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Soleil: Sky Doll #3

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008
By: Chris Murman

Barbara Canepa, Alessandro Barbucci, C.B. Cebulski
Barbara Canepa, Alessandro Barbucci
Marvel Comics/Soleil
Editor's Note: Soleil: Sky Doll #3 arrives in stores Wednesday, July 16.

"The Genesis"

There are many of us out there with beliefs of some kind. Some are religious, others more scientific, while even others choose neither. Often, many of us are placed in a conundrum and put to a test when an idea is placed directly between us and said beliefs. While I didn't experience anything that's going to convert the core of my being by any means, I think this series gave me a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and appreciate a form of artistic expression I don't often experience.

For the uninformed, I am proud to call myself a worshiper of God. I mention this only because as you read my comments, please keep in mind that I'm sharing my views from a certain perspective. Others that aren't inclined spiritually in the same manner as I might have a different view, and I think that is awesome. But if I come across in any way as offensive, please accept my apology and understand that I'm coming at this from my own point of view.

On to the current issue of Sky Doll, which was quite a bang of a finisher.

Our three intrepid Aqua-farers (Noa, Roy and Jahu) get just enough time to catch their breath after blowing the supposed pagan-Aquarians to kingdom come to be given a hero's welcome during an 18-hour worship telecast. After seeing his friend Jahu's true colors, Roy is a bit disillusioned and cold to the world. While predicable to see the shining innocence of the less experienced emissary, it is clear later in the issue why Roy needed to go through the change. His confused feelings over Noa and his best friend are completely in flux, and I thought it was obviously used in setting him up as the eventual hero.

Thankfully I was wrong; it was more of a team effort.

After rogue bishops of the fallen papess Agape seize control of the television station, our trio manages to see the full extent of their purpose and the events unfolding around that purpose. Yes, the fighting friends manage to work out their differences and see that being friends means forgiving the past and moving forward together. Roy also comes to terms with his feelings for Noa, while at the same time realizing she is more than a mere doll that happened to fall into his spaceship two issues ago. I won't quite reveal everything, because reading this issue is worth the effort. The best part of the ending was it really wasn't an ending at all, merely the beginning of a saga I hope to read more of.

I thought briefly what themes were present as I read this initial offering from what appears to be an enticing arrangement between Soleil and Marvel. To be frank, there are way too many to actually pin it down to one or two. I knew going into this series that a French publication was going to stretch me a bit. Not only are readers "across the pond" used to material a bit more graphic in nature, but they are also accustomed to different philosophies than we Yanks. Sure, we like to think of ourselves as forward-thinking, open-minded liberals at times, but the fundamentalist sect of our society certainly still has rule of the roost firmly planted under their control. At times I'm saddened by that. On the other hand, I can't exactly shun their ideals given the very concepts portrayed in this series managed to give this redneck a stir from time to time. It is with that heavy heart that I address the main theme, which was used to address all other themes: sex.

The concept of sex was rampant throughout the series, and in many forms. What started out as a curious love story between two who were not supposed to be together (a robot and a human-like creature), turned into a statement about what sex has sort of become in today's world. It has become beyond casual, something that is a part of everyday life, like dental hygiene. So much so to the point where in order to keep yourself not only holy, but also safe, the only approved sex one can have is with a robot "doll."

It also is used to represent what problems this creative team (if not much of the world) has with the modern church. The most holy of holies (who killed her own sister to gain power) has a sort of concubine that hates her. So deep is his dislike of who he is forced to serve, he uses a type of sex with Lodovica she wasn't exactly ready for. The image of a royal figure being raped was something I wasn't ready for, but it gave me a clear picture of how sometimes the world views my decision to attend a corporate worship service on Sundays. The papess is concerned with getting her rocks off, ratings and the number of worshippers she has. Her services are merely productions used to generate more followers, and there is very little about the holy figure of this world that is truly good.

Not only was heterosexual activity used, but homosexual as well. In the second act, the trio visited Aqua, a very serene place that is viewed by the outside world as Nirvana (the spiritual accumulation of peace, not the band that produced the song "Rape Me"). Only inhabited by women (or they ended up that way from what I can tell), Aqua has sellers of beauty products they want to position around the galaxy. They have no desire for harmony, only to make themselves look as beautiful as possible. Oh, and before I forgot, they have sex with each other.

After reading all of that, one might wonder why I would see fit to grant this issue and series with such acclaim. The answer is very simple: this story hits the nail directly on the head. Whether they wanted to or not, the original team of Canepa and Barbucci should be praised because the world we live in is consumed with pushing the human form and our need to get it on to the point where watching prime-time television is hard. Sure, it's been this way for centuries. Even the church that was around during the time of Jesus had prostitutes under its employ.

I'm not here to point fingers or say that my conservative ideals are better than others. Maybe I just needed this message to be shoved in my face so that the next time a beer ad or dating site pop-up comes before me, I should remind myself that my wife is amazing and I'm glad I get to live my life with her. Hats off to the two creators, as well as C.B. Cebulski for translating the message. I could go on and on about how this series truly spoke about modern culture and the notion that we can either take part in it or choose a different path.

I'm glad of the road I'm traveling down. Are you?






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