Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Here is the last part of this continuing blog post, with 5 more ladies from the comics that are amazing.
Alison Hargraves AKA The Rumor AKA #00.003. The Rumor is one of 41 other children who born spontaneously to women who were seemingly not pregnant. Almost all of them had some kind of super powers. Alison’s is the ability to alter reality by telling lies. She and six others were raised by the universe’s greatest powered hero the alien Sir Reginald Hargraves (The Monocle) unfortunately he may have been a great hero he was a miserable father. All the children were to put it bluntly, raised messed up. Alison is a narcissist with a ruined marriage, and an unconsummated crush on her step-brother who has an alien hybrid gorilla body. She is a flaming hot mess who lies (and thus change reality) not to make things better but so she and the world can survive, even if the lie she is spreading is the presidents head exploded.
Like Tank Girl, The Rumor’s creator is primarily known as a musician Gerard Way is best known as the front man for the band My Chemical Romance. Though primarily known as a rocker way has also done the title Killjoys, based on some of his songs and videos.
Way has promised us Vol 3, The Hotel Oblivion, with the presumed return of Dr. Terminal since 2009, but alas it has not seen the light of day yet. What might jump start the story’s publication is the announcement that Netflixs is going to make a live action version of The UA. Presumably the first series will be based on the first arch Apocalypse suite. There have been attempt’s to adapt this title before, but this is the golden age of products based on comic book titles and Netflixs has made a fortune on their superhero stories like daredevil and Jessica Jones, so let’s hope this isn’t a mere rumor.
Kamala Khan AKA MS Marvel. When Marvel said they were going to make the new Ms. Marvel a Muslim American school girl I was not impressed. I thought they were just jumping on the diversity bandwagon and that they were where basically going to make her a white boy drawn like a girl of color. I have never been so happy to be so wrong about a comic book in my life. Not only does this title perfectly capture the Muslim experience in the Unites States it also is dead on its portrayal of teenage life in America.
She received her powers from Terrigen mist and is not a mutant, but an inhuman. That means she completely falls under the prevue of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. I cannot wait to see her in future Marvel cinematic properties, but I suspect, they are holding her back for when the current crop of marvel heroes become tired or too old for their roles and we will see her leading a new phase of the MCU.
I am not the only one who loves KK, no other grater mentor of female heroes than Wolverine says there is something special about her. Her powers are the ability to make any parts of her body larger (with corresponding strength increase) and regeneration. But her true power is being a teenager. The writers get that part of her character perfect. She wants to be a good girl for her family even though she thinks some of their beliefs are old fashion and embarrassing. She wants to be respected by her peers but doesn’t want to do some of the things her friend do to be popular. Not only is she a great teen character she is one of us, a geek. She even out geeked, nerd extraordinary Phil Coulson on obscure villain abilities.
Oh and you know I love MS Khan so much I was going to name a goat after her.
Faith Herbert AKA. The Zephyr. Faith started out as lame joke that was turned in to an awesome comic. In the original Harbinger, Faith was the comic relief butt of a joke. Hey look, a fat girl who is a superhero. He, he, he. But twenty years later she was re-booted with the rest of the Valliant universe, and this time she is no joke. With Jodie Houser at the helm Faith has out grown the fat jokes of her creation, and become a woman to reckon with.
Faith, the title has become as complex as Faith, the character. Her Pollyanna attitude was part of the original joke, but now we can see how much effort it takes to maintain that disposition. The world knows that faith Herbert is Zephyr, so in an attempt to get some privacy she creates a mundane persona of Summer Smith. Her powers have evolved too. Originally she could create a psionic force and use it to fly, now she can use her talents to create a battering ram, create a force shield ad pick a lock. She is now in a relationship with Valliant’s demon slayer Oswald Archer. This is one of the best comic book relationships since Valerian and Lauereline. It is refreshing to see chachters who seem to be really attracted to each other, and whose relationship is not played for fan service.
One of the things that makes Faith so relatable to her fan base is the fact she too is a nerd. She remembers when events happen by connecting to pop culture events (Nana got worse when the Scott Pilgrim movie came out.) She is a huge Dr. Who fan. And in the Crime at the Comicon arch she attends cosplaying a steam punk Zephyr. In this day and age when there is a fake argument wither girls can be fans, it is nice to see not only does the series avoid the low handing fruit of fat jokes, it doesn’t embrace fan-girl stereotypes.
Jagger Rose. Michael Brian Bendis is best known for his series Powers, about San Francisco Police in a world of superheroes series. However he has quite a noir comics credential on his resume with titles like Goldfish and Jinx, but his best crime story is by far his 2014, United States of Murder Incorporated. In this story after the Kennedy assassination, New York succeeded from the US as a semi-independent nation led by the mafia. This crime state engages in a cold war with the US, in this story hard core crime story collides with spy thriller.
In this interesting setting emerges the incredible character of Jagger Rose. She would be the top mafia agent/assassin if she had outdoor plumbing, but because of her sex she has to settle for just being there best, without all the perks it would bring anyone else. She and her charge newly minted made man Valentine are framed for the murder of a US senator. On the run she has to use every trick in the book to keep them alive while they try to prove their innocence. It would be easy for her to sell out, but her professionalism keeps her going. She could easily become a Mafioso’s gun maul and have a life of luxury. But if Jagger is going to make a living with her body it is going to be because of her reflexes not her skills when she’s on her back.
Ever since Steve Ditko’s run on Agents of Shield, comics have been influenced by pop art, but USOMI takes this to eleven. It has this Mad Men meets Soviet era propaganda poster art vibe and contrasting dark bright color art that makes it out of this world. Where the men begin to deliberately blur in their matching thin lapel/thin tie suits, Jagger stands out in this pop but not kitschy world. You know she is sleek, sexy and lethal by looking at her, and the artist doesn’t have to fall back to the hyper realistic art style of some other comics to show it.
Bardon Gordon. Just like there have many iterations of Robin, most people think of the caped Crusaders side kick primarily as Dick Grayson, there have been many Bat Girls, but to a lot of us she will always be Barbara Gordon. There have also been many versions of Babs, the iconic 60’s TV version played by Yvonne Craig, the hyper-competent Lego Bat Girl, the old and sick of Bruce’s crap version in Batman Beyond, or the wheeled chair bound Oracle. BG is basically the Madonna of comic books she keeps re-inventing herself. Unlike many other versions of a character when the writers go a different direction with them, it doesn’t seem forced or come off as a break in continuity.
One of the life changing events that happened in BG (wow, I never noticed this before but her initials are the same for Barbara Gordon and Bat Girl) is when she was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in The Killing Joke. I admit that this is very close to a ‘girlfriend in a refrigerator’ moment, but to me the important part is what happened afterwards. She self-trained herself to become a computer genius known as Oracle, she then became the leader of the all-female super team, The Birds of Prey. To me this is just a heroic as Bat Man returning to action when Bane broke his back. She took her disability and became one of the greatest heroes Gotham even knew, even if she did it behind the scenes.
Even Alan More, who crippled BG in The Killing Joke, later felt that it was too much. I cannot deny that there is misogyny in some comic stories, but that Barbara thrived and flourished even after getting shot is a tribute to her character. This really came out when Gail Simone had creative control over the character. One thing that shows her strength of character is that unlike Bruce and Dick she isn’t fighting crime as a result of some childhood trauma but because she thinks it is the moral thing to do.