Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tales From... (Issues 1-3)

The first issue of Tales From... opens with Leo at his favorite cafe. He is somewhat concerned but no longer really worried about the fact that he can see an anthromorphic manifestation of the archetype of Love, and is curious why she's crying into a bloody mary on the rocks. Leo is deeply "in tuned" to the forces of the universe and the human spirit, which is normally considered a noble and even saintly virtue. Leo finds it hellishly annoying, however, as being in tune with these Powers of Existence means being able to SEE them as human-like figures, who follow you around ALL THE TIME. Usually Leo ignores them.

He's never seen Love cry before, though. But he'd seen lots of things he'd never seen before. He'd seen Chaos organize a utensil drawer. He'd seen Justice cheat orphans at cards. Still, asking Love why she was crying was a sharp violation of his Not Acknowledging the Powers of the Universe (hereafter referred to as "Powers of the Universe" or simply "the Powers") policy. So instead he kept working on his coffee and studying his self-hypnotization book (so maybe he could make himself just not see Love sitting there).

Niveck the Ever-Bleeding commences Issue 2 by striding through the cafe door. Slopping onto the stool next to Leo's, Niveck describes to Leo in ponderous detail and thick sarcasm the morning's stroll and all the "bullshit aside glances" he received in progress: the "bitch" old lady on Union, the "cock-sucking" dog walkers on Hemlock, the "no doubt a pedophile" trolley operator near Ankeny, and, lest we forget, the "Nazi-fucking" priest near Foster. Such a torrent of profanity and vitriol was always almost enough to make one forget that Niveck had the poor luck to slowly secrete his own blood from every pore of his body.

As a child, this didn't bother him too much on account of the spoiled attention he received on account of going to Catholic school. But the onset of puberty and the stern refusal of his female schoolmates to, as he puts it, "slip it up their skirts" led to his eventual expulsion. A few weeks was all it took for him to end up on the streets, where he did learned to defend himself (he's a dead eye with a semi-automatic pistol). Niveck enjoys Leo's company because Leo didn't even look up the first time he saw Niveck. Leo (mistakenly) assumed he was another archetype of some sort, and automatically Not Acknowledged him. Niveck immediately wanted to befriend this "chump with a wank haircut" because everyone patently Acknowledged him all the time. Leo was just glad Niveck was human.

Leo told Niveck about Love sitting invisibly nearby crying soundlessly, and Niveck made a rather predictable but extremely vulgar suggestion about how Leo could make Love stop crying. Leo rolled his eyes and started to submit to Niveck his latest plan to Stop Seeing Things using self-hypnosis, but was interrupted when Niveck spotted the Rose spotting them through the window.

Introduced in Issue 3, the Rose, or just "Rose" is a time traveler. 150 years from now he and his band of poet ninja resistance fighters had just slaughtered the very flower of the civil and military administration of the Char'r Empire which was occupying Earth. This moment was the endgame of a 6 year conflict of cat and mouse between the resistance and the Empire, the product of some good fortune for the Rose (he was banging an Imperial high priestess who let slip the big congregation) and untold hardship by the poet ninja army (they had lost 88% of their number since their uprising began). At the moment of his supreme triumph, a Char'r "geometry fold" had back-fired and Rose found himself in the present-day of Leo and Niveck.

Initially Rose figured it was just a bad-luck accident but then found a note from his alien lover that something very important happened 150 years ago and that he needed to be there and make it happen. Rose personally thought Char'r Geometrical Mysticism was bunk, but curious signs and portents led him to think there might actually be something to it. Problem was, he didn't know what IT was, and thus was forced to meander about the city like a madman hoping for destiny or fate or history to carry him along.

In the meantime he bored the holy hell out of Leo and Niveck recounting to them painstaking detail the Poet Ninja Army's struggle against the Char'r Empire. Worse yet, he pined extensively for his leather-skinned Char'r priestess - her isocelean eyes, her angled cheeks, her rhomboid breasts - which sounded to Leo and Niveck about as romantic as fucking a desiccated dead horse. The issue concludes when Rose remarks "what's that lady crying about?" at which point Niveck comments that he, too, can now see Love crying.

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