The Eternal Recurrence

What if, some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you—all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” . . . How well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate confirmation and seal?

—Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882



transpar-bufferGenerations ago, comic book readers were mesmerized by the adventures of Captain Marvel and the Fly. Youngsters would read their stories and be swept up in the fantasy of magically transforming into an adult with the utterance of a single magic word or by rubbing a magic ring.

Wonder Lad flips this old paradigm on its head by having its forty-something protagonist transform himself back into a super-powered version of his sixteen-year-old self. All with one magic word: SURIM!

Imagine if that one magic word could work for you, that it could transform you back into your sixteen-year-old self. Instantly, you would be as you were then—free of all the pain and injuries of age, with all of your youthful zest and exuberance for life suddenly restored. Once again, your entire life would be ahead of you, waiting to be lived—all potential and no regrets.

There’s a catch, of course. The catch is that you would also have to re-live every mistake; re-experience every agonizing loss you ever suffered; feel every emotion once again, just as you felt it then, but powerless to correct your errors. Would re-experiencing the joys of youth be worth re-experiencing its pains as well?

When he was only ten years old, Justin Thomas was given the power to magically transform himself into a super-powered teenager with the mere utterance of the word “SURIM!” . . . And for a dozen years he used this power to fight for justice as the adolescent avenger, Wonder Lad.

Then one day his powers disappeared.

That was twenty years ago. Now Justin’s powers have returned just as mysteriously as they had disappeared decades earlier. Once again he finds he is able to transform himself into a super-powered teenager—only now he is approaching middle age, and the transformation dredges up conflicts between the adolescent he once was and the man he has become. For Wonder Lad, yesterday is today. Emotions and conflicts he has long since put behind him as the middle-aged Justin Thomas come bubbling back to the surface as the Kid Crusader, Wonder Lad.

Is Justin Thomas willing to pay the emotional price of facing the demons of his past in order to save the future?