I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Gail Simone. Her writing is smart, interesting and fun, and she can write the hell out of a kick-ass chick. Many of my favorite characters are so because of her capable hand in their development. At the top of that list is Lady Shiva. I’ll keep it real. I didn’t know much about Sandra Wu-San until she showed up in Birds of Prey. OK, I didn’t know much of anything before I read BoP, but there was a long list of supporting characters throughout Simone’s arc. Shiva was my favorite by far.

As we’ve seen in Secret Six, no one does amoral with Gail’s flair. Amoral characters are intriguing because they do the things our conscience and social mores prevent us from doing. We get to live our fantasies through them, and their writers aren’t limited by pesky issues like virtue. Plus, Shiva is a straight-up beast. She’s kicked more asses than you’ve read comics. She’s fast, ingenious, wicked, and not at all afraid to die. That final fact alone makes her a force to be reckoned with. I firmly believe that she could defeat Deathstroke (See previous poll). All Shiva needs is a two-second window, and he’s done for — genetic engineering be damned. Shiva would engineer a beatdown.

To drive the point home, here are some of my favorite Lady Shiva quotes:

“I believe in letting people do as they wish, as do I myself. Sometimes, of course, what I wish to do is kill them and they do not wish to die. This gives life interest.” – The Question #29

“I am not allowing you to pass out. I want your men to see you beg. Then you will apologize with a pain you will remember always.” – Birds of Prey #62

“All this ceremony, and the truth is: the body decays, the spirit is lost. It means nothing. Ashes or earth, I hardly see the significance of where they lay your corpse.” – Birds of Prey #68

“If you ever touch me again, I shall shatter three bones in your arm: the humerus, the radius, and the ulna. I shall shatter them in such a way that shards will protrude into the nerves, causing intense pain! I shall shatter them in such a way that no Western doctor will be able to repair them. Your arm will thereafter dangle from your shoulder like a dead fish. Do you understand?”

And my favorite:

“Perhaps death is just a little bit afraid of me.” – Birds of Prey #63

So, I’m riding the wave of Shiva-is-a-bad-ass-bitch, and as per usual, once she was out of Gail’s hands, someone added suckage to her repertoire. I realize this is part of the multiple-writers nature of comics. I’m not that bitter. But chocolate? As in, Robin (Tim Drake) defeats Shiva by sending her some drug-laced chocolate? Really? Bullshit!

I seriously doubt that a world-class mercenary/martial artist with so many enemies would even consider eating a piece of hotel chocolate. As E. pointed out, “She’s probably on a macrobiotic diet.” The poisoned chocolate was a flimsy attempt at strengthening Tim’s character, I guess because he and Shiva have a past. But honestly, who gives a fuck? This did a major disservice to Shiva’s character. Her sister was murdered, and her daughter broke her neck. Bottom line: Shiva should get more respect than that. As Black Canary put it, “In some countries, being killed by her brings eternal honor to your entire surviving family.”

With books coming back from the “dead” and all, we have The Question #37 written by Greg Rucka. Now, I almost love Rucka as much as I love Simone. He also understands the kick-ass chick. We’ll get to see my favorite DCU lesbian, Renee Montoya, a Black Lantern Vic Sage and (here’s the part that’s got me salivating) an appearance by Lady Shiva. She’s already got a past with Vic. Throw Montoya in the mix, and a few interesting worlds collide. Renee vs. Shiva? I’d like to see that mashup! Rucka had this to say, “[Shiva’s] just entirely amoral and committed to her path. … She doesn’t care what you think, ever.” Color me blue, because THAT gives me hope.

4 thoughts on “The Question: Will Lady Shiva Be Redeemed?

  1. I really liked your bit about why we like amoral characters. As for Shiva, I think it will be all good. As you said, Rucka gets kick ass women. So I don’t think he’ll muck it up. And I’m hoping that Shiva will be back some in BoP, what with Canary returning (I also hope that Canary’s adopted girl makes a return as well).


  2. I laughed a lot while reading this article. I especially enjoyed “She’s kicked more asses than you’ve read comics.”

    That is a metric ton of asses. ;)

    Lady Shiva is awesome. However, she’s one of those characters that gets me worried whenever she appears in a comic, because, inevitably, some writer is going to job her in order to make another character look that much more badass.


  3. I disagree that Shiva is amoral. She doesn’t live by a moral code you or I would follow, but she has a strict code of ethics and would die rather than do something she considers dishonorable.


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