Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch where Comics Get Counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko. And I’m Dr. Isue. This is Issue 170, and we are covering one of the oldest characters we’ve ever covered on this show, and certainly one of the most obscure characters we’ve ever covered on this show. The original Black Widow, Satan’s Ambassador, Claire
Doc Issues: Voyant, I think they were going for something with that name, but I just can’t.
Anthony: See it. Yeah. I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around it. Hmm. Yeah. Selected by her present level patron, Ruby. She said she kind of stumbled across Claire and she said, I think this is a interesting character, so let’s talk about her. So before we do that, if you haven’t already, go check out our mini episode that we did recap.
Quantum Mania Doc, and I got to go to the theater and see it. So it was a bit of a mini episode. We dropped it, it’s in the feed in addition to the regular episodes. So it was just much more freewheeling, minimal editing. So go check that out. We appreciate again, all the, the support and the feedback we’ve gotten from all of our fans and listeners.
So let’s dive right into the background.
Clair Voyant, the original Black Widow created by George Capitan and Harry Sal in Mystic Comics. In Mystic Comics. Number four, August of 1940. Not only is she the first black widow, decades before Natasha Romanoff, but she is the first costumed female superhero in comic books. That’s some trivia for you?
It is, and it, I should add it is. What is commonly referred to, or, or you may have heard as a narrowly tailored superlative, narrowly specific superlative because there were female superheroes before that. There were females in costumes before that, and I believe that there was a costumed female superhero in a comic strip prior to that, but Claire was the first one with all of that in a comic book.
Clairvoyant because you know, this is 1940 and everybody’s name just had to be so on the nose. She is a spirit medium who can communicate with the dead. She is possessed by Satan who curse a family she is working with, but the husband survives the spell and kills her. So when she arrives in hell, she’s resurrected by Satan and sent back to Earth with the ability to kill evil doers with a single touch so that he can harvest their souls.
She also has the ability to fly and generate fire. She is superhumanly strong and she has various psychic abilities. Now, a couple things to note here. One, she only makes five appearances during the golden age between 1940 and 1943. Secondly, a lot of folks think that comics. Kitchy and campy, whatever like that.
This is pre comics code. This is back in the, the forties and even in the early fifties when comic books were really pushing the, pushing the envelope in terms of what they were writing about, what they were able to portray. I mean, this doesn’t even come close to what some of the stuff that EC comics was doing in terms of the horror genre and the supernatural and the.
Out there, trippy stuff, but agent of Satan was a big deal for the forties. Yeah. And so this whole notion that, oh, she’s the black widow, she can kill with a touch. She’s dangerous to men, she’s beautiful, she’s deadly, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. All that stuff. This was, this was big, but it also at the same time, wasn’t completely out of the ordinary if.
If you can kind of reconcile those two things, like it was a big deal that she was working for Satan, but there were a lot of Satanic stuff in the comics back in the forties and the fifties. He was used as, you know, kind of a overall big bad and there was no comic, there was no comics code authority.
This is pre seduction of the innocent pref, fredic worthham and the whole moral panic and all that. You didn’t have to deal with that. So yeah, sure you have a woman. Possessed by Satan and she goes around killing bad guys.
Doc Issues: Cool. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t have anything to add to that. That’s . It’s just, it’s something that I’ll admit if it weren’t for the fact that we’re doing this episode, I would not have
Yeah. Again, I knew nothing about her. I, the only black widows I knew of was Natasha and Yona and that. So this came as a, a complete surprise to me. So she is brought back in the 12 by Jay Michael Stravinski, fantastic writer, alongside 11 other obscure characters from the timely comics era, timely being the predecessor to Marvel Comics.
So her history is a bit ret conned in the 12, she becomes the Black Widow in 1928 after her sister was murdered. Her husband, who was this mobster who was very connected with a lot of people, and he basically got away with it because he had judges and cops and everybody in his back pocket on his payroll.
And so she’s standing over the grave lamenting her sister’s death and she’s like, I wish there was something I could do. And then Satan shows up and he is like, I have something for you. I can give you what you desire. I just want your. And she goes, yeah, okay, that’s cool. So she and the other 11 characters are knocked unconscious during a battle in World War ii, and they’re put in suspended animation.
