Reposted from Alvaro's, in response to a ( sadly ) typical Scott/Jean/Maddie 80's X-Men retroactive hate thread...
I'm sorry, but to put it like that, even when discussing a fictional character, is something that deeply bothers me. Regardless of your feelings for Maddie as a character, her treatment stands as one of the worst excesses of misogyny in mainstream superhero comics. It's on the level of Sue Dibny's murder and retroactive rape in Identity Crisis...and in some ways, worse.
I've realized what bothers me the most about the nightmare of bad comics that was Inferno, and it's not just that retconning Maddie into a clone and making her a psycho proves that superhero comics are more about continuity housekeeping and not storytelling. It's that in order to resolve the plot-line of Scott ditching Maddie, it wasn't that Scott was punished, but that Maddie was.
The topic of whether or not Scott was justified in bolting ( even if he told Maddie it would be temporary ) when he learned of Jean's ressurection has been beaten to death, but her subsequent treatment in Inferno is not just crappily written, but ideologically troubling. In Chris Claremont's X-Men title, where Maddie tags along with Storm's team after losing everything ( husband, son, house, finances, all records of ever existing ), she is shown as an admirable woman, who survives and even assists her husband's comrades despite having nothing but her own skills. If this was the extent of it-- Maddie being put through hell and finding a way to cope-- it would be a great story. Even the part where Maddie learns about Scott leaving her for Jean and having a psychotic break.
But the psychotic break is not used as grounds for further character development, but a way to write the character out of the franchise. When learning about her husband's " infidelity ", Maddie makes a deal with demons to gain power. She starts dressing in scant black leather as part of her new identity, and clearly sexualizes herself ( to the point of taking Havok from a close friend she bonded with over their respective suffering, and into being a boy-toy ). Her break from being human is further dramatized by learning that she literally was not a human; that Mr. Sinister ( the villain equivalent of a Mary Sue back then, tied into everything ) had created her from scratch as a means of producing Scott's child. If the idea that women have no point but to make babies wasn't clear enough, now it's literal!
So thus, instead of Scott and Maddie having a serious conversation about his sins, we get Maddie transformed into a whorish demonic supervillainess, and her final battle is with Jean Grey. Just compare and contrast Jean, the Virgin Mary of the X-Men who is completely clothed and portrayed as the pinnacle of human kindness and decency, and Madelyne, who at this point is just a " psycho bitch " who cheated on her husband with his brother ( a point that should not matter, as the Scott/Maddie marriage had long since died before then ). Jean wins the fight; not only does she manage to stop Maddie, but she becomes the only version of Jean Grey in existence by absorbing the other two, and gains custody of Maddie's son ( and by the by, even though Jean is Nathan's mother in the emotional sense, she didn't actually carry him. More of Jean's chastity at work here ).
Christ, if that's not a superheroic rendition of the Virgin/Whore complex, I don't know what is.
What I'm asking is for people to put aside for a moment the shipping debates-- whether or not Scott belongs with Jean or Maddie or Emma or Squirrel Girl for all I care-- and realize the larger problem with our genre. If superhero comics are accused of being a " He-Man Women Hater's Club ", stories like Inferno support that claim.