The New 52: Paul Picks Up DC’s “New” Female Characters

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The New DC 52 has brought us the heroes that we all know and love back into a new time line (I think) reimagined and with new costumes, enemies and attitude. One thing that I have been looking forward to the most is how DC was planning to reinvent the iconic female characters such as Wonder Woman and Catwoman. As some of you may now, one of the aims of our show/website/blog whatever you want to call it, was to shed light on some of the ‘issues’ that seem to plague our beloved heroes and heroines. Some of the female characters are or were designed to be refrigerator girlfriends, sidekicks, sex dolls, or the cheerleaders sitting on the sidelines encouraging their male champion or boyfriend. I’ve been dying to see if DC had made any changes now that they have this opportunity to fix some of these flaws.

Well last week, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Supergirl and Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlawsfinally arrived on the comic shelves and man, did they pack a punch. I’ll be totally honest with you. I had no idea what I would find inside those pages. I’d imagine Wonder Woman punching evil does yelling for “Hera!” or Catwoman scratching some guy’s face to get some jewels…you get the idea. A good friend and WGI contributor Don Conely met up with me at Comicopia in Kenmore Sq. Per usual we looked the new arrivals and scanned what we would pick up that night. He casually turned the pages of Catwoman and came across the final pages.

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“Damn!” He said. I can’t tell if this was exclaimed with excitement or shock. maybe a little of both. “Oh, Angela’s gotta see this…. Before I could utter a “huh?” Don was gone. When I approached Angela at the cashier, she had a big grin on her face. I’d never seen her so excited. “Thank you DC for having some sex in a comic.” She would later say in our video review on the fashion of DC. When Don and I showed the final pages to Chad Parenteau, his jaw dropped.

Now, as far as story goes I thought it was a decent start to a story by Judd Winick and artist Guillem March. Selina Kyle (Catwoman)’s place gets blown up by some angry skull wearing body builders who apparently found out that she had stolen something from them. The first few panels are actually of just a half dressed Selina Kyle with shots of her bust and booty. No face? Nice to meet ya? Not too sure what DC is driving at here. Without a home Kyle needs some money fast and so hits up and old showgirl friend named Lola. She explains to her that that there are some nasty Russians in town and that she could get work from them. So I guess that’s just what you do when you’re a working girl in Gotham, you steal from foreigners. So she puts on a wig and tends bar while listening in on the other Mob guys talk about their dealings and hopes she can get a hint of what her next big job will be. She sees someone that she knows and told in a flash back sequence she witnesses him killing a girl. Using her sexual prowess she seduces the Russian in the bathroom, while taking a leak no less. He turns around to find…

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Hello ladies! Boobs! There they are again! Before he can indulge in her assets she’s clawed the holy hell out of him, blood is splattered everywhere. So we got some good health scoops of breasts and blood. Everyone’s favorite double B’s! Then makes a dash out of the club rockin’ her Catwoman gear. Later Batman catches up with her to investigate what happened and…Well it gets kind of graphic after that point. She’s got her hand up Batman’s shirt and she’s straddling him… I have no idea what to make of this. On the one hand, I did enjoy the story and I did think the art was solid and this was an excellent starting point. No back-story, just a fresh start to the series. I can also understand some of the excitement of Batman and Catwoman hooking up. I get there’s a tension between the two, and even though this is a new beginning, it hints that there is a history between the two and fans who can’t reset the timer in their heads remember that there is a long tense sexually history for these characters as well and I guess its nice to have some sort of pay off. We’ll also be seeing more between Bats and Cats this summer in Dark Knight Rises.

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(Can you say “Hey, what are you doin’ later? Heh” In a Christian Bale voice?)