They’re awoken in 2008 and now they’re trying to readapt to modern society, and she resumes serving Satan because, Didn’t give her any credit for time served cuz he’s like, well, you were sleeping, plus you’re immortal anyway. And also, I’m the devil. I’m not gonna cut you a break, so get back to work. She also falls in love in a relationship with the Phantom reporter Richard Dick Jones.
I’ll say this and, and we’ll, we could touch on. I guess we’ll talk about it now cause there’s no really other opportune place to talk about it. She is very much not a central character in the story. Each character in the 12 gets an issue highlighting them and nurse story because there’s 12 characters, 12 issues.
So everybody gets one spotlight issue to address it and hers is issue. But really it just tells you the backstory and gives you a little more insight into her burgeoning relationship with Dick. Otherwise, she’s just kind of off doing her thing because she’s not the, the point of view character. So this, and this is nothing against Ruby who, who picked her.
There’s not a ton of material for us to draw from when we were trying. Make these determinations. And I have no ability to read those golden age stories because they’re not available on Marvel Unlimited. And the only time they were collected was a trade paperback that was published in 1974. And I’m not about to go scan eBay to read five stories.
I’ll just read the 12 that are un Marvel unlimited. So let’s dive into the issues then.
So the first one, pretty straightforward, something we talked about with our friends, Alan and Will numerous times every time they come on to talk about pocus hocus deal with the devil. Yeah.
Doc Issues: So I’d like to think that none of our listeners have actually done. So, yeah, we don’t have to talk about it.
Thank you. And goodnight. No, I’m kidding. What I mean is I mean we’ve, we’ve talked about Fian bargains. We’ve talked about the idea that everything in life, or I should say, I have constantly said this to patients. Everything in life has a potential trade off. Some people look at it as the grass is not always greener.
Some people look at it as FOMO. Some people look at it as YOLO, those things being fear of missing out or you only live once. It’s usually way more nuanced than that. The idea that you’re going to have a cost to whatever decision you make, there’s an opportunity there, and either you’re sticking with what you’re already doing and therefore you don’t have any excess energy being expended.
Because you already have a system in place as to what you’re going to do with your life or you’re doing something completely new and therefore that requires excess energy. There’s a lot of unknowns involved. Can create anxiety and things like that, but may potentially have greater rewards. My job right now is not to say what decision a person should make, cuz there are so many points in this that can be about career, that can be about relationships that.
Be about when you decide to transition from one thing to another, whatever it is.
What I think the term deal with the devil speaks to is you know that there is a negative consequence to the decision that you are going to make and you make it anyway. In theory, that would tell me from a rationalization standpoint, There is something that is so enticing about that decision that it was overwhelmingly positive in, in one aspect, that it overrode any of the negative parts to it.
In theory, the person may very well be giving themselves that motivation and not having a true rational decision behind it. At its worst. Just thinking of an ad lib example, a person under the influence of something and they decide that they’re getting a tattoo, that when they’re sober they say, why on earth did I ever get that?
And now it’s permanently on their body unless they go through even more money to get it removed. But they regretted like the second that their rational mind kicks back in. And that’s, that’s more of. Innocuous, gentle versions of what I’m saying. There are plenty of other things I’m sure that anyone as a human being can come up with, but there’s also the idea, we’ve talked with other characters about this with Thrillseeking, with the idea that, well, it’s, it’s something different and therefore that novelty adds to a dopamine release.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of survival . And if anybody’s in that situation where they feel like it’s an abusive relationship, but they’re financially supporting them and whatnot, it can be that deep, whatever it is. This is not an opportunity to shame anybody about these things. It’s more that thankfully, this isn’t a comic, this is real life.
And even if you feel like you have made a deal with the devil. There are plenty of people that are willing to act as angels and saints to save you. I’m not saying that flippantly. I’m not saying that it’s immediate. I’m not saying that it’s easy, but I am saying that it exists. So if anybody needed to hear that part, just recognize that.
Yeah, we understand.
