Monday, October 20, 2008

Fire: The DCU's Most Under-Appreciated Friend

So I was thinking about Bea today when I was thinking about JLI pairings, and it occurred to me: Bea is actually a really awesome friend. And not just to Tora, either.

It's pretty obvious how much she cared about Tora, though I think the most telling thing about their relationship was the fact that Bea took her under her wing in the first place. Tora barely spoke any English at all, and certainly no Portuguese, so it can't be that they had a lot in common to talk about in the beginning! We didn't actually get to see any of this interaction, of course, but Bea had to have just sort of... stepped in and took over teaching the poor girl stuff. And sure, she could be a little bossy and tended to expect Tora to just follow along, but that was more just her basic personality coming out. She's the leader, the one with the ideas, and Tora is just more comfortable as a follower (which is not a bad thing at all). At any rate, they hardly ever fought on-panel. Even when it came to Guy, it was more Bea expressing disapproval and Tora just sort of ignoring her. I know of one instance when they out-and-out argued about it, and there was a story in an issue of Justice League Quarterly when Bea said something that really hurt her feelings, but for the most part, they seemed to get along well.

If there was a failing to be had, I'd say it was the fact that Bea didn't always seem aware of Tora's feelings (or perhaps that Tora didn't always share her feelings). It was obvious from time to time in later issues that Tora was feeling particularly unhappy or inadequate, and Bea always seemed surprised. I suspect that most of the problem was that Tora isn't the type to complain much... and what does a good best friend say when you mention that you're feeling ugly or stupid or just plain not good enough? "Are you crazy? You're a wonderful person! Don't be so down on yourself!" So yeah, I can see why she wouldn't necessarily have confided in Bea about that as much as she would have about other things. It's like your mother telling you that you're beautiful -- well of course she would think so. It's no surprise, so it doesn't make you feel any better.

But she tried. And Bea has always been one of the best when it comes to keeping in touch with old friends. When Booster and Guy were ready to avenge Ted, Bea was a step ahead of them -- she was already researching Ted's finances and finding out what was going on. When Booster was acting like an idiot during 52, she showed up to give him a piece of her mind. It wasn't exactly a friendly visit, but she was obviously concerned about him. And who was it that kept calling poor lonely crazy Ralph, urging him to meet with her or talk to her and asking him how he was doing? Yep, it was Bea.

She really seems to keep an eye on her old crew. And she's not afraid to step in and try to drag them up by their bootlaces, either. It's one of the things that I think she and Guy have in common... and I'd even go so far as to say that the two of them are probably the most nostalgic for the old days, even when they won't come out and say so. They'd make a good mommy and daddy for a team of rookie heroes, if only they would recognize those qualities in each other. (And if the rookies actually called them Mom and Dad and pointed out that they act like a married couple sometimes, it would be hilariously awesome because they'd get so mad.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let Me Be Shallow (More Than Usual) For A Moment

I walked up to Target on my lunch break today and finally came across one of the elusive JLU 3-packs with Fire, Ice, and John Stewart in it. My co-workers ridiculed me for coming back and declaring that I had discovered Hotness in a Box, but it's okay -- who has need of the esteem of others when one has Hotness in a Box? Certainly not I.

I'm not a huge fan of the figures themselves, small and cute as they are. They're wonderful likenesses of the characters as they appear in the cartoon, but they're just too short and non-poseable to appeal much to me. And I do have at least three other John Stewart toys. But Bea and Tora! I have plastic Bea and Tora! Tora has an upside-down iceberg-shaped boob window in her costume! Yay?

And it reminded me of this mighty craving I have, that maybe only me and four other people share. I still want Fire and Ice: Year One!

Of course it'll never happen. They're not popular enough characters to financially justify any mini, let alone a flashback one, and I can just imagine what folks would think of a supporting cast consisting largely of the Global Guardians, of all people, but... I want it so bad! I want naive, not-quite-fluent Tora being taught about the outside world by worldly, sort-of-a-partier Beatriz. I want them to have awesome adventures together. I want culture shock. But mostly, I just want awesome ladies in the early days of a pretty cool friendship. It would be like Gail Simone's Birds of Prey, only with less birds, less prey, and more ice princesses and Brazilian spies. In fact, Gail Simone should write it.

