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Old 10-18-2007, 05:44 PM   #1
MattBrady
 
SCENE DISSECTION: BRIAN BENDIS ON THE HOOD/TIGRA FIGHT

Last week, New Avengers #35 hit.

And someone got hit. Over and over again.

To catch up, The Hood made his move in the issue, explaining to his gang how the rules would now work. If the heroes went after them, they (meaning the villains) would go after the heroes’ families and loved ones. For the assembled villains, it was remarkably forward thinking.

In sending the message of how things were going to work from now on, The Hood picked a target – Tigra, who’d just stopped Jigsaw from completing a robbery. With a camera-armed Jigsaw in tow, The Hood broke in to Tigra’s apartment, and beat her nearly to death. As he beat her, he called her mother to drive his point home. As far as hero beat-downs go, it was pretty disturbing. Thing is, as those who watch comic book fandom know, there’s a hair-trigger on the misogyny gun that’s fired anytime violence against women is seen, or on occasion, even just presumed by the viewer.

This time though…not so much. There were some complaints scattered around, but in a post-Identity Crisis industry, there were no overwhelming calls for writer Brian Bendis’ head, no effigy burnings, no demonstrations, and to date, no threats made to Bendis.

Violence against women in comics has become a narrow tightrope, and apparently, Bendis has made it to the other side. We wanted his take on the scene from the issue, as well as his plans for The Hood.

Newsarama: First off Brian, the scene of Tigra being beaten. It was…disturbing, to put it lightly.

Brian Bendis: It was written to be disturbing. Any time someone’s being beaten, and it doesn’t have that aura of superhero derring-do…yeah, it’s going to be disturbing. It was supposed to be violent; it was supposed to be a complete reversal of what you’d expect, especially from a top-tier superhero book. I’d like to think that no one is reading New Avengers expecting to see a hero have their ass beat. If it was a crime book, or even in Powers, readers probably wouldn’t have even flinched, but you weren’t expecting it here and that was the point.

NRAMA: But reading it at first, honestly, I was somewhat reluctant to see what fans were saying. There does seem to be a segment of fandom that’s looking to go after anything that remotely looks like a misogynistic act, and here is a guy beating a female character unconscious in what’s not even a fair fight. But – obviously, there’s some ill feeling towards you about the scene, but I’ve yet to spot the pictures of little bald dolls being burned in effigy…

BB: That’s the glory of comics. You never know what you’re going to be burned in effigy for. You thought I was going to get it for this, didn’t you?

NRAMA: Well, yeah…at least more than what it seems to have been…

BB: But there seemed to be more people mad that the Purple Man was in the group of villains or someone who’d been captured two months ago was already out and back with the rest of the gang. But seriously, I didn’t think we were going to get hammered for it for a few reasons – there was not one sexual element to it. I was careful with that – there was nothing sexist. It was about one person needing to do that – to beat up a hero. It’s probably getting a little bit of play or leeway too, because not everyone is sure who everyone else is – there’s a chance Tigra is a Skrull – she’s been bouncing around the two Avengers books, she’s with Hank, she flipped sides in Civil War. That might be buying me a little bit of room.

The other reason I don't think it was seen as misogyny is that I think my work has shown I don't have that in me. Everyone is equal. Daredevil had an awful time of it in my run on the book; and that doesn't make me anti-Catholic or anti handicapped people. Everyone has their moments.

And also, people don’t like cats, so it gets a bit more of a pass. Most people reading New Avengers are dog people.

NRAMA: So if Man-Wolf was taking The Hood’s beating…

BB: Look out! [laughs] Hate mail a-comin’!

NRAMA: But seriously, in the whole scene, you kept everything on camera, both within the story (as Jigsaw filmed it), and in the page construction itself with Leinil. Why was it important for you to do that? There have been countless beat-downs in comics over the years off camera with similar end effects. Why keep this one right there, on the page, showing the fist connect with her face?

BB: I made that choice very deliberately. Don’t get me wrong - I do like to keep some things off camera or panel if that will serve a particular scene or story. But in this instance, moving this off panel would have alluded that something sexual was going on or something rapey was happening. It would have added a level to it that we absolutely did not mean. Every time you pan away from something, you’re hinting that something worse is happening, or you’re trying to be clever and get away with something that you positively can’t show. With an on-scene panel, Leinil and I controlled what was going on and what was seen, and I think that added to the reason why no one was letting us have it.

