Oct. 9th, 2012

starfire11: (Default)
So I wanted to write something tonight about posing (as related to costumed heroes) and why it's stupid, for the most part.

To start off, what is posing for in the spotlight?

In a normal life, people subconsciously (or not) pose themselves around rooms as they read the atmosphere or pick a place they find "safe", whatever definition that fits for them. Whether it's a warm spot, a cold spot, a shaded spot, a place in the spotlight, a corner, near their biggest crush, near their best friend, seated, whatever... people pick it out.

In the media, people are posed (typically movie stars and politicians) so that they can look their best. Politicians typically wave, grin, shake hands with minorities and hug babies. Models and TV actresses show off their boobs and butts. Actors lounge to show off their manliness. Everyone else tries to sit relatively primly.

When you want to show authority, you take a firm stance. At least while you're waiting for things to happen. Typically this means crossing your arms with your legs apart. When you want to put people at east, you laugh and crack jokes, put your hands in your pockets, and smile.

Natural stances I'm familiar with include: standing behind someone, hands in your pockets, leaning against a wall, arms crossed, hands clasped by your crotch, Or different sitting positions (more for comfort and modesty than anything else). People tend to make more points with their expressions than with a stance, outside of an actual combat situation. And no, prepping for a combat situation does not merit the posing that occurs in most comics. A large portion of the posing is stuff that occurs long before there might even BE a fight. My main issue with that is how much time it takes to pose, and how ridiculous it is to take that time, while being quiet all the while, when SECONDS count.

Let's start with a simple pose: the finger point. There is one moment in Ultimate X-Men where Wolverine visits New York, runs into Spider-Man, gets himself shot up and knocked unconscious, and all in time for Spidey's call to the X-Men to go through. They show up, in a POSE OF GLORY splash page which could, arguably, just be a filler page and not an actual image of what happened after Spidey turns to look at the arriving jet hidden by the side of the panel. Prominently featured were, for no apparent reason, Jean sitting cross-legged in mid-air, Iceman on a rather large frosty walkway, the Beast lunging with a roar at, well... the empty roof of the building, I suppose, and, most prominently, Cyclops with his hand pointing towards the audience.

I am trying to picture the last time I saw anyone purposely point their finger at a specific person for any reason, in real life.

I believe it was to indicate who the speaker was referring to, because they couldn't remember a name. It wasn't dramatic or anything. Just a hooked thumb or a crooked index finger that was quickly put down to avoid rudeness, shortly before a quiet apology for forgetting the person in question's name.

I don't even have teachers who do it. I think my mom did it once, years ago. I can't remember why. Politicians point at their podiums a lot. It's actually a pretty common speaker action.

Why was Cyclops pointing? What was he pointing at? The only two people other than the other X-Men on the roof were Wolverine (unconscious) and Spider-Man (holding Wolverine up). So he was pointing at Spider-Man. Why?

I have no bleeping idea, and it is a question that has haunted me for years.

Why would he do this in a normal situation, assuming Spidey and Wolverine were replaced by a villain, instead?

For starters, why would he take his precious time to a) jump out of the X-Jet, b) walk up close to said enemy, and c) point his finger menacingly rather than just start shouting out orders or threats or requests from way up high where he a) can't be easily reached, b) has a better view of the whole situation, c) can better use his RANGED powers, and d) WILL SAVE THE MOST TIME.

There was no reason for the ENTIRE X-Men team to jump out of the plane. None.

I keep going back to this time issue. Posing really does TAKE TIME. It can take a LONG time just to get people into position to SHOOT other people. Line of sight and all that. It takes time to load people into planes and cars and what-not. It takes time to smooth out your clothes. It takes time to make sure you're standing straight. Now imagine jumping out a plane and stepping forward and pointing at someone. Yeah, it's probably a matter of seconds. But it isn't instantaneous. And NO ONE NOTICES when they do this. It happens ALL THE TIME, and nobody notices when they do this! They just look up and BOOM, look, it's the cavalry! It's IMPLIED that this takes almost no time at all.

A big example here is in Fullmetal Alchemist, when Ed is fighting Scar for the first time. Ed is lying on the ground, one-armed, ready to die because it's the only way he knows of to save his brother because he's not strong enough to fight Scar, and Scar is leaning down, ready to blow his head off. Mustang then calls out for him to freeze, and Scar looks to the side to see a line of Amestris military, led, dramatically, by Mustang and Hawkeye. Ed is surprised. Al is surprised. Scar is most definitely surprised.

