Friday, May 14, 2010

Introducing: The Male Star Sapphire

Remember back when that hideous female Star Sapphire costume debuted and DC completely ignored our points about how horrible and sexist it and the entire Star Sapphire retcon was, but some of their artists acknowledged that the costume might not work for men because God forbid we see manflesh in comic books. (Shh, don't tell them about Hawkman or Namor.)

And how we all pointed out that it was stereotypical and fucking stupid that the Star Sapphire Corps that harnessed the energy of love was entirely female because not only does that box women into the sex class role, but it suggests that men are incapable of tapping into one of those basic seven emotions that Johns was pushing as the building blocks to all sentient life. (At least Ethan Van Sciver agreed on that)

Well, good news!
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
1:10 White Lantern Variant cover by RYAN SOOK, FERNANDO PASARIN & JOEL GOMEZ
BRIGHTEST DAY continues as what readers have been asking for finally arrives: a male Star Sapphire in the form of the Predator. But how is this entity unlike the others? And what does it want with Carol Ferris? Meanwhile, the White Lantern is defended by an unlikely hero…
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale AUGUST 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Yes, that's right! DC has decided to introduce a male Star Sapphire, and not only that--he's the Predator! Meaning he's hosting that big lizardy entity that lived in the violet power battery, the equivalent of Ion or Parallax.

So not only can men tap into love and harness it, this one is actually better that any woman who makes up the... um... Well, I bet Carol beats his ass. Let's check out the character design!



So he gets to be more in touch with the Violet and more powerful than all the women, and he gets to be fully dressed. Not just fully dressed, but hosting the embodiment of love and lust--the thing that is causing all of these really gorgeous alien women to run around with practically no clothes on--and he's covered head to toe in black with only purple accents. Oh, and he gets macho silver armor.

And a macho name like the Predator.

Yeah, that's just...

Yeah, just...


Fuck you, DC.

Yeah, I know the Predator is from the 80s Green Lantern stories and has historically worn silver armor on his shoulders, but you know what? Star Sapphire used to look like this:

Don't give me any shit about the costume being traditional.

You know what, I give up. I don't even have the interest left to rant. I could do 3400 words yesterday on the Sentry because right now I'm enjoying a lot of Marvel's output so I can actually give a shit about what's going on in that universe, but I'm past that point with DC. I'm finally dropping Green Lantern, and I'm down to maybe two or three DC books now, and DC used to be 90% of my pull list. This is not a boycott reesulting from outrage or protesting anything. I'm not trying to send a "shape up" message to DC by dropping the books. I'm just losing interest in the DC Universe.

I used to love DC, I was fanishly obsessed with the metaplot. Green Lantern in particular was pretty fucking awesome right after Rebirth, and during Sinestro Corps War and the the buildup for Blackest Night. I was having a blast during those company crossovers. Infinite Crisis, Seven Soldiers (which was worthy of being called an epic, a rare trait in pop culture), ONE YEAR LATER, 52, the Wonder Woman relaunch, the new Blue Beetle, joy at each renewal of Manhunter, Final Crisis, even freaking Countdown (where I was watching Kyle Rayner, Donn Troy, and freaking Jason Todd play off each other--if only they'd kept Ryan Choi with them). I was just devouring everything at DC.

But they lost me.

They lost me about the time it became clear that White Lanterns weren't going to be just as inherently bad as Black Lanterns and the potential moral about extremes being a bad thing--that had been building up by showing how surrender to a single emotion, and complete lack of emotion were all BAD--dissolved. They lost me when they decided Wonder Woman would make the best Star Sapphire out of the JLA. They lost me when they replaced Cass Cain with Stephanie Brown, making it so all of DC's derivative female characters are suddenly identical out of costume. They lost me when Hal Jordan stopped being punished for being an asshole. (that first year after Rebirth was priceless for this, as was some of the Blackest Night buildup, so I put it actually in JLA: Cry for Justice when he's an out of character asshole while other books tell us he's the moral high ground). They lost me when they said it was okay that Hal and Ray and Ollie can torture criminals. They lost me when Lian Harper was offed to send Ollie Queen and Roy Harper down story-arcs we saw resolved in the fucking 70s. They lost me when whoever was editing Blackest Night either didn't read the script aloud, or was actually able to say "White Power Battery" (yeah, that'll bring some fun visitors to this blog) with a straight face. They lost me when Kendra got dissolved in favor of Shiera, completely invalidating all of Kendra's story arc about being a different person (written by the same fucking guy who just up and replaced Kendra with Shiera), and Ryan was shoved aside and then slaughtered so that we can have Ray fucking Palmer as the One True Atom.

