By Mediant 43 Comments
Starfire is an a both a fierce and fiery Tamaranean warrior and a fun loving and uninhibited woman. I will freely admit that I find the whole, sort of naive, "I do not understand your Earth ways" alien bit endearing-- on just about any character. People have been doing that shtick for years in all the various writing mediums. I think what sets Starfire apart for people is her sexualized nature. She's sexy, draws power from the sun through her skin (thus is often scantily clad), and has a power that works via physical contact with others (which she chooses to activate often times with a kiss). Not only does she possess these titillating aspects, but she seems either only peripherally concerned with or mostly oblivious to them. She's basically a hot, naive, foreign girl.
This brings me to what I believe the are two real issues with the character. Even if you accept (or like) the character's traits, there's the issue of how long she's been around. Most immigrants-- be they human or alien-- eventually become naturalized. Whether you're talking real world time or fictional time, Starfire has been around for years and years. She should be adjusted to the customs of Earth. Obviously this clashes with her a bit of her core personality. Without her naivety and the afore mentioned "I do not understand your Earth ways" bit, Starfire isn't quite the same character. The character has, unfortunately, been written into a situation where the simple passage of time will fundamentally change what is one of her most defining traits.
That first problem leads to the second: Starfire hasn't really grown any definite personality traits since her inception. She needs to develop more substance-- or have what she does have more fleshed out. There needs to be more to her character to focus on. If something new isn't introduced, then her Tamaranean warrior aspects needs to come to greater prominence. I feel like they've left her with enough substance to stand up in a team book, but they need to expand her so she can stand on her own.
I believe both of these issues could be fixed if a good team of creators took the character and developed her further. She could be a much stronger (in the sense of characterization rather than power) character if they expanded on her. This solution comes with its own problem however. Starfire needs to retain who she is as a character even as they change her.
That naive quality may just have to straight up be removed from her. It isn't believable that after all this time she wouldn't be yet naturalized. Her naturalization could lead to its own plot points though: Forcing her to reconcile her cultural identities and the differences between them. This would give the character a little more maturity and somewhere to build off.
Ultimately, people who just hate the character will probably never change their opinions. Many people seem to feel that she's just some brainless bimbo, but I think some character development could go a long way towards changing this opinion and strengthening the character as a whole. I'm positive a balance can be found that allows Kori to keep the aspects that make her unique, while further developing the character-- even if that means some minor traits are left by the wayside.