Sunday, September 16, 2007

Profile: May Parker

Aunt May Parker
First appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962

Current status: last time I looked, she’d been sent into a coma in Amazing Spider-Man #544, September 2007.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: less than four years after she’d passed away in Amazing Spider-Man #400 during 1994, in what was meant to be a moving swan song at the time and could’ve been a perfect way for her to end her role in Spider-Man’s world, Bob Harras, then EIC at Marvel, decided to have her brought back from the dead by rewriting her “death” at the time as really being a DNA-duplicated actress hired by the Green Goblin to pretend she was Aunt May, while the real one was kidnapped and put in suspended animation, for what true purpose I have no idea. And, at the end of ASM’s Civil War tie-in, she took a horrendous gunshot wound that was meant for Mary Jane. The result was that she ended up in a coma.

What’s wrong with how this was done? In the case of her death by natural causes being undone, that was uncalled for, and was incredibly stupid. Especially when, in the ill-conceived “Final Chapter” (and we all know where that got us, eh?) told that she had a noxious implant inside her head that could kill her, even through detonation (don’t ask). Considering that, like I said, she died by natural causes (until that was contradicted, of course) that’s what made it by far the most tastefully done demise in years. She had served her purpose, and now, Spidey and Mary Jane could move on to other things (unless we talk about the horrid writing that followed, and marked the beginning of the end for Spidey in terms of quality writing to date). But alas, Harras had to ruin everything for a character who could’ve gotten the best send-off of all (it was J.M. DeMatties who’d written it with assistance from Stan Lee), leading to little more than what’s happened now in Civil War, a total disaster.

And now, the most irritating thing going on is aunt May’s coma situation caused by her injury. I really didn’t like J. Michael Stracynski’s characterization of Aunt May when he was writing the book, and the storyline in ASM #544, which he’s also written, is not going to bring me back to reading it, no matter what Aunt May’s fate turns out to be. And until Joe Quesada leaves office, ditto.

Thanks a lot, Bob Harras. You just had to bring poor May back for this gruesome ordeal.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Profile: Aurora

Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, Aurora
First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #120, April 1979. Jeanne-Marie Beaubier began her superheroine career as a member of Alpha Flight.

Current status: hanging around the X-Mansion more recently.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: multiple personality disorder, and went through a beating at the hands of Malcolm Colcord, the director of Weapon X, a character created by Frank Tieri.

What’s wrong with how this was done? The split personalities Jeanne-Marie went through are mind-numbingly ghastly, and indicative of her creator John Byrne’s odd penchant for writing a few of the women in his books as going crazy (a definite example: Scarlet Witch, whom he sent insane during his run on West Coast Avengers, and also Tigra).

She may not have been as badly written as her twin brother Northstar ended up being, but still, that’s just simply horrendous! I sometimes wonder if John Byrne, who’d once lived in Canada but is said not to have liked it there, was taking a swipe at the Francophones through characters like her. The abuse she suffered at the hands of Colcord is also despicable.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Profile: Courtney Ross

Courtney Ross
First appearance: Captain Britain Weekly #3, 1976. She was a college girlfriend of Brian Braddock who later became a banking official.

Current status: dead

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: she was kidnapped by Arcade and taken to “Murderworld” where she was forced to perform comedy in order to survive before being rescued by Excalibur. But in what’s surely got to be the most insane thing I’ve ever heard of: a counterpart from an alternate universe named Opal Lun Sat-Yr9 (and there was even another one from still another alternate world who was simply called Saturnyne) wiped her out and took up use of her identity, and since may still be going by the real Courtney’s identity.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Ugh, the second example I gave there has got to be the most mind-numbingly awful thing ever to take place in comics. And it only furthers my fears that the X-Men may have had more deaths of worthy supporting characters that I might’ve thought too. What's dismaying is how Claremont makes her very likable, then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he has her terminated. This is an early example of a story that deep-sixed the potential of a well-written supporting character by doing something unexpected, yet that adds little to later stories.

The otherworldly counterpart may have turned up during House of M, but the real Courtney apparently remains dead. Killing off characters rather than to just let them drop out of sight is simply a terrible idea by now.