Friday, June 29, 2007

Record: Bill Willingham

A writer whose works strike me as being more than bit overrated, but whose work on a few DC titles has certainly raised my eyebrows in concern. These include the following:
  • In Robin, he put in quite a few negative swipes at females. For example, at the beginning, there was a female contract shooter tracking the Teen Wonder. Then, there were two of the mercenary Ravens, featured during the Batman: War Games crossover, all for the sake of it. And then, to hammer things to the very bottom, we had Spoiler being tortured by Black Mask…with a drill. She died later on the operating table in the Batcave, and the Masked Manhunter showed no genuine sorrow over her death.
  • The above was made even worse in a subsequent story called War Crimes in Detective Comics where Leslie Thompkins says that she let Spoiler die to teach Batman a lesson about the perils of being a vigilante and superhero. She even invites him to shoot her dead with a firearm because she doesn’t have the courage to do it herself, of all the ludicrous things that could be thought of for a story like this.
  • In the Day of Vengeance miniseries, he turned Jean Loring, in a continuation of the villification she underwent in Identity Crisis, into a female version of Eclipso, for the purpose of influencing the Spectre to destroy magic in the DC universe. The worst part about it was that, as told by Columbus Alive, some of the dialect in the beginning part sounded like a woman being sexually harrassed.
A writer who writes crass ideas like that does not deserve to be working in entertainment. And it makes no difference whether the story is for adults, it would be distasteful at any time. Willingham should be ignored as a comics writer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Record: Brian Michael Bendis

What is so great about Bendis anyway? This hugely overrated writer with an inexplicable following based on his name alone may have first begun his career as a novelist, but certainly came to prominence following his work on Powers for Image Comics. While he may have come up with some effective women in the books he’s written, he’s still pulled some sexist acts, which I’ll try to highlight below.
  • In Avengers: Disassembled, we have the notorious case of Scarlet Witch going insane because she failed to have children, a storyline based on one of John Byrne’s worst works from 1990. She even sends the She-Hulk berserk during this. The worst part is how it invokes the stereotype of women being unable to cope with power.
  • Another one of the worst things about Disassembled was how it regurgitated the Hank Pym as abuser stigma: another character, possibly Tony Stark, asks Hank, “don’t you got a wife to beat?” It’s as offensive to Janet as it is to Hank, who does not deserve this kind of character assassination by now.
  • In the 26th issue of the current Avengers volume, he wrote a supremely silly story where Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch have a tryst without even trying to solve anything. Problem with this is how it made Wanda seem more like an airhead than anything else. It was a really dumb story that didn’t serve much purpose other than to seemingly assure readers that Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch are okay and little the worse for wear, yet at the same time did not seem to be written out of love for the characters.
  • He killed off the Wasp during Secret Invasion, one of the awful crossovers published in 2008.
Based on that and how Bendis has basically taken the Avengers and far removed them from the core premise and structure, that’s exactly why I can’t understand what’s so great about him. And I’d be very happy if, just like Joe Quesada, he would just leave Marvel already.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Profile: Arisia

First appearance: Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, May 1981

Current status: discovered alive and well on the Manhunter world of Biot.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: once, she received a blow to the head that caused her amnesia. She got over that, but was far from being in shape to be a GL again for a while. In Guy Gardner #43, she was choked to death by Major Force, a short while before he murdered Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend Alexandra.

What’s wrong with how this was done? It was really sick, and just symbolized what had gone wrong with some comics during the 1990s. Or, more precisely, it was Major Force who did. He has got to be one of the most superfluous of murderous villains in any comics universe.

Was there anything good to come out of this? Finally, in the 12th issue of the fourth GL volume, resurrected Hal Jordan finds her in a cocoon state on the planet of Biot, the Manhunters’ home planet. It turns out that her race had some healing abilities that revived her while she was buried underground. There’s the good news for you. But as far as death in the DCU is concerned, DC Comics still has a long way to go in order to restore credibility.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Profile: Diamond Lil

Lillian Crawley-Jeffries, Diamond Lil
First appearance: Alpha Flight #1 Vol. 1, August 1983. She is the ladyfriend/wife of Madison Jeffries.

Current status: after taking up a sanctuary offer with the Xavier Institute post-House of M, she was among several to leave the grounds along with a strange figure called Mister M.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: from what I can tell of her background, she seems to have been a character who underwent a lot of suffering. She also joined up with the supercrook team of Omega Flight, a rival of Alpha’s, but was later pardoned for it. The most bizarre story was probably when she was discovered to have developed what was initially thought to be a kind of breast cancer tumor, and the problem was that her skin was too hard to penetrate in order to analyze the problem. It was after an alien encounter that she obtained a tool to do so properly, but it turned out to be just an infected cyst. She’d also been exploited by the (Canadian) government.

What’s wrong with how this was done? The supposed breast cancer she developed and the need for proper surgery is so bizarre, it’s…well, ridiculous! And that alone for now is the best example of excessive storytelling I can find here.

Of all the characters to inhabit Alpha Flight, I figure Lillian probably had it the worst.