the thing about criticism is this: you can absolutely think “too hard” about something intended to be light fare and the delicate balancing act of art criticism is about threading various needles to avoid as many retorts as possible accusing you of opening discussions in bad faith. one of the many ways to obliterate trust in your critical audience is to become so derisively nitpicky that your attempts to draw attention to the pre-existing holes in the setting or the structure of the story will look like petty sabotage. i recognize this is the risk im taking when i get set off by the existence of sports luxury vehicles within a fictional universe created entirely to cater to a specific sexual appetite. indeed, there is no type of pedantry more obnoxious than the sexual pedant.
the work doesnt exist in a vacuum. if we’re going to be honest about the work’s intent (or, how the work’s intent explicitly reads to the audience), part of the fantasy is to be completely taken care of. i mean, who among us hasn’t dreamed of this, at least briefly. it’s one of the most fundamental of all human desires. but to be taken care of, in settings which are founded in capitalist societies (everyone groans at my shit), begs the obvious question: where is the money coming from?
author’s note so everyone knows im not insane (hahahaha): i’m not here to argue the virtues of communism over capitalism or imply that depicting capitalism favorably in your comic is a moral failing. it is not capitalism itself that i have a problem with (…in artistic depictions), it is the way that it is invoked within this comic specifically that bothers me; it demonstrates a terminal thread of thoughtlessness that threatens to unravel the entire setting, premise and moral ambiguity of what is being presented as a desirable fantasy. this element is the catalyst that sparks the degradation of the taboo into the unconscionable.
look i’ll be up front: my primary motivation is that this comic sucks and im a hater. the anti-feminist overtones are their own kettle of fish but the runner up contender for most concerning (oooueerrrg, everyone is groaning again) element is the complete lack of class consciousness. look, i mean concerning in the sense of “why has none of this gone recognized by, like, anyone?” every time i show someone a real LO panel they react like i’m went out of my way to fuck with them in an ultra specific way. it has completely recreated the feeling of being the only person in my friend group watching riverdale, if riverdale were the crown jewel of the WB.
to strip the pretension from the phrase “class consciousness” and put it in plain text: the insertion of modern capitalism into the comic has necessitated the creation of an underclass to serve the gods (the focus of the comic). as a result, the comic has repeatedly needed to justify the abuse, exploitation and acts of dominance over the subjugated class in order for the main cast to remain sympathetic. the author is incapable of envisioning a world that does not operate on disparity, in spite of the immutable fact that the gods are the sole arbiters of seemingly infinite creation.
and i’m capable of comprehending that there are times when a work has grotesquely unlikable asshole protagonists on purpose. it could be argued that the fickle behaviors of the gods is SUPPOSED to be detestable and there are obviously times where that is the intended audience read. but this is not “succession” and the entirety of the work does not indicate that it is trying to create quiet commentary by inviting the audience to draw their own conclusions on the characters by simply presenting them with the truth of their actions and deeds. additionally, if the romantic hero also engages in that behavior and it’s unremarked on or encouraged by the author or the heroine, what is the intended audience read?
regardless, all this to say: i do not want to alter the content of the comic, but to verbalize how it reads to me as an audience member. the purpose of criticism is to demonstrate and encourage reflection and to help refine one’s own perceptions.
okay. right. the cars.
this is minthe. i could write 100000 more words about the treatment of her by the comic and, by extension, the author. her introduction is about as subtle as a brick: she serves as the evil whore foil to persephone’s virgin perfection. her introduction as hades’ randomly abusive, hyper-sexual, and cruel younger girlfriend is contrasted with persephone’s naivete, chastity, and sweetness. shes literally smoking a cigar and wearing lingerie. somehow she is not the hero.
like i said, there’s a lot to unpack with her but i need to stay on target. minthe is a nymph, one of many “beast races” (for lack of a better term) that populate olympus and fulfill menial tasks and jobs. for example, this guy runs a modeling agency.
a modeling agency that include car shows. or…dealerships. its not really clear. anyway: she is introduced to hades in a flashback through his brother zeus who sexually harasses her during her shift.
lol uh. or comes as close as he can without becoming objectively villainous instead of “rakish”. as a result, what plays out is all VERY schoolyard behavior.
he executes a 0/10 prank that still kills for some reason.
and then it happens. “it” isn’t a singular event limited to just the example im about to give. “it” is the complete undercutting of the dramatic and logical tension within the story and “it” happens with alarming frequency as the comic introduces more and more modern elements. each additional luxury vehicle or department story or cell phone comes with the artist being forced to depict the people (or in this case, beast races) providing those services. the author cannot imagine a world where luxury is not predicted on service or a product, even or especially when the existence of the service or product does not make sense.