It also makes me wonder: when Tora mentioned to Guy in GLC #29 that she and Bea had been talking about "starting a...", I wonder what she was going to finish that sentence with before Guy interrupted her? Start a team? Start a commune? Start a charity for heroes recently resurrected from the dead? Start a prank war with the Bat-clan? (Massive failure: Bats don't have a sense of humor.) I'd really like to know what they're thinking about doing together. I've enjoyed Bea's development in Checkmate so far, but the book has been dragging something awful lately, and Bea really belongs in a more light-hearted book, anyway. I can appreciate that she's got scary skills and that she's more serious now, but ugh. Checkmate is bad news for everyone involved, and I'd rather not see her dead.

I bet Guy would be sad if he later learned that what Tora had actually been trying to say was "starting a threesome with you". You just blew your chance, chump. That'll teach you to throw temper tantrums every time your girlfriend brings up her girlfriend's name.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Favorite Characters Make Crappy Boyfriends

Is it sad to claim to be a feminist, and yet continually find myself most interested in comic book characters who treat women poorly?

I know I bash Hal a lot, but he's actually what got me started thinking about this today. Now, he's not really terrible to women. I think he has trouble understanding them and respecting their feelings -- but then Hal has that problem with everybody. I was not terribly impressed with how quickly he shacked up with Arisia, not because she was actually as young as she was (and I don't care how long it takes her planet to revolve around the sun -- she was very obviously the physical, mental, and emotional equivalent of a 14-year-old girl until she "grew up", whether Geoff Johns like it or not), but because he so quickly changed his mind. "No no, we can't" became, in like two seconds "Oh, you grew up. Cool, let's do it!"

But most of what bothers me about Hal is the way he carried on with Carol, especially how it's been portrayed most recently in the Secret Origin. On the surface, it's cute, and I even find myself thinking "Oh Hal, you adorable rascal!". And of course we know that Carol probably wants him, too (though I find myself wanting to argue that she was never really that into him). But he's just so damn arrogant about it that I know that, if a man were to behave that way around me in real life, I'd want to punch him in the face! And I don't care what kind of pussyfoot games you think you're playing -- when a woman tells you no, you back off. Particularly when that woman is your boss. I'm the manager of the groom shop where I work. And I suppose it might be different if you own your own company like Carol does/did, but where I work, sexual harrassment and workplace dating rules are a BIG DEAL. It's too easy for other employees to think you're playing favorites. It's too easy for messy breakups to happen -- and whether you like it or not, it's going to affect the way you treat each other. It's just a bad idea all around. Carol was trying to draw a line between her and Hal for a reason, and it's terribly disrespectful of him to completely ignore her wishes. Not to mention the fact that it makes things very hard for Carol, who is trying to keep a dying company afloat and doesn't need that extra stress at the workplace.

My favorite Marvel character is Hank Pym, and there's probably not a man in all of comicdom who has gotten more bad press for his treatment of women. He has this long, distinguished history, marred by mental illness, and no matter how many times writers try to portray him as recovering in a healthy way, along comes another writer who only remembers him as "Hank Pym, Professional Wife-Beating Psycho" who writes him that way again. Sound familiar? Because it's pretty similar to what happens to Guy all the time over at DC. Luckily for Guy, however, most of the time when people draw him with his old haircut and write him being super brain-damaged jerk, it's usually only for a short appearance or bit part in another book. For poor Hank, it's often the writer of whatever big book he happens to be appearing in, and they make a huge plot-point out of it! And it seems that every time the issue is addressed, the event itself gets blown more and more out of proportion. I could write a novel about why I love Hank and why I think the abuser label has been unfairly slapped on him, but I'll spare you. (For now.)

I'm also a fan of Quicksilver. Or at least I was, before his most recent foray into insanity. I actually think the failure of his and Crystal's marriage is as much her fault as it is his (man, did I cheer when Medusa called Crystal on her childishness in the latest issue of Inhumans!), and I think he loves his wife and daughter very much, but I can't deny that he has to be a hard man to live with. It's funny, though -- I imagine Pietro to be rather possessive and controlling, which are two very bad traits for a husband to have, but he hasn't actually been portrayed that way in regards to Crystal and Luna. She cheated on him because he was restless and preoccupied. Well, duh lady, he's a speedster. All your hot sexings aren't enough to keep him occupied 24-7 (even if Crystal's Love Shack is apparently open all those hours). Still, he's not exactly the sort of man that makes for good relationship material.

