What if you took a few well-known origin or separation stories, some continuations, a smattering of angst, and blended them all together? Insufferable is very similar to that cocktail, but at least it’s served in a Buddha cup, with a hole in the belly for a straw.
Imagine that Dick Grayson’s “Robin” was not just a “ward” of Bruce Wayne, but actually Batman’s son. What if Big Daddy was a more complicated man, trying to figure out how to be a good father and also a better leader. In the case of Insufferable, that may mean that, despite his best efforts, nothing was ever good enough. B+ instead of an A? That means there’s room for improvement there, Hit Girl. Passing on major life events – dating, going to prom, having to skip field trips (the most coveted days of school) – all to train and help Nocturnus . . . dad.
Nocturnus has been a hero since before his son John, né Galahad, was born. As a hero, do you hide your, well . . . “hidden” identity from your son? Or do you groom him to be just like you or possibly even better? How hard do you push as trainer AND father? What do you tell your spouse if you say anything at all? Do you hope that your family secret never includes her? Do you wait to see if it’s something your child even wants to do? Well, hell, he MUST want to, who wouldn’t! Do you tell her on her deathbed, when she’s put there by an enemy you and your ward have yet to encounter? No one ever said parenting was easy.
Nightwing and Batman parted ways, but did so on amicable terms, not terms that were Insufferable.
“Cutting the cord” is a hip way of saying that you’re getting rid of cable. Bravà to the crowd that loves telling people that they don’t have a T.V. Now, “CUT the cord” means something altogether different. It’s breaking the tether that is holding you down, holding you back, holding you out of fear of loss. It’s breaking away without thinking of what will happen next, but you know it’s needed if you’re to move on. Sure, the new fans and endorsements and the women and the, the . . . well, at least they would know that you are your mentor’s son and have parted ways. Somehow, them knowing makes it easier. You’re not dealing with it alone and accepted that much more.
To be frank, I initially was kind of “blah” about the whole premise and character outline of Insufferable. I just immediately started seeing comparisons to other titles, to plot lines that have been written before, to ideas toyed with since the inception of the “hero and sidekick” dynamic. It wasn’t until I took some Lisa Simpson jazz advice and “listened to the notes she’s not playing.” There’s a lot in this story that could be written off as tripe, a re-digested tale. It’s the more personal that needs read into, that develops the emotions not of a sidekick going his own way, of a father who still tries, and a son who has a chip on his shoulder that needs chiseled down.
Not for all, fun for some, take away what you will from my words and see if it clicks.
You can thank me later.