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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: 2006-10-18 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Y'know [ profile] jennyo has recently written some good Babs/Dinah fic if you're interested.

There's an interesting debate to be had about morality. I mean there is an argument to be made that killing bad guys is the more heroic act because by not killing them you're essentially allowing the people they are yet to kill to die because you don't want to sully your own hands. But then I'm not sure I'd want to trust a superheroes judgement on that kind of thing. Would you really want Cyclops deciding if you live or die?

Date: 2006-10-19 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wouldn't say it's more heroic to kill a murderer... just more practical. Superhero morality isn't that far removed the the real life ethical debate of capital punishment. Basically there are two kinds of heroes in the archtypical world of comic book reality, which is just a fictional allusion to real world problems.

On the one side there is the classical superhero (Superman, Spider-Man, etc), the archtypical representation of the perfectly moral human being, who doesn't kill because it lowers him to the level of the criminal he's just defeated... he believes in rehabilitation... the problem with this, though, is that in a comicbook world, villians don't stay in jail and don't usually get character arcs... they only exist to serve one purpose as the eternal foil for the hero.

On the other side is the anti-hero (Punisher, Foolkiller, Red Hood), who, as the name implies, takes more permanent action. The anti-hero doesn't believe that people can change, so he kills to prevent further crimes... becoming the thing he hates. Anti-heroes are morally ambiguous and don't really think of what they're doing as lowering themselves, because they believe themselves to be superior beings, and thus above both the law and ethical coundries.

Basically, the idea behind the classical hero is that he doesn't believe he has the right to judge anyone... so he/she beats the shit out of the criminal and leaves it up to the Law to decide how to deal with it. The anti-hero doesn't believe in the law so he takes it upon himself to judge.

Date: 2006-10-19 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you on a lot of things about comic book heroism... It just seems like sometimes comics just didn't want to 'grow up'. I agree that Morrison did a lot for X-men by introducing the moral ambiguity there. Its for those very reasons that a lot of comics really don't appeal to me at all.

A lot of this heroic morality is rearing its ugly head in the worst way possible in Marvel's 616 universe, with all the Civil War drama going down. It's making me sick of comics in a lot of ways, with so many heroes riding their high horse and not willing to look for the root of the problem and solving that because they are too busy 'making their stand' with the supposed 'right' side.

Emma was great in that regard as she specifically manouvred the X-men to remain as neutral as they could for as long as possible (until the shit hit the fan with Lazer).

Part 1 (sorry... ^_^;;;)

Date: 2006-10-19 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Gail Simone has replaced Devin Grayson as, like, the only woman writing in mainstream comics, and Devin Grayson replaced Louise Simonson (one of my favorite writers when I was a kid... the POWER PACK was BOMB)... there's never really more than one woman writing mainstream superhero comics at a time... and very few female artists as well, which saddens me (Amanda Conner is one of my favorite artists, and I had the pleasure of meeting Colleen Doran before she left mainstream comics behind completely to concentrate on A DISTANT SOIL). I really enjoy Gail Simone's stuff.

BIRD'S OF PREY is a book I like, but it's sort of hit or miss with me... I find that a lot of the storyarcs start off strong, and then end weak. I did enjoy the Lady Shiva/Chesire arc though... it just seemed like everyones motivations were in character, and it balanced all of the multiple plotlines and tied them together nicely.

I don't really have many Barbara Gordon Batgirl recommendations... THE KILLING JOKE is probably the best story involving Batgirl, but BATGIRL YEAR 1, which was recently collected in a TPB, is supposed to be a good update of her origin and first year on the job. I'm not really sure how she became Oracle...if that was actually in BATMAN, or if it's something Grant Morrison came up with in JLA, but she's mostly just in BIRD'S OF PREY.

