Friday, December 02, 2005

On Snarkification

I figured I'd wait to post until my ill-will had died down, but it hasn't.

And I should be happy. I have a cat. I have numerous comics. I have numerous comics that feature Hal Jordan getting hit on the head. I have a shift with little to no managerial inference. I have found nearly all of Morrison's JLA in trade at this point. I'm rereading Over Sea, Under Stone. I have a raise with my promotion. I have Democracy! I get along with my mother again. I have working heat. I am surrounded by humor. I'm in a good place spiritually. I am no longer living in the 90s. I gave to charity. I have nicely chilled custard. I have a Superman movie to look forward to. I have a job that allows me to actually work on the aircraft. I have cool music in the car for bad traffic. I have co-workers that I like. I have good tires. I had a Thanksgiving where I didn't fight my family -- or did I? I spent so much time drunk it's hard to tell. Anyway, something's making me spew perfectly awful, catty, cruel comments all over the net.

Why, yes, they are usually about Jade. Have you been following?

Anyway, there are three things I must do now to handle this feeling.

The first task is to accept that I am feeling bitchy lately. And I am.

For the second task, I must explore this feeling and its reasoning.

Maybe it's the the phase of the moon or the coming winter?

Maybe returning to work from vacation? No, I was pleasant and kind at work (although, in my old office I used to channel my poor attitude into customer service) today. I even found myself defending a supervisor I truly disliked before to the guy who replaced my old job.

Too much nicely chilled custard? No, you can never have too much nicely chilled custard. It's homemade!

Maybe it has something to do with Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #3 being delayed. Could Kyle Rayner be responsible for my sanity?

Most likely I'm especially vicious for lack of a true life target. In nearly every other office there has been "The Woman I Hate." I only work with one other female since I was moved across the hall to actually work again, and she's fun to be around.

So, then, if this is a necessity, but I'm happy with those that surround me, where would I aim my supply of bile? You know, the bile naturally produced by human beings because their mother didn't hug them enough, society represses them, or they are spiritual beings trapped in a painful fleshy body or whatever other bravo sierra self-help and inspirational experts feed us to explain our unhappiness?
At fictional characters is probably the safest place to aim excess vitriol. That's what could be happening's.

Or maybe it's all of the above, serving to cause a subtle pool of intoxicating toxic waste to well up from the deepest, dankest, snarkiest pit of my inner soul. And it's leaking, causing inexplicable moments of meanness, little things that just slip out and can't quite understand until the point when I explode in a shit-brown spray of curdled choler, the likes of which has not yet been seen on this Earth!

Actually, it would have been seen about 16 months ago, at the end of my first month of a customer service job.

Fat man and little boy, how I hated that job.

Maybe this is just the way I really am. In which case, my course is clear.

It leads me to my third task. I must embrace my irrascibility!

Yes, I will wallow in bitterness (or at least bad metaphors) like a maggot in dead pigeon guts, who just found his mother flew off before his birth, and that pigeon guts are a fleeting thing, and he is likely to be exterminated before he reaches flying age, never to know the sweet sensation of the wind at his wings or the gentle smell of potatoe salad wafting from the nearby Fiftieth Annual Ciezekowsky Family Renuin Picnic! I must do this to the point that it cheers me and affirms my love of humanity. Yes, I must go through snark and come out the other side!

And then maybe I can enjoy my comics again.

Sure, people will suffer, but they won't be me. When next you hear from me, I shall be a lot more cheerful.

I'll admit whether or not that will be pleasant for anyone else is hard to tell at this point.

Trust me. I know what I'm doing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Is There Room in the Fridge, Hon?

Anyone who's been following my incessant rambling here and on various message boards will have noticed something very odd about me.

Well, odd, as far as female comic book fans go.

I'm often screaming for the death of a female character.

This is unusual for a woman, I admit.

In fact, there are members of my gender so horrified by the Women in Refrigerators list that they are sensitive to any violence against any female character. Cries of misogyny ring out across the internet whenever a female dies graphically (See Phantom Lady, Sue Dibny, Maura Rayner). And sometimes, yes, my voice goes out with them. But to be perfectly honest, when Gail Simone was compiling that list in the late nineties, I was on the the very same message boards screaming for Cassandra Sandsmark's head, detached from her body, and nicely mounted on the wall of Cheetah's library -- while I was panning Ron Marz for his portrayal of women in Green Lantern. That's just the kind of person I am.

