Sunday, March 19, 2006

Reader's Diary #55- Exodus (up to Ch. 11)

Exodus seems to be the original superhero story. It's so easy to draw comparisons with Moses to Superman, Spiderman, Batman and even the X-Men to some extent.

Now I'm not a comic book nut by any stretch, but I'm at least familiar enough to be able to see similarities in Moses' story and the aforementioned heroes. I'll start with Superman. Remember how Superman was sent to Earth in that Matrix thingy? It seems a little bit like the whole Moses in the basket story only sci-fied up a bit.

I also like the presentation of Moses' character. The fact that three of the world's major religions look up to Moses, says something about his appeal. Without a doubt he's a quintessential man's man (no wonder Heston played him)- he quite often uses violence and/or threats to take care of business. But for all that, he's not shown as some perfect vigilante who knows exactly how to handle a situation. I liked for example, how Moses complains to God that he won't be able to convince the pharaoh to let his people go because he's not able to speak eloquently. While people sometimes make similar comments about Clark Kent- I think the average guy award goes to Spiderman's alter ego, Peter Parker. It's the human side of Spiderman that appeals to such critics as Roger Ebert and I think a parallel can be found in Moses.

While Bruce Wayne isn't exactly the average Joe that Peter Parker and Moses are, there are still similarities to be found in the stories of Moses and Batman as well. Most striking in its similarity is not Batman himself, but Robin. Moses was blessed with the original sidekick, i.e., Aaron, and while it might be a stretch to say Robin and Aaron were alike- the whole idea of a sidekick is.

Finally, X-Men. No Moses wasn't a mutant. But like Storm he did control the weather- causing a hailstorm to fall upon Egypt for instance. And certainly a case can be made that the mutants were cast aside and persecuted by society much like the Israelites. But try as I might, I can't really make a case for Charles Xavier being God-like. At least not through the story of Exodus. Charles Xavier wants peace amongst humans and mutants, but God (in the story of Exodus anyway) seems to heavily favour the Israelites over the Egyptians. Of course, that's the beauty of God's character in Exodus. He maintains much more mystique than Moses or the pharaoh and no great surprise, is very complex. I love how He converses with Moses and tells him what to do, yet He is presented as omnipotent (referring to times when He hardened the pharaoh's heart) and omniscient (referring to times when He tells Moses ahead of time that the pharaoh will still refuse to let them go). As a reader you grasp the whole idea of a master plan, when you realize that He's not only calling the "good" shots but the "bad" ones as well. Very intriguing, wouldn't you say?

Finally, I'd like to comment on the pharaoh as a supervillain. While he's hard to like as a person, as a character he's friggin' awesome. He's got to be one of the vilest and most stubborn characters in literature. Plague after plague (I almost wrote a posting comparing Exodus to modern disaster movies instead of comic book heroes) and the pharaoh still doesn't relent. Occasionally he says "Okay, okay I give up, your people can go" and then he basically says, "Sike!" What a bad-ass! Like I say, he's a pretty despicable person as a historical figure but as a literary character he's a pretty good read.


Scotty said...

I like the plot tense halfway through this book, especially the part with the chicken.

I also like the ending...leaves itself wide open for a sequel.

Robert Hiscock said...

I knew this whole Bible-as-novel-thing was going to be interesting.