The last few updates for Phil and Kaja Foglio’s award-winning webcomic Girl Genius have admittedly left me conflicted, as one of the main protagonists of the comic, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, has been captured by his father who is under the control of the comic’s primary villainess, the Other. It’s only natural for readers to dislike it when a favorite protagonist is at the mercy of an antagonist. It’s even worse when a favorite character has been forced into the role of antagonist, even as you hope desperately for that character (Baron Wulfenbach) to somehow subvert the control he’s under and allow his son to escape. But I can’t help but feel quite impressed at how utterly menacing the Baron is as he twists his son’s perceptions to try and convince Gil that he was the one infected with a Slaver Wasp, rather than the Baron.
Admittedly, Gil made some stupid mistakes earlier; I’m not quite sure what his reasoning was for kicking the ex-Jägermonster Vole (tossed out because he was too violent even for the Jägers) out of Castle Wulfenbach (which doesn’t sound too serious until you realize the Castle is a kilometer-long dirigible that is several hundred feet in the air), and thus pissing off the pirate queen Bangladesh DuPree who’d been developing a bit of a crush on the bloodthirsty minion… well, let’s just say that if Gil had tossed her out after Vole, he’d not have been discovered by the Baron (or at least, not as quickly). Gil’s real problem is that he’d grown overconfident. It’s a common failing among most Sparks… and pretty much the only two who tend to (mostly) avoid the excesses of confidence are the Baron and the comic’s primary protagonist, Agatha.
Naturally, the Baron now plans on eliminating Agatha. His reasoning makes sense even if he hadn’t been subverted by the Other; while he may be forced to play the villain, he’s remaining true to who he is. This makes a certain amount of sense when you consider how canny the Other is, and how she’s long played people off against one another. It’s only natural that once she created a means of controlling people that she’d determine the limitations of that control… and how to best minimize the risks. Yet I can’t help but remember how the Baron sent out his first warning, the story of the Storm King that in truth warned Gil that his father had been subverted… and how to kill him.
So while Gil may be in his father’s custody, it’s inevitable the Baron has left loose ends, such as the constructs Punch and Judy (who raised Agatha to be the young woman she has become) who Gil saved and repaired… and his own construct, Zoing. Or even DuPree, for that matter; while the Baron claimed she had been poisoned, I can’t help but suspect we’ve not seen the last of her. While I doubt Gil will be freed as soon as his father’s back is turned, no doubt when things grow dark for Agatha and her friends in Mechanicsburg, Gil will get his chance… and we’ll have another confrontation between son and father. And this time I suspect Gil will get the better of his father.