Author Topic: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?  (Read 2735 times)

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Offline Squiddot

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What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« on: August 30, 2016, 03:13:54 PM »
Hi everyone! I had a short trawl through the archives and didn’t see this question posed before. Although the subject matter is quite old at this point. It concerns our favourite Danny Devito Hellraiser and his conspicuous absence in a time when all his cohorts were working hard on the material world.

During the Conviction arc we see evidence of each of the Godhand members manipulating events to create the stage for Griffith’s rebirth. The way each member was used in shaping Albion into the perfect storm of chaos reaffirmed many key themes of each member.

For example, early into the arc we see communities abandoning their villages for refuge in Albion. The cause of this mass exodus is a deadly plague sweeping through Midland, which we soon discover is intrinsically linked to the Godhand Conrad.


Thanks to Conrad’s efforts, Albion is now swarming with more people than it can properly care for. But the combined efforts of Void and Slan add even more tension to the mix. The camps are a battleground between the doctrine of the Holy See and the growing Heretical cults. During the Heretic orgy we see direct evidence that Slan is tied to this faction. Manifesting an avatar in the smoke just as Conrad had appeared in a swarm of rats in the plague–stricken towns.

Sadly, at this point in the theory we delve further in speculation. High up in the Tower of Conviction, Inquisitor Mozgus tells Farnese of the sage imprisoned in the tower who called upon an angel. Nowadays, the theory of the wise man and Gaiseric eventually leading to the rivalry between Void and the Skullknight is one of the most popular around. And so I’ll bounce off that and say that if Void is the wise man described in Mozgus’ tale, then it stands to reason that he would have been a high ranking figure in the faith that would become the Holy See (because Mozgus is not the sort to share legends belonging to another faith). We also have the well-known similarities between the Holy See and the brand to back this up. Therefore, the Holy Iron Chain knights and the Holy See, and their part in the destruction of Albion, can be traced back to the machinations of Void.


So Griffith needs some groundwork laid down for his reincarnation. The desire for “The Falcon of Light” must ring in the minds of thousands. So in a once in a millennium event, Conrad assembles a mass of sacrifices while Void and Slan push their unknowing peons into one another, creating an atmosphere of misery so powerful that evil spirits congeal from the dead in time for a worldly reflection of the Eclipse to begin.

So where was Ubik during all of this? If any aspect of the Albion disaster was his doing, Miura was not nearly as quick to show it as he did the others. Perhaps he could be credited for creating the “key” of the event, the egg apostle. But the apostle states he was visited by “angels” suggesting it was the same collaborative effort seen in all other sacrifices. It could have been that Ubik was dealing on an international scale, arranging the Kushan invasion that had begun to sweep through Midland at that time. But this also doesn’t hold much water. The more we learned about Ganishka, the less likely it was that he had or needed any nudging to embark on his quest.

Posts have been dedicated to what exactly Ubik’s forte is, with the general consensus being human minds and temptation through trickery. After all, during both the Count and Griffith’s ceremony, Ubik is the one who digs through the persons memories. Ubiks reintroduction during the World Transformation is equally opaque, appearing hidden in a page of creatures lifted from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Walter analysed the possible interpretations of this scene in his thread (http://www.skullknight.net/forum/index.php?topic=14744.msg236296#msg236296)


So, if Ubik can be assumed to be the most Psychological of the Godhand. Then it could be possible that he was responsible for the mass dream of the Falcon of Light; that gave the people of the Midland a collective wish to hold onto and eventually bring into being. Thinking about it now it’s the one answer I find the most satisfying. But I have some problems with it. For one, the act of a species-wide dream feels closer to the power of the Idea of Evil itself.

If anyone has some other Ubik-sized holes they noticed during Conviction, or just other general notes on his character please post it! And let me know if you think the mass dream sounds suitably up his alley.

Online Walter

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2016, 04:21:31 PM »
We don't know what he was doing, and I don't think we necessarily need to explicitly see each of the activities the God Hand are up to. It would remove their mystique. I don't think Miura keeps their activities mostly unknown because he's a dick, but rather because they're doing abstract things. When it made sense to visually portray their activities, he's done so, but I don't think it's necessary to see a flow chart or anything.

