Thursday, January 31, 2008

Profile: Power Girl

Karen Starr, Power Girl
First appearance: All-Star Comics #58, Jan/Feb 1976. She was created by Gerry Conway as the cousin of the Earth-2 Superman, though it was Paul Levitz who did much of the writing for her at the time.

Current status: member of Justice Society in its current formation.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: during the time she was with Justice League International, she was depowered so that she was considerably less tough than Superman, and Gerard Jones, when he took up the writing, would write sexist jokes at her expense. She was once impregnated by the magics of Arion in a storyline that tied in with Zero Hour, where her “son” Equinox fought a villain called Scarabus and then promptly disappeared. In Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime turns her into a “tuning fork” to be used by one of the Lex Luthor clones from the new Multiverses introduced before she’s rescued from it. There was also a pointless battle between her and the new incarnation of Kara Zor-El featured in the current Supergirl series.

What’s wrong with how this was done? The sexist jokes made about her in JLI under Jones' pen were questionable, and may need to be taken with a grain of salt. Infinite Crisis was overrated and little more than a pointless extension of the insults already seen in Identity Crisis. The battle between Karen Starr and Kara Zor-El was the work of Jeph Loeb; an overrated pastiche.

Seeing how bad Zero Hour was, I think that’s why the pregnancy was more pointless than need be too.

We could probably add how DC’s writers never gave a proper origin post-Crisis on Infinite Earths. Somehow, the angle that Geoff Johns went for doesn’t seem right, or it was done at the wrong time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Record: Jeph Loeb

I’ve thought about the works of Loeb for some time now. As far as I know, he may have first worked as an assistant to Steven Spielberg years ago in his former Amblin production company before he began to write comic books beginning in the early to mid-1990s. More recently, he’s been a producer for Heroes on TV, and has even written for Smallville and Lost. But, studying his works of the past decade, I’ve had to come to the conclusion that he’s an awfully overrated writer with very questionable elements featured in his writing, and I’ll try here to list some of them.
  • When Loeb first helmed the Superman/Batman team-up series, where the new take on Kara Zor-El first made her modern-day debut, he had her climb out of the spacecraft her father sent her in to escape Krypton’s destruction…naked. She then walked around Gotham, in whose vicinity she’d landed, that way, before getting a drape to over herself in. This had the fairly unpleasant effect of over-sexualizing the Maiden of Might, which ended up becoming a notable problem when her ongoing series began a year afterwards. And while the midriff costume she wears now is fine, the way that they took to oversexualizing her ruined everything, and I certainly did not like the overly sexualized costume she wore when she was captured and brainwashed briefly by Darkseid’s minions.
  • In the third chapter of the Supergirl reintro story, a young girl called Harbinger was killed by Darkseid’s minions on Themyscira with very little serious emotion involved. Just when Kara had the chance of finding a friend who could appear in a recurring role.
  • In a following story published in Superman/Batman #15, the Man of Steel and the Masked Manhunter enter an alternate universe where Superman breaks the neck of an alternate world version of Wonder Woman with her own lasso. Perfectly awful.
  • When Loeb launched the new Supergirl series, he began very sloppily with stories like where Kara ended up fighting Power Girl rather a supervillain, and even an evil duplicate of herself. The start of the series was dreadful, and because of likely editorial edictions that followed even after Loeb left, it lost a lot of audience. Suffice it to say that Supergirl was never given an actual secret ID to date, another big problem with Kara's reintroduction.
  • In the third issue of the third volume of the Ultimates, Loeb did what Mark Millar may have only hinted at – he openly revealed the Ultimate versions of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as having an incestuous relationship, and even wrote Ultimate Tony Stark having a sex-tape scandal. Oh, did I mention the drug abuse and even some of the gore injected into that third issue? Guess I needn’t continue then.
There may be some more questionable steps that Jeph Loeb took in his writing at other times too, but that’s what I can find for now. And I think that people should really consider that a writer who sinks into that kind of shock tactic writing is really not someone – or something – to crow over. Loeb has succeeded in making me feel more and more disgusted at his writing as the years have gone by, and that until now, he may have succeeded in raking in tons of sales is disturbing. With lurid stuff like the above examples to his record, I don’t see why anyone with common sense should have to waste their time on him. He’s just one of various writers who’ve shown why the comics medium is losing audience and respect these days.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Profile: Marvel Girl 2

Rachel Summers, Marvel Girl 2
First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #141, January 1981. She was the daughter of Jean Grey from what turned out to be an alternate future (going by what Alan Moore once established, that would be Earth 811), and was a member of both X-Men and Excalibur for many years.

Current status: last time I checked, she’d taken up the title of Marvel Girl.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: Rachel once tried to settle a grudge with Selene Gallio, a member and Black Queen of the Hellfire Club who’d either committed some murders or tried to (Uncanny X-Men #207). But before Rachel could finish off Selene after besting her in a clash, Wolverine arrived on the scene and stopped her by stabbing her in the chest. Later, suffering from grave injuries, she was lured into Mojoworld where she ended up at the mercy of Spiral.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Many know that Logan, aka Wolverine, didn’t have a problem with killing criminals himself, right? So what’s the whole point of his stopping Rachel from giving Gallio a ticket to the morgue for her crimes, other than trying to stop her from claiming his title as the best at what he does? I see none. It was pure theater of the absurd, and made Wolverine look like a hypocrite.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, she’d been tortured by Spiral when trapped in Mojoworld, and was fortunate enough to escape there later on. (That she had possesion of the Phoenix Force for a time may have been tacky though.) She later took up the title once held by her mother, as Marvel Girl.