Q & A 23: What is your “Scott and Jean”?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments. This week we are participating in a cross-blog event conceived by Alert Nerd and dedicated to the question What is your ‘Scott & Jean? — i.e., the fannish issue you can’t discuss because you are too passionate about it and it makes you too crazy. The Multiblog Scott & Jean Masterlist is found here:

Disclaimer: the whole point of ‘Scott and Jean’ is to let geek-bloggers get our rant on about things that we just might have trouble discussing in a rational manner. So please take any less-diplomatic-than-usual comments (i.e., references to attacking characters with shovels) in the spirit they are intended. Comments are welcome, as always, but if we can’t answer them rationally, please accept our usual ‘Thanks for joining in the discussion’ as a given.

What is your “Scott and Jean”?

Anika

Batman does not use guns.

Here is why.

Here is the counter-argument: Batman has appeared at times with guns in canon and if it’s canon, it’s canon.

No. Batman exists because Bruce Wayne is against guns. It is his defining trait. His core value. Guns kill people, Bruce Wayne does not kill people, Batman does not kill people, Batman does not use guns to kill people. Ever.

Wrong:

Right:

The End.

Caroline

I hate the psychic affair. That is, I hate the storyline in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men series that resulted in the current relationship between Scott Summers and Emma Frost. I don’t hate Scott/Emma, I don’t think Scott and Jean have to be together forever or the world will end. I just hate that particularly storyline.

I would like to be able to write a well-reasoned critique of why the affair didn’t work for me. It would include analysis of pacing, character logic, the positive and negative aspects of continuity, and the nature of comics as a narrative versus a dramatic medium. It would also, based on past experience, take about two comments worth of discussion for me to get to a point of saying, “SO YOU THINK PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE IS AN AWESOME BASIS FOR A RELATIONSHIP? AND YOU WOULD LIKE IT IF YOU WERE JEAN AND SOMEBODY THOUGHT YOU DESERVED TO DIE BECAUSE YOUR SWEATERS AREN’T SEXY ENOUGH?* AND ALSO — AND ALSO — CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE KILL EMMA FROST WITH A SHOVEL?”

So I tend to avoid the topic, and I’m not going to use this forum to try to write the well- reasoned critique, because it might happen I’m in a position to do it properly one day.

Instead I’ll give you (1) this visual:

Playtime with Emma

And (2) this bit of free advice: If your relationship with your current boyfriend was achieved, in any part, by dressing up like his wife and talking about her at length, prior to and perhaps while you were having sex with him, telepathic or otherwise. . .Well, if that happened, and if you ever tempted to complain about how he thinks too much about his now-dead wife when you are together? IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THIS IS YOUR OWN GODDAMN FAULT.

There. I wrote that and I didn’t mention death-by-shovel once. I think that’s progress.

*Nowhere in any X-Men comic does anybody say that Jean Grey deserves to die because her sweaters aren’t sexy enough. The fact there is a clear and obvious connection between these things, in my mind, is one reason I’m not supposed to talk about it.

Jennifer

I call it the Patrick Wilson Problem.

Patrick Wilson, in his admittedly limited film career, has played two roles with a lot in common. The first was Raoul de Chagny in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. The second was Dan Dreiberg in Watchmen. Both of these characters are generally nice, quiet guys trying to do what they think is right. Both of these characters are somewhat impotent in their attempts to achieve great success, but they’re extremely well-meaning. And both characters are slandered and vilified by the fanbases of their respective texts, while the psychotic mass murderers in the stories are glorified beyond all reason. The Phantom kills people and abducts Christine against her will to his crazy underground lair, but that Raoul — how dare he wear nice clothes and try to protect a girl he’s loved since childhood! How despicable! That’s the reaction I see, time and time again, and it makes me want to reach out and throttle everyone in sight, which isn’t usually a productive plan when the internet is involved.

I love nice guys. I love them. Raoul de Chagny, Dan Dreiberg, Duncan Kane, Simon Tam, Steve Rogers, Scott Summers — these are the characters I adore above all others. Because even when they screw up (sometimes horribly), they’re still TRYING to do what is moral and right. They’re trying to be good people. They don’t kill. They’re polite. They strive to be nice to others. And yet, for all of this, they’re derided as fops and wimps and other words I won’t repeat on a family-friendly website.

It’s not just the fans — the source material can be just as bad, pushing aside the nice boys in favor of yet another spotlight on the tortured antihero (hi, X-Men: The Last Stand). And God forbid these characters become involved in a love triangle with a bad boy and the girl they both love. That just produces the corrollary to the Patrick Wilson Problem — the James Marsden Problem. No matter how good and caring and perfect the nice boys are (see the X-Men movies, The Notebook, etc.) the girls in the stories always go for the rebels. And I am left FROTHING WITH RAGE.

