Desolation Jones

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You wouldn't like him when he's weary

Desolation Jones is the title character of a 2005 comic book by Warren Ellis. Michael Jones is a former MI6 agent who was driven to drink by the stresses of the job. Useless as an agent, he was entered into the 'Desolation Test', an experimental procedure of which he is the only survivor. Among many interesting hinted at effects, he claims the test destroyed his ability to feel emotion. But that was a long time ago . . .

Now he lives in LA, a safezone and prison for former members of the intelligence community with nowhere else to go. He takes up jobs here and there to satisfy what's left of his shattered conscience, prevailing by ruthlessness and a reckless disregard for death despite having only a meager grasp of deduction.

He is helped and hindered by an unusual group of outcasts, fellow failed experiments, Assassins, and bleary scions of the porn industry. Yet Jones is not to be outdone, a begoggled, drugged-up, scarred, sun-fearing Evil Albino Anti-Hero to do Elric proud.

His swathe-cutting draws comparisons to other Ellis protagonists, namely Spider from Transmetropolitan and Elijah Snow from Planetary, and also has a mysterious, unpleasant past like the latter, or like Fell. He and Elijah also seem to share a hairdresser.

The book's art often changes, depending on the tenor of the scene, from paintings to the usual inked fare to two-tone and B&W hatched sketches. Jones' psychedelic relapses create some particularly interesting story breaks.

Another Ellis signature: a film is in Development Hell.

Tropes used in Desolation Jones include:
  • The Alcoholic: Jones, before the Desolation Test.
  • And I Must Scream: The Desolation Test involves paralyzing the subject and keeping them fully awake and conscious for an entire year.
  • Art Shift: Though maintaining a similar style, the art often changes from scene to scene, featuring paintings, black-and-white inked work, two-tone chiaroscuro, sketches, and inks colored in the standard way.
  • Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Ellis is writing a lot of books, as usual, and left Jones in the middle of an arc.
  • Awesome By Analysis: One of the major changes to Jones caused by the Desolation Test is a heightened state of awareness. The comic even labels things Jones has noticed with a Psych-style highlight effect.
  • Badass Boast:

Okay. Here's the thing. Pain doesn't bother me. Let me show you.

[Rolls up his sleeve, revealing a biohazard tattoo]

This means I was tortured for a year. This means I experienced death for a full year, twenty-four hours a day. You know what you learn from that? Death is easy. Death is ordinary. It is not special. Your life is not special. And, as part of the ex-intelligence community that the authorities keep trapped in Los Angeles, I am legally invisible.

I am incapable of caring whether anyone in this room lives or dies.

I'm not trying to scare you, I'm not trying to be the big man. I'm just saying: don't touch me again.