The FENX and the Native Son: Fragments of the Gospel in the Thudercats Reboot

Posted: April 22, 2012 in Comic Boos/Superheroes, Star Wars, Uncategorized
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“Don’t let your pride get in the way of forgiveness” – Lion-o, Lord of the Thudercats

I have memories of watching the original Thundercats alongside the Silverhawks when I was very young, and when Cartoon Network aired both series together when I was in High School.  Last fall, Cartoon Network launched an updated reboot of the Thundercats which I have grown to enjoy more than the original series, as it is structured as a weekly serial instead of a daily afternoon cartoon, thus allowing for episodes to build one upon another in ways both large and small.

The new show establishes the Thundercats living in peace in the land of Thundera on the planet Third Earth, having long triumphed over their mortal enemies the lizards and the ancient evil known as Mum-Ra, the ever living.  Mistakenly thought to be forever vanquished, Mum-ra returns and lays waste to Thundera, leaving Lion-o and Tygra – the sons of Claudis, Lord of the Thudercats – among the few survivors of the attack.  Joining with General Panthro and Cheetara, the last of the clerics of Thundera, the sons of Claudis set out on a quest to gather the artifacts described in the book of Omens and once again defeat Mum-Ra.

In the latest episode, Native Son, Tygra and Lion-o discover a long tribe of tiger-like beings,who are fearful of creatures born of darkness who torment their people.  It’s quickly established that the leader of this tribe is actually Tygra’s birth father, and Claudis and his Queen adopted Tygra in a scenario similar to the Kent’s in the Superman mythos or the biblical story of Moses.  Understandably, Tygra is conflicted about these circumstances having just discovered the truth of his origins and holds it against his new-found father.  As always, the story is never so simple.  Lion-o learns that to save the tiger tribe years ago  from a deadly disease, the elders – including Tygra’s father – make a deal with the Ancient Spirits of Evil (the ones Mum-Ra calls upon to transform his decayed form). To uphold the tigers’ end of the deal, Tygra’s father would have to kill him  (for the Ancient Spirits knew that one day Tygra would oppose them).  Instead, the father puts his son in a flying basket of sorts wherein he is later found by Caludis and the Queen (furthering the Moses/Superman nod).  Now that Tygra is once again among them and fighting on the side of the Thundercats, his life is endangered as some within the tribe seek to keep their end of the old bargain.  Ultimately it is Tygra’s willingness to forgive the prideful actions of his tribes-people that frees them from influence of the Ancient Spirits and showcases his opposition to them.

It’s hard NOT to see threads of the Gospel woven into this episode, as the power of both spiritual evil and forgiveness are highlighted in addition to seeing a character struggle with the identity of what he was born into versus what he later becomes and the events that under-gird that transformation.   I would bet that Tygra’s father never thought he would one day be reunited with his son and that his son would be the agent of his redemption, much like the redemption story of Darth Vader in Star Wars and the echoes of the Gospel which emanate from it.  When creators of movie and television content create these threads (such as in Spiderman 3), I wonder if it is intentional; if not, it further points to the Wisdom of Tolkien when he observed that all mythology that we create is a splintered reflection of the One True Myth:  The Creator’s story of the Gospel.

I look forward to spying similar threads in other shows like Green Lantern:  The Animated Series or even Young Justice.

Aaron

PS:  No, the FENX is nothing like General Panthro’s ThunderTank…

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