Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mysta vs. The End

In Mysta's final printed adventure (Planet Comics #62) she fights two different battles. She has to help Garro fight a giant robot that's attacking the undersea farms of the planet Aqua, but meanwhile, back on Earth, her secret identity is being questioned as the result of a standard security audit.

The underwater adventure is cool with the giant robot and two different factions of fish-people, but from the perspective of the overall series the interesting part is Garro's quick inclusion of Mysta in the mission. At the end of the last one he implied that he didn't want her participating anymore, but as soon as another crisis arises, he calls her in. He's conspicuously quiet too about evaluating her performance at the end of the Aqua mission, so what are we to make of him?

Assuming that I was right in guessing that he's in love with Mysta and starting to worry about her, perhaps he's realized that his sexist comment to her after the last mission was inappropriate. I don't mean in a Political Correctness way, but just in a I Like This Woman and Want Her to Like Me Too way. Though - unless there was an off-panel apology we don't know about - he's handling it by pretending he never said it and hoping that Mysta will follow suit. If that's the case, Garro's a complete douche.

Something else that may inform the situation though is Mysta's being referred to throughout this story as Technician 3. In the last adventure, her title was Technician 106, which seemed to be an ID number of some kind. As this story opens, she's called Technician Grade 3. That sounds like a job title, but it's immediately truncated to just Technician 3 as the story progresses and used in the same way that Technician 106 was used earlier. Has she gotten a promotion? Like, a really huge promotion? If 106 and 3 refer to grade levels...well, maybe Garro's found a way to apologize after all. Not a cool one, but then Garro's not a cool guy.

As for the security audit, the woman conducting it figures out right away that something's not right about Mysta. We finally learn Mysta's cover name in this story: Ana Thane. The problem is that Mysta's apparently done a lousy job of creating that cover, because there are no records of such a person existing. It's hard to believe that Mysta would have screwed up that badly, so I'm suggesting another theory: that Bron, desperately wanting Mysta to give up her extended undercover mission and return to the Moon, hacked into the Safety Council's servers and purposely erased whatever background Mysta had created for Ana. Frankly, I wish he'd succeeded.

Unfortunately for Bron, he didn't realize that the auditor is a corporate tool and an idiot who's too afraid of making waves to report any discrepancies she finds. Her exact thought is, "If I tell[...]Garro he'll think I'm looney! Perhaps I'd better just close the files on this case." And so she does. Mysta's secret is safe.

Since this was the last Mysta story that Planet Comics published, we'll never know what eventual plans they had for the character, but I'm not sure that's important. I enjoy trying to explain the twists and turns and inconsistencies - creating my own subplots in the process - but I don't seriously think that the writers had long-range plans for the character. The series feels very much like they were making it up as they went along. That's part of its charm, not a criticism, but it does leave it to the reader to create his or her own ending for Mysta's story.

Sleestak likes the idea of Mysta's giving up her Moon fortress for good and settling down more or less permanently in her role as a Safety Council technician, "allowing humanity to once again control their own destiny." That's a great ending from Sleestak's perspective, because he's tended to see the early Mysta as a harsh gatekeeper who controls scientific knowledge through her own strength and technological superiority. He's always acknowledged that her motives were good, but disagreed with some of her draconian methods.

Something about Mysta's first appearance made me want to like her more than that though. Maybe it was the tragedy in her origin: how she was stolen from her crib (along with a male baby) by a scientist who then raised her and her "brother" on the Moon while he poured all the world's knowledge into their brains, how the God of War possessed her "brother" and forced him to kill their "father", and how Mysta had to then kill her own "brother" in self-defense. I think that got to me in a way that made me want to give her the benefit of the doubt as her story unfolded. Even when I questioned some of her choices, I wanted to support her as much as possible.

Which means that I've seen her as less manipulative than maybe Sleestak has. If he's right, I hope with him that she's leaving that behind as her series ends. But if Mysta's mission has always been noble - and executed as nobly as possible - I'd love for her to come clean to Garro, move back to the Moon with Bron, and work openly with the Safety Council to continue keeping the universe safe.


Sleestak said...

My main take on Mysta is that yeah, she did good but was so out of touch with humanity by what happened to her that she was probably either a little mad or just didn't have empathy, which she later learned by more exposure to people.

Michael May said...

Thanks for clarifying that. I often think I understand other people's views, but usually have a hard time accurately explaining them to third parties.


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