Anthony: Absolutely. We understand and we talk about it all the time on this show and. We talk about it on the show, and that’s one of the reasons why we have the show, is to present those positive influences and to try and to borrow a non-spoilery phrase from the skit to be a net force positive for good in the world
because, We’re, we’re just trying to leave it a little better than when we found it. That’s all you and I Doc are trying to do, and I would pause it the overwhelming majority of our listeners as well,
unfortunately, you know, and upon fully intended here the road to Hell’s paved with good intentions. I understand it’s, it’s entirely reasonable for, for Claire to wanna have sought revenge for her sister’s murder, knowing full well that, that Lennox, the, the husband I’m pretty sure that was his name. He was basically untouchable that if you go through the legal means, the justice system wasn’t going to give her justice.
And it’s, it’s a very puy thing. It’s a very pulp notion, especially at that time. Granted, the, the 12 was written in 2008 much more recently, but it’s a very puy idea that, oh, the justice system failed, so I’m going to take matters into my own hands. I mean, any number of characters from that era were, that was their, was raison de tray, so she’s no different but the Satan angle.
Definitely different bent. So the next issue then, and this happens with any number of characters that we’ve discussed on this show, is she distances herself from people because of her abilities. This particularly scene when they are brought back and it’s 2008 and they’re all trying to get adjusted to society.
We’ll, we’ll touch on this, on her connection with certain individuals more in the third issue. But there’s one, there’s one young girl in particular that kind of idolizes Claire and is like, you’re awesome. I, I think you’re really cool and I wanna hang out with you more, and I wanna learn, more how to be like you and Claire’s like, no, you definitely don.
And so it’s because of her abilities and because of the deal with the devil. She keeps everybody at arm’s length.
Doc Issues: Yeah. Many times it’s well, it’s clear it’s a protection defense mechanism. The idea that you’re deflecting any sense of emotional attachment because that leads to vulnerability. So what does that look like outside of comic?
I hesitate with this because I know I don’t know these people, and I, I always make that type of corollary because it’s really, really important. So I’m not making diagnoses. I’m not doing anything to, to go in depth with those people at that. Particular time, but it’s something that I think many people will recognize.
And I know it seems like it’s outta left field, but please just try and follow me here. So there’s a prominent, now retired N F L quarterback that had a very prominent relationship with a model, and they ended up divorced after he made the decision after his first retirement that he was going to continue playing in the n f.
This is a person that could get any person he wanted to in terms of interest, and yet what he wanted out of life is so different, even though they had created a life together, that on the surface that type of decision. Overrode many other parts of his life. I have no idea if that’s related to why they ended up getting divorced.
I have no clue and I, I’m not even giving names. Now, you know who they are, but the reason I bring it up in this type of situation is because you would think people with that level of means, both financially and with popularity, would be able to just simply hand wave and work everything. But when one person clearly has something that is so motivational that they’re willing to sacrifice many other things, it becomes plausible that things like relationships will fall to the wayside.
That’s not as intentional as what we’re describing with Claire because Claire was saying because of who I am and what my abilities are, I don’t want people to get hurt. But another way to potentially phrase that, I have so many different, or, or even if it’s singular, I have such a different position and goal in my life at this time that anything else that’s asked of me from others can’t possibly match up.
And by the way, just to make this clear that I’m not trying to pick on a person or whatever. This person also has an agreement where when their career in one way ended, they have a massive meaning only one magnitude away from a billion in terms of the amount of money that they’re going to be making in the next phase of what they’re doing.
So it wasn’t as if there weren’t other incentives to stop doing what they were doing, but they decided to do it anyway. So what I’m saying is when a person. Their own incentives that are independent of the emotional attachments that they’re making to other people, it creates its own barrier, and I’m using a very prominent person as a potential example because it’s one that everybody will know.
That’s not what I am trying to get across. I’m trying to get across the idea that you can become so involved in whatever you consider to be the ideal for. That you forget to include the rest of society in it, and that is a huge loss if you do it the wrong way. So please, I understand that there is a potential glorification of being on your grind, keeping the hustle going or whatever it is, and.
Everything else will fall into place. As long as you have that success. Recognize that when you’re on that grind, you, you might be grinding
Anthony: some people with it
and grinding yourself down to the point that there’s little to nothing left. I mean, we talked about this in the Rogue episode. We talked about this with so many characters that say, oh, I don’t want anyone near me. Moon Night’s. Another example. I mean, again, you could throw a dart and hit characters that go, no, no, no.