And of course I can scarcely go a post without talking about Guy. But in the interest of fairness, I have to bash him a little bit, too.

I sympathize with Bea a lot. Even though I think part of her problem is the fact that she's hot for Guy and Tora both, I know what it's like to be the friend of someone who insists on staying with a real loser boyfriend. And let's face it -- Guy treated Tora horribly. He used to be the sort of man that you do not want your best friend, sister, or anyone else hooking up with. He never hit her (nor do I think he ever would), but he certainly said some terrible things. Thigh cheese? Aside from being sort of a disgusting mental image, it's just mean to outright tell your girlfriend that you think she's got fat thighs. Particularly when it's not true and she's sort of a self-conscious woman to begin with! I can imagine Tora later, looking at herself in the mirror, wavering back and forth between "Oh... maybe I do have jiggly thighs!" to "No, wait, I don't!" while Bea sits there watching and trying to convince her that she looks great.

And then of course there's the time when Tora was feeling less than confident about her powers and what she brought to the team and was thinking of leaving. First Guy teases her about it (not too badly, but it was bad timing) and then after she hesitates in battle, he yells at her and tells her that yeah, she is useless. Ow. Just ow. It was a cruel thing to say any time, but it seemed that Guy had a knack back then for kicking her when she was down. He accidentally knocked her down the stairs. At least it was an accident, but still... you have to be a pretty self-centered jerk to knock your girlfriend down the stairs and not even notice!

I think probably the worst though was in his solo book when he was parading around town with a floozy on each arm and she came uptown to see what he was up to. Now, he's really just trying to draw out Goldface (that's what Tora thinks, anyway, and I agree even though Guy doesn't actually say yes or no), but when she asks him about it, he tells her that she's just jealous because he's hanging around with women who are better-looking than her. That's not just kicking her when she's down. That's knocking her down, kicking her, and jumping up and down on her.

Guy still had brain damage back then, of course. I can't imagine Guy saying those things to anybody he even remotely likes now, let alone the woman he professes to love. But it doesn't change the fact that it happened, and that it's pretty blatant emotional abuse. I don't think I've ever actually talked to anyone who opposes Guy/Tora as a pairing for this reason, though. It seems that most people either like the pairing, or are just indifferent to it because they don't really care about Guy and Tora as characters, anyway. Compare and contrast that with the Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne situation. Guy was brain damaged and had a repeated pattern of emotional abuse with his girlfriend. Hank was in the middle of a nervous breakdown, and hit his wife once, with no pattern of, or even any hints of, abusive behavior of any kind before or after the incident in question. Guy gets off without much comment, and many folks (me included) desperately want to see them get back together. Hank gets bitterly lambasted for the entire rest of his existence as a character, and half the internet froths at the mouth when they get back together every so often.

On the one hand, I think it's good that we react with anger when a man hits a woman. As much as I despise knee-jerk reactions (particularly when they demonize one person or group of people immediately), at least it's a sign that most people realize that domestic abuse should not be tolerated by us as a society. But on the other, I think it also shows just how little we recognize or care about forms of abuse that don't leave physical scars. I'm willing to bet that most of us already know a man or woman who sticks around with a significant other who says terrible things to them and makes them feel really bad about themselves. Or who controls them in an unfair way (bursting into tears over little things to get their way, threatening to leave them over really trivial things, etc.). If you happen to be a close friend of the person in question, you probably try to convince them of the futility of the relationship, because you hate seeing your friend get hurt. But in general, I think we tolerate this sort of behavior far too much. It's harder to see how things like this hurt a person, and how they affect them long-term. But they certainly do.

And yet, I do desperately want to see Guy and Tora together again. Now that his brain is fixed, I really believe that he'd make a great husband and father if they choose to have kids (and I think they will). I suppose the fact that he's not a greasy spot on the pavement is another check in the "Bea secretly likes Guy" column, because if anyone else had treated Tora that way, I suspect Bea would have reacted a lot more violently than just tossing insults his way.

Hank and Jan? There was a time when I would have loved to see them get back together and I think it could have worked out wonderfully, but too many writers have dredged up the past too many times since then, and Hank's recovery in the pages of West Coast Avengers has been all but forgotten. Assuming he isn't dead (I know he was skrull-swapped) or that he comes back to life if he is dead, I'd like to see him with someone eventually... but maybe not Jan. Jan, too, I'd like to see with someone, but I don't think she ever had a good relationship with anyone but Tony Stark, and that was only for one issue. Too bad it was right after she divorced Hank, when he was rotting in jail for something he wasn't really responsible for and when the blow would hurt the most. Huh. That has too many echoes of Hal/Kari and Guy for my tastes.

