Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cry for Justice: In Memoriam (SPOILERS)

James Robinson has gotten a lot of heat for Cry for Justice.  Some fans have been particularly outraged by his choice of victims, or rather, the minority status of the characters.

Frankly, I don't think there was anything malicious about his choice of victims.  I don't think Robinson is a bigot, racist or sexist.  I think it was just crappy writing.  But, to be fair, here is a complete list of all the characters who were killed off in Cry for Justice (not counting nameless civilians).

Tony- gay black man (Mikaal/Starman's boyfriend)
Freedom Beast- black South African man
Houngan- black Haitian man (presumed dead)
Clayface- white man
Tasmanian Devil- gay Australian man
Gloss- Chinese woman
Sandstorm- Syrian man
Penny Dreadful- white woman
Arak- Native American man
Endless Winter- white woman
Lian Harper- LITTLE GIRL, also part Vietnamese
Prometheus Gary Stu- white man

Note that the only two white men killed are villains.  Every other character who dies is either gay, female, non-white or some combination of the three.  Of the dead, only Prometheus Gary Stu gets a proper introduction before his death.  Everyone else dies within a couple pages of their first appearance (if they appear alive at all).

This adds another level of discomfort and disgust for anyone unfortunate enough to read Cry for Justice. But that doesn't make Robinson a sexist, racist or bigot.  And I don't believe for a second that he is a sexist, racist or bigot.  James Robinson has a very multicultural, inclusive method for killing off characters

It doesn't matter what their gender, orientation, nationality, ethnicity or age is.  No character is safe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cry for Justice: Death, Death and More Death (Spoilers)

You know what annoys me most about Cry for Justice?  It isn't just the fact that Robinson killed off a bunch of characters with huge potential.  It isn't just the fact that he killed off a sweet, innocent little girl in order to create artificial angst.  It's how he killed all these characters.

Only one of the deaths had a character who actually had a chance for the reader to get to know was  Gary Stu Prometheus.  All the other characters were killed off within a couple pages of their appearance.  Hell, I don't remember Lian appearing in a single panel before she died.  That's just lousy writing.  If you want a death to mean something, you have to get your audience emotionally invested in the character who dies.  Your audience won't care about a character they don't know dying.  It's angst disguised as drama.

Not only that, but most of these characters were out-of-character in the few moments we saw them before they died.  Fans of the characters are going to be (rightfully) ticked, and people who don't know who the characters are aren't going to care.

James Robinson seems determined to kill off, maim or darken every light-hearted and fun character he writes.  He's become a Vampiric Writer, shunning all things light-hearted and fun, recoiling from the light, and wallowing in angst, darkness, death and pain.

I said it before, and I'll say it again.  I cannot and will not ever be a fan of James Robinson again.