Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Profile: Huntress 2

Helena Wayne/Bertinelli, Huntress 2
First appearance: originally during the pre-Crisis era in All-Star Comics #69 and DC Super-Stars #17 in December 1977, where she was first known as Helena Wayne, daughter of the Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman. In her daytime job then, she first worked as a lawyer. Her first post-Crisis appearance was in her own-titled series, The Huntress #1, in April 1989. This time, she was the daughter of an Italian mafia don who was murdered by a rival gang, and grew up with relatives in Sicily, later returning to the US to live and work as a high school teacher, and with her martial arts training, she took up the nighttime job as the Huntress.

Current status: member of Birds of Prey's cast.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: she’d been sexually abused as a child, and later on, in Batman’s No Man’s Land crossover in the late 1990s, she did not fare very well, if at all, in combatting the villains.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Her post-Crisis origin, which told of the abuse she suffered, was well handled. However, the misuse she underwent in No Man’s Land is another matter altogether, and a distasteful one at that. Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler, clearly wasn’t the only one who had problems in that weak item.

Huntress does fare a lot better now in Birds of Prey, where she’s become a leading ally to Barbara Gordon in crimefighting.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Profile: Marlo Chandler-Jones

Marlo Chandler-Jones
First appearance: The Incredible Hulk #347, 1988. She met Rick Jones, whom she’d later marry, through her first meeting the Hulk at the time he was rendered gray-skinned, in Las Vegas, where she worked as a call girl for a friendly casino owner who’d hired the Hulk as a security agent (under the name "Joe Fixit"). She also became a good friend of Betty Ross-Banner’s.

Current status: working as a talk show host(?)

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in 1992, she was murdered by Jackie Shorr, a psychotic woman posing as Rick’s mother, who’d once worked at the orphanages he’d lived at when he was a teenager, who was planning on killing him in her basement, but was later brought back to life when Rick made one of those Faustian deals, this one with the Leader, Sam Sterns, to use some technology he’d built in order to revive her. It worked, but she remained mindless for at least a few weeks before returning to full normal.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Not that much, except for the fact that I find it awfully annoying when they depict a woman as being the master planner behind what led to all this in the first place, namely Shorr, the former employee at Rick’s orphanage in Arizona. It really irritates me whenever that kind of a stereotype is featured. Are there not men who’re psychotic, and could do things like that too?

Was there anything good to come out of this? Marlo has since regained her life, little the worse for wear, and continued with a career she and Rick took up working on talk show hosting.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Record: Greg Rucka

Nope, even he’s not going to evade criticism here, as I’ve concluded. Because he too seems to have a few errors in his writing portfolio, not the least being that he can’t seem to resist working for money (or so it would seem). So, what examples can I dish out for him? Let’s see:
  • Sasha Bordeaux was his creation, if I’m not mistaken? Seems that she was intro’d simply for a few worthless reasons: so that she could be framed for the murder of onetime Bat-cast member Vesper Fairchild, and then suffer in jail at the hands of other violent inmates, as Bruce Wayne initially thought of abandoning her there(!). This was in order to create a rift between the two, as Sasha then is approached by some special agents for Checkmate, who offer her a job, and then fake her death as a way of slipping her out of prison. Batman eventually finds out, but after a heated discussion with Sasha, leaves her in peace.
  • There’s something very odd about Rucka’s leading us to wonder if Ares is doubling back on his bad ways again in Wonder Woman, but then, it’s Hera herself who ends up causing injury to the Amazons via their magical fountain when she gets angry at how Zeus is de-facto cheating on her with his voyeuristic scans of Themyscira. Why, when I think about it now, do I start to feel very unpleasantly annoyed at that?
  • Rucka was also involved in co-writing Countdown to Infinite Crisis, and in blasting Ted Kord, aka Blue Beetle, to death.
  • In the OMAC Project miniseries, Sasha is turned into a cyborg, though this is reversed later on in Infinite Crisis. (But don’t think that makes it any better!)
Rucka, as I’ve concluded, while he may have some credible writing in store, also possesses some very stupid and foolish examples as well, and may not be as worthy of handling any DC or Marvel books he’s writing as one might think.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Record: Judd Winick

I don’t own any of his books, and there are many stories he wrote that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. And here below are a handful of examples of what’s wrong with him, not the least being that he’s what’s come to be known today as a moonbat:
  • In 2003, he wrote Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, in which he killed off Donna Troy and Lilith Clay, the latter who’s been largely swept under the rug by DC since, and let’s just say that the women in that would-be miniseries virtually all come off badly there. It was one of the most rushed and worst items ever made.
  • In 2005, he co-wrote Countdown to Infinite Crisis, in which Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, was killed off in gruesome, excessive fashion.
  • When he took up writing Green Arrow, he wrote that Mia, who became a new Speedy, was infected with HIV in a forced storyline. Maybe not as bad as what Kevin Smith, when he intro’d her, did, but still uncalled for.
  • In the 57th issue of GA, Dr. Light gloats about the “joys” of rape. This issue was actually credited to a different writer(?), yet is written in a vicious manner not unlike Winick’s own forced manner of writing, to the point of where one can only wonder if what he did was hand a plot he’d done over to another writer in order to dodge any criticism on his part?
  • And speaking of vicious and forced, that could describe even his approach to writing on Green Lantern, Outsiders, and even Green Arrow too.
  • The lesbian subplot featured in the One Year Later storyline in Outsiders involving Thunder and Grace Choi was contrived and exploitive.
Winick is a very shameless writer whose works, when studying some of them more closely when possible, seem to have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. He’s really not worth anyone’s time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Profile: Jarella

First appearance: The Incredible Hulk 140, 1971. She was the queen of a magical kingdom on a subatomic planet called K’ai.