Pietro and Crystal? Assuming he ever stops being batshit insane... no. A thousand times no. I never liked Crystal, admittedly, but they're just not a very compatible pair. Crystal is childish and selfish, and Pietro is... Pietro. I'm honestly not sure that he would be compatible with anyone except maybe, uh, his sister. And that's only because she would forgive him anything, which also tends to make for a bad relationship even if you're not talking incest. I still can't believe that The Ultimates actually went there (and that everyone but Cap seemed to think it was cool).

Hal and Carol? Never liked it. In fact, I just don't think Hal ought to attempt to date anyone seriously. It just... doesn't fit. I like Arisia, but she needs to stop hanging out with Yat (who is way too much like Hal) and hook up with Kilowog. I don't care for Cowgirl, but that's just my personal opinion. I can't imagine him getting married or even moving in with a woman for very long. He wouldn't mean to run her off, but... he has a way of getting and staying preoccupied by everything but his relationship.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hector Hammond, You Freak Me the F*** Out

I'd be lying if I said that Hector Hammond didn't always freak me out a little.

Part of it, I think, is the natural human tendency to be disturbed by things that look humanoid but aren't quite right. Like a normal human being with, say, knees that bend the wrong way. Here's Hector, with his tiny little body and his huge, huge head. It's grotesque. It's disturbing. Despite the fact that he has this immense power, and despite the fact that he does terrible things to people, you still feel a little bit sorry for him because he's just physically repulsive. And then you feel a little bit like a monster because, even though you feel a little sorry for him, he's just so creepy that you wish he'd go away. At least he's a bad guy, and that makes it easier to take than if he'd have been a force of good in the world!

And then along come Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, making him even creepier. It doesn't help that Reis is such a good artist that he really makes Hammond's deformity look painful (because it certainly must be). Mister Hammond, apparently, has issues with women. We see it early on in the Secret Origin storyline, when he claims that Carol is his girlfriend without, apparently, actually consulting Carol beforehand. Now here he is in Green Lantern #35, sitting in his little box, trying to tell the workers that he has a girlfriend (uh no, sir, you do not), and then getting all drooly over the fact that Hal has women in his life. Women. Hector wants women, too. Oooh. *slurp*

See what I mean? Creepy.

But it calls to mind part of the reason why Hector Hammond bothers me so much. I think one of the very first issues I read with him in it was waaaay back in Green Lantern Corps v.1 (formerly Green Lantern v.2). He teamed up with Star Sapphire to control Arisia and, later, Hal as well. There's an issue during the storyline in which SS and Hector take the mentally-enslaved Arisia away with them, and Star Sapphire makes Arisia lick her boots and such. That, of course, is a bit disturbing in and of itself, particularly for a child at the tender age of... well, heck, I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 I guess.

But there's a point where Hammond is thinking about how quick Star Sapphire is to dismiss him as less than a man (it's part of the reason she even deigns to work with him at all), and he's thinking very hard about how he most certainly is a man and has his needs.

I vividly remember being disturbed by the implications of that, picking up on it even at my age even though I didn't really fully understand it until I was older. It wasn't so much what he was thinking as the context in which he was thinking it. The very presence of Star Sapphire, super domme that she is, brings up all sorts of gender issues and makes everything seem a little more sexually-charged anyway. And then of course there's the fact that they've got helpless Arisia there with them, and have already been doing some pretty suggestive things to her. It all combines into one giant issue of sexual subtext for all the characters involved, even though nothing sexual actually happened.

So, yeah, Hector Hammond traumatized me at a young age. I hope that my intended soulmate, if such a thing exists, does not have a dapper moustache, because Hammond and Sinestro have forever ruined that look for me.

(Hmm. And in a startling coincidence, I happened to be browsing Ebay in another window as I'm typing this, and the cover to this issue -- GLC v.1 #213 -- is for sale. I knew it the instant I saw it. Maybe I'll bid. I have a weakness for Joe Staton's art.)

So Hector has always this potential-rapist vibe going for him. I wonder where Johns is planning on taking this, in today's age of comics, where such things can actually be addressed rather than just implied and/or skirted around?