It’s a perfect example of storytelling 101 – pulling away during a beating, you let the readers assume the absolute worse. No matter what your intent was, the readers will always think something worse is going on than what’s in your head. That’s something that goes back to Rosemary’s Baby, when there’s that shot of the baby where the door is in the way of the shot, and you can’t see the baby. The whole audience leans to the left to try and look around the door and see what the baby looks like, but they can’t. But I bet, if you ask anyone who’s seen that movie what the baby looks like, it will be the most horrible thing that they can dredge up from the darkest pit of their imagination.

And I’ll be the first to admit – sometimes in comics it’s fun to do that, but that’s not the case here.

NRAMA: All that said – this doesn’t mean the same thing it used to, does it, in the “language” of comics?

BB: What do you mean?

NRAMA: Just that there are ways that writers have, and can still “mark” a character – kill a relative (either their own, or the hero’s), destroy a planet – things like that to show how evil the character is, and usually, that marks them for death down the road. 15, maybe even 10 years ago, this would’ve fallen into that camp – that The Hood, a guy, beating Tigra nearly to death – he’d have to die or be beaten up much worse for that particular transgression. It was the karma of comics. That’s not so much the case here and now, is it?

BB: Not really, no. A little of that to me is sexism – that whole, “You beat up a girl; you’re going to get a worse beating.” Nah – if you beat up anybody, you’re a douchebag. You’re a bad guy. Nothing about this was man versus woman. This is The Hood’s agenda versus Tony Stark’s agenda, and this is how he’s going to make his mark and sell it to the other villains. But the subject of the beating could have easily have been Paladin or someone like that. It just so happened that in this case, it was Tigra. So it’s completely up to how the material is presented and the intention of the author.

But to the larger point – there’s a lot of misogyny in comics, and a lot of misogyny in all media. Even female empowerment is sexualized in this country, and that’s not good. I completely agree with all of that. You’ve got to be careful in how you show it, but I just don’t think this scene fell under any of that. Most people seem to get it.

NRAMA: And to cap that it wasn’t sexual, The Hood explained why he was going to do what he did beforehand…

BB: And he didn’t veer off course. Probably the most shocking thing is that he accomplished it. No one tapped him on the shoulder as he was about to give her the punch that would knock her unconscious, there was no one swinging in the window to her rescue. It happened - and it was awful.

NRAMA: With someone like The Hood here – who is organizing the villains, and showing that it will work – as a writer, do you start to side with him? Speaking from a story construction viewpoint, he’s was kind of blurring the line, at least in this issue between protagonist and antagonist – he had a goal, there were obstacles in the way, he overcame them and accomplished his goal...

BB: Well, you gotta remember that no one is the villain of their life. No one wakes up in the morning and says – except in bad movies – “I’m a bad guy.” Nobody. Everyone has an agenda – there’s a reason for what you’re doing, there’s someone standing in your way, you figure out a way around them. I do tend to do whole issues here and there dedicated to villains because sometimes I think it’s so easy to have them go, “Bwa-ha-ha! Why did I do that? Easy, because I’m the villain!” and then have Spider-Man beat them up. If you talk to modern comics and fiction that people are used to, the audience knows that by now. The villain monologue is a cliché, and people want to see the other side of things, to explore their side. We’re a post-Sopranos culture. From the cops’ point of view, Tony Soprano is the most horrible person ever, but flip it, and tell the story from his side, and it’s compelling.

So, with someone like The Hood, someone who has a lot of mystery and blank spots in his character, there’s a lot of great opportunity to present this material from a fresh standpoint. And from there, you show his plan, his motivation, how he wants to come in and get some of these losers out of the same cycle of bullshit they’ve been stuck in their whole lives. For them, The Hood’s a fresh face and he has new ideas, so now, even the older and more well-used shall we say, villains can get a fresh coat of paint, because they’ve got these new outlooks as well.

I love writing that – I got to do it a lot in Ultimate Spider-Man, with new takes on older characters which allowed us to step back and look at, say, Norman Osborn’s point of view of the world, which makes it more interesting than, “I’m the Green Goblin!!!” He’s a complicated man.

NRAMA: One last question about the fight specifically – did you choreograph that panel-by-panel or did you just tell Leinil to go and be brutal about it?

BB: Nah – I pretty much put it out there panel by panel. I do tell Leinil or anybody I work with to feel free to do with it as they please, but when given the freedom to do that, usually people follow the script pretty closely. I try to give them what they need to draw it in a way that’s complimentary to them. So I do choreograph all fights, at least to allow me to get to the other beats that are coming in after.