It’s not that I don’t like bad boys. It’s not that I don’t see the appeal. I do. During my time in comics fandom, I’ve even become a Wolverine fan, and he’s the quintessential bad boy rebel. But I can never forget the reason I came into comics in the first place — to look for a place where nice guy Scott Summers was given his due respect (as he certainly wasn’t in X-3). As a fan, I’m constantly fighting to defend the nice guys who are hated just for trying to be decent human beings, to the point where I frequently lose all rationality. And it seems to be a losing battle.

Sigrid

Remy LeBeau is an emotional abuser.

I . . . I don’t voice this opinion very much. It’s an opinion, and there are many fans of Gambit out there. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can name some of you reading this that like the Cajun mutant quite a bit. But I can’t stomach him.

See, here’s the thing — and I don’t normally explain all of this. The thing is — Remy is the kind of relationship and romantic partner that I think is perniciously and subtly abusive. I want none of my friends to know him, I want no-one I like to be hurt by him, and I have difficultly stomaching his flirtatious overtures to the characters I like. Remy is a liar. Duplicity is his oxygen. He lies about his past, the fact that he’s married, his past with Apocalypse and the Mauraders and Sinister. He lies about his purpose with the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men, in X-Men, and in X-Treme X-Men. Why would I want a friend to hook up with him? No one in a relationship with Remy could ever trust him, could ever believe that they knew what was happening. The entire relationship would be a cycle of doubting oneself and listening to Gambit’s lies, trying to quiet the voice in one’s head that said “something’s wrong.” Moreover Remy uses compliments and sexual desire to manipulate women against their better judgment. Yet how can one believe his compliments? He says sexual things to every woman with a pulse — his avowed sexual partners could never know whether he meant them. And after seeing him seduce someone for a goal — in a fight, or on a mission — how could a partner of his have any confidence that he wasn’t also using or abusing them?

The thing is, a long-term relationship like this — constant doubt, constant erosion of one’s instincts trying to believe a liar, constant undermining of one’s self-confidence and self-pride — this relationship is a soul-killer. It makes strong people weaker, it places a flaw at the heart of Gambit’s partners. And I half-think he does it on purpose so they won’t leave. I can’t abide the character. Watching him court Rogue fills me with a white-hot rage, a rage, a fire in front of my eyes, and then there’s the frothing and the yelling and the throwing comic books.

This is my geek mental block, my comics sacred cow, my deeply held belief regardless of how Gambit is written or what he’s doing. I will forever view him with distaste.

What about you? What is your “Scott and Jean”?

  • Menshevik

    Caroline – Yes, I briefly looked at it some time ago, but now I’m going back to read it more intently!

  • xenokattz

    I adore Scott Summers for the same reasons that Jennifer does. I also adore Gambit for the same reason Sigrid hates him. *L*

    If I had one sacred cow, I think my violent gag-reflex at the idea of “destined love.” No. Just… NO.

    IMHO, romantic relationships (heck, all relationships) are lovely and light and fun and sexy but also hard work and headache-y and heartache-y and occasionally crazy-making. That development is what makes romantic stories fun as well as realistic. If you throw destiny in the mix, I feel like the couple’s hard work is ignored, or at least negated.

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  • I just found your site and I love it!

    My “Scott & Jean” is overpowering characters.

    When a character is given limitless or fairly limitless power it makes for inconsistent and horrid storytelling. Superman for example… how strong, fast, and intelligent is he?

    The answer is that he is always just strong, fast, and intelligent enough to defeat the villain he is confronting. It constantly fluctuates to make stories work.

    The only place that the uber-powered characters work are cosmic stories because everyone is overpowered. Additionally, Earth is too breakable for characters like Superman.

    Sigrid, we are on the same page with Gambit. They guy is a slime-ball.

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  • Pippi

    Hilarious enough, my “Scott and Jean”v is nice guys. Or rather “Nice Guys”. Like say Scott and his handeling on the Madelyne Pryor marriage. I just don’t think that being polite and clean-shaved really makes anyone a nice person ever. This is a common problem not just in comics but movies and television in general and it bugs me like hell.
    Yes, I prefer nice people over bad ones but when the word nice doesn’t really mean anything the word becomes annoying and useless and the characters attached to them does too.

    Also, another one is people’s inability to grasp what the point of the bondage in the early Wonder Woman comics was for. There’s a wonderful blog post in “Written World”, I think that explains it perfectly (Can’t find the link, though.)
    But when people just think it was only there for tittilating purposes it just makes me wanna go into She-Hulk mode and kick them :(

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  • S.J. Drew

    I’ve got three up there, actually – jennifer, caroline and sigrid. I’m glad someone else agrees with me that Emma Frost is psychologically abusive. I’m actually kind of scared by how many people seem to think she and Cyclops are just perfect for each other. She’s terrible! In every way! ARGH! And I too wish Cyclops could be respected instead of seen as a stick-in-the-mud whose presence is only there to make Wolverine look that much more awesome.

    And I too feel Gambit is a terrible person. He was alright in the cartoon before I really knew him, but when I read that he worked for Sinister as a Marauder, I was done with him. Some things are too awful to be forgiven.