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  • I have read the dialogue but I think we may disagree about what counts as "internal" and "external" as far as free will is concerned. In the sense I mean here, the neurotransmitters are practically external. And if it's all rooted in probability rather than, well, free will, then the situation is still basically deterministic in the sense I'm talking about.

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    • Having a tough time seeing any basic difference (as far as free will is concerned) between the heroes and villains being Inverted, and Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk, but maybe you don't think the Hulk has free will either.

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      • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
        Having a tough time seeing any basic difference (as far as free will is concerned) between the heroes and villains being Inverted, and Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk, but maybe you don't think the Hulk has free will either.
        I think the Hulk has been established to have free will.

        Again, whether or not the heroes and villains do hasn't been made clear to me in the stories I've read, though I haven't been able to pick up last week's or this week's comics. I have no idea if it will ever be completely spelled out.

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        • I think the Hulk has free will, but the actions he takes and the choices he makes are not the same as Bruce Banner's actions and choices (except for those occasions when Banner's mind has occupied the Hulk's body). Yet the Hulk's mind is still a part of Bruce Banner's mind, a part that he normally controls and keeps repressed, when he is Bruce. You seldom see anything like an internal struggle between the two personalities depicted overtly, and that also seems to be the case with the normal heroes and villains, versus their Inverted selves. So I doubt you'll see any internal conflict depicted in the AXIS stories.

          The Inverted Hulk is the only one to manifest any sort of physical change due to the Inversion, as he becomes Kluh (note the clever "inversion" of spelling, dumbest name ever), described as "the Hulk's Hulk". I'm not sure this makes much sense to me, as it seems to me that an Inverted Hulk would simply be one with Bruce Banner's mind. But of course that would seem far too mundane, since it's been done multiple times. I guess it seems to indicate that Banner has even deeper levels of darkess within him that remain repressed even when he transforms into the Hulk, that are now being unleashed by the Inversion. At least, that's the best that I can make of it.

          Also, I'm not clear on when AXIS takes place relative to the Hulk's continuity. Over in his regular book, he's "Omega Hulk" (after his brain damage has been repaired by Stark's Extremis virus - not clear on exactly what version of Extremis that is, but it doesn't seem to be the same as the one now in SUPERIOR IRON MAN), a.k.a. Doc Green, but it's clear from that story that "Doc Green" is something more than just Banner's mind enhanced by Extremis, as normal Bruce Banner still exists. But Kluh doesn't seem to be an Inverted Doc Green, as far as I can tell. Not sure how much of the Doc Green personality is Extremis, and how much is some part of Banner's mind. Then there was the whole thing where Banner was part of the Illuminati in NEW AVENGERS, but I'm not sure if that was taking place before the brain damage and subsequent Extremis enhancement, or concurrent with it... he didn't seem to be Doc Green in most Avengers-related titles. There was also something in the regular AVENGERS before that with a parallel timeline Hulk/Banner brought here by an A.I.M. exploratory probe into the multiverse, and it seemed like the parallel Banner/Hulk might have replaced the 616-Hulk at some point, and I'm confused about whether that actually happened or he was taken out of the picture. Marvel continuity is very hard to follow. It might be easier if things actually took place in different titles at the approximate time they were published, but after the fact of the stories concluding or moving on to another phase, it's hard to figure where the interlocking parts might fit together, or if they really do without errors. Having the current AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS stories set some months in the future isn't helping me sort that out, either. Even after the events of ORIGINAL SIN, and the subsequent repair of Banner's brain damage using Extremis, some subsequently-published Marvel comics that should be in current continuity seem to depict a dumb Hulk (recent issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA come to mind), and I'm never quite sure what version of Hulk to expect when I pick up a Marvel comic outside his own series.
          Last edited by pulphero; 12-04-2014, 01:20 AM.

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          • It was established back in the 90s in Peter David's lengthy run on Hulk that Banner is a multiple personality, and it is perfectly possible for more than one version of the Hulk to manifest at any given time. That, to me, is pretty much the perfect get-out clause for any apparent contradictions between how how he is depicted in different titles.

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            • Originally posted by tony ingram View Post
              It was established back in the 90s in Peter David's lengthy run on Hulk that Banner is a multiple personality, and it is perfectly possible for more than one version of the Hulk to manifest at any given time. That, to me, is pretty much the perfect get-out clause for any apparent contradictions between how how he is depicted in different titles.
              None of that has anything to do with Banner's brain damage and subsequent repair using Extremis, though. That was physical, not psychological. If he gets rid of the Extremis virus, I guess he can go back to being whatever Hulk he's in the mood for.

