Pro-tip: If you are calling Barbara Gordon a MARY SUE in a world that includes Batman (aka, I can beat up Superman and steal Green Lantern’s ring rich white dude who is better than EVERYONE!!!!!) then your opinion is invalid.
In other news, Mary Sue continues to be nothing more than a bullshit misogynist label used by people who still think gendered insults are okay.
While we’re at it, is there a masculine term for this trope, just for curiosity’s sake?
Can we MAKE the masculine form “Bruce Wayne”? I’M DOING THIS.
I’ve heard the terms Gary Stu and Marty Stu, and as far as I’ve known, they’ve been around quite a while as well. But yeah, the term probably needs to be Bruce Wayne.
Now I’m trying to think of male characters that have been given the Sue/Stu label (other than Bats) because I know I’ve heard some serious rage on this point before.
Morpheus, Clark Kent, Drizzt, Tony Stark, Harry Potter, Jon Snow, John Connor, Rayne Summers, Hal Jordan, Hudlin’s Black Panther, Conan the Barbarian, any leading man in a harem anime, Ash Ketchum, Naruto, that broody guy who isn’t Naruto, Ichigo, Kratos, Duke Nukem, Sherock Holmes, Watson, Ethan from CAD, Phillip J Fry, Timmy Turner, Danny Phantom, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Mr. Magoo, Daken, Axe Cop, Yugi Mutou, and any mute male video game protagonist are just a few of the myriad of male characters I have heard referred to by this term in my travels, whether deserved or not. People are just as quick to accuse male characters of being lame self-insert wish-fulfillment characters if they decide that they have an unworthy amount of success, too many points piled in the “strengths” column without enough weaknesses to balance them out, or a lack of personality making them seem like an empty shell for a person for the audience to step into and live out fantasies through.
I wrote up this on the subject a while back, because I got tired of the term being thrown around so liberally.
Honestly, I just started looking at those sort of characters as plot-devices. And it’s not always a bad one. Some folks on Plus4 were arguing about the Major from Ghost in the Shell and her Mary Sue-ishness. I didn’t get into it, but really, she’s just kinda there to show how fucking crazy the future and world of GitS can be. Hacking brains, having a super advanced top-secret full-body prosthetic (and the implications of that idea), and etc. are now a bunch of concepts wrapped up in one character to be used from story to story. And it works.
The same thing happened alot in Cable and Deadpool. Fabian Nicieza has a big boner for the Cable character and it kinda showed in C&D. But really, he just used the idea of a super powered psychic terminator messiah from the future as a plot device. A plot device that actually lead to Deadpool of all fucking characters getting some character development. I mean, yeah, all that character development got thrown out the window by other writers, but C&D still makes for a good stand-alone read.
Just my 2-cents. The “too perfect” character doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.