Thursday, August 24, 2006
An 80s Marvel Heroine Chooses Sides!
In New Avengers #23, Jessica Drew (Spider Woman) makes several momentous choices, one of which involves where she stands in Marvel's Civil War.
There's a nice moment in the book in which we're shown the extent to which Drew has internalized the complexities of being a triple agent. When Nick Fury asks her which side she intends to choose, Spider-Woman doesn't skip a beat and replies: what side do you want me on?
One good thing about Civil War: Jessica Drew is now making her own choices, and how she goes about it made this a satisfying comic for me. There's action; there's intrigue; there are plausible twists and turns. And by the end of the issue, Brian Michael Bendis' transferral of Spider-Woman from the margins of the Marvel universe to its absolute center stands complete.
(Full disclosure: since a persuasive store clerk talked me into buying Spider-Woman #1 decades ago, I've been a fan of the character.)
However, the book has two draw-backs: (1) there's some of that pesky Bendis-style dialogue, and (2) there are the countless gratuitous crotch shots.
Goodness, Olivier Copiel certainly delivers the crotch shots, here. Jessica Drew is depicted in her underclothes when the issue begins, and, during the struggle that ensues with the SHIELD agents dispatched to bring her in, she engages in some serious, scantily-clad ass-kicking, which, as you might imagine, (given the logic of feminine comic book positioning and anatomical rendering), places her in a wide variety of peek-a-boo positions.
Believe me, I'm not exaggerating. I defy any objective reader to derive any other conclusion after reading this comic. Man, there's even a panel taken up entirely by the back of Drew's lower torso (actually it's a close-in shot of her panty-clad backside), and the placement of the word balloon actually makes it look as if Spider-Woman's ass is talking to Nick Fury.
Single question: would the comic have been less effective if Jessica Drew had pulled on a terry-cloth robe before she answered the knock on the door?
I was a big fan of the character in the Bronze Age as well, and Bendis does have a pretty good handle on her (creatively speaking).
I'm looking forward to her series next year, even with the prospect of more trademarked Bendis dialogue.
Tinderblast: As far as I know, subtlety hasn't ever killed anybody.
Or maybe I've just been reading too much manga, so my panty-shot-tolerance has been pushed higher than average.