Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Treatise on Certain Things

I don't really know what to write about. I'm not nearly as eloquent as some people (see Ragnell and Kalinara) and I'm certainly not funny (See The Absobascon). So what can I talk about? I understand that ranting incoherently is popular on blogs. So perhaps I should talk about the comic characters that I like. Or the ones I don't like. All right, I'm going to start of positive. With the characters I like. The more obscure ones.

Azrael - Azrael seems to be a topic of contention. Most people seem to hate the character. They're happy he's forgotten and they don't know why he had a solo series that lasted for one-hundred issues (But hey, I love the character and even I'm not sure how he managed that -- probably editorial deference to Denny O'Neil).

I guess it's not surprising that Azrael is despised. After all, he was created to be hated. He was designed to replace Batman and bring attention to the problems with the "anti-heroes" of the 1990's. I've never actually read the Knightfall story arc (though I have read Denny's novelization) so I can't comment on how he was portrayed there. But from what I can gather, Jean Paul Valley was freakin' nuts. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

The DCU needs more insane heroes. We've got our share of nutty baddies. That's easy to do (but not easy to do well as seen in about 80% of the Joker's appearances). Unfortunately, Azrael was sane in the vast majority of his solo series. Mostly, anyway. Near the end, Denny O'Neil started to bring back some of the classic craziness. It helped, but not enough; the stuff he surrounded Az with was still far too boring (and we know that supporting cast and setting are as important as a main character).

Azrael's potential was wasted. To me, watching someone as unhinged as Azrael fighting the good fight -- despite his deficiencies -- would make for some interesting reading. But he needed a good supporting cast, good villains, and most importantly, a good base of operations. He bounced around from Gotham to Bludhaven to who knows where. And that just doesn't work.

I've got an entire story worked out for Azrael's return. It'll never see the light of day, I'm sure, but it's there. I pull Azrael out of America entirely, and place him into one of DC's classic fictional cities -- in Europe (why is it that the fictional cities only seem to be in America?). What we need is a religiously motivated European vigilante who makes Batman look like a poster child for mental health.

Supergirl - "But wait!" you shout. "We already have a Supergirl! Kara's finally back!" Shut up. SHUT UP. First of all, this new Supergirl is not the beloved Pre-Crisis Kara (and why is she beloved, anyway?). That Kara died. Though she did show up in the last few issues of Peter David's Supergirl series (where I fell in love with her after just a few short pages; something that 4 plus issue of the new series has yet to do). But enough about why I hate the new Kara. I'll save that for another post. I want to talk about why I love Linda Danvers.

Has any character had a more complicated and convulted origin? Protoplasmic beings, suicidal girls, and angels? You're nuts, right? That couldn't possibly make for good reading. And yet, it did. It made for some incredibly good reading. Some of that can be attributed to the character herself; Linda was a fascinating, complex character. But I think one of the things that made her interesting is, again, the things that surrounded her.

Linda didn't spend all her time fighting other heroes. She spent it interacting with her friends and family (A hero with actual family? Inconceivable!). She spent it interacting with her city (again highlighting the importance of setting). The new Supergirl has no setting. She has no friends, she has no family (other than Clark, who she seems to want nothing to do with). She is an enigma who is not being unraveled. Linda was an enigma too. The difference is that from the beginning, I was curious about the answer to that riddle. With the new Supergirl, I just don't care.

More characters I love later!


At 9:35 PM, Blogger Melchior del DariĆ©n said...

"Why is the pre-Crisis Supergirl beloved?" She's the girl-next-door with superpowers, man. I've been reading Supergirl's DC Archive volumes, and there's definitely a lot to like there. She willingly takes on "orphan" as her alter ego; does what she can to make her chums attractive to prospective parents; and there's her later death defending Superman in Crisis on Infinte Earths.

I totally agree with you on the new Kara, though. She has been nothing more than a "plot device" so far, rather than a real character. (We're all supposed to be wondering what her place is in the Crisis.) The first two issues of her title showed us how strong she is (as she pounded the crap out of whoever stood in front of her); issue three showed us how dangerous Luthor is (since he cleaned her clock without even working up a sweat).

What the writers do with her now from now on is anyone's guess. The March solicitation for her title has Supergirl defending the bottle planet of Kandor with Power Girl, so maybe there will be some depth added to her character then. Since Kryptonians are de-powered on Kandor, perhaps we'll see some of Kara's other dimensions (if they exist).

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

The "why is she beloved?" was an honest question. Being the young one that I am, I was barely three when she died. Though I did see a lot to love about her in those last few issues of Peter David's Supergirl.

And I still hold out some hope for the new Kara, seeing as Greg Rucka will be taking over her title.

At 12:54 AM, Blogger kalinara said...

I think I've said it before, but sometimes, I really think that Mr. Loeb is writing Supergirl intentionally hateful.

What makes me think this is that scene in Supergirl 3, I think it was, with her crush on Nightwing. Because having been a fifteen year old girl once (I'd prefer not to talk about it) and having done some idiotic things for the sake of crushes (I'd *really* prefer not to talk about it) for a brief scene or two I found her sympathetic.

Then of course, it was back to rolling my eyes and grumbling. But that little scene did give Kara, for the first time for me, a dose of humanity. And since Mr. Rucka indicates in interviews that he'll be focused on the "teenage" aspect of her character. I think that might be a good sign.

As long as Power Girl stays too though.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Scipio said...

Have you seen the forthcoming Azrael heroclix figure?

Regardless of how you feel about the character, it's a beautiful sculpt.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

Nay, I have not. But I must.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things I beat you to the "enjoying characters commentary because I'm new to blogs" by a whole 5 days. As proven here:

Secondly I like the original Supergirl for one reason. The novilization of COIE made here sacrifice amazing. It also made me like the female doctor light to.


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