Saturday, February 04, 2006

My Bookmarks

I'm going to make myself scarce for a couple of weeks.

I'll be back.

Probably when you've all forgotten about this place.

(Don't worry, I'll get all of your attention back somehow)

In the meantime, amuse yourselves with my archives, my livejournal archives, my blogroll, and the following links from my bookmarks (haven't decided who to add to the blogroll yet).

Click Here for More Links
The Order of the Stick


Aiee! Run from Kelvin's Brainsplurge!
Blog This, Pal!
The Beat
Beetle's Nest
Big Monkey Comics
A Blog Found On a Garbage Heap
The Bricktosser
Broken Glass Makes Me Laugh
Center of Gravitas
Comic Book Hoedown
Comic Book Liberation Army
Comic Book Lovers Anonymous
Comics and More
Comics Worth Reading
The Comic Treadmill
Crisis/Boring Change
Dial B for Blog
A Distant Soil
An Ear in the Fireplace
Every Woman is a Goddess
The Feminist Rage Page
Ferret Press/PANEL Weblog
Fortress of Fortitude
Funnybook Musings
The Gentle Scent of Pee in your Longbox
Glyphs: The Language of the Black Comics Community
The Great Curve
Greywing's Journal
The Happy Feminist
Heo Cwaeth
The House of L
Howling Curmudgeons
The Johnny Bacardi Show
I am not the Beastmaster
Ilyka Damen
Infinite Opinions
Ink and Incapability
Jog the Blog
Lucky White Girl
Mad Melancholic Feminista
Matter Eater Blog
Mixed Message
Near Mint Heroes
Official Blog
One Woman Army
Pen-Elayne on the Web
Photon Torpedoes
Precocious Curmudgeon
Quotes Previously From the Door of 707 Beaver
Random Generation
Reading Along
Resplendant Beard
Royal Academy of Illustration and Design
The Sapient Sutler
Scans Daily
Serenity's Journal
The Silent Accomplice
Strange Visitor
Utopian Hell
When Will the Hurting Stop?
Where the Cosmic Buffalo Roams
Who is Bejamin Stove?
The Word on the Sprog
Writing It Slant
Ye Olde Comic Blogge
Yet Another Comics Blog
Your Comic Fix

The Smartest Lantern

Get your copy of JLA/Avengers #3 out.

Don't have one available? Well, here's the cover.

I'll also provide some handy visual aids.

The apparent premise of this cover is everyone who has ever been in any form of the Avengers, and everyone who has ever been in any incarnation of the Justice League is rushing to battle. Apparently, against Krona. It's definitely some reality-altering menace, so they need to bring reality-altering heroes to fight it.

I decided to examine who was the smartest Green Lantern, based on who they have chosen to bring to the fight.

Click Here for the Results

First up is Jade.

According to my key, she's carrying Nikki, Captain America, Madame Masque, Crystal (of the Inhumans), Hercules, Zan and Jayna, Despero's body as inhabited by L-Ron.

(Ralph and Sue don't count, as it's Ralph who's carrying Sue and supporting himself here)

This is a force to be reckoned with, maybe. But I don't see these guys beating Krona. However, I'll admit, she makes a good show.

Moving Clockwise from Jennie, we have Kilowog. Kilowog is bringing Major Disaster, Charlie 27, Aleeta, Demolition, and Cluemaster.

Guess he was pressed for time, because these guys aren't much help either.

Captain Comet, Adam Strange, and Captain Atom don't count, but they certainly do look pretty.

Guy Gardner. Who've we brought today, Guy? "Mockingbird, Steel II, Maxima, General Glory, Red Tornado II, and Big Sir." Oh, Guy, you poor man. You don't stand a chance with this backup.

Hope you packed the Vuldarian powers.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr John Stewart.

He's usually considered the smartest one, and makes a good case for it here.

He's bringing the Scarlet Witch, Mantis, Zatanna, and Sersi.

That's the lightest load for maximum power there. Scarlet Witch and Zatanna alone have been shown to be able to rewrite reality.

