Castellucci talked about the central conceit of the series a bit: “When you have a superpower of madness, it’s kind of like, what is that? Madness is very strange. How do you, as a writer, keep a story narrative that makes sense but also try to push off the page in order to get to somewhere new?”
Castellucci also clarified how her version of “Shade” relates to past incarnations. “If you’ve read the [Steve] Ditko or the [Peter] Milligan ‘Shade,’ you’ll be like, 'Oh, I see what she did there,’” “You want to pay homage to what’s come before, but I also want it to be very much its own thing, so a person doesn’t have to have read all of 'Shade’ – you can just jump in.” Mahan pointed out that it is Rac Shade’s madness coat, from the Milligan run.
You feel like you’re viewing everything
from a great distance as you sit, curled into a corner of the couch, staring at
a closed book on your lap, tears still welling in your eyes. Alex enters the
room, and you can sense his presence without looking up. He comes to sit at the
other end of the couch, still tense.
“Hey, baby. Something’s come up at the
mansion,” he starts warily. “They asked
if I could help them out, so I’m-”
“Gonna be gone for a while?” You interrupt
him, still staring blankly at the cover of the book. “Yeah. I heard.” The
tension in the room is so thick it’s hard to breathe
“It’s,” He takes a deep, shaky breath.
“It’s not what you think. It’s not what it sounds like, I promise.”
“How could it not be what it sounds like? God,
Alex. You’re going to war in a few
months. You could die and I’d lose you forever and you can’t find in you to
spend these last few months with me. Fucking how else am I supposed to
interpret ‘I can’t be around her’. You could’ve fucking talked to me about it.”
By the time you finish, you’ve given up trying not to cry in front of him and
your voice is shaking, and he physically flinches, but you don’t care. Why
shouldn’t he be hurting too?
“Because you’re not like me” the words
explode out of him, your pain and bitterness sparking his own. “We are
fundamentally different. What was I supposed to say? ‘Good morning, sweetheart.
Lovely day, isn’t it, oh and by the way, I could lose control and kill you
painfully at any moment. Shall we go out to brunch?’” He’s on his feet now,
pacing across the room. “Jesus fucking Christ, I can talk and talk and talk but you can’t understand how this
feels because you’re normal. I’m a
fucking weapon and being around you is like balancing on a razor because if I
slip up, everything literally blows up around me, and I can’t think about
anything else because it’s not something I can fix, it’s just what I am.”
“Just because I’m not a mutant doesn’t mean
I can help how I was born any more than you could.” You snap back, rising from
the couch. “I’m fucking sorry that the world is afraid of you. I’m sorry that people are so shitty and
divisive about people who are different, but I have never ever given you a reason to think I would walk out on you because of
something you can’t change. Fine. We’re fundamentally different. But you didn’t
even try to talk to me about it. I love you so much. I would do anything for you. Is it really so hard
to believe that I could help you with this?”
“Sympathy and empathy are two very
different things and you fucking know it.” Alex’s voice is flat and cutting. “Sure
you could feel sorry for me but, but pity is as good as revulsion, and you still can’t
possibly know what I go through every goddamn day. I’m deadly. I’ve killed people and I don’t know how to come home to you
with that eating away at me every second of every day. I don’t know who I am
anymore without this-this poison I
carry around with me.” The rage in his expression is ice cold, his eyes
desperate and furious. “I’m one of the ‘dangerous ones’ and I don’t know how to
be around someone who’s not.”
There are still tears running down your
face, but your voice is cold and ugly, a stark contrast to your explosive pain from
only moments ago.
“You’re right. I probably don’t understand.
Maybe I can’t understand, but maybe I don’t need to understand something to
want to make it better for you. Just because I don’t understand something on
the same level you feel it doesn’t mean I can’t try to make it hurt less for
you.” You sound hollow. You feel
hollow. Everything about this fight has burned you out, and you can barely find
the strength to remain upright, much less sustain the all-consuming anguish that
had been fuelling your ire. “But clearly I don’t get a say in this.” You cross
the room, heading for the bedroom but you pause just before you exit. “Don’t
worry, you’re not the only one who wants some space right now.” You spit, venom
lacing your tone. As you shut the door behind you, your legs give way and you
collapse against it, sliding to the ground and hugging your knees to you as
your body is racked with silent, choking sobs.
