Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thoughts About "New Avengers" #35 & Tigra

Somebody on the Scans Daily "Poor Tigra" thread posted this debate between Siskel & Ebert regarding the movie "Blue Velvet" & its portrayal of violence against women. I think it's apropos.


  1. This seems as good a place as any to ask you...

    ...any opinion about the latest twist on "Prison Break"?

  2. I haven't read the issue yet, but does the Hood actually kill Tigra?

    Going by the dialogue, where he says "you do what i want, when I want" it seems like its setting up a new story arc for Tigra; an arc where she will be forced to do his bidding until she can guarantee her family's safety.

    And I suspect the SHIELD corruption/Skrull invasion will eliminate her ability to call for back-up as soon as possible.

    Again, I haven't read the issue, so I'm mainly playing devil's advocate (based off past Bendis plots), but it seems like he could be setting Tigra up for a tale of redemption.

    Just reading those two pages, it feels very Purple Man/Jessica Jones. Mainly how its about a villain's control. And we all know what happened in the "Alias" situation when the villain finally lost control.

    This also feels very "Killing Joke" to me, but it seems like he could already be setting up a situation where the woman who was arbitrarily attacked, actually is the one who gets the final revenge in this situation.

    It's just... based on these few pages, it doesn't totally come off as a "WiR" case - cause it seems like its setting up a new sub-plot for Tigra.
    I can see this scene happening with Nightwing, or Speedball, or any other sort-of Peter Parker-esque hard-luck hero.

    I mean Bendis put Daredevil through the ringer, and he constantly piles shit on top of Ultimate Spider-Man. And he gave Luke Cage the happiest ending ever, and now he's getting ready to tear it all away from him.
    Male or female, Bendis treats his characters like crap.

    And it usually makes a great story.

    So if she isn't actually dead, and even after I've read the issue, I'm going to hold off judgment. Bendis usually takes awhile to show *why* he does things.
    And usually, its worth it.

  3. I've read the book, and I don't think he killed Tigra. (Since the Hood's talking about what he wants from her, it seems at least that he didn't intend to, and there's nothing about what comes next that indicates his plan went awry.)

    I also agree about the echoes of Killing Joke, and the idea that it could just as easily have happened to a male hero. I think our visceral reactions to the scene would be different if it had happened to a male hero, though, and Bendis wanted to provoke a revulsion that wouldn't be as strong if it were a male hero being attacked so brutally.

    I think I side with Siskel on this one -- it's tough to watch, but I think Bendis has his story under control. If I didn't think it would pay off, I wouldn't be buying the book.

    Great video pick, by the way, Val! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. You forget thats not the point. Basically a WiR has devolved into anything bad happening to a female character in anything then her own book (and even then). So if this exact same thing occured in Tigra the series, I don't this post would have occured.

  5. I do think there'll always be a certain amount of knee-jerk reaction to female characters getting put through the wringer (as some of the more frightened and irony-free fanboys have dubbed it "the fangirls' growing sense of entitlement"), but that shouldn't obscure the real occasions when female characters aren't portrayed as being as capable as male counterparts. Tigra has faced off against Thanos, yet gets slapped around like a battered housewife by some guy in a long coat? And in the space of two pages, no less - Bendis is known for his decompressed storytelling, and I think if it was Daredevil, it would have taken a lot more than two pages to have the character ambushed, beaten, humiliated and blackmailed. Being as it's Bendis, it would take about six issues at least, and even then we wouldn't get a proper ending.

    Maybe the Scans Daily people have it right and Bendis just doesn't like the character - her being a woman is just incidental. That would be the best-case scenario, I think.

  6. Talking about it last night, my co-conspiritor & I decided that while in the text there is no rape, but that the subtext is, with the humiliation & the filming & whatnot.

    Anyhow, if we're taking votes, for me, this was not offensive.

  7. I think this is shamelessly exploitive. The rape comparison is absolutely evident and I'd be surprised to find out they were unintentional. It wouldn't be a problem if they were using it as a story arc with Tigra, but this is the first time she's even appeared in New Avengers, and, apparently, Bendis doesn't even like the character -- would he have even considered doing this with one of his NA regulars. Sure he did a variation on this with Jessica Jones (as has been noted elsewhere, although I haven't seen the issues in question), but it was a part of her backstory and character-building. It really doesn't sit well with me, and smacks of "building up the villains by making them do something really horrible", which is kind of a bad cliché by now besides.

    Have a good day.
    John Cage

  8. I agree w/Bryan in that Tigra has been previously esablished as a tough fighter who can hold her own against supervillains with all sorts of weapons & powers. Seeing her pistol-whipped seems really out-of-place.

