Can't Catch a Break

An article by, Kelly Irelan

In your average romantic relationship where a living space is shared, the person who gets home first might do a number of things to ease the arrival of their partner. They might get dinner started. They might tidy up the living room or do the dishes if they’ve begun to pile up in an unseemly fashion. They may even make the brave decision to allow their partner control concerning what television program they’ll be streaming that evening. On the other hand, what should a partner refrain from doing? Oh, I don’t know… perhaps they should control the urge to invite a group of public menaces over for supper.

God Complex #3 really knows how to rake a protagonist over the coals. Poor Seneca. The guy is already having a particularly rough time of it without his girlfriend encouraging The Coup to pop by for a game of Wii Bowling. Okay, that’s not exactly what happened, but I’m sure Seneca would have preferred it over the confusion that actually went down. His world is severely jostled when he finds out his deceased partner was working for The Coup in an attempt to push back against the Rulers’ supposed brainwashing of Delphi’s citizens. Cassandra, the leader of The Coup, provides a theory regarding the Rulers’ utilization of psycho-metrics to influence public opinion. The Coup leaves and the confrontation leaves Seneca feeling more lost than anything.

Soon after, Seneca meets with Hermes to discuss a lead named Alvar who may have orchestrated the data breach on behalf of the church. Hermes is obviously suspicious, and warns Seneca to remain loyal to the Rulers’ cause for his own sake. It seems as though he does this from a place of friendship and not anger. Seneca is ordered to visit the church where he has a hushed meeting with Prior William, and young man from Seneca’s church-going days. He says there have been three instances where the Trinity has physically manifested in front of followers of the faith, but he doesn’t necessarily seem happy about it. At mention of The Coup, Prior William asks Seneca to leave. He is clearly shaken and unwilling to provide more details. Following these events, Seneca heads home on the train where an attempt on his life is made. It soon evolves into a legitimate terrorist attack. A man detonates explosives with alarming effect, and the train is split right down the middle in a scene of devastating destruction. Seneca’s fate is unknown, but if he’d interpreted the Fates’ words sooner, maybe he would have seen this coming.

After three issues, I’m still fascinated by Jenkins’ clever use of the Trinity voice. It is so common in comics to see the narrator or the lead talking to themself. I’m not discrediting this method, but I am bolstering the author’s choice to give this hovering, mental ghost a personality. As I continue to read, I continually have to remind myself that it’s not Seneca, and that’s truly brilliant. Why? Well, if I’m correct, this seems to be the author’s intent. Seneca is made to question himself constantly because of this voice, and it’s having a similar effect on the reader. The fact that I find myself so mirrored in Seneca is a sign of narrative mastery.

My favorite pages in this issue were Prasetya’s interpretations of what Seneca’s church days were like as a child. We usually view his past as part of the congregation through a jaded lens, but for the first time, we see him happy to be one with the Trinity. I’d venture to say this is the happiest he’s appeared in the series. If Seneca ever had a soft side, this was it. He was young and trusting, and viewing these pages is to also view how far Seneca has fallen from the boy he once was. It’s sad, but it also humanizes him. Sadness is made all the more profound when you know the subject once held joy in their hands. Prasetya presents Seneca’s “fall from grace” beautifully and with a generous helping of sorrow.

I found this issue to be both enjoyable and stressful in equal amounts. The narrative is progressing nicely in an exhilarating direction. The continued existence of our protagonist currently and literally hangs in the balance, which isn’t helping my anxiety in the slightest. THANKS, GOD COMPLEX. Honestly, though. If you haven’t picked up this series yet and you want to join the “Anxiety Over the Fate of a Fictional Character” club, get that ticket punched! Just don’t get it punched for the train on that last page. I strongly advise against punching that particular ticket.

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