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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
The Fly: Quarantine

The Fly

"Quarantine"

The Fly: Outbreak #2 (IDW)

Comic book

Written by Brandon Seifert

Art by menton3

Lettered by Tom B. Long

Cover A by menton3

April 2015

 

After exposure to Bartok's transgenes, Martin and others at Bartok Industries are placed in indefinite quarantine by the government.

 

Read the summary of the mini-series at RottenInk

 

Notes from the Fly chronology

 

This issue opens on Day 8 of Martin's quarantine after exposure to Bartokfly and continues through Day 17.

 

Didja Know?

 

Even though this story would have to take place around the mid-1990s in the chronology, the writer and artist seem to use references of the time it was written (2014-15).  

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Beth Brundle

Dr. Martin Brundle

Anton Bartok (deceased, mentioned only)

Major Vurvin

Dr. Mayweather

Noelani

quarantined security guard (unnamed)

redhead woman (unnamed)

 

Didja Notice?

 

 On page 1, Martin calls Beth on his computer for a video chat and she appears to be taking the call on her smartphone. But smartphones did not exist when this story should be taking place, around the mid-1990s! The computer technology used here doesn't, in general, seem in keeping with the state of technology at the time. Video conferencing via internet was not commonplace in '90s. Martin also appears to be using flatscreen monitors, which was a technology still in its infancy at the time, very expensive, mostly monochromatic, and seeing very little use.

 

    On page 3, Martin tells Beth during the call that he has been placed in quarantine on North Brother Island in the East River, saying the government reopened the old hospital there for the Ebola thing.

    North Brother Island is an actual island in the East River of New York City. Riverside Hospital was opened there in 1885, originally to isolate and treat victims of smallpox and, later, other diseases until it closed in 1938. The hospital has been used for other purposes off-and-on since, but is abandoned and derelict now; it has not actually been reopened to deal with Ebola.

    Ebola is a deadly disease caused by ebolaviruses and has an average risk of death of about 50%. Since this story would take place around the mid-1990s, I'm not sure why the U.S. would have an Ebola quarantine facility since there were no widespread Ebola outbreaks outside of Africa at the time. (At the time this story was written in 2014-15, there was a multinational Ebola outbreak which included the U.S. to a small degree from 2013-2016.)

    North Brother island is currently off-limits to the public and acts as a bird sanctuary for wading birds.

    Typhoid Mary (previously mentioned in "The Book of Transgenesis") did spend over two decades quarantined at the hospital and finally died there, as intimated by Martin here.

 

The image of North Brother Island seen on page 3 is pretty close to how the island actually looks from the air, complete with buildings, plus a new building seen as part of this story.
North Brother Island in The Fly: Outbreak North Brother Island
North Brother Island in The Fly: Outbreak North Brother Island on Google Maps

 

An unseen speaker in the quarantine facility refers to Martin as "beezlebrundle". This must be a twist on, and misspelling of, beelze-, from Beelzebub, a god of ancient Philistine that came to be known as a demon (or sometimes the Devil himself) in the Abrahamic religions. Some translations of the word "Beelzebub" is that it means "Lord of the Flies". Later in the issue (page 10), a quarantined security guard there actually refers to Martin as the Lord of the Flies.

 

On page 6, Martin explains that Dr. Mayweather thinks the transgenic infection, if it occurs, will progress more like it did for Seth Brundle than the way it did for Martin (in The Fly II). Martin lists the symptoms of "Stage One" of the metamorphosis to Noelani, including mania similar to Bipolar-1 disorder. Type one bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder causing varying manic, depressive, and euphoric episodes in the patient.

 

    On page 9, Martin describes "Stage Two" of the metamorphosis as turning the individual into a "Frankenfly," also adding, "Rather Kafka."

    Obviously, "Frankenfly" is a portmanteau of "Frankenstein" and "fly", referring to the Frankenstein monster of the classic horror novel and numerous films, a creature built from the parts of deceased men.

    Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was an Austrian-Czechoslovakian writer known for his surrealistic stories, particularly The Metamorphosis (1915), about a man who wakes up one day to find he has transformed into a giant insect (usually interpreted as a beetle or cockroach). Outbreak's writer Brandon Seifert titled the following issue of our storyline "Metamorphosis".

 

The soldiers guarding the facility on North Brother Island are armed with Tasers. TASER is a brand name of electronic, non-lethal weapons made by Axon.

 

On page 11, Martin tells Beth that the soldiers' and doctors' pet name for the quarantined individuals on North Brother Island is "maggots". Maggots are the larval form of flies.

 

Both this issue and last ("The Book of Transgenesis") present Martin and Beth as having a rather kinky sex life!

 

On page 13, Noelani says that Martin, after weeks of quarantine with basically no privacy, must be about to go "sex Chernobyl". Chernobyl is a city in Ukraine in what is now the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, due to the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986, when one of the plant's reactors exploded, releasing radioactive material into the air.

 

As she's trying to seduce Martin, on page 15 Noelani remarks that Beth isn't there and her "jilling off" on a webcam hardly counts. "Jilling off" is a slang term for the female version of "jacking off", i.e. masturbation.

 

Noelani tells Martin they're all mayflies, "...we could die tomorrow! We should have fun now!" Mayflies (the adult form) live for only about 24 hours. 


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