Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Thoughts About JLA #14

It came out today.

I didn’t buy it.

I did, however, look through it. And looking through it, I realized I made a couple of incorrect assumptions in my original post.

The first is that the spread in question doesn’t lead off the issue. Luthor shows Superman and Black Lightning the video a bit further into the issue. It makes the scene seem a little less prominent than it did in the preview, where it was front-and-center.

Second, a quick read of the issue shows that Luthor was showing Superman those images to really piss him off. He wanted him good and angry; the story explicitly says so. So, whether it was in the panel description or not (I’m still guessing not), I could see how Ed Benes’s reading of the full script would lead him to pose that panel in that way—because Luthor might see it as a good way to press Superman’s buttons.

I still think it’s a bad idea.

Not that it’s ineffective. I mean, clearly it works. I was pretty damn mad.

But I think, even in a world where Luthor is a bad, bad guy, he should refrain from sexually exploiting Justice Leaguers. It devalues Wonder Woman and the others to build up Luthor, which is, frankly, a bad trade. Luthor is already pretty much the worst guy in the DCU—he’s already made his rep. Victimizing Wonder Woman does nothing for him that capturing her wouldn’t do, and it makes her...well, a victim.

But never mind that. What does it make the audience?

Looking at the Newsarama boards after the preview. the argument for the scene’s inclusion predominantly wasn’t “It’s exactly what Luthor would do to make them angry and easier to defeat” (although a few perceptive souls did point this out), but instead that comics aren’t just for kids, and that grownups like the jiggle, that complainers shouldn't be so prudish because there’s more T&A on any TV show and, of course, “HAWT.” With a lot -- I mean a LOT -- of boob jokes thrown in for good measure.

I wonder how all those appreciative fans feel now that they know that the scene they were getting off to was supposed to piss them off?

And that’s my problem with the entire episode. I’ve read a lot of heroic fiction where protagonists or sidekicks were tied up, and have never given it a second thought. If the plot called for it, it called for it, and that was that. But prompts the audience to react in the exact opposite way that the viewpoint character (Superman) is reacting, and the dissonance works against the story.

What the scene in JLA looks like is not that they were tied up for the villains. They look like they were tied up for me. As, I dunno, a present. A gift. Fan service, is what they call it.

No thanks. I'd rather have cash.


(On the plus side, I used that very cash to buy the first issue of The Umbrella Academy instead. So it’s not a complete loss.)

EXTRA LINKY GOODNESS: Val at Occasional Superheroine presents a similar argument (but with HAWT pix!) and Cheryl Lynne at Digital Femme offers a simple rule to publish by, days before the tempest touched down in the Justice League's teapot. Both are good reading.


Mike Haseloff said...

I wasn't offended until I found out the Justice League were being forced to watch the Tigra snuff tape.

Ami Angelwings said...

Yus :D

You hit the nail on the head. That is fanservice of the worst kind :( But the problem is that it's not "fanservice" for all but only some, so rly they're not doing a service to fans as much as they are to a particular niche of fans :(

Ford MF said...

You excellently put your finger on just why I decided to stop buying JLA after that issue.