[VC/PMS] Stephanie Kane and Avengers #200

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Would you warn Stephanie Kane about her pending abduction by the Mothmen?

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tau neutrino
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[VC/PMS] Stephanie Kane and Avengers #200

Post by tau neutrino » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:28 pm

A strong-willed female warrior (even considered abrasive by some) is abducted for the purpose of bearing offspring. Later, it turns out she willingly accepted her role and actually became fond of the abducting party. I'm not talking about Stephanie Kane, but Marvel Comics's Ms. Marvel character in Avengers #200 and the follow-up story in Avengers Annual #10. (To sum up, Ms. Marvel gets abducted to Limbo so the ruler there can impregnate her and get born into reality. She agrees after "a subtle boost" from his machines and then has her memories wiped, giving birth to her son/lover in days without understanding how she's pregnant. Her teammates let her go back with him even after hearing about the "boost". Can you believe the Comics Code Authority approved this?) The point of this analogy is that there can be Unfortunate Implications the writer doesn't consider, but seem pretty obvious. Similarly, as one reviewer said about the film Passengers, "While romance is the intended effect, the film's real premise - concealed by the glossy trailers - is imbued with some seriously creepy undercurrents about bodily autonomy, consent, and stalking."

So what can we get from examining Stephanie Kane's situation? Even the most dedicated Twilight fan would admit that the Moth Men's actions throughout the series would be considered stalking. This culminated with them abducting her to Mothworld. She arrived there naked and defenseless, leaving her clothes and jian behind, which is disturbing since their plan was to mate with her and this would qualify as sexual assault. The thought of it gives Katie the dry heaves, and I doubt pre-abduction Stephanie would have felt any better. The important thing is how she described her response on p.174.

I resisted so much at first. Wasted so much time. But they all ... believed so much in me.
So no matter what she was told about her destiny to be the Moth Queen, she said no, strongly and for a long time. So what changed it to "yes"? She was isolated from her friends and family, actually any humans at all, with a race of telepathic aliens who don't ask permission before projecting things into people's heads. Unless she decided to hang around at let the Moth Men persuade her, not caring about Katie and Charlotte, she would have been held prisoner. Even before considering telepathy, the tactics of isolation, love-bombing, and emphasizing an external enemy are commonly used by cults. Her blase behavior at meeting Katie after how long led some to wonder if she had been brainwashed. Stockholm Syndrome can't be ruled out, since it's already been shown. Marcy O'Keefe, who seemed as strong-willed as Stephanie, supposedly had it so bad with the Reptilians that she was willing to sacrifice her skin for them.

There are two other things to consider. First, when was Stephanie turned into a cryptid? After she stopped resisting or on the way to Moth World, explaining the moth scales? If the latter, she would have been fighting her own biology. Unlike humans, moths are known to be affected by pheromones. Second, how much time did she waste? Word of God is that the Moth Men don't have time travel capabilities. Their world is in contact with the 27th century, and when its walls collapse, it re-enters normal space at that time period, and Lori expects it then. So the evidence is that time passes at the same rate as the normal universe, and Stephanie experienced the full 600 years. She didn't contact Katie in the months following her abduction, or Charlotte in the 10 years after. (The Moth Men of that time seem to have given Charlotte her vision with Stephanie's knowledge.) So how long did Stephanie resist? Years, decades, centuries? Did she stop because she thought Katie and Char would have died of old age?

I've used analogies with Ms. Marvel and Passengers, but the best is with Paranormal Mystery Squad itself, in it's first book. Theodore Campbell basically had the same plan as the Moth Men: turning Stephanie (along with Katie and Charlotte) into a cryptid and having her bear his children. It failed because the others kept Katie from fully turning into a werewolf and later fighting his pack when he tried the second time. No one thought it was bad when Katie got yiffing mad and kicked Theodore's butt. If Theodore had the chance to fully turn Katie and keep her isolated like the Moth Men did with Steph, would he have had a similar outcome? How long after her abduction would Stephanie have welcomed a rescue attempt?

Adam said the overall story arc is about Katie, Leonard, Suki, and Stephanie Kane, but Stephanie is more a supporting character without much agency. The Moth Men probably shouldn't have believed in her. She got fantastic powers, but when she tried to use them against the Reptilians, she was interrupted by her primary function: laying eggs. This let the Reptilians fire their tachyon uncertainty cannon, killing many of her Mothmen, necessitating Katie's rescue of her, and ultimately dooming her realm. In the end most of her eggs were destroyed, and her caterpillars sacrificed in a futile attempt to stop the realm's collapse. Apart from laying the egg that brought Leonard, Katie, and Suki there, her main contribution was providing cover fire with her moth guard. Leonard comes up with the idea to launch the remaining eggs through the portals. We never get an idea of what choices she made, unlike with Charlotte possibly losing her family forever to help her friend. If Stephanie wasn't held prisoner or brainwashed, she must have been remarkably callous to let Katie and Charlotte grieve for her for so long. In the end, she's apparently freeloading off Lita, whose theme park portrays her team as a joke. She doesn't even look at her offspring.

Poll question: You're transported to the point right after the Fall of the PETM. The events of Vampire Cheerleaders in Space ... and Time?! are just a possibility to you , and since it's not your history, there won't be a time paradox. Would you warn Stephanie Kane about her pending abduction?

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Re: [VC/PMS] Stephanie Kane and Avengers #200

Post by Gotoh » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:00 am

You're conflating two different situations that're only loosely similar. In one, the abductor was only interested in rebirthing himself. In the mothmen's case, it was about preserving a species that'd been hunted to the brink of extinction.

It's obvious that, at some point after Steph's abduction, the mothmen must have explained the gravity of the situation to her and she agreed to help them. The story makes that much clear because Steph all but said it in the page hidden in your spoiler.

There was no need for brainwashing, nor was she suffering Stockholm Syndrome. All that was needed was compassion for the well-being of others, which is an intrinsic human quality.

Lastly, they weren't stalking her. They needed someone strong who could not only bear the burden of repopulating a species, but someone with the ability to lead them. They determined Steph was that person and, at some point, she accepted.

Also note: she said she resisted, she didn't say she was being held against her will. That's two different things. In all likelihood, she wasn't onboard with mating with them (hence, "resisting"), until they explained why it was necessary.

I'll leave it at that, because we've already argued this to death.

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