Monday, February 8, 2010

Absolute Justice and the Good Life

What can one say about the Absolute Justice movie event? It had a little bit of everything. It had straight-from-the-comics, no-apologies adaptations of many characters. It had a lot of guest stars that kept the signature Smallville flair (by that I mean that they changed things a lot but stayed true to the internal logic of the universe.)

It had real heart at times; some thought-provoking ideas were stated and they gave enough set-up to make me wish this show would go for another 10 years. I could really spend this whole post just talking about how all the little minutiae gave me goosebumps. I mean, I really could.

But the truth of the matter is that I think I have the most to say about the two characters pictured above. Two characters who proved that throwing the "No Tights/No Flights " rule out the window doesn't mean that real characterization and story has to go with it.

Geoff Johns wrote the episode and was in excellent form doing so. Before he became one of the preeminent writers in comics today, one of the titles he helped create was a short run book called Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. It featured a retired "
Stripesy" who had recently married a single mother with a daughter named Courtney. The daughter found out about her father's superhero past and started using some of his old equipment to aggravate him. From what I've gathered, this character was based on Johns' own sister who had died three years before the comic was developed. His love for the character shows.

The character has a bit of a history with numerous teams within the DC universe. She also has a notable friendship with the new Supergirl. Which makes me regret that Laura Vardervoort is no longer on the show since I would love seeing how the two would play off each other with Courtney's wholesome brattiness and Kara's rebellious streak.

The two characters even stared in a great episode of Justice League Unlimited together and played well off each other. Just writing this makes me wish wish DC/the CW would start work on a Teen Titans spin-off from
Smallville...but I'm getting off topic.

I have to say that Courtney/
Stargirl made the biggest impact on me for two opposite reasons. She stood as this event's nagging voice of altruism by responding to Green Arrow's comment on her costume that "she has a fondness for the stars and stripes" by saying "At least I stand for something other than myself."

But conversely, she touched on an important issue that I always focus on but is usually omitted from heroic stories of any stripe. When Chloe shows her "The Watchtower," Courtney is impressed with all the technology, but asks "where are all the pictures?" She explains to Chloe that the biggest part of the
JSA's strength was the familial bond the group had with one another.

Specifically, she implies the idea of being a well-rounded
individual and, ironically, the type of "social animal" Ayn Rand described in Atlas Shrugged. Being a hero is a very important part of all their lives and it shouldn't be treated as a dirty secret to be hidden from the whole world in miserable loneliness. There's no shame in finding real friendship, and even romantic love among those who share your values on the deepest level.