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?

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Oh Hector is creepy. So very very creepy. In that team-up with Star Saphhire, is that the one where she does a strip tease just to mock him about what he's NOT going to get? Man, that Star Sapphire has a mean streak! Not that he didn't deserve it.

But yes, Geoff Johns has a sure way with the current form of Hector Hammond. As much as he may lust after Carol, it seems that he has a pretty severe man-crush on Hal as well. Which I suppose isn't all THAT unnusual. As you've pointed out before, Hal pretty much is only surprised when people DON'T have a crush on him.