    Also, the ad copy for this issue -- "poor Tigra. poor poor Tigra" -- seemed to make light of what actually happened to her. If you're going to be this realistic with the violence, don't add a fanboy "glee" factor to it, it does the story a major disservice.

  9. Also, I miss Gene Siskel (sigh)

  10. Um, are there better ways to build up villains than showing them to be tough, nasty S.O.B.s? I'm not sure what the alternative is.

    And Squirrel Girl defeated Dr. Doom. I'm not really sure if Tigra's history with Thanos is much more than a fanboy Kevin Bacon game. I'm sure that through established, in-continuity bouts, that Tigra could be shown able to defeat Thor, (she's defeated someone who's defeated someone who's defeated someone who defeated Thor) but that doesn't mean she should be treated like she can, head-to-head. And really -- if she's Thanos-class, what's the point of ever writing a Tigra story again? Who would she fight?

    The Hood caught her off-guard in her apartment. He kept her off-guard with the phone call and what he said to her. Maybe the scene could or would have gone on longer with Daredevil, but I'd guess that that wouldn't have made anyone any happier ("Bendis spent EIGHT PAGES just to show Tigra get beaten up? What kind of sick bastard is he?") and would have made an already uncomfortable scene unbearable.

    I also wouldn't assume that Bendis dislikes Tigra from this scene (or her scenes in Mighty Avengers, which I haven't read). He can populate his stories with pretty much whoever he likes -- why would he choose a character he didn't care about? If Bendis actually said he doesn't like Tigra in an interview, I stand corrected. But I think it's a leap to assume he has it in for her.

  11. Oh, and Val, I agree about the "Poor Tigra" line. The marketing was crass.

  12. "He can populate his stories with pretty much whoever he likes -- why would he choose a character he didn't care about?"

    Garth Ennis had Green Lantern in several issues of Hitman because he was told to include more superheroes from the DC Universe to help with sales - he choose green Lantern because the character was one he found ludicrous (the resultant issues in question were full of jokes at GL's expense - although Ennis sort of redeems him with JLA/Hitman, as he writes Kyle as a well-meaning underdog, and Batman and Flash as pompous assholes).

    If you have to use characters from a larger universe because your editor asks you too (fanboy conspiracies aside, Bendis is a hired hand who gets edited like everyone else), and you have to beat the crap out of someone, why not kill two birds with one stone? Anyway, it may or may not be the case, I don't really know either way. Only Bendis can clarify that.

  13. Good example, Bryan; I'd forgotten about that.

    Nonetheless, I really doubt there's a "we need more characters" (kinda vague and Salieri-like, doncha think?) or "we need more Tigra" edict coming down from on high to Bendis for New Avengers. I'm not saying he has a free hand, but the inclusion of Tigra seems completely organic to me.

    And honestly, if you dislike a character, what Ennis did makes a lot more sense -- he made fun of him. The idea that writers enjoy bullying fictional characters stems from readers seeing them as people instead of ingredients. Which is the point of reading about them, after all -- but it doesn't translate well when ascribing motivations to authors. Ennis's animosity wasn't directed at Green lantern, after all -- it was directed at DC, and he used GL to tweak them.

  14. And yet another good villain is marred with the "violence against women = easy story" approach to writing. I really liked the Hood when he was a jerk with super powers, and I don't think it adds a lot to make him "jerk with superpowers who beats up women for the benefit of super villain YouTube."

    And you're dead on with the solicitation copy - that bit was pretty much drooling over what terrible thing was going to befall Tigra next. But it's okay though, because she's the one that sleeps around the MU, yeah?

  15. i never liked tigra, so it was fine with me... i know im terrible, but if it had been a dude, no one wouldve cared right?

  16. I'm surprised to see a negative review of Lynch's use of Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet from Roger Ebert. Especially considering RE hung with Russ Meyer, and single handedly wrote 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls'.

  17. I am thinking at this point, since no matter what a writer does or doesn't do, an edict should be handed down that states that male writers cannot write for female characters cause it seems they can't win unless they write the women as unsexually and always kicking butt and taking names. Anything else is read as a need to fulfill a rape fantasy and part of a sick mind.

    Any ideas on how absolutely wrong those kind of accusations are btw? Would you like me to accuse you of rape, sick behavior, etc as casual as you are about accusing comic writers of the same?

    The comments in hear based on no proof other then extra info you decided to read into a comic page that I am betting about 80% didn't even think of until reading this blog post. If you read this post and then went back and decided "yeah I am offended!" uh problem cause clearly you where not or noticed a problem right then and there and not after surfing to a website.