Thursday, January 05, 2006

On Accidents of Circumstance

RUNAWAYS Vol. 2, Issue 10. Cloak transports the Runaways from California to the Big Apple, in order that they might assist him in identifying the person who attacked Cloak's partner, Dagger, injuring her and sending her into a coma. Cloak is falsely accused, and the Runaways are resourceful and good at working under the radar. They partner up, Gertrude, Old Lace (in the form of a dog), and Victor go one way, Nico and Chase another. Nico and Chase catch a glimpse of the coolest superheroine ever to grace the pages of Marvel comics, and Nico gets excited. Chase, on the other hand, is not so impressed.

--or get born into a family of mad scientists, Chase?

This one panel really did get me to thinking, though. Just how much of one's life path is dictated purely by chance? We always have a choice, yes, but choice tends to be limited by ability, and ability, to a large degree, is random. Personality. Physical ability. Intelligence. These things are shaped in large part by nature. Genetics, upbringing. I'm leaving the nature versus nurture debate out of this because, frankly, it doesn't apply. It's random any way you slice it. If it's not your family's genes that form the basis of who you are, it's how they brought (or are bringing) you up. And upbringing is a factor of your caregivers' personalities and experiences, which for them is also fairly random. Besides, who chooses one's caregivers?

Confused, yet? Don't worry. I'm kind of confused, too.

So, as far as I'm concerned, Chase didn't choose to be born to evil mad scientist parents any more than, say, Jennifer Walters chose to be born into the same family as Bruce Banner and eventually exposed to gamma radiation. Both characters were provided with what they (personally) needed to become heroes. They didn't have to use what they were given to that end. But they did, didn't they? They both worked to get where they got, and that's not chance. That's choice.

Well, they chose their path with the materials provided them, unless you don't believe in free will at all, in which case they're still on equal footing. Aren't they?

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