Skip to content
Currently On Hiatus: Please Enjoy A New Reader Question Every Weekday!

Obverse & Reverse Ch1 page 11

Obverse & Reverse Ch1 page 11 published on 44 Comments on Obverse & Reverse Ch1 page 11

I’m at ECCC this weekend! Booth 208 on the main exhibition floor, listed under Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales! I’m sharing a big booth with Kel McDonald, Evan Dahm, Shazzbaa Bennett, Meredith McClaren, and Carla Speed McNeil!! Come on by! I got a lot of stuff, including my NEW BOOK!


Reminds me of the old ratio–the ratio of leaders to followers, or organizers to followers, has always seemed to be a ratio of around 40:1. I don’t know the actual ratio, mind, but the idea is there.

Dragons: Solution: be arrogant af and commit genocide.

Other species: …yell at the sphinxes? Hide? What?

Other species have magic. Powerful magic. With all of that variety and power at their disposal…this has bothered me for some time. Too, if they couldn’t reverse-engineer the medallions, then take for example the device used to track/overcome Alex’s innate radar. There is magic out there. Presumably, there’s creativity to go along with it.

It sounds more and more like a case of “if you have a hammer, everything else looks like a nail.”

about Alex’s radar…
Shouldn’t he have picked up bloodcraver outside the avalon?

Going by the range of Myra’s radar, in Dogpatch page 4 panel 2, Alec at least, should have detected Bloodcarver before he got to mid river.
Orville being present in the LA on the correct days when Bloodcarver would have been within detecting rage, doubtful, seeing as how Orville is based in the London Avalon, and only seems to come to the LA when there’s an LA Elders meeting happening.

A possible explanation is the magic community is so fragmented a solution may have been created but it didn’t manage to spread. I mean Madam U didn’t know what that talisman did, although it’s pretty damn powerful if it manages to block your presence from a creature capable of detecting anything within a pretty wide radius

Another possibility can be the phoenix egg is to blame. If it’s strong enough to stabilize what tends to be a pretty unstable spell, mask any creature born under the parent’s human disguise, make that disguise last over several generations, independently of the number of offspring, and even give the medallion enough sentience to understand when it’s being passed on or not, it’s likely something pretty tricky to counter or replicate
Also the eggs are rare, so trying to mimic what the sphinxes did and had time to refine and master is no easy feat

The ‘device’ which hides a user from a Bugbear’s radar is The Bugbear Talisman.
A talisman is generally regarded as a ward _against_ something evil, due to their common use in protecting the user from harm.
So some other sorcerer experimenting with magic, and figuring out how to block a Bugbear’s radar from detecting them, seems the most likely source. We don’t know if the talisman is a one-off, but it seems most likely given that Vadoma did not know what the talisman actually was or could do.
The existence of the talisman and it’s presence in Prestor John’s before the start of the story, brings another question: Why didn’t Alec notice the blanking ‘hole’ in his radar, while Vadoma had possession of the talisman in her shop?

In terms of creating the Medallions as a way to hide, it was not just being able to cast a spell. It’s keeping the spell effects going long term, with ease of control. Going by Illumination chapter 2 page 23 panel 1, it appears that disguising sorcery directly applied to the various species was not stable. But we know from Kill Them With Kindness, and Reunion, that stable, permanent, transformation spells would be developed. Whether knowledge of those transformation spells existed before the Great War is not known.
The Medallions do the task of keeping a user controllable disguise spell going, without need for constant reapplication. Medallions seem to be ‘charged’ from the power source the local Sphinxes were using, which is a _lot more powerful_ than the magics which most species can innately muster. Remember how Tim describes the power and complexity of magic involved, in Exchanges chapter 2 page 25. In the case of Jocasta and Wosret, their power source was the Phoenix Egg, which would be hidden in the caves below Fingol.

Oh, absolutely, they are powerful.

What concerns me? Yeah, they are. Yet? There are so many other powerful species out there. Powerful ones, with thousands of years of magical tradition behind them. They are not helpless or resourceless. They also had a _drive_ to hide–so why didn’t they innovate new solutions if hacking at the old ones didn’t work?

I suspect we’re looking at a multi-prong’d answer as to why alternative tech and answers were not developed.

I like the point about the phoenix egg, too. It’s existence probably explains some of why no one else crafted a similar tech. Without something like that, the medallions as the sphinx made them, would have been difficult at best.

On the other hand, the avalons themselves are immensely powerful–and were definitely another solution. So…okay. Why one and not the other?

The avalons, as a concept? Strike me as something you could get others to unify around most simply–and thereby would be simpler to rally behind getting so much magical energy together. A simple, strong message is easier than a complex one. This is why it’s often easier to stand against something rather than for it–“No!” is easier than “The solution is x.”

People in general don’t do well rallying behind abstract causes. Leadership is needed in many cases to provide a clear focus, or goal (maybe that should read “a charisma is needed”). Without that sort of leadership, it’d be harder to force a shift in magical focus/innovation (“we don’t have the secret ingredient that they did–so, what other magic can we develop?”)

Too, when the races are as prejudiced against one another as they’ve shown as well, other solutions may’ve been developed in isolation–but it would predispose anything to fracturization.

