Oh comics, how do I enjoy thee… some comics, anyway. I do not buy them. I read them online, because at least there I have an outside chance of enjoying a comic series with women in it. I would love to buy into the fandom of comics but it’s been clear for a while that neither DC nor Marvel really want my money. I think I can put up with that, of course. It seems that things are changing, in little ways – see the backlash from Starfire’s complete reboot in the New 52, for example. See the same regarding the sex scene between Catwoman and Batman. The times they are a-changing, and all that.
Still, I was absolutely shocked to see this:
Power Girl. Symbol of the boobtacularness of comics, known mostly for nothing more than having an enormous rack. She’s a joke to me, and I’m not even sure what the punchline is supposed to be. She could be the best, most interesting, most awesome superheroine in the history of comic books, and I’d still write her off because it’s patently clear that she’s drawn to be eye candy.
But this – this is a change. This is something I never thought I’d ever see. They covered up, and slightly reduced the size of, her boobs.
Now, what’s the answer to the million dollar question – do I approve of this?
Yes, but it’s still crap.
See, my big problem with female comic book characters is that they’re clones of each other and hugely unrealistic. Yes, Power Girl was over-sexualized, but the only difference between her and other superheroines was the boob window. Literally. See the Most Common Superpower, yet again – all of them wander around in stripperific costumes. Wonderwoman shows off more flesh. So they’ve made one small change, which makes an overly sexualized character just a little less so, and in the process they produce a character redesign that a commenter on BleedingCool described as ‘bland and uninteresting’.
Now, I read a lot of comments that thought the redesign was terrible. Some of them mentioned the loss of eye candy in their reasoning, which I was very unimpressed by, but they weren’t wrong. This new design is crap.
Look at the first Power Girl, and ignore for a minute that she has the breast implants of the gods. The costume has a nice balance of color and detail. She projects an impression of power, which is keeping in character at least.
The second looks like a bad knock-off of any crappy ’90s Marvel character you care to name, complete with stupid haircut. She has normal breasts now, and they’re covered up, but… everything else is a disaster. And let’s not get into the anatomical errors – PG may have boobs the size of her head in the first picture, but at least her shoulders and arms have the right proportions. Given some really incredible implants, yes, someone could actually look like that. In the second, her head is too big, her arms are too short, and that little divide between her legs? Not actually possible for a real living woman.
DC and Marvel have long since lost me as a customer, it’s true. DC had a chance to get me back and they failed miserably with the New 52 and especially Starfire. I can still speculate – like many others – whether this is a response to the backlash. If it is, it’s an honestly terrible response. It really doesn’t address any of the other problems with female superheroes. They did a little something good, which I like, but she’s still a goddamn clone wearing a skin-tight costume who looks like every other female character.
If this is the best they can do to pull in a greater female audience, then I have to pass. I have standards that I don’t just toss in the garbage when a company throws a very half-hearted bone my way. I expect more than that. I expect something like this: