DCU Women's Memorable Moments
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sbowers04

My five moments of women in the DCU that didn't make the cut:

 

  1. Sasha Bordeaux taking on Brother Eye on a suicide mission thinking she isn't a superhero and that she's been turned into a machine and coming out on top.

  2. Daria and Renee lying in bed, talking about nothing and everything, and Daria asking her to bring her back a Flash T-shirt.

  3. Scandal Savage staring into a stripper's eyes, searching for a sign of her lost lover.

  4. Huntress telling Renee, “Um... yelling at the angel... probably not a good idea.

  5. Huntress clocking Renee to keep her from taking the Mark of Cain.

  6. Renee keeping her from doing so.

Okay, so that's six. Sue me.


Country Strong
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sbowers04

The script is a mess. It can't decide if it wants to be “A Star Is Born,” “All About Eve,” “Crazy Heart” or an indictment of the whole country music industry. Which is to say that it doesn't have an original thought in its pages. Actually, you can throw out the indictment idea because really, is Tim McGraw going to play quite an insanely unsympathetic monster who forces his star wife out of rehab early in order to “rehabilitate” her image? Naw... it's gotta be the drunk star wife's fault. Cause Tim... he's a good ole boy. And Faith Hill is his wife. Not the drunken doppleganger on the screen.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow is playing the drunken doppleganger in question, and I couldn't tell you the names of the other actors in the film, save Mr. McGraw. That's not a bad thing, per say, but what is a bad thing is that I can't tell you the name of the female lead character... Chavis, Chase (no, that's a comic book character), Chablis.... I dunno. Which, considering the script had “critics” calling her the “next Carrie Underwood” is a bad bad thing. That and when I heard her sing her signature song, all I thought was “Wait, that's a Sara Evans song.” Note to PR people: Do not release a character's signature song by another, more accomplished artist months before the film's premiere.” Jerked me right out of the film, as if I weren't out of there already.

 

That said, I did get goosebumps whenever any of the characters sang. Music movies have always been my undoing, and I love to see performance on film. I wish there had been more of Kelly Travis' (Ms. Paltrow) final concert. She was completely working it. Which makes the ending even more problematic. And I find myself falling back on my old “this would have made such an incredible novel” routine because this mess of a screenplay had some traction before it became the mess of a script that it is now. Except, well, performance is hard to write, and the electricity of those in this film proves that point. Except for Chablis or Chavis or whatever her name was. That character was a flaming idiot and was not the next Carrie Underwood.

 

All that said...

 

It was the first film that I have been to in over a decade, maybe two, that actually got applause from an audience. And that was at a 4:30 matinee.

 

Go figure.


More About Kate/Maggie
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sbowers04

 

The wailing and gnashing has begun. So be it. But as I was reading all the posts, which were frequently accompanied by the art of Elegy where the two danced, something occurred to me. Okay a couple of things. I'll try as best as I can to explain without the pictures, because I'm a word person and I haven't figured out how to make pretty pictures. So to quote Izzie Stevens (whom I can't believe I'm quoting because that little shit is half the reason Erica Hahn is not at Seattle Grace... but what was I saying?), oh right... I'll “use my words.”

 

The art in that scene threw me off too. And I think that it could contribute to why so many people have trouble with Maggie/Kate (or maybe not, but you know). Everything about “Elegy” is so sensual, from the opening panels where she is seducing the information out of her informant to her assault on the newly formed coven, to hell, her interaction with Dick!Batman. But not these panels. In those panels, Kate and Maggie almost look like marionettes, complete with the music box notes running through the top, center and bottom. Putting the two both in tuxedos didn't help. I can see Kate doing it to just piss off her stepmother and because she considers it a uniform of sorts. But I can't see Maggie doing it. Not because she's all soft femme (I still hate whoever drew her in “52”-- she is not a stacked blonde with long hair and a penchant for pencil skirts), but because this is a police event and wearing a tuxedo would focus attention on her sexuality (which she is not ashamed of) when she was there because of her role as Captain of the most badass division of the Gotham Police. (And what's up with the “Detective” stuff in JHW3's comments? Did she get demoted and nobody noticed?) The stiltedness of the art could indicate the over all stiltedness of first meetings, and especially of two lesbians in an environment that isn't exactly conducive to sensual flirtation. (Contrast the art of Kate dancing in “Batwoman #0 in a lesbian bar with an equally total stranger.)

