Fearing the Evos

Promotional image from Heroes Reborn.
The most believable lies have an element of truth to them.  In the TV series Heroes Reborn, when Erica Kravid told everyone that there was going to be an event that would wipe out almost all life on earth and that she had a plan to save them, she wasn’t lying. There was going to be a cataclysmic event, it was going to wipe out humanity, and she did have a plan to save humanity. She didn’t divulge that her plan didn’t include everyone—or even most people. She only intended to save a few, hand-selected people.

In carrying out her evil plan, she was playing both sides—getting evos to do horrible things and then making laws and creating publicity that fed into the fear of the normals. She used their fear of what was stronger than themselves—what they couldn’t control.  It’s true that people with superpowers would have the ability to cause serious harm if they chose to. It’s also true that some of them would not be good people. How could anyone know which were good and which were bad? How could we trust that a good superhero wouldn’t turn evil?

Sorting out the truth can be hard when fear is involved.

Erica told the world that, no matter what chances were given to evos to be integrated and accepted, they were murderous fiends who could not be trusted. She was careful to make her story credible by bidding some evos to carry out crimes against humanity.

She also capitalized on the insecurity of the evos when faced with the fear of the general public.  Their own fear of destruction, death and persecution made it easy for many of the characters to believe any lie that they felt would bring them safety and security. In order to fight the increasing persecution, some evos became terrorists. To fight their own destruction, some became murderers. They believed lies about who and what they needed to be to save themselves, which resulted in them becoming the monsters that they were perceived to be.

Erica offers Phoebe Frady, a girl with the ability to manipulate light and shadow, a purpose in life. Phoebe had always felt like a freak and didn’t understand why she was given her power. Erica convinced Phoebe that using it against other evos was her destiny. Phoebe wanted so badly to matter—to have a destiny—that she allowed herself to believe this “purpose” was more important than the damage she was causing—she even assisted in a terrorist attack at the Odessa Summit. Her isolation and fear of not being accepted kept her from noticing the almost complete isolation that Erica placed her in. Her role in the terrorist mission made her feel a part of something bigger, even though she was never allowed to interact with anyone else. The way that she had to use her power took everything out of her, and everything away from her. She gave up anything she did have (including her brother) to lose everything in the end.

Erica’s act of terrorism also inspired Joanne Collins, the mother of a young evo who was killed at the Summit, to blame the evos for her son’s death and, with her husband Luke, to hunt down and assassinate any that they could find. She lost herself to the lies that evos were monsters and didn’t deserve to live; she believed that she had a right to take revenge on them for the death of her son and that her grief could only be assuaged by harming people like him.

How could we trust that a good superhero wouldn’t turn evil?

Unbeknownst to Joanne, her husband Luke was also an evo, but hid it from his wife until he couldn’t take it anymore. When he told the truth, she didn’t kill him (although she came close) and they parted ways. He decided to find out what the truth was and to work for it while she continued her hunt. Both of their hearts were broken by the death of their son and the lies they told themselves broke their marriage. To fight grief, they became judges, juries, and executioners; and it killed who they were in the process.

I see elements of these stories every day in the news. Groups are demonized for the actions of a few, innocent people are killed because others believe that they have the right to kill whoever doesn’t agree with them. Sorting out the truth can be hard when fear is involved. It can be even harder when an individual wants a truth that can’t match up with reality.

I hope that, when faced with so much uncertainty, fear and tragedy as I am in daily life, that I won’t become what I abhor trying to save what I value.  It wouldn’t be difficult to believe that to protect what I have, I would act out of fear. But, I don’t want to live by fear. I hope that I will always be able to see clearly enough to know the truth and live it—whatever fear I’m faced with.

Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

Contributing Writer at Area of Effect
Jen is a pastoral minister, wife, mother, ninja and writer. She loves sci-fi, superheroes, and classic literature, and prefers to share her Catholic faith through such lenses. Her book, "Comic Con Christianity" is available from Paulist Press.
Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

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