Monday, November 24, 2014

The Pull List: Spider-Woman #1 Review

I'm going to go ahead and reveal to you that this post right here? It is going to be a fucking rant, filled with as many expletives as I can muster, as much fury as I can call down from the heavens. It may not even be coherent, and I could not care a single bit less.

Because really.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. THIS. SHIT.
Spider-Woman #1 Regular Cover
Via Marvel Comics
Also, yes, there are going to be spoilers.

Ahem. 

Why, on God's green earth, would Marvel choose to debut Spider-Woman in the middle of their Spider-Verse event (which has taken a turn for the worse, in my opinion)? Why not do it next year, when they could focus on Jessica Drew instead of her babysitting gig? Why did they get Milo Manara to do that awful cover when they made it clear that Spider-Woman was supposed to be a title to bring on more women readers? Why did writer Dennis Hopeless portray Silk in such an obnoxious manner, enough that I sort of wish the spider-totem vampires eat her? Why does Silk appear to be the main character of this new series instead of the titular Spider-Woman? Why did they hire Greg Porn-Face Land as the main artist instead of, oh, I don't know, somebody like Phil Noto, who has done excellent work in Black Widow (a series I highly recommend you start reading - so damn good)? 

I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

By the time this review is posted, it will have been six days since I first read the first issue of Spider-Woman, and I am fairly certain that I will still be pissed about it. I can't even put the blame solely on one person, even though a lot of my ire is focused at Greg Land's art. Poor Dennis Hopeless - a unfortunately appropriate name, considering - was forced to do the best with what he was given: Silk is essentially a beacon for the Inheritors, and Jessica Drew and Spider-Man Noir (from an alternate 1930s universe) are her bodyguards as they bounce in and out of different dimensions. Add into the mix another Spider-Man (the real one? I don't really know), plus Spider-Gwen and some other Spider-Lady (again, I don't really know), who all somehow know how to teleport between universes (and again, I don't really know), and it's just too much. You have to go in having read the other Spider-Verse tie-ins, very few of which are actually worth the read. 

My only real problem with Hopeless' work - because I can't really blame him for being handed a clusterfuck - is the way he has Silk turn into Dawn Summers and run away after Jessica speaks the truth to Silk's new caretakers (Spider-Woman apparently is being called to do something else?). All I could think was, "Did Hopeless watch a whole shit-ton of Buffy Season Five to figure out how teenagers think? Because, even back then to me, this shit was an obnoxious trope."
Sure. This is an excellent idea.
Because of course, there's no possible way that the bad guys - who, as we've already noted, can essentially smell her across dimensional barriers - could find her immediately after she runs away in a hormonal tizzy. 

Just kidding!
That's a giant lizard ... thing behind her, by the way.
The Inheritors then begin a kind of hide-and-go-seek game with Silk, although she has no idea that it's going on and that's the end of the issue. I can only imagine the next issue will begin one of two ways: 1) Spider-Woman is recalled to go find Silk or 2) the story is continued in another series and people who decide to continue to read Spider-Woman are just assumed to not give a shit about what happens to Silk. At this point, I think either scenario is likely.

Now that I have that out of the way, I can get into what really chaps my ass: the artwork of Greg Uni-Boob Land, which begins in all its shitty glory with his cover. I mean, it's no Milo Manara (and no, I will not be posting that image because I'm already annoyed enough that I have to look at this one), but it's ridiculous in its own right. Jessica Drew's legs don't exist past the knee - do not even give me that "BUT ~~*PERSPECTIVE*~~!!!" bullshit - and Silk has no internal organs past her breasts. Pretty much par for the course with Land, actually. 

Looking back, I probably should have just stopped at the cover; I know Land's reputation. Hell, I frequent Fuck No Greg Land enough that I should have known better, but I decided against my better judgment, hoping for something that I could actually enjoy. 

And then I get this. (This is the point where I might begin to not make sense because Land makes me that livid.)
"And I kick her, sir!"*
What is Silk even supposed to be doing here? What's with the extended leg? WHO JUMPS LIKE THAT?? I will at least say that this is probably the best he's done at making a woman who is Asian actually kind of look like she's Asian. For the rest of the book, Silk looks like any other white girl, at least in terms of what Greg Land thinks women look like.
It's like a younger version of Betsy Braddock!!
See? She and Jessica Drew, a white woman, look like they could be sisters. They even do mirror poses!!
So Jessica Drew wears a watch. Huh. Because she needs the watch to tell her exactly what a second after the twins show up is. Okay, then.
Excellent use of alliteration there, Hopeless.
I look at these pictures and find myself tilting my head and squinting like a very confused puppy. Does he not understand anatomy? How does he see Silk's skeleton appearing in that bottom panel? Does she secretly have a hunchback? And is her left arm (well, technically it's on the right side of the picture) longer than her right? Does her Spandex act differently than Jessica's, since she's sentenced with a uni-boob? And I think it bears noting that Silk's hair in the bottom panel looks exactly like Spider-Woman's as she walking away in the top one. Sigh.
Spider-Woman #1
It's in this panel where it's pretty clear that Land has one default face for women. Hell, he also assumes that, when women talk to each other, it looks like they want to start making out, no matter what they're saying.

And in case you were thinking that I was exaggerating about the "Porn-Face" portion of Greg Land's name, here are a few of the more egregious examples.
This is not the pose I would be in if I were saying, "WRATH of the Spider-Woman," but okay.
Angry porn face is angry. And porny.
Yes, I am indeed concerned about the girl who was supposed to be in my care. My face shows this.
Via Fuck No, Greg Land
Look at Greg Land, being all equal-opportunity with his bukake displays!
To be honest, this issue is enough for me to refuse to buy the book until Greg Land is removed from it.

Now, if this had been a different series, I might have read it, thought, "Dear God, how does Greg Land still get work," and moved on. Instead, I was incensed that Marvel misrepresented what Spider-Woman was supposed to be. They advertised that it would be a book geared toward women readers, but then released it in such a way that it is almost destined to fail based upon the first issue, utilized an artist who is known for his anatomically-bizarre (he slims down women's hips for some unknown reason?), highly sexualized women, and then chose an erotic artist to do a variant cover. What they were essentially saying is, "Well, we don't think that women will buy this book, so we're going to make sure that what we might lose in sales from the target demographic will be made up by all the men who want to look at it because it's 'sexy.'" And then they'll cancel Spider-Woman because no one is purchasing it, adding it to a list of several Marvel titles that are ending but that I adore (She-Hulk and Hawkeye, sighhhh). Well, it has the potential to be that, if Marvel would just trust their readers, women and men alike. Jessica Drew is an awesome character who has fans that cross the gender barrier, and she deserves so much more than what she was given here. I'm hoping that, once the stupid Spider-Verse thing is done, Spider-Woman will truly begin and be as incredible as it should be.

Well, and in my perfect world, Greg Land would get booted. I vote for Siya Oum** as his replacement!!

* Bonus points to anyone who catches that reference.
** I felt bad when I put Siya Oum's variant back on the shelf, because it was a thing of beauty. But I just could not buy a single copy of Spider-Woman.
Isn't it pretty???

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