In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What comic book character would you like to give a holiday present to, and what would you give him or her?
Comics being what they are, it’s really the height of insanity to give anything too nice or meaningful or particular to someone you actually have any affection for. It is likely to be lost in an explosion, stolen, used against the team or another loved one, abandoned in an alternate time stream, turned into a sentient and most likely sociopathic robotic version, or fall prey to any number of other terrible, horrible, impossible, ridiculous, absurd — exciting! — circumstances.
I say Yankee Swap. Everybody brings something simple and not meaningful or particular — like socks, or a DVD of Cool Runnings, or a toy piano — and the gifts go round the party until everyone has something they don’t really want (but therefore won’t miss) and the real gift is a night of camaraderie and silliness.
I’d get the New Avengers a new kitchen table.
Here’s my reasoning: in the year-or-so since the Secret Invasion event ended (that’s a year or so real time so even in comic book time it’s at least a few weeks!), the cast of Brian Michael Bendis’s New Avengers have been hiding out/living together in Steve Rogers’ old house in New York City. This time has corresponded with, in my opinion, a creative Renaissance for the book, and also, within the context of the story, an important time for the Avengers as a group. It’s been about Clint Barton finding his place as a leader (regardless of the costume he wears), Bucky Barnes re-discovering his ability to be part of a team of heroes and to function in the modern world (same comment about costume), Carol Danvers figuring out where she really belongs, Bobbi Morse and Jessica Drew being alive and their real selves again, Peter Parker remembering to trust his team, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones figuring out how their marriage fits with their super-identities, and Wolverine never, ever doing the dishes. Previous years for the Avengers have had themes like, “Who Can You Trust?” and “Whose Side Are You On?”, while this era may as well have been, “I’ll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends”. (Side note: I hope they found some time to play a little Beatles Rock Band in there, too).
A cornerstone of these months has been the kitchen table meeting. No glamor, no high-tech communicators. Just sitting in the kitchen (trust Steve Rogers to have a table big enough to accommodate everybody he knows) and talking honestly. Without giving anything about recent issues away, it looks like the Round Kitchen Table era of the Avengers is coming to an end. We’ll get back to the ‘Heroic Age’ and the ‘core Avengers’ and all the stuff that Marvel is promising. But I think the last few months have been healthy for the book. The arrangement plays to Bendis’s strengths as a writer — he’s good at dialogue and this has been a situation that needs good dialogue. And I also can’t help thinking it’s good for this group of people to deal with each other for such an extended time on such a personal level.
Wherever these folks land, let’s get them a new kitchen table. Bucky can pick it out. He’d feel like he owed it to Steve.
I’d give all the mutants their powers back.
I’m not sure how I’d go about wrapping that, but if I was making a holiday wish for the mutant population, that would be it. Don’t get me wrong — I really enjoyed House of M and the resulting Decimation/198 status quo. But at this point, the only mutants left who DON’T have their powers are the ones no one seems to care about. Polaris, Magneto, and Quicksilver — Wanda’s family, the ones she targeted first when she lashed out — all have their powers again. So does Xavier. Angel and Iceman’s apparent power-losses were fakeouts. It just hasn’t stuck for any of the major characters. So why can’t Jubilee and Rictor and Dani Moonstar and all the other minor characters have theirs back, too? It only seems fair.
Besides, Santa Claus is a mutant. And he wasn’t listed in the 198. If anyone deserves a Christmas miracle of power-restoration, it’s him!
Erm. All the gifts I can think of are too pointed. More, “what I think this character NEEDS,” not “what this character would like.” For one thing, the list of characters who need therapy is really damn long. And includes allllllll my favorites. But, skipping over all the trips to Alcoholics Anonymous, psychiatric evaluations, therapy, and self-help books, I think I’d get Danielle Jones-Cage the following t-shirt, in size 18-24 months.
So what about you? What comic book character would you like to give a holiday present to, and what would you give him or her?