Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mirror, Mirror

I was hoping that Carol Danvers wouldn't get so tightly woven into the patchwork fabric of Marvel's Civil War that she'd have trouble re-emerging from the experience, but in Ms. Marvel #8 the writer has the character cross the Rubicon.

Not only does Carol track down and capture Julia Carpenter (Arachne; formerly Spider Woman II), but she assures that Julia's separation from her young daughter will be as traumatic as possible.

Calvin Pitt, at Reporting on Marvels and Legends, puts things really well:

I haven't hated the main character of a book I bought this much since Tim Drake at the end of Robin's first One Year Later arc (the little bastard). So congrats Ms. Marvel, you've joined rare company! No, there are no gifts or snacks.

What's intrigued me about Ms. Marvel is the gendered mirroring that's been on display in the book; the last several issues have featured several female analogues to the male figures at the center of Civil War.

— As the pro-Registration powerhouse, Carol Danvers has taken on characteristics of both Reed Richards and Tony Stark, the most prominent being a retreat to legalism and an unabashed embrace of asshole-ishness.

— Julia Carpenter has served as the sympathetic, defiant, relentlessly-hunted Captain America figure.

— Anya (Aña Sofia Corazon; Araña) is the younger, inexperienced member of the Spider-family who has come to believe she may be on the wrong side.

I suppose this kind of mirroring is to be expected, since the cross-over format requires each character heading a title to play out a "local" scenario linked to the "global" event. Since Carol is a woman, perhaps it's natural for her book to provide a woman's own version of Civil War.

However, if Ms. Danvers is going to be hell on wheels in the next cross-over, it'd definitely be more satisfying to see her as the head honcho calling the shots at center stage in the pages of the core title, rather than serve as someone else's second-in-command.

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