Saturday, February 23, 2008

Profile: Supergirl 1

Kara Zor-El, Supergirl 1
First appearance: Action Comics #252, 1959. Her reintroduction was in Superman/Batman #8, 2004.

Current status: member of DCU again.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: during the Bronze Age, when she first had a solo series during the early 1970s, she’d be depicted quite a few times reacting to a failed romance by sobbing. Since her re-intro, or during the time between then and early 2007, they overly sexualized her with the way they draw her skirt almost sliding off her hips on the cover art. (Example: issue #21 of the current series.)

What’s wrong with how this was done? Her characterization during the early 70s was awkward at best and hardly at all a good way to depict someone dealing with failed love life. And today, as welcome as Kara’s return to the DCU is, it was still very awkward. To make her a beautiful Maiden [of Might] is important, certainly, but that doesn’t mean they should overly sexualize her, as they seem to have done since 2004.

Most surprisingly, no serious attempt has been made to give her an ongoing secret ID and regular civilian life, nor has she gotten any supporting cast of her own. Instead, we seem to have a case of the pointless Captain Boomerang Junior being a special guest star, as well as the various other DCU members who’ve made too many guest appearances since the series began.

But the most disturbing thing of all about whatever direction they’ve attempted to set up is that Kara may or may not have been assigned by her father Zor-El to slay Superman(!) out of a family-based grudge. The way they kept at this, you’d think it was some kind of a tasteless running gag. And that he may have even used her as a tool, either for slaying, or for exorcism of evil spirits that possessed some Kryptonians after being released from the Phantom Zone. A ludicrous, nigh-offensive story this was, co-written by Mark Sable, that may have (hopefully) been abandoned after issue #19.

Since Kara’s new series began in 2005, it’s lost a considerable amount of audience, and I suspect the only reason it got as much of an audience as it did when it began was because Jeph Loeb, at least at that time, was the writer. And thanks to their disinterest in allowing the writers a free reign to establish a secret ID and supporting cast, that may have been what really lost the new series its audience, with little garuntee for now that it’ll be able to regain it again successfully.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Profile: Big Barda

Big Barda
First appearance: Mister Miracle #4, Vol. 1, October 1971. A most interesting twist Jack Kirby gave when creating her is that she is physically stronger than her husband, and is very protective of him.

Current status: apparently dead.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: during John Byrne’s run on Action Comics, in issues #592-593, a evictee from Apokalips named Sleez (getting the picture?) captures her and uses mind control to enslave her and also Superman when he comes to rescue her, subsequently pimping both of them out to a porn producer! Later, in 2007, in one fell swoop, she was killed in the first issue of the Death of the New Gods miniseries.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Does Byrne’s weird little story in Action Comics sound exploitative? You don't even know the half of it. As for Death of the New Gods - no fight till her last gasp, no nothing. She just turned up dead on the floor of hers and Mister Miracle's suburban house in Connecticut, and whether it was one of Darkseid’s minions who did her in is not important, it’s that DC editorial turned her into yet one more sacrifice for the sake of pointless “events” that is. A grave disservice was done to an excellent warrior.

I don’t what is to come of Final Crisis, and I honestly do not care. This is just one more death being done in advance to a crossover that was uncalled for.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Profile: Meggan

First appearance: Mighty World of Marvel #7, 1983. As a mutant human, she was born during a blizzard, and adapted to the weather by growing special fur. She fell in love with Brian Braddock, the former Capt. Britain, and they were married for a time.

Current status: unknown since House of M.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: she had a rather strange upbringing as a child, being naïve and detached from reality. Because her parents were scared that she’d be persecuted (she was born near the site of an ancient British castle where dark magic was said to dwell), they hid her in their trailer where she watched a lot of television, and thought that Gerry Anderson’s world on television was real. Later on, during House of M, to stem a tidal wave of multiple realities coming from the Omniverse, she sacrificed herself to stop a lot of the chaotic energies coming from it.

What’s wrong with how this was done? House of M, which was an extension of Avengers: Disassembled, is just as awful as the previous miniseries and crossovers connected with it. By tossing away Meggan, that’s one of the ways in which Marvel has paralyzed character development, and, just like the One More Day story in Spider-Man, they threw out some good potential for really exploring the relationship of a married couple.

Brian Braddock as well as his sister Betsy, are now, for all I know, stuck in the paralell realities seen in Exiles, and I doubt that much could come from that.