As I wantonly traverse cyberspace in search of amusement, my thoughts turn more and more to DC Comics. And everywhere I roam, one question keeps coming up:
Who's next on the chopping block?
DC is doing a "Housecleaning." Geoff Johns is on a murder spree. Seriously, this crossover is a bigger bloodbath than Eclipso. Day of Vengeance #1 alone had a body count of over two hundred! Infinite Crisis #1 killed half of a superteam. Infinite Crisis #2 featured the death of an entire villain team. In February, we see 6 different covers featuring hero-hero battles (and 2 covers with a hero in the foreground and another in the background coming up behind them menacingly!). We are outright promised blood in Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special and Supergirl (and I had better get it!). Several prominent titles will not be on the shelves come March. There has never been a better time to kill a Superman! And you know not all of those people headed to the center of the universe with Donna Troy are not coming back.
Now, I'm not sure about the specifics above -- what's hype, what's panic, what's misdirection...etc... but I am sure of one thing:
Jennie-Lynn Hayden-Scott, formerly known as Green Lantern VI (or IV, depending upon who you count!), best known as Jade, is not coming out this one alive.
(Those of you unfamiliar with Jade should check here and here to learn about her history in a more objective manner)
Everyone knows there are risk factors that lead to a character's death. These have no realistic connotations. It's not like people in comic books would actually die as a result of their own actions! But, there are certain things that make comic book readers think "Expendable."
So, without further ado, here are Jade's Risk Factors:
1) Mythos Placement -- The only Green Lantern franchise hero not currently carrying the Green Lantern name.
2) Costume -- Does not wear a Green Lantern symbol. (Even Alan wears something close)
3) Power Level -- Is vastly less powerful than her father. Is considerably less powerful than a full-fledged Corpsman (or full-fledged female Corpsman like Brik -- Yes, I hate saying Corpswoman, Chairwoman, Congresswoman...etc... It's silly. we can say Mankind, can't we? And Human without saying Huwoman? Well, why can't I just be a repairman instead of a repairwoman? Save a syllable, please!)
4) Origin -- Try explaining her parentage: "Well, her father was the Golden Age Green Lantern, who is unconnected to the Corps, and her mother was a Flash Rogue with multiple personalities who fought the Golden Age Flash, but then reformed and fell in love with green Lantern, but then left him after their wedding night and bore him twins. She put them up for adoption, which is why Jennuie has a different last name than her father. Now, her brother..."
5) Infinity Inc -- The Infinity Inc characters are often screwed with: depowered, sent to prison, made into villains...etc..
6) Open Identity -- Secret Identities are becoming considerably important right now. It's possible that One Year Later there will be very few public identity heroes operaring on earth. Jade is a former supermodel and a public superhero. Even with a mass mindwipe, her skin color makes her very hard to hide. She's obviously not normal.
7) Gender -- Name aside, she is still a Female Lantern. Of the female Green Lantern we've met: Katma Tui and Arisia are dead, Boodika and Laira are currently held captive, Boodika lost her hand, Adara committed suicide, Brik and Amanita spent a good deal of time in slavery, and Soranik Natu was captured by the villains in the first issue she appeared in.
8) High Risk Love Interest -- Romantically linked to a male Earth Green Lantern.
Green Lantern lovers rundown: Alex DeWitt (deceased), Donna Troy (depowered, deceased, recently resurrected as a Harbinger-like character, which means instant obscurity once this is all over), Torah Olafsdotter (deceased), Katma Tui (deceased), Arisia (deceased), Carol Ferris (brain regularly taken over by space aliens)
9) High Risk Personal Connection -- She has slept with Kyle Rayner. The Kiss of Kyle Rayner is the Kiss of Death. But this goes beyond romance.
Kyle Rayner personal contacts rundown: Alex DeWitt, Donna Troy (who also had been broken up Kyle for a year or so before she died!), and Adara (a one-night stand!) have all pushed up daisies at some point. (But, hey, at least Kyle still talks to them from time to time!) Ganthet (home planet destroyed within a week of meeting the boy), Alan Scott (strongest will in Earth history, taken over by the Starheart, taken over by Brainwave Jr), Guy Gardner (went without problems for a while but eventually lost his business in Rebirth), John Stewart (lost the use of his legs twice!), Terry Berg (beaten to the edge of death), Kyle's mother (Home destroyed, Son broke all contacts -- but she's still alive). Kyle's father (went into hiding from the government shortly after the boy was born!) This poor guy is cursed! I'd like to comfort Kyle during his times of personal loss, but I can't afford the insurance payments. Putting your arm around his shoulders costs you more than racing NASCAR.
