Friday, September 7, 2012

Retro Review: Ms. Marvel #1.

Since I recently did a Retro Review of Ms. Marvel vol 2 #1 so I figured why not take a look at Vol 1 #1? This story is pretty standard. It includes your basic scene of Ms. Marvel fighting some bank robbers to showcase her to the reader. Also she ends up fighting the Scorpion, saving J. Jonah Jameson from him. Also Peter Parker and Mary Jane guest star. Aside from the standard super hero plot we have J.J.J. planning to start a new woman's mag in which he hires Carol Danvers AKA Ms. Marvel for it. And at the end Jameson wants her to investigate this mysterious new heroin.

I've mentioned many times before I love Carol Danvers, but what I love about her are more recent developments. After she was soul raped my the energy sucking mutant Rogue, she got a little fucked up in the head. She had severe emotional problems, and even became an alcoholic. Before that however she and her book were pretty deep into the 70's era feminism and fuck were they laying it on thick. Check out the corner box on the cover.

"This female fights back!" Fuck yeah! You've come a long baby. And in case you didn't get the subtle message, after she saves people from some bank robbers we get this scene. 

That's the real flaw in this issue. This treats the idea of a female super hero as some sort of novelty. As though everyone looks at her and thinks "A GIRL being a super hero?! That's ridiculous!" The Marvel universe has been full of kick ass female characters since at least the silver age, for this book to treat it as some sort of amazing step forward shows the writer wasn't as interested in telling an entertaining super hero story as he was smacking us over the head with a message.

To me the irony of identity politics based movements is that in some ways they can't help but have the opposite intended affect. It reduces people to one trait, the very trait they are seeking tolerance or acceptance for. Like in this book, had Carol Danvers gender been treated as incidental by her and the writer, with maybe the possible exception of villains remarking on it for the purposes of trash talk, we would have had a book that was arguably empowering for women. But by injecting this book with an overt message of feminism we have reduced Carol here to the 'girl super hero'.

Comics have started recently doing the a lot with gay characters. While there are some characters who's homosexuality is just one facet, like Batwoman, there are many more like Kevin Keller who's main hook is being gay. Characters like Batwoman have a better chance of sticking around then Kevin Keller because they are actual characters, not merely vehicles for the writers social views.

But getting back to this issue, is it worth picking up? Well not really. I mean if you see a beat up copy in a dollar bin sure, but a good shape copy usually goes for like $20.00 I would say just stick to the later series.

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