You see, although I always advocate creating more female characters, there just sometimes seem to be just too many.

But, there can never be too many women, you say...

Ooooh yes there can.

You see, while there are precious few prominent females, there are even fewer worth reading. Picture the whole of comic book feminity as a nice juicy steak -- but not a lean cut with the choicest meat. Envision about 15% edible beef, with 85% sensuous-looking fat.

It's true, there is a wide variety of worthwhile females to read about -- Iconic goddesses (Wonder Woman), wicked world conquerors (Gloriana Tenebrae), admirable overachievers (Oracle/Barbara Gordon), utter bitches (Emma Frost), spunky teenagers (Courtney Crumrin), talented ingenues (Batgirl/Cassandra Cain), ideal role-models despite their poor taste in men (Black Canary), cross-dressing knights (Shining Knight), violent hard-asses (Huntress), cheeky feminists (Power Girl), respectable family women (Invisible Woman) all regularly grace your comic book shelves. These women are the choice cut. They are the healthy, varied meal in your comic book diet. Basically, these are women who's shoes a female would like to place herself in. Whether it's because they exemplify the best character traits possible or they just plain do stuff you wish you could when you are in a certain mood ("What was that about looking good on my knees, Max?" *KRK*), these are the kinds of woman a fangirl would picture herself as. They are fun people, and you can hate or relate to your heart's content, because it is enjoyable to do so.

Next to the healthy choice, however, is the sensuous fat. Women of no substance, who add nothing to the comic book landscape, women who hurt your head just to read. They tend to be used as romantic fodder. Most of them have super-powers or martial prowess, yet more than end up playing damsel-in-distress in the story. Oh yes, they may look good to fanboys, but beware! They are bad for you. In addition to causing headaches, neck pain, and vomiting, they increase heart problems and risk of personal injury.
These are the female characters I most commonly direct my venom towards. Most of them have an inexplicable, but rabid fanbase. Many of them have been around too long, but time after time, have been shown to be utterly useless and uninteresting. Many are downright loathsome. I hate them, but I don't love to hate them, and I can't relate to them except for the parts of myself that I truly wish weren't parts of myself -- I mean, anyone can end up not qutie measuring up but who wants to be there? Or who wants to be in the victim's or sex-toy's place? Most girls don't. And even Lancelot used to get his butt saved by girls sometimes -- because Chretien deTroyes was writing for a female audience and he knew that even if was socially unacceptable to be the Knight, they did want a more heroic role to put themselves in.

Anyway, most often I avoid the senuous fat. I never bought Chaos Comics, Witchblade, and I tend to stay away from anythign draw in the Nineties sexualized style. I don't even bother to learn their names half the time.

Unfortunately, sometimes a little piece of sensuous fat hasn't been trimmed from my usual meal. And it'll be there irritating me for one issue (like Supergirl!), or, much worse, it becomes a regular part of the series until your disgust with her incompetence leads you to drop the book, and when you pick it up again she's cheating on her ideal lover while he's off in space freezing his ass of and savign teh universe (I'm sure by now we all know who I'm talking about here). This waste cannot simply be left alone or avoided.

And because they are good eye-candy, they are kept around indefinitely, and even, yes, used more often than more worthwhile characters. Some of them are placeholders for legacies that could go to a more interesting person, but don't. And when there's an open chopping block for a huge event, who's neck gets put on it? The sweet-natured supportive female or the worthless slut? The unusual, energetic quirky woman or the personality-less cipher? I man, Sue Dibny dies but that bitch Loring gets to become a return villainess?! She's not even fun to hate!! Ice bites it in a crappy storyline in Justice League and is gone forever, but Donna Troy and Jean Grey each have a lamenated "Get Out of Hell Free" pass! Where's the Justice in that?!

Alexandra DeWitt was created to die, I understand that. But she was an interesting, likeable, intelligent woman (which actually came across nicely in the very few pages in which she existed) who helped Kyle out and ended up stuffed in a fridge, while Jade spends several years utterly worthless despite her powers, then goes Queen Guinevere and yet continues to live.

That's Just. Not. Right. (And neither was Guinevere's continued survival. Lancelot, just let her burn -- for the good of the Kingdom!)

