I believe I aptly explained why I feel that Rucka has merely copied the Indigos with his rationalization, and that Diana was clearly placed in Violet due to the combination of her prominence and her gender and not because of any suitability in her modern age character. (Aside to the spectators, supposed pre-Crisis know-it-alls should RTFP and RTFC before piping up--DC's made a conscious effort to remove Aphrodite's influence as of the reboot, and it was quite successful.) As such, I figured you should understand just why I find the situation unacceptable.
Then I read your statement regarding love:
I think you could have as easily made the argument that Superman loves all creation and is willing to fight for it, and thus could have easily been a Sapphire. But perhaps Johns has a story reason for wanting Supes to remain undead a bit longer... or (more likely) no one ever thought Superman could rock the pink outfit. And at the same time, I try to see the positives here, in that we're talking about Love, dammit, and I actually LIKE the idea of super-heroes filled with love for humanity, love for the world, as the M.O. for doing what they do. In a world of vengeance-driven characters like Batman, I WANT someone to say "love must triumph," so I admit -- I can't get too outraged at the continuity/treatment/event/momentary-lapse-that-won't-affect-her-solo-title-four-months-from-now.
Before I get into the sweeping problem here, let me note that not wanting to put Superman in a pink costume but being willing to change Wonder Woman--who has the same hair/eye/skin color and costume color scheme--to a pink costume is homophobic and sexist and therefore wrong. So it's not a good excuse for using Diana rather than Clark for this particular twist.
But that's not where we get screwed up. You seem to find the idea that Love is what saved Wonder Woman from Death to be unequivocably positive, but even without the promblematic setup of the Star Sapphires Love is quite a loaded word, and there is definitely a gender disparity here. For male characters, Love is a positive addition to an already heroic character. It makes a powerful character more powerful. It adds to their supporting cast and gives them inspiration to achieve greater heights. They tend to be the hero first and the brother/father/husband/son/lover afterwards.
Female characters more often than not from conception have their LIVES revolve around Love and relationships. They are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, lovers (even as bad guys, they are often potential lovers) to male characters first of all. They live, sleep, and breathe love and romance. Most of them are introduced as love interests and many that begin as heroes in their own right find themselves quickly paired off with the writer's and fan's favorite guys. Precious few gain and keep satellite male love interests that enhance their stories. Most female characters are used to enhance a male character's story, to teach them the power of love and the ways of the heart.
And outside the superhero genre? Men get to be reluctant romantic leads and learn to open their hearts, but they are also action and adventure and dramatic leads as well.
Women are overwhelmingly romantic leads and workers of love with hearts that yearn to be open. They are sometimes dramatic leads, but that's usually folded in with romance. They are RARELY solo action and adventure leads who explore their problems with wit and courage. Even when they get action and adventure roles, they tend to be romantic and emotional in nature, or learning the value of love for family, for men, or for strangers.
See, it may be an amazing and special thing for you to read a male hero learning to open up himself to love and it making him stronger. And it may be fun for you in the same way to read a woman tap into love to draw strength. That's because to you, it's not the same old theme to every story about you. You get a variety of themes about human nature.
We get love conquers all. In the large and the small, in the personal and the global. Love conquers all. All the time.
That's why for many of us the amazing and beautiful thing is watching a woman be independent and confident and hopeful without attaching herself as a helper to a man. The special thing is watching a woman reach wholeness by opening herself to other emotions--emotions like righteous anger (that we're often urged to repress) and enduring hope that aren't the theme behind every story we've ever read
And for a lot of women, there is nothing special in watching a woman tap into a reservoir of love so that she can draw strength from that because that's what 99.9% of female characters do when they're strong anyway. And though a lot of women still greatly enjoy it, it's as common as dirt and they can find it anywhere. And everyone enjoys variety. Even those of us who adore apples like to eat a pear once in a while and don't like when that pear we were in the mood for suddenly turns out to be another apple.
To clarify, I'm going to have to discuss spoilers for Green Lantern Corps #42-43 here.
Now, I have said in the past that I absolutely adore Miri, and I have blogged in the past that I was surprised at how well the Kyle and Soranik relationship worked out. Soranik is a very clinical, willful woman. She's never allowed herself to be in love because she's specifically been afraid of being hurt. And she has a superstitious streak (she insisted back in her first appearance her ring was cursed because Sinestro went bad and Katma died), so she must have been afraid of Kyle's fucking amazing bad streak. Not only that, she's from Korugar where Green Lanterns are despised and Kyle is The Green Lantern, the Torchbearer, the reason we all HAVE Green Lanterns right now. It's a beautiful blend of complementary personalities. He's artistic and neurotic. She's logical and hot-tempered. He's from a chaotic and diverse world and she's from a very well-ordered world that hasn't had freedom long enough to be accustomed to it. (We can infer the difference in natural states from how Sinestro reacted to Earth in the Secret Origin storyline, suggesting that Korugar was never so wild even before he took over.)
So opening herself up to love was a multifold experience. She was overcoming a number of fears and exposing herself to a completely different culture and mindset. It worked beautifully, and wonderfully. It wasn't innovative, but it was well-crafted.