 

The dialogue in the scene didn't bother me. It was utilitarian-- letting the uniformed know who Maggie was, and more interestingly indicate that Renee is still very much on Kate's mind, despite the events of “Crime Bible.” She hears “cop,” she thinks “Renee.” And Maggie's observation that it sounds like Kate still misses her. (I still don't buy the Creepy Guy's statement in Renee's DCAnnual backup that Kate has stopped loving her.)

 

To be honest, the heat I felt from Kate/Maggie was more in the “Cutter” arc, when they are meeting as Batwoman/Sawyer. The moody blacks, Maggie's curt statement that Batwoman is “Not him.” And her reply, “No... someone different” as she's dripping blood on the ground and keeping her back mostly to Sawyer. The vehemence in her tone when she replies to Sawyer's criticism that she didn't catch the perp, telling her that she saved a woman's eyes that night, so she'd call it a draw.

 

I guess the thing that intrigues me most about this potential is the tension between Kate/Maggie and Batwoman/Sawyer develop and seeing how that all plays out.

 

What I don't want to see, is a string of petulant short-timers who always leave Kate because “she's an immature party girl.” I don't think Maggie would buy that for a minute and it would push her (and the reader) to discover more about Kate. Quite frankly, I don't think this book can stand the introduction of a new character as a romantic partner (and the panel real estate it would take to support it) who could pursue the exploration of Kate/Batwoman with any degree of credibility. Maggie is already in place through no fault of the character's. You can't blame the writers for taking advantage of it. And that's the real point, because the book is called “Batwoman.” Not “Kate/Maggie 4Ever” and not “The Many Loves of Kate Kane.”

 

All that said, I still want Kate and Renee to find their way back to each other.

 


Kate Kane's Love Life
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sbowers04

Me being upfront:

 

I think Renee and Kate are the loves of each other's lives.

 

I like Maggie Sawyer, and anything that gets her more panel time is good with me.

 

I think any romance that Kate has is going to be a new character. And I think that it will be intermittent, perhaps a nod (ala “The Secret Six”) to “Yes, Kate's a lesbian, let's move on to the Daddy Issues.” (Okay I hope that last part's not true, but...)

 

But here's the thing...

 

What makes the Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer as a pairing appealing is that it has a ton of built in angst factor. (Not to mention the meta of taking the Batman/Gordon relationship one step further.)

 

If Kate gets involved with Maggie, she has to juggle that plus her relationship with Sawyer as Batwoman. And Sawyer's a way better detective than Gordon, so not only is she not going to buy the “party-girl” excuse that all of Kate's post-Batwoman relationships have, she'll notice that Kate knows way more about tactics and strategy than can be passed off as a being a military brat. And yeah, well, you think she wouldn't notice the big honking scar running down her chest after they had well... you know?

 

So that leads to Maggie finding out about Batwoman and Sawyer finding out about Kate. Worlds collide and so forth. Which would create further angst over Sawyer thinking maybe she's crossed the line as a cop and worrying about her lover out there because she knows what the freaks are capable of.

 

We aren't even going to go into what happens when Maggie realizes that the “one other” cop Kate has known was Renee.

 

The “generational divide” thing doesn't wash with me because I've tried to do the math combining the real world and the DC-verse, and as best I can figure Renee has to be at least eight years older than Kate. She's already on patrol when Kate is dismissed from West Point (which puts her at 19/20) and when they see each other a year later, Renee is a plainclothes. Either she got promoted to detective as a rookie or she's been on the job for a while. Renee's passport puts her currently as forty, which would make make Kate around 32. I can't isolate Maggie's age, but she reads to me around 45. That's not a huge age difference. Certainly not a generational one.

 

If JHW3 decides to give Kate a permanent love interest (which I don't think he will), Maggie's not a bad choice. And it's not because she's the “only other lesbian”  in the DCU (hell, I'd love to introduce Kate to Grace Choi g). It's because Maggie is embedded already in the text, and he can use the precious panel real estate to further the narrative but also explore Kate's character-- her PTSD (which I'd argue stems from 52 and is compounded by the revelations of Elegy), her unresolved love for Renee, and life the universe and everything.

 

But it's all theory.

 

Heck, in my world, the Outsiders consist of: Renee, Batwoman, Grace Choi, Huntress, and Sasha Bourdeaux so what do I know?

 


Yes, It's About Comics v2
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sbowers04
Read an article recently from a blog that I really like and enjoy, but couldn't stop squinting when I read this:


"As a company telling a serial story about characters that have been around fifty to seventy-five years, this struggle with its past is something DC will always have to deal with, just as unequal representation of female characters (and grown women with superhero names that end in "girl") and unequal representation of homosexual characters. The company can't have a "classic" lineup and also have large-scale diversity; by virtue of their publishing history, the two goals are mutually exclusive."