I can’t have anyone in my life because you’re going to get hurt. It’s going to just pull me down and pull my focus away from the things that I need to do for whatever the, the reason may be. And Claire isn’t even really infatuated or thrilled with what she’s doing. It’s not a situation where she’s like, oh, this is something that I really want to do, but I also know that I can’t have anybody near me.
Blah, blah, blah. I’m serving the devil and he’s calling me into service pretty much every night, so that doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for other people. So I understand in some respects why she’s doing it to, to protect other people. But yeah, it’s just, it’s really rough on the, the humanity side of things to push everybody away because it just further reinforces how inhuman you’re gonna end up feeling.
So the last issue, and it’s somewhat of a somewhat hard to describe, but kind of follow me here for a moment. Again, as part of the 12, each of these characters tries in their own way to adjust to modern society with varying degrees of success. The Blue Blade, who’s like this, wish.com, Errol Flynn, knock.
It’s like, oh, I’m gonna create a variety show in 2008, but not change my shtick from the forties. Which wasn’t funny then. And it’s even less funny now. You know? A dynamic man just goes on because he said, well, I’m just gonna keep on fighting because that’s what I meant to do. And there’s evil then. And there’s evil now.
So that’s I, I’ll just keep doing what it is that I have to do. You know, we’re not gonna do a full review on dynamic. Maybe another time, Claire, and it’s funny because we just got done saying, oh, she distances herself from people because of her abilities. She seems to have a little less difficulty adapting to modern culture, but it’s only because she seeks out a very specific subgroup that she finds a strange kinship with in terms of both aesthetic and attitude.
And those are goth. Here you have a woman dressed all in black, or black and blue with the the boots and the little cape look, whatever. And she’s like, I don’t fit in. I don’t fit in. And then she comes across a goth club and she sees everybody with all their various black leather and studs and piercings and this and that.
And she’s like, huh. Okay. Is not the worst thing, and that’s where she meets the young woman whose name eludes me and she’s like, you’re so cool. I love chatting with you every night. I want to get to know you a little better. It’s kind of hinted that there might be some kind of same sex attraction there.
It’s never really clearly defined whether the the, it’s a crush or just like, idolizing or whatever the case may. , but she fits in with the goths and maybe that helps reduce some of the anxiety or problems in adapting.
Doc Issues: Yeah, I, I think you’re absolutely right. So the idea of subculture, I think is, is a big point to this.
There is nothing wrong with the idea that you. Have to find your niche within an accepted range. I want to clarify the myth that at some point in your life, at whatever magical age, you’re going to have this group of people that get you that totally understand who you are and all of the mysteries. What you thought life was about are going to be revealed and reduce your anxiety, clear up your depression, tamper your rage, all this stuff.
If it happens, wonderful. I’m not knocking it. I’m just saying that type of epiphany and miracle don’t always come about. And since we’re talking about a medium, It kind of perpetuates that sometimes this may be one of those times, but I don’t think it’s wrong. There are plenty of subgroups that can provide that sense for someone when they’re not even looking for it, and it can be incredibly positive.
That’s true just about for any human being that has enough interactions in life. It doesn’t have to even be a group. If you find a person that you, what’s that old saying, you feel sparks or whatever, you know, I’m sorry, I’m terrible with those sorts of things, but if it happens, it happens.
Great. Enjoy it when it does. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it’s going to be lasting, and I’m just talking about individual relationships. If you’re talking about a group of people, if you’re talking about culture and what is culture more than just the words and behaviors in a given setting in a certain time period that are related to by any number of people.
All right. If it’s five people, That’s gonna be really tight and you’ll probably get to know each other and learn all about each other pretty quick. If it’s 5 million people, all right, well then you could probably watch TV shows about it, have music related to it, have stories told about it at some point, have some influencing government.
I’m just, I’m giving the most wide ranging examples because. There’s usually something in between those two and all of those things can be okay, but you have to, if you really want to get what you can out of it in a healthy way, you have to be aware that that’s what you’re doing, because at its worst, it is a situation where it can be incredibly manipulative because you’re losing your sense of self for the sake of others.
and that’s a call a cult. So , you know, and I’m not talking occult cuz that that could be kinda woven in with this particular situation. That’s not my intention, but at its best, that’s a family that’s, that’s something that is incredibly enlightening, can enrich multiple areas of your life and provide meaning to things that you didn’t have.
