Friday, April 15, 2011

Why I Love Faora…

…even though she would hate me.
Okay, I’ll explain, but first I should mention that I’m not at all happy about Zod being the villain in the new Superman movie.
Not that I have any sort of inherent dislike for Zod, it’s just that he’s already been done, and I’d like to see director Zack Snyder steer things away from the Donner movies. 
Honestly, even though he’s been done multiple times in the movies, I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with Luthor being the villain, provided it was a good representation of Luthor, not the buffoonish, real estate-obsessed moron of the Donner (and Donner-inspired) movies.  And when I say “good” I actually mean evil.
Anyway, Zod is going to be the villain (Really?  Zod?  Again?  Why not Brainiac?  Or Metallo, or Darkseid, or Mongul….ooh, Mongul.  That could make me happy:  an adaptation of For the Man Who Has Everything.*), and early casting rumors mentioned them bringing in Ursa as well.
Blech.  Ursa sucks.
For one thing, she’s not a “real” Superman villain.  That is to say, she was invented for the movie, and had no history in the comics.  (She does now, because Geoff Johns loves him some Donner)
Worse, Ursa was actually based on an existing Superman villain, a woman named Faora Hu-Ul.
Faora was condemned to the Phantom Zone after she was discovered to be a serial killer.  A serial killer who targeted men exclusively.  She actually imprisoned men in a concentration camp, where she tortured them to death.  When the Kryptonian authorities apprehended her – after getting their asses soundly kicked, as she was proficient in an especially deadly form of martial arts – they found row upon row of her victims hanging from hooks in a freezer like slabs of meat.
Faora…not a fan of men.
Faora is one of my favorite characters simply because she's so viciously, coldly evil.
She’s just such a marked contrast to Superman, and when she’s out of the Phantom Zone, on Earth, with all of the same powers as Superman…yeah.
My very favorite scene featuring Faora took place in the early 1980s mini-series The Phantom Zone, written by the late, lamented Steve Gerber.
The premise:  the inhabitants of the Phantom Zone conspire and find a way to be released onto the Earth while simultaneously sending Superman himself into the shadowy netherworld from which they escaped.  Most of them being very bad people, who are now very powerful and have no one who can successfully oppose them, they run amok.
Ultimately, Superman finds a way out of the Zone, and, being Superman, saves the day.
In any case, there’s a scene during the amok-running in which some poor, lonely shepherd somewhere hears the sound of a woman off in the distance singing in a strange language.  Naturally, he follows the enchanting sound, which leads him to a small stream, where he sees a beautiful, naked woman bathing.  She opens her arms and beckons him to her, and – presumably having grown tired of the company of sheep – the entranced man wades out to her and the two lock in an embrace.
A very firm embrace.  A vice-like embrace.  A completely inescapable and unyielding embrace.
The woman, of course, is Faora, and she proceeds to use her superhuman strength to crush the life out of the hapless sheep herder.
It was, for a young Jon, and even for an adult Jon who re-read it decades later, a very powerful scene, demonstrative of the vicious, pointless cruelty of the character.
And it’s why, as a villain – as an embodiment of pure, unmitigated evil – she’s awesome.
Seriously, can Ursa, who never really did anything in the movies, even hold a candle to that?  I think not.
So I was very happy to see that Latino Review reported the rumor that Faora, not Ursa, will be appearing in the new movie.
Now, that doesn’t mean it’s true, nor does it mean that Faora will be as nasty as she wants to be, but it does make me at least a little bit hopeful.
I don’t want Zod, but if it means I get Faora…well, that’s a pretty good trade off, I think.
*Sorry, Alan Moore.  I know you don’t like seeing your stuff translated to film, but that could really be awesome.

No comments: