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So I have been reading the Birds of Prey comics for the last week or so, and I've been really enjoying them, more than I was expecting to. I'm kind of surprised by the fact that so many of these DC heroes are, well, without powers. I kind of assumed that the super part of a superhero required one to have powers. (Or X-tra power, as Professor Xavier would say). I don't think I'm even aware of a Marvel hero without superpowers.

Also surprised that the level of heroic morality seems to be archaic to me. It makes me think of the very early X-men comics I read that made me want to pull out my hair. There was a scene where the Hellfire club tried to kill all of the X-men, and the X-men took them all out with the exception of Emma Frost. Storm had to be stopped from killing Emma, and Emma told them all that she was going to come kill them all at a future date as soon as she was done building the club again. And then they all just stood there and let her walk out, and I could not figure out why in the hell would they let her go. Because they're heroes, that's why!!! And then there was the scene where Wolverine actually stabbed Rachel to keep her from sullying the name of heroes everywhere by killing the very evil Selene.

Angel once said something to Connor that I kind of see as the code of Heroic Morality. He said: "It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be." And, I think, that that's the same morality the heroes of DC comics (and Marvel comics to a lesser degree) are working from. And it's admirable, really. But, you know what? It should matter whether they make a difference or not. Heroism shouldn't be about being all holier-than-thou and proving to the world that you're better than them. It should be, first and foremost, about making a difference. Because these heroes live as if the world were an ideal place, they neglect the real problems. There's a level of delusion that goes into their morality that allows them to let the Hellfire Club (or Cassandra Nova) walk away.

I think that the X-men comics, at least, have gotten away from this a little. Which I really enjoy. I think that Grant Morrison is largely responsible for bringing this bit of realism to the X-men comics and getting the heroes away from their delusions of a perfect world. Kitty might hate it, but I love Emma’s random suggestions to kill people once in a while. Not that I think that they should kill everyone evil, but as Emma said about Cassandra Nova: "There are some things you just shouldn’t be allowed to get away with." And, yeah.

I know that a lot of people dislike Emma (and Huntress, who is not nearly as hardcore as Emma Frost, in the DC comics from what I’ve read) because of this gray morality. But I think that people like Emma are what allow people like Batman and Scott Summers to be heroic and hold on to their sense of morality. It’s because people like Emma are willing to do the dirty work for the heroic community that they can pretend to be high and mighty with their refusal to kill evil, evil villains who continue to kill. And, of course, in return these people get shunned by the heroic community. This attitude is also carried over to the fandom where most people just don’t understand how anyone can like Emma when she’s such an evil, evil bitch.

While skimming through Alan Moore’s "The Killing Joke," I was baffled by Jim Gordon demanding that Batman bring Joker back to him unharmed to put in jail so they could show him that the LAW still works. This psycho just shot his daughter, and he is worried about showing him up. Yeah, that kind of morality is just beyond me. In the real world, I can admire this. In fiction, for me, it often makes for boring, stoic heroes that I just don’t understand.


Birds of Prey review: issues 56-75.

As I suspected I would, I like Huntress the best. I just can't resist mentally/emotionally unstable dark characters. And in comics, I enjoy characters with a sense of moral ambiguity. What did surprise me is that I'm really enjoying the other characters, too. I have a tendency to pick a character to like and then ignore everyone else.

I especially like Barbara Gordon and would definitely be interested in more of her back story. So if anyone has any recs, do share. She reminds me a bit of Jessica Jones almost, but with a very different personality.

Black Canary is also fun. I'm not really interested in her back story or in her alone as a character, but I really enjoy seeing her interact with the other two. She is a lighter personality than Helena or Barbara.

The plots are mostly fun, if a bit slow at times. I definitely like them better when we're not dealing with the random evil of the week and actually get a backstory on the evil guy. I'm *really* enjoying the "Hunt for Heroes" arc.

And more than anything else, I enjoy seeing the women interact with each other. Canon literature (and as a result much of comics and TV) is so very devoid of positive relationships between women that I have come to really appreciate what little we can get. But this series is filled with it, which I really enjoy.

Date: 2006-11-14 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hey, throwing you a shout out since your LJ User info doesn't have an e-mail. I did a tag search on Madelyne Pryor in (lj user=scans_daily> and I found your excellent posts and huge album - I too am a big pirate aboard the Madelyne/Nate ship!

In regards to X-Men and kids - I think that all X-Men dealings with kids will always be to a degree dysfunctional, since to portray X-Men as having functional family lives would pull away from the angst quotient of the books. This is why Scott Summers threw away a stable, happy marraige to Madelyne and a life raising his son - the writers obviously decided that a married Madelyne and Nathan Summers would be a millstone around the neck of the leader of a superteam in an action book. This is also why I applaud what's currently happening in Action Comics, with the Kryptonian kid that Supes liberates from the authorities. When they try to spirit the kid away, Supes looked like he was ready to kill. I suspect that this may be set up for the next Superman movie, but Clark having a son he can raise would be an interesting new direction for the Man of Steel.

Now, if they would just bring back Nate and Madelyne, or just Maddie, all would be well with the world.

And, please, don't mention the cackle-Madelyne who appeared in The End. I try not to acknowledge how that series handled her.


Date: 2006-11-20 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't see this earlier, thus the late reply. :)

Scans_daily, as well as the entire X-men fandom, could really use more Maddie love. She was incredibly awesome and so badly mistreated. And finding Nate/Maddie shippers always makes me happy. There's something just so perfect about them that it really doesn't matter that she's a clone of his mother or that he's practically her son. I like that they find each other and are able to help each other through their darkness and X-men issues.

I haven't read many DC comics, but it does seem like that giving a Superhero a family could be a good idea once in a while. Or, you know, at least it's a horrible idea to have the Superhero asshole abandon his family for his dead girlfriend. Really, Scott's character has never really recovered from that bit of crappiness, and I think I still hate him a little because of it.

And I, too, really wish that the mainstream X-men comics would remember the existence of Maddie and bring her back. Especially if it's with Nate.

The Madelyne bit in The End was horrible. Essentially, they used Maddie to inspire Scott to do to Emma what he had already done to Maddie. Which was bad. And I very much doubt that Maddie was the part of Jean that loved Scott because she kind of really hated him after the abandonment issue. I also really hated that Maddie essentially disappeared and gave up her existence to become a part of Jean.


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