Newsarama Extra: Want proof? Click here to download Bendis’ original script from the fight sequence

NRAMA: The Hood’s overall plan – “they come after us, we go after their families.” He brushed off the question of how they were going to find the families…but there’s a hint at a Civil War connection here…all the heroes’ families? That’s just one stolen laptop from the Super Hero Registration offices. You’re talking about Tony Stark’s worst nightmare, and the ultimate vindication of the Anti-Registration side here…

BB: Indeed – that’s always been the threat of danger with the Registration Act in and of itself – that was always there from the first day. It’s the Identity Disc – not to bring that up again. But here’s a guy like The Hood, where we don’t know the full potential or nature of his powers, other than they’re demonic…and he’s got an agenda, and apparently information as well. This is Tony’s worst nightmare. Right now he’s using it to his benefit, but what happens when he decides that he wants to start whacking people?

NRAMA: To wrap things up on this front – where does The Hood’s story go from here? Obviously, the series heads over to the tie-in with Mighty Avengers, but is The Hood something that you want to fully explore and take to its conclusion yourself in your books, or is this something that you want to put out there and let other creators play with it in their books?

BB: Both, really. I don’t announce to everyone that The Hood is available, and everyone should use him, but we all throw stuff around. If the idea is big enough, and The Hood idea is pretty big to the point where a lot of people can grab at it and have fun with it, then you try to allow that to happen. The point of reintroducing The Hood in the first place was that I thought he was one of these great new characters that no one was using because it was Brian K. Vaughan’s character. Everyone was identifying him with his creator, and that’s not how characters cultivate and really become classics. They have to get some face time. To introduce The Hood into a place like the Marvel Universe, and then not let anyone touch him would be the epitome of douchiness. He’s out there now, and there’s a big plan afoot, and we’re seeing his first steps. #36 and #37 are very big throwdowns between the Avengers and The Hood’s gang which builds up to New Avengers Annual #2, which is a big ass fight and wrap up to this storyline.

And The Hood is involved in Secret Invasion as well – to Skrulls, it doesn’t matter if you’re a good guy or a bad guy. If you’re a human with powers, you could one day stand against them, and that’s not good. The Skrull thing is about power – and defeating those individuals with powers.

NRAMA: Could there be one – or more – Skrulls among The Hood’s gang?

BB: Could be. Easy. So he’s part of that, and the stuff that comes after. He’s also popping up in some other places - Daredevil, War Journal and some others books down the line. And I’ll be working around it – the plans that other creators have for him are very, very cool.
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Old 10-18-2007, 05:50 PM   #2
ElijahSnowFan
 
this worked for me when i read it, and it works for me even better after reading this interview.

i'm not one to look for mistreatment of women every time i open a comic book, and i didn't see it here -- i said it in another thread, and i'll say it here: for The Hood to be taken seriously, somebody was gonna have to take a beating.

unfortunately for Tigra, she drew the short straw.

hell, when The Hood pumped Wolverine full of bullets, was there some kind of bias against short, hairy mutants who speak fluent Japanese? (i should be careful here: the answer is "NO," because that was SARCASM. because on the 'Rama, you can't be too clear.)
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:03 PM   #3
monsterZERO
 
Nobody complained because it was Tigra, are there any die hard Tigra fans? Not so much.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:04 PM   #4
KyleV
 
That's strange. I was expecting an article on why Bendis WAS getting so much heat, as I've seen lots of it online.

Issues I had with this issue:

1) Tigra was shoehorned into the storyline, which makes the insensitivity seem like such. It's not like she's someone Jigsaw has a history with or someone he's faced off on a regular basis. Using a character Jigsaw had SOME connection to would have made far more sense in the story, as opposed to simply beating down another woman.

2) Tigra wouldn't go out like that. She just wouldn't. Read the majority of her appearances -- she's not a damsel in distress. She's completely out of character here, which only emphasises that choosing her was a bad move.

3) If the Hood intended to prove he was a bad ass, beating down TIGRA didn't do it. It's Tigra, for god's sake. Ohhh, way to beat up a secondary character with cat powers, tough guy. It doesn't even make sense that he'd go after her as an example when there are so many heroes out there that would have been much more impressive.

4) Whether justified or not, beating down a willful, indepedent female character and VIDEOTAPING IT it just completely insensitive and thoughtless.

Misogynistic or not, there are simple STORY problems with what happened.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:07 PM   #5
ryanrhome
 
I agree that this isn't anything out in left field. When female characters beat the living crap out of other female characters...that's ok? They're superheroes for gods sake, they fight and sometimes they get beaten up. I remember She Hulk getting beaten by 6-7 super powered goons in Secret Wars. But I also remember Hercules getting the same beating from the Master of Evil. Both were kinda gut wrenching scenes but I never thought "oh that one's worse because she's a woman". The scene with Tigra was disturbing, and that seems to have been the goal, but I wouldn't call him a misogynist because of it. That just seems unfair.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:07 PM   #6
Tremnar
 
Im glad Matty and Brian did this interview. It helps dispell the rants that can go on forever here at the 'rama.

