3) The Civil War
4) Wonder Woman
Bruce/Clark—I’ve loved the World’s Finest ever since I could read. Their chemistry leaped off the pages at me and I loved their friendship and teamwork, fascinated by Clark’s openness and brightness and Bruce’s more reserved personality and darkness. They were such interesting contrasts: a hero from a shining city of the future and the other from a dark city of the past. Clark was the ultimate super-powered hero and Bruce had no powers, just his own drive and determination. Clark came from a humble working-class background and Bruce was the Prince of Gotham. Yet despite a period in the post-COIE era when TPTB thought it better to practically make them enemies, they were always able to work out their differences and were the ultimate team.
The slash potential is amazing, considering that even DC recognizes it by issuing titles called Superman/Batman, and the first annual which was nicknamed the Brokeback Titanic. ;) Their proxies in the Wildstorm universe are Apollo and Midnighter. Apollo gets his powers from the sun and Midnighter is a fighting machine, implanted with a chip that allows him to analyze instantly and predict fighting moves, and is a dark character. They’re married. ;)
Dick—Yes, I love him so! :) For me, he’s the third member of the World’s Finest. He was a bright, cheerful boy, the original Robin, and was Batman’s equal partner on the mean streets of Gotham. He was trusted by Batman and Superman, and led the Teen Titans when still just a teenager himself, showing a gift of leadership that surpassed even his mentor. He and Clark are kindred spirits in their brightness and ability to draw people to them, and he’s an essential for Bruce’s well-being, connecting the Dark Knight to the world, keeping him from becoming consumed by his Mission. In later years in canon, even Dick couldn’t quite prevent that completely, but he’s still the brightest spot in Bruce’s life, and Bruce once said he was “The only thing I’ve ever done right” and that he was proud of him.
Dick can be paired with just about anybody and make it work: Bruce, Clark, Bruce AND Clark, Roy, Barbara, Kori, Donna… ;) He has the best ass in the DCU. Criminals have even commented on it when he’s in action! ;) He’s a showman, an exhibitionist, wearing a skimpy costume well into his 20s.
He has a sharp mind, able to keep up with the Bat, and loves fiercely and devotedly. He knows just about everybody in the DCU, with ties to the Bat-family, the Supers, the Arrows, the Wonders, and the JLA, JSA, Teen Titans, Outsiders, and Young Justice. He’s Bruce Wayne’s heir and now has taken on the mantle of the Bat since Bruce died.
Without Dick, Bruce would have fallen into darkness years ago, and his quips and puns and brightness brought warmth back to the Manor after years of sadness.
Look how alone the Nolanverse Bruce is out on the streets without a Robin. Remember the scene when he’s gassed by Scarecrow and staggers around in the rain, vulnerable and terrified from the toxin? He had to call Alfred because there was no one there with him. He’s going to burn out in a few years without the relief and assistance Dick can give him.
Dick and Bruce share the sad bond of watching their parents murdered right before their eyes, and understand each other in ways that no one else can.
Dick is special. :)
The Civil War—It’s the country’s passion play. There are so many themes and events that resonate even today: who we are as a nation, the sin of slavery and the history of race relations, the North/South divide that can still come into play generations later, as it did during the 1950s and ‘60s when Southern governors stood in the doorways of schoolhouses and Federal troops were sent to escort black children into their classrooms.
The drama of brother-against-brother never fails to fascinate. Families tore themselves apart with some on the side of the North and others on the Southern side. The commanders on each side knew each other from their days at West Point and in Army service later. The War itself was a major divider between the America of the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Good Feelings era and the Reconstruction, Victorian, and future eras.
Giants like Lincoln were on the scene, and the War touched every town and hamlet, sometimes towns losing nearly all their young men, since the practice of the day was for towns to serve as a unit, and if that unit was wiped out in battle…
Every substantial American town and city has a Civil War monument, usually a Civil War foot soldier and a long list of names on a bronze plaque.
The foreboding of the War is equally fascinating, as savage clashes in places like Bleeding Kansas as those against and for slavery tore the nation in half even before Fort Sumter. The Abolitionists gained power and influence and didn’t hesitate to use both.
Much of our country’s legends and folktales come from this period of time, and the images of old-fashioned gallantry and ladies in hoop skirts clash with modern cannons and scorched-earth policies as blood is spilled.
There is the notion that the Civil War was judgment rendered from on high for the sin of slavery.
All powerful stuff.
Wonder Woman—For a girl growing up who loved comics, there were a plethora of male superheroes and a handful of female: Supergirl, Batgirl, and the quintessential heroine: Wonder Woman. Unlike the others whom I loved, her costume and identity didn’t come from a male source. She was unique, gifted with all kinds of amazing powers that were in many ways equal with Superman’s, and came from a female-oriented culture. She was a mediator and peace-bringer and was the best Warrior on the planet. She had (back when I was reading) a handsome blond pilot as a boyfriend who loved her and connected her to our world. I couldn’t understand how anyone couldn’t see how awesome she was, but of course, her book never sold that well after the Golden Age, and she’s been treated shabbily by DC for years. She’s never had a full-length feature film after 68 years of existence (Superman and Batman have had several since the 1940s), and only recently got an animated film of her own. She’s had no other ‘toons that starred her, though she’s been in various versions of the JLA and SuperFriends. She had one TV show in the 1970s.
For one-third of DC’s Trinity, she often gets short shrift, and my underdog sense kicks in. I’ll always love her.
Rome—The mix of barbarism and sophisticated culture fascinates me. They were conquerors of the known world and their influence still lasts today. The modern idea of the Senate came from them (derived from Greek models), certain legal concepts, and they allowed conquered peoples to become citizens. Even former slaves could become respected citizens and serve in the Army or other walks of life.
The Romans were anchored in the Ancient World as their cruelty and savagery is best exemplified by the method of crucifixion, and they built much of their civilization on slavery, which isn’t the steadiest of foundations. They held immense pride in being Roman, and they were the best warriors on the planet since Alexander the Great’s Macedonians.
They were big on improvements, trying to impart ‘civilized’ culture in bringing their political and legal systems to other countries, and did the practical work of improving roads and building aqueducts, some of which are in use thousands of years later. Roman virtue and asceticism gave way to the excess of the incredibly wealthy, but they lasted for hundreds of years before their fall.
Roman women certainly didn’t have equality but fared better than their Greek sisters or any women on the planet. If you were of a certain class you had certain freedoms unknown to other women, and they were far more often seen in public than any sequestered Greek woman.
The Romans had their Gods and Goddesses, adapted from the Greeks, and cared little for conversion of other cultures to their religion, allowing people their own worship unless crushing it was to their political advantage, as they would do for the early Christians. They were more interested in allegiance to Caesar than to Zeus.
The Roman male was an oddity in the Ancient World, concerned with cleanliness, using the baths to sweat out impurities and also kept the fashion of being clean-shaven in a world where male virility was equated with facial hair! The Roman man was probably cleaner and sweeter-smelling than an American cowboy of the 19th century, who bathed once a week. ;)
We have so many accounts of Rome due to Christianity’s influence over the centuries, and they still live for us in ways many ancient cultures don’t anymore.
That's it! ;)
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