Nobody is Born Evil - The Ballad of John Tower


The thing I love about Milestone is that none of the characters are fully good or evil. Virgil is homophobic and misogynistic. Wise Son struggles with his anger and alcoholism. Hardware is one of the greatest heroes, but he would have never become a hero if he had gotten a pay raise. He only became a hero to spite his boss, he didn't care beforehand. On the flip side there's Holocaust. He's a villain known to occasionally participate in heroics like helping shut down crack houses, but he's only a villain to spite the mother who abandoned him and then tried to have him killed so his gang history wouldn't ruin her reelection chances. But, nobody shows this more than John Tower.

John Tower was the original hero of Dakota long before The Big Bang. For over thirty years John fought crime along with his wife and son. They resided in the Tower of Solitude and their heroics made Dakota a tourist destination. One night a fire tore through a hospital before the Tower family could arrive, killing hundreds including infants and children. This failure haunted the family no matter how people tried to tell them it wasn't their fault. John felt this more than anyone else because of his photographic memory, so he could see all the people he failed to save every time he closed his eyes. Five years later the family died on a mission. But John came back to life, see he had the power to resurrect. He waited and he waited for his wife and son to revive, but they never did. He alone had the power and the heartbreak lead him to become an alcoholic vagabond. Eventually he was found and cleaned up by Mayor Thomasina Jefferson. She wanted him to kill Holocaust (who was her son). He tried and again he died, forgiving Holocaust before death, going out as a hero once again.

When he came back this time, he still had scars from Holocaust. This caused him to realize he had limits. This caused him to give up the liquor and once again turn to science. His goal now was to exhaust his powers, allowing him to age and die, so he can be with his family. That led John to do a lot of bad things. He led a group of minions called The Traffic Men. He abducted dozens of bang babies and used their blood to power himself up with new abilities, while aging him. All in the pursuit of death.

John Tower did a lot of horrible stuff, but none of the heroes involved in his defeat were willing to say he was guilty. They're reasoning was the same as John's. He had done so much for the world, how could anyone call him a villain? They were right, I saw him do villainous things. He did horrible things, but is he really a villain?

John spent decades fighting crime to protect people before losing his sanity. Does that make him a villain? Everything he did was for his family, even if they had died, but does that make him a villain? Everything Static does is to make the city safer for his friends and family, is that why he's a hero? John was only taking criminal bang babies, so is it okay to perform criminal actions towards criminals?

I don't have any doubt in my mind guys like The Punisher and Dr. Doom are still villains. But John leaves me wondering. Would you do anything for the people you loved? If you saw the faces of the hundreds you failed the save every time you closed your eyes, could you hold on to your sanity? If you repeatedly died only to be brought back to life with everyone you know gone, would you not go insane? What keeps our favorite heroes from turning into John Tower?

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Nobody is Born Evil - The Ballad of John Tower Nobody is Born Evil - The Ballad of John Tower Reviewed by Darrell S. on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Rating: 5

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