New Avengers #35 has been a big topic around blogs this week, particularly the issue’s treatment of the superheroine Tigra. As expected, the reactions are decidedly mixed.
But let me ask you: having read New Avengers #35, do you not want the Hood to be brutally slain?
Yeah. Well, that’s a problem.
Because in mainstream superhero comics, vengeance is typically deferred, turned over to (for want of a better word) God — and I’m not talking about Superman. A skilled writer can make this work beautifully: revenge comes indirect, as poetic justice, boomerang comeuppance, or what-have-you. The reader, begging for the villain’s blood one second before, is satisfied by the tremendous last-minute moral save of the creator…and usually, even has their heroic illusions left somewhat undisturbed into the bargain. The world turns; characters develop.
But I don’t see any way Bendis can pay this off in the future. Not respectably if satisfying; not satisfyingly if respectable. As far as I can see, he’s painted himself into a corner, and there’s no way out.
Tigra’s beatdown was brutal. Beatdowns should be brutal. That’s what happens when you mess with villains who roll deep. But in my opinion the incident wasn’t depicted as sexy. Yes, there were one or two panels where there was entirely too much exposed cleavage (side-eye for Yu), but it was a straightforward ass kicking for the most part. Nasty. Ugly. Clinical.
I suppose the scene doesn’t upset me because I am thoroughly convinced that Tigra is going to heal and wreck shop for weeks because of this. I can’t imagine that any writer currently at Marvel would let Tigra weep in a hospital bed while someone else fought her battles. The character has superpowers. And someone just threatened her mother. Do you know how many people would straight up disappear if my mother had been hurt? I’m sure there’s a Tigra miniseries already lined up. And many, many characters will be cursing the fact that they do not have medical plans when it hits the shelves.
The Fortress Keeper reminisces about Greer Nelson’s origins.
Yes Fortress Fan, years before Tigra gained fame (?) for her uncontrollable libido – thanks a lot, Mr. Englehart – and complete inability to defend herself – we’re looking at you, Bendis – Greer was a shining example of Marvel’s one-time ability to absorb and manipulate the Zeitgeist for the sake of comic-book awesomeness.
According to Back Issue! # 17 – a special heroines issue of the comics-fan mag – Greer, a.k.a. The Cat, was thought up by Stan The Man himself as a response to the burgeoning Women’s Liberation movement of the early 1970s.
Finally, Smith Michaels has sharp criticism for both issue and a certain Newsarama interview.
What you have here is a man beating the living hell out a barely dressed woman while he threatens her family and another man video tapes the whole thing. How fuck can a decent person not think that’s misogynistic? The ‘fight’ scene could have easily been taken straight out of a snuff film.
But the honest to goodness best (worst) part of the whole interview is this little exchange:
NRAMA: And to cap that it wasn’t sexual, The Hood explained why he was going to do what he did beforehand…BB: And he didn’t veer off course. Probably the most shocking thing is that he accomplished it. No one tapped him on the shoulder as he was about to give her the punch that would knock her unconscious, there was no one swinging in the window to her rescue. It happened – and it was awful.
Because you how a person rationalizes something they do automatically makes the reality of it that way. And it seems to me that Bendis and Brady are denying the existence of a little thing called subtext.
So what do you think?