(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized red alert.)
For me, one of the most confusing parts of Homestuck came shortly after I started reading it (as in, at the exact time I wrote and posted my original review of it), when Karkat voiced his worry that, by skimping while creating it, he “gave your whole universe cancer”. That much I could follow, at least as a pun on his astrological sign. But then he claimed that Jack Noir quite literally was the cancer (as opposed to, say, the bomb actually called “the Tumor”), alongside a preview of his “Red Miles” attack on the universal frog from the end-of-act flash, and he lost me there. Jack Noir is a game construct, one Karkat himself worked with in his own session, who showed every desire to carry out the most important action he did in the kids’ game – kill the Black Queen and take her ring – in that session. What, exactly, changed that turned him into the cancer afflicting the kids’ universe while he himself was in the Medium?
There may be a clue in the revelation that the “Red Miles” attack – which has been compared to swollen blood vessels in a tumor – is, in fact, a power inherent to the ring itself, not any of its prototypings in the kids’ session, indeed something the Draconian Dignitary can carry out when the ring can’t be prototyped at all. If the original Red Miles attack was in some way emblematic of Noir’s status as the cancer, perhaps that suggests that that status is in some way related to his possession of the ring – and perhaps it also points to what that way may be. Perhaps in sessions from cancerous universes, Noir is successful in obtaining the ring, while in non-cancerous ones he isn’t; perhaps the ability to use Red Miles is only available in cancerous universes; perhaps both, or something else entirely. Certainly there’s no reason to think the Scratch magically erased the universe’s cancer in any way.
A quickie, I know, but I wanted to point out something that might be more insightful than it seems.