Monday, May 21, 2007

Profile: Mera

First appearance: Aquaman #11, September-October 1963. While like her estranged husband, Aquaman, she too is a water-breather, she is a native of a different dimension who ended up in our world, falling in love with and marrying the Sea King.

Current status: in 2006, she led a small band of rebels and helped her husband, who was then a fugitive from Atlantis.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: after the death of her son at the hands of the mercenary Black Manta, she was driven insane, and later left her husband. For a time, she was stuck in an awful dimension called Netherworld but later returned. Later on, she was turned into an air-breather by the Sorcery Elite.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Still another needless case of a woman being driven insane, and unable to cope with reality. The story in which Black Manta murdered her son, by the way, when it was originally written in 1977 in Adventure Comics #452, was one of the most abominably scripted pieces of slop ever seen in its time, containing ludicrous tones of racism, and I certainly hope that since Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was reworked so that it wasn’t so offensive as it was implausible.

Was there anything good to come out of this? Mera has since regained her full water-breathing abilities, and while she and Aquaman may still be estranged, they’ve since reconciled.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Record: Joe Quesada

Now, here’s a wee bit of serious mistakes made by Marvel’s insular editor-in-chief, Quesada, comic artist and would-be writer who undeservedly ascended to the high position he’s currently got, where he allowed for discrimination to pass as legitimate in a couple items in past years. For example:
  • He allowed for J. Michael Straczynski, until recently the writer on Amazing Spider-Man, to tarnish the memory of Gwen Stacy in the abominable “Sins Past”, and even justified all this in a rock-bottom interview with Newsarama in 2004. He said: “Changing some of the Gwen backstory does little to affect the Peter/Spider-Man world outside of watching Peter grow as a character and the cast grow as people. It changes our way of thinking about Gwen, but she's been deader longer than many of our readers have been alive. Also, I think that when the story is finally told it makes her that more human to us and especially to Peter.” No more than this needs to be told, except that it just symbolizes the exceeding dishonesty to which many in comics have sunk to these days.
  • He allowed for Brian Bendis to perpetuate the sterotype of Hank Pym as a wife-beater in Avengers: Disassembled when he had Tony Stark, in one of many out-of-character moments, sarcastically ask, “don’t you got a wife to beat?” ECH! That was by far one of the ugliest cracks I’ve seen come down the pike as of recent.
  • He allowed for Scarlet Witch to be misused, turned into a lurid plot device in Avengers: Disassembled, all for the sake of Brian Bendis’ personal ideas of how to write a team book, rendering the book unrecognizable from it’s original conception. That she was more or less exonerated of any wrongdoing in the House of M crossover doesn’t excuse what came earlier, nor does it make the story any more readable.
  • His defense for using a manga-like cover for Heroes for Hire's 13th issue, which featured three girls tied up while menaced by tentacles was simply lethargic.
And there’s at least a handful of some of Quesada’s worst works as an editor. His departure from office is long overdue, though we must remember that this doesn’t mean that a better EIC will come along next. That’s only if we as fans do our part to work towards it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Profile: Ms. Marvel 2

Sharon Ventura, Ms. Marvel 2
First appearance: in the pages of The Thing.

Current status: unknown

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: through a similar situation to what the Fantastic Four went through (cosmic rays), she was turned into the She-Thing in 1989, and while she was cured of that, she was later turned into another beast, courtesy of Doctor Doom, who enslaved and depowered her in 1993. Finally, she underwent an even worse transformation that wrecked her mental capacity, eventually fleeing from Reed Richards’ lab while having cracked up completely, and fading into obscurity.

What’s wrong with how this was done? It was simply going way too far to the point of utter ludicrousness. Perfectly ghastly. If Marvel needed to break up Sharon and the Thing, there were plenty of better ways to do it without resorting to sending Sharon through some awful circumstances like what she went through in the mid-90s.

In FF #29 in 2000, she appeared as a member of the Frightful Four in its then incarnation. What a great idea, feature her being exploited even more, right? And she wasn’t even rescued from her dire predicament then either.