It's purely speculative, but given the human tortures prevalent in the allusion to the Bosch painting that Ubik associates himself with in Vol 34, I don't think it's too farfetched to guess that he may have influenced the mania that led the Holy See to aggressively pursue and carry out the heretical tortures in Albion -- which of course led to the concentration of negative spirits that carried out the Incarnation Ceremony.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2016, 07:03:18 PM »
Unsurprisingly, I have to agree with Walter here. I think your vision of the God Hand's work is too simplistic. Their powers are vast, and what they oversee is vast as well. To try and reduce them to specific tasks like what you're doing just isn't the right way to go about it in my opinion. Furthermore, you make a lot of assumptions here. Like about Void's role in all of this. At no point is it ever stated or even hinted that he had a hand in what Holy See were doing in Albion. That he might be the "wise man" in Mozgus' tale isn't proof of anything of the sort.

Similarly, the plague that strikes Midland isn't limited to one region of it, nor is it explicitly caused to drive people to Albion. It's a global woe that works in conjunction with famine, widespread banditry and lack of leadership to foster a situation that lends itself to a swift conquest by the Kushan empire (and less longing for the former world after the advent of Falconia). My point here is that the God Hand's reach is probably more diffuse and complex than you give it credit for. Even for Slan, the one member of the God Hand we do see near the Tower of Conviction, it's way too reductive to think she was only focusing on the heretics there.

I have no doubt that they all contributed to make the Incarnation ceremony happen, but there's a reason we're not told the details of the mysterious ways in which it all works. Furthermore, you mention later in your post that the dream of the Falcon of Light feels to you like something the Idea of Evil would take care of, rather than the God Hand (I disagree). But a once-in-a-thousand-years event is a way more complicated task... and the Idea of Evil is explicitly name-dropped at the key moment of this ceremony (episodes 163, 164, 165).

Griffith’s rebirth

You mean the incarnation of Femto.

For example, early into the arc we see communities abandoning their villages for refuge in Albion.

The Conviction arc starts in volume 14, this happens in the middle of volumes 17. It happens at the beginning of the chapter of the Birth Festival, however.

Godhand

God Hand is two separate words. Same for Skull Knight or Dragon Slayer.

(because Mozgus is not the sort to share legends belonging to another faith).

The Holy See contains references that date back prior to its existence, as Schierke reveals when she tells Enoch's priest about the four elemental kings. Right now, nothing guarantees the Holy See existed during Gaiseric's reign.

So Griffith needs some groundwork laid down for his reincarnation.

Incarnation and reincarnation do not mean the same thing. Griffith was not reincarnated. Griffith was reborn as Femto during the Eclipse, then Femto was incarnated two years later.

The desire for “The Falcon of Light” must ring in the minds of thousands. So in a once in a millennium event, Conrad assembles a mass of sacrifices while Void and Slan push their unknowing peons into one another, creating an atmosphere of misery so powerful that evil spirits congeal from the dead in time for a worldly reflection of the Eclipse to begin.

This is not a very accurate description of what happens. Everyone in Midland had the dream of the Falcon of Light. Probably everyone in the world, as the Skull Knight says. The misery affected all of Midland too. And the giant masses of specters didn't arise because people felt bad. It was possible for them to arise because that place had been a shithole for a long time, and evil was very strong there. But the trigger for them manifesting themselves in such high numbers and density isn't something we're privy to (beyond the fact the time was right for it).

The more we learned about Ganishka, the less likely it was that he had or needed any nudging to embark on his quest.

Ganishka's entire existence served the purpose of merging the corporeal and astral worlds.

Ubiks reintroduction during the World Transformation is equally opaque, appearing hidden in a page of creatures lifted from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

I take issue with your wording here. Miura didn't "lift" those creatures from Hieronymus Bosch's triptych. That illustration is an homage to the painting, but both the creatures depicted in it and the composition of the piece are original.

So, if Ubik can be assumed to be the most Psychological of the Godhand. Then it could be possible that he was responsible for the mass dream of the Falcon of Light; that gave the people of the Midland a collective wish to hold onto and eventually bring into being. Thinking about it now it’s the one answer I find the most satisfying. But I have some problems with it. For one, the act of a species-wide dream feels closer to the power of the Idea of Evil itself.

I've speculated before that the dream may have been a collaboration between Ubik and Femto. I still find it to be a reasonable possibility. But that doesn't detract from what I said at the beginning.

