Category Archives: WE3

Uncanny Canine

This is BigDog, a robot designed to carry heavy loads over rough terrain.

It’s…grotesque. The way it tries to balance itself (at the 0:35 and 1:25 second marks) is truly uncanny—recognizable but repulsively strange at the same time.

The buzzing, the stilted gait, and the lack of a head is a little creepy. It’s as if a fly, a dog, and a motor all got scrambled in the same telepod à la Jeff Goldblum in The Fly.

It’s just nuts and bolts, yet I can’t help but have a visceral revulsion to it.

It’s just uncanny.

Comment on “Man’s New Best Friend”

This post is the comment posted in response to Rich Borean’s post.

Why rats? Good question. The creators could have just as easily used a cuter creature like the hamster, which would have heightened for the reader the emotional impact (i.e. empathy towards the animal and fury at the scientists) that p.25 is meant to evoke. However, rats make a better choice later on because they become the enemy to WE3. Since many people seem to have a natural antipathy toward rats, Morrison and Quitely might have decided that readers would feel less bad when the protagonists have to slaughter them on pp 60-63. Had Bandit chomped through a cute hamster on page 60, he might have come across as more brutal than he is meant to be.

So I think it’s a combination of things. First, as you said, rats are the go-to test subjects. And second, they make good antagonists.

Your question about the game controller is very interesting. I think of it first and foremost as a thinly veiled reference to the Predator drones that the CIA and Air Force use in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. We are increasingly using robots to fight our wars. They are seen by Washington and the Pentagon as a win-win proposition–our people don’t get in harms way and the American taxpayer saves money (on health care costs, not having to use multibillion dollar jets, etc.). But as with any new technology, there is collateral damage. In the case of drones, bad information leads to errant airstrikes on civilians.
Technology always has unintended consequences; sometimes, one meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it (that line’s from Kung Fu Panda btw).

Aside from the military, the controller might also represent a more general trend in our society in which we increasingly become more distant from each other and from real things. Instead we interact with representations of people and other real things, mostly through a screen. And instead of acting with our whole body, we act through an input device like a keyboard, or a mouse, or a video game controller. So the controller might also symbolize the severed connection between people and (old notions of) reality.

Psyched about WE3

Matthew Miller makes a fascinating connection between WE3 and Freudian psychology here.

Grant Morrison is pretty big into psychology.  I had a friend tell me about his use of Jungian psychology or something along those lines in his comics…The three main characters can somewhat be ascribed to the Freudian ideas of the id, ego, and superego.

I’m not sure about Freud, but I did notice a tenuous link between WE3 and Carl Jung. On page 50 of WE3 one of the small insets has a soldier’s helmet with a peace symbol drawn on it.

It’s not unlike the image made famous by the theatrical release poster for Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

Whenever Jung’s name is invoked, I think of this movie. More specifically, this scene:

Is it mere coincidence that Morrison and Quitely chose to use that image? Or is it an “easter egg” reference to FMJ and hence “the duality of man”?