On 10 Nov. 2009, 32-year-old goalkeeper Robert Enke stepped in front of an oncoming train and killed himself. His daughter, born with a heart defect, had died in 2006 at the age of 2, and Enke began being treated for depression. He and his wife had adopted a baby girl in 2009, and as Enke’s depression worsened, he worried that their daughter would be taken from them. “It is the fear of what people will think,” his wife said, “when you have a child and the father suffers from depression.”
Enke had left a suicide note. In it, he apologized to his family and his psychiatrist and hospital staff for deliberately misleading them into believing he was better.
“It was necessary to carry out the suicide plans,” he wrote.
This set is literally my favourite collection of panels in the entire comic. It illustrates so much about the relationship between fighter and navigators, particularly the relationship between these fighters and navigators. And I’ve been thinking about it for days and I just wanna gush ok.
First, you have Phobos and Deimos. A team who clearly do not mesh well at all, and we know this from interactions between them in earlier scenes (mess hall in particular). Instead of working together as they should be, Phobos outright tells Deimos what he expects of him, and Deimos for whatever reason opts not to bite back. It’s clear evidence of the lack of respect Phobos has for Deimos as a fighter, and imo is a pretty nice contrast to the typical ‘alpha fighter’ complex that’s normally portrayed. Rather than the fighter being the controlling pain in the ass, this time it’s the Navigator, and you end up feeling kinda sorry for Deimos for being stuck with such an asshole. Phobos’s disdain is obvious, and Deimos’s submissiveness is equally clear. Both of these guys are two characters who are used to things going this way, regardless of how well it’s worked for them.
Makes me wonder how long it will take for them to end up being split in one way or another. If they don’t work well, they don’t fight well. And in enemy territory, if they don’t fight well, they sink. Something’s gotta give.
Next up you have Cain and Abel. They got off to a rocky start and both of them are complete fuck ups in a lot of ways. You can even question their compatibility altogether because it is entirely possible that Abel was lumped with Cain only for his abilities and for the sake of the Shady Plan. But compatibility and their relationship outside of the Reliant aside, both here clearly know their roles and both trust each other in the ship. It started off rocky, but since their first flight together (when Abel ignored Cain and went after the Tiberius) they have settled into what is clearly a comfortable routine. They know their roles, they know what to expect of each other. There is none of the tension or disdain that Phobos and Deimos display.
Despite that though, they still have to remind each other that they know what they’re doing. Abel still checks to make sure Cain is good to go, and Cain is still reminding Abel of his expectations (albeit a lot more subtler than Phobos does). There’s an easy confidence between them that I think would be standard between most Fighter/Navigator teams.
And lastly we have Keeler and Enke. My two favourite god damn characters in this entire gay-ass comic. Look at them. Just look at them. Compare them both to the two pairs above them and just consider the differences here. There’s no reassurances, there’s no expectations and no reminders. They don’t even have to look at one another, both are completely focused on their own tasks. Either they’ve been flying together for so long that they just know their routines, or they are so damn compatible that they are the epitome of a perfect Fighter/Navigator team. All Keeler has to say is Enke’s name and they know where they’re at. They exchange three words and they are ready to go. There’s a subtle way that Hamlet has drawn these two panels that just oozes the experience of this team, that tells you they have been flying together and working together, and regardless of whatever else is going on outside their ship (Keeler’s health being the big glaring one), they still work flawlessly together.
Even Abel and Cain’s easy confidence looks like a joke compared to Keeler and Enke’s. Don’t even get me started on just how glaringly different the relationship between Phobos and Deimos’s is. Keeler and Enke have this flying business by the balls, and they don’t need reminders, demands or any other kind of coaching of one another to do it. They just. Fucking. Work.
Just take a minute to look at these three teams and think about how much is being portrayed. Just how different they are, and how very little needs to be illustrated to get the point across. Right here are three examples of how glaringly contrary the relationships between teams can be. From a Navigator who treats his Fighter like property (or, a little more disturbingly, like a slave), to a duo who just mesh so smoothly together that they barely even need to talk to communicate.
I just fucking love the dynamics of Fighters and Navigators ok.