And why? Is it be because writers have somehing worthwhile to do with her? Not possible, even Roy Thomas barely did anything worthwhile with her! Is it because DC is afraid of being called misogynist? Maybe, but that didn't stop them from offing Hawkwoman. Is it because she has a large fanbase that consists of guys with a Green skin fetish, nostalgic Infinitor fans, and women who don't realize what a crappy character she is? Bingo!

Now, I understand not everyone likes the same females. Check out Comics Fairplay's archives from August-October 2005 when she does her Harsh! Hated Female Characters feature, there will be choices you disagree with.

So, of course, don't advocate the death of every female character I despise. Donna Troy can happily exist as long as people are willing to read her (just keep her appearances to a minimum). Supergirl is going to be written by Greg Rucka, and hasn't been around long enough to be completely ruined yet, so I recant my previous protests. She still ahs potential.

But come on -- Jade? Jade's beyond help.

And it just burns me so much that this was the only female Green Lantern for a decade. I actually dropped Green Lantern, because of her. I thought it was the writer not being able to write women, but I discovered that everyone else handled her like that too. She had nothing impressive under her belt at all, and really no experience with regular Green Lantern villains, so it actually did make sense that Fatality,an experienced Green Lantern hunter, could kick her butt, and not Kyle's because Kyle was shown to be especially talented. *Rolls eyes*
Katma Tui Stewart could have wiped the floor with all three of them combined at that point in Kyle's career, though. Arisia and Brik would have made a better showing than Jade. Even without her hand and her ring, Boodika would have torn Fatality apart.

But not Jade, born with powers, but not the inclination, drive, or imagination to do anything worthwhile with them.

Can't you see, it's actually better to kill a character like this off. I'd rather there be no female members of a franchise than have females who are constantly shown to be less competent than the males. I believe it hurt feminity to have Jade be the only female Lantern for so long. I only hope Brik and Soranik Natu, and whoever else they come up with to fill the Corps can make a better showing.

Anyway, my point is that the sensuous fat needs to be trimmed. If there are only so many females, but most of them can't measure up to the standards set by the male characters and really only exist as romantic interests, it is even worse than having no females at all because it sends the general message that women are incompetent sex objects.

So I say, kill all the stupid, worthless, and incompetent female characters.

Kill the mediocre and uninteresting.

Replace them with fun women who can play with the boys, and even show them up sometimes.

And stop killing the good ones, already.

Oh, and bring back Ice.

And Katma Tui.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Answers to the OYL Quiz

(If you don't want the story potentially spoiled, why are you looking here?)

The following questions are from Wizard #171. They have surfaced in at least one thread on every message board I've looked at today, so I figured I'd just answer them here instead of retype everything. I'm working on two assumptions: The Big Three will be effectively disappeared from the DCU for the entirety of the one-year gap; DC are going for the most surprising developments they can get away with.

--One of these characters will give birth in '06: Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Catwoman, or Oracle

Oracle is too easy, as she hasn't been physical for a long time, but given that she's getting her legs back, I don't see them hurting her body again so quickly with a pregnancy. We'd still end up spending a long time watching her recovery, which I believe Gail Simone wanted to skip over for the one-year-leap (Otherwise, why time it now?)

Power Girl has already had a child during a big event.

Catwoman is my runner-up, because the thing between her and Batman has been played up in the build-up here, and they did have a kid on Earth-2.

But I'm going to go with Wonder Woman here. Wishful thinking on my part, I admit, but come on -- Diana's got almost no love-life, Aphrodite's got to be getting irritated by now. This Goddess has turned young women into fruit trees for less, but she continues to favor Diana desptie her virginity? And Rucka's been playing up the motherly aspect of her personality whenever he can. It's a logical step. And it's a way to remove Wonder Woman from the regular DCU for a full year.

--One of these characters will be stripped of their powers: Superman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Green Lantern/Hal Jordan

This plot point has been done to death with Jordan. And comparing his post-Parallax behavior to John's words and Kyle and Guy's actions, he's the least likely Lantern to get the pink slip right now.

I don't see a point with Supergirl.

