Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Am That Heartless Monster

In the most recent installment of the “Ask Chris?” segment, Comics Alliance writer Chris Sims tackles the question of Supergirl.
It’s an interesting piece – if you’re interested in that sort of thing – and I find that it expresses a lot of the same conflicted feelings I have about Kara Zor-El.
In fact, it aligns pretty well with my feelings about a lot of comic book characters, such as Dick Grayson and Tim Drake – though not Jason Todd, because seriously, fuck that guy – and sidekicks in general.
After all, as individual characters, I like both of Batman’s junior partners, and one of my favorite comic book series of all-time – New Teen Titans – wouldn’t have existed without Robin, or any of the other kid sidekicks whose existences, conceptually, I find objectionable.
I may – or may not – address some of those objections at some point in the future, but for now I want to get back to my conflicted feelings about Kara.
This excerpt from the piece by Sims kind of gets at the heart of why I find Kara problematic:
Even if it's just the two of them, Superman is no longer alone. He no longer has to carry that burden alone, which means it's no longer shaping his actions as strongly as it had before. It certainly doesn't take away Superman's desire to protect Earth and its people, but still, it affects that side of his personality, drawing the focus back to Krypton.
Of course, my objection is a little more straightforward – I simply prefer the idea of Superman being the only survivor, without even bothering to get any deeper into what that means for the character.
Kara takes that aspect away, and that bothers me.  (It gets even worse when you add in the citizens of Kandor, the rest of Argo City, the Phantom Zone villains…)
However, as mentioned, in some of her various incarnations, I like Kara herself, even if I don’t like the fact of her existence.
In fact, Kara is at the very center of one of the most heartbreaking scenes in comic book history, and it’s one that gets me every.  Damn.  Time.

From Threshold

But that’s the thing – Kara had her run, and it came to an end.  I don’t feel as much affection for any of the later incarnations of the character that I felt for the one who died in order to make sure that Superman, once again, survived.  Every appearance she made after that – except in the DC Animated Universe, where she wasn't really Kara Zor-El anyway – has taken a little bit away from that ultimate moment.
(I will say that I was entertained by a recent scene in the current Superman series in which Supergirl shows up unannounced at Clark’s door, and a visiting Lois jumps to the mistaken conclusion that Clark is dating some mixed-up young cosplayer.)
It’s worth noting that I have no such objections or mixed feelings about her alternate universe version, Kara Zor-L, AKA Power Girl, because alternate universe, duh.  (Also:  Boobs)
In closing, I want to include one other excerpt from the article by Sims, which provides the title of this post (emphasis mine):

[…](you show me someone who doesn't like Krypto and I will show you a heartless monster)[…]

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