July 25, 2010 2 Comments
I thought it was sort of cool at first, this whole WOMEN OF MARVEL celebration. I dunno, I guess I was sort of excited to read more books about the female characters. Marvel don’t exactly treat them very good. Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel were the only characters with an on-going, and a vagina, but both of those books have since been cancelled. Females get a generally good showing on teams, but mostly they’re their to fit into roles – Valkyrie on the Secret Avengers, Ms. Marvel on the Avengers, Sue Storm on the Fantastic Four. All characters with potential, but in their team books they fall into character types and become sort of boring. The X-Men are typically better but, as I’ll demonstrate later in this review, they’re a little guilty of it too.
Girl Comics #1 was pretty spectacular, as far as anthologies go, and I’ve got a review of it someplace, but I can’t be bothered looking for a link to it. It had a great Nightcrawler story, from memory. Girl Comics #2 was God awful. The book I’m about to review, the third issue, wasn’t much better. This whole event – Women of Marvel – has become so suddenly superfluous. And as I’ve come to see that it’s more about the female talent behind the scenes, rather than the characters – well.
I can see the argument there, that working in comicbooks is a boys club, but I don’t know whether it’s very appropriate to put the pussy on a pedestal, publicly, just because it represents a creative minority. I just don’t see the point. They’re writers, or pencilers, or colorist, or inkers, or editors all the same. Just because theirs less of them — I mean, what’s the issue that we’re trying to isolate here? That women have a less and fleeting interest in the books, or that the Editors-in-Chief are less likely to hire them? And does celebrating their involvement really encourage more new female talent to get involved? I’d say no considering the quality of these books.
But I also acknowledge Heralds and some of the one-shots (Namora, Dazzler) as good books. So the event isn’t a total failure: but I’m offended that these books may never have been written if not for the celebratory banner. I mean, would the creative team have not come together under less extraneous circumstances, or would they have been rejected outright? This celebration just outlines issues within the industry, poses questions and then offers no answers. And like I said: it’s superfluous.
I can see a sexist undercurrent in asking an all-female creative team to write only female characters, and I appreciate the freedom they gave these teams, but as reader and as far as my interpretation of this event goes: I’d have liked to have seen it restricted to female characters. The book I’ll be reviewing some ways down has three Wolverine stories. So it’s good to know the female writers want Logan’s cock inside of them as much as the males do – but I read enough of Wolverine in two Avengers books, five X-Men books and three Wolverine books. I didn’t need a celebratory anthology to show 50% of its stories with Logan in it. Really.
There’s no question that female characters, at Marvel, are underrepresented. Ms. Marvel got cancelled. A great character in a terrible book that reduced her to a SUCCESSFUL GEN X BUSINESS WOMAN WITH A SUBTLE FEMINIST UNDERTONE carbon copy of a character cut-out. Spider-Woman got cancelled because Alex Maleev didn’t want to draw her anymore. Guys! DC have a Supergirl book which, while weak right now, is generally fantastic, a Powergirl book that is generally fantastic, a Zatanna book that is generally fantastic, Batgirl, Birds of Prey — a book about a TEAM OF GIRLS plusHawk. What does Marvel have? One or two strong female characters supporting the male characters in team books.
Girl Comics #3 wasn’t a good anthology. The first page made me cringe. It looked and read cheesy. The story that followed made me uncomfortable. It was about Logan and Jubilee and it was just… awkward. I understand their paternal and platonic relationship but… I could feel the sexual tension and it made me judge Logan and I didn’t like the way Jubilee looked and it just, the story failed. Then there was a Power Pack story. Whatever guys. The next story was a very bad Magneto and Wolverine skit with very bad pencils.
I don’t even want to acknowledge that the next story even exists; it used ASCII emoticons in dialogue. GUYS GIRLS, YOU’RE WRITING FOR A VISUAL MEDIUM. EMOTIONAL FACIAL RESPONSE ARE INHERENT IN YOUR OBLIGATION TO DRAW YOUR STORY, THUS RENDERING THE USE OF EMOTICONS IN TEXT WHOLLY REDUNDANT.
The next story was about a Succubus. Weak writing, great pencils, and at least it wasn’t about Wolverine – so it was at least an interesting departure from the standard. The last story was about Wolverine and Kitty’s relationship. So it was the same story as the one with the book started with, only in a different context and with the character that they should have used because Kitty came first and Jubilee should have never been absorbed into the comicbook phalanx. But I digress.
This story had amazing pencils, and I didn’t feel weird reading it. This Logan felt like a father, or an older brother, and not a creepy uncle. He took Kitty to a bar for her first drink now that she was twenty-one and it was a whole lot of fun. Tony Stark sighing at his can of cola while everyone else in the bar drinks alcohol is a great easter egg in the pencils, and Kitty’s response to her first few drinks in dialogue and behaviour (visually) is fantastic.
Also The Silver Surfer at a bar. That is just such a silly idea. I love it. So much of this story is worth reading and if the book wasn’t $4.99 cover price, I’d recommend buying it just for this last story. But then we have a conundrum: I love this story but hate it in principle. We should have had this story once and not twice. It should have been this or the Jubilee story. This was better (and reads like the original idea, if that makes any sense) but the Jubilee story came first and that, I don’t know, positions things that the Kitty story is the annoying one for repeating the theme.
But it was a great story to finish the miniseries on – not to mention the book itself. So I’m torn. I know it’s a great story, but I feel positioned against it because of the book that preluded it, and the two books that preluded that — and then the reasoning behind the banner. The whole thing just doesn’t sit well with me anymore and I don’t think Marvel should have done it. It wasn’t an amazing idea, even if some of the work has been amazing. That work would have been amazing without the contrivance to make it happen, and that contrivance, I think, is an insult to not just women – but to everyone.
— Adam ^>^