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              • As a side note, the interviews I've read don't suggest that these are the dark sides of the heroes that they struggle with now coming out (or vice versa for the villains), but a simple flipping to their opposites.

                http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=57073

                Originally posted by Rick Remender
                I think, in the simplest possible terms, I tried to avoid good to evil and focus more on who the characters were and three words that could define them. I then would invert those words. So Sam is selfless and now at his core he's selfish. Sam believed in Democracy and the ideals that his father taught him in his sermons. All of that is now inverted to the opposite where he is cynical, selfish and does not believe in democracy.
                http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=54736

                "Inverting the characters shows you the antithesis of what they normally are, which shines a light on their character," he said.
                Though he does apparently say this: "However, Remender was quick to stress that this isn't mind control -- the decisions of the characters is focused by different choices based on their traits" -- I'm not sure we're using the same terms here. If they can't make different choices, if deep down on a metaphysical who-they-really-are/soul level they're still trapped in reverse mode, then I would say that doesn't count as free will in any sense I could recognize.

                For "Inversion," the inverted characters will still remember everything about their past -- it's just that something has flipped inside of them. "In a broad sense, if you're Sabretooth, you're no longer going to kill someone to achieve your goals, you're going to save someone to take the hit. He's still the same person, but his moral alignment is giving him different information. His character is now aligned in a different way. He's not capable of killing -- at least he's not capable of killing the way he used to. Imagine if you're an amoral sociopath and you wake up with a conscience and a moral compass."

                "We've spent a lot of time making lists of what the characters are defined by, and then inverting that," said Remender. "It's led to some very interesting conflicts."
                http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=56866

                Originally posted by Tom Brevoort
                The way Rick [Remender] and I would talk about it amongst ourselves was essentially, and this is as geeky as you can possibly get, in "Dungeons & Dragons" terms. In D&D, every character has what they call an alignment on a scale of nine. You've probably seen those graphics on Tumblr where people take television show and movie casts and drop them into the block of the nine possible alignments.

                In essence, what the Inversion does is reverse your alignment. So somebody that is a Lawful Good character will begin to exhibit behavior that is Chaotic Evil. And somebody that is Chaotic Good will end up behaving in a way that's more Lawful Evil and so forth and so on. So it's not as simple as good guys get bad and bad guys get good. It's about particular character traits manifesting themselves in an opposite fashion.

                So in the broadest sense, yes, that probably means that heroes are going to be more ruthless because typically the heroes are not that ruthless as compared to the villains. But it's not necessarily as simple as that. The guiding principle is slightly different.
                So I think it's more like a Bizarro-opposite, Earth-3-version kind of thing, rather than, as Lewis puts it in Miracles,

                If Perdita had fallen she would not have been bad in the same way as Lady Macbeth: if Lady Macbeth had remained good her goodness would have been quite different from that of Perdita.
                Sam's inversion doesn't lead to, say, a corruption of his idealism and belief in democracy (which could be interesting in its own right), but a simple reversal of it. (I honestly think I'd rather see the characters not only struggle against this--or in some cases decide that this is what they prefer, especially in the case of possible redeemed villains--but also see their own basic natures, their raw material, play out in reversed moral choices, so rather than "Lawful Good becomes Chaotic Evil," see what happens when "Lawful Good" goes bad--perhaps a sort of "well, we're doing this for your own good," sanctimonious thing.

                Though technically in the case of, say, Carnage, we're seeing a bit more of the other kind of reversal, the kind you and Lewis are talking about--he's still willing to kill violently, but now he's trying to do good with it, as opposed to, say, Deadpool becoming a pacifist. I think this is just inconsistent writing. Don't get me wrong, the ride is fun (and I suppose I'll just have to stop fretting about the metaphysical implications of something probably not meant to inspire deep thought about that), but I think some of these inconsistencies are glitches that confuse what's supposed to be happening.

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                • Actually, Carnage hasn't killed anyone on purpose. He is genuinely TRYING to do good, but as a sociopath, he has a limited understanding of what that means, and tries to enlist a reporter to sort of be his conscience and teach him what that means. Carnage doesn't seem to fit with the D&D alignment model, because normally, he's clearly Chaotic Evil, so according to Brevoort, his Inverted self should be Lawful Good. Yet he seems to be, as his Inverted self, Chaotic Good (or maybe he's Lawful Evil, I'm not totally sure). My layman's interpretation of that (lacking a professional psychiatric opinion) would be that there's something wrong with his brain that the Inversion can't fix. So even if he wants to be good, he lacks the mental capacity to do that on his own.

                  I think I was getting a somewhat different read on Remender and Brevoort's comments than you were... and then it turned into the whole D&D thing, which doesn't say anything to me about how free will and real people work in the real world. It's interesting that Remender and Brevoort never mention anything like "forced" or "compelled", but they do mention choices, and how everything is specific to the individual character. It's not clear if they're ever thinking of the Inversion in terms of free will or not, so we bring our own philosophical leanings to the party, and interpret it subjectively our own way, I guess. The way I see it, no one is 100% good or bad, even the baddest have some small amount of good in them, and the goodest some small amount of bad, which has been flopped. But it is still THEIR good or bad amplified.