Marvel doesn't have many non-superpowered characters... and any character that doesn't have superpowers, usually makes up for it by being ridiculously intelligent and well armed with sci-fi technology (RE: Iron Man). The Punisher is the only fully human vigilante type guy I can think of that just shots people, and doesn't have some kind of billion dollar exo-skeleton or ion painter hooked up to a fission powered particle cannon floating in space. Captain America technically doesn't have any powers... the Super Soildier serum just keeps him in peak human condition (ironically, it was the American's that created the perfect vision of Aryan man in WWII Marvel), and all his fighting ability is just through intense training, but his shield counts as a super weapon, and he wears the fucking flag, so I count him as more of a super powered guy.

DC has a lot of people that just got so psychologically screwed up and obsessive that they trained themselves to be able to mess people up as a hobby. A lot of the villians are all to human as well... such as Ra's Al Ghul (his immortality is through external means, and he possesses no extra human abilities), the entire League of Assassins, Lex Luthor, etc. This mostly cames about because of Batman... I guess they just thought it'd be to much of a handicap to have him fight guys with powers, so his villians were all mostly just normal dudes with gimmicks, and from that grew a host of just normal dudes wearing goofy costumes, learning some martial arts, and coming up with some kind of obsessive gimmick to follow. And from that also spawned a stable of other similar heroes modeled after Batman.

I think what Moore was trying to do with Gordon in THE KILLING JOKE was to show that the Joker hadn't won... it all comes back to the idea of "If I kill him... he's won." The Joker's whole twisted plot was to mess Gordon up so badly he'd become just as bad as him... it was to prove his point... that all it takes is one bad day to create a monster. If Gordon foresakes everything he's put his life into, the Joker wins, because Gordon has become him... even if no one will blame him, even if he'll be forgiven in the eyes of others and by the law, Gordon would have lost everything that makes him better than the Joker. Sure, he saves the world from a maniac, but if he kills him out of rage, with vengence as his only goal, without a hint of remorse... then he IS the Joker.

On the subject of Superhero Morality... I could go on quite a bit, really... it's a theme that fasinates me. Superheroes represent an ideal... they're the fictional representations of what we wish we could be, so they aren't subject to real world morality... the writer determines what their ethical beliefs are based on what their own beliefs are.

Re: Part 2 (so sorry... ^_^;;;)

Date: 2006-10-19 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you and find it, I recommend ACTION COMICS #775, a story called WHAT'S SO FUNNY ABOUT TRUTH AND JUSTICE by Joe Casey. It's one of my favorite Superman stories of all time, because it deals with Superman facing a group of "modern" heroes that just slaughter criminals, but have massive public support... which causes Superman to question if his old fashioned morality still works in a modern world. Visually, it's spectacular, and it deals with the concept of superhero morality and what it represents. The same theme is repeated in the CRISIS storyarc, in which Wonder Woman snaps Maxwell Lords neck as the only solution to keep him from controling Superman again in the future... this creates a rift between the big three, Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman, because Wonder Woman isn't a superhero... she's an Amazon Warrior, and this is how she deals with problems, so she doesn't see what the big deal is.

Date: 2006-10-19 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Moral ambiguity suggests that they know what they're doing isn't right... just practical. From that comes conflict, and the heart of EVERY good story is conflict. There is nothing interesting that doesn't come from conflict (man VS man, man VS nature, man VS self). The conflict at the heart of the CIVIL WAR storyline is about what IS right? If people die in a fight, who is responsible? On the one side, Captain America wants the freedom to help people... the registration act limits heroes freedoms and their ability to actually do their self appointed jobs. Iron Man's stance is that they wants accountablity, so that there won't be another tragedy. It's not a moral thing... both guys want to help people... it's a political thing.

Now, if you want a moral conflict, try this: The Punisher kills and tortures criminals in the most brutal and inhumane ways imaginable... is he a criminal? I guess that really depends on your own morality. It's easy to just kill a guy you know killed someone and say it's right... but are you not just as bad as him now? Whether he deserved to die or not, whether he would have killed again or not, you have taken a human life. Are you just as bad or not?

Superheroes represent an impossible fictional ideal of what we should aspire to, but don't nessessarily reflect reality. If a person got powers in reality, they wouldn't selflessly try to make the world a better place... most people are selfish by nature and think only of their own benefit... it's how we survive and prosper. That's why when a stranger stops a mugging, or pulls someone from a burning car, we call them heroes... because they've managed to meet that impossible ideal that other probably couldn't, given the chance... they put other before themselves.

