aeka: (Huntress [angry]:)
[personal profile] aeka posting in [community profile] scans_daily
It's pretty common knowledge amongst DC fans that it really doesn't take much to hit Helena Bertinelli's berserk button. Just threaten the safety of innocents or anyone she cares about and she'll have you dangling over the edge of a building after a good beating.

But what about Helena Wayne? As professional and as level-headed as she tends to be, she herself isn't without a berserk button of her own. Like Bertinelli, Wayne also values the people he does have in her life, and probably even moreso since she hates losing the people she loves to senseless criminal activity. But it's one thing for criminals to come after her already capable parents, and another to deliberately kill the people in her life just to get back at her for beating your arse. Herein lies her berserk button, where even she'll consider "breaking her one rule" to get her point across. Observe!

WARNING: The first few pages contain some mildly sadistic themes and sexual undertones. Potentially NSFW!

Our story begins with our heroine just getting ready for another day at work, and by work, I mean her daytime job as a lawyer. Prior to the events of this story, the Huntress has confronted a crime boss, not once, but twice for his criminal activity. He didn't like that. So what does he do? He puts on a ridiculous costume, comes up with a laughable name for himself, and attacks her on her way to work. When she wakes up, shit gets real fast!

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Helena's Bat-glare these first few pages suggests this is the worst idea for a porn movie ever conceived by man, and she especially doesn't like being the guest star of this particularly bad porno. But this isn't even the worst of her problems.

By the time she wakes up (this time unshackled but with her clothes still ripped open), she sees that the Crimelord has disappeared and left her costume for her to change into. She goes to fight him, and during his macho power trip he reveals to her his grand plan for "winning."

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That last page would have been much more satisfying of Huntress was the one to kick him over the edge, but whatevs. It was the 80s, and as far as I know, depicting heroes killing even in self-defence was a big no-no.

But moving on...Huntress goes on an anger trip of her own!

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"I would've saved him if I could've."

No you wouldn't have, hun. No one's that nice when dealing with someone who deliberately threatens the life of a family member. Just ask your mum.

On second thought...once Hunts arrives at the scene of the crime, things get ugly. Really ugly. Fast!

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Then she goes and meets with Henchman #2, and he explains to Helena what's in store for her old father's butler. It is around this time that she has her Helena Bertinelli moment.

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Fortunately for Hunts (and DC Comics at the time), she is spared having to come back to "put knives in those creeps" when her on-again/off-again boyfriend shows up with the cops, but she came pretty damn close to going over the edge herself.

From this point forward though (at least up until her death in COIE), Helena Wayne became a lot less soft on criminals, and even moreso when Joey Cavalieri took over the writing from Paul Levitz. Of course, considering Cavalieri is the same guy responsible for coming out with the Helena Bertinelli version, I guess it shouldn't be surprising his version of Helena Wayne would be just as equally dark, angry, and much more aggressive than how Levitz originally depicted her.

Date: 2011-11-28 02:47 pm (UTC)
mrosa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrosa
Actually I find the that first page very sensual and tasteful; there's a fine balance there between showing and hinting at. It leaves a lot to the imagination, and then it's the reader's problem if he goes around imagining things that aren't there. Reminds me of Alan Moore's revamp of Glory and his ideas of leaving stuff for the imagination of '13-year-old minds':

I'd rather have subtle stuff like this than what we got in Catwoman and Red Hood, which is just a few strategic placements short of being full porn.

Date: 2011-11-28 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
And I'd rather have stuff like Catwoman and Red Hood than this, which is basically just oh dear Helena's being sexually threatened, how dreadful! Now let's draw this out in lovingly rendered suggestive detail.

Then again, that is part of the 'traditional' appeal of superhero comics, isn't it? Eroticised violence against women, behind a pretense of disaproval. That way, if they get called out on it the creators can always say "but you're supposed to be disgusted! We're trying to show what a Bad Guy this villain is! now let's just ramp up the big scared doe eyes, and could you maybe re-draw it to put a bit more than just a hint of nipple in that second page?" And it never ends - superhero comics are downright *fascinated* with rape, child abuse, prostitution, sexual enslavement, damsels in distress, etc. etc. etc.

This is a big part of my disillusionment with superhero comics. And more than anything, it's the hypocrisy of fans who were a-ok with all this creeptastic male-centric stuff until it passed some threshhold of self awareness which bothers me.

At least Catwoman and Red Hood weren't trying to make sexual violence look "sensual and tasteful."

Date: 2011-11-28 07:29 pm (UTC)
mrosa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrosa
Sex, violence and death are intertwined in fiction, and this precedes comics by centuries. I don't think it's a matter of existing or not, but a matter of how well it's articulated, since it'll never disappear from our consciousnesses. So for me the only question is grading examples according to adjectives like sensual, tasteful, tacky, graphic, etc; I give this one an A, and Catwomen a C-.

Date: 2011-11-28 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Yeah, I'd rather see a woman getting what she wants and *enjoying* it than one tied up and helpless with her tits hanging out.

I guess I'm just crass that way.

Date: 2011-11-28 08:56 pm (UTC)
mrosa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrosa
Well, there are comics like that too, so everything's alright, isn't it?

Date: 2011-11-28 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Sure, if you can drop the idea that an appreciation for a subtle hint o' rape is a sign of good taste and refined sensuality.

Date: 2011-11-28 10:16 pm (UTC)
mrosa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrosa
Is this a bad moment to confess I'm a huge fan of Pauline Réage's novel Story of O?

I think it is.

Date: 2011-11-28 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Well, no, but I do think that it's a bad idea to describe a non-consensual situation as 'tasteful' relative to a consensual one, no matter how sleazy you think the consensual scene happens to be.

I mean, I like a lot of BDSM stuff myself. It's not really that that I have a problem with?


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