                  The D&D interpretation makes no sense to me in philosophical terms. But then the whole D&D thing is based on a pagan pantheistic worldview of multiple primal forces in opposition, which I don't claim to understand.

                  The reason you're not seeing the characters struggle is the same reason that they don't normally have to struggle with their choices. It's not just that the small amount of bad or good in them has been amplified, but the opposite has also been correspondingly reduced in strength. If a character struggled with moral choices normally, it would indicate that their makeup was more of an even balance of forces to begin with. If they didn't struggle with those choices before, then they don't struggle with their new choices now. The closest you see to a struggle is Carnage, who isn't conflicted as far as PURPOSE, he's just struggling with an UNDERSTANDING of what being good means, the how and why part of it. Although it seems that the closest to a hero/villain in the bunch is Magneto -- his Inverted self is somewhat close to the version of the character seen around the time of SECRET WARS/SECRET WARS II (The Beyonder classified him as a hero rather than a villain), when Professor X asked Magneto to take over the school, and he was in charge of the New Mutants, and trying to turn over a new leaf... making him the one Inverted character that seems least "out of character".

                  You lost me with Lewis' Macbeth metaphor. I'm familiar with the basic gist of the story, but have never read it. Not quite sure who Perdita was in that story. Although it does sound like Lewis is talking about an Inversion of Perdita and Lady Macbeth! It's interesting to note that you'd never mistake any of the Inverted characters for some other mind occupying the same body.
                  Last edited by pulphero; 12-05-2014, 04:49 AM.

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                  • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                    The D&D interpretation makes no sense to me in philosophical terms.
                    Yeah, it was a fun game, but it's not exactly my first choice in terms of ... well, anything genuinely philosophical, even insofar as it might inform a comics crossover event.

                    But then the whole D&D thing is based on a pagan pantheistic worldview of multiple primal forces in opposition, which I don't claim to understand.
                    Honestly, it's less pagan and more rooted in fragments of a few novels. The whole Law/Chaos thing is basically borrowed from Moorcock's Elric series (which would also not be my first choice for something genuinely philosophical. Tolkien, on the other hand...).

                    (I should note that I never even got into 2nd Edition or beyond, so if somehow it's become A Profound Thing Of Profundity, I'm not in the loop.)

                    PS: Perdita is in another play, A Winter's Tale.

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                    • Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                      Honestly, it's less pagan and more rooted in fragments of a few novels. The whole Law/Chaos thing is basically borrowed from Moorcock's Elric series (which would also not be my first choice for something genuinely philosophical. Tolkien, on the other hand...).
                      I didn't mean pagan in the literal sense, just in terms of the general character of the outlook. Multiple supernatural forces controlling nature, and the nature of reality. As opposed to a single creator being and an adversary, with a simple duality of opposite good and evil forces, with man and the physical world in the middle.

                      I'm not completely convinced that Moorcock originated the whole Law/Chaos thing, either. Certainly he popularized the concept for the 20th Century. I can relate to Moorcock's multiverse and characters better than I can to Tolkien's, for whatever that says. Although Elric is essentially a High Elf, I'd say. I think Moorcock's multiverse is philosophical, but not the most optimistic of outlooks. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say nihilistic, but certainly with a pervading recognition of entropy as the final destination for everything. It doesn't stop them from fighting the battle to delay that, however.

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                      • Maybe it's me, but it sure does SOUND like "Crisis on Infinite Marvel-Earths"...

                        Click image for larger version

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                        SECRET WARS #1—FCBD 2015 EDITION
                        Marvel Comics
                        (W/A/CA) TBD
                        Prepare yourself for the final days of the Marvel Universe as you know it as the march to the biggest comic event of the year continues! From the ashes of a decimated cosmos rises… Battleworld! Amid the strange, patchwork realm, refugees from thousands of obliterated universes struggle for survival. Even if they can endure the horrors of Battleworld — the home they knew has been destroyed! Time has run out, and the opening salvo of Secret Wars has been fired. But can anything restore the Marvel Universe that once was?
                        32pgs, FC | FREE!

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                        • And yes... it does sound a lot like CONVERGENCE, too. IIRC, those characters were also described as the survivors of destroyed universes, although I'm taking that as presumed from the POV of inhabitants of the New 52 universe. Which sort of seems to imply the same thing is incipient in SECRET WARS... that a New Marvel Universe will emerge from the remnants of the shattered multiverse. And while the solicitation copy doesn't exactly "prove" anything, I'm finding a hard time seeing the angle of using this event as kind of an April Fools' Day Fake-Out. If after the dust settles, it's back to business-as-usual, with no consequences to the Marvel Universe-as-it-was, the only thing that could result is an underwhelmed response of consumer remorse, perhaps a collective sigh of relief to some, but a general "Big frakkin' deal, what a rip-off" to most.
                          Last edited by pulphero; 12-12-2014, 07:39 AM.

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