So I’m not saying automatically one way or another, it’s good or bad. And I specifically didn’t want to talk about goths per se, because I didn’t wanna make it sound like, yes, let’s dig into goth culture anymore than I would wanna dig into Amish culture anymore than I would wanna, you know, dig into, you know, geek culture.
Which I guess that’s what we do anyway. Like that’s not relevant in and of. The thing that Claire was experiencing was that novelty of finding that spark with a group of people in a certain setting and time and getting comfort. And yet, because of what we had already mentioned, it could only go so far.
For some people, that’s really what they need and it brings things out. In her case, it. This semi-warm cocoon that still didn’t
Anthony: break through the shell.
Yeah, it’s, it’s important to find connection with people and I do appreciate that Claire was able to find this subculture. After 60 years of not having any connection with any people, the thing that I, I guess, think about, and I’m not saying this is necessarily a good or a bad, is the idea that if you, if you get that connection with this subculture, And you gain a certain level of comfort and confidence and rapport with these individuals, it helps form yourself image and your sense of self.
That version of you within that subculture is not necessarily going to be applicable to the broader spectrum of the population. And that can be a very tough pill to swallow for a lot of people because they found their group, they found the people who get them, and so they feel very comfortable in presenting a version of themselves to those people.
And that version is not acceptable, or not beloved, or not. Whatever positive term you want to use by the general population, and that can be incredibly disheartening and that I think could be a, a topic for a separate episode, but I think that Claire handles it very well. But I know that there are a number of both fictional characters as well as very real people.
In the same situation, who would be like, I found my people here. Why can’t the rest of the world accept me like them? So then you either lionize the group and put them upon a pedestal and view them as this, these fantastic people. And then it becomes like, I only wanna deal with you because you’re the only ones who accept me.
Or you, you know, in some twisted way, you can start. Distance yourself from those people that accept you, because then it becomes, well, you’re the only ones, but everybody else hates me, so you must be lying to me or something that, et cetera. It can really warp your perspective and your perception and I think frankly that’s something that we’ve all kind of gone through at some point where we’ve been accepted by a small group are we found a couple people and then we carry that version of ourselves outside of that.
And it gets rejected or mistreated, or again, not as praised or beloved as we were in that group. And that can make us jaded that it has an impact, is my point. And again, it’s not necessarily, it’s not entirely a good or a bad thing, but it’s just when I’m listening to you have this discussion and this analysis, and I’m thinking about these things, this is what’s coming to.
Because you know, I’ve been there.
I’m 99.8% certain you have, and I have a pretty strong feeling that a lot of our listeners have as well. It’s what you do with that when you go forward that reveals kind of who you are. So it’s a lot, lot to unpack. I didn’t quite see it going this way when we started this discussion, but that’s the beauty of the show.
So we’re gonna take a break. We’re gonna plug a couple shows and we get back, we’ll get into treatment. Stay tuned,
and we’re back. So treatment.
Starting as we always do within universe. What are some things you would say to help Claire deal with some of the stuff that she’s got on her plate?
Doc Issues: Oh man, this is tough because I can’t change what she has. Kill people, send their souls to hell. That, that’s . That seems pretty cut and dry. I,
oh man, this is tough. I’m wondering if there is a way to, ooh, how do I put this?
Even before the deal with the devil? Had some ability and I’m just wondering, even though it’s not my cup of tea,
cuz it’s made clear, she can identify where people’s souls have gone. If there is a way to connect her with some of the relevant souls in her life and see if there’s a way to have a conversation, I think. Giving her the opportunity. I, I hate to be as cliche as to say closure, but just to even have the thought that not only is what you’re doing now worthwhile, but there may be other paths that she could take. Don’t just involve this one thing, just, just opening that door a little bit for other chances, other opportunities, and seeing where it goes. But I’m not sure that a person who doesn’t have their own soul will, will truly appreciate what it’s like if she didn’t try to connect with souls outside of hell.
I don’t even know if that’s possible, but I sure as heck would like to. All right. Yeah, that’s an
Anthony: interesting take. I don’t know how that would work logistically speaking. Right. That’s .
Doc Issues: I don’t, that’s why I’m struggling.