They don't make it to the battle, though. Poor Zatanna spends the whole time fighting Wanda after someone mentions her "kids" and she goes bonkers again. John is knocked unconscious and becomes amnesiac for a few issues, Sersi and Mantis die (and no one misses them), before Zatanna emerge victorious. She has no choice but to wipe Wanda's memory and make her good again. She misses the real fight as she struggles with the moral implications of this. She's right to feel guilty, as Zatanna's actions cause "Avengers Disassembled" and "House of M."

Hal Jordan is bringing nobody.

I can't decide if he's lazy or overconfident.

Or both.

Next up is Kyle Rayner. Normally, Kyle's a heavy hitter all on his own in the cosmic scale. He has been the only one to consistently thwart Parallax on every occasion they run across each other. I guess this has boosted his confidence, because he didn't even try to collect anyone better than Doorman, Agent Liberty, Jocasta, Twin Crimson Foxes, Big Bertha, Rage, and Lobo.

I almost gave him points for Big Bertha. If anyone can finally get rid of that damned Czarnian, I'm confident it's her. But we all know the true power in the Great Lakes Avengers is Squirrel Girl. Without her, they don't stand a chance.

And finally, we have G'nort.

G'nort is bringing Dale Gunn, Maria Brandon, Oberon, Snapper Carr, Maxwell Lord, Catherine Cobert, Jason Blood, Glen Gammeron, Rick Jones, the Mighty Bruce, and Henry Pym.

Now, Pym aside, this is some serious firepower here. G'nort's group includes a 500 year old magician who is bonded to Etrigan the Demon, a short elderly man who regularly hangs out with one of Dark Seid's favorite targets, a Frenchwoman (Not to be confused with a Frenchman), a non-powered guy with no special skills who regularly teams up with the Hulk and Captain America and Captain Marvel (the crappy Marvel one), the most annoying Person in the DC Universe (*snap* *snap*), a telepath who was using Superman as a puppet under such control that Wonder Woman felt it was necessary to snap his neck, and a middle-aged balding mechanic who had Vixen and Zatanna fighting over his affections.

Forget Scarlet Witch and Zatanna. G'nort's brought people who can make reality sit up and beg.

Ladies, and Gentlemen, this proves that G'Nort Esplanade Gneesmacher is the DC Universe's Smartest Green Lantern

I'm scared too.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Green Arrow

Shortly after Identity Crisis, I was getting sick of Green Arrow. I mean, he showed up everywhere, was very useless, kept spouting the same caricatured rhetoric, and had a tendancy to screw things up for other heroes.

Then Green Lantern #7 came out.


I love Hal too much to deny him hugs.

And Ollie knows just how to turn him so that the readers are happy.

Always Remember

(Just the end of my Reflections and Reactions post removed and separated, no new info but Spoiler Warnings Apply)

Only one thing is certain at this point...Major Infinite Crisis/Rann-Thanagar War Spoilers

(Why, no, I couldn't resist)

(And Dorian'll be gone long enough that by the time he adds it to the list it might not need a spoiler warning)

Reactions and Reflections

Written by Dave Gibbons; Art by Ivan Reis and Marc Campos; Cover by Gibbons and Michael Bair

Infinite Crisis is here and the Cosmic Storm rages out of control, threatening the fate of the entire universe! While the Rannian and Thanagarian flagships each suspect that the other is responsible for the disturbances, Donna Troy must lead her team of space champions into the cosmos in an attempt to prevent total destruction. But as the war rages on, a startling discovery will be uncovered, one hero will be forever changed, and another will make the ultimate sacrifice.

Guess what I read today.

Spoilers Ahead Pertaining to the Strong Text

Consider Yourself Warned

Read the Spoilers

I should be happy. She's dead, gone. I never have to suffer through another Jade story (unless, of course, they resurrect her -- a possibility which I shall ignore for the purposes of this essay). With her dead, a female Lantern from the Corps will take prominence. My gender will no longer be represented by a character who isconsistentlyy weaker than the others.

I have reason enough to dislike her, I'm not the only one, and I expected this. I've been asking for this for a while now, and not asking gently even. I've been screaming for her head. On a pike. Placed outside the newly-built home of a resurrected Katma Tui.

