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“Doesn’t Every Woman Want Her Buttons Pushed?”; or, Fuck You Brad Meltzer
(Soundtrack: Sleater-Kinney —The Hot Rock)

Oh my. What an absolutely grotesque conclusion. (by the way: if you haven’t read Identity Crisis #7 yet, and you actually want to, look away! bay-eby look away!)

How the hell did we get from this:

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And this:

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to this:

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So. Wrong.

I’m not even saying that Jean shouldn’t have been the killer–although I’ve always liked her (particularly Roger Stern’s version of the character in the late, lamented Power of the Atom) and, of course, I’m saddened by the news–but no way should this have been the explanation we got for it!

Even the facts of the case speak against Meltzer’s lame-assed “I want you back” (baa-ba-bum-bum!) dialogue… I ask you–if there was nothing more to it than that, why didn’t she just arrange for Ray to find her on the verge of choking to death? Come on! Couldn’t they have just allowed her to get on with her life and attempt to deal with her ex-husband in a manner befitting an intelligent, emotionally-sound, supremely competent professional woman? That’s how Roger Stern played it! Does every woman in a male protagonist’s life either have to love him or hate herself, or, usually, some combination of the two? (And no, don’t say it! This problem, like every other problem that people who whine about the genre complain about, goes way beyond superhero comics, my friends…)

Is this a good time to mention that Christine and I have decided to end our relationship, after nearly four years? There may never be a better chance for a segue, in the context of this blog. Yes, there’s a trail of tears running from here to Montreal and back again, but, for now, it’s the only move that makes sense, sadly. And you have my word that no killing sprees will result from the demise of this beautiful thing. That’s just how it is–as Strnad and Kane demonstrate in the first two jpegs above (the good ones!)


Anyway–whatever right? IC is a murder mystery, and someone’s gotta be the killer! As I say, it could even have been Jean–and with the exact same set of murders too–but not, I submit, for these reasons!

All Meltzer had to do was explore the possibility that this was one human being’s protest against the kind of self-centered messianism that a certain idea of the superhero represents, and I would’ve said: “okay, that’s sort of interesting”. This would be Jean saying: “keep it up you fuckers, and I’ll kill’em all!” But no, the author’s handling of the lobotomizing plot indicates that this was precisely the kind of question that he was unwilling to raise. Or, at least, not in an effective way. Superheroes must continue. And they must be able to count on villains that “don’t hit below the belt”–plus the unconditional support of their loved ones, who had better just grin n’ bear it, ’cause nothin’ else matters, see? Well fuck that. It’s not that simple Brad! Why don’t you go back and read Squadron Supreme–that’s THE superhero “identity crisis”. It’s the interrogation of messianism, in all of its forms! And it’s right up there with Animal Man and The Filth.


Tomorrow–my Squadron Supreme paper!

Good Night friends!

Dave

13 comments

  1. Well, if you need or want to talk, Dave, I’m around and I’m fairly sure I at least partly understand your situation.

    I agree with your conclusion otherwise.

    – Matt Rossi

  2. thanks Matt-it’s been a sad time for the comics blogosphere, hasn’t it?

    (and Tom is certainly right about Gil Kane too!)

    Dave

  3. Well, hell, Gil Kane: he smoked most of the stuff being done at the time, too. One of the best ever.

    Does Ray try and help her? Try and cover for her? Because for once, if there’s a situation like that, I want to see the hero act like a man would if he loved someone.

    But no, you’re right: this is a horrible motivation.

  4. he takes her to an asylum my friend–Arkham that is… another “madwoman in the attic” for Gilbert & Gubar! As they say on “Wheel of Fish”: “Stupid! So Stupid!”

    Maybe Meltzer thought he was rewriting The Big Sleep? Again…stupid! Jean Loring is not Carmen Sternwood!

    Dave

  5. Heh. How bad can life be if we’re quoting UHF? “Badgers? Badgers?”

    I just… is it so hard to understand that relationships end? Jean and Ray parted for just about the best reasons, because they weren’t compatible with each other. And while I do realize that feelings can haunt you and can rekindle years later, I just… man, I don’t like this. It makes my stomach hurt.

    – Matt

  6. Sorry about you and Christine, Dave.

    And I feel like a dumbass for hoping Meltzer pulled off something good out of this miniseries now. I’m going to write up my thoughts in the next couple of days. The whole mystery didn’t exactly thrill me though. It’s almost like he wrote two or three seperate stories and tried to smash them all into one.

    And I agree with Tom. That Gil Kane art looks awesome.

  7. thanks Shane…

    and I don’t think there’s any reason for you to feel like a dumbass! After all, we all paid attention to this series! It obviously had something going for it…although I can’t for the life of me figure out what that something was! (oh wait! I remember–it was Jean Loring! I wasn’t kidding when I said I really like that character! Too bad the only thing Roger Stern is writing these days are replies to questions posted on his message board… I wonder what he thinks of this shit?)

    Looking forward to your thoughts, my friend!

    Dave

  8. wow, i think rags morales should consider going back to the drawing board and when he goes he needs to take meltzer with him.

  9. Sorry about the breakup, Dave. Hope everything turns out okay, for you and her.

    And like everyone else…wow, Gil Kane. Forgotten how dynamic it was, especially blown up like that.

    Dave

  10. Just catching up here–sorry to read about your break-up, Matt.

    It’s heresy, I know, but frankly the Jean Loring in the first set of panels sounds shrill, unlikeable, and frankly less believable to me than the insane Jean Loring of Identity Crisis.

    Neither one is the Jean Loring I choose to remember.

    jess

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