Monday, March 1, 2010

On Redemption and Puppies


I didn't have time to finish the movie tonight, but I watched the introduction to Batman/Superman: Public Enemies. So far I just have one "major" thought on the initial premise.

Lex Luthor comes to power as the United States President. It's a fairly easy concept to set up; I'm with the movie/comics so far. Luthor wants superheroes working along side the government instead of on their own and accountable to no one. It's certainly a valid logical debate that's been covered in such great stories as Squadron Supreme, Kingdom Come, Watchmen and most recently Marvel's Civil War. Luthor has personal reasons for this stance, but also logical ones that he can use as talking points. I'm still on board with the concept.

Luthor introduces his first recruits. The first, Powergirl (Superman's cousin), ties in to the Justice Society. Second is Black Lightning, one of the first major black superheroes who brought hope and heroism to the hopeless in Suicide Slum. Third is Captain Atom, a military man with an impeccable service record who consented to some extreme experimentation for the love of his nation. The final one introduced is Major Force. Major Force is a supervillain who is primarily remembered for being the inspiration behind the term women in refrigerators.

You lost me.

I'm sure this film can eventually get me back on board, but this is quite a bit to swallow. I'm all for seeing villains find redemption. The Black Widow turned against the totalitarian regime that trained her. And there's a laundry list of skilled thieves who turned heroic, once given the right motivation: the Black Cat, about half of the Flash's rogues gallery,
Catwoman, and even Plastic Man. And then you have characters like Magneto, who do some pretty despicable things based on a faulty premise, that are never more than one step away from real lasting redemption.

But then there's Major Force, primarily known for killing the (then) rookie Green Lantern Kyle Rayner's girlfriend Alexandra
DeWitt in a rather brutal fashion in cold blood.

With the examples I listed above, redemption is a total possibility. I think a good form of motivation for people like this would be a puppy. It's the kind of responsibility that would make a person think twice about putting themselves at risk in a way which would put the puppy at risk. Self-interest is the most important of human motivations, but sometimes it's hard to see that unless you have a good reference point.

Also, in the case of people drawn to acts of horror in service of their ideals, I doubt it would be as easy to do so if they had to look their little puppy in the eyes right before performing a major act of terrorism.

But I'm sad to say... Major Force does not deserve a puppy and he does not deserve to stand beside real heroes, whether it's a scam to dilute true heroism or not.

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