If there was one thing Jason was grateful for his stint in Arkham for it was the ability to freak Tim the fuck out.
Tim:*sipping coffee during patrol*
So, what was it like? Arkham?
Jason:Oh not too bad. Like they had this rule right? After 9pm no caffeinated drinks were allowed. Good bye coffee, hello warm milk.
Tim:*eyes widening* No!
Jason:*sprawling back against the rooftop casually* Oh yeah. I ain't kidding ya kid. Arkham is big on the sleep hygiene thing. TV is off by 10 pm, in fact no technology is allowed at all until morning.
Tim:*looking pretty terrified* Oh my God Jay!!
Jason:What? Made no difference to me -oh!
*sly smirk before patting his brother's head*
Well you just carry on being a good boy and maybe B will let you keep that latte and your mobile.
Bruce:*over coms* Hood! Are you winding Red Robin up again?
In HTTYD2 when Valka defended her side when Hiccup called out on her and the alpha destroying the dragon trapper's base, she was being overtly aloof of said situation. Did she NOT care for the people harmed? She WAS from berk, so why the hypocrisy?
The alternate opening of HTTYD 2 seems to suggest that Valka had no intention of severely harming any of the dragon trappers at their base. She very carefully creeps around Eret’s base and seeks minimal contact with members of her own species, focusing on freeing the dragons. Valka chooses to knock one man unconscious because his patrol rounds pass directly over the dragon she seeks to rescue, but this man only received one crack to the head and will recover from the injury. She could have killed him. She didn’t. Frankly, if this man were not in Valka’s way, she would not have touched a hair on his head.
The reason Eret’s base is destroyed is because Valka was discovered. A large number of Eret’s trappers notice her and start a fight. With the entire base alerted, Valka now is fighting on the defensive. Drastically outnumbered, she calls on the Bewilderbeast to help her, and only then does the alpha act. The alpha shoots ice over the base and destroys it, allowing Valka and the dragon she has freed to flee. Had Eret and the other trappers not surrounded Valka, I do not believe the base would have been destroyed, nor the dragon trappers directly attacked. Her mission, had it gone smoothly, would have been very peaceful indeed.
This does seem to imply Valka is not actively going around killing humans. It suggests she harms humans only when she believes she needs to. She’s sticking to freeing dragons and that is all. The fact Valka is not killing these dragon trappers when she could have easily cost them more lives suggests she does, in fact, care about the worth of human life.
Valka even expresses grief for putting human lives in danger: the lives of her husband and son. She tells her son, “You and your father nearly died that night, all because I couldn’t kill a dragon.” This hurts her conscience greatly. Indeed, part of the reason she never returns home to Berk is because she does not want to endanger Hiccup and Stoick again. That’s quite the care for human lives, at least those of her family.
Now as Valka sees it, humans and dragons are at war. The two species are in irreconcilable conflict; they cannot coexist in peace. In her youth, Valka sought for the species to live at peace, but ultimately concluded these efforts were futile: As she says to Hiccup:
“Believe me, I tried, as well. But people are not capable of change, Hiccup.”
According to Valka’s perspective, there is no simple manner by which to protect the lives of all humans and all dragons. At times, even in her youth living on Berk, Valka has had to make a choice about who she protects first.
Valka chooses the dragons first. She sees the dragons as the victims of the conflict. The humans are the aggressors and the killers. Since Valka sides with the dragons, there will be times where she will have to act counter to human action, which does mean putting human lives at risk sometimes. That’s what happens with instances like Eret’s base.
And it’s also good to consider that Valka, even though she grew up on Berk, feels alienated from the culture and the people. In fact, her experiences on Berk have led her to stand even firmer in the belief that dragons should be protected and humans’ actions against dragons should be prevented. Because Valka saw all the violence against dragons on Berk, she wants to do something to counter it. Her experiences on Berk in many ways will not make her sympathetic with the human cause, but make her more uncomfortable with what her species has done.
So if she has to choose between humans and dragons getting harmed, she chooses the humans. Humans are the aggressors. Dragons are the victims. She’s done all she peacefully can to try to prevent humans from harming the dragons, but the humans have shown they cannot change. It means that the only choice left for her is to stand as a dragon vigilante, fight for the dragons, and do what it takes to give the species some safety and peace.
Even if it means endangering some human lives and crushing forts.