So, a fun addition to our canon; getting bitten by the average zombie…pardon me, “revenant”…will not turn you into one down the line. Why? So that our heroes can get jacked up by zombies, that’s why. (Also, more Doom-speak. That was a great deal of fun for me, you have no idea. I need to get out more.)
I always write the Wednesday blog post on Tuesdays, which is kind of the No Man’s Land of my week. I haven’t gotten to watch my favorite shows yet, and this is doubly true this week. I haven’t been able to sit down to watch Orphan Black yet, I’ve still seen only the season premiere of Game of Thrones, and Penny Dreadful began its second season, only to languish unseen on my DVR.
I will comment on the weird, but not necessarily surprising, backlash against Age of Ultron surrounding the Black Widow storyline. Anybody who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I fancy myself a feminist. When you look at my writing projects beyond Hunter Black, a LOT of them feature female protagonists: Rocket Queen and The Wrench, Cassie Cometstail (upcoming), The Family Secret. Even here in Hunter Black, I’ve tried to adhere to such noir tropes as the femme fatale (the little seen character Pearly White springs to mind, as does Jusadva), but I’ve also tried to find cool roles for female characters wherever I could. Maliya Pel began life as an Obi-Wan Kenobi archetypical “Old Man,” and only became a woman when I asked myself, “Why can’t his teacher be a woman?” Then I chose to add a subplot about gender discrimination in the world of swordsmen. Maliya Pel became a much more interesting character to me because of her gender.
There was something problematic about Black Widow in Age of Ultron, and that was that she got thrust, however briefly, into the role of damsel in distress. She, as a romantic interest, was also used as a device to remind us that life as The Incredible Hulk is ultimately a tragic one. Her only real story had to do with her flashing back to her upbringing as a spy, to the fact that she had been forced to commit a murder to graduate, and that shed been sterilized. She referred to herself as a monster. This is some pretty horrible stuff…and maybe it’s out of place in a movie like Age of Ultron.
I do fear a world where we’ve decided that we can’t discuss horrible things, or that being the victim of horrible things is inappropriate for strong female characters. Greg Rucka is arguably the model for the type of writer (both creatively and AS A PERSON) I want to be, and he puts his strong female characters through the wringer, often in ways that are unique to women.
The problem isn’t that Black Widow was the victim of of state-sponsored sterilization, or even that she thinks herself as monster as a result. The problem is that this stuff was done in the context of being a male character’s subplot, rather than in her own film.
The problem is that the Black Widow is hands down the female lead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and she hasn’t had her own stories told. I didn’t get mad at Joss Whedon or Age of Ultron for this…because this was a problem BEFORE this movie came out. The MCU has thus far been all about straight white men. The Black Widow situation just shines a light on that. Maybe things will get better when Captain Marvel and Black Panther and Avengers 3 (featuring an Avengers team with only one white male, unless you consider the Vision to be white) come out. Maybe.