Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CBR Bendis Interview Over All-New X-Men

CBR has an interview up with comic scribe Brian Michael Bendis where he talks about upcoming events in All-New X-Men and shares his opinions over various topics pertaining to the title itself.

Briefly he talks of X-23 and brings up some valid points about her character, but they also get lost a little bit behind some backhanded swipes at her long time fans with his humor.

Some of which he's partially correct about and I can't really disagree with either.  Some of which though reveals a bigger problem about his lack of understanding or wanting to understand her history though too.  Something even her long time fans do not take into consideration either with their comments about who she is or what she's like.  Most of which is usually because they haven't read the issues in question though where it was presented prior.

Granted it's mostly in humor and hyperbole, so it's hard to tell what's serious or not in his playful jabs, and it is nice that he recognizes her comic character is a decade old now, he misses the mark in some statements while also proving his point in others.

Laura is a funny character. Fans of hers are holding on to a couple of panels of things that she did, like ten years ago, as that is her character and that is the only thing she could do. A perfect example is there was an issue where someone said, "Hey Laura, can you dance?" and she goes, "I don't dance." Then, I showed her trying to dance.

It was only a couple of people, but the anger was just -- "Oh my God!" -- wouldn't you want her to try to dance? That doesn't ruin her character to me at all! She's been through hell -- she came out of hell and then went through hell -- and she's on the other side with people who are genuinely being nice to her. It's not like she was having fun before! That's where I'm at with her. "Avengers Arena" and all that she went through was heart wrenching, and you've got to look at it as -- either you can be a victim or you can pick yourself up and go, "All right, I'm going to try to live my life differently." For some people, happiness is a true challenge, because they're depressed or they're wired that way, but it's hard to smile.

One of my kids, she did something wrong and I go, "Why did you--? Be good, and you'll get so much fun stuff!" She says, "It's so hard!" I point out that it's easier to be good -- but I do see that for her it's hard. There are people where doing the right this in a hard thing, or doing what will make them happy is a hard thing. This is a hard thing for [Laura], let's see what she can do with it.

He's absolutely correct in his assessment of all she's been through and that she'd try new things and go out and want to live life more than she has been currently.  Some of which can be considered her remembering the better times she had from her second origin story that included her cousin and also the fun times with Jubilee during her solo comic run a few years ago.  Jubilee, who I might add, took her dancing.  Laura's character has had a mix of appearance both emotionally heavy and lighthearted.  As Marjorie Liu had shown much less than 10 years ago(more like 2 or 3), Laura doesn't think she can dance as she said that to vampire Jubilee(X-23 v3 issue 20), but it was said during a moment where she was brooding over a much larger choice about her future.  Even a few more years prior to that, Megan Kinney, Laura's cousin, took Laura to a Dazzler concert where they crowd surfed and it may have been Laura's first experience dancing altogether outside of cover reasons that'd be tied to the Facility missions she went on as a youth(X-23: Target X issue 2-3).  So it isn't something new to her character at all.  It's been shown during that run also where she said that line, that she didn't have a very high opinion of herself and was working through those issues, but she was lost in thought at the time over other concerns before her situational awareness kicked in recognizing a human trafficking ring going on around them.  This plays back to needing to be detail oriented to all the surrounding facts of what's being said and by who for the readers.  (Authors and editors are supposed to already be good at this, and supposed to point these things out in interviews to help fans avoid those mistakes.)  So it's not that Laura can't dance, it's that she was feeling down on herself at the time it was said.  Things she has grown past lately under Bendis' writing as well as Liu's during the solo ongoing title, and Gage's previously during Avengers Academy.  In other words though, it was nice to see Laura try to dance and doing so happily again.

As Marjorie Liu had shown during her run on the solo comic, and as Bendis echoes here, the times when Laura does try new things have made the best stories.  I absolutely raved about how he depicted her blossoming relationship with the original 5 Warren aka Angel.  Though there were some aspects of her being quick to anger and seemingly acting out of character due to emotional responses, a lot of that can be written off because, as he points out himself here, she's been through hell and hasn't had time to herself to really clear her head or have fun outside of a few sparse moments.  Something I'm glad he did start bringing back in for her prior to the hell starting back up it seems with her upcoming Legacy of Logan appearance and stories.

I enjoy what he's trying to do with the character and how he's learning along the way to correct any mistakes that pop up.  He is bringing unique elements to her character's voice that are helping the character grow.  Sometimes I wish he would do so with a little less swipe attempts at others though in the interviews for things he may have missed. (*Cough* Foot claws. *Cough*)  Though some of which can be written off as she has been through hell lately and hasn't been able to collect herself to focus on these skills that she was known for previously.  Skills for example that let her manage to take Wolverine himself down by simply using normal everyday dirt under her feet(X-23: Target X issue 6).  Skills that also led her to taking down an entire pirate crew without shedding a drop of blood because of the details she picked up from them by using all her senses and abilities too(X-23 v3 issue 7).  Events that make it even harder to believe she'd be so quick to use her claws on a normal human bystander at a club that Warren would have to intervene.  Granted in this instance, I personally lean on her X-Force appearances as being the reason she's so protective of Warren's wings.  I think this because not only did she witness Wolfsbane tearing off older Warren's wings, she was also berated by Logan himself about her reaction to Wolfsbane after the fact which had led to some emotional confusion on her part that was dealt with later(the X-Force v3 comic run by Yost and Kyle).  It is definitely a complex issue that gives Bendis or other writers much to dive into on the emotional front...  If they have read the material to use it at least to put it into context.

My only real complaint about Bendis' usage of X-23, is that he seems to forget that she is someone that would take her surroundings into consideration because of the much drilled into her situational awareness and ability to adapt anything into tools needed at the time.  Most of which he hasn't had a chance to focus on as her escapades in his comic run so far have been mostly off-panel, but X-23 is a character that has high potential for action scenes as well as emotional scenes of a wide spectrum.  Something he is starting to scratch the surface of with her usages as we saw in one of the more recent issues of All-New X-Men.  In her highway escape after stealing and wrecking a motorcycle, she displayed these skills to quite great effect.  He already seems to have a natural eye for the emotional responses overall, even if some of the reasons behind them are sometimes slightly flawed by not acknowledging her experiences prior to Avengers Arena.  The results still come out to be what is needed for her character progression overall though and have provided some very fun quick nods to her history still.  (Everything about her appearance in All-New X-Men issue 32 is perfection!)

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