Taylor and I recently had a conversation over whether or not Green Lantern #57 was sexist or not. It got a little crazy.
Taylor: We saw the preview for this and we were all titillated literally/figuratively, because it seemed like such an objectionable cover, but I wasn’t ready to dismiss it just on the basis of that. But when we came to the actual issue I was so disappointed by what was inside, because the cover felt like such an unnecessary sexy selling point.
Jake: When it comes to covers, they’re supposed to titillate you, even though it’s misleading. For instance, Brightest Day #10 has Deadman on the cover, b
ut he’s nowhere in the issue.
T: That’s enticing in a different way, and I think the arc is ultimately going to come back to him. I think this issue of GL was a failure because while the cover wasn’t representative of what was inside, it commits the same kind of offense, which is that Star Sapphire is the object of male fantasy and that’s it.
J: While we have this whole female tribe of warriors, we’ve only just met the Predator. We have heard the whisperings of this Predator, who is all love with infrared vision. But this is the first time we see him, and in the end Carol states that it’s not the creature that’s bad, but it’s the person that perverts love.
T: Right. And even that makes sense, because it’s this entity.
J: Yeah, it’s the purest form of love.
T: And those entities seem to be malevolent, but my problem comes down to the resolution. This is the first issue in a long time where we’re getting Carol psychologicaly and she ends up resolving the conflict by offering herself up, which matches the cover of her being offered up to a man. I didn’t mind the Predator so much, because it is this unbridled force of love, even though it takes a malevolent form. There’s a whole dominating power play kind of subtext, too, and that’s fine, that can be a part of love. My problem is she makes herself an object for this pervy guy, and to me that had nothing to say anything about love. It’s a corruption of love and it made no sense to me.
J: Well, that’s the whole point of the issue. The guy is perverting love, and he believes his obsession is love, and it calls to the Predator.
T: Right, but she subdues the guy just by kissing him.
J: Well, that’s because the guy’s view of love is completely superficial. He believes that if he has someone objectively, then that is what love is. That’s all he needed to feel love since he never felt it before.
T: That’s where the Predator makes sense. But Carol makes these grand pronouncements of love with Hal, and then kisses this obsessive maniac, and that is the benevolent side of the Star Sapphires?
J: Well, she is trying to indulge the guy.
T: So she offers herself as object, which makes her equally corrupted.
J: Well, the point of that is that love is wild and ill-defined. There are many ways to interpret love and that’s the problem with the Predator, because when someone wants love bad enough, it calls to it.
T: Right, but so many of these Geoff Johns entities are well defined and balanced. You get a foggy dividing line with this one. I don’t expect them to encapsulate all of love in one issue, but even for posing it as a force for good, Carol offers herself up as some object to pacify a man. Which goes along with the cover.
J: Right, but the cover alone is just a selling tactic. Sex sells, and they’re running a business and need to titillate their consumers.
T: Well, why can’t the Predator be nude. I mean hey, they have Martian Manhunter running around practically nude.
J: Yeah, but he’s green, not fleshy.
T: I’m just saying, he should strip down to his chrome undies, he can keep the helmet, he’d be running around, it’d be great. Then everyone is sexualized, and everyone wins. Put him in a banana hammock, even.
J: As much as I love to objectify men, I am looking forward to seeing how Predator is used for good at some point.
It just goes to show you: banana hammocks will end all conflicts.
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