Then Blackest Night started. And Kyle and Soranik's relationship was tested by Black Lantern Jade. It came out ahead. Then Kyle sacrificed his life, blowing up in the middle of telling Soranik he loved her.
It was heartbreakingly beautiful.
It was clearly not the end.
Kyle's sweetheart, after all, is a neurosurgeon, and the best medical professional on Oa. so one of the expected solutions is that she would be able to work through her panic, desperation, and grief to revive him from the dead. That she would, through her skill be able to save her love.
There are times when you expect a plot to continue in the obvious direction along a well-worn path, only to have the writer pull the rug out from under you. Before you know it you see the tips of your shoes cross the backdrop of a beautiful summer sky, but it doesn't hurt. You landed on soft grass and you can feel the warm sunlight on your face, so you laugh because you got surprised and you loved it and it was part of this wonderful game!
Kyle's death was one of those times.
Kyle's resurrection was not.
The plot had been marching down an obvious direction (though there were still many forks available that weren't cliched) but it was not a well-worn or unwelcome path. It was an unusual path because the Doctor with the material skills and logical mind was a female character and the one who'd sacrificed himself for love was a male character. This may not be as unusual as it used to be, but it was still a riveting departure from the typical setup and the romantic fairy tales of our youth. Tomasi pulled Miri--thus far the best of the Star Sapphires so I credit him with creating her--into the mix. Soranik finds herself without the skill to save Kyle, and is unable to balance her emotions in the center of the battle. Miri creates a link between the two lovers and uses Soranik's love to resurrect Kyle.
An inspiring example that love conquers even death, no? I'm sure Tomasi thought as much. He was thematically incorrect, though. Since it was Miri swooping in as a Deus Ex Machina, this was solely Love conquering death while Will sat on the sidelines. But if Soranik had done so using her measured skill with or without the quasimystical help of Miri, it would have been an example of will mixing with love to conquer death, and a better echo of the overall theme of Blackest Night--that these forces cannot prevail alone. You neglect in your argument that "Love Must Triumph" is most certainly not the only thematic alternative to vengeance-obsessed protagonists. I enjoy reading about people who achieve their goals through strength and intelligence and just plain never giving up. I enjoy watching a protagonist who wishes to preserve the thing they care for above all else, but I also like a protagonist who has a strong sense of what is fair and just and acts in order to correct injustice and balance. I like heroes like Green Lanterns, who apply their skill and their wits and their courage to make sense of the universe. Love's a wonderful experience, but it is not the prime motivating factor for everyone who does something altruistic or even just good, and stories where love alone doesn't get the job done can be incredibly uplifting.
More importantly, the sour taste I found in my mouth came from this: A woman's love can conquer anything is a theme that reverberates across fiction. You can find it anywhere if you want to look for it. But here Tomasi had a storyline that was different and exciting, and he threw it away for the sort of cliched climax that can be found in a 13-year-old's Mary Sue fanfic.
(I will give him that the potential fallout from this impromptu battlefield marriage is juicy as all hell, so I'll continue reading, but the resurrection sorely disappointed me. Also, Miri is a fairy godmother, but she's also fairly awesome--the first genuinely positive example of a Star Sapphire so far. This is a misstep that hasn't soured me on his using her.)
But I'll even give you that Miri's solution could have been quite ingenius if Kyle had been the one standing helplessly at Soranik's side (this wouldn't have sent Guy into a rage, but they could have placed it afterwards--like she got hit while reviving him), and Miri had linked hearts to bring her back to life. Why is it so different? Because a man's love in stories tends to be expressed by the physical deeds he does for it, and doesn't need to manifest as a mystical quality.
Female heroes don't often get to express love through feats of strength or skill. Love wells up from the bottom of their soul and springs forth as inspiration or magic, and puts things right on a spiritual level. (And at DC, love wells up from the bottom of a crystal cocoon and springs forth in a neat little pink package that shows lots of cleavage!) It would have been a hell of a thing to see Soranik Natu save her lover through her skill, and then be saved by the pure power of his love because that would be her love-driven skills and his pure emotion rather than the usual trope of emphasizing the woman's pure emotions and the man's skills.
Love stories may be an undiscovered country for men, but this is far from a new frontier for women. It's always been our playground. It's where we're assumed to have our greatest power, and it's the place we're relegated to in story and song.
Love is the kitchen of genre fiction.
So to a lot of us? Yes, this is a negative.
And the fact that in DC, love is overwhelmingly personal (Wally and Linda, Kyle and Soranik, Miri and her late husband are all examples of when the power of love has manifested supernaturally, and it has ALWAYS been personal), sexual and seems to be exclusively the domain of women--to the point that even a character like Diana who is established as downright virginal and much better suits another established realm is STILL rationalized into that domain (with the description of the other established realm, which went to a male character... which had a history that even suited the established description of what makes a Star Sapphire)--is an incredible negative.
I will say this much... I do want a love story. But not the one we've been getting. I want the undiscovered country.
I want something starring a male Star Sapphire.