But here is the question that I must ask: Is it necessary? Do we need to see a suggestive image of Catwoman riding Batman? Can’t it be more like the old film noir, where the camera pans away from a couple kissing to an open door? Or even them after with a cigarette? There’s a good chance that I am alone on this and that perhaps not of my time or generation, kind of like Captain America! Wait, sorry, we’re talking about DC weren’t we? I mean it could be worse, at least we didn’t see a Bat-Condom, and then again they both wear rubber, don’t they…

Now I must confess that I didn’t but Red Hood and the Outlaws, it just looked like a joke and here’s why:

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Now, I’m not too familiar with Starfire but…She was a character once upon a time right? I mean I look at this and she’s like a Sex-Bot. I’m waiting for gun barrels to come poking out of her boobs. Which would be funny because then I’d know this comic wasn’t taking itself too seriously but that’s the problem, it is taking itself seriously! I read this and it seems like this a poor attempt at trying to be sexy, edgy and cool but its not any of those things. The Outlaws are trying waaaaaaay to hard on this one. I felt like I had to wash my hands when I put back on the shelf.

Also, if I may be so bold, what if you got a girl whose interested in reading comics, and sees DC as her jumping on point and reads this shit? Well for one, it reinforces a negative stereotype about male comic readers, (it does come across as fan fiction you’d read off of Topless Robot). That we have no grasp on reality as to how women are in real life and that this is how we wish them to be portrayed. Has the creative team been anywhere near a vagina?

It reinforces the notion that women are good for nothing but sex and being a plot devise, sit there and look pretty with you boobs hanging or casually bending over a beaten up bad guy to show off your perfect ass in tight costume. Come on! If you want that just go online, it’s easier to find then you think!

Laura Hudson over at Comic Alliance brings up an interesting point, when you hold these characters side by side, they clearly are not equal. You got Red Hood shooting his guns while Starfire is in a bikini. Seriously? This will scare off the female readers, and we can’t be having that.

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I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by Wonder Woman and Supergirl and their content. They had actual stories to tell. Not that the others didn’t, I just didn’t get the feeling that they were trying too hard. I was eager to check out Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman #1. This issue was pretty straight to the point. Bad guys are afoot, an evil is rising, a girl and her unborn child need protection, and Wonder Woman is ready to kick some ass.

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Chiang’s art fit well to the story, pretty gritty and WW’s boobs did not make an appearance. Her legs however did make an appearance, gone are the days of Jim Lee’s black pants. We now return to the star spangled booty shorts! While there was no major sexual scenes in the issue, it was very graphic. The issue features horses’ head being severed, arms cut off and people being shot with arrows. And then pulling them out. Much like the first issue of Action Comics by Morrison this tale seems to feel the need to take these characters to a darker place.

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Finally, I read Super Girl, brought to us by writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson with art by Mahmud Asrar. This I was really taken aback by. I’ve never said Super Girl, I never even knew what her deal was. I thought Superman was the last Kryptonian? Well the issue doesn’t quite answer all those questions. Kara Zoe-El crash lands in strange alien landscape called Russia (again with the Russians?)
She’s confused and doesn’t understand whats happened to her, how she got to where she is and why she’s wearing her uniform with the “S” symbol on it. We’re all wondering why her thigh high boots have her knee caps poking out.

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Robots appear to take Kara into custody, but she learns that this strange planet has given her some unique powers; she has strength, flight and has crazy laser vision! Suddenly Kal-El (Superman) appears and speaks to Kara in their native tongue.

Good clean cliff hanger! I like it! It sets up a lot of questions to be answered and for someone who has never read this title, this was great introductory issue!

Asrar’s art I thought was incredible. He has a nice way of making the art just pop off of the pages at you! He was also able to have Kara, though powerful was confused and lonely through well composed facial expressions and body language.

So all in all Super Girl and Wonder Woman may have been my favorite! These characters are also not throwing themselves at their male counterparts, they appear so far emotionally stable strong characters. I don’t know where DC is headed with some of these female characters, or with their sexuality or their violence. Some things do need changing. Starfire, really? Someone should sit down and talk to that girl. Batman? Superman? Mike Brady? Dr. Huxtable?
Maybe they should have an issue where Selina Kyle goes to rehab for sex addiction? I’d love to see that!

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3 Responses to The New 52: Paul Picks Up DC’s “New” Female Characters

  1. Bren says:

    Oy freakin’ vay. Looks like Batwoman will continue to be the only female-centered title that I read. Too bad, because Catwoman could have been a cool new take on an old character.

  2. Pingback: LOTS’ O LINKS: DC New 52, WTF Comics, and More « All Day Comics

  3. Pingback: New 52: DC’s Response to Starfire Controversy = FAIL « All Day Comics

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