So yeah, I'm beyond ranting here. Next time you see me outraged, it'll probably be about Rogue or Quicksilver again. It's going to be a while, I think, before I can recapture my Care about what DC's up to.


  1. The one mitigating factor - Predator dates back to 1984 (see, and the character design appears to be mostly a re-use, outside the purple accents.

    That doesn't make it okay. Why he wasn't redesigned like the Star Sapphires were, I have no idea. (Quick no-thought redesign? Same minus black bodysuit, plus a matching codpiece. Easy.)

  2. Mark -- Yeah, I know Predator's been used before because I didn't just start reading Green Lantern yesterday.

    As he wasn't redesigned like Carol was, they still fucking suck. Not a mitigating factor at all. Just even MORE infuriating because the old Star Sapphire costume had a lot more history to it than Predator's sparse appearances.

  3. Well, at least he's not holding a woman on a chain/leash like a dog. Oh, wait.

    The killing of Ryan Choi was pretty $%@!ing disgusting too... DC certainly doesn't deserve my $$. I bought Blackest Night, but I'm kinda feeling bad about that now.

  4. I honestly did not realize you knew who Predator was, as I'm not aware of any appearances in Green Lantern by him until Johns dug him up as a glowy purple thing since about 1993. I apologize.

    We agree that this Predator stuff is appalling. We agree that DC is being pretty terrible in general, although Ryan Choi was my personal give-up-DC tipping point.

  5. Man, one step forward and two steps back.

  6. Mark -- Eh. Sorry to snap at you, but the post mentions this. (I edited to add the picture instead of link, though, so you might've missed it in all the words.)

  7. I'm not sure how I missed that. Been a long week, I guess. Don't feel sorry, clearly I deserved it this time.

  8. I used to tell myself that, okay I didn't personally like some of the stuff they were doing in regards to killing certain characters and making things darker and so on, but it was a stylistic choice. I wanted one thing from my comics, most DC fans wanted another, DC's going with the majority. I had to give them credit for some things, keeping some of the struggling books going, the new legacy characters actually generally being likable and neat, etc.

    It's only the last couple of years or so that they really seem to have started losing the plot. Like, Countdown had potential, it just got away from them, fine, it happens. I don't see how Cry For Justice could ever look like a good idea. I don't see how nobody thought of how Ryan Choi's death might look. I don't see how what happened with Firestorm seemed like a good idea at the time.

    It honestly looks to me like "Brightest Day" is sort of a rushed, "what we've got now isn't working" move. They're throwing a bunch of things at the wall, and not really thinking much about any of them.

  9. Sometimes you’ll write something I find absolutely amazing and then other times I think you let your passions overtake you as in this particular instance getting all up in arms about a costume redesign.

    The reason I say this is because there definitely is a clear line, a stark difference between men’s fashion and women’s fashion and you have to be blind to ignore the fact women’s fashion is more revealing than men’s.

    Plus, are you really telling me you’re upset because the costume was redesigned and the colorist paints more area fleshtone when even male costumes in many instances are just nudes with lines drawn in and colored in various hues.

    Costumes are just that - costumes. They are not street clothes and they aren’t even remotely functional in any way. If they were we’d all be running around with capes.

    I mean, it’s as if I should be writing about Ben Grimm running around in his briefs! His tighty whities! Or The Creeper being practically naked for Chrissake.

