Rogue Element #115: The Beauty of Bromance

By Avril Brown

There’s something about two guys together that makes my heart thump an extra beat. They way they look at one another, the way they fiercely clutch each other when the passion overtakes them, the way they love and die for one another…

Now that your mind is firmly entrenched in the gutter, let me clarify. I heart me a good bromance. Two men who stand and fight together, who have each other’s backs no matter what, really gets me right here. I cannot tell you exactly what it is that draws me in, but when it comes to a true, unbreakable bromance, I just can’t resist.

There are many an addictive bromance relationship in the world of fiction, some more famous than others, but the ones I gravitate towards are (naturally) surrounded by some form of animosity. Either some force is trying to tear them apart, or the personalities are so different you wonder how the hell they got together in the first place.

X-Men: Nightcrawler and Wolverine

The circus performer and the cur. The priest and the pariah. The man of God and the man who would cut God if he pissed him off. Kurt Wagner and James Howlett (aka Logan) are buddies no one saw coming. Despite the Wolverine’s gruff demeanor and body count rivaling a World War, Kurt saw a goodness in Logan which in turn helped Logan see it for himself. The purity of Kurt’s soul calmed the savagery in Logan’s and gave him hope. When Nightcrawler died at the hands (literally) of Bastion (don’t worry, he’s kind of alive again; yay comics!) it was one of the most heartbreaking scenes in an X-Men comic, made more poignant by Wolverine’s reaction when he learns the news. The devastation on his face alone makes my soul ache, and when he popped his claws on one hand and uttered his nickname for his friend, ‘Elf,’ I cried. Some of the most human, emotion-packed moments in X-Men comics are thanks to this duo, tossing back beers and just enjoying life the way only best friends can.

Boondock Saints: Connor, Murphy and Rocco

Who doesn’t love this film? There are oodles of reasons why this is one of the best movies ever made, from the soundtrack to the way it was shot to Willem “Freaking Awesome” Dafoe, and one of those reasons is the overwhelming bromance. Connor and Murphy are twin brothers so it goes without saying they have a bond that cannot be breached, but they let another into their world. Rocco is a bit of a fuck up, but he’s their fuck up, and they take care of their own. Each brother has a different relationship with the Italian mobster package boy, and while Murphy appears to be closer to Rocco they both love him dearly, and both are devastated by his death. After a string of vendetta killings the trio is finally caught by Rocco’s former boss, and when it’s clear the Irish twins are hard as nails and have no intention of giving up any intel mafia don Yakavetta puts a bullet in Rocco’s chest. Connor cries to the god he believes in so intensely, begging him not to let Rocco die, while Murphy manages to throw himself next to his friend so he could look in his face as he breathed his last. After Rocco manages to utter his last words, telling his brothers to get out and keep ridding the world of evil, Murphy breaks down in a tragically beautiful display of love and loss. The brothers manage to fulfill Rocco’s request: they get out and transform their rage into one of the most stunning displays of revenge ever delivered.

Vampire Diaries: Damon and Alaric

I know, I never shut up about this (now) shitty show, but the sarcastic, badass vampire and the honest, badass vampire hunter duo deserve a shout out. Like most relationships filled with ardor, Damon and Alaric hated one another quite thoroughly. Alaric’s wife Isobel was a scholar with a passion for vampire lore, and the last time he saw her she was in Damon’s arms serving as a late night snack. He spent years trying to track down his wife’s murderer and when he finally found him and confronted him, Damon snapped his neck. Thankfully for their future friendship Isobel was not one hundred percent heartless bitch (only ninety-five) and she’d gifted her husband with a ring that resurrects the wearer from a supernatural death. Learning that Isobel wasn’t dead and simply in fact an evil vampire who asked Damon to turn her was the first step on the long road to forming a relationship (whiskey certainly helped), but it was worth it, bumps (like Damon snapping Ric’s neck again just ‘cause he was pissing him off) and all. Naturally their bromance ended in complex and asinine tragedy, but fans got a couple more glimpses of good buddy moments when Alaric was a ghost in season four, the best being at his grave. Damon takes a bottle of whiskey and his frustrations to his friend’s final resting place and proceeds to bitch about how he’s stuck “taking care of the kids” now that Alaric’s gone. He leaves him the rest of the bottle and ghost-Ric, who’d been watching the rant, sighs after his friend and says, “I miss you too, buddy.” Tear.