Offline Nothingwillbewong

Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2016, 07:20:51 PM »
Unsurprisingly, I have to agree with Walter here. I think your vision of the God Hand's work is too simplistic. Their powers are vast, and what they oversee is vast as well. To try and reduce them to specific tasks like what you're doing just isn't the right way to go about it in my opinion.

Yeah they aren't like the homunculus in Full Metal Alchemist  (that act like the deadly sin they are named after) , but they seem to reside and have power in places specific to their characteristics, like when Slan incarnates using troll guts I seem to recall her saying that this place was like her uterus and all the monsters there had obvious genitalia influenced look, i kinda forgot what the point of writting this was, but I'd like to know your thoughts on how you think they function

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 07:34:12 PM »
when Slan incarnates using troll guts I seem to recall her saying that this place was like her uterus and all the monsters there had obvious genitalia influenced look, i kinda forgot what the point of writting this was, but I'd like to know your thoughts on how you think they function

Yes, she compares the Qliphoth to her womb. I never found the design of the ogres to be influenced by genitalia though. However the trolls were raping the women they had kidnapped, which can easily be related to Slan. Anyway, I'm not sure I understand your question. You want to know how the God Hand's powers work? Because if so, we don't really know. They each have their own specialties and affinities (which Slan calls sephirah). Those are abstract concepts associated with mankind as a whole. There may be specific regions of the Astral World that befit one of them more than the other, like the Qliphoth for Slan, but we know nothing about that beyond what Slan says in volume 26.

Offline Nothingwillbewong

Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2016, 07:51:46 PM »
Sometimes I have a hard time understanding if they are literal gods as in untouchable, or if anyone can actually arm them and they are just powerful beings from another dimension that can pull some strings. I think that Griffith has he is now is undefeatable, a god in all sense of the word, the fusion of Casca's child with him as his only fault. Miura has kept his cards pretty close to his chest about the god hand and them being gods or not depends if I take the Idea of Evil episode seriously or not

Ps: forget this message when I say powerful being from another dimension that pull strings on humanity I pretty much described a god, but this matter confuses my stupid brain

Offline Rupert Sinclair

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 08:08:07 PM »
I never found the design of the ogres to be influenced by genitalia though.

This is off-topic, but I believe the head specifically was inspired by the look of sperm whales.  I always thought that was cool.

Offline Nothingwillbewong

Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2016, 08:18:40 PM »
This is off-topic, but I believe the head specifically was inspired by the look of sperm whales.  I always thought that was cool.
Sperm whales are cool, maybe me saying they look like genitalia was a freudian slip but to me their mouths look like big ol' vaginas and their heads shape and the oraface that makes their nose...

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2016, 08:58:39 PM »
Sometimes I have a hard time understanding if they are literal gods as in untouchable, or if anyone can actually arm them and they are just powerful beings from another dimension that can pull some strings.

They are not invincible. But they're very, very powerful, and except for Femto they're very elusive as well.

Miura has kept his cards pretty close to his chest about the god hand and them being gods or not depends if I take the Idea of Evil episode seriously or not

They are not gods, that much is certain. And the Idea of Evil is referenced in the story outside of episode 83.

This is off-topic, but I believe the head specifically was inspired by the look of sperm whales.  I always thought that was cool.

The mouth does, I agree.

to me their mouths look like big ol' vaginas

Clearly we don't frequent the same kind of women.

Offline Rupert Sinclair

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2016, 08:59:17 PM »
I think the more intriguing question would be: What is Ubik doing now in the Fantasia Arc?   :magni:

Offline Squiddot

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2016, 04:52:05 AM »
Thanks for clearing up some of the semantics in the posts, Aazealh. I was having a hard time remembering which language was accepted and which came from theories derived from fan translations I had read. And both you and Walter's points about the attractiveness of keeping the God hand's motives in the dark ring true. I'm not complaining that these characters are too mysterious or anything like that. I just find it strange that both Void and Ubik remain so shrouded compared to their partners. And while Void, being the the de-facto leader of the God hand, can be presumed to carry an air of mystery. Nothing suggests Ubik be as distinct from Conrad and Slan. Maybe that's the problem and his mystery is intentional, or there is something that gives him a bit more direction coming in the future.


I take issue with your wording here. Miura didn't "lift" those creatures from Hieronymus Bosch's triptych. That illustration is an homage to the painting, but both the creatures depicted in it and the composition of the piece are original.


