Alright, so I know that this is technically a Birds of Prey blog, but I just had to comment on what’s going on with the Batman family as a whole right now. If you don’t care what I have to say or you’re trying to avoid spoilers (although, if anybody’s paying attention, I don’t see how), just skip it. Also, if for some reason you’re naive enough to view DC as a shining paragon of beauty, keep in mind I’ll probably shatter every one of your inane assumptions.
This city preys on the innocent. I know—that’s why I fight. Why the hunted is now the Huntress. Batman and his crowd think I play a little rough. I think I don’t play rough enough. Mobsters like the Falcones, crime-lords like Penguin, psychopaths like the Joker. They redefine street crime. And now, with all this new muscle—it doesn’t take the world’s greatest detective to figure out this isn’t just a battle. It’s a war.
"Remember, no secrets pass a severed throat."
"What are you afraid of, Bruce? Are you afraid that if Cassandra gets a taste of normal life — school, a job, falling in love — then maybe she’ll find out what she’s been missing…
…and you’ll lose her?”
From Batgirl #42
"A secret is like poison. Left in a man’s heart, it will grow heavy and dark, spreading through his body and mind, corrupting his soul. So when one of our people has a secret he cannot tell, he plants it in the earth, like this…"
From Batgirl #44
"You broke her jaw?
…well, hit her harder next time.”
From Batgirl #27
So, for various reasons, I was up very early this morning attempting to get some work done, cleaning and doing other little odds and ends. I sat down at about 6 AM to relax and have some coffee and pulled out my Kindle. Imagine my surprise when the second chapter of the comic, Injustice Gods Among Us, was already in the comics section on my Kindle Fire.
For those who are not aware, for over a year now, the gaming industry in conjunction with Mortal Combat and DC Comics has been advertising a hotly anticipated new game that will be released this spring. I’m not a huge gamer myself and I’m particularly disinterested in this kind of brutal fighting style game; however, I know several people who are very interested in this game and have been waiting for it’s release the entire year. I should also make it clear (just in case it was assumed otherwise) that several of these people that I am positive are really, really anticipating this game are WOMEN.
Recently, it was revealed that DC Comics was putting out a Digital First Comic in order to provide the backstory and premise for the game before it’s release. There was effort put into trying to create a world in which it could be explained why Superman and Batman, for example, were fighting to the death. It’s also been noted by many that several of the preview images for the game showed a Superman with violent, angry red eyes. People familiar with Superman lore probably knew that was a bad sign….
Now, I think it’s understandable and expected that the world created for this game was going to be expectedly dark. It is, after all, Mortal Combat. We all know that the heroes we know wouldn’t be brutally fighting each other unless we were dealing with dark circumstances. That premise, in and of itself, is fine. That said, the way in which it appears that DC Comics has yet again CHOSEN to create this darkness is disturbing and upsetting because it appears, once again, that this darkness is going to hinge on the violence, torture and pain of a female character. Additionally, it appears it’s going to hinge on the torture and violence of a female in comics that has been raped, beaten, tortured and killed arguably more times than any other female in comics when one takes into account all the various elseworlds that exist and inform our perspective.
I also want to make it clear that I’m not trying to condemn the writer of the comic in question, Tom Taylor. Tom has been gracious and kind to every fan who has reached out to him and, as with all things, there is only so much of this that he has control over. It’s my understanding that the violent backdrop for this game was put into motion long before Tom was brought in to actually write the story and there is only so much of this that he actually has control over. Also, unlike many other writers, Tom has been understanding of fans’ concerns over this and has not brushed anyone off nor dismissed anyone’s concerns. Given the current climate at DC in which many male writers have been known to openly taunt, bate and dismiss the concerns of female fans…this is refreshing. He has described himself as a huge fan of Superman and specifically as a huge fan of Lois and Clark together. He has stated in interviews that this story was one of the most devastating and tragic things he has ever had to put to page and that it disturbed him to do it. I think Tom is a genuinely nice man and I don’t think he’s to blame for this as much as a writer in an industry that consistently relies on violence against women in order to drive plot. Tom is a good man.
All that said, we have to talk about this bc it’s hard to believe that we are about to have another conversation about the damaging effects of basing an entire video game—-one that has been promoted over and over again for a year—on the violence and torture of a female character as a starting point. But that’s where we are.
Some disturbing spoilers for Injustice Gods Among us #2 below—-Read at your own risk.
Seriously, take the time to read this. I was absolutely hyped about Injustice: GaU until I begun to comprehend the plot points behind it. Absolutely depressing time for the wonderful Lois Lane in comics!