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Like lovers do?"

An alternate theory to mull over:

Over at Green Lantern Butts Forever, Calvinpitt mentioned something in a comment about the way Guy said cohabitate, and it got me thinking about something. The "cohabitate" phrasing surprised me, too. But Guy was flustered, and I think he was trying very hard to make it sound nicer than "let's shack up"... he just failed miserably at it.

But you know what would be interesting? If Tora was actually a little bit offended by being asked to, uh, cohabitate like lovers do. Isn't that a strange thing for her to say? "Like lovers do?" Why would she even need to ask that, and in that particular way? It struck me as a little odd the first time I read it, but I had to really think about it to make heads or tails of it.

She's a princess, and her society seems to have been rather conservative. And we don't know for sure that they've been sleeping together at any point during their relationship. I've just always assumed they have because it's hard to imagine a couple that doesn't these days, but who knows for sure, right?

Too often, I think comics portray most characters as being fairly liberal, and a scant handful as being ridiculously, offensively conservative. (And I'm not talking politically -- just general mindset.) The reality is that most people probably fall somewhere in between. Tora is obviously not the type of person to judge people harshly, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't have certain standards and points of view when it comes to herself and her own body. Perhaps to her way of thinking, if you love a woman, you don't ask her to shack up with you, you ask her to marry you.

I just think that would be an interesting thing to explore. If you look at it that way, there's a whole new perspective on it: what Guy's really asking is "sleep with me?" and Tora's response is "...that's it? That's all you want?" It would be particularly hurtful given the fact that he's obviously not really thinking of her needs in other respects, too -- like the fact that he's asking her to move to a military-like planet on the other side of the galaxy from her home and her few remaining friends. What would she do all day while he's gone? Who would she socialize with? What could she do to make herself useful, and to feel fulfilled with her life? There's all that, and then on top of that he's also basically asking her to move in and give him the sex. Yeah, I can see how that might be enough to make her feel misunderstood and unappreciated-- perhaps not any one of those things alone, but all of it taken together. Guy, of course, is thinking of this as taking their relationship to the next, very natural, level, and he doesn't mean it to be offensive or belittling at all. Don't scenes like this play out in real life between couples (usually younger couples, granted) every day?

And it would put an interesting spin on their entire relationship thus far. Can you imagine brain-damaged JLI-era Guy sticking with a girl who doesn't put out? No wonder she was crazy about him -- he waited for her. And in a weird sort of way, it makes sense. Remember their first date? He deliberately took her to a skin flick just to see if she was easy! And she understandably got very angry and stormed out, so obviously she didn't fail (pass?) the "easy test".

And yet he asked her out again. (And she said yes.)

I doubt this is what Tomasi was going for, but I actually rather like this idea. Tora was 19 when she joined the Global Guardians, and, given her background was most likely a virgin then. She's never dated anyone but Guy. It's not really that much of a stretch to imagine her holding out through their JLI years, especially considering the tumultuous nature of their relationship and the way Guy tended to be preoccupied by his own personal issues all the time.

So... like lovers do, Tora. Yes.

Lantern Swag For Me To Blow Money On

Am I geeky enough to wear this?

Why yes. Yes I am. However, no one in my family will agree to buy it for me because I won't promise not to wear the mask in public. (The mask does flip up into the hood if you want to hide it.) I'm definitely buying it for myself, though I might also get the Flash version, because it just plain looks cooler -- it even has the little yellow lightning bolts on the hood!

Also... whoa, this is cool. I keep pretty close tabs on new merchandise because I'm a merchandise freak, but this one somehow managed to slip under my radar. A deluxe cloth costume Hal Jordan... with interchangable heads so that you can change your Hal into Tomar Re, Abin Sur, or... some Lantern nobody has ever heard of, who looks like The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

Pretty cool concept, except that I'm just about sick to death of Abin Sur. Come on. The dude died in his very first appearance. And for all that people keep talking about how awesome he was, I have yet to see anyone actually describe him doing anything remarkable. Unless you count being a total spaz about some prophecy and crashing his ship on a backwater planet, and then picking the ditzy pilot instead of the kickass gym teacher to be his replacement. (Though at least now we can blame the crash on Atrocitus, apparently. Yay retcons?) His head here is highly creepy, which I suppose is only fair, considering how creepy creepy Hal Jordan sometimes looks, what with those blank soulless eyes in his mask. Now we know where Hal learned it. ABIN SUR IS STARING INTO MY SOUL, AND HE CAN SEE MY DARKEST SINS.

