It goes without say that I am quite the comic heroine enthusiast, some of my very favorite characters in comics are formidable, powerful, complex females. What interests me in particular is how the medium of comicbooks was really one of the first to show women in such a role, all the while somehow escaping censorship or societal expectations of women at the time and giving them a more empowered role in storytelling. There was actually a point in time where comics were at the vanguard of the feminist wave that was to follow in the 70's. So being that I am naturally curious about the subject, I decided to see how they were being represented in animation in the 60's, 70's, and 80's as I had only the 90's to refer to (being that I'm only 22). I saw some of the Spiderwoman series, a few Wonder Woman clips, some Firestar in the Super friends series as well as Pryde of the X-men and was suddenly met with a very peculiar sight when I saw the suggested videos on my YouTube channel...
Tons and tons of brief footage of female superheroes being beaten into submission, gassed, frozen, or in some way, shape, or form over-powered.....
Now, simply because I searched for female superheroines, I'm always being subjected to all these images of female superheroes being harmed because there are apparently hundreds of these videos and not only that but whole channels devoted to the fetish. Not only that, but there are actually live-action fetish films wherein women dressed as superheroes are knocked out, choked, gassed, and defeated in a multitude of ways...all obviously with the intention of titillation. You could say this is merely the nature of fetish, taboo fantasies that have an outlet and perhaps there's some shred of sense in that but what has me disturbed is that an over abundance of these videos depict strong, iconic female superheroes rather than just any ordinary girl. It's almost as though the more powerful the woman the more arousing it is to see her beaten down and overcome which is nothing short of horrifying to me, especially with some of the comments I've seen along with these videos....
Something about the sound a woman makes or perhaps the way her body moves when she falls is sexual to some people which almost makes me fear there's some strange perversion with the animators as well, I doubt it but there are quite a few thousand viewers for every video so apparently it's not unpopular. I've actually seen it on Comicvine on occasion, there are sometimes numerous pictures uploaded simultaneously to a female superheroes profile all depicting her being punched or beaten in some way.
I personally am disappointed that contextual violence against women is being used for fetishistic purposes and unfortunately it's not something just relegated to superheroines either, I've seen innumerable profiles on Youtube wherein the theme is violence against women. Brief scenes of women being beaten, knocked out, punched, shocked, and physically overwhelmed seem to plague the internet and I find the trend to be very disturbing yet very seldom addressed adequately. There is a real difference between bondage or S&M where both parties are consenting as opposed to depictions of women who are being beaten into submission very much without consent of any kind.
Have you seen examples of this?
How much leeway should we provide for people who do have a fetish that involves this kind of violence? Should it be policed?
I must admit, when news first broke that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Catwoman, or rather, "Selina Kyle" as they termed it, I was none too pleased. Hathaway, a self-described "drama nerd", was not to my taste. Like posing on the covers of magazines and accepting starring roles in movies with promise of celebrity is "nerdy"? Come on. Anyways, I filed her away as a sort of faux-modest, "America's sweetheart" kind of girl. Though I secretly had seen "Becoming Jane" 3 or 4 times on basic cable, I maintained
this judgement yet didn't quite hold it against her until it was revealed she would be next to fill Selina's boots. That's when I began to object to her more fully. I criticized her brown blonde hair as a symptom of actress-like neuroses, wanting to be a blond and brunette simultaneously to maintain a certain "safe" neutrality. Sophisticated enough to be brunette but fun-loving enough to have blonde highlights. Barf.
I know, right? Aren't I just so incredibly pleasant? Yeesh. I must say most of the celebrities I don't like usually have more to substantiate my feelings about them but for a time sweet, inoffensive Anne Hathaway playing my childhood...and, well, adolescence and adulthood idol were all too much. I let it stew for a while and began to think about it here and there a bit more, though I discouraged people from seeing "Love and Other Drugs" as it seemed insufferably puppy-like with both Anne Hathaway AND Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead, I sort of shut the casting right out of my mind.
It wasn't until, by very odd means, I came to think of things differently. After her Oscar performance, Howard Stern commented on her "desperation" on his show, he said that if you just look at her dating record and her history with men, it's obvious she's in dire need of approval. As usual, he was pretty biting but Howard Stern's assessment of her sort of clobbered my impression of her as being a simple ingenue and that possibly she may be a bit more eccentric and interesting. For whatever reason, it compelled me to look at her bio on Wikipedia which detailed the fallout between herself and her real estate developer Raefello Follieri. I began to think that perhaps I'd dismissed her a little bit too quickly as surely she is a person as well, 3 dimensional with pathos, flaws, and all. But it wasn't enough, it wasn't enough until I started to watch more interviews with her and I found over time that in the less-publicized ones she was almost awkward, sincerely nerdy, a bit nutzo and "off" in a compelling way when she was unguarded. Strangely, the things about her mannerisms and her neurotic nature all became somewhat endearing.
The more I see of her in movies, the more I notice about the way she preforms versus how she presents herself publicly has made me believe she may very well be able to pull Catwoman off in a way that's never been done before. Furthermore, I heard she was so involved in an action scene she accidentally pegged a stunt man in the eye with the butt of a gun, that she kept tearing her costume because she was extending herself so much during fight sequences. Then, in what was probably the eve of the big reveal I saw her on the set of Batman dressed in some bizarre galaxy-themed t-shirt with distressed jean shorts, and a purse with excessive, almost obnoxious fringe...she looked reee-dic-ulous. Yet, within hours she ascended from the makeup chair looking impeccable with bright red lipstick, cat-eyed eyeliner, a black wife beater, black shorts, and a seemingly spontaneous grace. How she could look so ridiculous one moment and then so poised the next was just as mystifying as it was fascinating, she not only looked like a different woman, she appeared to act like one.
I saw two of her movies "Rachel Getting Married" and "The Devil Wears Prada" and suddenly I saw a remarkable talent I'd previously dismissed. She has a tremendous face that, when not fixed to a photogenic smile for the paps, is versatile and full of such liveliness. The subtlest expression is tenfold in effect with a beauty that couldbe all too intimidating were it not so versatile in it's playfulness and disarming vulnerability. Her physicality on screen is so much cooler and polished than I would've anticipated and nothing appears as rehearsed as I would've expected. And now here I am, someone who was a major critic, who is normally quite opinionated and quite decisive about how they feel actually feeling as though I'd been won over completely.
