Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Miscellaneous thoughts: A couple I liked

While I wrote my diatribe against the Dick/Barbara pairing, I got to thinking about a couple that really really worked for me, involving one of Barbara's fellow Birds of Prey.

I'm thinking specifically of that time in JSA where Dinah Lance was dating Pieter Cross.

Now there was a relationship I really liked. I always liked how Dinah and Pieter interacted first and foremost like adults.

I find this to be saddeningly rare in comic book couples.

What I really liked about them though was the lack of melodrama. They had chemistry from the beginning, from the moment they met. And from that point on, it really seemed to develop organically. No "will they or won't they" nonsense. They were attracted and ultimately ended up dating.

I liked the way they interacted. There was obvious warmth and camaraderie. The displays of affection did not seem over the top or forced.

Okay, I admit it, I was won over when Pieter woke up after seeing Johnny Sorrow's face and complimented Dinah's CPR skills. It was such a cute scene!

Then the banter at the fair. :-)

Sadly, it didn't last. Ollie came back (which is good, I like Ollie) and Dinah left the JSA. Which is such a shame, really. As much fun as Ollie is as a character, I much preferred seeing Dinah in a mature relationship.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. :-)


  • At July 27, 2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    Pieter Cross is such a great character and it was really sad to see that relationship end due to Ollie's return.

    However, ever since the end of JSA #53, I had thought that Geoff was teasing a Power Girl/Pieter Cross relationship.

    In that issue, Kara relates to Pieter that she thought she was goine to die and how she didn't see her life flash before her eyes: "Outside this team...I really don't have much of one."

    To which Pieter replies: "You and me both, Karen. You and me both," while holding her hand.

    Looking over the times he examined her, JSA #32 and JSA Classified #1, I always thought she was flirting with him, and he was only too happy to play along.

    In a way, I think they'd make a great couple. She's more brazen and he's more sensitive, but they seem to compliment each other. He also seems to be one of the few people Kara is comfortable dropping her defenses around.

    I guess there's always hope that they'll get together (and double date with Jessie Quick and Rick Tyler) in the new series.

  • At July 27, 2006 1:59 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Karen and Pieter? You know, I could go for that. :-)

    Guess Doc likes him the brassy blondes. :-)

  • At July 27, 2006 9:08 PM, Blogger frinklin said…

    I've always liked the weird, may-december (more like may-september really) vibe that Dinah had with The Ray for a spell in his book.

  • At July 27, 2006 9:24 PM, Anonymous Starman Matt Morrison said…

    It was good. But I could have really gotten behind a revival of the GA/BC relationship.

    Shame Judd Winick has no idea how to write couples and thought it would be more interesting to break them up, even though they weren't even technically back together at that point.

  • At July 28, 2006 4:14 AM, Anonymous carla said…

    You know, you're right. And so is Nell, as I'd been pondering a JSA romance for poor Power Girl awhile back...

  • At July 28, 2006 5:13 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    frinklin: Heh, I admit, I always read it a bit more maternal.

    starman: Hmm, honestly I think Ollie and Dinah are better apart than together. Still it would have been interesting to see an attempt. I've been convinced before by couples I initially wasn't in to.

    carla: Power Girl deserves a hot smart guy to adore her. I definitely wouldn't mind if Pieter were that guy.

  • At July 28, 2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous Starman Matt Morrison said…


    Don't want to drag this off-topic, but I'm a deep believer in the GA/BC relationship - even now after everything that has happened. Reread Kevin Smith's Quiver and The Sounds of Violence, assuming you have read them.

    There are two scenes, #11 and #12, that show how a post-Death Ollie and Dinah relationship COULD have worked despite all the changes Dinah has gone through.

  • At July 28, 2006 12:56 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    (rambling! Eek:)

    I don't doubt it could have worked. But I honestly believe, in Dinah's case at least, she's stronger when she's not linked to Ollie.

    It's like this, I guess...the stories you mention are great. But they're Green Arrow stories. Everytime she's paired with Ollie, she's in the Green Arrow book. As soon as she's paired with him, she's playing second fiddle to him.

    And she's better than that. In the forties the Black Canary had solo adventures, fighting crime, whipping badguys and altogether just being devastatingly awesome. But fast forward thirty or forty years and what happened? She (or rather her daughter, but the same concept) is a bit character in O'Neill's Lantern/Arrow stories. She gets mind controlled in her first appearance and almost never gets to do anything of significance to the plot that's not being a warm wifely/maternal presence.

    Fast forward more. She gets tortured in Longbow Hunters pretty brutally so Grell can explore the effects on Ollie. I'm all for character development, but Grell could have written any woman (involved with Ollie) there and with some tweaking to the criminals' motivations it would have been the same with the same effect.

