Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 47

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Alright, let’s consider Dick Greyson instead of Damian Wayne, Captain America instead of Ultimate Captain America, Katy Kane instead of The Midnighter, the Blue Beetle instead of Booster Gold, Spider-Man instead of Deadpool, and instead of Rorschach, Crusader. Tentatively, of course.

The portrayals of Dick Greyson I’ve seen so far are of a generally easy-going guy dedicated to stopping crime as Robin, Nightwing, and Batman. As Dick Greyson, he even fights crime as part of the Bludhaven Police Department. Well, he did until he moved back to Gotham and Bludhaven went to shit (not necessarily in that order though). Most of his moral code is derived from that of Batman, as are his methods (though he isn’t quite as…mean? about it.). He’s certainly selfless, though I haven’t seen enough of him to see if he’s as uncompromising as the original Batman. That’s the problem though. Dick has had most of his kinks ironed out by now. He’s been a hero for a while and he’s far past the point of self-doubt or moral wavering. All he is and has ever been is a superhero. While I’m not sure exactly what Superman’s origin is right now, most modern interpretations don’t have him acting as Superman until after he arrives in Metropolis. Was Wonder Woman born/crafted fully grown? His history is a radical departure and what Bruce Wayne has in terms of drive and intensity, Dick has gained in terms of training and culture. 

What I’m not sure about, and it becomes a larger issue every time I look at it is whether Dick is iconic. What great idea is he? What does he symbolize? So much of what he is right now is what Bruce is not. That’s not an insult (alright, it’s an insult, but it’s not meant as an insult). I just haven’t Dick fulfill any role but ‘Nice Batman.’ While Adam West is iconic, I don’t think that Dick Greyson being Adam West’s Batman quite counts.

Regular Captain America, on the other hand is iconic. He does represent the very core of American ideals about equality, justice, charity, duty, and patriotism. He loves his country, but not at the expense of others. He doesn’t see the world in terms of a zero sum game. He often has the benefit if fighting clearly evil villains. He embodies hope, courage, and perseverance. He’s universally trusted because he trusts others, cares for others, and never gives in to evil. He’s a stalwart symbol of all of the good things superheroes can be, he is clearly the Superman of the Marvel Universe in terms of his role within the superhero community.

I know I provided a good explanation for why Katie Kane isn’t quite good enough to be on my list of favorite superheroes. That said, she deserves a second pass for general quality. She is iconic; a figure of red, white, and black, fighting against the forces of fate and family for her city. Her crimefighting is one half her reason for existing and one half youthful rebellion. Not that she isn’t serious about it; she chooses crimefighting over her relationships and social events, though she sometimes chooses both.  She doesn’t kill and she works to fight crime in Gotham City. Sadly, she isn’t very responsible and she hasn’t really struck me as selfless, though I’m sure a read through “52” would fix that for me. She still tends to go off half-cocked for personal vendettas and has so far paid the price for doing so. Currently, she’s on the outs with her father, who has served as both her financier and chief tactical advisor. I’ll try to catch the upcoming Batwoman series to see if she grows into a top-tier hero, or gets lost in the generous shuffle of bat-titles coming out these days.

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