So, in the wake of this new Catwoman reveal I encourage fans to think more kindly of Anne Hathaway in spite of whatever the costume may look like. I've noticed a lot of the uproar compares her to Julie Newmar or Michelle Pfieiffer, claiming her to be too innocent-seeming or not nearly sexy enough to fulfill the role and where I would've once agreed, I'm more enchanted by her talent than ever before. I'm more sure that if anyone is to fall short on this it won't be Anne Hathaway. I almost feel as though she's lost her mind for this role and nestled comfortably into the complexities of the character in a way that could very well be both scene-stealing and image-changing for her. I understand the judgements and I understand the confusion with regards to the costume but I have a feeling these simple shots are only quick frames of what could be not only an extraordinary movie but a fantastic performance and portrayal of a beloved character.
Truth be told I didn't pay much attention to Janet Van Dyne. My special Marvel ladies have always been the Scarlet Witch, Boom-Boom, Jean Grey...just to name a few but lately something's begun to peeve me when it comes to Wasp. See, before I had more of a disinterest when it came to her but the wool was lifted when I read this....
For the first time in a long time, something that actually provided depth to Janet's character was explored and I realized that she's been sort of getting s**t from Marvel I'm not sure she deserves. Just think about the past decade....
- Civil War - Janet was hosting a reality show finding the next superhero, had maybe a few panels here and there and played no real role in it. - House of M - she was merely Ororo's fashion designer. Mind you, this is a universe Wanda constructed in which all of the superhumans live out their most ideal existence. In the beginning of the crossover she speaks about how she would consider Wanda like a sister to her and yet when it comes time for the battle she isn't present. Oh and by the way, she was the one who drunkenly revealed to Wanda she had kids previously. - Secret Invasion - Janet is collateral damage, dispatched by a Skrull posing as Hank.
To the last arc on the list, I recall reading an interview with Brian Michael Bendis where he stated that there was a list of characters who writers were allowed to kill in storylines. He saw Janet, picked her, and with that she was simply offed. First of all, while I understand a list of characters it's acceptable to kill is a probably an organizational tool, I must ask myself "What the f**K?!"...it definitely explains a lot in terms of the recent deaths we've seen. Whereas they used to be coming from a place of good storytelling, of impact, now there's just a hit list that any writer can go to when they want to "shock" us.
I hear so many people talk about the Avengers as though the glory days were in it's conception with Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor but truthfully, the only thing that made this comic a balanced platform for an ensemble cast were Hank and Janet. Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are their own beasts, they have their own franchises, and together the only real dynamic is between Cap and Iron Man as their ideologies clash. But the real meat in the Avengers has always been the relationships and the dynamics of the team, as opposed to the individual egos. Heavy hitters like Hulk or Iron Man look good together but the Avengers got so much more mileage out of the Scarlet Witch, Vision, Quicksilver, Hawkeye, Wasp, and Ant-Man when it comes to arcs and character development. They were the heart of the Avengers.
Where other premiere Marvel Women like Jean Grey, the Scarlet Witch, and Invisible Woman have managed to grow, Janet seems stuck in the 60's portrayal of her character. Frivolous, flirty, and easily bested- it's a shame. She was a chairwoman of the Avengers for ages, she's been one of their most consistent team members, her storyline with Hank about domestic assault was easily the very first of it's kind, and throughout the years Janet actually has been a valuable asset to the Avengers from a management standpoint. She was brutally killed in the Ultimates arc and outside of comics altogether she is really only represented in cartoons. Even in the most recent cartoon, she's not considered a founding Avenger but rather a college student who's significantly more meek than her allies. As for the movie? She's MIA. I mean, the cast itself could use at least one other woman seeing as how the Black Widow is the only one on the Avengers. From what I understand, Joss Whedon was pushing for Wasp to be included but was denied sometime last year.
Now, the Avengers, a name she created, is likely to be retconned because apparently there was an Avengers team created by Nick Fury before they had even assembled. And Hank's little plot to bring Janet back? Thwarted. Apparently it was Krovac's wife that he had been harnessing this whole time. I know in the past Janet's been portrayed as a mischievous, flighty, and sometimes emasculating character but in the 90's and early 00's, it appeared her character had finally settled into being a respectable member of the Avengers only to be offed like it was nothing.
I just don't really see why a more whimsical character deserves such a crap deal. Is it possible that someone interested in the world of fashion, someone who longs to be married, someone who comes from money should be defined by these characteristics?
In light of the Dark Avengers and their escapades during Siege as well as numerous villain-led titles over the years, I've wondered whether or not now is the time to start to carve out a superhero genre in the comicbook lexicon in pop culture. As many people know, there was a movie in pre-production for years which would've told Magneto's origins specifically, something of which numerous fans were excited about. Directors were intermittently associated with the project before it eventually formed into the current First
Class project which both intrigues and scares hoards of us X-men fans who are cautiously standing by as continuity is bent for mass-marketing. Of course, no matter what the project, it was always susceptible to studio-head interpretation which is shifty and unfocused at best...colorful and occasionally fulfilling at best though. From what I understand, it would've fallen within the realm of First Class anyways, detailing the relationship between Xavier and "Erik" (who should actually be referred to as MAGNUS) but I couldn't help but still think of the wonderment, freshness it could have promised nonetheless.
