Welcome to “Thursdays With Patrick,” a Fanboys of the Universe exclusive examination of comic book creator Patrick Fillion‘s heroes and villains! In this installment, we examine the brave, the bold and the baring-it-all Naked Justice!
Character: Naked Justice
Appears In: Naked Justice, Naked Justice Beginnings, Cube Decompiled, Rapture, Meaty
(All of the above are available for sale and download through the Class Comics web site. Be forewarned, the site is not safe for work!)
Felix Himner is just your average, everyday rich young man whose love of Egyptology is only matched by his love of sex. After disgracing his family by being caught in “confession” with the archbishop, his family sends him away, giving Felix the opportunity to explore Egypt. One fateful day, he discovers the Lost Sphinxter of Homotepp, and his life is forever changed. Felix becomes Naked Justice, infused with the power of ancient Egypt which…allows him to shoot lightning out of his justice.
That last sentence at first may not make sense, and even within the Naked Justice story arcs, fellow heroes find the power to be a little odd. To be sure, NJ seems to have a hard time being taken seriously as a superhero, despite his best intentions and heroic deeds. His costume—boots, gloves, a mask and nothing else—certainly doesn’t help the situation. In his first appearance (in Naked Justice #1), he foils a bank robbery, but is promptly arrested for indecent exposure when the police arrive. However, there is much, much more to Mr. Himner than meets the eye (or the groin), and the more you read about him, the more that becomes clear.
NJ has become Class Comics’ iconic hero almost by accident. Although Camili-Cat is Fillion’s signature character, NJ most embodies the ethos and philosophy of Class Comics itself. Fillion’s work, for all its humor and sexuality, is fundamentally a loving, self-aware homage to the superhero comic, while also playfully nudging it in the ribs. The NJ books recognize that, of the surface, superhero comics are fairly ridiculous to begin with and don’t really need to be satirized. That’s not to say that comics can’t contain compelling stories, beautiful art and fantastic characters. But even the most serious comic has, at its core, at least a drop of the absurd. It’s all a matter of acknowledging it, which the NJ books do time and again.
By day, a mild-mannered hottie. By night…
However, NJ himself is not an absurd character. He’s as dynamic and dimensional as anything Marvel and DC put out, and in some cases even more so. Yes, his power is rather…risque. It gives new meaning to the phrase “you’ll shoot your eye out,” for sure. However, as his story develops, that becomes less and less of a central point to the character. In Cube Decompiled, NJ demonstrates that he can channel his energy through any part of his body. Although, if he’s like a lot of us, he prefers the symbolism of shooting energy blasts out of his man-cannon.
Like many heroes, Felix spends a good deal of his time learning how to control his powers. In Naked Justice Beginnings, he goes through the classic “accidentally harming an innocent bystander” scene when his dalliance with a strapping young lad ends badly. He’s full of self-doubt, even when he starts to gain control of his abilities, although it’s often masked by bravado and sarcasm. In numerous episodes, it’s hinted that NJ has a much larger destiny than being a mere crime-fighter, and that the power he controls is stronger and bigger than he realizes. In Rapture, no less than the god Ra tells him as much, and his future self is shown controlling Phoenix-level power that takes the intervention of the Devil himself (aka Bob) to quell.
NJ is all about potential: the potential to change and better ourselves no matter who we are and what we do. Beyond the heroics, Felix demonstrates more than perhaps any other character the capacity to grow as a person. At first a brash, lustful young man, he begins to understand love, loss and sacrifice when he begins a relationship with his fellow hero Ghostboy. He learns, of course, that with great power comes great responsibility, and he realizes that his life isn’t just galavanting and trash-talking. Actions have consequences, both good and bad, and to be a hero, you have to perform those actions responsibly.
Batgirl, eat your heart out.
But through all this, let’s not forget how much fun the NJ books can be. Fillion is a master at tweaking the tropes and cliches of superhero books to sublimely humorous effect. Puns are everywhere, and action scenes routinely stretch the laws of physics (and sometimes anatomy). Although some people find Fillion’s men to be too well-endowed, it makes perfect sense for a superhero to be sporting supermeat. Everything in superhero comics is bigger, often bigger than it has any right to be. Fillion just takes that to its logical conclusion. (Do you think Superman doesn’t have some huge steel under that suit?) Even the villains carry some major damage between their legs.
Fillion doesn’t limit his commentary to comics, though. His books often poke fun at gay culture, as well. One of the things that makes NJ so attractive is that he is unabashedly, unashamedly gay. When the devious Mama Ries tries to hypnotize him with her mammoth mammaries, he’s immune to her feminine “charms.” At the same time, when the brutal Giganticor hits NJ with his dreaded Kristen Bjorn Re-Enactment Ray, NJ and teammates Ghostboy and Camili-Cat are compelled “to start ravaging each other while emoting the lamest of pornographic dialogue.”
Even if none of that appeals to you, Fillion’s art is quite honestly stunning and beautiful to behold. Bright and colorful, as exciting as any mainstream comic and just as action-packed. A full-page panel of the Egyptian god Ra diving to NJ’s rescue in Rapture is shimmering and gorgeous, reminiscent of the battles between Galactus and Rachel Summers’ Phoenix in Excalibur #61. The sex scenes never seem crude and are just as dynamic as any fistfight. Other artists take on NJ, as well, with the art from Beginnings looking like one of the best features Disney never produced.
Ra! Ra! Sis boom bah!
Don’t let NJ’s smirk or his swagger fool you. This is at its heart a very serious comic with a comedic face. NJ isn’t a joke character: he’s a real superhero, with all the upsides and downsides that entails. You might come for the supersex, but you’ll be more rewarded if you stay for the story. Make sure you head over to Class Comics to download the titles mentioned in this article! (Just don’t do it while you’re at work)
As a special treat, and because I am a huge geek, I’ve included stats for NJ to use in the Marvel Saga RPG (the version that uses the cards). Ever wonder what would happen if NJ and Wolverine teamed up (besides the obvious sarcastic remarks on both sides)? Now you can! You’re welcome.
Justice wears a smirk…and little else.
Calling: Responsibility of Power
Abilities: Strength 8C, Agility 7C, Intellect 5C, Willpower 6D, Edge 2, Hand Size 4, Health 25
Powers: Energy Blast 12, Resistance to Poison +4, Danger Sense 2
Skills: Boxing, Wrestling, Acrobatics, Martial Arts, Energy Control, Trivia (Egyptology), Finance
JOHNNY M is a frequent FBOTU contributor and serves his justice with a side of organic couscous.<a href="http://www.fanboysoftheuniverse.com/index.php/forums/member/21/" title="