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I think one of the reasons I love The Titans and Birds of Prey so much is because of the phenomenal friendships between the characters. They mean so much to each of them and even myself.
God I love them
^THIS. I completely agree. The reason the Classic Titans and the BoP are my favorite teams are because there were such incredibly strong, natural friendships between the characters. And the writers took the time to realistically develop those friendships over the years, too. I love that.
I think the original Young Justice team was great for that reason, too. Incredible friendships between the characters:
Friendship!team books are my favorite. <3
(Also, I love you for using a Titans scene with Garth. Those are far too rare!)
you know, i’m completely on board with gail simone not writing cass, for myriad reasons (her pitch about her learning about compassion through christianity, her track record of writing asian characters, making cass sound like lady shiva, having the gotham populace call a new redhead “the real batgirl”, etc)
but i’m not sold on her writing oracle either
this is the woman who had barbara
- slut shame helena
- use stephanie’s corpse as a cautionary tale
- repeatedly have her tech compromised and base broken into
- barely interact with cass even before OYL - or any bat beside dick and sometimes bruce
- say batman trained her to be hard
- say she wasn’t afraid of him any more
i get kind of annoyed when people hold her up as this perfect pinnacle of barbara characterisation
she wrote great oracle stories, sure
not all of them were awesome, and even some of the better ones had significant flaws
Yeah, I have to agree. I think Gail has written great stories in BoP, but she’s not perfect.
And I may be burned at the stake for saying this… but I actually liked Dixon’s run a lot.
people didn’t like Dixon’s run? That surprises me for some reason.
but yes to all of the above
I think a lot of people forget or don’t even know that he wrote BoP. Most of them associate the series with Gail.
And a lot of people have issues with Dixon, not as a writer but as a person, which I understand.
whaaaaat but he’s the one who started it! how could you forget that run???
I mean I don’t like Dixon as a person AT ALL but I loved that run, it was really ace.
I actually love Dixon’s run too, but he’s not perfect either. Few writers are.
Except Greg Rucka. Even the ones I think are absolutely great have their flaws and their questionable scenes. It happens. No one is capable of delivering nothing but nonstop perfection.
As to these complaints about Simone’s writing of Oracle, however:
1) When Barbara made that comment to Helena about having a “cheap, meaningless little one-night stand”, she was clearly lashing out and said the first nasty thing that came to mind. I don’t think it’s that Barbara thinks slut-shaming is okay, I think it’s just that when we’re angry, we tend to say ugly things that we don’t mean. Even the best of us. And what Babs said was inexcusable. Especially since Helena was trying to the air between them, even though she owed Barbara NO explanations for something that happened between her and Dick before Dick and Babs ever got together. But Barbara’s treatment of Helena was, in general, pretty inexcusable, and the tension between them is something that pre-dates Simone’s writing. What’s important is that the narrative doesn’t excuse Babs for it. She’s clearly portrayed as being in the wrong, and in the end she realizes how horribly unfair she’s been to Helena. And she apologizes for it, and works to do better. Having a character do something wrong doesn’t necessarily equate to bad characterization, and I think that the way Babs treated Helena, while not right, was not necessarily out-of-character for her. And it led to important character growth.
2) Personally? I don’t think using what happened to Stephanie as a cautionary tale is necessarily wrong. There seems to be this idea in fandom that whenever someone pops up wanting to be a superhero, they should just be enthusiastically welcomed with open arms and anyone who tries to discourage them is just a big ol’ meanie. But the thing is… the work these people do is dangerous. People do get killed. It’s not wrong to make sure a would-be superhero understands the gravity and the risk of what they’d be doing. It’s not wrong to be cautious and make sure that they’re really serious about this and capable of doing it well. And I apply this to Bruce, too. Sometimes he goes too far towards being a jerk, but discouraging some kid with little-to-no training from getting into something that could get them killed is reasonable. In fact, it’s the right thing to do. What’s much more problematic is when these kids are just taken in without any argument (and Bruce is a complete hypocrite about who he chooses to accept vs. discourage). You think Barbara wants some kid’s life on her conscience? She saw this lifestyle kill Jason. She saw it (as far as she knew) kill Stephanie. You’re going to condemn her for using that to make Charlie understand the stakes? I’d say she’d be irresponsible if she didn’t.
3) Infallible heroes don’t make for terribly good plot. Simone’s writing always emphasized how strong Barbara’s tech skills made her, but even the best can be beaten once in a while. And if Barbara was never overcome sometimes, how would the story happen?
4) I’ll agree with you about her not interacting with the rest of the Batfam but, as other posters have pointed out, it was a team book with a lot of characters already. And team books generally don’t have the team members interacting all that much with their families or other supporting cast members (with exceptions, of course). Dick practically never saw Jason or Barbara during the entire run of New Teen Titans. I won’t say it’s not a writing flaw, but it is an understandable one. And, to be fair to Simone, she did want to bring Cass in and was denied permission.
5) When Barbara says Bruce trained her to be “hard”, she clearly means it in the (mostly) negative sense, not in the sense that he gets the credit for her courage or emotional toughness. Which is clearly emphasized by her next sentence: “Fortunately, someone else taught me to be human.” And Barbara was trained by Bruce, and Bruce does encourage his proteges to be ‘hard’ and unemotional, so I’m not really seeing the problem here. What she’s saying makes perfect sense.
6) I don’t think Babs was ever “afraid” of Bruce, no. And she always stood up to him, even in her earliest days as Batgirl (the way their first meeting is written in Secret Origins #20 illustrates that beautifully, I think). But I do think sometimes she was used to deferring to him as her ‘boss’, albeit grudgingly, and that was a mentality she needed to get out of. So I think that’s what she meant by not being afraid of him ‘anymore’. I don’t think she meant that she was ever actually afraid of him.
besides babs, who is your favourite birds of prey member?
That is an awesome question!
I love Dinah and Helena both, but I think Helena wins this one by just a little bit. I think she’s just a fascinating, wonderfully layered character. She’s tough-as-nails and she does not always play nice, but there’s a side of her which is so loving and nurturing, too (I think it says so much about her that she’s a schoolteacher - there’s this whole other dimension to her which so often gets overlooked). And she’s a fighter who never gives up, and she’s a survivor, and she’s also crazy-loyal to the people who earn it. Like, loyal to the point where she was willing to fight Shiva to the death (and make no mistake, that death would have been hers, not Shiva’s) for Dinah’s sake. That is just… Wow. She’s incredible. I like Helena Wayne, I really do, but I can’t help feeling DC suffered a major loss when they got rid of Helena Bertinelli.
That said, I adore Dinah to pieces as well, so it’s a close contest between those two.
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