Friday, July 9, 2021

Babylon Without Christ


Babylon is an unapologetically Christian series.

The set-up is perfect for it. The world is in the grip of false gods who war with each other for control of souls. They twist their worshipers into slaves and meat puppets, turning them into pawns and soldiers for their forever wars. Humans are nothing more than prizes and resources to them. What benefits they bring are temporary, and come with too high a cost. They spin webs of lies, convincing the world that they are divine beings, and cloak themselves in the mantles of the old gods—or reject faith altogether.  The machinery of state is nothing more than a powerful tool, constantly being passed around, to crush everyone who dares to resist them. It is a world of evil ascendant—and in its ascendance, is constantly fighting itself.

Christianity embodies everything this fallen world is not. Truth, goodness, beauty. The affirmation and elevation of the human spirit. Respect and preservation of free will. Staying faithful to what is right, even if it means standing against the entire world.

Pulp fiction of the early twentieth century is remembered for excitement and adventure, but dive deeper and you will find a moral heart. Pulp fiction was informed by the moral norms of a Christian America in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. Characters either embody these values or stand in contrast to them. The enduring power of pulp stories and characters lie in how boldly they advocate timeless values, or how vividly they stand apart from the worldview of the times.

We live in a world of clowns. Outrage has replaced legitimate authority. Narratives reign while truth is ignored or censored. Moral values are determined not by timeless principles but by ever-shifting fashions, celebrities and influencers, and the chants of faceless masses. Instead of building a better world, those in power use their positions to crush those beneath them and reward those who support them. In such an age, pulp fiction grounded in moral certitude will stand apart.

Christianity serves as a shorthand for all that is good and true in the Babylon series. So what happens when the Christian character leaves?

We get Babylon Red.

Nova Babylonia spirals into chaos. The New Gods scramble to regain their power, and chip away at their rivals. Lesser powers move to fill the power vacuum, forging alliances or carving out their own turf. With the Special Tasks Section gone, the government cannot stop them. Yuri Yamamoto has gone underground, leaving those left behind naked before the strange and terrible powers wielded by the New Gods and their monsters. Now that Yuri is no longer around, they have nothing to fear.

Corruption spreads across the nation. Shadow wars spill out into the light. The old rules no longer apply. Without the forces of law and order, without the presence of an objective Good, demons and cultists run rampant. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, and a blood-dimmed tide washes over the streets.

However, even though Yuri has left, his legacy remains.

In Babylon Blues, we see his influence on Team Black Watch. In Babylon Red, they carry that influence in his hearts as they do battle with the New Gods. Though they are not Christians, they remain committed to the mission of protecting the innocent, and in so doing they continue to do good in a world on the brink of madness.

Faith, dedication, sacrifice. These are the values the men and woman of Team Black Watch continue to uphold. They refuse to surrender to the growing darkness, instead raging against the dying of the light. Though they are outnumbered, outgunned and outmatched, they continue the struggle against the forces of darkness.

After being terminated from the STS, Karim Mustafa rediscovers his purpose as a holy warrior. James Wood will do whatever it takes to protect his home and family, even if it means exposing himself to the wrath of the New Gods. Will Connor will seek justice for the fallen, and will make war upon gods and monsters to attain it. When Zen Tan sees an opportunity to weaken one fo the New Gods and again allies, he will seize it—no matter the cost.

And Kayla Fox?

She has faith that Yuri Yamamoto will return one day. Until then, she continues the mission.

Through this lens of war and faith, we see Nova Babylonia through her eyes. From the sweltering swamps of Moreno Island to the broken streets of Riveria and the blood-drenched shadows of Babylon, her journey takes her to the most important places in the story universe.

She is only one woman. She can’t fight the New Gods by herself. But through her work, she sets up opportunities to take advantage of disruption and chaos, and prepares for Yuri’s return.

When he does, the world of Babylon will never be the same again.

The first four webserials of Babylon Red are available online. The finale can be found in the complete collection. In this last tale, Yuri Yamamoto is back in Babylon. Together with his team, he must confront a threat that could destroy the entire city, one that even the New Gods cannot kill. Check out Babylon Red here!

No comments:

Post a Comment