Quick Comics Rant.
DC’s upcoming Earth 2 series (or something) is being marketed in such a way that I can’t help thinking that it’s trying to out-90s the 90s by having a quasi-continuitied version of the New DCU only farther in the future or something oh and also the things they’re talking about are whether or not Batman and Superman will kill people. Also that Wonder Woman is now a Grim Avenger because her entire society has been wiped out for the second time since the New 52 happened last September.
I wonder if there’s ever been a story where the Amazons just start taking their genocides with a flippant attitude, knowing they’ll be back again later?
The two Big Questions which are sort of forming my grump about this whole thing are as follows (with my answers attached):
Q1: “Who will Batman kill to save his own daughter?” (source)
Q2: “What would you have to do to teach Superman to kill?” (source)
The answer to the first is “No one. He’ll save her, beat the crap out of the folks who kidnapped her and then walk away with a pithy one-liner.” Batman doesn’t kill. Even if it’s Damian Wayne behind the mask, I have a hard time believing that Bruce, Dick, Tim, Barbara, Cassandra, Stephanie, Alfred, Jim or even Jason (to say nothing of the other members of the bat-family who may or may not exist in that continuity) would fail so badly in their roles as, well, the bat-family as let anyone take the mantle of The Bat if there was even a question in them about whether or not he would kill.
Because, frankly, Batman doesn’t have to kill. You don’t get to be Batman if you’re so unskilled that you have to kill someone. Batman thinks of everything, even if he only thinks of it after he’s had his ass kicked for six issues. Bruce, Damian, Dick or anyone else, Batman is too awesome to need to kill anyone. He finds another way.
Because he’s Batman.
The answer to the second question is that Superman already knows how to kill. He’s always known how to kill. He can see into the frail sack of fluids and bone that make up every other being in the Universe and he sees just how easy it would be to murder any and every thing he has ever seen or come across.
Which is why he doesn’t kill people.
And there shouldn’t be any extremity you could drive him to that would make him turn his back on that. At worst, he’s just stop being Superman and retreat into himself and no longer take part in the world (which, from his perspective and sense of responsibility would be effectively the same as murdering people).
I realize this will probably be a “when does his self-control fail?” story where he has to confront his dark side and blah, blah, blah.
Superman, like Batman, finds another way.
That’s what superheroes are for.
They’re smarter, they’re stronger and they’re better than us so they get to always show us how they’d do things because they have more perspective and don’t get stuck into false choices like kill/don’t kill because they know it’s more than that.
I don’t think you can “ruin” a character since all it takes is a new creative team or (yet) another reboot or some time-travel and the bad event in question no longer happened even though people still knew it happened enough to go back in time to change it.
Heck, odds are good that, like the Back in Black run a bit before Spider-Man’s One More Day, Bats and Supes will make a big thing about who they’re going to kill and then realize that, hey, that’s not who they are and all the people who wanted to see Batman join the Green Lanterns in garotting people they don’t like to death will get their blood-boners blueballed and all the people who don’t want to see Batman and Superman resort to something as low, stupid and weak as murder won’t be reading those comics, anyway.
ETA: Didn’t Mark Waid already do “What happens when Superman learns how to kill?” in Irredeemable?
Anyway, I guess I’ll shut up.
I’m just sad that some of the best superhero characters out there are being played this way (yet) again because I’m not sure if it’s an insult to me personally (hey, superhero fan, you love murder, don’t you? Sure you do! Along with women who shove their asses in your face even as they get tortured to death ‘cause that’s the kind of person a superhero fan is!) or an insult to all the people who have worked hard to make those other (read: better) versions of those heroes before.
Of course, what do I know? Maybe Justice League: Cry for Justice made so much money for DC that this is, indeed, what a majority of their remaining audience wants and I’m just pouting because they aren’t catering to what I want as much as I’d like.
Red Hood part 2
Well, had time for a few more pages before work. Part one can be found here, and I’ll look into providing better resolutions eventually. Once I’m done (this weekend) I will also explain why I wrote things the way I did, and what my thoughts are behind this whole thing. But that is a rambly thought for another day. Or this weekend.