"Anger is easy. Hate is easy. Vengeance and spite are easy. Lucky for you... and for me... that I don't like my heroes mean and ugly. I just don't believe in it... dreams save us, dreams life us up and transform us. And on my soul I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share-- I'll never stop fighting." -- Superman, paraphrased from ACTION COMICS #775 "What's so Funny about Truth, Justice, and the American Way?"

Many may see it as postering, but it's something I'd like to believe in and aspire to. It's a lot cooler to see someone just fuck a guy up, but more satsifying for them to aspire to be a better human being.

Date: 2006-10-19 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I totally disagree with your take on the ambiguous morality of Civil War. Morality and politics are interdependent entities; one influences the other.

Something moral can become political; that's when it's taken into the public arena, like the Civil War. The morals I'm talking about aren't the specifics of 'what side is right' so much as what they are doing as an act of supporting their side.

The slaughter, the collateral damage, the unwillingness to find a solution amidst the mess other than the solution that each individual has decided is 'right'.

And both Iron Man and Captain America have made decisions based on their morals, and made these decisions political by leading their causes. Iron Man values accountability over freedom, and Captain America vice-versa.

Iron Man thinks he can save lives, his moral impetus, by making everyone accountable. He also has the secondary moral stance that the law is immutable and must be followed no matter how wrong it is. Captain America thinks that lives will be lost and injustice done if all heroes are made slaves of the government. He is also taking a second stance that when the law is wrong, you stand up and do something about it (which Americans proudly tote around on their one-page constitution as the right to bear arms; the founding fathers' intended protection of the people against governmental opression).

They both have a clear moral position: they value human lives and justice, and want to save lives and see justice done to those who abuse their rights and the rights of others by taking a stand.

Morals and values are similar constructs; morals just have the additional paradigm of good/evil alignments. Politics is something else entirely; it has to do with societal morals and values and how society wants itself constructed. Furthermore, someone's politics and their morals can be very, very different things.

There are many people who may be judged as 'evil' who's moral code and their political code are very different things.

One of the most interesting political things I find in Civil War is how the pro-registration side can justify imprisoning people off US soil without any form of trial. This is a clear parallel to Guantanamo Bay, and other such US internment facilities abroad.

Anyway... This is a huge reply, and if you wish to continue this conversation, we should do it elsewhere so as to not disrupt things in [ profile] prozakpark's journal.

Date: 2006-10-19 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the rec. I will definitely read them as soon as I get a chance. I'm just starting to read parts of the older comics that are heavy on Babs/Dinah. From the Simone run, I'm mostly just getting Babs/Helena vibes.

Would you really want Cyclops deciding if you live or die?

Good point. ;)

Date: 2006-10-19 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know. I think it can be heroic in certain situations. I'm thinking specifically of the arc in Birds of Prey with the weird Superhero cult. Vixen was willing to let hundreds of innocent children commit suicide because she refused to kill the man who was responsible for mind-controling them. She even stopped Huntress from killing him, when she could've had the job done without getting blood on her hands. Taking Huntress out of the equation, in a situation like that, I think it could've been heroic if Vixen had made a conscious decision of saving the children at the expense of sacrificing something that's very important to her.

And, you know...I just wish that there was more of a variety of character types. I like knowing that my fictional heroes, no matter how great and noble, are still humans.

Date: 2006-10-19 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Agreed. Comics these days really are getting back to that very black and white view of the world, which I find boring. Marvel has taken pains to get rid of all the changes made by Morrison, and I think that the X-men comics are definitely suffering because of that.

I have managed to avoid Civil War for the most part. Everyone manages to come off as an asshole, and it's just beyond me why Marvel is doing this to their characters.

Emma is great. She remains one of the few reasons I read the X-men comics these days. She's also the only thing left over from the Morrison run, and I kind of see her as the center of moral ambiguity in the X-men books. She gives them other ways of seeing things, and I enjoy the conflict that comes from her presence. I would be really disappointed if Emma is taken out permanently following the Whedon run, and I think that the comics will suffer from her loss.