 

On the one hand, I can read it as a pragmatic analysis of what "DC" has to do to survive as a company. On the other hand, I can read it as telling readers who might take issue with the "history" (which, I might add is not exactly history) and suggesting that they get over it because it's not going to change.

 

Because what if the audience doesn't want "classic" as defined by the people who think they know what "classic" is and what the audience should want?

 

I want to ask "What does diversity mean to them?" to DC.

 

In this forum, it's clearly a rhetorical question. And not directed in ill-will against the author of the opinion. But it is still one that begs to be asked.

 

I mean, how many blogs and Tumblrs with posts and reposts about Renee Montoya's bravery would they have to read? How many "this is the woman I want to be when I grow up" lists that include Grace Choi and Sasha Bourdeaux and heck, even Lois Lane?

 

And to speak to the bottom line: How many Eisner's does Batwoman need to win (not to mention inclusion on national magazines Best of lists-- it was the only DC entry on Publishers Weekly and on Library Journals) in order for DC to figure out that yeah... there might be a market here that doesn't involve the word "classic"?

 

And I note the author's reminder of grown women who's names end in "girl" but does (presumably) he recognize that the most dignified, powerful, elegant *woman* in the DCU has been reduced to a Summer Glau clone because of DC? (And yes, I liked "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" but that does not make her Wonder Woman.) And that the herald of the "new defining origin story of Wonder Woman" has gone running from the title screaming like, well, I don't want to say.

 

I apologize, but it just irks me when someone issues a blanket apology for bad decisions by a conglomerate saying in effect, "yeah, sometimes it sucks, but ultimately it's just business."

 


Sons of Anarchy S3 Finale
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sbowers04
I love SoA. Despite its main character's Daddy Issues and despite the show's rampant misogyny (which, curiously nobody talks about). I also love(d) Stahl. But the deck was already (narratively) stacked against her. She was the straw dog that the writers kept holding up to make SAMCRO look heroic. And the more they did it (the more Stahl's behavior got loonier) the more it seemed lazy as a writer's choice. It seemed to scream "HEY LOOK CRAZY FED!!! GUN RUNNING PORN PRODUCING MURDERING BIKERS NOT SO BAD!!! NOT TO MENTION THEY SAVED CHARMING FROM THE RACISTS!!!"

I do think that bringing Stahl's bisexuality as a part of the plot was part of that process. I watched the first two seasons of SoA and I had  no idea that Stahl was "queer" except in my little deviant fantasies (and that scene with Gemma in the Handi-mart). Then it was reported that the character was "lesbian" and that a scene had been cut identifying her as such.

Maybe I'm an old fashioned New Critic, but the text is the text. The audience saw her having sex with the deputy chief and enthusiastically enjoying it.

So why couldn't the season 3 plot stay exactly the same it was except when Jax sees her with her lover it's a guy? "Taking your work home" works for both boys and girls.

Because having Stahl kill another woman-- her lover-- makes her even more monstrous in a narrative that has already situated her as such. Even the woman who most exceeds her boundries (Gemma-- and even she pays nodding respect to the rules) is "normal"-- ie, heterosexual.

Do I think that Sutter and company were making a statement about the evil lesbians of the world? No.


Do I think they could have less-stacked the deck by giving Stahl an actual backstory? Or getting her involved with one of the oh-so-plentiful wannabes that seem in inhabit Charming? Or hell, shown her riding a Harley (which, if I recall, on this show a woman has never done solo)?

Haven given the audience something to think about instead of how "right" SAMCRO was to murder her.

Rooftop Encounter
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sbowers04

It took you 23 days to figure out who I am?” The figure masked in the colors of war asked lightly.

 

The man opposite her, equally masked, but more ambiguously garbed in colors of steel and night cocked his head. “I knew who you were,” he replied with equal equanimity. “I just needed to confirm it.”

 

She chuckled darkly. “You have no idea who I am. You have a name and a face.” She shifted lightly, and she saw him note that her center of balance did so as well. She wasn't looking for a fight. At the same time, she wasn't looking for a try-out either. Team sports were never her forte. “If that's all you wanted, you could have just asked Junior. Really, I could have done without the fake attempt at knee-capping me. If I hadn't checked my kick, you would've been drinking out of a straw for the next six months.”

