Colin Smith looks at gender imbalances in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics Ultimates:
On the evidence of Messrs Hickman and Ribic’s The Ultimates # 1, the fundamental concerns of feminism haven’t yet become a matter of public concern and debate on Earth 1610, or, it needs to be said, in the offices of Marvel Comics either. For in the whole of The Republic Is Burning, there’s not even a single minor speaking role given to anyone who’s not evidently a bloke, while the few occasions in which women are discussed find them mentioned solely in a specifically sexual context… It’s just as telling to note who isn’t a woman in The Ultimates # 1. In addition to the active and apparently more important roles in Fury’s entourage being reserved for men, the leaders of this issue’s world-threatening conspiracy are all males too. (There are women in their ranks, mind you, and they appear to be identically blonde and beautiful Nordicesque twins.) Still, both Fury’s base and the gaggle of his primary opponents do have women prettying up their background. Yet not a single one of the European “Excalibur-class super-soldiers” who’re on display are anything other than conspicuously male. It’s something which I doubt real-world sensibilities over here on the other side of Pond would ever accept, but then politics doesn’t really appear to be Mr Hickman’s strong point. Similarly, the massed carousing immortals of Asgard are almost entirely male with the exception of one bikini-clad woman carrying the drinks in the background of a single panel and another largely-naked lass making a sole semi-nude appearance to cheer on the immortal boys when they get down to their manly brawling. It seems that only the youthfully undressed cheesecake gets the privilege of waiting on the boys in this Asgard of the Ultimate Universe.
Interesting to read this on the same day that I read Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #2, in which only one woman gets a line (“How did you — How did you do that?” for those curious). But, I have to ask those who’ve kept up with Ultimates more than I have: Aren’t there female members on the team? Don’t they appear in the first issue at all?