    I can understand you find it offensive on a level but what I’m trying to say is not to take it so seriously. I think if they could have gotten away with a more revealing outfit back in the sixties, Star Sapphire would have been wearing it. Even Wonder Woman’s costume while pedestrian today (although apparently from your blog there has been some costume change - I stopped reading three years back now) was shocking when the character was created.

    But it’s all superhero comics and the figures are way exaggerated and the costumes are over the top. I’d be more concerned with how they’re writing the characters than anything else.

  10. PJ- Womens fashion is more revealing because women are prevalently seen as objects to be looked at by men. DC shouldn't be pandering to that,

    Anyway I agree with a lot of what this article says. Except I see it as making perfect sense that when men become star sapphire, never-mind the entity of the sapphires, they are prone to be consumed by love's more tyrannical urges. Love can make fanatical crazy demands, it can be possessive and obssesive. I like that men are more likely to fall victim to that aspect of love more then women. Honestly I think it holds in true life. And this is coming from a Johns hater.

  11. I'm still enjoying the story despite the problems -- and I do agree with you that they're problems. Really, would it have been so hard to delete the top and let him go bare-chested? DC didn't seem to think it made Aquaman or Hawkman or J'Onn less manly.

    I'll be sorry to see you not writing about DC, because while you get very emotional, you also make entirely rational and well-taken points. And I haven't gotten enough care up about Marvel since Civil War to follow what's going on. (I only know the Sentry from covers; never actually seen him in a book.) But I'll still enjoy reading it.

    -- Jack of Spades

  12. Bravo.

    I haven't jumped on the Birds of Prey relaunch for a lot of the same reasons you're pissed off, despite my deep (nigh-on insane) love of Gail Simone and these characters. DC Comics has made me feel deeply uncomfortable lately. Murdering minority superheroes, murdering minority children for shock value, their so-called "Brightest Day"'s 1st issue hinting at child rape for God's sake - I agree that the list of terrible things goes on and on and on. I'm with you on this and I don't think there's many books of theirs left that I can fundamentally enjoy without them being tainted by so much of these seemingly company-wide tasteless story-telling choices.*

    Marvel Comics, despite missteps like the Sentry/Rogue nonsense, is creating an 'Heroic Age' that actually feels, you know, HEROIC. No murdering minorities, dead baby birds or child deaths, just heroes stepping up to be heroic. Hell, Tigra just gave birth to a stupid-adorable kitty/baby, for God's sake (even if the plotline that created it WAS fairly squicky). Sure, there's still gritty bloodshed at Marvel if you want to look for that sort of thing (X-Force, Punisher, Daredevil, ect.) but it's well-written, for the most part. To me, it feels like there's a plethora of good, fun Marvel comics to read for the person looking for something light and breezy. For instance, I love that they're creating 'Her-Oes' and the Astonishing lines just so creators can tell the fun stories they want to tell.

    Ugh. Maybe DC Comics just needs an Ultimates Line, wherein Johns and company could write shitty, morally queasy, gruesome-character-murdering superhero stories that don't affect the primary DC Comics continuity. Just a thought.

    (*Somewhat ironically, Secret Six is about the only book DC's got left that I can't live without. OOC, which 'two or three' DC books are you still reading?)

  13. i just... i dont understand. It is just so SAD!
    I started to read Batwoman, the only DC thing i have read, and i thought... "wow. This is actually pretty awesome. maybe i was wrong about DC". Then i read BN Wonder Woman, thinking Rucka! He writes Batwoman! He will make Wonder Woman accessible to me! Kicking Zombie Ass! And then... bam... worst costume ever. Cuz i had thought to myself... that wont happen to Wonder Woman... but i was wrong. And at the end of the day, it just makes me sad.
    And this... this is JUST TERRIBLE.

  14. Yeah, DC, shape up.

    I haven't even got the recourse of retreating to Marvel; I only really ever got into Nextwave and the older Runaways stuff.

    The only stuff I'm getting is trades, really. Even then I'm only getting Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Legion of Superheroes, and Booster Gold when I find it. The rest of it I don't touch because of the aforementioned sexist/racist/plain wrong undertones that are supposedly the product of "realistic" writing.