Current status: dead and buried

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in The Incredible Hulk #205 in 1976, she was killed by a falling slab of concrete from a damaged building while the Hulk was clashing with a robot called the Crypto-Man while saving a little boy from the same fate.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Nothing at all, really. It was pretty well handled in its time. Jarella died heroically while saving an innocent life from harm’s way.

Was there anything good to come out of this? Jarella’s story made for a very good one in its time. Even after her death, there was still much to be wrapped up, as the Hulk had to return her to her home planet where she could be given a decent burial, as was done in 1980.

It’s an all but overlooked story that, if and when published in trade paperback, would be quite worthwhile to try out.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Profile: Elektra

Elektra Nachios
First appearance: Daredevil #168 Vol. 1, 1979

Current status: wandering the globe, not knowing what to really do with herself, certainly not the writers.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: murdered in bloody fashion by Bullseye in Daredevil #181 Vol. 1, 1983, one of the most vile acts of his career, but was resurrected in four years later (or was it in DD #190?). Since then, she has reformed, but has found little purpose, artistically anyway.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Elektra is a rather complicated matter. It’s not that there was actually anything wrong with her being offed by Bulleye in the first place, unless you were to count that it was meant to influence Matt Murdock’s own development rather than hers. But while resurrection in comics, certainly for females, is something that’s actually welcome, in her case it’s fairly questionable, since the writers who took up tasks of working on her since then have not been able to figure out much else to do with her. In the late 1990s, there was a brief series produced in which she got assistance from Dr. Strange on some cases she’d been working on, but that didn’t amount to much. Then, a few years later, when the Marvel Knights line was still around, she got another series, but not only did that not last long either, they didn’t even try to come up with a solid direction for it either. It went through as many as 4-5 writers and no one seemed to be able to make any lasting impression on it, or didn't try to.

Was there anything good to come out of this? That all depends on anyone’s POV. Decidedly, I’m not going to really object to her being resurrected, but, if they can’t offer a steady direction for the femme fatale either, then they shouldn’t be trying to launch an ongoing series for Elektra. I figure in fairness that it was probably Joe Quesada’s fault in part, since he seemed only interested in cashing in on her “bad girl” appeal. So, that could be what caused the problems of recent.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Profile: Golden Glider

Lisa Snart, Golden Glider
First appearance: The Flash #250 Vol 1, 1977. The sister of Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold, she was co-created by Irv Novick, who gave her a costume design almost similar to one worn by Talia al-Ghul that he drew for her in the Batbooks.

Current status: dead

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: Mark Waid, when writing the 1992 Flash Annual, reverted her to her criminal status, after all the time when, since Barry Allen had died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, she’d reformed, not having any further purpose for being a criminal – the Flash was her only reason for being one, as she held him responsible for the death of her boyfriend, the Top, and wanted to seek revenge upon by targeting his loved ones, whether they be Iris West Allen or Barry’s parents. Then, in 1996, after being largely out of the picture for four years, Waid revealed her having been frozen to death by one of the Chillblaines she’d recruited as her crime partners/boyfriends.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Contrived, forced writing, for the purpose of bringing back an adversary who’d been effective in the time that Barry was around (her first three storylines were dynamite), but afterwards needed no more use as a criminal character. I remember reading Flash #18 Vol. 2, where she’d had a memorable role in the party the Rogues Gallery was holding as part of a reunion with a few other villains as well, and Waid decidedly didn’t respect what was done there by predecessor William Messner-Loebs. And then, after Waid had reverted her to being a criminal in the Flash Annual, he didn’t even make any more use out of her, and subsequently killed her off at the hands of one of her Chillblaines in 1996, when the latest one turned out to be smarter than he looked. Captain Cold later tracked down and killed this last one in 2002.

I know that with Iris West Allen returning to the picture in 1994, it’s not like Lisa Snart could’ve been a regular cast member or a friend of the main players so easily, since Iris had the most definite grudge against her and would no doubt have wanted to break her neck, but that doesn’t mean that they had to turn Lisa back into a crook again, even one who operated behind the scenes. That’s what’s come to be known as lazy writing, pure and simple.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Profile: Talia al-Ghul

Talia al-Ghul
First appearance: Detective Comics #441, May 1971

Current status: a villainess, thanks to possible manipulation by ways of both her father Ra’s al-Ghul and half-sister Nyssa.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in Batman: Death and the Maidens, she was captured and brainwashed by Nyssa as part of a revenge plot against Ra’s, but was actually part of a larger plot in which Ra’s plotted to convince or brainwash both daughters into accepting roles as leaders of his League of Assassins, and the Demon gang. She disavowed her love for Batman during this time and turned against him as a result of the torture she underwent at the hands of Nyssa (who appears to have since been killed by Cassandra Cain).

What’s wrong with how this was done? They ruined one of the best anti-heroines in comics, and one of the best recurring characters in the Batbooks. All of this was apparently done to coincide with “events” leading up to Infinite Crisis, and as a tie to Villains United. That could explain in part why I wouldn’t buy that miniseries even if I were paid the money for it.

The whole premise involving Nyssa, while we’re on the subject, is decidedly offensive, since it depicts her as even more one-dimensional in her whole notion of revenge than Magneto, who, like her, was also written as a Holocaust survivor. And something tells me that the reintroduction of Talia and Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian, into continuity in “Batman and Son” was also ill-advised.