Monday, June 19, 2006

Open Questions

Here's a list of my current comic book questions; I'd appreciate any thoughts readers might offer to help fuel my random speculations.

(1) Will Selina Kyle again be Catwoman?
—(a) Will Holly Robinson need to die for this to happen?
—(b) Will Helena (Dubrovna) Kyle need to die for this to happen?
—(c) Will Helena's baby-sitter Miranda, introduced in issue #55, turn out to be a psycho-baby-killer?

Although I wish Holly Robinson unmitigated success as she takes up the mantle of Catwoman, it must be said that, whether Selina Kyle is in costume or not, she simply is Catwoman, for me.

The most important question: can a woman be a single mother and a costumed adventurer? (Kate Spencer in Manhunter would seem to provide a relevant precedent to how this could possibly play out.)

(2) Following Brian Michael Bendis' advice, (which I discussed here), DC has engaged in a project to humanize Wonder Woman: will the moves taken to do this strengthen, or irrevocably ruin, the character?

(3) Will Cassandra Cain be a permantent villain, or is the person we're seeing in recent issues of Robin brain-washed, mentally unstable, or an evil twin/clone?

(4) Will Spider-Girl actually end with Spider-Girl's end?

(5) In the alternate time-stream depicted in the "Absolute Power" story-line from Superman/Batman, Superman murdered that universe's version of Wonder Woman. Shouldn't he be held accountable for that crime in some way?

(6) When, how, and in what book will Dr. Light be brought to justice?

Finally, two Reed Richards observations from Civil War #2:

(1) Reed's treatment of his wife Sue actually surpassed the Doom Patrol's Niles Caulder's astounding exchange with Rita Farr in Teen Titans #36 ("You follow my orders ... and maybe one day you won't be a freak anymore ..."), to top my list of the most starkly misogynistic situation set into motion by a non-villain. Now, I know both exchanges were purposefully written this way, but Reed's dickery in CW #2 seems so extreme that pulling the character back from it may not be possible. And, as Heidi Meeley argues here, perhaps that's the whole point.

(2) If Reed is so smart, why doesn't he know that you just can't reduce something as complex as the outcome of unrestricted superhuman activity to a series of formulae? I'm sorry, but no matter how smart you are, no matter how long and complex the formulae might be, this just can't be reliably done — and Mark Millar should know this.

1) If it were Marvel, I would argue the baby would die. It's DC, so I'll vote for c, leading to a, with the baby-sitters reason being she was sexually abused as a child, because that hasn't been overused lately.

2) DC should not follow Bendis' advice on anything that doesn't have to do with street level characters, or espionage, of which Wonder Woman should be neither.

3) None of the above. She's thinking clearly, and has settled firmly into the "grey hats", next to the Secret Six and the Outsiders, doing the stuff Daddy bats can't be bothered to get his hands dirty with.

4) Yes! Because if there's only character at marvel with Spider in their name that needs to survive, it's the one that's actually being written well.

5) Was he ever held accountable for killing the depowered Kryptonians? Eh, I'm sure Batman will kick the crap out of him at some point.

6) By Sgt. Rock, in the last issue of Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy. Don't ask me how. Or by Manhunter.

7) I find it funny that Reed is following Tony, given that Reed is smarter than Stark is, and that he can go through with it when his own wife knows it's a bad idea, and he knew she'd think that. Gee, Reed, which one of you spends more time in the real world, and not a virtual thinktank? Maybe that's the person whose judgement should be followed, hmm?

SP killed WW? Huh.
Calvin: sounds like there's cause for optimism on the Spider-Girl front.

Warning: spoilers to Superman/Batman "Absolute Power" follow.

Nida: Yeah, in "Absolute Power" Clark and Bruce are "intercepted" at the crucial points of their youths and raised by time-travelling baddies. They grow up to be very bad, powerful men. The Diana in the story realizes that things are f**ked up, "awakens" a group of heroes, leads them into battle, kills the bad Batman, and then gets choked to death with her lasso by evil-Clark(!).

"Absolute Power" definitely marks a low point in convoluted comic book story-telling. (The writer's single insight seems to have been: "since it's an alternate time/world, let's just kill everyone!) The imagery used to depict evil-Kal's murder of the alternate-Diana is the pits, too.

Jeph Loeb also "killed off" the Freedom Fighters in this storyline, so when they got taken out in Infinite Crisis #1, I became convinced for a while that Diana wouldn't survive the Crisis, either.
I guess I should find the TPB in the comic store and check it out. Thanks for the information, I'm sure I'll be equally unimpressed.

I think there are more low points in comic storytelling than high points.
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