I am okay with Tomar Re, though. It's a shame he died when he did, but him giving his ring to John is probably one of my favorite moments from the Crisis period.

If I'm not mistaken, there's also a set coming out in December which features yet another Hal figure, a Tomar Re, and an Abin Sur, with battle-damanged Manhunter and a comic with some decent reprints in it. It's a nice set and all, but... what about the Lanterns who are actually still alive and/or don't already have a dozen figures? Just glancing over some coming things, I see we're getting yet another Hal Jordan in January for the Justice League of America line. I know Hal's the Green Lantern and all, but I buy all these things, and I can tell you right now that I have about ten Hals on my shelf -- which is fine, but most of them are pretty much the same thing. Aside from when he was Parallax, Hal's costume doesn't really change. At least Marvel puts out "Stealth Strike Wolverine" and "Super Mambo Wolverine" or whatever, so that we can pretend that the five thousand Wolverines are actually all different figures.

If we must have three hundred Hals (and I'm way happier with three hundred Hals than I am with three Abin Surs, that's for sure!), why not give us some variety? Give us "Battle Damaged Hal" with a glorious ripped shirt, exposing his muscled abdomen as he does so frequently in the comics. Or how about "One Night Stand Hal", in nothing but his underwear and packaged with a pretty bimbo of your choice? "Hit By His Own Power Beam Hal" would surely be a crowd-pleaser, with his doubled-over posture and bewildered, cross-eyed expression. "Knocked Out Again Hal" wouldn't come with a stand, because he's lying down and has his eyes closed, and his limbs are all limp. He comes packaged with a small yellow object (a toy plane, perhaps, or a ceiling tile) and if you scratch him, he smells like Guy Gardner's urine. (Incidentally, he looks great when positioned on the shelf next to the "Gotta Take a Leak Guy" figure.)

Lest I leave you feeling too joyful, I must ask: will I be the only person who will actually pay money to own this monstrosity? That's right, kids -- a 1:6 scale, high-detailed, cloth costume figure of Sinestro that retails for roughly $80-$90 depending on where you get it.

At last! I can play dress-up with both Hal and Sinestro!

And isn't that what every weird little girl secretly wants?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kick Me in the Gut Why Don't You, Mister Tomasi?

Yeah, there's spoilers here.

So I'm wondering... did the person who wrote the solicit for Green Lantern Corps #29 actually read the issue? Because what they wrote? Totally didn't happen.

As disappointed as I am with the outcome of the Guy/Tora thing, I have to admit that this issue did have some great points in its favor. For one... well, Guy and Tora. On the same page. Talking. Even if it degenerated into a fight, at least we got to see them interact, right? What disappoints me the most about the whole thing is that we waited ages to see their date, got the whole week/whatever she spent here condensed into few short pages, and then it appears we won't be seeing them do much together again for a while. (Unless something interesting happens to Tora on her way home next issue... hmm.)

Guy is very in-character here, and that's particularly important because it would have been easy to make their whole interaction all smarmy and syrupy sweet, and Guy's hurt and anger was completely realistic. He got his hopes up, came out and asked her an important question that was very hard for him to ask, and she shot him down. Gently, but of course that doesn't make it hurt any less.

And yet I can sympathize with Tora. Her whole life, she's let other people make decisions for her. She's never really been on her own before. And now that the life she knew has disappeared and all her friends and loved ones have moved on to other things (or died...), she has the chance to decide what to do with her life. She wants to make that decision on her own. Guy, of course, wants to be a part of that. He's talking togetherness. But I think Tora knows herself too well -- if she lets Guy or Bea or anyone else "help", she'll never be able to be completely certain that the decision was all her own, will she? Guy, of course, has had to suffer through not having her for all this time, so he doesn't want to waste any more time. His point of view is perfectly reasonable, as well, given that a lot of time has passed for him since her death.

Guy is reacting like a bit of a brat, but I'm sort of glad that Tomasi chose to go this route with him. We haven't seen that side of Guy in quite a while, but it's a side of him that definitely exists. And I mean "hurt-bratty" Guy, not "teasing-you-bratty" Guy. He was quite the jerk to Symon Terrynce, who seems like a perfectly nice fellow. He even snapped a bit at Arisia and Yat (who aren't even Sector Partners, are they? Are the Guardians themselves trying to hook these two up, or what?).