Scar is a powerful fighter. He's like Wolverine a few levels down. Seriously. He has the whole "sensing" situation. He's been in a LOT of fights. He's a really strong fist fighter.

Depending on what school you're in, narrowing your focus is a REALLY bad idea. If you're a marksman, it's probably a good idea. If you're a melee fighter of any kind, then it's probably a bad idea, especially if you're fighting in a city with alleys. You don't know where your next opponent could come from.

Sure, Scar is focusing in on killing Ed. But I really don't think he'd be so focused on something like that (tricky as Ed's been, he's admitted defeat at this point) that he could simply IGNORE the arrival of a squad of cars and the unloading of a number of people from said cars and the click of guns being put to ready position.

Did they simply pop into the street situation? It's possible. Someone could have seen where the fight was taking place (which is I think how they were found anyway) and they just came to an open area and were starting to spread out to go look in the alleyways, or they were waiting for the fight to come out into an open area.

See, there's the problem. They waited. They waited for the SERIAL KILLER fighting the INEXPERIENCED TEENAGERS (they've had training, not experience - and what experience they had... well... heh) to just POP into the street.

Two scenarios just pop into mind here. 1) They were already spread out and waiting for the fight to come out. And they said nothing as Scar and Ed, who were talking and fighting for a bit of time out there in the street, did their thing. Until I guess Mustang thought things were going too far. Because they needed to be taught a lesson or something.

2) They waited UNTIL they were spread out. While this might be good in a scenario where they were looking at a hostage situation or a building with hostiles inside or something... I don't know. I don't like it. True, Ed could be considered a hostage, but Hawkeye is a sniper. Beyond that, they had a lot of riflemen. Scar was WIDE OPEN for some time. They didn't need to take time trying to get a shot. They had one. The only reason Scar survived was because of reasons.

In another scenario: "The Avengers". When Loki is crawling up the steps in Stark's bar/office/whatever near the end of the movie, and then turns to see the whole cast standing behind them in a gorgeous vista of badassery, all staring him down, ready to pounce...

He never noticed them all coming up there? He never noticed the Hulk climbing up the building? (I'm assuming he can't fit into the elevators or the stairwells and that he can't be carried - although maybe Thor could..., and all their jet was shot down and all the Chitauri stuff is down). He never noticed them all arraying themselves properly so that they could stand like that? The dude's tired, not deaf, and he is by no means a moron. Crazy, but not a moron.

Then again, we are talking about a movie featuring an organization for world defense who FIRED A GATLING GUN ON AN AUDIENCE OF CIVILIANS TO HIT A GOD.

So this is sort of nitpicking.

I understand not calling attention to yourself until you're in a good position to fight, but that doesn't require posing. You could be hiding behind rocks. You could make a message over a microphone from inside a cockpit. You could make a phone call. Surprise and all that. This is where the problem of "dramatic dialogue" comes into play. The idea in real life is typically "shoot first, ask questions later". Typically because enough information has been gathered and enough orders are given that people know that they should be shooting who they are shooting, and if there's been a screw-up, well, that's for the higher-ups to handle. For dramatic dialogue to occur, the characters need to be facing each other. And too many people don't like dramatic dialogue while hiding (although I don't know why - I've seen TONS of variations of it, and it's still badass). So posing.

If you come out of cover to threaten someone, typically you either do it so fast that they don't see you until you have a knife, sword, arrow, gun, whatever at their throat, and so hold the upper hand. Or they don't see you because you sneak up to them and do the same thing. Or you go in fast so you can take them out fast, before they can react.

Negotiating from the upper hand is something you ALWAYS want to do. It's how you survive. It's how you get what you want. Diplomacy does not start with two angry people in a stand-off. It starts with telephone calls. Letters. Liasons. Face-to-face meetings come WAY later, and even then there are typically a lot of security and bodyguards involved.

If you're arresting someone, you don't do dramatic posing. You either do it fast, you talk the person down (which typically requires being as UN-threatening as possible, which means no posing, which is SUPPOSED to be threatening), or you take the person out (knock-out gas or something), and hand-cuff them later.

I'm not touching on the ridiculous other poses people are given. For women it's mostly mock-porn poses that don't make any sense in a fight and really aren't threatening (it just turns the page into soft porn). Guys mostly get at least half-decent poses, but there are poses that really are just ridiculous. Poses that given them "crazy people wearing costumes" as a name. They pose. It's dumb.



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