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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kari Limbo is a manipulative bitch!

If you don't know who Kari Limbo is, you are a sad sad person who's not read a lot of Green Lantern Volume 2. Kari however is a blight on those largely entertaining stories.

Okay, Kari is a gypsy and psychic because you can't have a non-psychic Gypsy in comics. Because racial and ethnic stereotypes are Cool. She's an example of the worst kind of female psychic too...swooning terribly as she is "overwhelmed" by her visions. Dude, I watch the Dead Zone, and Anthony Michael Hall never fuckin' swooned. Keeled over sometimes, but not swooned. There's a difference. But I digress.

Anyway she's involved with a nice young gym teacher named Guy Gardner. Their peaceful existance is shattered when the Green Lantern himself appears to request that Guy temporarily fill his shoes. Tragedy strikes and Guy is killed (presumably) in an explosion of the power battery. (In reality, he got zapped into another dimension to be tortured by Sinestro for what was probably months...but Kari's so damn psychic that she couldn't tell until she swooned on her wedding day. Hmm.)

Now when the distraught Green Lantern comes to tell her of her loved one's fate, she has an understandable angry reaction, slapping him in the face. Now it wasn't really Hal's fault of course, but still, who can't understand that reaction.

However, what happens next is straight out of West Side Story: "You killed my brother, you bastard! Let's sing a song!"

(GL 117)

Hmph, not wasting any time here is she. Now I'm giving Hal a bit of a pass for what happens in the subsequent issues, because I think it's pretty clear she's manipulating him. And he's kind of dumb.

But if you think I'm exaggerating at the level of manipulation, check this out from one issue later...two since Guy's death:

(GL 118)

"I have feeling that this crumbler is somehow connected with the death of my beloved Guy Gardner!"

a) Broken English is annoying. Yes, she's a Gypsy, we get it!
b) Notice the wording...if it were a genuine sentiment, she'd have something like "I have feeling that this crumbler is somehow connected with Guy's death!" Almost the same, but not quite. For one, it'd actually be easier to say. For two, the use of both first and last name means that she's deliberately trying to remind him. Trying to slam Hal's head into the fact that he's somewhat culpable for the loss of her "beloved". And it's not like some weird foreign thing like Teal'c from Stargate. She's a gypsy, not an alien, and Gypsies have first and surnames too, as far as I know.

This is a deliberate attempt to poke at Hal's guilt. And it succeeds of course.

She's good too, she doesn't let up for a moment: Hal leaves her for a moment to save a guy from falling off a cliff: (from the same issue)

She forgives him again! What a saint!

Anyway, by the end of the issue, she's gone *home* with him:

I like O'Neil most of the time but damn if Hal in this scene doesn't sound as foreign as Kari does. What the hell is up with that? Proves that even "the Greats" should read their damn dialogue out loud to see if it sounds okay.

But that's a digression. Notice how she has to mention Guy's name right before she kisses him? Emphasizing her loss and Hal's role in it? Damn if she's not good.

No wonder she'll have him at the altar only a few issues later.

Where she's conveniently, *finally* realize that he's still alive. And apparently, despite being so bad a psychic as to not notice that he's been tortured for weeks/months, she can still mentally accompany Hal on his journey to save him...

Riiight. Bitch.


  • At March 21, 2006 2:44 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    O'Neil's wierd on the dialogue burps. There's time during the John Stewart story where I have to turn away from the word balloon.

    Also (and here's where I hit my Denny O'Neil rant), he's not too strong with women. I've only read halfway through his GA/GL run, but when he touches on feminism in his social issues the women are all evil (Mother Juno, that demon Amazon society in the stone, Sinestro's sister). Sure, some are driven to it by society, but still, evil. Even Black Canary comes off pretty weak most of the time. I mean, her first appearance in the run she gets brainwashed? WTF? Is this Hal we're talking about here?

    So, the revelation that his own creation Kari Limbo turns out to be a manipulative bitch isn't much of a surprise.

  • At March 21, 2006 7:03 AM, Blogger Diamondrock said…

    Whoa. Sinestro has a *sister*?

  • At March 21, 2006 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I really dislike O'Neil's run on GL/GA. I dislike the early issues because it's all Ollie's heavy-handed preaching and Hal just sitting around looking like a guilty toddler. Neal Adams' art is beautiful, but I'll never understand how those issues are considered classics. Just because they handle racism and drug use doesn't mean they don't suck.

    As for the later part, Kari's definitely one of the worst things about it. Her engagement to Hal is possibly the least interesting Green Lantern stuff I've ever read. More than anything, it's just creepy.

    Stupid freakin' Denny O'Neil.

  • At March 21, 2006 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think saying Denny O'Neil is "not too strong with women" is kind of like saying "Mark Millar isn't very subtle" or "Alan Moore and DC disagree about a few things" - you're really understating things. I can't think of a single female character that O'Neil wrote that comes across as anything more than either a manipulative witch to counter the hero, a damsel in distress to be saved by the hero, a complete and utter cypher to be used as "background" or plot exposition, or a combination of all three of the above and named Talia.

    Even when he wrote Wonder Woman, his version of Diana Prince was one of the weakest I've read. I remember scrounging around for those issues and being severely dissapointed at how much of a wuss Diana was through them. (Of course, my vision of Diana is a mix of the Perez revamp crossed with Linda Carter's TV show, so I'm sure to be disappointed by any version of Wonder Woman from before 1975 or so, but still, she's a horrible wuss in those books).

  • At March 21, 2006 11:03 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Hi guys! I agree on all your parts really. O'Neil has his strengths (I think he's actually really good with pacing, in general, and keeping events flowing in a way that doesn't seem to rushed or too slow. He's also good, I think, with structuring an issue in a way that doesn't constantly feel like all the threads are dangling)...but women? Not so much.

    And Kari's creepy as fuck. I'm glad Guy gets rid of her when he wakes up. You know she only stayed with him so she could be the tragic saintly girlfriend. Guy always was in some ways much smarter than Hal.

    And yes, Sinestro does. :-)

  • At March 21, 2006 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you can't have a non-psychic Gypsy in comics

    Does that mean Dick Grayson has latent psychic powers?

    Cool beans!

  • At March 21, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    anon: Heh, true, I tend to forget about Dick's heritage...but then I tend to think most of the writers do too. :-) He is a circus star though, which is another stereotype.

    But you never get a Gypsy from *Europe* (rather than a however-many-generations back immigrant) that's not psychic it seems.

  • At March 21, 2006 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The weird wording -- using someone's full name, and all that -- is actually a fairly typical Silver Age thing. It's one of the tricks they used to write stories for an audience that might not pick up every single issue -- they made the dialogue carry part of the exposition burden.

    In conjunction with Kari's broken English, it's especially noticable -- but back in the '60s, Superman would regularly refer to his supporting cast by their full names, even in his own thought bubbles. Heck, he'd refer to "Clark Kent" in his own thought bubbles!

    This is one of those instances where the Dreaded Silver Age Footnote* would have been less distracting.

    *Explaining who Guy Gardner was!

  • At March 21, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Athelind: Aww, must you defuse my nicely cultivated venom with logic?


    She still goes to the altar much much too quickly. I'm old fashioned...I believe in longer grieving periods. :-)

  • At March 25, 2006 1:37 PM, Blogger Scipio said…

    "a combination of all three of the above and named Talia."


    I've always hated how Ra's and Talia get treated with awe, as if they were something more than the empty tropes they are.

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