Everyone on every message board seems to be saying Wonder Woman, because her powers are the easiest to lose as they depend on her patron's favor. But I don't buy it. Diana is Athena's main champion. Diana just got Athena the Throne of firkin' Olympus, and then topped it off with a trip to the Underworld to fetch her baby brother and quell a rebellion. This is all fresh goodness, so it would take a lot to annoy Athena that much. I can see it, though, for the right reason, which is why Diana's my second choice here. But I can only see one specific reason here:
Diana's actions in Sacrifice? No. I can totally see Athena getting behind Diana on those, being a war goddess and all.
Failing to defend Paradise Island? No. They were never mad at Diana when the Amazons got slaughtered before.
Diana getting knocked up? Not even this. Athena might be irked, but remember, Aphrodite and Demeter are also Diana's patrons -- and Athena's biggest supporters in her coup. Diplomatically, at least, Athena would have to let this one pass.
Diana getting knocked up by a guy in Athena's temple? This could do it.
Diana getting knocked up by Poseidon in Athena's temple? Bingo! But this slim possibility is the only one that would work.

So my money's on the Big S. It's the only concievable way to take Superman out for a whole year without killing Lois.

-- One of these characters will become the mayor of a crime-riddled city: Wally West, Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen

Wally's a nobody since Hal mind-wiped the universe for him. He doesn't have the in-story name recognition to become politicians, at least, not in such big city. Plus, he's just too young.

Oliver Queen is highly political, but he's totally tactless. He would shoot his mouth off at the first press conference and totally alienate his target demographic.

Dick has the money, and he has joined the police force to root out corruption, so politics is a natural nexts step. I still see him as too young, though.

Bruce Wayne however, has the money, the backing, the influence, and the fake charm to make it happen. And it's not a natural move for him, under normal circumstances. But given his disillusionment with the hero community, the staggering odds he's been facing threatening to overwhelm him, the utter futility of his mission and the fact that it's falling to pieces -- well, a change of plan might be necessary. Why not take a page from Dick's book and join the system to cleanse it? Plus, it's a good way to remove Batman for a full year.

-- One of these characters will have amnesia and be unable to tell friend from foe: Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Atom, Elongated Man

Wiping Atom or Elongated Man's memories would clear the slate for either character, but it would be just too sad after Identity Crisis.

This could be a hook for an Aquaman relaunch, but given the title of the new book (Sword of Atlantis), I don't see it as too likely.

Now, an amnesiac Martian Manhunter would make a lot of sense. It would explain the utter lack of a JLA relaunch (Doesn't work without a Martian!), and J'onn does have a history of memory problems.

-- One of these characters will take the mantle as the most powerful hero in the DCU: Booster Gold, Animal Man, Kyle Rayner, Earth-2 Superman

Mantle Schmantle! The most powerful hero in the DCU is obviously going to be Kyle Rayner. And not for the obvious reason.

Despite the name of his new book, I don't think Kyle will be fully Ionized and move laterally through time again. That would be too hard to write. But, Kyle is currently the most influential man in the Green Lantern Corps. Kyle is the beloved Torch-bearer, single-handedly responsible for the resurrection of the Oan race. The Oan race which is the collective boss of the Green Lantern Corps. When Kyle walked into the Citadel, and the Guardians immediately dropped everything to be in his presence and praised him. Every year, on Kyle's birthday, they decorate an everpurple tree and buy gifts for each other. Kyle is wonderful. Kyle is the best thing since sliced bread. They love Kyle. They want Kyle happy, they want Kyle safe, and, most of all, they want Kyle close to them.
OYL the Corps will be a staggering force that has swelled to 7200 intensively-trained uber-powerful supercops. They are all under the control of the Gaurdians, who love Kyle. Who want to keep Kyle happy, safe, and close to them. Even if Kyle does internalize his powers, he will still be the beloved Torch-bearer, savior of the Oan race. He will still secretly be referred to by most of them as "Uncle Kyle" when Ganthet is out of earshot. He will be the Most Powerful Hero in the DC Universe, because he will be the only one who can influence the Guardians.

