Christopher Truelove was a member of The Establishment that had a short-lived comic series starting in 2001 and lasting 13 issues. Series editor Jeff Mariotte alluded to writer Ian Edginton making numerous revisions to the original concept, finally making changes to incorporate elements that placed it next to the popular The Authority in the Wildstorm Universe. Where the Authority felt themselves above governments, the Establishment was tied to the United Kingdom. It’s headquarter was Knowhere, a wonderland of technology comprised in a ship from the future.
Like the other cast, the Establishment had a gay member named Christopher Truelove, who couldn’t have been more opposite Midnighter. Truelove appeared to be in his twenties, with long blond hair, and wore tight jeans and a sleeveless shirt that showed off his stomach. Personality-wise, he was outgoing, campy, self described “peroxide queen” who’d drop a reference to his Judy Garland collection and call someone “petal” and go shopping with Scarlet Fantastic to pick out clothes for her. He was also a devoted team member and no less heroic than his opposite number, Midnighter.
Truelove first appears in issue #3 operating in what has become his natural habitat, a dimension called Dead Space that is actually “the corpse of an extinct god that’s in phase with multiple realties” so vast even the size of a single molecule can’t be perceived. Dead Space is full of dreadful creatures trawling the region to attack, scavenge, and feed on any unsuspecting organism. He has been tasked to find the soul of Charlie Arrows, an unsavory and duplicitous man who was the lone survivor of a Daemonite attack on the resort town of Hobb’s Bay, England, only to die of a cerebral hemorrhage once safe at Knowhere. Once rescued from a nasty, Truelove uses his unique power to resurrect Arrows.
While the rest of the Establishment is off fighting the Daemonite group that slaughtered Hobb’s Bay, an older man named George Bulman is watching over Charlie Arrows at Knowhere. The unusual relationship between Bulman and Truelove is revealed when a ghostly Truelove confronts Arrows after knocking out Bulman. When not in Dead Space, Truelove typically resides in Bulman’s body, waiting to be channeled by the older man. That is, until Truelove attempts to make Arrows pay and is surprisingly returned to corporal form when touched by Arrows. In turn, Arrows assaults Truelove to obtain information to further his own secret agenda. Much to his dismay, Truelove discovers his powers are non-existent now (issue #4) which will lead to a growing sense of frustration and uselessness. In a bit of dialog in issue #6, Bulman talks about accidentally getting Truelove killed and being cursed by a shaman to channel Truelove’s soul. These incidents are never fleshed out more. A single flashback panel in #8 shows the two men on a mission together.
A graveside visit provides the perfect setting for Truelove to share some existential angst with the Pharmacist. Concerns range from questioning the reality of his new existence, to his parents (“Mum thinks I’m dead. Dad’s probably glad I am.”), to feeling impotent. The Pharmacist tries to cheer him up with an unexpected joke.
A new threat from Dead Space manifests for the Establishment to deal with, a dead god embryo. This entity has grown and positioned itself to exist in both Dead Space and the physical plane. This unique placement attracts a legion of Dead Space nasties that want to cross over after sensing the vast amounts of negative emotions on earth. The gravity of the situation weighs on Truelove. The irony of impotency in his physical form isn’t lost on him either. Acting on impulse, Truelove commits suicide using Bulman’s revolver in the hopes he’ll be able to access Dead Space again (issue #9). The gamble pays off and Truelove valiantly fights the Dead Space entities as his teammates pull off a successful Hail Mary effort to end the threat on Earth (issue #10).
Truelove’s story takes a decided comic book twist in issue #12 when George Bulman, Truelove’s physical host, dies of a heart attack and appears by Truelove’s side in Dead Space. Bulman chalks it up to the shamanic curse still being in effect. Death has made the stodgy older man uncharacteristically apologetic and empathetic. Inexplicably, Bulman somehow manages to return Truelove to the living, though strangely now in Bulman’s body. The Pharmacist is very perplexed when rescued by someone he recognizes as George use the speech and mannerisms of Truelove (issue #12). Truelove only appears in group shots during fight scenes in #13, the final issue.
The Golden, a trio of young teenagers with incredible powers acting as a hive mind, were part of The Establishment and appeared in Authority #19 (2009). To date, the Golden are the only characters from this series to appear outside of the series.
Christopher Truelove first appeared and is confirmed gay in The Establishment #3. An interesting point: Truelove’s host, George Bulman, was straight.
The Establishment and Christopher Truelove created by Ian Edginton and Charlie Adlard.
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