She'd been in Infinity Inc, that's where she was born. Infinity Inc was the spinoff of the JSA team and the All-Star Squadron book. The members were the various children of the JSA, who were not accepted by their parents so they formed their own team. It was 80s Bronze Age, soapy comics. Nowhere near as flashy or exciting as the late 90s JLA stuff where Kyle Rayner cut his teeth, but it was loved by its loyal readers. It was personal level book, personal threats, personal stories. Soapy. They mainly dealt with their own private problems and JSA leftovers. It wasn't even the hybrid of soap and widescreen action the current JSA is, it was mainly soap. In hindsight, no one could really be impressed with a tenure on Infinity Inc in a world with the JLA. Except for a few teamups with the rest of the Universe (All-Star Squadron, Crisis on Infinite Earths), Jennie never got to save the world.

After this team disbanded, the members floated all over the DCU. She was in a reality TV show, did some nude pictures, and worked a little with the Justice League.

She was an unused Lantern character who was plopped into the title as a supporting cast member. When Donna Troy was pulled, she was there. It was too simple to turn her into a love interest. They didn't think this through. Green Lantern, since the Silver Age, has been a space-faring concept. Kyle would eventually go to space. His creator has said, several times, that his intention was to restart the GLC with Kyle.

I think it's because of this spacefarer concept that the rotating love interest was started with Hal (They introduced Iona Vane within the first ten issues), even though Hal was primarily Earthbound. Any Lantern love interest stood the chance of not being permanent. Hell, this was Kyle's third shot, odds were, it was going to be changed later on. That's the nature of this franchise.

Jennie's family ties were a blessing and a curse in this aspect. The daughter of the Golden-Age Green Lantern, the man who was Kyle's chief mentor figure. Storywise, it was as natural as an apprentice falling for his master's daughter. It held the same promise. Kyle would inherit the Golden Age Legacy of Green Lantern like the "family business." Very natural, very wonderful on the surface. Not very permanent, as Kyle had already inherited the Silver Age Legacy. Withh the revolving Love interest and the responsibility to the extra-terrestrial. Sooner or later, he was going to go, and she was going to go elsewhere. Here's where those family ties became a curse, because Kyle's tie to the Golden Age legacy becamedependentt on his good standing with Jade.

Plots and enemies for Jennie are easily forgotten. She never had an enemy all her own. Her most notable adventures were tied to her family -- the ones with her boyfriend, the ones with her brother, and of course Sentinel: Heart of Darkness, titled for her father -- where she made her best show, but lost her powers. Closest thing to a nemesis -- Her crazed ex-boyfriend Brainwave Jr (now sane), who fought her father more often. Her biggest events involved losing and regaining her powers.

Jade was a mediocre character.

And I hated her for it. It wasn't for the cheating storyline, though that was poorly thought out and had too many irritating consequences that could only be undone with her death. No, it was for her sheer unimpressiveness. She was a Lantern longer than Guy or Kyle, but never seemed nearly as skilled. She was not anywhere close to as creative as Kyle. Hee wasn't even particularly brave or smart. She was, with one exception (the storyline in which she lost her powers) consistently portrayed as less powerful than her boyfriend, her father, or any normal Corpsman.

The day Fatality showed up, and Kyle had to save Jennie's older, more experienced butt from a villain he'd beaten as a rookie, my sister and I dropped the book. We swore off Green Lantern, for a while. I discovered back issues, where Arisia was particularly brave, Katma as faithful, idealistic and creative as Kyle, Boodika and Laira were skilled fighters equal to anyone in the rest of the books. These past females were fascinating, but they were dead, discarded, and forgotten.

Jade, however, had survived a Lantern-wide purge and a cursed boyfriend through the grace of her family ties.

