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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Characters of Colour in superhero Comics - the women (part two)

Continuing our series on characters of colour in comics, we bring you the women in superhero comics, part two.

You can read our other posts in the series as follows:
women (part one)men (part one)men (part two), men (part three), the X (wo)men, non superhero comics, men (part four), men (part five) and finally women (part three) and a Spider-man.

Going back to the DC ladies, let's start with Renee Montoya, aka the Question. She started out as police detective and is now a masked vigilante. She is of hispanic descent and gay (her one-time lover being the modern Batwoman). She was created for the cartoon Batman: the Animated Series and then introduced into DC canon proper. The DCU is now the richer for it. She is absolutely one of my all-time favourite characters and I am so glad we have her in the comics.
She took up the Question persona within the pages of 52, so this would be a good place to start reading about her. However, 52 is in four volumes and gives the story of a number of characters (including Natasha Irons, as featured in our first post in this series). If you don't fancy reading all four volumes of 52 you could start with The Question: 5 Books of Blood, which is about Renee being a badass detective and chasing down a worldwide criminal organisation to discover the secret of the Crime Bible. 

Dr Light, civilian name Kimiyo Hoshi, is a brilliant scientist with light based powers. She can create flashes of light, hard light, laser beams, ride lightwaves and turn into light. She's been a member of the Justice League of America, she's a mother and she's been in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. She's pretty damn kick ass. Sadly she hasn't had any solo series, but a list of titles she's been in is on her wikipedia page. She is not to be confused with the male villain Dr Light.

From Marvel, we shall start with Anya Corazan, the new Spider-Girl. She's Latina. Originally introduced with a complicated, vaguely shamanic set of supernatural spider-powers in Arana: Heart Of The Spider, the character sadly failed to grab audience imagination but was well liked by one of our blogging team (James). She was re-introduced without her mystical powers (in fact, without any) in a new Spider-Girl series that debuted a few months ago and will end with its eighth issue because no one pre-ordered it. Sadly, that's sometimes how comic series go. She continues to be a presence in a succession of mini-series by Sean McKeever about a team of super-powered teenagers the Young Allies.
Misty Knight is an African American woman. She was a police officer who lost an arm then got a new cybernetic one from Iron Man. Over the years she's been a supporting character in various Marvel series including the old Luke Cage series (featured in out last CoC post) and more recently in Immortal Iron Fist. She's now the main character in Dan Abnett and AndyLanning's Heroes For Hire, where she co-ordinates a large band of heroes working for her on a case-by-case basis.

A trade of this series will be released later this year. But a warning, a previous series of this title carried one of the most offensively sexist covers I have ever seen. If you do a google image search you'll find it, but I'm not linking to it. As I understand, the cover in question wasn't related to the content of the comic (which only makes it worse), but if it is included in a trade I imagine a great deal of our readers will be equally annoyed with it.

28.12.2011 edit - Currently there are two named trades of this series - Control and Fear Itself.
M or Monet St. Croix is a black Algerian Muslim woman. Think Supergirl with a superior attitude and massive personal wealth. She's a member of the New York-based super-powered detective agency X-Factor in Peter David's ongoing noir series. As this is a team book the stories don't focus on one particular character but M gets continuous exposure and top-rate characterisation.

Jubilation Lee, aka Jubilee is a teenage Chinese-American X-Men character and Wolverine's adopted daughter (although the bond is rarely explicitly acknowledged). Her mutant power is to form energy fireworks from her fingertips that could vary in intensity and dazzle people or destroy things. Most recently she became a vampire in X-Men: Curse of the Mutants. This change and her changing relationship with Wolverine was explored in a recent limited series by Kathryn Immonen and Phil Noto called Wolverine And Jubilee. She was previously one of the leading characters in Underworld creator Kevin Grevioux's series New Warriors.

Judd Winick's Exiles had a couple of CoCs: Mariko Yashida aka Sunfire (left) is a Japanese flame-thrower (and gay) and Heather Hudson (right), aka Sasquatch, is African-Canadian and she turns into a, you guessed it, sasquatch.
Faiza Hussain from Captain Britain and MI-13. This series is about British superheros working with a fictional government agency. Hussain is a British-Indian Muslim doctor. Probably one of the best portrayals of Muslim woman in comics without invoking extremism or prejudice of any kind. A Newsarama (a prominent comics news website) journalist was fired for asking Cornell how many issues he'd go before she turned out to be a suicide bomber.

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