Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rooting for the rapist?!

I was going to stick this in with the other Links du Jour, but decided I'll probably want more room to freak out.

I'm not a defender of Identity Crisis. As a mystery story, it was horribly flawed. And I do get the anger that a lot of folks feel towards the rape scene. My feelings about that scene pretty much echo Kalinara and Loren's, but they did a lot better job explaining them than I could, so I'll just send you to their blogs if you're interested in an in depth exploration of how it was handled. The short version is: although rape shouldn't be a taboo subject in comics, much like the mystery aspect of Identity Crisis, the rape scene could've been handled a lot better.

But... to say that it was the intention of the writer that we root for the freakin' rapist? Unbelievable.

Yes, writer Brad Meltzer was trying to "explain why Dr. Light was such a moron" in all those '60s and '70s comics. Yes, he wanted to darken Light (I'm aware of the irony) and make him more of a threat. I'd argue that Meltzer did both of those things. But, no, he absolutely did not make Light a sympathetic character who deserved vindication. Nor did Geoff Johns, who wrote the Teen Titans issues in which Dr. Light went after the teen heroes who'd belittled him in the past.

What Johns did was take the new, darker, scarier Dr. Light and sic him on a bunch of kids whom he had reason to hate. It was a vile and horrifying story to tell, and it's okay if that kind of thing isn't your cup of tea, but it was supposed to be vile and horrifying. It wasn't supposed to be about hoping those damn kids -- you know, the frickin' stars of the comic you're reading -- finally get what's coming to them at the hands of a maniacal rapist. When Light talks about it not mattering whether or not he won at the end, as long as the world saw that he was powerful again, we're not supposed to freakin' cheer. We're supposed to think, "What a sick f**k. Thank God they beat him."

I don't know if the writer of that post is honestly that unable to interpret a story or is being intentionally disingenuous in order to further trash a story that he or she didn't like, but either way, it's sad.


West said...

I think I lean more toward your point-of-view.

Light was largely a prop in what I must agree was a very flawed story. He certainly wasn't the hero in any sense.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Yeah... I kind of get what the writer was saying but I disagree with the conclusion that Dr. Light was supposed to be sympathetic in any way. Especially not with Rags Morales' visual interpretation with the sicko grin and the tongue sticking out ham-fisted stuff.

And obviously, I HATED "Identity Crisis." And still do. Clumsy story mistaking red herrings for clever plot twists and way too many plot holes to have been allowed through without some major editing.

What I definitely disagree with Meltzer on is this idea that those old stories needed to be brought into some sort of continuity with today's "darker" stylings, and that this was the right way to do that. What's wrong with leaving the old stories goofy?

Yeah, I tend to agree with you on the "sympathy point."


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