I have to say the past 2 issues with the Hoo dhave pulled me abck into the series. The Skrull stuff I dont even care about, i need some more Hood.

And With this last issue,he is proving to be quite the threat. I hope Bendis keeps going with the whole Hood with the SHRA list. With this AND the Skrulls comming that Act will be getting repealed inside of a year our time.

-T-
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:10 PM   #7
Edogawa1983
 
I think Tigra was used because Bendis was already using her in Mighty Avengers.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:12 PM   #8
ElijahSnowFan
 
From Brian Michael Bendis: So, with someone like The Hood, someone who has a lot of mystery and blank spots in his character, there’s a lot of great opportunity to present this material from a fresh standpoint. And from there, you show his plan, his motivation, how he wants to come in and get some of these losers out of the same cycle of ________ they’ve been stuck in their whole lives. For them, The Hood’s a fresh face and he has new ideas, so now, even the older and more well-used shall we say, villains can get a fresh coat of paint, because they’ve got these new outlooks as well.

preach it, brother! my God, Marvel NEEDS some new blood in their crop of villains, somebody i haven't read every word about for, bascially, forever.

keep right on going with The Hood -- i don't care who he has to beat down, make him a badass, because what is the alternative? reading about the Kingpin making a comeback...AGAIN?

i've often thought that Marvel already has great villains, but they do desperately need "a fresh coat of paint." so i don't care who gets a beatdown, as long as there's decent flow to the story, let's make it happen.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:13 PM   #9
Dave41Fan
 
I say it's a simple fact of Marvel v. DC. To the best of my knowledge, I can't think of a time when the Stephanie Brown Brigade came waving their flags in front of the House of Ideas. Of course, in a way, this could be construed as something more: why weren't those fans, ever vigilant in their hatred for DC, ever loyal to their helpless female victims that are constantly destroyed by brutish, sexist, male hands and phalluses, aware that this occurred? Are they too busy reading Countdown and feverishly hoping Donna Troy ends up in Jason Todd's freezer?

Bah... I'm so over it.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:15 PM   #10
kalabro
 
Oh, noooo, there wasn't anything at all even remotely "sexual" about that nearly pornographic beat-down. Not even the way in which it was drawn, where the reader's eye is drawn to Tigra's cleavage as her shirt so decorously flies open. Nope, nothing vaguely sexual about this at all.

There might as well have been a refrigerator lurking in the shadows.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:17 PM   #11
LikeaPhoenix
 
Question Payback Time!

Maybe Bendis didn't like how Millar had her betrayed the Anti-registration heroes in Civil War. And having her beaten to a pulp within an inch of her life is payback for her misdeed?

I was uncomfortable seeing what's happening to Tigra. However, I wouldn't have felt the same if it were Ares, Wonder-Man or Luke Cage. Don't forget Wolverine with his James and the Giant Peaches got it good last issue if it wasn't for his healing factor. Furthermore, putting a female character through the ringer and possibly death provokes more resonant emotional response from readers, e.g., Wanda, Jean, Sue Dibny, Barbara Gordon, etc.

Last edited by LikeaPhoenix : 10-18-2007 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:17 PM   #12
Edogawa1983
 
Bendis should have the Hood beat up Ms Marvel though, it's a much
better message than beating up Tigra.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:18 PM   #13
ElijahSnowFan
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalabro
Oh, noooo, there wasn't anything at all even remotely "sexual" about that nearly pornographic beat-down. Not even the way in which it was drawn, where the reader's eye is drawn to Tigra's cleavage as her shirt so decorously flies open. Nope, nothing vaguely sexual about this at all.

There might as well have been a refrigerator lurking in the shadows.

oh, COME ON. so the shirt flying open bothers you? where the hell have you been for the last THIRTY YEARS, since her costume is a FREAKING BIKINI?

are you kidding me?
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:20 PM   #14
RoiVampire
 
i want that cover at the bottom as a poster, that thing looks badass
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:20 PM   #15
kurupted
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanrhome
I remember She Hulk getting beaten by 6-7 super powered goons in Secret Wars. But I also remember Hercules getting the same beating from the Master of Evil. Both were kinda gut wrenching scenes but I never thought "oh that one's worse because she's a woman". The scene with Tigra was disturbing, and that seems to have been the goal, but I wouldn't call him a misogynist because of it. That just seems unfair.
so true, and hercules was even left brain damaged after that......
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:21 PM   #16
leafinsectma
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bendis
And also, people don’t like cats, so it gets a bit more of a pass. Most people reading New Avengers are dog people.