    Also: thouroughly disgusted by "Brighest Day"/"more heroism" lasting all of about 5 seconds comics-wise. But sadly unsurprised.

  15. I am dropping Green Lantern Brightest Day and the Green Lantern Corps. John Stewart has not been seen since Blackest Night, and while he is supposed to be featured in the Corps books he is yet to appear. This guy called it re Ran Choi:

    And this guy on DC's reset-the-world-schtick:
    DC sucks. That is all.

  16. Empath -- I've seen and loved Chris Sims' article....

    But I'm not bothering with that second one. Chris delicately and diplomatically dissected a trend without making assumptions, tossing blame around, or making a ridiculously insensitive comparison to real life misery.

    From the title, this guy is an asshole. And it strikes me as one of those people who reads a thoughtful, nuanced article that gets accolades and decides to get in on the credit by throwing out something thoughtless, disgustingly insensitive, and demonizing people without knowing who the fuck is pushing what behind the scenes at DC.

    I could be wrong, but that's the vibe I get from the title.

  17. Okay, am I the only one who finds that link comparing DC to the fucking APARTHEID, even not seriously, pretty offensive?

    DC's doing problematic things sure, but can we not disrespect a whole country and peoples' struggle by making idiot comparisons?

  18. Empath, now you've done it. Now I've gone and read that fucking article, and now I blame YOU for his stupidity. How could you link that as anything other that batshit stupid? No, not batshit insane, batshit STUPID! He uses Caucasian rather than white (even though he's differentiating Hispanic and North African and Middle Eastern characters from White ones), and ASIATIC (?) (!) (No, !?!*#@!) rather than Asian and the only reason I can fathom for that particular stupidity is that he feels it makes him sound smarter. He gives no dates, references deaths that occurred during the 80s (See Kalinara for dates-- ), and says he's pointing out a recent trend. He repeatedly misspells character names like Teth-Adam (without referencing Teth-Adam's ethnicity, because like Hawkman he's a North African guy reincarnated as a white dude so he doesn't fucking count--in fact, he indicates much more nuanced and longer-spanning trend of racial politics that this fucking asshole has ignored to get a cheap shot in) as he complains that DC disrespected them. He mentions Jai West lost his powers, and says that his TWIN SISTER doesn't count because she's more "Caucasian-looking" (which could open us for a discussion the racial and sexual politics of featuring Asian women with brightly colored hair but not Asian men, but doesn't because this guy is a fucking asshole who just wants a cheap shot). Then he includes Kyle Rayner (which is like putting Quicksilver on a list of Jewish Villains) and DOESN'T MENTION JOHN STEWART (which is like leaving Magneto off the same list of Jewish villains).

    Oh, and of course, he entitles the whole clusterfuck of a post "The New Apartheid" like a fucking asshole. Because he IS a fucking asshole who has never read a DC comic, never read a history, and never USED SPELL-CHECKER. This is the sort of guy who apologizes for whatever his white ancestors did to your ancestors, as he mispronounces your name and ignores your actual business. He's the exact kind of liberal jackass who gives white liberals a bad name by being patronizing, insensitive fucks who don't do research before they open their liberal jackass mouths!

    Dude, I ever catch you linking such a piece of shit as worthy of anyone's attention again and I'm going to delete your comment so fucking fast you'll think it was some DC hero's biracial kid in a JLA miniseries. Then I'll really rip you a new one.

    But the first article, the one on the Racial Politics of Regressive Storytelling, is a brilliant and worthy link. Thank you again.

  19. Maybe my memory is redrawing a bunch of panels, but I seem to remember that Green Lanterns' costumes aren't always identical, even for the same general body shape.

    It seems like it would have been really easy to draw a bunch of Star Sapphire variants, *some of which covered more flesh than others.* What I *really* don't get is- the GL costumes, even when they cover flesh, *are usually skintight*. Catwoman, usually considered a sexy character, doesn't often show much skin. The female Star Sapphires are all trying to be "sexy" in the same way. It doesn't make sense to me, even aside from the stupid sexism of it.

