Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogathon 43: I'm Coming Down Fast but Don't Let Me Break You Part Two

[Continuing my discussion of The Programme.]

The intricate plot of The Programme is one of details that paint a fairly clear picture: when Russian artificial superhumans are discovered, they begin to attack American forces in Talibstan. Really, it's just one, but that leads to the others and they go to find their maker in a Gulag where he lives in constant fear of rape. In response, the Americans decide to bring back to their attempt at creating supersoldiers. Max being their main hope, but his programming was altered by Michael Hinks so he would be a hippie pacifist basically. He doesn't know how to even access his superpowers. There's also another superhuman prototype: a black man that thinks he's Senator Joe McCarthy. When he learns what he is, he runs away, wanting nothing to do with a government that would do things like take his mother and use her to create him. The coming of the Russians gives excuse for some ignorant rednecks to start a race war, basically meaning that, instead of unifying to fight the Russian superhumans, America has decided to tear itself apart. Only Max can save the day... maybe...

This is the stuff of Supergod. Superhumans created to solve problems and fight wars, not treated as gods but programmable tools. One is screwed with to be a bleedingheart and the other is made to think he's Joe fucking McCarthy. On the Russian side, they're full of Marxist and Leninist ideas. One of the strangest moments is when the powerhouse of the group begins to rape a woman, not because he wants but because he's been programmed with the knowledge that the Red Army that defeated the Germans was a rapist army. And, yet, it's perfectly logical.

That sort of twisted logic is apparent through The Programme. Never mind that lives are in danger, Max, worry more about your girlfriend cheating on you. When he finally decides to join the fray, he gets his ass handed to him because he doesn't know how to fight. He has the power but not the knowledge. He actually has to request reprogramming to save America. Whereas Senator Joe is talked into abandoning the cause by the man who created the Russian 'dolls' and eventually helps only because he can't shake his patriotism.

Ultimately, it's a battle of ideals that come off as bad jokes. Old ideas come back to haunt us. Old conflicts, both internationally and locally. That a race war actually starts is one of those moves that complicates the plot further and makes you wonder what the fuck Peter Milligan is doing until it pays off in the end when the Russians and the race war are used as an excuse for the new president to enact martial law, using the newly programmed Max an his enforcer. The man goes from hippie to facist in no time flat... he saves America so it can be everything he used to hate.

To be continued in 30 minutes...

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