Thursday, 13 October 2011
U1C #4: "Sisters Of The Dragon"
What is it about S.H.I.E.L.D. showing up that inspires all-girl superhero team to kick themselves some ass?
OK, so things are a little different this time around. When last Fury's posse showed up, it was in order to recruit the Scarlet Witch (and ultimately Marvel Girl) into the top-secret villain-punching game. Now, though, the Helicarrier is almost incidental; a hiding place for Storm's objective and nothing more.
Of course, you can make a strong case that the Helicarrier was incidental back in X1C (v2) # 9 as well. Either way, it's clear that in this issue the focus is upon the outcasts and street-level heroines (and villainesses) of the Marvel Universe, especially those who can claim no small abundance of melanin.
I'm not sure if that's very impressive, or simply very unadvised. There's something fundamentally worthless in any attempt by me, a white male Brit, in trying to discuss whether Scott Gray, a white male Kiwi, has managed to adequately capture the interaction between two black, NYC-born women (Storm and Nightshade, the latter of whom I've somehow never actually come across until now). It's like asking a cat what he thinks of a parrot's attempt to recreate Ave Maria. 
I mean, it's one thing to give the nod to the "girls' night out" scenes - they ring true to me, and not just because I've been known to briefly experience such things myself (you'd be surprised how many women just assume I'm gay - unless you've met me, in which case you won't be surprised at all). But how can I possibly offer an informed opinion on Storm and Nightshade clashing over what it means to be born in the Bronx?
As a complete outsider: a man with a Y chromosome and - to the best of my knowledge - no blood in his veins that has come from anywhere outside the North East of England (Teesside 'til I die!) - I think both sides have valid points. Nightshade's argument that anyone who through a simple quirk of fate ends up being worshipped as a goddess by various Kenyan villagers can fuck off when it comes to deciding how a Bronx-born sister should live her life seems to me fairly persuasive. On the other hand, Storm's point that Nightshade also had the tools to move on if she so chose, and instead decided to just keep stealing shit from people, is also a reasonable one. In this humble Whitey's opinion (though to quote Studio 60 "I'm not white, I'm English"), what's missing is the voice of someone who stayed, either through lack of options or because that was exactly what they chose to do.
Indeed, you could make a case for that role being a perfect one for Misty Knight, which makes it a shame that she spends the final third of this issue kung-fu kicking an army of ninja robots.
And when you make a reader regret that a hot woman is unleashing her skills on a squad of mechanical martial art masters, you know you've gone wrong somewhere. True that.
Jean apparently hasn't spoken to Scott since their argument in the Blackbird whilst returning from Atillan. The implication is that this is noteworthy, so presumably at least some time must have passed.
Let's assume then that this "ladies' night" takes place on the Friday following Banshee's escapades in Belfast. That means there's been about a week and a half of radio silence between Scott and Jean.
Friday 19th of February, 1982.
Pope Jean Paul II returns to the Vatican after a trip to Africa.
The US Supreme Court blocks the Reagan Administration's attempts to offer tax breaks to schools practicing racial discrimination.
"I like them. It's a shame they break so easily." The Knights of Hykon are on their way, True Believers, and that's what they think of you...
 Actually, that might be a bad metaphor, since the cat might want to eat the parrot. So let's pretend that the cat is well-fed on a diet of tuna and chicken, and also that this aside hasn't gotten in the way at all.