Anthony: I’m not really, I’m not sure. I’m not really sure Satan would give you the souls back. I,
Doc Issues: that’s the thing. It’s not as if I want to take possession of the souls. That sounds horrible.
Anthony: not, not take them back, but borrow them or I’m, I’m going to make a nothing on loans.
Doc Issues: Yeah. I’m going to make an obscure reference here. It’s a video game called Ghost Trick. If you, if anybody knows that game, and you, if you look it up, you’ll kind of see where I would like to go with this, and I’m sorry for being so obscure, but there’s a way that you can connect with souls and not really have influence on.
And if I could find a way to do that, that would be great.
Anthony: Okay. All right. I’ll also have to go check out that game. I’ve never heard of it.
Doc Issues: Yeah, it’s a, I think it’s a Nintendo ds.
Anthony: Okay. Lot of good games for that system anyway, out of universe. Then clearly ignoring the 60 year timeframe that she spent in suspended animation, you have. Goth cultist.
Doc Issues: So I’ve had some patients that are wiccans, I’ve had some patients that are goth. I’ve, dealt with with people that
they clearly had some mental health concern and that’s why they were being seen by me. But they wanted to make it clear to me. Some people in their lives considered that part of them to be a problem, but they do not. So my job in treatment is to determine basically what I was hinting at with the third issue.
Who’s closer to being accurate in that situation? Because I’ve seen it both ways. I have seen situations where people have taken that type of information and done negative things for themselves and towards others as an excuse, and I’ve had people demonstrate that they have had incredibly fulfilling lives and they’re upset about the alienation that has happened related to that, if it’s relevant.
And I’ve had some people where it was completely. A thing, like it didn’t matter to the reason they were being treated in the first place. So rather than saying both sides, I’ve seen multiple sides. So that’s goal number one. But I also wanna make this clear. That’s always true. Just trying to figure out what parts are relevant, culture-wise, not just regarding, I know we said God, but it can be a religion.
It can. You know, another part of their existence that they don’t acknowledge to anybody else, but it’s, it’s true to them, you know, whatever it is. And just kind of piecing that out and seeing if it is a source of conflict or a source of emotional disturbance. What is my role in helping that? For some people it’s to back.
To give them permission. It’s okay not to be as deep as some people think you should be. For other people, it’s saying every time you describe this, you describe it as a real positive thing in your life and, and you’re getting fulfillment and you’re describing the other people that are not involved as being incredibly condescending and and negative, and you don’t want them in your life.
Like it’s almost granted permission saying. Make sure that whatever transitions you’re making, that, that you’re doing in a way that’s going to allow you to have continued growth and, and positivity. So as always, I’m not saying one way is right or wrong, as long as it’s not hurting the person or hurting other people.
So you’re just parsing out where they stand, where they want to stand, and how do we get. It could be through talk therapy, if it’s purely symptomatic in terms of whatever diagnosis. It can be through medication, but whatever it is, that’s it. Let’s make a roadmap. That’s it.
Interesting. I guess I never really considered the, how to get from A to B in. Respect, obviously that’s your requirement, that’s a major part of your job, and I’m aware that folks have to get from A to B, but it’s the how that kind of fascinates me sometimes. I always like to examine the how and the why even if it’s not necessarily anything that I’m going to.
Directly responsible for. So I do like these kind of little insights when you describe like how you’re coming up with the treatment plan and what the purpose is and things of that nature. Because I think it certainly, it helps explain things to our, our listeners, but also it just gives a, a better understanding because if you can explain how and why about something, then it shows that you really, truly do understand the concept.
If you can break it down to. Basis features, then it shows that you have a comprehensive knowledge of it. And I think that just again you know, has a credit to you and speaks to the kick ass professional that you are ,
Doc Issues: oh God. Now that’s that’s something for whoever I need to talk to, because every time somebody says that, all I can think of is all the mistakes I make, which is a, a bad trope, a bad thing that I do.
And tha I, I. Thank you. Okay. That’s what I’m supposed to say. Thank you. Yes.
Anthony: You just, I, I get it too. Believe me, somebody gives me a compliment. I’m like no , but I get it. I, I absolutely understand. And they’re done that so well.
