“And how do we know next time you go a ‘little crazy’... you won’t rip our heads off?!”
If I were more inclined toward Freudian theory, I would write this post about Vanth Dreadstar and Skeevo Junior spending much of this issue fighting over a sword. Vanth, who has been made to feel lesser in the wake of his failure by helping Lord Palafox regain his throne, seeking the lost symbol of his masculine youth where he was successful and powerful and always right... Junior, fresh off sexual rejection from Iron Angel, looking to regain that masculine identity that has been minimalised in his eyes, while asserting his youthful vigor and power over the older, seemingly more virile Dreadstar, all while his other father figures watch... That’s all I’ve got in that area, but it’s all pretty obvious, eh?
I rather like the language surrounding the new sword introduced in this issue. While never given a proper name, the sword that Dreadstar previously wielded was often “the sword of power” with his abilities referred to as “the power.” Here, it’s “the sword of control,” a concept related to, but different from, power. Power is often a means of control, but control is something more overbearing, something less ambiguous. Power can be used in a variety of ways, for good and evil – as can control, yet, even when used for good, there is a sense of immorality. You can control people into doing charitable works, but is that really a good thing? Is it really charity? Control is associated with fascist ideas, while power can be spread out anywhere along that political spectrum.
Both Dreadstar and Junior already have power (as does Palafox, who summons the sword for his own purposes), but they’re lacking control. Dreadstar continually finds himself in situations where his power can be misused, even simply through circumstances beyond his control. The fallout of his bringing down the Instrumentality were entirely outside of his purview, but that fallout was also entirely a direct result of his power and the lack of control he has over it in a broader context beyond himself. With both power and control, would things like the Palafox situation happen? Moreover, most of what Dreadstar does is an act of using his power to control his surroundings. He acts on such a large scale in an effort to reshape the world around him as he thinks it should be. He kills heads of state, ends wars, kills trillions... he has always been in the business of using his power for control, but has never been able to achieve that control; not enough, at least. No matter what, there are things outside of his influence and those are the things that continually drag him down.
Ironically, his efforts to seize the sword of control are ones of control. He doesn’t want Junior and Palafox to have that sword – he wants them to exist the way that he wishes (or, possibly, not exist at all). While they try to get that sword to gain further power to shore up the control they already possess over the galaxy, Dreadstar moves in direct opposition. Two forces of control acting against one another. That Junior is the one to take the sword is a positive sign for Dreadstar. As we’ll see, the sword of control has its own identity and agenda, and that it would go to Junior says that Dreadstar is, perhaps, not, as I said yesterday, ‘broken.’
Tomorrow: does Junior control the sword or does the sword control Junior?