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Thursday, November 23, 2006 

In defense of Jade

Ragnell points out on her Zamaron Green Lantern blog that she's not fond of Jenny-Lynn Hayden (but still rightfully wonders why there's no fanfics about her. I actually tried looking myself, and this one here, "It ain't the flu", is probably the closest I could get). Okay, so be it, but, in defense of Jade now, and to show that someone is willing to stand up for the Emerald Beauty, here's what I have to say.

If the way she was used by any writers in the years after Infinity Inc. ended was crummy, the simplest reminder on that matter is, "there are no bad characters, only bad writers." I have no idea who first coined that phrase, and when I tried to search on Google and find out, I couldn't seem to turn up anything on the author. But it's something that's still found its way around the comics world very well for more than a decade, and you can make a good point from it that it's not the characters fault - they're fictional. Rather, it's the fault of those in charge of the writing, and editing. On this blog, the blogger says:
...he was never sufficiently developed as a character and no matter what he did, he never seemed to grow beyond being the boy who just never got a break. Somehow, the writers never managed to make him an interesting character.
And if Jade wasn't well defined either, there could be an explanation why. Not just because Ron Marz, now that I begin to wonder, wasn't making a real effort, but also because of...editorial interference, a point I'd like to bring up as often as possible when writing about subjects like this. If Marz did not make any convincing developments with Jade, it could be because the editors shot it down. Not something you'd be inclined to ask at first glance, but which can still be a probable answer.

But, as you can probably tell here, I'm even starting to question if Ron Marz was as good a writer as some might argue. When he went to CrossGen, he certainly hit some stride there, but outside of that, some of his work, when I think about it now, seemed mechanical at best. When he took over the writing of GL, it was when Zero Hour was being prepared, and his task, from what I know, was to get rid of Hal Jordan, under editorial mandate. Same when Alexandra deWitt was offed. And same when Jade and Kyle broke up.

And a fictional character cannot be faulted for being a bore, nor is that a reason to just kill them off. In fact, if there's a good example of one whose problem was that he'd been grating for a time but was later fixed, it's Marvel's everyman Rick Jones, good friend of Bruce Banner, the Hulk, earthly "host" for the late Capt. Mar-vell of the Kree, and who's famous for that, while he's been involved with a lot of great superheroes who've mentored him, he never really wore a costume (only briefly did he wear one of Bucky Barnes' old outfits, the rest of the time he was with the Avengers, Capt. America forbade him to do so). Rick, in his early years, had some awfully grating dialogue, certainly when Roy Thomas was writing him in the Avengers, but later writers improved upon that, and by the time Peter David took to writing the Incredible Hulk, the problems were long gone, and he'd been considerably improved in character.

Not that Jade ever had any real problems with an annoying personality (unless you include her breakup with Kyle, which was forced), but if the problem were that, what's the difficulty in asking for a repair job, if the writers haven't thought of it themselves?

And if there's anything that could be done to give Jade some real direction as a character, IMO, it's to do the same thing that Marvel did with another green-skinned lady (and whose first name is Jennifer too), the She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters had been played seriously when she first became a green-skinned powerhouse hottie in 1980 (I have the third issue of the original series produced from back then), but it was decided early on to give her a tongue-in-cheek direction, and that's how she was depicted for many years in her own adventures. This humorous take first began as early as 1982, when David Michelinie added her to the Avengers cast. If it worked for She-Hulk, why couldn't it work for Jade as well? That's something I'd like to see being done!

Of course, let's not forget that both Rick Jones and She-Hulk are Marvel characters (and that the former is male), and that Marvel's staff, at least up to a point, was willing to give them a more of a chance than DC has ever been willing to give Jade. So if you realize that there IS a chance to develop the characters provided that the writers have interest and the editors are willing to allow them to do so, that's why it'd probably pay to start asking now. (In that case, I better go and look around for the right address to mail.)

Plus, it's better to avoid approving of killing off characters, because there's every chance of a domino effect occuring, and as seen in the past year, that's what happened. Not just Jade, but, quite a few of the original members of Infinity Inc. who survived the Crisis seem to have been killed off (and Obsidian, who remains now, has been outed as another homosexual character in the pages of the new Manhunter!). I'm very unhappy about that, as it suggests that DC is throwing away the cast of one of the best books they had in years past, when here, all these folks, Hector Hall, Al Rothstein and Jenny-Lynn, are probably some of the best characters to lead the JSA, yet they're tossing them all but out? Disapprove.

I think this calls for asking for the original Infinity Inc. to be published in trade collections by now. Because the original material is by far the best place where to get an idea how to get a handle on the members.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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