Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Allow Me To Use Some Visual Aids....

When I speculated in my last post that Sean McKeever may have decided to leave the wrong DC book when he left Birds of Prey rather than Teen Titans, I meant no disrespect toward upcoming BOP scribe Tony Bedard, a writer whose recent work I generally like.

Rather, I meant that McKeever's writing may have been better suited to BOP, where he seemed to be finding his sea legs, rather than the still-floundering Teen Titans book.

Allow me to demonstrate with the help of some visual aids.

In McKeever's most recent issue of Birds of Prey, we got this scene...

...whereas in Teen Titans, we were treated to this:

Draw your own conclusions.

My source for the second scan above, Samantha, stated:

There are two ways to read that scene.

Either you read it as a straight attempted rape scene, which it clearly is, and is problematic all by itself.

Or, you read the underlining implication that MM's "evil self" that she can't control is really into the sex and comes onto any man, no matter how undesirable they may be.

Actually, there is a third way:

Good Miss Martian told her "evil self" that she was in control. Evil Self set out to show Good MM how wrong she was. Her objective was not to get "the sex", but to place Good MM in a situation that demonstrated to Good MM (and us, the readers) exactly how little control she had, to make her feel as vulnerable as possible. Evil Self underscored this by choosing a sleazy situation and equally sleazy "suitors". Her motivation was, quite simply, to scare the piss out of Good MM.

Lest I find myself in a shitstorm, however, let me state up front that I am not defending this scene at all, but merely theorizing its intended purpose. The scene itself was inappropriate and off-putting, especially in a teen-centric book. In this Samantha and I agree 100%. It is problematic. A more effective scene would have featured Evil Self directing M'Gann to fly into a burning building and just...sit down.

However, the scene raises an interesting point: This was a near-rape, but by whom?

If Evil Self had decided to possess Good MM just a little longer, would the two men (whom I will call Sleaze 1 and Sleaze 2), have been guilty of rape? As the scene was written, I would have to speculate "no", because, as far as Sleaze 1 and Sleaze 2 knew, they were engaging in willing, albeit sleazy, sex (Evil Self had apparently propositioned them). Rather, Evil Self would have actually been the rapist in this situation, with Good MM as the victim. If, once Good MM had woken up, the sleazes had chosen to ignore her refusals, they would have been guilty of at least attempted rape.

Still, the scene just felt, well, wrong. And not the kind of thing I read comics for.


At 8:59 AM , Blogger SallyP said...

And stuff like this is why I gave up on Teen Titans. So I'm AWFULLY glad that I didn't pick this particular issue up.

But Teen Titans: Year One is fantastic!

At 6:31 PM , Blogger notintheface said...

I'm not a regular reader (more of a "skimmer", really). The thing that kills me is that the book could be awesome if someone like Matt Fraction or Dan Slott was writing it and someone like Andrea DeVito were drawing it.

And I agree about TT:Y1. I've got to pick it up more often. And it's something I can actually show my niece or nephew to boot.

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