Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Spider-Woman III, Redeemed
Mattie Franklin was in poor shape. (And what's worse, she was served up as the story-line's damsel in distress.) She had fallen in with the wrong crowd, staggered around in a drug-induced haze, and suffered the serial indignity of having her body gruesomely harvested by a smarmy, pimp-like, drug-dealing boyfriend to produce Mutant Growth Hormone. (A process which was depicted at one point on-panel.)
At the close of the story arc, Mattie was rescued by the Bendis dream-team of Jessica Jones and Jessica Drew, and restored to her guardians, J. Jonah Jameson and his wife. And though she was little more than a plot device, she served the plot fairly well in that capacity. She evoked the reader's sympathy, and elicited fierce maternal and protective responses from Jessica Jones.
However, Mattie was almost entirely passive throughout the story. She suffered an ordeal, and was delivered from it through the actions of other characters.
Given this bit of fictional ignominy lurking in her recent back-story, I've been gratified to see Mattie Franklin cast as one of the central figures in C.B. Cebulski's Runaways spin-off called The Loners.
She's tracked the bastards who exploited her to L.A.; attends a support group for retired teen super-heroes solely in order to recruit some assistance; takes little crap from anyone; and, most importantly, is actively setting her life in order by punishing those who screwed with it in the past.
Contrary to her characterization in Alias, Mattie comes across as a different kind of compelling figure in this book, and I'm looking forward to reading more.