So let’s see what happens when we get Claire Voyant. on Dr. Issues’ Couch.
- DOC: Hello Claire, I’m Doctor Issues.
- CLAIRE: Hello Doctor.
- DOC: I just want to let you know this is a judgment-free zone, and you can feel free to speak your mind. This is a safe space.
- CLAIRE: I appreciate your intention, Doctor, but unfortunately for me there is no such thing as a safe space.
- DOC: Oh, I am constantly updating various defenses and technology to help protect-
- CLAIRE: What I mean is there is nowhere I can go where my dark master cannot find me. No hole I can hide in to avoid him or his call.
- DOC: Oh, I see. And which dark master is that?
- CLAIRE: He goes by many names, but I believe you’d recognize the name Satan?
- DOC: Just so we’re clear, your master is… the literal Devil?
- CLAIRE: Lucifer, Shaitan, the Fallen Angel, Beelzebub… again, many names.
- DOC: I see. And you serve him because…
- CLAIRE: I sold my soul in exchange for the ability to avenge my sister’s killer. As decisions go, it was not my finest moment, but I am beholden nonetheless.
- DOC: OK. Is he in here with us now…?
- CLAIRE: Are you an agent of evil?
- DOC: Certainly hope not.
- CLAIRE: Then you have nothing to fear.
- DOC: So says YOU.
- CLAIRE: If you like, I can enter your mind and assuage your fears in another way.
- DOC: Thanks, but I don’t care for anyone poking around upstairs. Plus it’d violate patient-client confidentiality in ways I don’t even want to imagine. So let’s just stick to chatting, and I’ll do my best to ignore the presence of the literal devil.
- CLAIRE: So that’s your solution? Pay no mind to the evil that surrounds us at all times?
- DOC: I never said that. Trust me, every day I go to work I’m confronted with the evils humanity is capable of. But one of the benefits of this job is the ability to do something about it, and to help people address some of their… less beneficial tendencies.
- CLAIRE: Interesting outlook. Do you fancy yourself a superhero?
- DOC: Goodness no. I simply try my best to be a net positive for good in the world.
- CLAIRE: Do you have any powers?
- DOC: I think that’s enough questions about me for now. Let’s refocus the discussion a bit. Do you struggle with having to serve the Devil?
- CLAIRE: *hesitates* No.
- DOC: Forgive me for not believing you entirely.
- CLAIRE: It’s just… I was frozen in time for sixty years. When I awoke, I thought maybe… I would be free of my burden. But it seems that I will have to do this forever. **Not that I expected to catch a break from the fucking Devil, but one can hope.**
- DOC: And, at the risk of sounding cliché, how does that make you feel?
- CLAIRE: It’s… complicated. I can rid the world of evil. I’ve avenged my sister’s killer, and so many others who would do harm to the innocent. I have powers most would only dream of. My looks will never fade nor tarnish. And still…
- DOC: You question whether it was worth it.
- CLAIRE: Every day.
- DOC: What do you dream about?
- CLAIRE: I don’t sleep. At least… not in the way normal people do. It’s more of a recharge after using my abilities.
- DOC: On one hand, I’m tempted to go down the rabbit hole of how your lack of full sleep cycles can destroy you as a functioning person, but you’re probably immortal so…um…I won’t. Forget the literal. What are your wishes? What’s your next goal?
- CLAIRE: I don’t think I have any. There’s not much room for that sort of thing. The next soul, I guess.
- DOC: And how do you build your life around that?
- CLAIRE: I kill them. *awkward pause* Is there supposed to be something else?
- DOC: *exasperated* ANYTHING else. Does your boss have a quota or something?
- CLAIRE: He keeps track, but I don’t…not really, I had a gap of decades.
- DOC: Then there are no excuses. You’re the ultimate freelance worker. Cater your time to your whims. Relationships, hobbies, I don’t care. Experiment.
- CLAIRE: You can sit there with a straight face and tell a psychic succubus to get a life? **Are you fucking joking?**
- DOC: *gulp* Well, I…um…
- CLAIRE: As if I could randomly find meaning in unimportant human things anymore. What, you’re going to try and be a matchmaker, too? Tinder takes on a whole new meaning around me.
- DOC: I don’t know about any of that, but is there anyone you’re the least interested in?
