Monday, August 28, 2006

Profile: Dr. Light 2

Kimiyo Hoshi, Dr. Light 2
First appearance: during Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985

Current status: as far as I know, she’s in okay shape, and was recuperating in the hospital. More on this below.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in Green Arrow #54-55 in 2005, during all the hogwash going in between Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis, the male Dr. Light (whose first name is Arthur), in a continuation of the out-of-character depiction first ascribed to him by Brad Meltzer in Identity Crisis, scuffled with her and upon knocking her unconscious, siphoned some of her own power for his own use. She didn’t die, but she did end up in the hospital.

What’s wrong with how this was done? One big mistake is that Hoshi was being brought back only so that she could serve as a kind of plot device – though she didn’t die from Arthur Light’s attack on her, she was still just there so she could be injured. But that’s not all. In Green Arrow #57, Arthur Light gloated about the “joys” of rape, as if they couldn’t have made him any more loathsome and out-of-character than they already did.

In fact, that’s what really makes the whole story in Green Arrow during the Infinite Crisis standoff a megabomb disaster. Because it was yet more tiresome shock tactics, that also do little more than to destroy a rogues gallery villain whose past history shows that he never committed acts like rape before, nor did he gloat about it. And Kimiyo Hoshi deserves much better than even a story where she’s wounded and spends time in the hospital.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Profile: Jocasta

First appearance: Avengers #162, 1978. Originally built by Ultron to be his robotic bride, during which time he unsuccessfully tried to subject the Wasp to a brain-drain in his secret HQ in Nassau County, New York so that her thought patterns would animate those of his mechanical bride, Jocasta developed an independent mind of her own, and became a regular member of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Current status: since then, she appears to have been sent to the scrap heap.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: in Marvel Two-In-One #92-93, while battling her own creator, Ultron, alongside the Thing and Machine Man, she was destroyed. In Avengers Annual #17, she was rebuilt, only to be demolished once again.

What’s wrong with how this was done? A weak way to get rid of even a mechanical maiden, and her being repaired in the Avengers Annual #17 just so that she could be blown to smithereens again was appalling.

In Iron Man Annual #11, her head, of all things, was given to Madam Menace, supposedly for repairing, but it appears that she never tried to rebuild her, or anything else.

(There was a Machine Man miniseries once that had Madam Menace rebuilding Jocasta in an alternative future world, but again, they avoided any genuine attempt to bring her back, ditto the possibilities of character development. Considering that they pulled it off so well with the Vision, himself a machine, one would have to think they could do something similar with Jocasta, but, as in quite a few other cases, female character/story development was avoided.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Profile: Raven

First appearance: DC Comics Presents #26, 1980

Current status: returned in the third volume of Teen Titans in 2003 in a new body of her own.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: the Titans may have said they’d like to help rid her of the curse she was burdened with ever since Trigon birthed her through the rape of her mother, Arella. But for a long time, they did not make good on their promises, taking far too long to deal with her own problems. Later on, she was corrupted by Trigon into becoming evil, though after the Terror of Trigon storyline in 1984, she was freed from this tyrant’s grasp when he died. But, in 1986, she was corrupted again by Brother Blood’s gang on their convicts island, during which time Dick Grayson had been taken hostage there and brainwashed as well, and the Titans had to rescue them. Several years later, in 1993, she turned to evil again, and attacked Nightwing and Starfire at their wedding ceremony (in the end, the marriage was not to be). In 1996, towards the end of New Titans, the heroes destroyed her body, freeing her from much of the curse she was under until then, and she was free to reassess her place in the universe. Several years after that, however, Brother Blood, in the guise of a teenaged minor, resurrected her into a new body.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Well it wasn’t that the Titans’ negligence ended up leaving her vulnerable to an attack by Raven’s father, Trigon, that was the problem. She had actually been freed of a lot of the landmines that made experiencing human emotions exceedingly difficult circa 1987, after the battle against Brother Blood at the time. No, what was the problem was that they had to revert back to this in New Titans #100, and for heaven’s sake, what was the whole point of influencing Starfire to go on a journey into space just to be a distance from Raven’s evil side?

And to be honest, Raven’s own story ended with her becoming free of her flesh in 1996, and I’d have to think that she’d be much happier by not having to be returned to a life in flesh and blood again. So if you ask me, bringing Raven back in the third volume of Teen Titans (this is sans the “new” in any of these titles, of course), was as uncalled for as a lot of other stories where the character’s own personal tale and odyssey ended after a specific time.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Profile: Black Cat

Felicia Hardy, Black Cat
First appeared: Amazing Spider-Man #194, 1979

Current status: the reformed cat-burglar is keeping on with her since role as a crime-fighter and ally to Spider-Man with a tongue-in-cheek personality.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: in Kevin Smith’s Spider-Man: Black Cat miniseries, which took almost two years to complete, Felicia was revealed to have been raped during her college years. Surprise, surprise.

What’s wrong with how this was done? It’s kicking a dead horse in utter aggravation. After more than a ton of dud storylines in a whole shipload of different comics, several that were mentioned here already, in which women are raped either as plot devices, motivations for the male hero or in ways that make it seem as though the heroine only woke up to reality through her own personal victimization, this was really a giant punch in the face to the audience.

The Black Cat miniseries was said to be a lead-in for a potential ongoing series for Felicia, but, partly due to the incredible lateness that kept it from being finished on time, it was not to be. Hopefully, the possibilities of the story’s being in regular continuity are not to be either. Felicia Hardy deserves much better than this.