I always had problems with that aspect of her concept. Jade was guaranteed a certain amount of panel-time due to comic-book nepotism. She inherited, if not in-character, butmetatextuallyy, a certain amount of status from her father. She was a princess, present in stories because of her royal connections. The plotlines were dependent on her father, her brother, or her boyfriend. She was defined by them, she was "the Good Daughter" "The Strong Sister" and "The Supportive Lover/Helper" -- she was teacher, mother, daughter, sister, nuturer to the men of the Green Lantern books. She was always defined as reliable and skilled in dialogue. Nightwing called her a "veteran," Kyle called her "the better hero" and Kilowog described her as a "True Lantern" -- she's never had any actions to cement these definitions, but this is how the males around her define her. Mostly, she offered sympathy, a helping hand (but not too much of one) and a supportive shoulder. She tied generations and legacies together as a romantic tie.

No wonder her character became so reviled for the "Cheating plotline." She violated the sacred trust, the sacred contract. She was Guinevere, a princess with an inheritance, tearing the kingdom asunder for passion (and, before you side with her -- passion for a man who did not respect her enough to be faithful to her!). One of her 3 chief bonds, the relationships that defined her character was severed by her thoughtless actions. Her concept as a supportive woman was destroyed.

This wasn't just a mistake. This was a characterization catastrophe. At the core of her very concept wasfamilyl and unity -- bringing generations together, and here she was shutting the door on the latest generation of Lanterndom. This woman who was built on family was becoming a divisive presence in the family.

And so, for the anti-feminist basis on which her concept was built (a womandependentt on males for definition, a female fundamentally less powerful than similar males) in addition to a complete lack of anything of interest in her personality, I always figured it was best that she die. There was an entire Corps of Alien Lanterns out there. We had nuturers in the form of Kilowog and Guy, rough and tough and manly but still supportive caretakers at heart. Our alien females had been young students (Arisia), nuturers (Brik,sherifff Mardin), warriors (Boodika, Laira) and sharp thinkers (Katma and now Soranik). Better to get rid of Jade and her nepotism now, and give some others some screentime, maybe a resurrection or two.

I feel bad now. I was hoping for a noble end to a much maligned character. I figured she'd get a nice swansong, with a good show of power, the chance to save the life of Alan (beloved father), Kyle (spurned lover), or, to really make her selfless, Donna (traditional rival). I mean, Blue Beetle got a decent farewell.

No such luck.

Jennie's quiet and demur, and clearly missed Kyle and regrets the split. She's the sweet young lady from Infinity Inc again. Kyle and her are a comfortable pair of old lovers who've been apart long enough to forget why they were apart in the first place.

She acts to boost his confidence. She tells him he's the creative one (sadly true), how much this feels like old times, and of course, warns him that the enemy will betargetingg him, as he is the bigger threat (which, yes, he is. Jade's always portrayed as a lesser Lantern than a member of the Corps). This used to be her vital role in Kyle's life, but he no longer needs someone to do that.

She is there to help and protect, but she does not die doing so. She's behind him when lightning strikes her.

It was disappointed.

A mediocre end for a mediocre Lantern.

Perhaps the most suitable one, however.

Remember Power of Ion? Jennie had lost her personal power, but was given power in the form of a ring by Kyle. During this storyline, he "awakens" her personal power again, because she cannot do it alone (I was uneasy with this one when I first read it). I don't think Kyle was lying. I think he's very good at deluding himself. It's revealed at Jennie's death that in truth the power she had was his gift all along. He protests, but she insists on returning it.

Perhaps this is a good feminist parable. A truth to illustrate what happens when you draw not on your own personal strength, but on power allotted by the men in your life.

Jennie inherited supernatural powers from her father. When she joined Infinity Inc, she was a sweet-faced innocent, who could easily have become the submissive member of the team. But she had a brother who was needy, and through her relationship with him had power. Shereceivedd both this form of emotional power, and superpowers from Kyle. Jade was a study in borrowed strength. Her power was never hers, it was her fathers, then Kyle's. This derivative power only served to keep her subordinate to her father's, her brother's, and her boyfriend's needs. When it was no longer useful to her, she returned it. She destroyed herself repowering the one who had empowered her.

I'm a big believer in the subconscious in stories. There are little details that make a character fit one way and not another. Her death would have been better, I believe, had this loophole, this connection not been there. Had it been Donna, it would have been a different scene. Had it been Diana or Hippolyta, the same. The Wonders draw power from female deities. Had it been Starfire, Power Girl or Supergirl, it would have been different. These women draw power from the same source their male relatives do. Black Canary? She followed in her mother's footsteps.

