Monday, September 26, 2011

DCnU: Character Reactions in Four

      Once the announcement of DC's new 52 was made the conventions became abuzz with rampant rumors and tales of disregard towards female fans.  The portrayal of women in comics heated up as teaser and cover images were released.  I feel the need to comment on the gut reactions I had to these latest images and characterizations of some of DC's wonderful females.

      My strongest reaction was to Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws.  Kori is still an alien powerhouse.  Her energy blasts were really impressive.  What was terrible was the way she has been reduced to an indifferent sexual creature.  I do not think her intelligence was lowered, just her judgment on sex.  It really bothers me.  There is zero emotion from her.  I have always thought of her as a caring being that had remained hopeful through the most terrible of ordeals.  Now she resembles some fan fiction female toy to be used for whatever task is required.

      Supergirl was really not much in terms of any character.  The drawn out power reveal just makes for a really flat opening.  I had included her in the retractable pants rant I made a few posts back.  It seems she does have pants, but the color is flesh-like.  Maybe a brighter shade that resembles gold would have been better.  It is too early to tell what her personality will be.  I am weary of Supergirl reboots, so I hope they at least run with this for a bit.

      Under the radar was Wonder Woman.  I had heard this was to be a horror book and wondered what that might mean for Diana.  Her standard costume form has survived.  The dismissing of the NBC TV series nixed the pants on her it would seem.  There is some flesh shown.  We have implied nudity.  What is neat is for once it makes sense and is down played.  Where she needed modesty she had it wrapping a sheet around her nude body.  Diana sleeps au natural it would appear. 

      The cool part is when she approaches her wardrobe to dress for action.  She lived on an island of women where the body held no shame.  It makes sense she would drop the sheet to get dressed not worrying whether the young woman in distress saw her.  Cliff Chaing to his credit did not over expose this scene, instead playing it subtle and making Wonder Woman sexier by not showing all the skin.

Catwoman In Disguise
      Catwoman had the most sexual and blatant use of the female form.  What is surprising is that it is very story relevant.  Selina has always been a flirt to both sexes and displayed the ability to use sex to shock.  The setting and criminal background lends itself to the use of Selina's body as distraction and tool for her work.  Even the shocking ending has its place in the Batman\Catwoman relationship.  This DCnU book is the only one where the sexuality used as plot device really is justified.  Hopefully this can be maintained as Catwoman is one character that is highly exploitable.

      There is justification for the complaints about the objectification of women.  Long has comics been aimed at hormonally challenged males and created by many frat boy wannabes.  Sex sells and comic covers and stories have taken advantage of that fact.  Still, in an age where more women are admitting to comic fandom and a quest for new readers is shouted from the rooftops, it makes little sense to not work to appeal to half the world's population.  Some hate that "fangirls attack" so often, but the question should be asked, are they justified?