back to “it”…hades poofs away:
if gods can poof and fly (as its been implied some or all of them can), what in the hell is the purpose of the luxury vehicle on olympus? the beast races are sure as shit not buying them as they are explicitly the working class in every single one of their appearances. what does it run on? who pumps the gas? who services the cars? the streets of olympus have been paved so that cars can be driven so this would suggest the city’s infrastructure was centered around the use of vehicles. does he hire someone to drive him around in it, despite the fact that he can teleport? he and persephone clearly use it to get around even though she can fly. these cars are so successful despite having an extremely limited number of buyers, they make enough money to hire booth babes all day explicitly so they can be sexually harassed by the men (of a superior magic immortal race) buying the cars.
why does an entire seemingly unnecessary industry exist within the confines of the universe?
all of the above questions are overthinking a basic logistical problem with the setting for anyone with a moral center: in order to be served, one must have servants. the entirety of the universe in LO is constructed around not a modern re-imagining of the ancient myth, but instead a lazy and depressing hodge-podge of various products and physical items the author places great value on as status items in the real world. and, sadly, this is not as a bit within the universe. this isn’t setting up any message other than the central one of the comic: love and worth can be quantified with a dollar amount.
hades’ department store (staffed entirely by beast races who are delighted and eager to serve their master) offers a purse that two beast race women drool over, only to be informed:
this scene has a direct and obvious purpose: through it, we establish that hades’ store caters to the ultra-ultra-rich. this is a level of rich that is unobtainable to anyone except the pantheon of gods, whose unique abilities maintain the fabric of reality and thus set the terms for the world they unilaterally control. at best, minthe, a nymph, experiences a fraction of this wealth when sugaring for hades. on the other hand, persephone is the heiress to a cereal empire (who is eating the….?………you know what dont even get me started on that whole thing) so she is all but assured to be independently wealthy even if she was temporarily without funds during certain events of the comic.
back to the purse: hades and persephone arrive at his own department store so that she can have a restorative shopping montage. she learns a heart-warming lesson about how its okay to be rich in what i think is one of the most gratuitous and absolute dog-brained moments of the entire fucking comic, thus far, including the part where persephone gets big and accidentally steps on (real, human, ancient greek) people and has to go on the lam. her accidental manslaughters evidently require a tribunal and a trial of her peers, which is odd when contrasted with the justice meted out on the beast races indiscriminately and unilaterally by individual gods who act as judge, jury, and executioner.
granted these are not the nice gods (i can think of an event with demeter, persephone’s confusingly controlling mother, specifically, as seen above), but there’s an echo of this behavior when hades bullies two beast race women into divulging information about persephone. in one example, a woman purchases a hair comb from a pawn shop, ignorant that it was a gift from hades and persephone is the one who pawned it for emergency funds. when hades shakes her down and demands where she stole the comb from, she directs him to the pawn shop and he just…takes it. to give it to persephone again. whether or not she was made whole or is even okay with this is completely inconsequential to the author but left me, the reader, in a total lurch. the complete disregard for addressing this within the narrative is less shocking when taken into total account with everything else ive been talking about.
the sequence in which hades takes her on a shopping spree to both improve her mood and express his love was too grotesque for me on every conceivable level. it is not just the shockingly antiquated “women b shoppin!” stereotype presented as a healing process, but the open and shameless conflation of money and love, net worth and self-worth. what possible message could come from this except to reinforce that within the fictional universe of LO, it is the place of the lesser to fawn over what persephone is ultimately entitled to. it is her birthright as the protagonist/self insert and as a literal goddess who determines the creation of food…and nymphs. the underclass. the gods are responsible for the creation of their servants.
the industries exist because they are 1:1 representations of or conductive to what the author considers to be a desirable luxurious fantasy. i do not think there is a more complex reason than that, as that is the reason why the entire comic exists: as a personal love letter to the author’s tastes and desires. and frankly, that’s the point of comics. ALL comic artists should succumb to this desire. what continues to vex and haunt me however is the complete lack of reflection occurring despite the author putting these elements together and presenting them for an audience who then lapped it up without questioning what, specifically, was appealing about this and why. it is by sheer accident that these elements combine together to paint an unflattering picture of a culture that has created artificial disparity for no apparent reason than personal gratification.
my question, is this:
who fills the pot holes on the roads built exclusively so that the gods can drive their luxury cars? why do they do it? to get hades some pussy????