None of this lets the other folk off the hook, mind. Not at all. It might make a “how it happened” more understandable–but blaming the hammer, long-term, “ain’t right.”

We really only know how 3 Avalons are, and that’s all. The LA, the Springfield Avalon, and Dogpatch.
There’s 3 more Avalons we know of by name. 2 from in the comic, and a third from the RQs, and no more. The London Avalon (where Orville lives, and where Lynn and family moved from), and Wonderland in the comic, and from the RQs, the Avalon theater and arcade in Portland, Oregon.

While we saw how the villages and towns on the Mersey were, when the LA was about to start, in the flashback Visions across chapters 2 and 3 of Illumination, we didn’t get to see anything physical of _how_ the LA was after the Great War. We only know of it from how it is now, after it had moved into the Stanley Tobacco Warehouse, so that’s about 700 years we have very little info of.

What you forget from Illuminations is the Mythical community was in fear, from 2 sources. Humans and Dragons. The Mythical community wanted to survive, and the only way anyone could see, to successfully do that long term, was to hide as human. Hiding full form had a far higher risk of being found by humans, murdered, and stuffed and mounted as a Hunting Trophy.
Hacking old, not quite working right, ideas to make them work properly, is exactly what Medallions were. The transformation spells in an easily controllable, unlimited duration, long lasting, portable form.
And rallying behind abstract causes is exactly _what_ Avalons are. The villages and towns of Mythicals joining into one larger group. And as for a Leader figure, they were given one by Ravi. Phineas The Red.
And after that, Sphinxes apparently went extinct and so did Dragons, the Avalon walls went up, and Phineas became a Legendary figure.

Keep in mind that the Sphinxes had another HUGE advantage. *They have/had a hive mind* – there could share knowledge rapidly and without regard to distance. They could teach each other without having to meet, in person, or even in time apparently. That also means they could rapidly build off each other’s ideas,etc. The other races just did not have had access to a global network individuals & their knowledge.

> Why didn’t Alec notice the blanking ‘hole’ in his radar, while
> Vadoma had possession of the talisman in her shop?

I note that nobody *wore* it during that time. Having a powerful magic item go into stealth mode while unused strikes me as a sound safety measure …

I’m glad Michelle is finally putting her foot down. :-}

Tiny sphinx in panel 4 throwing a fit is the cutest thing though!

That was the image I loved most here as well… Meesh right now gives a total of zero cares about the fact the she is knee high to the Bloodcarver, she has had enough and she is going to vent and nothing is getting in her way!

I see an interesting alliance is the making here… that is if Meesh does not have a nervous breakdown the next day when she realises she just went total birko on a dragon who could simply backhand her out of existence if he took true offence and decided that he’d heard enough screeching catbird. ;-)

YOU TELL ‘EM, MICHELLE! Seriously, it’s good to see her go from being a casualty early on to being a sort of innocent bystander, and then to a reluctant participant when she learned to fly, and *then* to a seeker after the truth, and now at last to a voluntary, active part of things. It’s the Hero’s Journey, step by step. <3

this is the problem of “The sins of the father.” I figure eventually people will realize that the era of sphinxes making things is over. It died after that stupid war that was started between the two races. Both sides were clearly devastated and its obvious that the end result should be rebuilding. Not frigging bringing up old wounds. I have to say at the start of things bloodcarver was doing fine. till things escalated. Its good that Michelle is actually voicing up and saying what she needs to. So she does not become a thing instead of a person. She may be a sphinx. but she deserves a good life too.

I partially agree with you. I think that the old wounds are still there for the fact that it seems like nothing has changed: Dragons are forced to hide or be killed because they lack medallions. There has been proven racism among them (whether it is those with medallions against those dubbed ‘monsters.’ -Which brings up the questions: are the dragons considered monsters AND are all those that have medallions NOW were considered monsters before the sphinxes started to create the medallions? Remember the prejudice about creating medallions for the Nemean lions from that satyr?- OR against others in general).

The other issue is that there is pride on both sides. This goes back to the flashback with the 2 sphinxes meeting with the female dragon. The dragons want to survive and needed the medallions to do so and the sphinxes seem to have a ‘savior’ complex. Only THEY can made the magical medallions with the phoenix egg. The dragons are too proud of a race and the sphinxes seem to be proud of holding the power of helping/saving other creatures. After all, it was the sphinx council that decided (originally) that the Nemean lions were not to get the medallions because they were dangerous (Jocasta may have been the only sphinx willing to break from this).

And, just a theory I have, I think the dragons wanted revenge against the humans. Nothing more deadlier than a sneak attack (if dragons could turn human, they could infiltrate towns, kingdoms, etc.. People would not expect a bunch of humans suddenly turning into dragons) and the sphinxes knew of their plan. Of course, said plan painted ALL dragons as wanting revenge and possibly destroying kingdoms.

… Man, I set this comic down back in… 2014? To give it a chance to update so that I could binge… and now I’ve slammed head-first into “current” again.

That’ll leave a mark.

I do love how people all lose control of their midforms when they get angry. I mean I’m sure there are some that don’t, but so far we’ve seen most people who get mad lose that control.

It’s great, a wonderful way to mark just how angry they’re getting, really.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Primary Sidebar