Of course, for me, this exploration into Magneto's character would've been much more so about his escape from Auschwitz, his romance with his wife Magda, their daughter Anya's tragic death, Wanda and Pietro's birth followed by Magda's suicide, and Magneto assembling the Brotherhood with Toad, Mastermind then eventually Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Magneto's ascent into power is interesting because he broke the rules, because his moral code is built around his agenda for mutantkind, and because in some ways, much like Malcom X or Che Guevara, there was a certain validity to some of his stances (emphasis on the SOME). That poses a ridiculously fascinating question that I think exceeds people's expectations of what a superhero movie should be. And it ending with Magneto corrupting Wanda and Pietro would've been the icing on the cake! It's so tragic, dramatic, and violent, it's almost or Shakespearean or Greek caliber! Too spectacular to fall by the wayside yet somehow it did anyways. Just look at Dark Knight and how enthralled people were with the Joker, the most quotable movie line of that year was easily "Why so serious?" and the Joker's mixed origins as well as the threat he posed to Batman was so compelling to people that they just couldn't get enough. The Joker action figure was sold out in days and made rarity because something about that character was so alien yet so fascinating people were instantly obsessed. Has the ever been an actor who's won an Oscar for a superhero movie? The answer is no. Imagine a movie loaded to the brim with Joker-like charisma and how many eyebrows that would raise. I tend to think Joker is best when he plays off of Batman but my point is less about the Joker and more about the idea that a villain could resonate with so many people. Some of my favorite reads when it comes to solo series are centric around villains, actually. The Harley Quinn series was dynamite, particularly since I always had a light- hearted regard for Harley yet as soon as I finished the last issue I couldn't help but be completely immersed in her twisted mythology. Her constant struggle between selfish motives and selfless motives, her low self-esteem and dependency on the Joker for fulfillment, never ever did I think Harley Quinn could be so 3-dimensional and yet with every issues I loved her character more and more. You literally do not know what to expect, there's not a healthy amount of logic applied to any of Harley's decisions and therefore everything is genuinely exciting, entertaining, thrilling even. Where with other titles there always has to be a way in which Batman or Wolverine or Spiderman will have to convince you there is imminent danger headed in their direction, with a title like Harley Quinn's you're definitely more fearful of what she might inflict on someone else. Not to mention, someone whose mind so leisurely wanders off to criminal places in such a charming way is hilarious to boot! And I can't go talking about villain-led titles without giving Mystique her props. The Mystique series was maybe my very favorite solo series EVER. Recently, Mystique has been portrayed as the shape-shifting seductress who sweeps in on the X-men usually with kamikaze motives. But this series unveiled a Mystique that was both detrimentally and hilariously stubborn and unrepentant yet still killer and almost heroic in her survival instincts. The series caused me to look back into Mystique’s history and I found her to be far more ambiguous and fascinating then I’d ever imagined. She worked her way up to the Pentagon and not just with her shape-shifting abilities but on her intellect. While Xavier and Magneto are the most prominent mutant rights activists, Mystique’s a full-fledged veteran and she’s twice the age (and possibly some change) of Mags and Xavier put together. If anything, Mystique’s been long underestimated and shoved to subordinate level villainy where she should be much more prominent. As a matter in fact, I recall listening to the X2 commentary and I believe it was either a producer or a screenwriter that claimed he proposed a spy movie centric around Mystique after production that never came to be. Shame. I’ve always thought Quentin Tarantino could really pull off a gritty Mystique movie but alas, he said on Howard Stern he only felt comfortable doing a superhero movie if he were able to create the mythology which is admirable I suppose. Then, of course, there’s the Dark Avengers who I had a strange affection for. Not so much Norman Osborn seeing as how he killed my sweet, dear Gwen Stacy but the rest were oddly intriguing to me. To see a bunch of outcasts and criminals try to pose as heroes brought about such interesting antics particularly when they mercilessly cut down some of Marvel’s greatest heroes. Victoria Hand having to supervise their escapades gave it all a very bureaucratic charm as she struggled to handle the group of thugs and convincingly sell them as celebrity-caliber superheroes. Strangely, it made the roles of so many beloved Marvel fixtures more believable to me seeing as how they were largely overcome and had to earn back their mantles. Ultimately, I think there’s a certain allure in the anti-hero/villain category that has yet to be capitalized on. Not that I approve of every last depiction, I find Daken to be cumbersome and unlikeable mainly, overloaded with the same clunky predictability Logan is constantly threatened with. I think it all boils down to villains who fancy themselves superheroes that adds a whole new dimension to the franchise. With Spider-man we’re being beaten over the head with the “with great power comes great responsibility mantra” but what better way is there to re-enforce the potent, sound nature of that statement then seeing someone with superpowers completely abuse them unapologetically?
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I said it. Jean is one of my favorite characters and I think what distinguishes her from other heroes is that she doesn't actually seem to fit well under her alter-ego, she's predominantly been identified as Jean Grey which is something that beautifully contradicts the superhero genre in a way I'm unwilling to let go of. She's been Marvel Girl and she's been The Phoenix but being that the Phoenix has infested a number of different hosts over the years, it's too fluid to be sustained within Jean. And I know, I know, I know, it was said that Jean is the Phoenix and the Phoenix is Jean in "Endsong" but frankly that doesn't hold water.
The Phoenix is not unlike a parent of Jean's, it can take credit for her creation but not who she has come to be at all. It literally is in her genetic makeup to be a host for the Phoenix BUT the whole reason Jean exists as a separate identity at all is because the Phoenix shattered into a million pieces and as such Jean is a product of the Phoenix's failure to manage it's own power. As a fragment of the Phoenix force, she's a part of it but I'm afraid the division of the Phoenix force has also given Jean an entirely different identity than the Phoenix force itself. She's established relationships, meaningful bonds, morals, principals, convictions- these aren't the traits of a god, they're the traits of a human and they've all accumulated through Jean's existence and experience as a human being. That can't be undone, the Phoenix Force could consume Jean again to retrieve it's sense of humanity but being that she's already forfeited so much of her life to its existence doesn't that mean she's entitled to a life of her own at this point? The Phoenix force is all-powerful and it can't even grant the very heart of it's being with the freedom to live on it's own? Surely it could just relinquish Jean's life and body, give it back to the world and take from her all the power it instilled within her. The Phoenix should pour everything Jean was as a person into a new vessel (Hope, maybe?) and withdraw itself from constant intrusion in her life.
Because, let's face it, the Phoenix Force has been the source of all Jean's turmoil for a very long time. It's forced Logan to torture her repeatedly by stabbing her in the gut, it forced her to explode herself into a million pieces after the Shi'ar trials, her whole family was killed to prevent the Phoenix force from living again, and it has taken away from years upon years of her life. How could anything responsible for all this mayhem have no appreciation for the suffering it's indirectly forced upon a piece of it's own being? And would removing Jean from the picture and having her serve it for all time really provide such a great alternative anyways? Those memories of Jean's life were all creations of Jean's, not some celestial force that went about it's way without her. She owes it nothing but the Phoenix Force owes Jean everything.
Also, from an almost editorial standpoint, the Phoenix's inclusion in the X-men/MU mythology may be exciting but it's not terribly interesting. "The Phoenix Saga" and it's main appeal actually has nothing to do with the Phoenix, I'm so disappointed we've all lost sight of that, it's about Jean and her struggle with power, her indecision about sacrifice, the centric role she had established as a founder of the X-men. Jean was a character before the Phoenix force even entered the picture and plenty of who she established as in the beginning has been disregarded. Her trauma over losing her best friend and subsequent catatonia, her relationship with Scott and how dependent he was on her to get him out of his shell, and the struggle to maintain her powers in a way that still was metered back enough to keep her from liberally invading minds and spreading telepathic influence- whenever any of these concepts are explored it always ends with Jean being maimed, killed, tortured, or exploded into oblivion in the name of the Phoenix force. Has she no other pathos? Even after the Saga, she lost her sister and after "Endsong" she lost her entire family...so why on earth could any of us readers really care about inter-dimensional timeline reconstruction and cosmic scales in need of balancing past any humanly comprehension? The rich, bustling with potential character of Jean is always snuffed by this.
I'm sorry but if Marvel or the fans or anyone at all wants Jean back, the only guarantee, the only plausible way that can happen is without the Phoenix force because she certainly isn't around now because of it.
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When I was young, like pre-teen young, as a Buffy fan with limited internet access and quite little understanding of how a television show works I still knew the name Joss Whedon. As a matter in fact, knowing his name and appreciating who he is lead me to appreciate Marti Noxon, Doug Petrie, Jane Espenson, Drew Z. Greenberg, David Fury, David Greenwalt, and many of the writers and producers who contributed to Buffy. In what other franchise could material resonate so much with fans to a point where the creators and writers are just as much stars as the actors? Hardly any. I credit Joss Whedon a lot for inspiring me throughout my youth to want to write and create new mythologies, new ideas which is why I absolutely cannot abide by this Buffy remake nonsense.
Hollywood right now is so despicable and repugnant in a way it hasn't been for a very long time which has been sealed for me personally with news of this remake. In the future I feel as though people will look back at this time in cinema as being only monumental from a technological standpoint, otherwise it's bound to look depressing and
barren. Yes, as cool as it may seem to some, 3D will become old hat much like technicolor and oh yeah, 3D when it came around the first time. These huge special effects people fawn over will pass this innovation period and they'll be produced at a rapid rate, the impact of earlier explorations will be dulled as it will be commonplace. And these totally unnecessary sequels and remakes will mark an absolute absence of originality and emotional dimension in cinema. That the industry would take something a good person like Joss Whedon made from the ground-up and do whatever they please with it is really a show of the times.
Now, I'm not going to be the hobo on a soapbox and claim the end of the world is near or anything like that but too see something like Buffy be subject to this is just too shameful to not say something about, even if it's just to 10 people. The Buffy comic, which has been selling well, is actually one of the only comics I consistently buy and though it's all far less overtly displayed, everything Buffy that I could get my hands on I still own, I still remember every episode name, a whole sea of quotes, and even if it doesn't consume as much time as it used to in my life, I'm really grateful to have been there for the ride and enjoyed it the way I have. I know that a lot of the people I've met through Buffy have a similar sentimental regard for it and though it's quite peripheral in conversation now I really, really hope a lot of other people hang on to Joss' creation and are not swayed to see this movie.
Did I ever think this may happen? Of course. Was I okay with it? Sure. Because in my mind, theoretically, I imagined anyone in their right mind would do this in 10 or 20 years from now. But this I could've never imagined especially given that a lot of the actors are only in their 30's and the show hasn't even been off the air for a decade yet. Joss Whedon and the writers aside, this is a horrible insult to Sarah Michelle Gellar who even to this day still has approval over Buffy's image and has shown the utmost devotion to Buffy. Her portrayal of Buffy is so fresh in my mind and her vitality is so present it just seems almost cruel to try and plow over the endless hours of hard work she put into to making that character along with her fellow actors who gave performances that were ridiculously underrated. You look at an episode like "The Body" and it's clear that there was a sharp, intense dynamic between everyone who worked on that set. To impede on that and to try to create a new canon entirely so soon after is just plain disrespectful to all of them and I really hope that anyone attached to show has the pride to not even accept a cameo.
What's even worse? There are new slayers all the time these days! If these studio executives knew anything about Buffy at all, they could've realized this and created a spin-off with a totally different character which I imagine Joss would've been up for writing but the fact they don't even want to bother with meticulously woven storyline just goes to show you they really don't care about Buffy. By not caring about Buffy they, in turn, obviously don't care very much for the fans and are obviously just trying to capitalize on the familiarity of the name to make a buck which just really, truly makes my blood boil.
So really, seriously, I wouldn't normally do this but I just want to say to all Buffy fans- don't even consider seeing this. Look back on those 122 hours of television Joss and the cast and crew gave us and really think about whether or not you want to throw a few bucks at people who just completely undermines all of that. Also, if anyone knows any petition or open letter or whatever that's being put together please let me know.
Of valentine hue and majestic form, I am totally in love with the Scarlet Witch's default costume. I made it my icon afterall, didn't I? Pink and red aren't commonly mixed but what I love about Wanda's overall image is that it forces illustrators to use colors all very close on the spectrum that still look diverse and visually-appealing, it's a challenge that brings out the best in a colorist. What also interests me is that her costume is vaguely similar to Magneto's being that her tiara is in the shape of a red M similar to how his Roman-style helmet looks. Depending on the artist, the one-piece she wears with it occasionally has a more structured, paneled look to it which I also enjoy as well as a few similar designs that came after which only slightly deviated from her original.
Though I still can't fathom why fans are so fond of Bucky taking Cap's mantle, I must say I do like Steve Rogers in his new covert spy gear. The boots have nice detailing to them, I'm a fan of holsters and utility belts as well particularly the kind that go over the shoulder blades like we see here. Deep blue usually isn't my thing (I like Cap retro powder blue in his original costume, actually) but this navy is classy and very vintage in a way I imagine Steve Rogers would appreciate especially given the white star in the middle. The gloves are nice bad-ass straying from his usually clean-cut style and I also find his parted, blonde hair to be very cute. I also give props to whoever designed this because afterall, how do you illustrate something that's Steve Rogers but not Cap? It's been his identity for ages.
Emma's costume design, which I believe is by John Cassaday, is fantastic. The cape stops just at her shoulders which seems very much to Emma's vixen persona yet it drapes over her in a such a way that definitely discourages oglers if need be. The chest piece she wears which is really just a corset is usually depicted as being paneled, displaying a bit of cleavage and bit of her tummy but it works because the cape creates a neckline that prevents it from looking too sleazy. The shoes are occasionally illustrated as 60's platforms which I can appreciate that are attached to her pantlegs. Occassionally there's a choker which I am bit opposed to being that hardly any girls outside of anime or S&M porn wear but Emma somehow escape criticism from me.
X-Factor: Forever Jean looks fantastic to me, as a matter in fact, as soon as Marvel stops robbing us of money and decides to bring her back I hope she looks something like this. They frequently say red heads should wear green but I think hot colors do wonders for a ginger as evidenced here. It's a pretty basic top but it hugs Jean's shoulders in a really complimentary way and I just love how it loops around her left leg. The boots are smashing as well as the gloves, it's almost as though Jean's channeling her Marvel Girl costume which I've always been very fond of. Also, might I mention it's a great relief to me that an artist finally dropped the heinous permed hair she'll get every now and then. Yes, she had really curly hair during the Phoenix Saga but that was the 80's! This pincurl look Jean has is much better, she's a classy broad, we cannot forget that!
Though I appreciate his recent re-designs, I was very fond of Wiccan's first outfit when he went by the short-lived name of Asgardian. It's a Scarlet Witch/Thor mashup, he is the team mage after all so it only makes sense and it's quite successful too. The red cape, which he adorns over one shoulder looks particularly nice and the glowing radial designs (somewhat Ultimate Thor-esque) give him a nice mystical quality along with a really sharp functional look with the bound, fingerless gloves. It's very sleek and epic and how could it not be? His bloodline and his source of inspirations for this particular costume call for it.
Ain't nobody who looks quite like our Typhoid Mary. Her general costume is a bushido-stripper mix which I quite like. Though her costume in the 80's referenced some truly horrendous high fashion at the time it evolved into a series of cool costumes that really fit her persona as a street fighter. She's nuts and just looking at her you might think she's a punk who mugged a football player but it works along with her half-Kabuki makeup and flaming red hair.
Thanks to Frank Miller (whom I love and hate) trench coats are rather par for the course in terms of street-level types like Rictor but he has a nice finesse that's very true to a man of his age. The parted hair which varies from being grungy to styled along with his stubble distinguishes Rictor as well as softens him in a sense and the sweater he wears is slightly guerilla and militaristic but not in desperately gritty type way, it almost looks as though he bought it in Urban Outfitters or something along with those jeans and fingerless gloves. He'll lead you to believe he doesn't care about the way he looks since he's in this or a white muscle shirt or leather jacket but I imagine Rictor's going for this look and I like it!
Catwoman's had many costumes throughout the years and for a while she was stuck in this purple getup that just didn't quite suit her. This new look, which she's hung onto for about a decade now, is inspired by Emma Peel from the BBC classic "The Avengers" (not associated with the comic). Much like the current Steve Rogers, it's a retro spy look with sleek cateye goggles that are surprisingly untacky along with a functional that makes Catwoman appear far more of an adequate and formidable hero than just a woman in unitard who feels like flirting with Batman every now and then. The biker boots are particularly good for kicking faces in and the radial zipper and belt buckle give her basic leather cat suit design a sleek edge. By the way, the Phoenix Saga heavily references "The Avengers" as well, as a matter in fact, Emma's name and Jean's black queen outfit are also direct homages to Emma Peel as well.
Huntress's latest outfit is disconcerting to me, I can't imagine a mafia princess would keep her abs exposed when so many thugs carry around knives but when she was just beginning she definitely did have it right. The mask, a amalgam of Catwoman and Batman's, has a nice pointed center which I've always liked as well as the pointed ears. Something about the black hair and pointed ears along with the mixture of dark purple and black gives Huntress a very severe look which is 100% necessary for Helena seeing as how she likes to sneak up on pedophiles and beat them relentlessly with baseball bats. I like this outfit because it's pretty much Catwoman + Batman + Pissed off, irrationally violent and reckless Italiano gal. I also like that the purple panels that run over her chest look like they've been lined with Kevlar, it really gives you the impression this is Helena's creation...or the Italian designer who's life she threatened to make it for her. Anyways, Helena's on a single track to some brawling fun, this costume is pretty overt and without any cockamamie distractions or embellishments.
Speaking of take-no-prisoners chicks, this outfit Monet wore has always been a favorite of mine because it remained this very specific maroon color for most of the time she wore it. That's interesting to me because maroon or this vague sort of purple is really a superhero color which makes it refreshingly new and innovative with a short cape that flows nicely off her back when she flies, I also really like the gloves which stop short just after the wrist. It's a bunch of decisions that you normally wouldn't see made in a superhero costume but it works and it's very Monet and quite noir as well.
In the midst of a bit of a breakdown, Boom Boom temporarily referred to herself as Timebomb and came up with this number which was a variation of the X-force costume at the time. It's spunky with the bear arms and millennial tech-vest as well as the bright yellow goggles, this was one of the first times Tabby was without frills though and there's something really enjoyable about seeing her get into some beat-em up action in this outfit. The boots have nice detailing but above all it's a basic, very militaristic getup which played as a nice contrast to her character's troubled yet charming demeanor. She would later wear this with a burglar mask, also awesome, and longer hair with a bit of a spunky curl in it.
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As a hardcore fan of the Scarlet Witch, I've been brushing up a bit on her early Avengers days and one of the things I noticed was that when it came to fights she would always gesture from the sidelines till she was knocked out or fainted from exhaustion. This was something I noticed with Jean Grey and Wasp too, they were always placed outside of the battlefield where they attack either in an aerial way (like Wasp) or from a distance (like Jean). Not that I don't understand this when it comes to tactics because they're almost like snipers but being that they never get a perch or anywhere to place themselves where they aren't susceptible they're always among the first to be taken down. Being that more women had psionic powers back in the day, a lot of this can be copped up to sexism and this was really before kung-fu or anything of the sort became popular so complex action wasn't exactly a huge fixture in comics anyways. But I see it even now and I really wonder why.
There was an issue of New X-men where Jean managed to clobber a bunch of Shi-Ar assassins with just her fists and it was downright awesome but it's one of the only instances she ever has done anything of the sort. Yet, in her early days she was able to telekinetically disassemble and reassemble a rifle and we've seen Psylocke use her powers to put more impact in her melee (a rarity with psionics). Wasp could make herself gigantic if she wanted to and that doesn't necessarily mean she has be 20 feet tall, she could morph herself to 6 feet tall and pack quite a punch. Scarlet Witch was trained by Magneto on Asteroid M and no krav maga or martial arts ever came into play?
Gwen Stacy is a fascinating specimen when it comes to comic book characters. She's a civilian, she's been dead for ages, and she wasn't ever a centric character but people still can't get enough of her. One thing that initially attracted me personally to Gwen was that she was almost like a time-capsule in that she's forever stuck in 60's mod fashion. Gwen Stacy has such an iconic look to her that stripes, blond hair, bangs, a headband, go-go boots, and skirt equal Gwen Stacy to me. Now, you could argue that's a superficial affection I have for her and that Gwen Stacy the character fails to be anything more than a Mary-Sue figure in the Spider-man franchise. After-all, Gwen's more recent appearances are usually splash pages of sweet nothings with Gwen and Peter frolicking through New York all ending with Gwen lying limp in his arms as he cries out in agony. This is something I can't abide, I don't like any characters because they're "hot" or "have cool powers", I need substance and so I deduced the only way I could get a firm grasp on Gwen was to read every issue she'd ever been in before she died. Now that I have, I find Gwen to actually be infinitely more fascinating, complex, and conflicted than she's ever been given credit for, rather than ogling her death or relating everything back to Peter I realize she underwent a rather unlikely and surprising transition throughout her run on Amazing Spider-man. Beneath is what I found in pursuit of Ms. Stacy.....
-The Signature Gwen Stacy Look- That iconic hair I was speaking of? It wasn't a fixture at all in Gwen's initial appearance. Though she's usually depicted as angelic and saintly, Gwen actually had a more devil-like, vixen finesse early on. She had no bangs, and her hair was parted with clips on either side above her forehead that almost looked
like devil horns and though Mary-Jane's always been the one to wear more bold colors in contrast to Gwen, Gwen initially wore mostly red and black.
- Petey and Gwen: Where Sparks Flew - Along with her devilish appearance, Gwen was also quite a force of nature back in the day. We're accustomed to seeing Gwen vulnerable and mostly agreeable but initially she was sassy and brazen even in her pursuit of Peter. Being that she hung around Flash and Harry, Gwen was rather used to attention from men and is depicted as having crowds of suitors fawning over her only to be rejected by the persnickety Gwen. The only man who didn't appear to proposition or ogle her was Peter Parker which immediately won her respect. Unfortunately, Peter barely notices Gwen initially and all her attempts at catching his attention are met with unintentionally chilly reception. She asks for pen during lab class and Peter barely turned his head to give it to her which Gwen found rude and disrespectful. The test tube he's working with explodes thanks to a prank Harry and Flash play on him which results in Peter getting into trouble with their professor. Gwen, in an effort to make amends, influences Harry to take Peter out for a soda to make up for it. Awh, so sweet but when Gwen tries to catch Peter's attention later on in the lab and he seemingly ignored her and ran off, Gwen then becomes deeply resentful. "The unmitigated nerve of him! Nobody gives Gwen Stacy the brush off that way! You, young man, are going to regret that, I promise!" says Gwen as he left. Emma Frost, eat your heart out! For the next few issues Gwen sweeps in only to snipe at Peter Parker for being a "snob" while having thought bubbles where her admissions of attraction to him become more and more frequent. As tension builds and builds, they finally reach an explosive confrontation....
Peter: Hi Gwen, we're both heading for the same class. Mind if I join you? Gwen: What are you doing, Mr. Parker? Slumming? Usually you're too stuck up to say hello to anyone! Peter: Well, at least I'm not a temperamental female who drools over a fella one day then acts like an icicle to him the next! Gwen: Even if you are E.S.U's newest science scholarship whiz-kid, nobody talks to me that way.... Peter: C'mon, Gwen, simmer down! Let's bury the hatchet, huh? Gwen: You think you can say what you want to me and then --- THWAK
Oh yes. Gwen tried to slap Peter right across the face. Can ya believe it?
Flash sees Peter and Gwen in the heat of the moment and breaks it up, thinking Peter was manhandling Gwen. He challenges Peter to a fist fight but Gwen intervenes and then Flash backs down. Frankly, though I don't know I would've slapped him, referring to Gwen simply as a "temperamental female" whom he refers to as "drooling over" him does kind of make Peter out to be a bit of a douche. He follows it up also by telling Gwen that if she damaged his profile all the girls at E.S.U will be disappointed. I don't blame Petey though because with Stan Lee running things and it being the 60's and all, a little sexism is par for the course.
I do however enjoy Gwen Stacy's inner conflict about the whole situation. She's witty, sharp, assertive, and charismatic which wins many people over instantly yet secretly she longs to find something more substantial which she sees in Peter Parker. The only condition, however, is that she forfeit her overwhelming pride and win him over with genuineness and vulnerability which forces her to constantly be outside of her comfort zone around him. It's refreshingly un-damsel like of Gwen to have to leap this hurdle though, as a matter in fact, most of their interaction earlier doesn't involve Spidey saving her or anything of the sort, she's more a fixture in Peter's life. Why this side of her has never be explored again eludes me.
- Gwendy's Shows Some Heart - You know, I liked "Blue" when I read it, of course I'm partial to anything Tim Sale, but if you recall there was a scene where Gwen rides on a motorcycle with Peter. He comes roaring in the parking lot, she's totally turned on by him, wind blowing through her hair as they drive off. Well guess what? Never happened. At least not that wayand I'm very disappointed it was depicted this way as I am very disappointed Gwen sleeps with Peter later on in that series on the basis that he "protected" her. It's a poor characterization of Gwen, she was always far more attracted to the fact that he was unlike the men around her who frequently resorted to overcompensating through things like fast cars to get attention. She's the daughter of a cop, Gwen's seen machismo left and right all her life and though she could occasionally be slightly vain, I can't imagine Gwen being so superficial. Peter did in fact buy a motorcycle though and he did in fact drive it right up to Gwen, Flash, and Harry in a parking lot on campus and while Harry and Flash were impressed, Gwen was disappointed. She was disappointed because she knew it was just Peter's attempt at a gaining the acceptance of other people, she was disappointed because it seem disingenuous to her and believed Peter was wonderful as is. That's so much more profound and un-cliche than what "Blue" would depict later on.
- Relationship with Mary Jane - Gwen and Mary Jane were frequently depicted as friends with a playful rivalry between the two of them and while that's somewhat true, it didn't come until far later on. As a matter in fact, as soon as Mary Jane came into the picture Gwen skedaddled for a while only to find that she began to miss the man, awkward misunderstandings and all. How does Gwen resolve this? Peeved by Peter's sudden disinterest in her as well as his running around with notorious "party girl" Mary Jane, she decides to invite both him and Mary Jane to Flash's party as he is military-bound. As Peter considers, he invites Gwen out for a soda & some English lit review but without a second thought she rejects him, telling him Mary Jane should suffice as a lit tutor seeing as how she'll be too busy setting up the party for Flash. Oh Gwen, you minx! Gotta love her approach though, where most women simply sit on the sidelines and get catty, Gwen practically invites confrontation but with the polished nature of a chick who just doesn't care. Later that night, as she's being picked up, Gwen's a part of one of my favorite exchanges ever in any comic....
Gwen: Ah, my two gallant knight on their speeding steed. Harry: Gwen!! If...If I'd known you'd look like that I'd have gotten here sooner! Gwen: What did you expect me to look like? Yogi Bear? Peter: If you think it's too chilly we can put the top up? Gwen: Bite your tongue, impetuous one! We night night people thrive on moon burns!
Whoa! Gotta love the theatricality of 60's Marvel, better diction and such gusto! As Peter says in the next panel, Gwen sends him "into orbit" whenever he looks at her at this point. Pretty spectacular, I say, though she's looking to be attention grabbing I rather enjoy Gwen Stacy's confidence here especially since it's so beautifully layered over the vulnerability we've seen earlier. This is Gwen's overcompensation, her pride beaming, it's fantastic because she truly has a fighting spirit about her, a real sass. Where ever did that go in later depictions?
Though she's likely hurt and offended by Peter's bond to MJ, Gwen very casually eludes to the possibility she may interested in Flash or Harry the next few times she sees Peter. Though it would come off a little trampy on any other girl, Gwen plays it quite cleverly and sardonically. I especially like an exchange between Gwen and Peter where she accepts a ride on his motorcycle where Peter asks if Gwen finds Flash attractive to which she responds "How many blushing blondes would find a hip, handsome footballl hero totally repulsive?" it's hilarious because Gwen is far from blushing and the fact that she disingenuously and almost jokingly pigeonholes herself into a stereotype shows a level of self-awareness a superhero girlfriend wouldn't have shown at that time.
Funnily enough, her rivalry with Mary Jane caused Gwen to change her hairstyle as well to the one we know and love now.....
Of course this spawns a friendship between Mary Jane and Gwen that involves the occasional catty remark here and there. Still, the camaraderie between the two is another thing I find particularly endearing about Gwen and her arc, to be magnanimous enough to forge a friendship between herself and MJ after so much rivalry was a far better resolution than simply going down the generic catfight route. Of course, this usually is the source of much fanfiction involving threeways but what can ya do? I suspect Gwendy would never go for it myself, far too territorial.
- Daddy's Girl - Gwen's mother died a long time ago apparently and as such she has only her father. Police Captain George Stacy, the classic over-protective father who's intertwined with many of Gwen and Peter's storylines for a time. He's initially stern and hard to win over, he also smacks himself and blames it on Peter which causes Gwen to kick him out of the household, suffice to say, he has the kind of personality only a daughter could appreciate. But in a way, it explains a lot about Gwen's initial demeanor as a tough-as-nails heartbreaker with an abundance of pride, she is inevitably closest to her father which causes her to embody some of his more prominent character traits. It also explains why Gwen keeps such douchey company with Flash and Harry, she's comfortable around men who've always got something to prove which makes them easy for her to sympathize with. Though, perhaps, the fact that her father is such an overbearing presence in her life is the reason why Gwen is attracted to Peter seeing as how he's not like George at all. Gentle, introverted, and mostly passive, Petey has the appearance of genuinely confident man to Gwen.
- He's Just Not That Into You - One of the most tragic things about Gwen Stacy was that she never knew Peter was Spider-man which left her constantly thinking he was ignoring her. Naturally when one is reading a Spider-man comic, it's only natural you sympathize with the title character but in a way and get frustrated with Gwen's lack of empathy. Though with my pursuit of more knowledge of Gwen, I began to feel an immense amount of sympathy for her character especially knowing how gregarious she started off. Here she is, all her defenses down after much effort and the person she's done it all for is always disappearing. Even more tragic is that Gwen never knew Peter was Spider-man, something I imagine Peter likely agonizes over given it caused so much pain and distress for Gwen causing her to be more and more neurotic. Gwen never used to break into tears but towards the end she appeared to burst into tears any given moment, Peter definitely sent her through the motions.
- She Hate Me - When George Stacy died he just so happened to die in Spider-man's arms, it all so very tragic as he tells Peter he knows he is Spider-man and that Gwen loves him. It would be such a majestic and sweet moment had it not been preceded by Spider-man and Doc Oc fighting in a battle which indirectly caused George Stacy's death as a result of falling debris. From then on, Gwen spirals into absolute, full on grieving-mode where she swears revenge on Spider-man in a tear-addled soliloquy right in front of Peter. Oh boy. Yup, imagine how mortifying that must've been. Even more mortifying? Gwen offers to help Sam Bullit in his campaign for DA solely because he's completely opposed to Spider-man. This caused a rift between Gwen and Peter that Gwen, naturally, could not understand at all and with the death of her father she was left orphaned and grieving. Poor, poor girl. Poor Petey too, some of the last months of Gwen's life were spent totally resenting his alter-ego. It's an interesting struggle but since then has there ever been any exploration into this? Hardly at all, it always just goes back to that night Gwen died which is a shame because there was so much to Gwen's story that that really was tragic beforehand. Including, the fact that she abruptly left for England afterward after and under such horrific circumstances too....
Gwen Stacy is amazing. So much more than I ever expected. She's a Queen Bee, totally composed and polished being at the center of attention and with the wit and sass to match it, far more feisty and assertive than I'd ever imagined. She's complex, struggling constantly to reconcile the odd relationship she has with Peter wherein she's frequently abandoned and/or misunderstood, made peripheral or excluded. The fact that a woman who started so strong and self-assured goes through such intense feelings of inadequacy is interesting to me. I see an unintentionally profound and interesting transition from start to finish here, a characterization that was perhaps never conceptualized but came to be and still remains (unfortunately) undiscovered yet no less compelling. Gwen is more than just Spider-man's dead girlfriend, she's a whirlwind of conviction, intense emotions, passion, unyielding finesse, brazenness, and beauty! She's neurotic, emotional, occasionally impulsive but all endearingly so!
After brushing up, I came to discover that though she doesn't get a bad wrap, she gets the wrong wrap. In the 3rd Spider-man movie, the animated series, the Mary-Jane series, and her most recent appearances in comics she's elevated to this level of sweetness that's just doesn't encompass the other dimensions of her character. We're so consumed by the fact that her death is the root of this angst, the end of the Silver Age, the first girlfriend of a superhero to perish and frankly if you look into who she was, I almost find that to be among the least interesting things. She had a real life and vitality to her, a certain character and presence that has more or less been completely forgotten or glossed over. I love that she was a mess, I love that she was arrogant, I love that she could take it too far sometimes and I'm really glad to have read about Gwen because now I feel there is genuine reason to like her that doesn't just pigeonhole her as an accessory to Peter Parker and strangely though, at the same time, it makes it easier to understand why Peter loved her so damn much....
I noticed that there's an increasingly large level of interest in putting superheroes on the small screen and there are absolutely no objections here. TV is better than film right now. That's right, you heard me, instead of remakes, romcoms, endless 3D explorations, and action films with the generic choral queue during a slow-mo, there's a whole bevy of creative minds putting together infinitely stronger stories on television. They're killin' it. Now, I know where comic book characters are concerned, people are still hung up on Birds of Prey or Smallville or Heroes, I understand how you may be jaded but there's a real lush opportunity here that Marvel and DC and any other comic book title MUST capitalize on.
I, however, am totally opposed to this happening on the major networks. The CW is so incredibly anal about appearance that they place Bolshevik-caliber attention on keeping things softcore and glossed over, watch La Femme Nikita (as in, the original movie) and then see Nikita- all the grit is gone and replaced with a 17 magazine veneer. I know it
has it's fans and I respect that but I just know a team of writers and the right actors could have had this show supernova by now. With Smallville, it's the same deal, it's not bad per se but it could be better, who in the hell would make Black Canary a conservative radio-show host, really? Then there was Heroes which just became too big, too fast and didn't have the pzazz it needed to survive. There weren't enough females, too many good characters were killed too soon, they spent too much time on Sylar, and it never had the emotional drama it needed to really take flight. Birds of Prey? Gag. I liked it when it came out but I was a pre-teen, I see it now and I'm disenchanted. The major networks clearly just have issues taking the right risks, it's not character-driven any more on a majority of the shows you see and comicbooks are more than just "BAM" and "POW", we need to see awesome characters. Buffy and Angel? Fanastic shows with really grand plots but most recently when Joss Whedon released Dollhouse it was completely ravaged by the network.
Speaking of characters, I imagine a lot of people are afraid that without the budget and CGI effects, our heroes won't be as vibrant as they are on screen. Well, look what excessive CGI-centric actions sequences did to Spiderman 3 or Iron Man 2 or Wolverine: Origins- wouldn't you forfeit those long, arduous action sequences for a better story? One that didn't flee from continuity for fear it wouldn't be "accessible" enough? Superhero shows don't need a 3 million dollar budget per episode at all, this intense CGI nonsense is for the masses who buy a ticket for a few hours of their life and may never bother to see the movie ever again. But if you want a loyal cult of fans backing a series, it has be more of an investment in character than anything else. That's why the Batman franchise is so spectacular on film, granted Bats does pull off some major stunts but do we remember that as much as we do the dynamic between himself and the Joker? No, you don't see people out on the street gushing over the truck turning over in that one scene, we're all saying "Why so serious?!" and wearing Joker t-shirts. The expensive action is fun but it doesn't reside in many people's consciousness the way the characters do- that is what is really everlasting, that is what keeps us coming back.
I see shows like Mad Men, True Blood, The Walking Dead, Damages, Nurse Jackie, The Closer and I think to myself "Cable television is where it's at!", it's the perfect conduit for superheroes. Aside from Glee (which I love), the major networks don't get my attention because they have a million other shows to be distracted by, you don't see anywhere near the level of attention paid to detail or originality and if you do, it's bound to get canceled (Pushing Daisies, anyone?). With a cable show you have all the elements for good television because those networks have a few awesome shows (as opposed to a million mediocre ones) that are beloved and well-protected as well as being beautifully maintained with casts of actors who are engaged in the material they're working with because it's substantial. These cable actors are not looking to be overpaid and instead eager to portray excellent characters. And to prove it, these shows are going gangbusters at the Emmys!
Here's what I have in mind for Superhero-centric television shows....
Batman- I imagine a cross between Damages and Mad Men with just a bit more choreographed violence. The metropolitan grandeur and conspiracy/legal drama of Damages with the journeyer's spirit and stylistic accents of Mad Men. Bruce Wayne's chilly, eccentric existence at Wayne Manor as he plays the part of a playboy by day and vigilante by night. We'd see his relationship with Selina or Talia, Black Mask, Joker, Harley- characters who are street-level types with only the shadow of Superman or Wonder Woman every now and then.
X-Factor- Sure, nobody knows Rictor, Multiple Man, Monet, or Siryn as well as they do say Wolverine or Cyclops but that would actually create more freedom for the writers because a team of lawyers won't spring up saying "Oops, sorry, you can't use them in a television series because FOX owns them and they don't like the portrayal", there aren't anywhere near the same stipulations for newer characters. Also, the effects are manageable, people love crime shows, it's character-driven, and it doesn't have to include the rest of the Marvel Universe to tell stories.
X-men- Just Jean, Angel, Cyke, Beast, and Iceman versus Magneto, Toad, Mastermind, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Why not? Marvel is terrified of the continuity responsible for their success oddly but being that comics were written in a more blunt fashion in those days, a lot of the old plots can be replenished and made more mature. I mean, Wanda and Pietro's story alone deserves a really poignant re-telling, I think. Gradually, guest appearances will have this show poppin! Every week, we'll get to see a classic revived.
Birds of Prey- Now, now, I'm talking the real thing. Helena BERTINELLI, Babs, and a Dinah that screams. If you think it's too softcore, just look at some of Gail Simone's stories, I personally would love to see Black Canary's laborious training to become Shiva's apprentice. That scene where she had the bag over her head and her hands tied behind her back with 6 men attacking her at once- that'd be awesome!