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.)


SallyP said...

Bea is a wonderful character, and I would certainly love to see more of her, especially now that Checkmate seems to be cancelled. We NEED something with Fire and Ice together again!

There are a lot of male friendships in comics, not so many female friendships, but Bea and Tora have probably the best one. Maybe Oracle and Black Canary.

Bea and Guy have a LOT in common...which is why they drive each other crazy half of the time.

Duskdog said...

Checkmate is cancelled? Damn it. Though this last storyline really was very slow and boring to me, so I can see why. I don't think I even bought the last couple of issues -- I guess I wasn't the only one.

Oracle and Black Canary do have a good thing going. And Black Canary and Huntress, too, I'd say. But it is a little strange that there aren't more female friendships in comics when one of the big stereotypes of women in RL is that we all have a Best Friend In the World (who is usually highly annoying to our husbands/boyfriends).

Tora knows how much alike they are. She just can't say so, because then they both erupt into this big "Are NOT!" denial.

SallyP said...

I can also understand Bea and Guy being nostalgic for the old League. They don't really get a lot of credit, but seriously, they were both in it for a LONG time! So were Booster and Beetle for that matter. Everyone seems to think of Batman, Superman and Wonder Womas as being big League members, for for over 100 issues, they were essentially guest pooh.

I'd really love to read something where Bea, Guy and Tora actually team up again, maybe with Booster thrown in for fun. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed the Blue Beetle issue where they all showed was just so PERFECT!