I wonder what would have happened if Jennie had inherited her mother's (the Flash enemy, Thorn) powers. She'd already been forced to reject her mother's legacy for her father's. Would the character have been different, personality-wise? Would she have spent her entire life borrowing power from men if she'd originally drawn power from a woman? Would she have lost that power and had it reactivated?

Would she have still died giving it back?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Creature From the Velvet Cage

I finally read The Creature From the Velvet Cage as Kalinara insisted. It was a fun little story, but most of the pages were lacking something very important.
I only saw 3 shots of Hal Jordan's backside.

That's not anywhere near enough.

How could they call this a Silver Age story?

(There was, however, a wonderful panel with Elongated Man that I'll have to address at a later date.)

Disturbing Double Standard

I think I need to join a feminist site where I can just rant off all I want without fear of bringing the site too down.

Then again, some of my highest traffic draws are from When Fangirls Attack so maybe I'd just better leave well enough alone.

Either way, I don't have my Spider-Man/Black Cat fallout aggression worked through quite yet, so here's another rant.

Those of you in the mood for something lighter perhaps involving Green Lantern, try a classic.

Those of you with complaints, please read this primer on feminism first.

Thank you.

Read the Ranting
Was reading an old review of Guardian Devil, and the reviewer pointed out something. I had to open my copy and reread it, but she was dead on. Foggy Nelson was raped during that storyline. The villain drugged him and then coerced him into bed while his judgment was impaired, forced him to break trust with his girlfriend Liz.

This becomes part of the (aptly named by Kitty) "You Touched My Stuff" plotline where we examine Matt's reactions to this. He is concerned that his friend is in jail, and that his friend's lovelife has been screwed up. He's not the least bit concerned that his friend was taken advantage of under the influence (when he was not capable of giving consent), and they even make a prison rape joke during the prison interview.

Kalinara has pointed out, more than once, that Cyclops was mind-controlled into bed by Psylocke in X-Men once. Cyclops has no psionic abilities. He has no defense against that. He was in an exclusive relationship (marriage by then?) at that point. Even if he were attracted to the woman (someone pointed out to me once that he did want her, which doesn't mean shit because attraction does not equal consent and Cyclops should never be penalized for being a man who thinks beyond his libido), there was no way he would have given consent. When the others find out, was Psylocke ostracized and branded a supervillain like she should have been? No. She was told to stay away from Jean's property like a good girl, and was allowed to continue to play.

From these examples, we can draw some conclusions about comic book men. Apparently, they are wondrous creatures. They can physically and mentally violated, forced to betray the trust of the women they loved and then be blamed for it but they immediately bounce back the next day. So, clearly, there is no reason to offer them shock or sympathy in this case. Or even to confront the perpetrators of these crimes.

Now, I don't know how real men feel about this. They are a strange people with unfathomable minds. I leave it to men to draw their own conclusions on how this affects their gender.

But here's the thing, it's damaging all the same from a female point of view. Whenever guys joke that they "wouldn't mind" this experience, they are trivializing rape. By showing this experience, and not depicting the proper horror in the mood, they are trivializing the experience. By not showing proper attention from the supporting cast, they are indicating that it's not something to worry about. And by not showing the accountability of the offender, they are essentially saying this is not a crime at all.

This is subtly enforcing the monumentally insane idea that "being forced to have sex against your will is not that big a deal."

This is all bad enough. Then they go and use the double-standard, wherein the female characters experience the same trauma and their entire life is spent in recovery, while a male character doesn't even blink and it becomes a footnote to his history that is rarely, if ever, brought up.

Does anyone else find this insulting as fuck?

Damn it. It looks like even superhero women are so overemotional and delicate that the most horrific trauma imaginable for a woman doesn't make a dent in a man's thick psyche. Either male characters as so much stronger that they recover almost instantly from a trauma that is life-defining for a female character, or this crime doesn't matter when the perpetrator's a female and the victim's male.

