Friday, August 22, 2014

The Art of Warren

Thank you Bendis.  I'd been wondering if I'd ever be able to use that word play pun.

So the newest relationship showing up in Laura's life right now is the from the past Warren Worthington III, aka Angel of the original 5.

Issue 30 shows their relationship budding after a quite confusing and mildly out of character build up out at a club, but it plays to Laura's recklessness so it's hard to fully dive into that as yet for where Laura's head is.  She's dealt with jealousy before, so under previous instances it seems out of character, but jealousy isn't an emotion that makes sense.  It can cause unique reactions to any instance besides of course other factors that could be at play like the innocence the original 5 display over what their contemporary selves have from the lives they've lived.  They still maintain that doe-eyed youth like innocence that their modern selves have long lost.  Something that in itself may be appealing to Laura as it's something she was never allowed to have.

Another for instance is Warren's wings themselves.  Laura witnessed his future self having them ripped off of him by Wolfsbane outright over in the X-Force v3 comic run.  It may make sense that she'd be more protective of them on his past self because of this and knowing the future in store with him during the Mutant Massacre as well(she did read the X-Men archived files as shown in the Academy X run, similar to what Finesse did with the files at the Avengers Academy, that one X-23 probably also did her due-diligence on reading).  It plays up to the spiritual end of Laura that's been a subtle undertone in previous comic runs as well because of what his namesake and wings symbolically represent.  She may become more infatuated with him because of her relatively recent travels and inner discoveries on her spiritual side.  She's a character that's grown a lot over the years so it's a hard call to make to really say what's out of character and what isn't as yet.  Especially when you factor in the psychology elements of her character and the various aspects she represents under those ordeals.  His displayed restraint, or willingness to stand up and keep her on the right path may also factor into her current infatuation with him.  The younger Warren doesn't have the same baggage and arrogance his contemporary counterpart built up over the years.  This works in his favor as a character and avoids such complications as we saw with his older self's usage towards Paige Guthrie a long while back.  Bendis is walking a fine line of showing these characters to not be as full of themselves as previous usages of the contemporary versions had displayed over the past 2 decades.

There are elements that come into question in her actions that can be considered out of character, but most of it has simple enough points that could push them aside for now.  The most troubling was the lack of her foot claws early on, and the ad-libbed "oops I forgot about those" author acknowledgement technique used in the trial of Jean Grey, but there are other aspects that he has been adding that are showing character growth as well.  So far it's been a trade off, and Bendis seems to be still getting his footing on X-23.  So most complaints may fade over time that could be pointed out.  This is of course besides the few that can be explained away.

And on this point of his usage of X-23, her night with Warren is really a point in favor of Bendis' writing.  Until further explored, it's not out of character but also carries hues of growth and finally feeling at home with her new team.  He seems to be channeling elements of Faith from Buffy for X-23's conveyance which is working in many ways but he adds his own twist to it that helps make X-23 stand as herself.  It really depends on where he takes it from here and it looks like issue 31 may explore this more in-depth as will later issues.

A big point I'm grateful on with his usages so far though is that he hasn't degraded her to a sexual object for the comic page.  He's carried her character story fine so far in her growth without resorting to being gratuitous or using her as a set piece to turn her essentially into porn for the comic to gain readers.  In balancing his usages, he's kept the majority of her character intent intact while still allowing her to grow and cater to wider audience appeal.  It's this balancing act that helps make his work stand on its own so far.  It would have been easy for him to have gone more towards debasing her to gain the typical male readership that revels in such art, and it's a testament to his push in maintaining the characters for what they represent while still allowing them to display the full human experience scope for readers to better identify with.  This in turn allows them all to grow.  He hasn't really shown if anything happened, but also subtly implies it was still intimate in other ways from how they talked.  This verbal intimacy displayed shows a deeper bond building overall, and I thank him for this more robust human touch than what in previous years would have been an excuse for the writer and artists to provide what's often been called fan service.  What they've done or haven't done is immaterial to the moment, but that verbal expressed intimacy of sharing themselves with each other on this emotional and mental level shows a maturity we haven't seen from X-23 since her Target X miniseries and Academy X run, and even those were mostly devoid of emotion on her end.  This shows her making a real emotional attachment, and it's quite refreshing.

I look forward to seeing where Bendis takes this character growth.

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