Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 48

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

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Blue Beetle 2 (Ted Kord. Let’s also take a second to give mad props to The Blue Beetle for being a legacy character that stays dead. Long live Jamie Reyes!), but I do know he figured out that the telepathic, meta-phobic Max Lord was behind an organization called Checkmate that was going to subvert the OMAC system that Batman helped create to expunge all superheroes from the planet.

He did. Not Batman. Not Question. Not The Martian Manhunter. It was little mister Batman-Spiderman love child himself. For his trouble, Max Lord offered him a place in Checkmate, then shot him when he refused.

I don’t know much about Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle. I know he died a hero (Twice, if you read “Booster Gold”) and was a friend to Booster Gold. He didn’t represent much, he wasn’t as responsible as he could have been at times, but if Dick Greyson gets in, so does Ted Kord.
I'll let you guess how he dies.

Crusader comes out a lot like Blue Beetle. He made his choices (ultimately) and stuck with them, so his resolution and care for others aren’t in question. He’s a poster-child for the alien that came to Earth and came to think of it as his home (poster child if Superman, J'onn J'onzz, Hulking, Noh-Var, Mar-Vel, the female Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Powergirl, Krypto, Thor, Union, Zealot, Magestic, The High, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Big Barda, Mr. Miracle, and Howard the Duck are all at home sick the day they’re making posters…or the day the posters are making children. It’s an idiom that lends itself to interesting literal misinterpretations.) , which would give him some iconic status if it weren’t for the fact that it’s been done before. I’d like to say that Crusader turns on a home culture that isn’t just patently evil, but if the Skrulls aren’t patently evil, they’re really, really close. In fact, his turn is similar to that of Hawkman/Hawkwoman, assuming the one in comics resembles the one from Justice League Unlimited. I don’t know much about hawk-history, but to my defense, it is one of those things.

So he does care for others, but it does take him a while to side with Earth, whereupon he kills his best (Skrull) friend. Man, I guess he’s opposed to killing, but…I’m not seeing a lot of moral fiber. I mean he knew the Skrulls were coming, but messed with 3D Man’s vision just to hide himself.  The more I write this, the more he seems like a douche. He does finally make his stand and fight for Earth, even killing Skrull-Pym, but while Spider-Man might get a bye for hesitating to make up his mind, he’s got a thirty-plus year run of decisiveness to back him up while Crusader has over half of his appearances where he can’t decide between Earth and the Skrulls. That…kinda blows.

So if Crusader and Katy Kane are out, then who to put in? Jamie Madrox? Cable of “Cable and Deadpool”? Elijah Snow? Gauntlet?

Cable’s a headliner for this one. Over the course of “Cable and Deadpool,” he grants sanctuary to pariahs, tries to introduce the world to a better way of living than violence, forgives killers, and heals the sick. In terms of messianic qualities, he gives Superman a run for his money.  That said, his forgiveness is rather slow in coming and he tends to resort to violence more than a few times himself. If Superman is Jesus, then Cable is The Passion 2: Crucify This. Damn it all though, I led with Cable because he was an easy veto, but now that I think about it, he nails it head on.  Where’s Chris Tucker?

Jamie Madrox leads X-Factor. He does the best he can, but he just messes up. That’s what makes X-Factor good drama. What it does not do is make it a good superhero book. There are superhero plots and the last book I read did have Guido and Monet fighting robots (or cyborgs. Or something.), but it’s a super-powered drama disguised as a detective series in a superhero genre. What it does not lend itself to is heroism. The most proactive character that makes things better is Layla Miller. It isn’t that she does anything, she just knows what’s going to happen and makes sure it happens to her advantage. Even then, it was retconned that the only reason she knows anything about the future is because of a predestination paradox she set in place after she got SORASed during some time travel.

Comics, everybody!

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