Oh, and those of you who are forming "Well, it's like that in comics, where you get desensitized..." please keep in mind that you are making the primary argument against using rape as a plotline, and further infantilizing the overwhelming number of female characters who have it as a life-defining moment.

This just plain sucks for both genders.

Writers who have no fucking clue how to handle this issue should not handle it in any form.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How the Hell is the Unicorn a Symbol of Purity?

It has a huge phallic horn on its head. And the legend goes that it will approach a virgin and lay its head (with the huge phallic horn) in her lap.

What the fuck is pure and innocent about that?

And it's considered something desirable to pet these perverts in fantasy stories?

To Hell with that. I see a Unicorn, I'm running, and I'd advise you to do the same.


This is funny.

This is Funnier.

(Now I have to read them both regularly.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Feminine Facts

Gordon of BlogThisPal! fame has a fun list of Random Wildcat Facts up (ala the Chuck Norris List) and suggested others contribute.

I like Wildcat, but I'm not an expert. I do, however, know a few things about his old girlfriend, Queen Hippolyta (better known to Wildcat as Polly), the mother of Wonder Woman.

Random Facts About the JSA Wonder Woman

-- Hippolyta had no need of divine intervention to have children. She brought Wonder Woman into the world solely aided by her own mighty feminity, through intense concentration on her womb and willing it to fertilization. Because even Amazons are overwhelmed by the sheer power of Hippolyta's womanhood, her chief spin doctor Phillipus made up a story about sculpting a baby out of clay, and threw in some deities for good measure.

-- Why are so many comic-book women badly written? The writers don't feel they can stand up to the glory that is Hippolyta.

-- Hippolyta's only son? Chuck Norris.

-- The only man virile enough to satisfy the Queen of the Amazons more than once is Wildcat. When the two finally met in 1941, their very first kiss tore at the very fabric of reality. The resulting breakdown in the space-time continuum was the true reason for Crisis on Infinite Earths. Krona was just a glory-seeker.

-- Hippolyta is not actually Ares' daughter. Hippolyta has no father. She emerged fully grown and wielding a sword from a Volcano during the Earth's formative years.

-- While she is generally believed to be a youthful 3 millenia old, Hippolyta was in fact the first sentient person born on this planet. Her exact age is unknown, but the hot flashes she experienced when she underwent menopause resulted in the end of the last Ice Age.

-- Hippolyta, after her death, does not reside in Hades. The forty-room manor she was offered in the Elysian Fields was too small, and the 72 slave boys for her pleasure were simply not enough selection. Instead she pinched the Ferryman on the behind, and then lept across the river Styx. She took up residence on Olympus, and nobody said a word for fear of her sword.

-- The Mayans were the first human civilization to discover time-travel. When they peered into the future, they saw Hippolyta, in her Wonder Woman costume, wielding a sword and determined that she was the Herald to the End of the Universe, and figured there would only be a few more years afterwards, tops. They set their calenders accordingly.

-- In the 40s, Queen Hippolyta used the last name "Esther" in her secret identity. This was suggestion of the Flash. It's a good thing he can run fast.

-- Hippolyta once convinced the entire Green Lantern Corps to take a group picture, from the back. She has it on her wall.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

You Can Always Count on the Flash

I had weekend work today. I got the day shift portion (which is insanely early, who is up at that hour?) Now, as a certifiable night-shift-owl, it's unnatural for me to sleep during the hours of darkness. So, in preparation for this shift, I obtained maybe an hour of rest. We had a light day planned, maybe an hour or two of inspections for Monday's flight. But apparently my regular shift can't get along without me so they left us with a bunch of jets that couldn't fly. I was out there thirteen hours today. Everytime we fixed one problem, another developed. I have to fix three new problems tomorrow morning.

Frustrating, I tell you.

So, in desperate need of relaxation, I turned to my Golden Age Flash Archives, which I haven't touched for a year. I haven't had a chance to read through Volume 2, so I figured I'd do a little glancing around for fun innuendo.

I opened to a random page.

This is what I saw:

I am a childish woman. I couldn't help but chuckle at the first line.

Then I moved on, to the very next panel:

Life is Good.