By Jared Cornelius
You may have been distracted last week by the 4th of July holiday, World Cup Soccer, or your pesky family but while you were ignoring the internet a minor firestorm broke out around Rick Remender and his current incarnation of Captain America. In his current run on the series, perennial Cap villain, Arnim Zola, trapped Steve in Dimension Z where he spends 12 years battling Zola's forces. Prior to his arrival in Dimension Z, Zola had created a family including a daughter, Jet Black, who's 10 years old the first time we meet her. Steve ends up leaving Dimension Z 12 years later, with the now adult Jet Black in tow. In the latest issue of Captain America, Black has a sexual encounter with Sam "Falcon" Wilson. The interaction between the two seemed reasonable for a couple of twenty something crimefighters, but the internet had some different opinions.
Many readers thought that because Black was believed to be in her young teens, that Falcon had committed a crime, and moreover Marvel and Remender promoted a young "immature" woman being taken advantage of. Our dear leader, Rich Johnson, covered the matter very thoroughly, but still the storm continued and Twitter users and some published columnists still called for Remender's job. I'm not too proud to say I contributed to some of the vitriol against the #firerickremender, movement but after some gentle coaxing, came to my senses and realized I was being just as hyperbolic as those I decried for having a different opinion.
So I sat down and decided to be constructive with the whole ordeal. What if I were to tell you the scenario that the #firerickremender crowd was yelling about actually did happen in comics? What if almost that exact scenario were to play out with a beloved and popular hero of the modern day? Well truth be told it did happen, but with DC Comic's Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
In 1981 Mike Barr, Len Wein, and Joe Staton created Arisia Rrab, a young female Green Lantern who's stated to be 13 when first introduced. Arisia had a huge crush on Hal Jordan, who refers to her as "Little Sister" so you know we're getting into creepy territory.
Hal's relationship with Arisia was nothing more than platonic until about 1986. Arisia had made it known to Hal on more than one occasion that she had a huge crush on him, but he would continue to see her as a teenager. Despite her appearance Arisia assures Hal that even though she's only 14 years old, by Earth standards she's 28. Hal still rebuffs her advances and tells her to stop flirting.
To which Hal, despite knowing that Arisia has aged herself unnaturally and is actually a 14 year old girl in a twenty something's body decides that it's now completely alright to have a sexual relationship with. Hal even goes so far as telling Arisia, "I'll have to show everyone I'm not a child molester."
Members of the corps are a bit wary of the relationship, but allow it to continue. Hal and Arisia dated until 1986, I'm not sure how long it was thought to be in comic book time, but regardless Arisia remained in her adult body. On the bright side of things after floundering around the DC universe after their breakup, Arisia would become one of the standouts of the Peter Tomasi's run on Green Lantern Corps.
The fact that Hal and Arisia's relationship's been well documented and it's been no secret that it occurred and although the comic is almost twenty years old, I thought this was the best example of what the #firerickremender movement would be talking about.
Reading Remender's issues of Cap it never seemed to me that Jet Black was incapable or immature in her decision making. It never struck me that Sam Wilson was taking advantage of Jet, or he had any ill intentions. Using my most basic math skills it seemed to me that if Black was 10 when first introduced and 12 years had passed when she left Dimension Z that would make her 22 in the youngest assessment. I know part of the complaint that Black wasn't mature enough, or had issues based on her experiences, but after reading the issues following the Dimension Z storyline, it seems that Black is aware of what a physical relationship means and is capable of not only being adjusted but maybe too much so for someone who was raised by a super-villain in a dimension full of monsters.
I'm not trying to say that everyone should drop their internet beef with Rick Remender and go harass DC Comics, I'm just pointing out that the gross sexual exploitation the #firerickremender movement is taking about has existed and in some cases still exists, just not in this case. After careful consideration, I don't begrudge the #firerickremender movement for their feelings on the subject, but I think if we all take a couple steps back we can agree that calling for Remender's job is a bit of a knee jerk reaction. If you don't like a book, drop it, if you don't like the content, don't read it. Vote with your wallet and let Marvel know you're not happy.
You may not like how Remender has characterized Captain America's cast, but calling the man a bigot over unclear depictions of fictional characters is kind of silly. I think at worst you can say that perhaps Remender should've made it clearer that Black was capable of making her own decisions and was a more empowered woman, but honestly it never struck me that she wasn't. Let's all be friends and hope we can reconcile with the fact that the story could lead somewhere great if given the chance.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from New Jersey's coast who #standswithrick but is ok if you don't. If you'd like to be internet friends, contact him on Twitter @John_Laryngitis