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Monday, 5 November 2012

Ame-Comi girls

Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art credits:
Ame-Comi Girls issues 1-6: Eduardo Francisco (art), Ikari Studio and Santi Casas (colours)
Ame-Comi Girls issues 7-8: Santi Casas (art), Randy Mayor (colours)
Ame-Comi Girls Wonder Woman: Amanda Connor (art), Paul Mounts (colours)
Ame-Comi Girls Batgirl: Sanford Greene (art), Randy Mayor (colours)
Ame-Comi Girls Duela Dent: Ted Naifah (art), Randy Mayor (colours)
Ame-Comi Girls Power Girl: Michael Bowden (art), Randy Mayor (colours)
Ame-Comi Girls Supergirl: Santi Casas (art) , Randy Mayor (colours)
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
It's a weekly comic series from DC. The basic premise is that this is an earth where only women are heroes.  It's based on the Ame-Comi line of statues, which are basically manga/anime inspired sexy versions of DC's heroines.  You can see some of them on Amazon here.  Some are horrific, like this Wonder Woman one (why is she not wearing anything??), others are pretty good.  There was not really a story behind the action figures, so one has been created.
From Ame-Comi Girls 6, I think
The series started with 3 issue spotlights on 5 characters - Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Duela Dent, Power Girl, and Supergirl.  Wonder Woman looks at how Diana comes to America and forms a pact with the American government.  Batgirl and Duela Dent go hand in hand, introducing each character and setting up for the full series.  Duela's origin is really creepy.  These issues also introduce us to other key players such as Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Steel, and Brainiac.  Power Girl has Kara saving the day in metropolis then fighting Lex Luthor.  At the end, another visitor from Krypton arrives, and we segue into Supergirl.  Supergirl crashes to earth with Brainiac's army close behind.  Both Karas try to stop them, but Brainiac has other plans.
From the Duela Dent issues

Then the Ame-Comi series starts proper.  Issues 1 to 6 have all the heroes, led by Wonder Woman (because she says that's what's going to happen),  band together to fight Brainiac and save the earth.  Brainiac is an amazingly advanced robot from the far off reaches of space who consumes the knowledge of all the worlds she visits, then destroys them.  Issues 7 and 8 introduce Jade as this sector's Green Lantern.
From Ame-Comi Girls 7

What's good about it?
I love this series.  I was a bit dubious when it was announced because of the awfulness of many of the figures it's based on.  But this has been a delight.  Although some of the statues are horrifically sexist (as seen in links above), the series as a whole isn't.
From the Power Girl issues
Why is this?  It's because there are no male heroes.  Zilch.  This means that the women fulfil the roles men do in usual continuity.  This means that Power Girl is the most respected, adored hero on earth.  Jimmy Olsen looks up to her.  This means Batgirl is the best detective.  Alfred works for her.  This means Duela Dent is the most terrifying, sadistic villain imaginable.  Robin is not lesser because she's a girl; instead her partnership with Batgirl is that of equals.  Supergirl is more adult, more mature, more in control of her life.  Brainiac is female and power crazed but without sexual, hormonal shit.  Jade is the person with no fear and is the Green Lantern's first choice.  The Lantern who bequeathed her the ring is female.
You get two power Girl pictures because I love the art
The women aren't sidelined, aren't of less importance, aren't given romantic plotlines.  No, the action revolves around them and they are the drivers of the story.  It's fantastic.  Even the skimpy costumes take on a different meaning when there aren't male heroes around to contrast with.  It's a breath of fresh air and it's what female-centric comics should be.

What's bad about it?
When Star Sapphire is introduced (through Carol Ferris being an ASTRONAUT, IN SPACE - how many times have women been the explorers and scientists in regular comics?) she is given a ridiculous skimpy costume which does make me cringe - see right.  The Star Sapphires are powered by love, yet DC seem to conflate love with sex.  It's very irritating.

In regular comics Carol Ferris and the Green Lantern known as Hal Jordan are lovers, so I am now hoping that this universe will provide us with some Sapphire/Lantern love, or at the very least innuendos.

Another irritating factor is Wonder Woman's first diplomatic costume.  She immediately decries it as demeaning bullshit and from then on wears the armour seen in the first image.  Which is better, and shows that writers have an awareness of the sexist crap.
Usage of 'whore' does make me uneasy, but I get what the writers are going for

What's the art like?
It does continue the sexy theme.  It's manga influenced, driven by the style of the original figures, and this series has gone for the sexy manga look.  There are different artists per story arc and each has a distinct style but all are cartoony.  Most treat their subjects with respect and make them fully rounded people, not ciphers (my new favourite word).  The exception is the Supergirl issues (see right) which look plastic and vacuous.  It's the dialogue and plot that gives these issues more gravitas.  The Wonder Woman issues are cheeky, the Duela Dent ones are creepy.

Despite the cheesecake-iness of it, and the sexist platform from which it started, this series holds women up as heroes in a way few others do.  I would have no problem giving this series to children to read.  The women are brilliant.  This is brilliant.  You need to be reading this.
From the Batgirl issues
Other information
Ame-Comi Girls is released on Comixology every Monday as a digital comic.  It costs 99cents (about 60p in British money) and you read it on your computer.

So far I have heard conflicting accounts about whether these will be available in hard copy.  I think the intention was to release each arc as a trade, but people have told me that the Wonder Woman single issues are available at their local comic shop.

Not sure which issue this is from

From the Batgirl issues

From the Ame-Comi series proper

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yeah!
    I really meant to read this at some point, if for anything, for Duela Dent and Robin (Carrie?)! :'3

    There's supposedly a TPB coming up with all of those. (an onibus-sized collection?)