Blissful Reality: Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen

Unless you’ve been living under a sad, lonely rock the last few years, you HAVE to know about these boys. Clearly the most famous, and adorable, bromance in the entire world, these two Brits are just too cool for school. From my understanding they met, and fell in brotherly love, on the set of ‘X-Men’ back in 2000 and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Their practically perfect friendship is a joy to witness, and witness you can as they are all over Twitter, Instagram and Buzzfeed. It is impossible to ignore how much they care for one another, and how much damn fun they have together. They’ve done films and plays together, they travel and take totally awesome pictures together, and Sir Ian officiated Sir Pat’s wedding. They recently did one of those ‘how well do you know your spouse?’ gigs and got the answers almost completely wrong, and it was hilariously charming. Seriously, they just cannot not be cute. The exception to the rule, there is no animosity surrounding these besties, proving that reality can often be better than fiction.

Relationships are simply amazing. There are so many variations, so many complex and colorful emotions packed into these ties that bind. One could wonder how we can put so much faith and effort into something invisible, but love is far from invisible. In fact, it is blindingly bright and glaringly obvious, whether or not you know to look for it. A blind man can hear it, a deaf man can see it, and even with minimal senses one can feel it. Helen Keller said that the most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or touched, but must be felt with the heart. Go out and feel the love, people, and bring on the bromance.


Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Two recent debuts, two wildly different approaches. One works… one, your mileage may vary.

I read very little of the character’s earlier adventures, so I came into MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER #1 with a very clean slate. But thanks to some skillful scripting by Fred Van Lente, this was not an issue. We open in what is obviously a flashback, showing Magnus as a martial arts teacher for young children. We also get a glimpse that it is somewhat forward in the future, as technology has advanced quite a bit on the robotics and artificial intelligence side of things. However, once we get into the “current world, the mystery of what has happened to the world, and what role Magnus is to play in it really takes off.

The execution is fantastic.

Van Lente’s take on the character makes him feel real on the page. The art, by Cory Smith, effectively tells the story and his action sequences (when Magnus finally starts fighting some robots) are handled well. And at each turn, the book treats the reader like they know nothing and gives them what they need in order to get immersed in the world being built here. A perfect jumping-on point for both new readers and old.

Next up, I cracked open THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN: SEASON SIX #1, and it takes an entirely different approach. This book has a built-in advantage over MAGNUS, in that it stems from a television show that was a pop-cultural phenomenon during its heyday. I was part of the generation that loved and watched the show, and I owned the action figure of Colonel Steve Austin.

Being a continuation of the show, the book jumps right in, setting in motion a plot involving a space probe that has possibly brought home some alien life. A major subplot is set up as well. Just like a TV episode. But here is where I ran into a problem: the book does not actually set up the characters.

Sure, you expect the reader to know who Steve is. I even vaguely remember his boss Oscar. But there’s a character named Rudy who is supposedly really important, and I have no memory of him on the show. It’s been over thirty years! There’s also another character who may be from the show who seems to be on the same side as Steve and company but is working against them all the same. However, we get no setup for him, either.

Writer Jim Kuhoric does a terrific job in putting together the script in every other way. The plotting and pacing are strong, the characterization of Steve, the danger he runs into in the book… it reminded me a lot of what I watched as a little boy. Juan Antonio Ramirez’s art looks great, and he takes some chances with his layouts that are really nice to look at. It’s a well-executed comic, and I enjoyed it.

But a new reader could potentially get lost quickly. Perhaps they will walk away intrigued and stick with the book to see who these characters are and what they mean to one another, buying future issues. Or, maybe they’ll get confused, like I did. Maybe they’ll even research the show and learn more about it that way. Any of these scenarios is possible.

As always, your personal mileage may vary.

Two solidly done comics, two different approaches to getting underway. That’s comics for you, in a nutshell!