Date: 2006-10-19 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Punisher is just scary, and torturing is completely unneeded. I just want the heroes to be open to the possibility that they may have to kill someone in their line of work.

And, you know, I can see their side too in a way. I think Faith is an excellent example of why heroes should probably not kill because she goes completely psycho after killing someone accidentally. Some people just can't deal with that sort of darkness. But in a situation where it comes to a choice between saving the lives of hundreds of innocents by killing someone or letting the innocents die because the hero refuses to kill, I think that it would be really hard for me to not seriously dislike that hero if she/he doesn't kill the villain.

Leaving the morality out of it, I think that it's more interesting to read about characters that fall somewhere between the extremes of good and evil. Which, I think, is mostly the reason that I prefer heroes with grayer morals.

It's a lot cooler to see someone just fuck a guy up, but more satsifying for them to aspire to be a better human being.

I, for one, would probably find it very statisfying to see Barbara killing the joker. Or Jessica Jones killing the Purple Man. ;)

Superheroes represent an impossible fictional ideal of what we should aspire to, but don't nessessarily reflect reality. If a person got powers in reality, they wouldn't selflessly try to make the world a better place... most people are selfish by nature and think only of their own benefit... it's how we survive and prosper. That's why when a stranger stops a mugging, or pulls someone from a burning car, we call them heroes... because they've managed to meet that impossible ideal that other probably couldn't, given the chance... they put other before themselves.

That's a very interesting way of looking at Superheroes. And I can agree with that. This sort of characterization is a huge part of why Spiderman is probably my favorite male superhero.

I just like to see some reality injected into my comics once in a while. :)

Date: 2006-10-19 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Huntress has a badass scene in BoP #99 which came out today :-)

Babs became Oracle kind of behind the scenes- her first appearances as Oracle were in the series "Suicide Squad" as a mysterious presence on the computer screen. I think there is a later "Oracle: Year One" issue- I believe it's Batman Chronicles #5 (or possibly #15, not sure- haven't tracked it down myself). "The Killing Joke" is obviously key, and there are a couple of one-shots set right before it that explore her mindset during her last days as Batgirl ("Batgirl Special", "Batman: Batgirl" and "Batman: Batgirl (Girlfrenzy)". The Girlfrenzy issue was published more recently than the others.

Batgirl: Year One is excellent (it's Chuck Dixon, and he writes the bat-characters wonderfully). Babs also appears as Batgirl in in the recent Nightwing: Year One (also by Dixon).

Other than that I think you start getting into pre-Crisis comics and there aren't trade paperbacks. Mostly, she had back-up stories in Detective Comics and also features in Batman Family.

One of my favorite things about the DCU is that the bats tend to be among the leaders of their peer groups (Batman in the JLA, Nightwing with the Titans/Outsiders, Robin with Young Justice/Teen Titans) because they really are just that badass. It doesn't matter that they don't have superpowers. The Batgirls haven't been as involved in mainstream teams, though- not sure why not. However, Oracle's respected by pretty much everyone.

Date: 2006-10-19 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You killed me dead with this wonderful post.

I've got to run to a school function where I get to say thanks to the people who gave me scholarships, so I can't write the long reply I'd like to.

But I'll do this:

"but I love Emma’s random suggestions to kill people once in a while."


And I love Grant Morrison, too.

Date: 2006-10-19 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's no problem with that... I'm not saying that anyones opinion of a stoic, upright, classical superhero as boring is wrong... played straight, it IS boring. But, when done right, there's always the conflict of trying to adhere to their self inflicted morality... which is why so many villians try to push them to the breaking point (IE The Joker, Lex Luthor, etc)... the ultimate defeat for such a hero would be to force them to abandon their morality and lower themselves to the level of the people they fight... even if it means sacrificing their own lives for it.

