Peter Milligan’s The Enigma confronts society’s expectations about identity. The Enigma, narrated in the first person, tells the story of 20-something Michael Smith. Smith meets Titus Bird, the writer of the superhero comic book The Enigma, the story of a man with omnipotent powers who adopts the identity of a superhero. Smith runs into the Enigma, who reveals that he is an emotionless being, unfamiliar with concepts of right and wrong. Enigma take Smith on life changing adventure where Smith is challenged by how consciously he is aware of himself. His experience with Enigma reveal a deeper understanding of his, and the reader’s, place in the world.
In a twist at the end the narrator is revealed to be a lizard, that had been gifted human consciousness by Enigma, and the lizard is attempting to explain its new awareness to other lizards. The other lizards though are unable to comprehend the story they are being told because their own knowledge of self and the world is limited. The lizard’s interaction with Enigma mirrors Smith’s, who too has been changed and grown from experiences with Enigma, and finds it difficult to explain to friends.
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