I got a pile of shiny new comics today. It was quite disappointing. VERY quite disappointing.
Let me share my mostly-one-word reviews of this week’s take:
CAPTAIN AMERICA #2—poor
RETROACTIVE FLASH (the 90s)—poor
RETROACTIVE WONDER WOMAN (the 90s)—abysmal
KEVIN KELLER #2 (or Veronica #208?)—perfectly fine
That’s about $20 worth of comics, most of which I would like to give back. C’mon Marvel and DC. You have to do better than this. I am so willing to buy things, but you have to give me products that are worth my cash and my time.
And I have to single out Wonder Woman as Worst Comic of the Week. Wonder Woman was so bad I was actually offended. I am all for GIRL POWER rah rah rah, but this story veered solidly into disgusting overcompensating girl power territory. Warning: long unhappy review to follow.
(spoilers ahoy. and bewarned: I’m spoiling everything. full frontal spoilers.)
First up, in a weird 1-page prologue, there’s a club of boys who hate girls. Man oh man, do they hate girls. Not any specific girls, just girls in general. They hate girls so much they mention it in every single panel on the page.
Cut to Diana who is for some reason helping out with babysitting (or something) a group of girls who call themselves the Girl Blossoms. These girls like fashion and shoes, glam magazines, music, being rich (?), playing with dolls, and shopping. Because, wait for it, they’re girls. And those are girl things.
But DON’T WORRY, guys. Wondy is here to open their eyes to the ways of the WARRIOR WOMAN!
This involves lots of forcing them to run and jump and pretending to be a wild boar and chasing them through the forest. The girls don’t like it because it’s hard, and they are sweaty, and their muscles hurt, and they’re tired, and that stuff all sucks because they are girls.
Quote: “Girls aren’t supposed to sweat… girls are supposed to glow!”
But after a few weeks under her tutelage they start getting muscley and fit and *gasp!* liking the exercising and running and whatnot. They beat some generic bullies at basketball! …in an oddly wedged-in scene that is only there to show them beating bullies at basketball.
Quote: “And all I thought I [could] do was shop!”
…in case you were having trouble figuring out the moral we’re working towards.
Meantime, Wondy gets called on her possibly-bullying level of training, so she brings back all the girls’ original toys but OH WAIT. Having now been exposed to the awesomeness of JUMPING OVER SHIT, the girls find themselves less interested in their glam magazines. Damn it, they want to climb that mountain! (Literally… and figuratively, probably.)
(Aside—this scene has the only two slightly amusing panels in the entire issue, when Diana is trying to play Ken and Barbie and talk about shoes and doing a poor job of it.)
So then eventually we get to a harrowing adventure involving rain and a flash flood and having to save the boys club from drowning (remember them? that awkward first page? you may recall they hate girls?). The boys pitch a fit, of course, because OH GAWD I’D RATHER DIE THAN BE RESCUED BY GIRLS OH GAWD but the girls, having learned Wondy’s lessons well, save the boys by shoving them really hard somewhere they don’t want to go but is better for them.
Quote from the final panel (I told you there’d be spoilers): “Not only did we lose our clubhouse… and we didn’t get to die nobly… but we got rescued by girls!”
Obviously they were going for the whole “girl power” thing, the girls can do sports too! thing, and yes this was the retro 90s issue, set when that sort of stuff was BIG. But. Somewhere along the way they went full circle, from yay girl power back around to making non-empowerment ridiculous and laughable.
The story is just such a ham-fisted attempt at a message, written by someone who possibly doesn’t know any girls born after 1950, that I was kind of horrified. It bashes the reader over the head with the anti-girl sentiment of the boys, and the girls painting themselves into what is obviously supposed to be considered an unflattering girly-girl box. We’re supposed to be disgusted with these girls at first, and cheer as they become Real Women Like Wonder Woman. But there’s not a dichotomy—I personally like shoes almost as much as I like comics. (or comics almost as much as I like shoes?)
And I really, really, really hate how the girls lump themselves together as the entity of “girl.” It’s not “I hate/like this because ew/wow” it’s “I hate/like this because I am a girl.”
I do appreciate the “girls can do anything!” message that the comic was trying to present, but I’d rather have it not done at all than done this poorly. Also, this sort of story (Wonder Woman helping coach a group of girls to greatness) would perhaps be better-presented as a kids comic instead of a normal Wonder Woman story.
So yeah. Overall, I’m extremely sorry to have spent the $5.
And that is the end of my review of the Worst Comic of the Week.