    I don't really have a problem with love interests in danger storylines in general, but I really dislike taking a heroine with a very long history and stripping her down to a bit part.

    She's going strong in Birds of Prey. She's kicking ass in Birds of Prey, she was awesome in the JSA. And I actually did like the issue of BoP a while back where they teamed up.

    But the problem is, as soon as they get back together, she'll be back in his book as a bit part. Naturally I doubt they'd take her out of Birds of Prey or any other book she's in. But there's still going to be a book in which she is subordinate to her lover's storylines.

    I don't like that. I liked Dinah and Pieter because the JSA was a team book with ideally equal focus on every member. Thus one was not subordinate to the other. Now guest appearances in her book might have been unavoidable but I still doubt there would have been quite as much a sense of subordinance.

    I wouldn't really be terribly upset if Ollie and Dinah do get back together, (unless of course, I don't like how it's written. :-P), I'll still read both books. But I really doubt I'd ever be terribly enthusiastic about the couple. Not going to happen.

    :-) Oh and hijack away! Comment threads get the most interesting when they wander off into new topics. :-)

    (Mostly because barring disagreements, I can't add to the discussion without repeating myself. Now with a new topic, I can contribute too! :-))

  • At July 28, 2006 1:00 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    For the record, I did love them in the JLU cartoon. :-) More equal focus and all.

    Also Ollie's voice actor was Scotty on General Hospital, and the old soap fan in me giggles.

  • At July 28, 2006 1:31 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    Kin Shriner's voice work in GA was pretty damn awesome, as was Morena Baccarin as BC.

  • At July 28, 2006 6:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I *thought* she sounded familiar! I couldn't put my finger on from where though!


  • At July 28, 2006 8:54 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    I'm with you in the "Keep Ollie and Dinah broken up" contingent. She does end up somewhat subordinated when they team up too frequently. It was like the Dick Grayson Robin during the Wolfman-Perez Titans era. Dick was "the man" in Titans, but he too became subordinate when he appeared in the Bat-Books during that period. That inconsistency is most likely what led to the decision to make him Nightwing. That's what could happen to Dinah if she becomes a GA regular.

  • At July 28, 2006 9:44 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    *nod* That's exactly it. As a couple I do like them, especially in the toonverse, but she'd be subordinate to him. And considering that she's the Birds primary field agent, pretty much, it seems a shame.

    Now hypocritically, I like Pieter because he could show up in her book, much like Ted Kord. He could drift in, do something plot related, banter and have some romance and drift out. Difference being, he doesn't have his own series. So it's more understandable that he'd be subordinate. And more panel time would be a gift, rather than fodder for complaint.

    Well. I never claimed to be completely sensical. :-)

  • At July 29, 2006 12:02 PM, Anonymous Starman Matt Morrison said…


    Granting that's true, you're going to have the same problem when you have two popular characters dating in any book. Consider how ineffectual Barabra was in Nightwing and Nightwing in Birds of Prey... even when Chuck Dixon was writing both books it was a difficult balancing act to manage because as a writer, you're naturally inclined to focus on one character and put everyone else in the background behind them. That's why there are so many more One-Character comics than Ensemble books- much easier to write.

    I can see the trap, believe me. And apart from Gail Simone (her issue with GA and BC recently rocked) I don't think there's anyone in comics who could avoid the trap of turning Ollie into the bungling boyfriend or Dinah into the damsel in distress one way or the other. But I think that the right writer could keep the balance.

    Personally, I think there's a LOT of good stories that could be told about Ollie trying to woo a changed Canary and his frustration that all the old moves don't work anymore. Lord knows it worked in Hawkman with Carter and Kendra...

    That's why I refered back to the two Smith-penned Green Arrow stories. There two moments in both those issues. One, where Ollie newly back from the dead is thinking about calling Dinah and marveling at why the idea scares him so much. Because he knows that she's moved on. From what he's seen of her, she's changed. And he doesn't even know if she wants to see him.

    Now maybe it's just because I've tried to rekindle an old romance myself, but I can think of few more honest dramatic moments in recent years than that one.

    Next issue - they finally do go out - and Dinah DOES take charge of things and tells Ollie that she is not going to put up with him calling him "his girl" or anything like that.

    And Ollie apologizes and basically says that he knows things are changed and as much as he wishes that things were as they were, he's willing to take his time and learn who she is now.

    Had Meltzer kept the title going longer, I think the relationship could have gone on. Depending on the make-up of the new JLA, I think he just might. ;)

    But that's just my opinion.

  • At July 29, 2006 4:11 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's not Simone's book I'm worried about, it's Arrow's.

    And that's one of the many reasons I don't like the Dick/Babs pairing.

    They were cute, but honestly, I tend to prefer couples that aren't two series leads.

    It's just a personal preference. But who knows. Meltzer might win me over. :-)


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