A lot of times, people create their own monsters without ever realizing it. They become agitated and afraid of a certain time in society; furthermore, they are “born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment” (Cohen 4). Other times, people grow up to become monsters themselves. They become victims of abuse and take vengeance on the world for all the times they have suffered. Such is the case with iconic villain Dex-Starr, a blue-furred housecat, who becomes a victim of physical and psychological abuse by society filled with hatred towards the cruelty of man, and the cruelty of life itself.
Dex-Starr experiences physical and physiological abuse. Physical abuse is when the victim is hit, slapped, grabbed, pinched, or bitten. They can also be forced to consume alcohol and drugs. Psychological abuse includes the victim feeling fear through intimidation, threatened with physical harm, and its force to isolate from the world (Domestic Violence). In “Green Lantern (Volume 4) #55, Tales of Red Lantern Corps: Dex-Starr,” a young kitty named Dexter is adopted by a caring loving woman. The nameless woman becomes very fond of him as she suffered from loneliness. Eventually, the two of them become inseparable and create this bond that goes beyond two living beings. As Dexter is asleep in her bed; however, their bond is broken when a home invasion goes wrong. He tries to defend her as she is being killed, but he doesn’t succeed and is left all alone. When the cops arrive, he is kicked out the way so he doesn’t contaminate the crime scene. While Dexter becomes a homeless stray cat, he becomes a victim of abuse by these two guys who are out to wreck havoc in Brooklyn, New York City. They put him in a bag and toss him from a bridge. However, before Dexter can hit the ground, a red lantern ring saves him. After becoming a red lantern with the alias of Dex-Starr, he vows revenge on his owner’s killer (Johns 19-24). In DC comics, a red lantern is chosen when they have nothing but rage in their hearts. They become creatures in a red uniform spewing blood from their mouths and burn the victim. Red Lanterns also get their hearts replaced by the ring. If the ring is removed from the host then it means certain death among the individual. Furthermore, this monster fits Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture (Seven Theses), Thesis Three: The Monster Is the Harbinger of Category Crisis.” Cohen asserts “the monster notoriously appears at times of crisis as a kind of third term that problematizes the clash of extreme” (Cohen 6). Dex-Starr, the red lantern, shows up whenever there is a crisis happening. In Tom Taylor’s “Injustice 2 (2017) #55,” newcomer Green Lantern Soranik Natu a space cop, tries to keep the peace between prisoners Hal Jordan and Sinestro at The Prison Colony of Harring. However, their day is interrupted by an alien invasion of Red Lanters, whom arrive to kill Sinestro. An all out war breaks out and Dex-Star is shown killing Green Lanterns to try and capture Sinestro. The Red Lanterns wreck havoc on the planet and fulfill their mission in killing their target (Taylor 5-7). The cat is a harbinger of crisis. With the help of his teammates, they cause chaos and destruction, and death.
In the real world, people and animals undergo abuse by others. Most of the time, those people take advantage of the weak and defenseless. In “The Link Between Animal Abuse and Child Abuse” Amber R. Macias-Mayo asserts, “there is an undeniable link between animal cruelty and violence against people […] and at the very least, pet neglect and abuse is indicative of stress within the household” (Mayo 131). Dexter is an example of being a victim of abuse. He was weak and defenseless towards the guy who killed his owner, the cop who kicked him, and the two teenagers who threw him off a bridge. Fueled with anger, Dex-Starr becomes a cunning monster and kills others as punishment for their actions. He is so blind by hate that he doesn’t have any reason to have mercy on anyone. Moreover, Mayo observes, “animal abuse or neglect frequently occurs out in the open, and is more easily visible to those in the area” (Mayo 132). Animal abuse is often related to disturbed social relations. Dexter is not the only one abused. Everyday animals are abused by their owners or experimented on by others to fulfill their greedy needs. However, as animals are abused, children are also being abused. Mayo suggests that the link between animal abuse and violence against people is the key to becoming aware of the situation and preventing it from escalating any further.
What caused the two teenagers to try and kill Dexter? In “Bullying and Animal Abuse: Is There a Connection,” researchers Bill C. Henry and Cheryl E. Sanders analyze “animal abuse has associated violence towards animals with a host of indicators of pathological social development, […] the individual who reported abusing animals also reported greater involvement in a variety of delinquent behaviors in adolescence and adulthood—including higher rates of participation in violent, property, and drug-related crimes” (Henry and Cheryl 108). The effects of their abuse towards the cat cause a monster to be born out of pure hatred. Now, the cat will forever be angry at life and mankind. However, the root causes for violence towards others come from a dangerous environment at home. ” Children exposed to interparental violence live in a family environment in which they are scared for their protection and that of the parent who is victim” (Bourassa 692). According to the research, kids abused at home will likely grow up to be bullies. Domestic abuse happens without others knowing. The lack of awareness causes children to suffer. They will even grow up to be monsters themselves. The cat in the comic is a representation of what happens to those abused by society. The comic also shows how life treats people unfairly. It shows living beings are not always living happy lives; as the world is a cruel place to live, people and animals suffer.
A lot of the times, monsters are born out of hatred due to the cruelty of society. They become unstable killers with no agenda at hand. No monster is ever born a monster though. They have a reason behind their cruel actions. Dex-Starr was an innocent kitty adopted by a caring loving woman. However, due to the cruelties of man, he suffered a traumatic experience by watching his owner gruesomely murdered and left without a home. Furthermore, bullies themselves were victims of abuse. Ultimately, it is a cycle of never ending abuse. The victim is left traumatized and experiences both physical and psychological abuse. The only way to prevent monsters from being born is to address the bullying happening all across the world. If you see someone abuse their pet, stop them. Otherwise, the pet will come back and haunt humanity for all their wrong doings. Pets are also living beings feeling emotions and pain. They are part of society. All living things in the universe deserve respect and a chance at a better life.
Bourassa, Chantal. “Co-Occurrence of Interparental Violence and Child Physical Abuse and It’s Effect on the Adolescents’ Behavior.” Journal of Family Violence, vol. 22, no. 8, Nov. 2007, pp. 691–701. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10896-007-9117-8.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture (Seven Thesis)” Monster Theory: Reading Culture, Thesis Three: The Monster is the Harbinger of Category Crisis. 1996 pp. 6.
Henry, Bill C., and Cheryl E. Sanders. “Bullying and Animal Abuse: Is There a Connection?” Society & Animals, vol. 15, no. 2, June 2007, pp. 107–126. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1163/156853007X187081.
John, Geoff. “Green Lantern #55.” Tales of Red Lantern Corps Dex-Starr. Green Lantern: Brightest Day, no. 55, Detective Comics, 30 Jun. 2010.
MACIAS-MAYO, AMBER R. “The Link Between Animal Abuse and Child Abuse.” American Journal of Family Law, vol. 32, no. 3, Fall 2018, pp. 130–136. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=131710047&site=ehost-live.
Taylor, Tom. “Injustice 2 #55.” Injustice 2, no. 55, Detective Comics, 24 Apr. 2018.
“5 Types of Abuse, Domestic Violence FAQ.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 16 Apr. 2015, www.usatoday.com/story/news/features/domestic-violence/2015/04/09/5-types-of-abuse-domestic-violence-faq/25520519/.