Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The slightly more than Two Minute Hate

SallyP did a post recently about characters she hates and since its Tuesday and I have no ideas and no silly photos to share I might as well give this a go. If nothing else its a good opportunity for self-examination.

Lucas Bishop
This is more of a symbolic thing. Bishop as a character has never done much of anything to offend me. However, he was created at a time when comic companies felt no reason to follow through on a character's point. The point of Bishop as originally introduced was that he was from one of the endless dystopian futures X-Men continuity spawns whenever it gets bored and in that future an X-Man had betrayed the X-Men, killed them all and things had gone to hell in a handbasket from there. He ended up in the present and decided to work out who the traitor was and fix history.

This took years to resolve and not in the modern way where it was built to slowly but continuously. No, this was the 1990s and so Bishop would grumble about it every now and again, maybe accuse Gambit of being a bit shifty and then the storyline would be forgotten about until a company-wide event turned up that vaguely suited what little had been set-up.

Since then Bishop has knocked around the X-Men comics with nothing really to do. At one point, for a different crossover event, his dystopian future gained a new origin and he gained a new mission to hunt down and kill a new X-Judas (he also gained a pretty sweet futuristic plane from... somewhere).

All because he didn't have much of a point in the first place.

New 52 Iris West
There are New 52 series I like and The Flash is even one of them most of the time but there is one problem and that is how Iris no longer knows that Barry is the Flash. The erasure of their marriage I can sort of take (through the numbness of repetition, if nothing else) but almost since the day she was created the point of Iris was to be the superhero girlfriend who could be trusted with a secret. Barry and Iris had been married since the Sixties and she knew his secret the whole time.

I'm lead to believe the storyline was a rebuke to a Superman editor (not sure which one, Kurt Swann, perhaps?) who said Lois Lane should never be allowed to make the link between Superman and Clark Kent because women can't keep a secret.

Which brings us to our next hate figure...

The Original Gwen Stacy
This one's political. You see, just by existing Gwen turns Peter Parker into an emotional abuser. That Peter very strictly protects his secret identity is a big thing about the character but with Gwen it was... too far. I mean, for one thing they were actually engaged and for another she blamed Spider-Man for the death of her father, a fact that obviously caused her significant pain. Peter nobly (or stupidly, depending on your point of view) decided against telling her “No, it was Doctor Octopus who killed him, I'm Spider-Man and you know I would never hurt you.”

No, instead he kept the bloody secret, lied to the woman he was going to marry and then she died. This was a good thing, frankly, because the only thing more relationship-destroying than a lie is lots and lots of lies. Gwen was never able to properly come to terms with her father's death because she never knew all the facts and blamed someone who constantly appeared in her life and she died, in part, because she didn't even know she was at risk.

Frankly, every one of these issues is dealt with by Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man with its punk rock chick version of Gwen. She goes through the same process of hating Spider-Man and for the same reason but she discovers Peter's identity and goes through a process of dealing with her issues.

This just goes to show that no character is entirely beyond redemption. Just get a good writer with a good angle and I can go from hating a character to loving them. I was genuinely shocked when Ultimate Gwen died (seem to die? I'm very much not sure on that point) whilst her original death left me feeling nothing much of anything. 


Ms. P said...

I have to agree with you about Bishop. Gosh, he was such a...a 90's character! As in...having none.

And I always ALWAYS liked Mary Jane better.

James Ashelford said...

You and me both on the MJ front.