Fanfiction Fridays: A Flag That Bears the Name by Chash

A while back, I wrote a couple posts on a sadly-underrated movie called Attack the Block. Now, Attack the Block is a cracking good alien invasion movie, but it’s also about racism, social inequality, police brutality, and society’s standards of masculinity, all wrapped up in some delightfully well-written characters. Basically all I want is for more people to watch this movie and talk about it with me. Fortunately, Yuletide is a fandom event meant just for small fandoms, and luckily for me, this year, someone wrote this great fic for Attack the Block.

A Flag That Bears the Name starts right after the end of the movie—Moses has been arrested, but in the confusion inherent in an actual, documented alien invasion, he and Pest are freed within a couple of days with no charges. Yet Moses can’t forget his own actions in saving the Block: he started out just a petty thief, but he turned out a hero. And he wants to keep being a hero. Moses being a fifteen-year-old kid, his mind immediately jumps to superheroes, but he’s not the greatest at textiles or at protecting himself. However, he has a great group of friends backing him up.

“What, like—motherfucking Superman, is it?” asks Pest.

“Can’t be Superman,” says Biggz. “Cuz Superman can fly and punch cars and shit. Be like Batman. Dark Knight, yeah?”

Moses doesn’t answer; he’s working on the mask. He’s using the same bandanna he wore when they mugged Sam. He’ll use it right this time.

“No way,” says Pest. “Batman’s rich! Had that bigass mansion. That motherfucking butler! Moses ain’t never gonna be no Batman.”

“You should cover the rest of your face too,” Biggz says, watching Moses’s hands as he works. “Nobody wants to get saved by a black dude. They’ll arrest you, and you won’t get out this time.”

“Gotta catch me first,” Moses says. He picks up Dennis’s sword, watches it glint in the light. “I’m not gonna let them catch me again.”

“Just gonna run around the block, looking for trouble?” asks Pest.

Moses frowns. That was what they did before, and if they couldn’t find any trouble, they made it. “That’s not how it is anymore.”

“It is,” says Biggz. “Just doing it for the side of good now, yeah?”

He pulls the mask over his eyes, checks his face in the mirror. He still looks like himself, but it’s a start.

“Needs more spandex,” says Pest.

He slides the mask off again. “Just getting started.”

This fic is the perfect little coda to the movie—the author hits the exact right tone, talking about social justice issues in the same breath as Batman and Superman, fully aware that an obviously Black superhero would be treated in a different way than a white superhero or a superhero with their face covered. But the characterization is on point, too, and the attack the block mosesdialogue makes the social issues just as subtle as they are in the movie. Moses is out to do good, and his friends support him, but damn if they aren’t going to make fun of him all the way.

At about 2k, A Flag That Bears the Name won’t take up too much of your day, but it packs so much meaning into its few words that I think this should be required reading for anyone who watches this movie in the future. Go read it here on the AO3 today!

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1 thought on “Fanfiction Fridays: A Flag That Bears the Name by Chash

  1. It’s not as small a fandom as you might think. My 9 yr. old niece and I love, love ,love this movie. I introduced her to it a year ago and she is totally crushing on Moses. We paln to watch it this weekend.
    Again! We’ve already watched it twice.

    I recc’d this to my co-worker a couple of months ago and he fell in love with it too.But my work isnt done. I haven’t gotten my Mom to watch it yet, but I will. I got her to watch Dog Soldiers and The Descent, and she loves those, so I’m hopeful.

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