One of my prime inspirations for Raena Zacari was Aeon Flux. Not the Charlize Theron version, which didn’t invest Aeon with quite enough chaos, but isn’t on retrospect as disappointing as I first thought.
I can tell you when exactly I fell in love with Aeon: September 1991, when the first shorts appeared on MTV’s Liquid Television. Aeon was ridiculous: all spidery long legs and spit-curled hair and a costume with so little fabric that it wouldn’t make a mini skirt. The first episode was so over-the-top violent that you had to laugh at it. Aeon kills every Bregnan soldier she comes across in an unending parade of death and lakes of blood, but not a single return shot strikes all her bare skin. Here’s an excerpt:
At the end of each of the original shorts, Aeon dies, usually through her own miscalculation or carelessness. The implication is that she’s actually a series of clones, each one activated for a certain attack. Each clone is equally lethal and completely expendable.
Raena doesn’t die at the end of her adventures, but she always goes all out. Pain doesn’t slow her down. Her eyes are on the goal and nothing is allowed to stand in her way. Unfortunately, because she doesn’t hesitate, she also doesn’t reassess when things go wrong. She’s used to being on her own, so it’s hard for her to ask for or accept help.
In 1995, MTV responded to Aeon’s cult status by granting her an animated series. Originally, I was disappointed by it, because not only did Aeon cease dying at the end of every episode, she spoke. It didn’t take long for Denise Poirier, the voice actress, to win me over. Her low, dry voice was the perfect embodiment of Aeon’s sense of humor and fatalism.
My favorite Aeon moment comes in the episode “Thanatophobia,” the second episode of season 3. Aeon is timing out her attack by chanting the lyrics to “Danger Boy” as she fires tripod bombs: “Ready for the action now, danger boy/Ready if I’m ready for you, danger boy/Ready if I want it now, danger boy/How dare you ,dare you, danger boy?” The earworm is perfect, stuck in her head and cycling through her thoughts. I think if Raena has a favorite song, that’s probably it.
I can’t find a clip of just the song, but here’s the episode it comes from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbiB8oFkR7s. “Danger Boy” starts at 1:30.
The movie with Charlize came closest to the right Aeon Flux attitude in the scene with the ball bearing bombs:
Aeon was designed for boys and scripted by men, but I wondered what she thought about her life. Who was she really under that leather harness? My answers to that question live in Raena Zacari.
The first book of Raena’s adventures, The Dangerous Type, came out this week. You can order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or — my personal favorite — from your local bookstore.
While you’re at it, pick up the Aeon Flux Animated Collection. Here’s the link at Amazon.
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