Monday, February 22, 2016

Superhero Media: Black Widow - Homecoming

This comic sucks. First of all, I'm really annoyed that I'm yet to read a Black Widow comic that's any good. Sure, there are plenty of good comics featuring Widow, but where are all the ones she's starring in? I'm sure there must be some, Widow is a character with so much potential and depth to add to stories; just look at what has been done with her in the MCU Captain America films. In comics like Secret War or even some Daredevil, Widow is smart, capable and subtle, very subtle, because she's a spy and is trained to operate in deep cover without being caught. In Homecoming, she's a raving, man-hating loon who is capable of about as much subtly as a brick through a window. 

In my bachelor's study of Literature and Film, I did a reasonable amount of work on feminist and gender theories, so I like to think that I have an ok understanding about how women should be written and what are the bad "strong woman" cliches. I'm going to have to delve back into some of the theory, because I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed a writing parallel to the "Virgin/Whore" complex along the lines of the "Victim-in-waiting/Man-eating murderess" complex. In this comic, Widow routinely tortures, maims and cripples male opponents like she's trying to be Jack Bauer and completely forgotten that she's been an Avenger for years, off and on. That would be passable on it's own, but every second line out of her mouth is some diatribe about men being scum. Yes, Widow is trained to manipulate men, but she's not the "Red Spy" that tricked Hawkeye into fighting Iron Man back in the '60s, she's the Avenger who tried to point out to Clint that he was letting his nob do the thinking in the 2010s. Oh, and apparently, Nick Fury isn't a mastermind who recognises Widow's true talent, he just has a magic aftershave that controls her like a dog. 

Despite trying to be a truly feminist comic, Homecoming is clearly written by a man (Richard K. Morgan), who thinks that, to be a feminist, a woman must be a manipulative, man-hating bitch, which is a damn misogynistic point of view. This clearly isn't the Widow that operated undercover in Latveria for months without being spotted in Secret Wars, or who struggled with maternal yearnings in Guardian Devil, because she was a complex character who was defined by more than her gender and sexuality, operating on emotions (because woman are all emotional, right?) and lucking through fights. Give this one a miss. 

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