The reason that Spider-Man is a more interesting hero than Superman (that's been my opinion for a long time) was the struggle he endures in being Spider-Man... for Superman, he has no real choice... it's how he was raised, and it's so deeply ingrained in him that he cannot change. Look at what Peter Parker did when he first got his powers... he did what any normal human being would do, and used them for self-gratification. He had no desire to help anyone but Peter Parker. Now, it's not that he wasn't raised right... he didn't turn on his classmates or immediately turn to crime... but given that he had such a horrible school life and a complete inability to socialize with people, he gave absolutely no thought to helping anyone... because no one had ever helped him. Spider-Man's morality, like Batman's, was forged by a deeply traumatic event. He watched his Uncle die because of his apathy, and that guilt was further galvanized by Uncle Ben's almost accusitory last words... which have almost become a curse for Peter Parker, more than an inspiring motto: "With great power comes great responsibility." Spider-Man saves lives, stops crime, and puts his life on the line as self-punishment for the one wrong deed he ever did, and is cursed with being forever responsible for everything that happens around him that is within his great power to stop... but he also has to adhere to the impossible moral standards of a superhero, for fear of cheapening his imposed torture by taking the easy way out.

I agree that a hero that doesn't struggle with his morality is boring... if there is no self-conflict, then that character isn't interesting. The fault lies with creators that don't push or tempt their stoic heroes, and challenge their dedication to upholding such an impossible moral high ground (which really just came about thanks to the comics code, which wouldn't allow creators to show death).

If I can recommend a book you should try, being that you're getting into DC comics featuring female leads, and are interested in the theme of blurry superhero morality, you should read Andreyko's MANHUNTER, which is about a DA in Los Angelos that steals a bunch of confescated supervillian technology to hunt down and murder supervillians that escape prosecution through legal manuevering, only to herself become hunted as a criminal by the JLA. DC only collected the first six in a TPB, but the rest of this sadly overlooked series should be easily available. I'm was incredibly impressed with the first storyarc, and still hold out hope they'll put out more TPB's.

Date: 2006-10-20 09:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved Huntress's scene, but I think Val Cooper upstaged her in the scene in X-men: Civil War #4, by taking a crow bar and smashing the knees in of her O.N.E. superior, with the intention of smashing his skull if he didn't give up the info necessary to save the lives of the 198 mutants trapped in one of Tony Stark's death traps. woo! Val got cajones!!! Having the mad mad mad love for Val Cooper now *^_^*


Date: 2006-10-21 08:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Huntress has a badass scene in BoP #99 which came out today :-)

Ah! See, you made me skim the new issue and now I'm totally spoiled for it. But, it was a cool scene. Very Emma-esque. I hope to be all caught up by the time the next issue comes out. I have no willpower when it comes to avoiding spoilers.

Batgirl: Year One looks to be awesome judging from the stray scans at scans_daily. I'm definitely going to check that out. Thanks for the rec.

I'm avoiding the pre-crisis stuff for now. I think I need to get more into the DCU before I'm able to deal with canon-revision of that magnitude.

I haven't seen much of the Bat family yet because I'm mostly sticking to "Birds of Prey" for now. But I'll probably be branching out as other characters catch my interest. Looking forward to getting more into the DC comics. Marvel makes me cry these days. ;)

Date: 2006-10-21 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
See, the whole world needs to see Emma like we see her. She's so freaking hardcore and awesome, it's beyond me how anyone could not like her. Incidentally, I also don't get how people could hate the Morrison run. He actually made me like the mainstream X-books again.
And now, of course, everything has gone to hell again. Marvel needs to consider bringing him back.

Re: Part 1 (sorry... ^_^;;;)

Date: 2006-10-21 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not always impressed with the Birds of Prey plots either, but I'm really enjoying the characters. I think I enjoy the more internal plots that deal with the characters better than the ones dealing with the Big Bad of the week.

And thanks for the heads up on the Batgirl: Year One TPB. I was going to attempt to locate single issues. This will be much easier.

And I had no idea that Iron Man was human. Or Captain America. But I suppose that they do have access to ridiculously hardcore technology. I mostly stick to X-men comics with Marvel, and there aren't many humans there. And the X-men get all weirded out by humans wanting to help out. For a group that promotes human/mutant intermingling, they sure aren't willing to put up with humans for too long. I always find that amusing.