If you're implying that Miura used the works of Bosch as a stylistic guide and creating his own "Bosch-ian" parade, this is incorrect. The compostition is unique true, but a huge majority of the creatures that appear in the spread (if not all) come directly from Bosch's work. Not necessarily "The Garden of Earthly Delights". In fact, I found far more matches in "The Temptation of Saint Anthony". Here are are few from there than have 1:1 replicas in Miura's spread.









I've speculated before that the dream may have been a collaboration between Ubik and Femto. I still find it to be a reasonable possibility. But that doesn't detract from what I said at the beginning.

I'm glad we at least saw some common ground on this. Though I would personally take Femto out of the equation. His work leading the people personally and playing the hero is more than enough, while leaving the subterfuge to the other members as they write the story around him.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2016, 07:05:20 AM »
I just find it strange that both Void and Ubik remain so shrouded compared to their partners. And while Void, being the the de-facto leader of the God hand, can be presumed to carry an air of mystery. Nothing suggests Ubik be as distinct from Conrad and Slan. Maybe that's the problem and his mystery is intentional, or there is something that gives him a bit more direction coming in the future.

I think Miura simply hasn't felt the need to show him in action yet, simple as that. Especially since he was active during the Count's ceremony and the Eclipse while the others mostly stood by (same with Void, who presides those). Just like with Griffith's five lieutenants, there has to be a first one whose apostle form is revealed and a last one. I have no doubt Ubik will be showcased eventually. And, who knows, it could be very soon.

If you're implying that Miura used the works of Bosch as a stylistic guide and creating his own "Bosch-ian" parade, this is incorrect. The compostition is unique true, but a huge majority of the creatures that appear in the spread (if not all) come directly from Bosch's work. Not necessarily "The Garden of Earthly Delights". In fact, I found far more matches in "The Temptation of Saint Anthony". Here are are few from there than have 1:1 replicas in Miura's spread.

It's true, a bunch of those creatures are taken directly from Bosch's various works (though not just the Garden of Earthly Delights like you had originally said). I don't know if they all are, but anyway I believe my point still stands that your wording conveys the wrong connotation, since that shot is clearly intended to be an homage to Bosch.

I'm glad we at least saw some common ground on this. Though I would personally take Femto out of the equation. His work leading the people personally and playing the hero is more than enough, while leaving the subterfuge to the other members as they write the story around him.

Well the role of the Falcon of Light is played by Femto, that's for sure. During his dialogue with Zodd for example, it had to have been him. Besides, he wasn't doing anything at the time, since he hadn't been incarnated.

Offline Squiddot

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2016, 08:11:33 AM »
It's true, a bunch of those creatures are taken directly from Bosch's various works (though not just the Garden of Earthly Delights like you had originally said). I don't know if they all are, but anyway I believe my point still stands that your wording conveys the wrong connotation, since that shot is clearly intended to be an homage to Bosch.

Ah yeah, I didn't realise the morally negative connotation of "lift" when I used it, but just checked and oops it's been a synonym for steal all along  :???:. "A homage to Bosch" would have been much more appropriate. I'm not criticising Miura here.
 
Well the role of the Falcon of Light is played by Femto, that's for sure. During his dialogue with Zodd for example, it had to have been him. Besides, he wasn't doing anything at the time, since he hadn't been incarnated.

Good point. Exciting as well because if Femto was preparing the world for his incarnation and is now walking the path he laid relatively unassisted. Then that gives the rest of the God hand even more time and freedom for whatever they're each currently doing! Which would stretch far beyond the events we've seen.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What was Ubik doing during Conviction?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2016, 08:26:13 AM »
Ah yeah, I didn't realise the morally negative connotation of "lift" when I used it, but just checked and oops it's been a synonym for steal all along  :???:. "A homage to Bosch" would have been much more appropriate. I'm not criticising Miura here.

Yeah, I didn't think you were intentionally implying anything bad but it stood out to me so I decided to mention it.
 
Good point. Exciting as well because if Femto was preparing the world for his incarnation and is now walking the path he laid relatively unassisted. Then that gives the rest of the God hand even more time and freedom for whatever they're each currently doing! Which would stretch far beyond the events we've seen.

Well I still think it was a group effort, with the Idea of Evil overseeing the whole thing from above. But yeah, I don't think any of them was 100% devoted to one aspect of it. Their dominion is much broader than that. As for what they're currently doing, maybe the Sovereign of the Flower Storm will share some of her knowledge of them in the near future.