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Green Lantern/ Green Arrow: Fighting Evil through Approved Means

The role of women in the Green Lantern/ Green Arrow comics makes for some entertaining battles. One example can be found on page 148, where Black Canary combats Mother Juna. In a fight referred to as “short—but sweet!” by Green Lantern, Mother Juna leaps angrily at Canary. The smaller woman responds by trying to toss Mother away to a relatively safe landing, but at the last second the assailant twists her body and ends up crashing brutally into a wall.

The fact that these combatants are women heavily shapes this scene. Black Canary, as a woman, is very unique because of her talents in martial arts. This is made quite clear when she is introduced on page 60. “Long Ago, she mastered the ancient arts of judo and jiu-jitsu—mastered them as perhaps no other mortal ever has! You look at her, and see a soft, totally feminine woman, and perhaps you don’t glimpse the fire… the fury… that seethes behind her loveliness… until you cross her!” As a woman, she’s not expected to fight at all, much less to be good at it. This is at least balanced by the types of martial arts she practices; both judo and jiu-jitsu are based on grabs, holds and shifts in momentum, rather than aggressive strikes. Her goal in battle is to subdue, not to kill.

Because the villain, Mother Juna, is a woman, there are only so many ways she can be defeated. She certainly can’t be shot or hit by Green Lantern or Green Arrow, as that would bring up issues of domestic abuse. She can’t be directly hit by Black Canary, because women aren’t supposed to attack, or at least not “good” women. The only way to defeat this villain is through her own actions. She throws herself at Black Canary, and despite the hero’s best efforts, twists her own body and causes herself damage. The lesson here is clear: if you’re a woman, you should never attack anyone, especially another woman. It won’t end well.

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