This week on the podcast, the podcast was late and I did not get to listen to it until Monday. My non-geek wife wanted to spend the extended holiday weekend down the Jersey shore, which is not that much like that awful MTV show depicted it to be. We go to a nice, working class vacation town, whereas that show was filmed in a place my wife has been calling “Sleezeside” since well before anyone with a stupid nickname, no discernible talent, and a camera crew ever stepped foot in the place.
But, my parents’ tiny house down there has terrible internet connections, so while I was able to download the podcast, listening to it while trying to do stuff with the missus wasn’t in the bag, and there was a good chance any attempt to post anything here would have been a disaster when the connection cut in the middle of the write up. So, I gave the show a listen this morning and now, well, now I need to react because it is my (self appointed) job.
In fact, my parents’ unreliable wi-fi connection there means I am a bit behind on my DCAU rewatch and don’t know if Jimmy and I will get through our required three episode discussion before the week is out.
What will I react to? The fact I probably would have lost that trivia game badly, too? Or something else?
Of course it’s something else. Why would I write up a whole column about how little I know about specific dates for the founding of my nation, movie trivia for a movie that’s famous for being mediocre, and a song I couldn’t remember if I tried? The George Michael I know best was on Arrested Development. Ask me about that guy and I might go somewhere.
I could mention the LGBT thing, but my choice would probably be the same as Watson’s. That was a well-done issue, having the Flash’s friend and ally casually bring up being gay a couple months before the Northstar thing, since it wasn’t treated as a big deal. The big deal, if there was one, was Wally West’s reaction to this information, at first being a little shocked but then having Piper step in to help out with the issue’s villain because Piper was his friend and friends help each other out, and Wally had actually gone to him for help rather than the other way around.
The way Piper came out was interesting, too, as Wally was speculating on whether or not the Joker was gay, saying you could just tell, and reformed villain Piper saying he never noticed, and he was gay.
So, let’s go to the big thing…babies in fiction.
Now, I don’t claim to be a Spider-Woman fan. And I will be surprised if she has a baby due to events in Secret Wars (Secret Wars SPOILERS for the rest of this paragraph…you’ve been warned) since I am pretty sure she got blown up in the first issue alongside Black Widow, the Beast, and a few others. Now, that same issue also killed off Groot, Rocket Raccoon (AKA the break-out stars of the GotG movie), and a whole mess of others, so I am pretty sure she’ll be getting better at some point. The point is, she wasn’t among the survivors of the 616 universe, initially set as Reed Richards, Black Panther, Star-Lord, Spider-Man, Lady Thor, Cyclops, Captain Marvel, and anyone Dr. Doom apparently felt like sparing, which amounted to Dr. Strange and most of the rest of the Fantastic Four, plus a few folks who were in the Ultimate universe and managed to cross over (Namor, Thanos).
Now, the point that Jenny was, I think, trying to make was that Jessica Drew is far too competent to get pregnant without deciding to do so. That was, of course, not the point she actually quacked out. I’ll let people other than myself dispute that one. Heck, one person who is not myself already has, and you can see his pic at the top of this column.
So, let’s talk about pregnancy in fiction!
Is it responsible for a woman to get pregnant in any unplanned way?
Well, not really, but the decisions she makes afterwards are. But since last I checked women don’t spontaneously get pregnant without some dude, there is an equally irresponsible man involved in these situations.
I’m going to give Marvel the benefit of the doubt here and assume that Jessica Drew’s pregnancy has nothing to do with an irresponsible one-night stand. That would be problematic. I will likewise assume Jessica Drew knows exactly who the father is. I will even further assume the reason she (may) become a single mother is not because of her little known other spider-based power of biting her partner’s head off after copulation. But wouldn’t that last one be awesome?
So, what the storyline probably is that Jessica was in a relationship and…stuff happened. I suspect the story will play out where the father’s identity will be left a secret for a while, and we may see Jessica try to be a good mother while still doing whatever it is she does as Spider-Woman.
Do you know how messed up Spider-Woman’s backstory is, by the way? Really messed up. Not even getting into the Secret Invasion stuff, she has a really messed up history. That is all I am going to say about that.
Now, there is a precedence for an independent female hero having a baby, and that was Catwoman in the “One Year Later” timeframe after the Infinite Crisis, where all the DC books basically jumped ahead one year and gradually filled in the blanks afterwards. In Selina Kyle’s case, that meant she had a baby girl named Helena, and it was implied Batman was the father (a nod to the Silver Age Earth-2 Huntress, who was Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman). Now, it later turned out the father was Slam Bradley Jr., son of detective Slam Bradley and frequent Catwoman ally. Selina attempted to take care of the baby as a single mom, getting some financial assistance from Bruce Wayne, and attempted to give the Catwoman name to her friend Holly. It even came out her old costume didn’t fit quite right anymore due to weight gain, but the eventual outcome was she ended up giving the baby up for adoption after some bad guys found her under a new alias and threatened her baby.
So, my question would be this: how responsible can a superhero parent be? The post One Year Later Justice League had multiple parents on it. Black Lightning, Superman, Black Canary, Batman, Red Arrow, and the Red Tornado all had children on that team. Some were adopted. What happened to them? Of Black Lightning’s three kids, two became superheroes and one was killed off. Superman’s adopted Kryptonian son sacrificed himself to send his evil birth parents back to the Phantom Zone. Black Canary’s adopted daughter was killed. Red Arrow’s biological daughter was killed. Batman’s biological son Damien became Robin, was killed, but seems to be better now. Red Tornado’s adopted daughter seems to be fine as near as I can make out. A few of these things were relatively new developments for different characters. Others were longstanding characters.
If I were Jenny, I’d be a bit concerned. Spider-Woman having (and possibly keeping) a baby should put a damper on her superheroing. Because, you know, it should. Parenting is a huge responsibility and it changes people because it has to. I have a sister who found herself pregnant by a former boyfriend, and having my niece made her a much more responsible person than she ever used to be. Unless Spider-Woman gives the baby up for adoption, she is responsible for that young life, and regardless of how that baby was created, be it from a one night stand or editorial fiat, comics don’t often treat supporting characters well.
How many Marvel characters have gotten married? And stayed that way? The two healthiest relationships in the Marvel Universe these days, long term, appear to be Reed and Sue Richards and Howard the Duck and Beverly.
Having a child has the potential to be a big and important game-changer for any character. Some characters have even become highly responsible parents while still engaging in their superhero careers. My biggest concern isn’t that the current Spider-Woman creators will do Jessica Drew a disservice. I don’t read the series, but if they’ve been doing right by her so far, that shouldn’t change. My concern is what their successors will do with that character if Jessica opts to keep the baby. Sometimes it may be years later, but creators aren’t above changing a status quo just because they don’t like a character’s family situation.
If you don’t believe me, I have three words for you.
“One More Day”.