Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 11

Every Tuesday, I post excerpts from my best-selling at not-selling super blog, Playing Favorites

See, Nick Fury is awesome too, but I don’t see him as being a hero. Yeah, Nick Fury can crash a motorcycle through a wall into a Hyrda base with two machine guns, a cigar, and no shirt, but for some reason, ‘heroic’ doesn’t seem to work for him. I mean, he’s pretty much got a tiny mask that covers 100% of 10% of his face, which also has to count for something. He certainly does the right thing, even when it’s only right in the long run. He’s on the continuum between Veidt and most other superheroes, so it’s strange that he just wouldn’t fit. Maybe it’s because he’s ‘Nick Fury’ and not ‘Patch Fury.’ Or ‘Just-Eyes’ or something. Maybe it’s because he’s just a hands-on manager of a structured, legitimate organization, and most of the guys I consider to be superheroes are vigilantes.

Though there is a strange moral immediacy to these characters. I talked earlier about not being able to justify the ends with the means because the means always serve as a foundation for the ends (unless you’re Spider-Man, then it’s not so much crap in, crap out as it is sunshine in, crap out).  The medium seems to encourage taking short-sighted, immediately moral choices without considering the larger picture. Heroes foolishly don’t compromise in the face of reason, and often win for it. I guess this is one of my unspoken pet peeves (and logically, it births my attraction for characters who are willing to make hard decisions regardless of the world being rigged to punish them for that[whether they are aware of it or not] because a simplistic application of absolute morality would simply be unconscionable). However, Nick Fury does that, and while I do like him for that, he just…isn’t fun to read about. Ultimate Nick Fury is a magnificent bastard, bar none, and it’s great to see him do his thing, but I think that ‘magnificent bastardy’ is at some far end of a polar scale from ‘super-heroism,’ despite my general inclinations.  Nick Fury doesn’t have a lot going on except that he’s a stock macho man (see earlier comments about cigars, motorcycles, and machine guns). He’s the alpha dog of the Marvel Universe, which is cool; someone needs to have the cojones to put a bullet in someone’s head every so often, but I just can’t think of any story I’ve read featuring Nick Fury where he actually made me want to read more about him. His most compelling characterization was actually from Ultimate Alliance 2, which isn’t an insult.

Okay, it kind of is, but not to Ultimate Alliance 2.

See, Dickbats is the opposite end of the spectrum. He clearly develops and grows over time. He has stepped up when called, and did so humbly and reluctantly. Just putting him a paragraph down from Nick Fury makes him look like a little girl. Nick Fury would’ve laughed his ass off if someone insinuated he needed to be Batman. Of course, in a universe with Nick Fury, I could see someone making the bad call that they didn’t need a Batman (like dakka, you can always use more Batman). Dickbats is likeable, and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow into the role of Batman (even if he bores The Joker), but until he turns the corner and sells me on that, I just don’t see where he’s going and I’m hard-pressed to care. I’m not hooked, not because not enough has been done with Dick Greyson to make me pay attention, but because there’s so much behind him that there’s no way for me to parse out the relevant portions, much less give a damn about them when they happened over a decade ago.

Which brings up The Batman...

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