 

Despite the lenses in his cowl which, she knew gave him a better look at her than the reverse, she almost thought she saw him consider the remark, the brief encounter where her sense of being watched matched up with an actual physical assault.

 

Who's Junior?” he asked.

 

And she wanted to almost laugh at his dead-pan attempt at guilelessness.

 

The one who's been running around dressed like you for the last year.” Her jaw tightened. “The one they used to call Nightwing.”

 

He didn't take the bait. “'They' call all sorts of people all sorts of things. I hear people are calling you 'Batwoman.'”

 

Well, I'm too old to be a Batgirl,” she said, neglecting to mention the things she had heard about that particular mantle being passed over up and beyond. “And I'm certainly not a Batman. And I'm not here to be recruited in your mass-market attempt at crime-fighting.”

 

The slight tense in his neck told her she was right.

 

I'm not interested,” she answered the unasked question. “My country wouldn't let me serve, but Gotham will. That's enough for me.”

 

 


I'm a Man(ny)iac... Man(ny)iac... On the floor...
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sbowers04
 Because apparently that's how I broke my butt. My butt! I-- wait... Ma... I'M WORKING HERE!!!!

What?? Yes, I know what a hyper-extended tail is, but I'm taking a little dramatic license here. (Not like she hasn't ever done it  before. Who does she think I learned it from?)

Besides, my tail is on my butt and it isn't fixed so it must be broken.

Hence. I BROKE MY BUTT!!!

Now. What was I saying?

Oh yeah.

I BROKE MY BUTT!!!

My mom noticed yesterday when she came back from wherever she goes that she doesn't take me (which I hope I will get to go to someday cause she's taking me more and more places) that my tail action wasn't exactly quite what it usually is. I tried, but dude it hurt, and felt so much better plastered between my legs. Not like I wanted to look like a whipped puppy, cause if there's anybody whipped in this house, it's my mom. She even lets me sit on the back of the couch and read over her shoulder.

What?

My mom says, "Drooling on the page is not the same as reading it."

It is to me. With the added bonus of leaving the message, "Manny and Mom were here" to all interested listeners.

But I digress.

My tail kept hurting, and it really hurt to do my chores, but those were kinda more pressing than the throbbing in my tail. And when I curled up with Mom to go to sleep, it didn't hurt as much.

But boy in the morning it did. Mom kept trying to touch it, and I was like, "Ma... you so don't want to do that." Not like I would bite her or anything cause that would be a one-way ticket back to the questionable condo with the concrete carpet. (See? I'm learning alliteration.). But really, hands off my butt, Mom.

So she comes home and grazes from her food bowl, but after she's done she doesn't go away again. My tail isn't hurting as much this afternoon, but it's wag is definitely not up to standard.

Then she gets my leash and we walk towards the *other* door. The one we go out of when we go exploring. ADVENTURE AHEAD! is what I think when we go out it and she bundles me into the car.

I remember this place, I think when we get there. It wasn't scary exactly, cause there were some nice people who scratched and petted me and told me how handsome I was. Which, I modestly say, is true. We go into the back and they make me stand on this flat thing and I watch my mom's eyebrows raise when she sees the red shapes on the thing she is looking at.

And then Dr. C comes in. I remember him. And I'm beginning to think this has something to do with my butt.

Oh yeah... it does.

I shift away from the lady who's holding me and look at my mom. She's watching Dr. C who is TOUCHING MY BUTT! AND MY TAIL!

Dude, lay off. I'm not that kind of boy.

My mom is talking to Dr. C and then she scratches my head and talking to me. I relax immediately, and the lady holding me says, "That's better." Mom keeps petting me and talking to both me and Dr. C and he's telling her that there's swelling but nothing is broken and my unmentionable is fine. I see my mom smile in relief and she looks at me.

"You gotta cut down on the breakdancing with joy, kiddo."

*sigh*

Apparently that's not all I have to cut down on. I can hear them talking through the door as they're getting stuff to make my butt not hurt so much, and I hear the lady say I was "hefty." Dr. C agreed, and I want to ask them if they've looked in the mirror lately?

I glance at my mom who smiles at me. "Told ya, pal."

Great, not only is my butt broken, but I'm on a diet.

Alexandra in Cassy's Arms
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sbowers04

After their first night together, Cassy always made a point of taking her rings off before they saw one another. It wasn't just a rather puritanically symbolic gesture of the fact that she was breaking her wedding vows. Not just once or twice. It was a demarcation between public and private. Of the time when she could slip loose the bonds of not just everything the world expected her to be, but everything she expected herself to be because of it.