    (So, waitaminute, Hawkman's whole character these days is built around an *eternally recurrent love affair* and he's not a Star Sapphire? Just tint his damn costume purple, and you get at least a token effort toward parity.)

  20. @Ragnell,
    You are welcome re the first link. The second one is flawed and I did notice that he left out John Stewart. The second link points to some (minority)characters that I didn't even know existed and it has prompted me to go look for the books to read them for myself. Point taken nonetheless.

  21. I still think the Predator should wear the Mike Grell Cosmic Boy costume. :-)

  22. I was going to say he should look like a purple-clad version of Travis Morgan. Or Tyroc. But you beat me to the Grell reference.

    I just did a post a week back on Grell's outfits.

  23. If I were writing a male character as the personification of pure lust and love, I'd write him in such a way that you'd want him out of his clothes.

    In this, it appears the creative team has succeeded despite themselves...

  24. Honestly I barely ever notice how skimpy Carol Ferris' new costume is. Maybe I'm just inoculated. And I know that it might not be "fair" for the Predator to be fully covered, he could have at least been shirtless like Hawkman, but you can understand why DC might have been hesitant about making him a nearly-naked man with little pink bits. They're a business selling comics to boys, you can't honestly expect them to sacrifice sales in the name of feminism.

    Also, Blackest Night sucked and the Shiera thing REALLY REALLY pissed me off for a while, because I love Kendra, but I've come to realize that there's no way Shiera is here to stay. By the end of Brightest Day, something will happen to get rid of her (hopefully Kendra will be back, but there's also the worst-case scenario where Hawkgirl just ends up DEAD so Hawkman can whine). And you know why I think this? Because having Shiera back is only cause for happiness for Carter, and God knows Geoff Johns won't let any character be TOO happy.

  25. Personally, I think that making all the stars female was a mistake and having Wonder Woman their representative a bit too easy. WW could have easily been compassion as well as hope (although since Barry came back hope seemed most appropriate for him).

    I quit buying Green Lantern mainly because it felt like I had to purchase GLC to keep up (and I was not all that crazy about GLC; a little Guy Gardner goes a long, long way and Johns decided he was going to re-tell Jordan's origin. So I was being asked to purchase six issues of Green Lantern to read not only what I already knew, but to see Johns retconn a whole bunch of his crap into GL continuity. Screw you, Johns. That was the last of my money he got.

    I agree with the general sentiment being felt by a lot of people these days that DC has become way, way too dark. I Lian's death and Roy's response to it make me sick.

  26. Thanks for articulating all these issues that have annoyed or disgusted me. I understand that comic books are male-fantasy fulfillment but it is often pandering to a base instead of simply accepting it or maybe challenging it (I'm thinking mostly of that hideous costume or males being unable to love purely). I reflect many of the comments here as well, so no point in repeating them (Lian's death, Roy's reaction, all of Cry for Justice actually, Ryan's death...)


    There. Male Star Sapphire. If you think that the editors at DC would ever print this, you're out of your minds. OTOH, I'd spend a Powerball jackpot on bribes if it would allow that image to make it past the censors, because I like it when comic book geeks heads asplode.

  28. I think the absence of a male star sapphire could have been an interesting point if they made it so that for whatever reason it was the vault of the leaders of the corps that no men were allowed in, providing characterisation in the form of why they had those prejudices.

    In regards to the costume I think it looks cool, especially with the whole silver shoulder thing.

  29. The 10% (or less) of comic book readers that are female should be outraged and amused. Remember that we are the group of people who collectively can't get enough of women dressed up as Slave Leia at Cons.

    I still more Pro DC because the writing (for the most part) is better and when they do a crossover and a book says its a crossover it actually is. If Marvel feeds me one more Fear Itself crossover that is a recap of the main book or has one page of anything that is even remotely tied to FI I'm going to scream. Plus 5 million Thor and Cap mini series. At least DC is just annoying us with Green Lantern banners on the top of every book (like we aren't aware the movie opens tomorrow)