- CLAIRE: No… maybe. It’s complicated.
- DOC: You don’t want that person to get hurt in the end.
- CLAIRE: *pause* So it’s not so complicated. Stop shutting down everything I say! **For once I’m trying to be straight forward and you’re bogging me down in bullshit!**
- DOC: I’m not shutting anything down. You put barriers up the moment you sacrificed everything so long ago. That was a temporary view you decided to make permanent for whatever your reason, and I’m sure it was good at that point. You’re beyond that now, but you’re still trying to make everything in the world fit inside some tiny dark space in your mind. I can flip it around so your powerful mind can master what the world can offer.
- CLAIRE: So you’ll turn me into the greatest supervillain ever… I think my boss already has that title.
- DOC: OF COURSE NOT! I’m saying…think Goth Influencer, or Demonic Consultant. You have so much to offer to society besides knocking off the next pedophile or mass murderer or whoever.
- CLAIRE: But what if I don’t want that attention? I don’t necessarily want to be publicly known as an agent of Satan. The internal pressure is bad enough.
- DOC: Then be in the background; just don’t bury your talent because it’s based in darkness instead of light. I don’t have all of the answers, but I refuse to let you wither away like a soulless husk. Plus if I’m honest, you scare me. The patients I’ve had who didn’t try something new, just…well, it wasn’t good.
- CLAIRE: This whole time, I’ve been studying your mind. Your soul, even. I can’t find a bit of insincerity in anything you say. I find your view to be naive…but I can work with that.
- DOC: Thanks…? So does this mean you’re not going to send me to your boss?
- CLAIRE: You’re safe. For the time being, anyway. Thank you Doctor, I look forward to a future discussion.
- DOC: Excellent. You can talk to my assistant and schedule your next session.
- CLAIRE: I think I’ll just come find you if and when that moment arrives. Shall we shake on it?
- DOC: Y’know what, let’s just wave and call it a day.
It’s funny, I was thinking of Richard Pryor, Hey, you know what? Let’s just freeze on a handshake. Nice. Very different reasoning behind that, but I digress. So recommended reading is obviously the 12. It is a good story. I do think that unfortunately, because of the nature of the narrative and the desire to focus one issue on each individual, charact, There are some missed opportunities with the story in terms of the fact that we never really get to see them interact with the outside world in any meaningful way.
It’s just sort of, oh, yeah, they, they just kind of deal with it and they either deal with it or they don’t. And either way, it has no real relevance on the story. For the most part. I would’ve liked to see just a little bit more of. But this isn’t a trade paperback review, and I’m not gonna get into the nitty gritty on that on the writing.
So next episodes, we are going to be releasing a previously Patreon exclusive interview with Megan Fitz Martin, the writer of the Tim Drake ongoing mostly because I’m going on vacation and we needed a week to fill and we had this one kind of in the tank. This one was in reserves, so we’re dropping it on the main feet and then the Penguin Oswald Cobblepot
and then to tie in with the new Shaza movie, we are going to be talking about Billy Batson himself, captain Marvel, Shazam, whatever you choose to call him. He’s kinda always gonna be Captain Marvel for me, but I understand that in the current zeitgeist, everybody knows him now is Shazam. So that’s what we’ll go.
So you can find all the episodes that we’ve done previously on our website, capesonthecouch.com, and you can also check us out on the Gonna Geek Network. We are proud members of the Gonna Geek Network, where you can find other awesome and geeky shows like Adventures in Erylia and Legends of Shield.
So go check those shows out if you’re interested in something that is not exactly comic book related or that is less mental healthy, but also in a geeky. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok capes on the couch. You can shoot us an email capes on the couch gmail.com. If you want to talk, you have questions.
You like what you hear, you don’t like what you hear, whatever. Give us the feedback. We love hearing it. If you listen to us on a platform that allows you to like and review, please do so. And again, if you take a screen cap of your review and you email it to us at keeps on the catch gmail.com, we will send you a sticker as a way of our appreciation and.
So that’s gonna wrap it up for this episode doc.
Doc Issues: So many people think that black widows are based on the amount of destruction. I’d like to think that many times black widows are a comment on the opportunities lost.
Anthony: Okay. I really like that. That is food for. So for doc issues, I’m Anthony Sytko. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.