Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plot Devices that Need to Go Away #9

Haven't done one of these in a long time, but I did remember that someone asked for it, so here you go. Finally.....

Plot Devices that Need to Go Away #9


Also Known As: Actually, I'm pretty sure that's it, right?

What is it?

There's a prophecy, and a chosen one who is meant to fulfill it. It is usually integral to the plot.

Why Do Comic Companies Do It?

Because almost all mass media genre fiction uses it. Comics aren't a much greater offender than the rest of fiction generally. It's a simple mechanic for getting some bit of plot resolved by the end of the story.
Recent Offenders include but are not limited to:
Hope Summers, Cable (Nathan Summers), Batwoman, Buffy Summers (man, the Summers name comes up a lot, doesn't it?), Hal Jordan, Sodam Yat, Adam Warlock, Harry Potter, and the various characters depicted in these posters.

Patient Zero:
This one goes back to the dawn of fiction and the idea that a special hero who will save the people by sheer dint of his specialness, so it's hard to really pin the wrap on any one character in particular.
Why does it have to go away?
Because there is a difference between succeeding because you are special and succeeding because you're good, and that's a distinction that not a lot of writers are taking the time to make anymore. Our fiction is being saddled with an increasing number of increasingly defective characters that we are supposed to believe are the protoganists are "Special" and often triumph over their obstacles for no other reason than they are special, as oppossed to the fact that they are either skilled, or resourceful, or believe in themselves. Superman isn't the hero because he has powers - it's because he has these powers and never relents in using them for others, that he never stops. Spider-Man is the hero because more than any other character, he uses his wits and determination to come out on top. And so on.
Angles for Redemption of the Device? Let's have heroes who aren't just special: they're GOOD.

And that's the last of these I've got, unless people want to write in some suggestions.

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