Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To see the problem with "Marvel Divas", you need only consult the Wiki

To see the inherent problem with the new "Marvel Divas" series, try doing what I did.

For starters, go to Wikipedia.

Now look up "Monica Rambeau".

"Monica Rambeau is a fictional character, a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. Initially known as Captain Marvel, the character became a member of the Avengers and served for a time as their leader. She later used the codenames Photon and Pulsar after another Captain Marvel surfaced. Presently she uses no codename as the leader of Nextwave."

So far, so good. Now let's look at her Avengers career, and see some of the villains she's faced:

"As an Avenger, Monica faced foes such as Maximus, the Enclave, Annihilus, the Lava Men (who mistook her for the divine Lady-of-Light of their legends), Morgan Le Fay, the Dire Wraiths, Maelstrom, the Skrulls, Kang, Attuma, Freedom Force, an insane Quicksilver, Tyrak, and Grandmaster's Legion of the Unliving, even battling an army of Earth's major super-criminals during the Beyonder's Secret Wars alongside many of Earth's foremost heroes.[6] Two of Monica's earliest recurring enemies were super-powered psychiatrist Moonstone (Karla Sofen), who became one of Monica's bitterest foes, and Moonstone's powerful pawn Blackout (Marcus Daniels), who wielded the eerie Darkforce."

Not bad. Those are some pretty heavy hitters. But then, look at her power set:

"Due to bombardment by extra-dimensional energies, Monica can transform herself into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum. Among the many energy forms she has assumed and is able to control are cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, electricity, infrared radiation, microwaves, radio waves and neutrinos. She apparently accomplished this transformation by mentally shunting the matter of her body into the dimension from which she draws her energy and replacing it with a corresponding amount of energy. Her mind remains in the dimension to control the energy-parcel that has taken the place of her body. By assuming an energy-form, she gains all of that energy's properties.

She is invisible and intangible in many of her energy forms (the most frequent exception being visible light), and is capable of flight in all her energy forms (reaching velocities up to and including light speed). She also has the ability to project these energies from her body while she is in human form (only one wavelength of energy at a time), usually in the form of energy blasts from her hands. She apparently does this by creating small interfaces with the dimension from which she derives her powers, and letting the designated energy pass through. She mentally controls both type and quantity of energy she wishes to transmit. It is not known the maximum amount of energy she can transmit at a given time. Monica can also divert small amounts of various energies for employment as force beams, which have the equivalent to 300 tons of TNT of explosive force. A variation of this ability enables her to project light-based holographic illusions of herself and other than the fact they cast no shadow, they are extremely lifelike.

When she encounters a new or unfamiliar energy, Monica can often duplicate it given enough time for analysis, such as when she replicated and drained the green energies of an extra-dimensional Green Lantern.[JLA/Avengers #2] Monica tends to be physically insubstantial in her energy forms, though with concentration and effort she can sometimes perform tasks such as briefly grasping an object, either by partially solidifying or by applying some sort of force to the object in question.

Monica also had the ability to shunt any mechanical energy directed towards her through a dimensional interface surrounding her body, granting her increased strength, resistance to impact, and the ability to fly.

Monica has strong leadership skills and law enforcement experience due to both of her time as a police officer and former leader of the Avengers. She is an excellent markswoman, unarmed combatant, detective and swimmer with extensive nautical expertise. She has received Harbor Patrol training, and Avengers training in unarmed combat by Captain America."

Strong leadership and detective skills. Combat trained by Captain America. Able to transform into and manipulate any form of energy. Once drained a Green-friggin'-Lantern ring.

Monica sounds, well, awesome.

So you'd think she'd be featured in some equally awesome appearances in upcoming Marvel books, right? Maybe facing off against her old foe Moonstone a.k.a. the Dark Ms. Marvel? Or co-starring in the next Annihilation-style cosmic heroes crossover? Guest starring in Nova's book, perhaps? Or maybe fighting against cosmic foes like the Dire Wraiths or the Phalanx? Dare I even dream...M.O.D.O.K.?