That seems accurate :P

Seriously though, when I read that scene my first thought was "yikes, poor Tigra" and not "yikes, Bendis is being mean to women" and I wouldn't have known that there was an issue with it until I read this article (I haven't been on the boards a lot this week). I've read a ton of his books, read a bunch of interviews and listened to hours and hours of his (and John Siuntres') podcast and none of that tells me that he has a misogynistic bone in his body.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:21 PM   #17
RedRonin
 
I found the scene effective. Between Yu's gritty style and the fact that the this was the Hood proving to other villain what he could do, I think it all fit accordingly.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:25 PM   #18
LuisMa316
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tremnar
Im glad Matty and Brian did this interview. It helps dispell the rants that can go on forever here at the 'rama.

I have to say the past 2 issues with the Hoo dhave pulled me abck into the series. The Skrull stuff I dont even care about, i need some more Hood.

And With this last issue,he is proving to be quite the threat. I hope Bendis keeps going with the whole Hood with the SHRA list. With this AND the Skrulls comming that Act will be getting repealed inside of a year our time.

-T-


And it looks like villains and heroes will band together against the skrulls if im reading his comments right.

I find the Hoods story rather interesting.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:27 PM   #19
Clem
 
I don't know why Bendis felt as though he had to justify himself, the Tigra scene didn't bother me at all. It made perfect sense Jigsaw would want revenge and a brutal kind at that.

Now we just have to wait for Mighty Avengers to catch up so we can get the complete story.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:28 PM   #20
Edogawa1983
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem
I don't know why Bendis felt as though he had to justify himself, the Tigra scene didn't bother me at all. It made perfect sense Jigsaw would want revenge and a brutal kind at that.

Now we just have to wait for Mighty Avengers to catch up so we can get the complete story.

no, the reason now is why did Bendis use Tigra in the first place
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:29 PM   #21
ElijahSnowFan
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edogawa1983
no, the reason now is why did Bendis use Tigra in the first place

ummmm...ok, i'll bite. why not use her?

seriously -- Tigra's available, she's been active in the Marvel Universe over the last couple of years...she's as available for a beatdown as anybody out there.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:31 PM   #22
Edogawa1983
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElijahSnowFan
ummmm...ok, i'll bite. why not use her?

I don't know, Bendis was already using her in Might Avengers, that's my guess.
but out of all the hero Bendis could choose to foil Jigsaw and getting beat
up by The Hood, why did he choose Tigra instead of all the other heroes.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:31 PM   #23
LuisMa316
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem
I don't know why Bendis felt as though he had to justify himself, the Tigra scene didn't bother me at all. It made perfect sense Jigsaw would want revenge and a brutal kind at that.

Now we just have to wait for Mighty Avengers to catch up so we can get the complete story.

I know bro. i liked the issue too.

Villains like to beat up heroes no matter what gender
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:32 PM   #24
LuisMa316
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edogawa1983
I don't know, Bendis was already using her in Might Avengers, that's my guess.
but out of all the hero Bendis could choose to foil Jigsaw and getting beat
up by The Hood, why did he choose Tigra instead of all the other heroes.

Would it made a diference?
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:32 PM   #25
Rich L
 
To be honest, I didn't think much of the issue and I have a couple of problems with it - not from a misogynistic point of view but more from the fact that it just wasn't very good.

First up you get the Hood - someone who has been characterised as becoming slightly more noble in his last appearance deciding to throw that in and trying to become the next kingpin. Okay, I can live with that because first, I don't really care about the character and second, I know that following other writers' characterisations can be a chore sometimes.

But then you have the Hood's plan - and the fact that he buys people's co-operation with $25K seed money. For some of these guys that'd work (like the Wrecking Crew - who apparently aren't in jail following Omega Flight despite the upcoming MCP solicits) but for guys like the Wizard that money would be peanuts. I appreciate the idea but it just doesn't make sense that some of these guys would buy in.

Finally, the threatening the hero's families angle was done better in the first series of New Warriors in the Poison Memories arc - where they actually hurt and killed family members to show what they were willing to do. Hitting speed dial doesn't really carry the same effect.

On Tigra...well, I think she was portrayed incompetently and against previous type but that fits what was needed - but I'd be curious as to why she was chosen for the role. Because no-one else (well, aside from Brian Reed and Dan Slott) has been using her? Because she's had a higher profile recently? Bendis says that it could have as easily been Paladin or whoever - so why wasn't it? What was the actual thinking behind using that character - or a female one in general?
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