If you doubt this, look at his recent actions: He disobeys his orders in Rann-Thanagar War by following a lead that would take him directly to the center of the war that he is expressly forbidden to involve himself in. Instead of getting the boot, he gets Kilowog sent to pick him up and gently guide him away from the danger. He's currently in the process, in Recharge, of breaking a millenia-old pact between the Guardians and the Psions, over a girl who left the Corps voluntarily before she got kidnapped. Now, when the old Green Man did this in Omega Men #29, he got booted from the Corps, and even cut off from using his power to save his own butt! If Guy had done this alone, I can see a similar result (especially since he got threated with Krona's punishment for breaking into the Citadel!). So, what's going to keep Kyle and Guy from getting the book thrown at them? Why, Kyle's presence, of course.

And the beauty of all of this is: Kyle is very last person in the DC Universe who would capitalize on this situation. Hell, he'll probably be the last person to realize he's getting special treatment! It'll all be subtle, little rules that they bend for him. He could be running the Universe, and he won't ever realize it.

Of course, if you want to get tricky (which Wizard and DC often are), if Kyle's only taking up the Ion name again, that is the mantle of the "Most Powerful Hero in the DCU" if not the actual power level.

I just hope this question doesn't mean we'll see Earth-2 Superman as the Spectre. That's a scary thought.

-- One of these characters will become a criminal: Hal Jordan, Superman, Flash, Captain Marvel

Hal Jordan's too obvious here. He's already played villain for too long to be a fugitive.

We'll sooner see Superman back in his grave than turning to crime.

The Flash would be interesting, to say the least, and I could see Wally or Bart end up in a situation that forced them on the wrong side of the law easily.

But I went with Captain Marvel because not only does this have an initial "Huh?" factor, but it makes perfect sense on examination -- Billy is actually a lot younger than everyone else, and is now without guidance after Day of Vengeance #6. His powers are magic-based, so I don't see how the Wisdom of Solomon is totally reliable right now. He's also been lagging in popularity, and such a stunt would raise interest, at least temporarily. I can see him being forced to the wrong side of the law even more easily than the Flash right now.

-- One of these characters will be the only one around after "Infinite Crisis": The Flash/Wally West, Superboy/Connor Kent, Green Lantern/Guy Gardner, Nightwing/Dick Grayson

This does not necessarily mean death. They are playing with us.

Wally West is probably going to retire with the kids.

Dick will evolve beyond Nightwing somehow.

I was originally going to go with Guy Gardner, but then I realized: The Solicits for the Teen Titans Annual are already out, and it's a post-Infinite Crisis love story with Wonder Girl and Superboy. This not only means that Cassie will survive (WHY?!), but Connor Kent will definately be around afterwards. Which means Guy might be the "heroic warrior" to sacrifice himself in the Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special
At this point, he might have more of an effect than even Jade. But even so, it's possible that I'm wrong, and Guy will be around, but in a different form. Back to Warrior perhaps? Or maybe, just maybe, the solicits were lying to me and the love story is set before the end of Infinite Crisis. In which case, Guy is home free. I'll have my fingers crossed, but I know what to expect.

As I have said on other message boards, if Jade survives the Rann-Thanagar War Special but Guy Gardner or Captain Comet dies, I will personally vomit on Dave Gibbons' shoes at the very next convention I see him at.

-- One of these teams won't survive Infinite Crisis: JLA, JLA, JLA, JLA

Haven't the foggiest idea here.

-- One of these characters becomes the military's secret weapon: Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Red Tornado, Green Lantern/John Stewart

John is becoming rebellious again. I can't see him working for the military after what he said to Hal in Green Lantern #1 about his "Wake-up call." And given what happened to Kyle and his mother in Homecoming? after John defended "the Man" and got sent on a wild goose chase, it would bug me to see him become a "secret weapon."

Wonder Woman's views are too unconventional.

Red Tornado is an off-chance, but for some reason I really see Cyborg going military here. Not sure why.

-- One of these characters will destroy an entire country and kill millions: Braniac, Sinestro, Black Adam, Vandal Savage

Not Sinestro's style. Plus, this sort of thing is generally reserved for villains needing to prove themselves. Sinestro's coming off the biggest scheme of his career -- He actually took down Hal Jordan! He kept him down for a decade! And he would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for that meddling kid...

Wouldn't jive with Black Adam's normal actions. He does consider himself a moral man and would probabyl stop short of mass genocide.

Vandal Savage is off to a good start in his last appearance, going all Ra's Al Ghul on us -- but Brainiac's been awfully quiet during all of this. I can see Brainaic surprising every one with a sudden, huge, destructive action.