Wait, it says right here in Wiki:

"Photon will return in the upcoming limited series, Marvel Divas (a parody of Sex and the City).[12] She will be one of the main characters, alongside Black Cat, Hellcat and Firestar. "


Nah, that can't be right. Better double-check Marvel's July solicits:

Written by Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, art by Tonci Zonjic, cover by J. Scott Cambpell.
Diva (dee-vah), noun: An unusually glamorous and powerful woman. See: Patsy "Hellcat" Walker; Felicia "Black Cat" Hardy; Angelica "Firestar" Jones; and Monica "Photon" Rambeau. What happens when you take four of the Marvel Universe's most fabulous single girls and throw them together, adding liberal amounts of suds and drama? You get the sassiest, sexiest, soapiest series to come out of the House of Ideas since Millie the Model! Romance, action, ex-boyfriends, and a last page that changes everything!


Are you fucking kidding me? A character with Green Lantern-level powers and a former Avengers leader, and they're using her in a "Sex and the City" knockoff?

But Monica's not the only one being misused here. Look at Wiki's description of Firestar's powers:

"Firestar is a mutant possessing the ability to convert ambient electromagnetic energy in her environment into microwave energy, which she can then manipulate for various effects. As she alters the electromagnetic wavelengths they form a microwave aura around all or parts of her body, at which point she mentally "pushes" the microwaves away from herself. Doing this allows her to release heat, light, and radiation into her environment at various intensities. By focusing microwaves on a specific target she can cause it to burst into flames, explode, or melt. She can project microwave energy blasts which have a thermo-concussive effect, heating objects so that they melt, while the superheated and pressurized air created by the directed microwaves produces impact. Firestar can also sense microwave signals (such as cellular phone signals or remote-control devices) and disrupt electronics with her own microwave emissions. By superheating the air around her, Firestar can can generate enough upward thrust to fly at high speeds and lift objects as heavy as the X-Man Colossus.

On rare occasion, Firestar has demonstrated the ability to disrupt the
psionic powers of others using her own power (namely, Emma Frost, Empath, and the Darkling).

She easily produced an attack that injured Garthan Saal when he possessed the energy of the entire
Nova Corps, and also used her enhanced abilities to power a massive Shi'ar interstellar transport gate with very little effort."

But no, don't give her any cool space adventures or anything. It's not like she's a superheroine. Powers,shmowers. Let's just cut to the most important thing about Firestar: Her sex life.

Hellcat seems most at home in this milieu, but she's done better things as an Avenger and a Defender. Even the Black Cat could be better utilized. I mean, she's beaten Spider-Man, for Heaven's sake!

And just look at this gripping first-issue cover. I mean, this just screams "dramatic tension".

If, by "dramatic tension", you mean "look at our enormous gazongas".

I understand that Marvel wanted to do something to appeal to female comic readers. But they really should have tried, well, talking to some female comic readers. I'm lacking a second "X" chromosome myself, but even from my limited correspondence with people like Sally or Sky of Blue or Saranga on this blog, I can guess my wish lists above came closer to approximating what women comic readers want than "Marvel Divas" does.


At 5:54 AM , Blogger Saranga said...

I still can't quite believe that this was Marvel's idea of marketing to potential women readers- it looks exactly like standard comic fayre. It more closely reminds me of the GA/BC wedding isssues - an excuse for the writers and fans to have a bit of fun with the characters.

I wouldn't pick up this Divas line if I was a woman looking to get into comics. If I read Marvel however, and liked the characters, then I'd pick it up. Same as I'll do with Gotham City Sirens.
But then again, I'm not someone who needs persuasion to buy new comics.

At 5:54 AM , Blogger Saranga said...

And also, Monica drained a GL ring? That's awesome.

At 1:49 PM , Blogger SallyP said...

Well, needless to say, I shan't be picking this up. I HATED Sex In The City. And the thought of Monica Rambeau sitting around braiding Hellcat's hair, and talking about boys and shoes just makes me quiver with horror.

Maybe some of the guys will like it. I imagine there will be a LOT of boobage.

At 4:14 PM , Blogger notintheface said...

Future Mrs. NITF isn't exactly a fan of "SITC" either - not hate, just indifference. Me, I'd rather see the Dire Wraiths. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte actually got killed and replaced by the Dire Wraiths? That would be awesome.

And, yes, Saranga, not only did Monica drain Kyle's ring nearly dry, but Kyle turned around and copped a recharge from the Cosmic Cube. For the remainder of that issue, Kyle was glowing whitish-blue while Monica was glowing green. JLA/AVENGERS was the embodiment of comics excellence. If you can pick up the trade at a reasonable price, or even a less-reasonable one, do so.

At 8:13 AM , Blogger Saranga said...

Thanks for the tip, face. I'd always assumed that the crossovers sucked, but I shall look out for that one :-)

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