big sticking point for some: if he has affection for her, how is that reconcilable with what he claims about his empty past later on? I guess the way I look at it is this: the (entirely hypothetical, unproven, speculative) period of time he spends with a scheming Cerberus operative might be diverting and evoke some flicker of feeling without nullifying his later statement that he wasn’t awake before Shepard. It’s like a deep depression — you can have sparks, fleeting moments, even days that remind you what it is like to be alive, but they’re so insignificant that mostly all you feel is nothing. So that’s not the part that really makes me go ‘eh.’
What makes me go ‘eh’ is that I highly doubt whoever worked on this has any idea of what it would look like if it were done well. I think it could be okay. It might not sit well with a lot of people, but it could be a thing without screwing over established canon, and that’s where I start to feel old and sigh about kids on my lawn. Canon isn’t law (I don’t care who says it is) but it’s supposed to be that framework that gives everything in a universe its color, and if the work itself starts contradicting its own canon it suddenly feels like somebody’s going around insisting blue is yellow.
Like… it isn’t going to work if this is a relationship that makes Thane into a liar, later on. And it isn’t going to work if it fucks up the kind of person he’s shown himself to be, which to me is this sort of deferential well-read introvert one-trick pony with no leadership skills and a sardonic sense of humor, a man with a quick temper that doesn’t boil terribly hot because it doesn’t need to. He isn’t going to be this seductive asshole who makes Brooks fall for him unless he has a working reason to do it (like, she’s-a-job-type reason).He isn’t James Bond. I will throw a frying pan if he’s James Bond. Somebody who is asleep to the majority of feelings in this world doesn’t screw somebody for the hell of it, that’s all I’m saying. If it’s useful one might still do it, and they might enjoy it, because bodies aren’t fucking machines, but that’s not the same thing as doing it because they’re feeling something.
And he won’t be the same guy he is when we meet him later on. He isn’t going to be somebody who monologues about his life to Brooks, the way he does with Shepard. I don’t imagine he talks much at all to anyone before he meets Shepard — certainly not about his life, his culture, his interests. His family.
To me, those are the important differences. If the writing de-emphasizes the sheer vortex of nothing that he kept himself at the edge of for ten years without falling in, it won’t be doing justice to the person he is later on. If they don’t show the impact that has, how it bleeds over into his dealings with others, it’s a disservice.
These are manageable requests, you know? It could be done. It could even be done with a dustjacket blurb that sounds like a Virulent Viking-esque knockoff (and with a cover to match). Like, my concerns aren’t that he might be screwing someone or that he might even like it; that’s okay. What would irritate the everloving crap out of me would be if the writers on this project decided to make him act like he does once he’s gone through his redemptive arc in ME2. It isn’t that I don’t want them messing with my onetruelove!!!otp with Shepard (Shepard is the second of his true loves, after all); what I don’t want them messing with is the path he’s on that eventually makes the culmination of his story (in ME2, at least) have weight. I don’t want to see anything that cheapens his character development and atonement — his reunion with Kolyat, the way Shepard wakes him up, the peace he finds when he chooses to bring good into the world through his actions at last.
I expect it’s too much to ask. However, on the positive side, I am looking forward to possible worldbuilding info on Kahje or drell culture or anything like that! That’d be neat.
So… instead of reading it, I’ll leave it to somebody else to deal with all the dreck. And when they pull out the fascinating info and put it on tumblr, I can get the good part without the part that’ll more’n likely be somewhere between mediocre and terribad.
To our Sihas/Thane Fans: While many of us are feeling apprehensive right now, especially if this image is any indication of the “care” (or lack thereof) that the creators of this comic put into it, the comic is apparently not coming out until February 2014. Until more information is available, I’m not sure there’s much we as a community could do at the moment. Besides being here for each other as we worry what ELSE they might have done to our dear Thane, of course. Hang in there, sihas!
(However, if you do have suggestions for actions you think we can take preemptively, we’d be happy to hear them!)