reappropriate

Thursday, June 22, 2006

52, week 7

Yesterday, 52, week 7 came out, but there was unfortunately little follow-through on the Great Ten front. Instead, the issue marks the first appearance of the other character to cause a splash amongst the ranks of DC comic readers: the first appearance of Kate Kane, the new Batwoman. Unfortunately, Kate was not shown in full Bat regalia this time around. Instead, she and Montoya exchange choice words and it is immediately established -- before Kate dons a Bat-outfit - that she is a closeted lesbian or bisexual woman. We really don't get much more of an impression of Kate, other than the fact that she's willing to stand up for herself, verbally and physically, and that she's probably still got feelings for Montoya. The Great Ten appeared briefly this week in Checkmate #3, where the ground team infilitrating Hebei province, China, are confronted with the Immortal Man in Darkness. To tide us over until we can see more of the Great Ten, Newsarama features an interview with Greg Rucka on China's fledgling superhero team, and specifically how they will feature prominently in next month's Checkmate #4. Sidestepping what I think are important reservations regarding the Mother of Champions character, Rucka addresses the issue of Thundermind, the Tibetan Buddhist who is inexplicably working for the Chinese government. Rucka says:

The Thunder-Mind stuff is clearly based in Tibetan Buddhism, so what the heck is a Tibetan Buddhist doing working for the Communist Chinese government that oppresses his country? It's a valid question. But bear in mind - you saw these characters show up in Week Six, and you saw them in conflict. You didn't see them sitting around talking about how they got there, or what they think about each other. For example, the Accomplished Perfect Physician and Socialist Red Guardsman hate each other. This is material that is going to come out. Everybody wants it right up front. C'mon - in lots of other mediums, you come in and you don't know who people are, or what the back stories are, and you have to wait to find them out. Same thing here. I would posit that, yeah, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for there to be a Chinese 'hero' utilizing Tibetan Buddhism as their power working for the Community Party. Maybe there's an explanation for that coming.
Basically, he's telling us to be patient. I for one am eagerly waiting the chance to hear more about the origin story of these superheroes, if only because the way they have been introduced now has only stirred up more questions and concerns than answers. Hat-tip: William for bringing the Newsarama article to my attention

4 Comments:

Blogger Ragnell said...

Can't weigh in on Great Ten (Though even as a rabid Morrison fan I'm unsettled by it) yet, but I need to metnion something about Batwoman.

Unfortunately, Kate was not shown in full Bat regalia this time around. Instead, she and Montoya exchange choice words and it is immediately established -- before Kate dons a Bat-outfit - that she is a closeted lesbian or bisexual woman. We really don't get much more of an impression of Kate, other than the fact that she's willing to stand up for herself, verbally and physically, and that she's probably still got feelings for Montoya.

She's a love interest in a Bogart homage (or parody). She's being introduced as Renee's ex-lover for romantic complications. 52 isn't Kate's story, it's Renee Montoya's, so naturally Kate's not getting much for a first impression other than she's probably sitll got feeligns, and she's in the closet (as a set-up/explanation for complications). They really are treating this like a heterosexual relationship, which is a problem in itself because it's heteronormalizing a high-profile lesbian couple.

But, I'm a sucker for old film noir, and I've been dying to see a female Sam Spade. And someday I'll see a man in Lauren Bacall's role. But for now, I am greatly enjoying the lesbian love story myself, and I like Kate if only because the heteronormativity serves to break up the "butch lesbian" stereotype (I swear since Renee came out she's been acting more and more like Harvey Bullock) DC's been conforming to. Also, because she's breaking that film noir convention by later showing up as a superhero.

6/24/2006 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

"I swear since Renee came out she's been acting more and more like Harvey Bullock"

HA! Now that I think about it, that started happening BEFORE she came out, starting precisely at the moment Harvey (finally) took responsibility for what he did and turned in his badge.

Which is why I liked the end of Gotham Central so much. Despite being at her lowest point, she STILL couldn't do what Bullock did, and execute a known cop killer.

Yeah, in terms of 52, Montoya's former lover outranks Batwoman, socialite, and lesbian, in terms of Kate's character. She also seems perfectly happy where she is, so I'm interested enough to see what pushes her to wear the suit.

6/27/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Bhodi Li said...

Ohhhhh how this pains me! I've actually diverted my monthly comic book money to start investing in my kids 529 College Savings Plan. I did manage to finish the Infinite Crisis run, but just can't quite afford comics currently. I think I should adjust my priorities back to comics!

6/29/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

comics or kids, comics or kids....

sweetheart, go with the kids. comics are important but not THAT important. :)

6/29/2006 12:35:00 PM  

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