Let’s talk character rehab. Not the Dr. Drew kind of rehab, but the overall evaluation and rehabilitation of a character that’s going in the wrong direction. Today’s subject? Tigra.
Tigra’s had a rather eventful year or so. Though she was a member of the Avengers in the mid ’80s and even made it to the line-up for the short-lived Avengers animated series of the ’90s, Tigra’s been a perrenial background player. Her look (cat-girl in bikini) probably presents a drawback in the minds of some creators when it comes to selecting a hero with which to do some substantive character work.
That’s why I was actually glad to see Tigra appear in New Avengers at the outset of the arc involving The Hood. I thought that perhaps she was being positioned to join the male-heavy team. As it was, Tigra ended up being The Hood’s example of what happens to heroes that cross him and his. I understood the notion of having The Hood conduct a home invasion and shoot Tigra in the kneecaps; it’s not unheard of as intra-criminal punishment, and I thought that it was perhaps the seed for Tigra to recover and be the tipping point in the war between the Hood and the Avengers. It didn’t quite go that way.
Tigra was forced to give up the location of the New Avengers hide-out to The Hood and his cronies during a second home invasion. Granted, while she did particpate in the fight and get in a couple of good shots, it was far from the overcoming-adversity-comeback that I’d hoped it could be. When next we saw her, she was involved with Hank Pym in Avengers: The Initiative. Uh-oh.
Yeah. Hank turned out to be a Skrull. Therefore, the entire time that Tigra saw (and yes, slept with) Pym, he was an alien agent. Needless to say, that’s a particularly terrible form of victimization. Really, about the only thing that would be worse would be if . . . what’s that? She is pregnant by Skrullowjacket? Damn.
The point? While we do expect suffering to be ladled onto our heroes, I think that there should be a line. Bart Allen was kneecapped by Deathstroke the Terminator, and other characters without number have lost eyes, limbs, and lives at the hands of villains. The kneecapping I can get.
The sleeping with a man that you didn’t know was someone else? It’s certainly a shopworn soap opera and “women in jeopardy” film device, but it has a extra layer of discomfort associated with the fact that it wasn’t a mere personality shift. This was an alien invader that was knowingly, and for sport, having sex with an unassuming female hero without her ever having an inkling that he was anything else. Tigra has no recourse for any of this. Sure, the skrull died, but she had no hand in seeing justice done and has been placed in the role of reaction only. The pregnancy doubles this effect; even if Tigra terminates the pregnancy, as she’s suggested, the psychological damage would be immense.
So, how do we rehab Tigra? Writer Christos Gage should continue the arc of therapy that the character has begun, and we should see how she deals with these massive betrayals in character and dialogue. We should see Tigra develop as a stronger character, as a leader and an anchor thru her strength of will and her Avengers experience. And, honestly, she could don a more practical suit. The animated version and Marvel Adventures version of Tigra both have a more sensible outfit; perhaps Tigra’s self-confidence and newfound seriousness could be reflected in her sartorial choices.
What do you think, readers? What to do with Tigra?