And the scene in "The Killing Joke" makes more sense given that context.

On the subject of Superhero Morality... I could go on quite a bit

I'm looking forward to reading the post you said you were going to write on that. I think I agree with you in a way, except where I'm a huge fan of deconstructing ideals and taking things apart in fiction. I love my ideals, my myths, and legends. But I also love challenging those ideals and deconstructing the myths.

Date: 2006-10-21 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You might like the "new" BATGIRL. I really enjoyed the series from start to finish, and I like that her character arc is over the entire series. The end is pretty shocking too. As I suggested above, MANHUNTER is really excellent as well. OUTSIDERS is a pretty slick team book about a group that actively seeks out criminals before they can do anything... a more proactive than reactive team book. If you can find it, JUSTICE LEAGUE ELITE was really unfairly overlooked... it was sorta like superhero VICE squad, as a bunch of heroes take on villianous identifies to infiltrate the underworld and do the dirty shit that the JUSTICE LEAGUE won't and can't be seen to do. The only ever collected the first half of the series, including related material, which really pisses me off, because they never finished collecting it.

Date: 2006-10-21 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Morrison has signed an exclusive deal with DC... he's going to be there forever, pretty much. They let him do whatever he wants, including vanity projects like WE3 and SEVEN SOLDIERS and fucking around with characters in and out of continuity.

Date: 2006-10-21 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I never ever liked "The Killing Joke." I just wanna get that out there right now. Why? Firstly because of the scene you mentioned with Gordon wanting to prove that "the law still works," and secondly because of the final scene where Batman feels comfortable sharing a good little laugh with Joker after he's VIOLATED AND MAIMED BATGIRL. WTF?!

Sorry, but heroes should be allowed to get ANGRY, to get a little VIOLENT. These comic characters need to show human freaking emotion! That having been said, I LIKE that heroes like Batman aren't willing to kill - that they have this strict, higher moral code than most of us readers might. That is, after all, what makes them heroes. Is it a failure of Batman that he doesn't kill people like the Joker for always breaking out of Arkham and killing more people? Perhaps. Interesting point of debate, that. But I kinda like that he doesn't. He's done this long enough to build a strict moral code around it.

In particular, with a character like Batman, it makes sense because he's... well, as seen in the later years of B:TAS, Batman's kind of a stiff. He's a stickler for his own personal rules, sometimes at the expense of those around him. I buy that.

Date: 2006-10-21 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I was going to say that :-P.

The two are doing that exclusive contract stuff. How I loathe it. I understand some of the reasoning, but harboring artists just seems so lame.

DC is treating him with respect though, so whatever makes him happy.

Date: 2006-10-22 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah. Um... damn. that was pretty intense (I hadn't read my Marvel stack for the day when I made that comment initially). It does sort of redeem her for being pretty useless ever since Decimation. Although being stuck between her government job and actual sympathy for the mutants is kind of her standard character dilemma.

Date: 2006-10-22 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was also going to recommend Batgirl III (Cassandra Cain), who debuted during the massive "No-Man's Land" crossover and then had a solo series until Infinite Crisis. While the end of her series is shocking as [ profile] halliday notes, I find the follow-up in the "One Year Later" world to be disappointing. Note that Batgirl II (whose identity I won't mention in case you don't know) also briefly gained and lost the role during "No Man's Land".

One thing about Cassandra's series is that the early trade paperbacks don't always collect the issues in order, which in one place makes for a really jarring jump in the story. Either read them some other way, or try to sort out the real order in the trades. I can see that they did that to keep one story primarily in a single trade, but I just find it annoying.

Outsiders is also cool (I particularly like Grace Chen). I especially like the "One Year Later" version, though (partially because I really like Captain Boomerang II).

Date: 2006-10-22 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Grr... Not "Grace Chen", "Grace Choi". It's so much easier to remember ridiculous code names like "Captain Boomerang" than actual names ;-)

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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