10) Unvirtuous Woman -- While Kyle was in space, risking life, limb, and soul in an attempt to make the universe a safer place, she found another guy. She then slept with this other guy, without even sending Kyle so much as a "Dear John" note. That's not cool, folks. It was totally within her power to send word to Kyle to "Call now, or don't come back at all," via John Stewart. The "He never called" excuse doesn't work, because she could have at least sent word rather than let him come home to such a bad surprise!
11) Skill Level -- She is generally portrayed as a mediocre Lesser Lantern. True, some writers give her decent moments, but she plays Damsel in Distress far too often for a woman who was born with even watered-down Lantern powers, and has been in "the business" this long.
The first run I saw her in, she got her butt kicked by Fatality and had to be saved by still-rookie Kyle. My sister and I dropped the book, because it seemed truly ridiculous that a woman who'd had powers all her life would need saving from a guy who'd only had powers a few months. But, this has been the skill level she is commonly shown at.
In Outsiders, she has been present every time a team member gets hurt. Usually, when you have a Lantern, you're safe. They are major powers who should be able to protect their buddies. Apparently, Jade can't.
She has no feats under her belt, and even John Stewart, the most ignored Green Lantern of all, has a few feats. Hell, even Guy Gardner's girlfriend Ice was able to use the ring in a totally unexpected manner, and heal another person! I mean, it's one thing to see Hal or Kyle on a bad day get their butts handed to them, because you know if the moon is going to shatter and fall into the planet they can stop it (with a little help from Wonder Woman), but you have your doubts when it comes to Jade. She really doesn't really have anything. And with her powers, that's ridiculous. It's like they came so naturally she felt no need to work on them or push herself, and so comes up short behind the boys. A poor showing, especially for the only female Lantern we've seen in the last decade. Thankfully, Brik is back (She's got that sweet-natured, but still strong thing that Ice had going on), and Soranik Natu seems promising.
12) Redemption -- She's been mopey and cranky in most appearances. In Return of Donna Troy, she obsessed over Kyle as soon as she realized he might be nearby (nearby being, within a couple of light years). Showing regret for her treatment of him? Laying the groundwork for a heroic sacrifice saving her ex-boyfriend's life?
13) Impact (Characters) -- Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the dreaded Refrigerator rule. Who's death will spread more angst among the surviving characters? Captain Comet, or Jade? Hawkman (who dies as a hobby), or Jade? Despite being thoroughly unlikeable in recent appearances, Jade still has a lot of strong bonds to exploit.
Kyle, despite her actions, still loves her enough to care about her feelings, and leave her his apartment. Her death, especially during a battle he is at, would serve to screw him up even more!
Her brother, Todd Rice, Obsidian, is fanatically devoted to her (He met her in Infinity Inc long before her current characterization), and is at the hero/villain crossroads. Her death could inspire him to become a hero again, or drive him back to madness.
Her father, Alan Scott, feels he is a worthless father. Imagine if his daughter dies in front of him.
She is the team-leader of the Outsiders, and no doubt her dying would affect the Outsider/Titans characters.
Donna Troy would feel tremendous guilt about bringing a rival out there to die.
The newer members of the Green Lantern Corps would find it extremely sobering to see a person with similar powers die horribly in front of them.
And, of course, her break-up with Kyle is what divides him and his former mentor, Alan Scott. Blame for her death could cause a greater split (if she died because of a percieved mistake) or the shared grief of her loss would forge their bond even stronger than before.
14) Impact (Fans) -- She is someone that writers feel safe screwing with. This is what changed her image from that of a promising addition to the Green Lantern mythos, to the lady described here and here. Aside from old Infinity Inc fans (Fear of who's wrath didn't keep Obsidian, Nuklon, Fury, Hector Hall, Northwind..etc... from being screwed with constantly), she won't likely be missed. But, since not that many people remember Infinity Inc, she tends to be reguarded at best as eye-candy/romance fodder and at worst as a selfish slut.
Fourteen Risk Factors. Her number's up. Another Guinevere bites the dust.
Let the celebration commence!