February 18, 2008

Beginning with the end

Seeing as this is ABC's first post, I think I'll start by busting up any assumptions one might have about a girl writing about comics, and dive right into a blame analysis of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' breakup in New Avengers #38. Ha ha, see what I did there? But really, Luke and Jessica are two of the most emotionally real adults in mainstream comics, and their argument captures every main tension of the clusterfuckery that is the current Marvel Universe.

A brief-as-I-can-make-it recap: The winners of Marvel's Civil War were Ironman and those who wanted superheroes to register with the government for accountability; hence, a group of heroes who felt it was a violation of civil liberties went underground. Ironman and his Mighty Avengers are the legal crew, Luke Cage and the New Avengers are fugitives, everyone still fights bad guys. In one very intense New Avengers-bad guy battle, Luke and Jessica's baby was very nearly killed. Terrified and desperate, Jessica ran with her baby to (Mighty) Avengers Tower, begging for asylum and registration. Luke finds out, is horrified and crushed that she betrayed everything they'd been fighting for, and confronts Jessica outside (to avoid arrest, obvs). Jessica says dude, get over yourself and your "principles," which by the way have always been dumb, just come inside and sign up and you can have us back.

If I've learned anything from relationships, and I have, it's that one of the most common but counterproductive behaviors is to do something that you know will upset your partner, and then convince yourself that, due to his/her myriad character flaws and/or recent errors in judgment, your actions are fundamentally your partner's doing. Even if what you did was justified for any number of reasons, it's easier to get indignant than to formulate a rational case. What I'm getting at is that Jessica, I think, has some groveling to do. Now before you're all "WTF? She had no choice!!", let me say "You're right." When your baby is put in mortal danger as a result of your life choices, unchoosing those choices may be a good idea, and going to Avengers Tower was the right decision under the circumstances. But by doing so, she obliterated everything she and Luke and the other fugitive superheroes stood for. Meaning that Luke was going to feel betrayed and spaz more than a little. So she would have been wise to bring the "I'm so sorry honey, I had no choice," not the "I've been humoring you, but really you should just compromise all of your principles and stop all this foolish prancing in the shadows." He's Luke Freaking Cage. He had rough anal sex with you on, like, page three of your introductory series. He's not going to hug you and ask Jarvis to make his favorite soup cuz he's movin' in.

But, of course, she did what real live people do, people who may or may not be Skrulls at this point, which is concoct a black and white scenario that puts her in the clear and doesn't allow for negotiation or contrition. From the little I know about writer Brian Michael Bendis, I can sort of imagine that he has arguments like this a few times a week, maybe where he thinks he's always the Luke but is most of the time the Jessica. But I project.

No comments: