The Month DC Brought Sexy Back...Sorta.

I’ve always been a major advocate of female superheroes as well as representation of women which usually prompts a reaction that is not unlike an elderly relative. “Again with these female superheroes! What is with you and those female superheroes?” they ask me with what I imagine to be emphatic gestures of frustration. Yet, as always, I see this recent point of contention as being a great window of opportunity for myself and those of us who are like-minded to be heard to express our opinion in the most articulate, non-argumentative way possible.

The number one argument from most people of an opposing opinion is that comics are mainly bought by a male audience and that women are rendered and written to be appeasing to that specific audience. Fair enough, it’s not as though it isn’t true but there’s a much harsher reality that blows the former right out of the water. Nobody reads comics right now. Man or woman, black or white or anything in between. That’s why DC is doing a relaunch, that’s why we have digital comics to take the place of illegal scans because earlier this year comics sales were at a record low.

We have characters like Bat Wing and the new Ultimate Spiderman who are meant to appeal to an untapped black and latino audience and over the years there has been much more exposure in terms of other minorities as well such as Asians and the homosexual population. With each and every attempt there may or may not be a palpable response but when you target a group as broad as females there is a whole spectrum of different races and orientations of which these comics could appeal to that are not being properly appealed to. If you want to come at this from a marketing standpoint, the numbers don’t lie- something about comics just isn’t doing it for most *people* regardless of what category they fall under. Women make up half, in not more than half, of the population so if you’re churning out a product that’s not doing so well with just a male audience and there are women who feel alienated by it and are outraged then there is a major, major problem. Why someone would stop the dialogue at “Well, women don’t really buy comics anyways” is beyond me.

The second argument that usually follows is the argument that men are equally as objectified as women. To me, this is an outrageous comparison that is completely disproportionate. Speaking of proportions, usually as a supporting point people will say “Well men are depicted as being extremely muscular and are frequently shirtless” which is true to a certain extent. Bruce Wayne works out shirtless, Superman has occasionally been rendered shirtless after the occasional tussle, and Wolverine has gone on quite a few naked rampages. But for every one of those instances there’s a slew of female characters whose costumes, the outfits they wear when they engage in combat, look not unlike FHM models. Exposed legs, exposed waists, ample cleavage, and ass-cheeks with their own zipcode galore and not just in contextual situations like a shower or as an undercover guise but as their normal day wear, as the things they carry out arduous daily activities in.

Furthermore, musculature is something that doesn’t appear to alienate or offend men otherwise how would you account for these action movies predominantly male audiences go out to see that have bulky, ripped men running around and exploding things? It’s par for the course, it makes sense someone who beats people up for a living would need those. But is it necessary for a female assassin to wear to a thread between her butt-cheeks meant to resemble a thong out on the job? No. More importantly, it shows anyone on the outside that characters like Witchblade or Vampirella or Psylocke prioritize looking sexy over looking like a formidable opponent. In order for women to garner or generate any kind of excitement, according to the editors, they need to be scantily clad above all else.

Another harsh reality about comics is that the outsider perspective of them isn’t really a favorable one either. The public perception of people who read comicbooks is that they are usually small, squirmy men who leisurely wear Darth Vader masks and shamelessly turn to puddles of sweat at the mere sight of an attractive woman. They based a successful TV show on that premise called “The Big Bang Theory” as well as many other franchises. It’s not necessarily an accurate portrayal of every comicbook aficionado but having women with spherical breasts and blow-up doll lips extending themselves in conveniently sexual positions doesn’t help this perception- it perpetuates it. So long as that is true there isn’t going to an upsurge of interest in comics, people will just assume it’s a phenomenon with an exclusive, cult following rather than the all inclusive, versatile, and multi-faceted landscape it truly is. Not to mention, it talks down to comicbook readers and men in general alike to say that they can only be engaged in what female character is doing if she’s half-naked.

I think the response to this from most people from an opposing standpoint is that of someone answering to charges and though people have certainly blown the whistle on sexism we’re all still in it for the same thing. Everyone wants comics to be successful and there’s no movement that I can see to ban any sort of sexuality or sexual innuendo for comics, it’s a big part of their inception into modern day pop culture. I wouldn’t brand anyone “sexist” off the cuff because I’m offended but that doesn’t make my plea any less either. For me, it’s about taste, it’s about inclusivity, and it’s about respecting the product that is being marketed to millions of fans. Starfire is a product, Catwoman is a product, Wonder Woman is a product and even moreso they are legacies of other writers, artists, and editors that need to be dealt with in the most careful, thoughtful way possible. These may be fictional characters we’re speaking of but they resonate with millions over generations, people not only look up to these characters but they look to them with certain ideals in mind- they may not all be met but it’s important that the effort is exerted anyways.

By the way, simply because I feel this way it in no way means I’ll turn my back on my dear Selina Kyle. I absolutely love Catwoman and furthermore I felt the scene in which she had sex with Batman was perfectly tantalizing and fantastic because it seemed as though it would be something they would share together. She longs for Bruce, Bruce longs for her, hence the sexual explosion on the final pages…it’s only logical. I actually think Judd Winnick’s characterization of Catwoman was fair and true to her as well as his observations and assessments of her character but if I am to read a comic about her I want to be able to see her face and not her cleavage predominantly in it’s place. One doesn’t have to push the envelope with Catwoman, it’s been long pushed for decades now the sex is there no matter what, it’s not so crucial to emphasize on it above all else.

Gratitous sexual exploitation like Marvel’s flimsy attempt at capitalizing on the X-women with Milo Manara and Chris Claremont doesn’t entice me and I think the world could do without, same with tentacle porn wherein captive women in fear for their life and in fear of being violated is sexualized. If you get your rocks off the X-women or Wonder Woman or even Granny Gooddness without having to pop a viagara you have my stamp of approval but not when it conflicts with the mainstream comics and the unmet needs of people who don’t share your particular fetish. I’d like to see Batman in the buff but do I expect it when I read his comics? Does it compel me to read his comics? No. Theoretically I could just whether the gore storm of American Psycho if it was something I really wanted. This proposed theory that men will only be engaged if constantly aroused is utterly ridiculous as I’m sure most have sought refuge in internet porn.

All that I would personally ask is that women are afforded the same comfort with their sexuality that men are. You don’t see a lot of male superheroes who are exhibitionist, who try to lean in a way that perfectly accentuates their arse, who are put into conveniently overtly sexual positions on a routine basis. That is comfort with one’s sexuality, the ability to insert it into situations cleverly and believably not dressed as a Scores employee fighting crime on a cigarette break. Nudity, sexuality, discussion of sex…it all has a place but when it begins to define a character or diminish a character it just devalues their worth to something far more superficial and I don’t believe banking on that is a long term solution for comics in the state they’re in.

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The Scarlet Witch's Truest Valentine

     In lieu of Children's Crusade number 7 (AHEM, editors of Marvel, September? Really?) I've decided to devote a post to my absolute darling Scarlet Witch aka Wanda Maximoff. It should go without say that she's among the richest characters Marvel has to offer, she's never been subject to revisions or retcons the way other characters have been and "fleshing out" her story has never been necessary. Wanda is a well of lush opportunity for any story arc, a very viable source of the drama and intrigue the miltiaristic Avengers have been lacking as of late. She's the Elizabeth Taylor of the Marvel Universe, she's gorgeous, spell-binding, vulnerable, an immensely powerful presence, all wrapped up in a neatly tied bow of melodrama. Naturally, where there is melodrama there is often romance and there's never been as sort of shortage of that in Wanda's history. The Vision, Wonderman, Hawkeye- Wanda's reeled them in with a seamlessly seductive yet subtle influence. But this will not be a contest between Vision and Wonderman or anything of the sort...oh no, I have a far better option for Wanda to which many would raise an eyebrow to. And it's NOT Pietro for god's sake....
 

 

Yes. Cap. And this is coming from a Scarlet Witch connoisseur. I think most would relate her romance with Cap to the House of M catastrophe wherein many fans have many mixed feelings about her characterization and dissent, it's a major point of contention. Some would even quite possibly consider Wanda's infatuation with Cap to be a manipulation of her's at the height of her mental breakdown but I would look no further than her earliest days to contrast that assertion as Wanda has always had a certain affection for Cap...
 
 
  
Before Vision or Wonderman or even really Hawkeye had come into the picture Wanda was simmering quite powerful feelings for Cap. Granted, this could all be attributed to a simple Silver Age crush, she isn't the first comicbook heroine to shed a tear in awe of a heroes valiant nature or musculature but I think her repressed longing for Cap actually makes sense with the psychology of the character. Wanda's life, particularly in her inception to the Brotherhood, was dominated by men who mostly sought to either over-protect her or exploit her completely....
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pictured above, Mastermind makes his first and second attempt to appeal to Wanda by way of some very aggressive means. Both Magneto and Pietro intervene always just before Wanda is about to defend herself, something that was commonplace for Wanda at the time. No matter what, in the end of the day Pietro was always on guard when it came to Wanda to a point of sheltering so extreme it fed the notion that they shared an incestuous co-dependency in the Ultimate franchise which I find to be absolutely ridiculous. Pietro's attachment to Wanda isn't necessarily heavily emotional but rather a matter of obligation and survival. Remember, the debt they owed to Magneto was as a result of Wanda's powers malfunctioning and causing fire which led to an angry mob attacking them both. He's the only one who'd ever seen Wanda's powers in full-effect and as such was the only one who knew what a threat she was to opponents for quite some time. Nonetheless, he was very vocal about his disapproval over her relationship with the Vision and made many efforts to negate Hawkeye's sleazy attempts at catching her eye as he knew the emotional impact of her situation tended to inform her powerset. 
 
Regardless, the influence of Magneto and Pietro weighted heavily on Wanda's relationship with men. I mean, your father coercing you into guerrilla warfare using guilt then throwing you at a world leader to exploit your sex appeal to further his persuasions is bound to take a tole on your overall understanding of human relationships. And I imagined this only deteriorated as time went on given that Magneto would use other means to manipulate Wanda that were even more ethically devoid- redirecting a bullet so that it grazed Wanda's head just enough to temporarily hinder her powers for example...not very noble. 
 
So it only makes sense that the object of Wanda's affection would be A) a man that could be vulnerable around her but also B) a man that was emotionally unavailable to her. Enter Vision, a synthezoid with a limited understanding of the wide spectrum of human emotions. For once there was a romantic relationship Wanda could have that would be at least partially on her terms. I think Wanda's nurturing instinct compelled her to look after Vision because she felt she could finally be granted the space and time to protect another person for once. Though of course that had certain repercussions from the very start. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And this would be the pattern of Wanda and the Vision's relationship. Perpetual adandoment. I know that's somewhat harsh to say and given that there were points in which the Vision was inhibited unwillingly I don't penalize him too heavily for any of it. But is it conducive to the sort of relationship Wanda always wanted? Not very much. Whereas before she was being tossed around and protected left and right, she had soon become the anchor in her relationship with Vision. As someone whose very power hinged on chaos, this didn't provide enough emotional stability for Wanda as she was always getting the Vision back on to have him ripped away from her completely. In a different time, perhaps through different means they may have worked but clearly Wanda impregnating herself to provide a human life for Vision was an early sign that this relationship was on a rickety foundation. 
 
Which leads us to bachelor number 2..... 
 
Simon wasn't a bad guy per se, he wasn't even the disagreeable sort. But the single blaring indication that he wasn't the right man for Wanda was that he was the basis for the Vision's design. Worse? The longing Wanda had towards the Vision for emotional fulfillment transferred from him to Simon. Wanda at first rejected Simon's advances but in a pivotal encounter with the Vision, a reunion years in the making, Wanda opted to "move on" with her life when the Vision's memories and affections for her came back. The next step? Wonderman. Why? Because the Vision had tried to destroy the world, been destroyed himself and recovered, and showed a consistent struggle with his own sense of empathy and compassion. The back and fourth of his corruptions and hindrances weren't in his control but they cost Wanda a multitude of times. 
 
And once again, here's where Wanda's unstable powerset came in to remedy her emotional struggles. Not in the most healthy way though as she had revived Wonderman, re-materializing him from the energy he was composed of under the tutelage of Agatha Harkness. Like her later reality manipulations, I suspected Wanda's attraction vulnerable men in combination with her devastating hunger for emotional security after having lost both her parents (twice over in an emotional sense if you count Magneto and Magda) created an all too unhealthy platform for her relationship with Simon. The two carried on for a time but Simon, much like Vision, abandoned Wanda in order to start a foundation in Los Angeles. Wanda initially was distressed at the fact Simon had, even after being resurrected by her, found something to strive for that was more fulfilling to him. She got over it fast but was that because she wasn't hurt or rather...that she instead was used to the disappointment. Ah, a female superheroine who doesn't have a thousand men vying for her at once and loses at love, a rare breed. 
 
So then why do I believe Cap is the guy for Wanda? Well, if you look at the aforementioned there are a lot of things that would a step-up from two men of similar origins. But it isn't even about the competition between the three men. Cap, almost without knowing it, surpassed the Vision and Simon for numerous reasons. The first being that he was the first man in Wanda's life that influenced her to live up to her potential. Think about it, Wanda's transformation from unwilling mutant guerilla waif, joined at the hip with her brother began after she became an Avenger. It was then that Wanda was permitted to not only find her own strength as a sorceress but as a woman as well, going against the wishes of her brother more often and much more ease, opting to make decisions for herself like her relationship with the Vision. When Cap briefly split from the Avengers, she had actually stood up to both Hawkeye and Pietro's snide attitudes and advocated for Cap's leadership skills.   
 

 
Even in the earliest of her appearances in the Avengers, Wanda displayed a certain tenacity under Cap's influence that hadn't been seen before.....
 
This influence was something that Wanda would later touch upon with Steve shortly before their affair where Wanda expresses that she had always "admired" him....
 
When Wanda and Cap began their affair, Wanda became reflective of her troubled past in a way that seemed to have left a peacefulness in her, the calm before the storm if you will. There's a certain self assurance Wanda had with Cap that we didn't see previously, rather than her powers or her emotions setting the conditions for the romance she asserts herself calmly and intuitively, ushering her former mentor in from the cold with a form of nurturing that doesn't require she rehabilitate him but rather that he become a better version of himself. There's a very full-circle aspect to their romance in this way, Wanda is returning the favor to Cap.  It's not only a refreshing role reversal but also a nice display of Wanda's newfound wisdom, she's developed from having been a vulnerable child to a fully capable adult with perception, with confidence....
 

Just look at the power of Wanda's words. She's no longer the victim or the star-crossed lover, longing for acceptance and stability the way she was with the Vision, she opens herself up to the prospect of romance with a peace of mind she's never had before. Instead of being the one consoled or tended to, she's consoling and what distinguishes this from her relationship with the Vision is that she knows her effect on Cap is well-placed because their working relationship initially required that she lay her life in his hands and he certainly never failed to protect her. 
 
Yet, I'm plenty aware that this was all before/during a breakdown of Wanda's which leads me to an interesting theory of mine. I actually believe that amongst all of the other hexes Wanda's shattered mind cast as her reality-altering powers spun out of control, the one thing meant to be the failsafe in all this was Steve, the only person who could potentially appeal to her sanity amidst all the psychosis. The lingering insinuation of her  attraction to him is, in real time, over 40 years old, it stretches all the way back to the very first Scarlet Witch-involved stories so the sexual component was always there. But I think what's more important is that on some level Wanda knew that if anything were to happen to her the person she could rely on the most for support would be Cap above all else. Unlike Pietro or Magneto or the Vision, who've all faced different forms of corruption, Steve is among the most moral and unswayed in the Marvel Universe. Not only that but like Wanda he is very in touch with his emotions, his convictions to a point where it informs his heroism even more than his expert tactics. He was always a soft, compassionate sort whose strength was not necessarily brazenly expressed but always there- again, much like Wanda herself. The most literal catalyst, however, for Wanda's revived interest in him seems to have come from this little snippet....
 
Couldn't be more overt. Cap consoling a child sealed the deal for Wanda, it was a tangible option for what could be the fate she'd always wanted for herself. But I feel as though it was too little, too late and the toll of losing her sons had already torn her up inside on irreparable levels. But Cap, being the kind of guy he is, still stood up for Wanda when the odds were stacked against her and not only that but he stood up for her on his own, on the brink of expressing deep feelings for her....
 
 Cap confronts Wanda and her hallucinations alone, head on
 Cap standing up to Logan over the decision of whether or not to kill Wanda

 To me, this speaks volumes to Cap's character and not only that but I think it substantiates the real love and affection they had for one another. It wasn't a fling, it was the entirety of Wanda's career as a Avenger that brought her to Cap. He taught her to use her strength in a way where she would no longer have to ask permission or be the first to fall, he never exploited, dismissed, or abused nor did he ever take his devotion and responsibility to her lightly. 
 
Though Wanda's fate is currently to be decided and Steve is involved with Sharon Carter, I have hope that one day this relationship will be touched upon once again. How could it not? Even recently Wolverine, in his usual irrational fury, suggested Cap still possibly loved Wanda and we even saw Cap take quite nicely to Wiccan during the Children's Crusade. But for the time being, I think this little pocket in time wherein Wanda consummated things with Steve was one of the most vibrant examples of how wonderful of a character she truly is. A piece of her history, something over 40 years old shoots enough sparks for me to write all this so surely there's no end to the depths and complexities of Miss Wanda Maximoff!
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Female Superheroes Targeted in Disturbing Youtube Trend

    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? 
 
Is there anything we can do?
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Hathawayard Catwoman? The Costume Aftermath

            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 could be 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. 
 
ANNE HATHAWAY FTW! 
 
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The Vanishing Wasp

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?
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The Untapped Super-VILLAIN Genre.

         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
 "I haven't beaten a man with his own leg since Carter was in office!" - Mystique
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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Jean should break-up with the Phoenix

 



 

 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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Morbid Much? Buffy Remake is just the WB Robbing a Fresh Grave

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. 
 

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Superhero Threads - Awesome costumes some of my favorites graced.


 
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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How Come Psionically-Powered Heroes Are Never Physically Trained?

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? 

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