 

In Alexandra's arms. She could simply be.

 

It was how she rested this night. So completely sated, Alexandra twined around her, ragged breaths returning to normal, the scent of lovemaking clinging to their heated skin.

 

She had never wanted anything more than to just stay like this forever.

 

She blinked. Nuzzled her cheek against Alexandra's hair. It was so rare that she was the one who did the holding, but she relished it all the same.

 

Fleeting.

 

Forever.

 

She couldn't have them both.

 

Just a week ago Jessica had told her “confidentially” that she had engineered a meeting between Alexandra and the actress Georgiana Hamilton-Ayers. She knew who the actress was, of course. Who couldn't necause with a legendary actress mother only slightly less crazed (and still living) than Frances Farmer and an addled Scottish Earl for a father Georgiana Hamilton-Ayres had managed to become one o the top ten box office draws in the world. By all accounts she was intelligent, sophisticated, witty, talented and god knows, incredibly beautiful.

 

Jessica had said that they had 'hit it off,” and that Alexandra had even asked Jess for the actress' private number.

 

Cassy shivered a little at the thought. Tugged Alexandra a little closer and felt only marginal relief when she felt the other woman sigh contentedly.

 

She had the number of someone who was eminiently more suited to a relationship than her-- her with the two failed (make that one and a half, she and Jackson were still staggering around) marriages, her grown son, her middle age, her... her... well, her everything.

 

How could Alexandra, of all people, want her everything.

 

And yet, she couldn't help but marvel. Here she was in Alexandra's bed,

 

She kissed the crown of dark hair and murmured softly, “My heart is yours,.”

 

Hoped the faint words were never heard because she feared that would be the undoing of them both.


The Genius and the Goddess
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sbowers04

First of all, a disclaimer.

I have never been a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe, but she was first drawn to my attention by a female (straight) friend who was utterly entranced by “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “The Seven Year Itch.” Me. Not so much.

 

Still. I was intrigued learning about this icon's tragic-- and there's no way else to describe it however you subscribe to the various theories-- death.

 

So Marilyn's danced on the edges of my awareness-- much like James Dean and unlike Heath Ledger-- for some twenty odd years now. Some fortysomething odd years after her death.

 

With great interest I picked up Jeffery Meyers' “The Genius and the Goddess” which purported to be an examination of Monroe's relationship with Miller and more importantly, the making of “The Misfits.”

 

Instead it is a condemnation of Monroe, not only because she was an actress of “limited means” but she failed to realize it by trying to better herself at an institution that produced the likes of Brando and Dean. And she chose friends who were bad for her. When DiMaggio and especially Miller were so much better for her

 

The lesson of Monroe's death is in the trial of the doctors of Anna Nicole Smith. Maybe the two are smiling at us from somewhere over there. That's fitting.

 

What I dislike about Mr. Meyers' book is that, especially towards the end of it, he seems to elevate Miller to the role of saint in the relationship with Monroe (not that he hadn't treaded precariously close earlier).

 

But he repeatedly repeats that Miller “saved himself” by cutting all ties with Monroe, even though Miller wrote about her until the year he died. How is that being saved? To me, it sounds like a man who prefers to live with the idea of an icon rather than the woman who the rest of the world perceives as an icon. Because, after all, as Mr. Meyers repeatedly says she got in the way of his work because of his duties as caretaker.

 

Mr. Meyers seems to separate Miller's work in “before” and “after” terms. His greatest successes yes, did come before his marriage to Monroe. And the author seems to blame Monroe for the change in his work (I'm assuming he was a friend of Miller's based on the back cover photograph, but I could be wrong). Miller's life-- and work-- changed because Miller changed, and Mr. Meyers attribution of that fact to the (detrimental and continuing) siren spell of Monroe does not do Miller's enormous legacy any favors. Especially as he seems to consider Monroe's coming into Miller's life at all a horrendous thing.

ETA: And I didn't mention how Mr. Meyers perpetuates the myth that "Marilyn killed Gable." Although he himself states that the studio itself had grave concerns about Gable's health and talks about the extreme heat conditions and the stunts that Huston put Gable through, nonetheless, the lingering words about Gable's heart attack (poetically) the day after the last day of shooting "The Misfits" are Kay Gable's hysterical indictment of Marilyn and Marilyn's own (private) recriminations serve as the final words of "What killed Gable." I wonder how Mr. Gable would perceive this account of his passing. Surely it wouldn't be well.


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