Red Pawn – A Review

This comic book tells the tale of sacrifice. “How can that be?” You will ask. “It is a story by Ayn Rand, after all. Isn’t she only about how to be selfish?” There is no greater love of self than to sacrifice for something – or someone – that we love. Does not Jesus even say “Love your neighbor as yourself and “Greater love has no man than he who gives his life for his friend?

We are told these days that true sacrifice must be only for those we hate. Love has no part in the story of modern sacrifice – for that love makes the effort base and selfish, so say those who would use sacrifice to control us. We should give our lives for speech we abhor; for art we find tasteless; for actions we think are mean, unhealthy or unnatural. But who would do that? “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll give up my life for your right to say it!” – But would you? I sure wouldn’t. That type of sacrifice engenders no joy, for it is born of wickedness. It is joy that the peddlers of sacrifice want to take from the world – even the greatest joy of giving everything for something we care about. As usual, Ayn Rand strikes controversy reminding us that we must sacrifice for what we love; that, above all, ushers in the gloriousness of the human experience.

Now the plot, this is a story about a man sent to a Soviet island-prison for, well for the same crimes everybody else was sent to Soviet prisons. An excess of free thought. Daring to say what was on one’s mind and to hell with the torpedoes. His wife seeks to rescue him, through the ultimate sacrifice herself, and in that act ends up freeing her husband’s captor in the only way that really matters; a liberty of soul.

A brief note, I’ve always contended that Ayn Rand’s genre is what is called “Soviet Socialist Realism”, but turned on its head. What some people complain about as two-dimensional characters is actually a hallmark of this unique style – taking the art that the Soviets wanted to use, “Tractors of the world unite!” to trumpet instead the glory of the individual man and what he is able to accomplish. For this reason, Ayn Rand’s work is particularly effective in the form of a graphic novel or a comic; just as her characters would look amazing etched in relief upon the limestone facades of the theater in Galt’s Gulch.

So read this graphic novel, brought to us by the Atlas Society. It will make you think.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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