It's also nice to see Tora standing up for herself. She's always been perfectly capable of being nasty when the situation called for it, and she has fought quite bitterly with both Guy and Bea on occasion, but she's usually just so nice that it's easy to forget that she does have limits. The fact that Guy doesn't understand her needs probably hurts a lot.

I still want to know if Guy or Bea have bothered to tell her that they dated. I don't think Tora would be angry (she was dead, after all, and she wouldn't want them to be lonely), but I do think she would be a bit hurt that neither of them bothered to mention it to her. Particularly if they keep sniping at each other from a distance, as this seems to imply they've been doing or will be doing, at least. (Note to self: must write Guy and Bea's break-up scene, because DC will never give it to you. I'm almost certain now that it had to have been a bitter, ugly break-up.)

Here's what I think, though: Tora was expecting a proposal. Notice how she was all smiles and encouragement (and teasing him a bit, too) right up until he said "cohabitate"? Her expression immediately went all... funny. Maybe she took it as a cue that he's not really as ready to commit to her as he thinks he is. And maybe, it that same moment, she realized that she's not as ready to commit to him as she thought she was. This took me a couple of read-throughs to pick up, but now I'm almost sure that, if he had actually said "will you marry me?", she would have said "yes" -- to hell with all the finding herself stuff!

Anyway, other things I liked about this issue:
Miri and Kered. Oh, this hurt. It HURT! I'll likely have something else to say about this tomorrow.

Finally, we get to see a little more about Kryb the babystealer.
Killer. Whatever. I was beginning to think they'd forgotten him.

Kyle focusing on those hands.
Thinking about love, Kyle?

Tora freezing the table.
This issue would be worth it for this alone. I have this thing for unconscious displays of power, and an even bigger thing for unconscious displays of power that involve Tora specifically. And the scene was perfect -- she was seriously pissed off. And then the way it all just hung there, frozen so prettily in the instant it all went up in the air.

And check out the panel where Tora is in the green chariot-thingy and Guy is telling Symon to get going. Is that Green Lantern in the background carrying a pink purse?

Overall, this was still a great issue. If we get to see continual developments with Guy and Tora, even if it involves fights like this one, I'll probably stop being disappointed in the outcome here. Taking it slow is fine! I'm just afraid that we won't get to see them interact for another six months to a year. Baby steps in a relationship only works if you actually write them taking the steps, you know?

I'm wondering now if she and Symon will ever make it back to Earth.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tora Olafsdotter: Most Inbred Person in the DCU?

This is me, failing at blogging. I've actually essayed the heck out of some interesting stuff lately, and absolutely forgot that I resolved to post all that non-story stuff here. For anyone who missed it, I did this past week's workshop over at the superhero_muses LJ community on my favorite topic: Writing Guy Gardner. (Includes history lesson and very subjective thoughts on how to write Guy.)

Anyway, I've been toying with some tales of Guy and Tora's future brats children, and because I was forced to consider the whole idea of, you know, them reproducing, the thought occurred to me:

Tora is probably seriously inbred.

Think about it. Her people have been cut off from the rest of the world for centuries at least, and they forbid mingling with outsiders -- and even if they were more open to mingling, it's not like there are a whole lot of people who are going to brave the Arctic Circle to visit them anyway.

Plus, she's royalty. Look at how inbred the royalty of Europe managed to become, and that was with several families in different countries intermarrying. Tora's people have a seriously limited gene pool to begin with, and I'm sure the royalty doesn't just marry any old commoner! They probably marry into other noble families, most of whom are cousins of theirs, anyway. And they've been doing this for... well, for ages. (Though perhaps it's not as bad if they have a slightly more tribal mentality and marry to the strongest warriors or something? It's hard to say.)

As to whether this would have any effect on her fertility or on the children themselves, well, maybe or maybe not. Though that certainly would be an interesting topic. It seems like whenever something genetic comes up in the comics, it's always some awesome mutation of some sort, but never anything even remotely realistic -- particularly not something that most of us "normal" people deal with later in life. It's never "Gee, mom, I inherited your ice powers, and I'm also diabetic and at high risk for heart disease. Thanks."

Dear Ice People: Guy Gardner is peeing in your gene pool.

And you should thank him.