I know it’s been a long time. Let me do some catching up. Let’s see …
Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Fun, heartwarming, and not at all what I expected, but not as funny as the first movie and felt a little like they were in plot purgatory until Infinity War.
Wonder Woman: It was great! Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are a rock star duo. I wish they would just hand over the DCEU reigns to Patty Jenkins. The movie was funny, well-written, and truly showed what we have been missing since… the dawn of Superhero movies: a female look at a female superhero. The only place it sort of fell apart for me was in the climax… where it kind of felt more like a normal DCEU movie.
Spider-Man Homecoming: I expected a lot out of it. I was a little disappointed on first watching, but subsequent watchings, I really enjoyed it. My takeaway is it’s my favorite Spider-Man movie, but maybe I didn’t like the other Spider-Man movies as much as I thought? Anyway. It’s fun, and Tom Holland is great.
Thor: Ragnarok: Really fun, but… maybe they could have cut the goofy jokes down by like 1/3, because it sort of started to feel like a parody of itself at times. Still… Great fun to watch. I’ve seen it twice now, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Justice League: The last 20 minutes of this movie feel more like a comic book than anything DC/WB has put out in theaters yet. The first 100 minutes are… mediocre! Which is an improvement over everything they’ve done except for Wonder Woman! So good job! It’s the second-best DC movie, but that isn’t saying much. There is clearly some disconnect between the things that Snyder was in charge of and the things Whedon was in charge of. They removed the Snyder washed-out palette, but the movie clearly was shot intending for it to be there, so there are times where shots look wonky.
OKAY! Housekeeping out of the way… On to what I came to talk to you about: Witchblade.
Yes. I know. We’re on a real rollercoaster of emotions here. Bear with me.
So first a history lesson.
Witchblade was a comic that was started in 1995 by Mark Silvestri who co-founded Image comics, and was the founder of the Image imprint “Top Cow.” She’s a badass, “Strong Female Character ™” from the mid-90’s, and that means she… doesn’t wear a lot of clothes.
The basic story here is Sara Pezzini was a homicide detective who was killed in the line of duty… or well… nearly killed, and then saved by a sentient gauntlet known as “the Witchblade,” which also gave her the power to strip out of her clothes at a moment’s notice and put on living armor! And also like… enhanced strength, regeneration, combat ability and the like. It can transform into weapons for her, too, and shoot energy. Basically, it can do all the good stuff you expect a living armor and weapon to be able to do. She’s feels a bit like Spawn, except… a woman and, therefore, not as popular *sigh*. There’s also a deep mythology and history about previous owners of the Witchblade that I’m not going to get into now, but anyway! Here’s the point of all this.
Witchblade has recently been relaunched and the NEW Witchblade comic is written by Caitlin Kittredge and drawn by Roberta Ingranata. That’s right. It’s an all-female creative team. And it shows. The first issue dropped this week, and let me tell you, it’s like watching Wonder Woman again. It’s amazing what a female perspective on this concept can do. The new protagonist, Alex Underwood, (as this is a full reboot) is interesting not just as a fighter, but also as a person. She’s conflicted, confident, but rightfully afraid when she should be (like when a strange man approaches you in an alley and tells you that you have an ancient artifact on your arm) in short: she feels human. You can tell right from the first issue that, shockingly, this is something we haven’t seen before with this character. The perspective feels completely different and not just because we aren’t inexplicably staring at her butt every three pages (I may be being a bit harsh. I think the earlier Witchblade comics were fine. Some of them are even drawn by some of my favorite artists, but you gotta call them out for what they are). I am more interested in Alex Underwood as a character after one issue than I think I ever was with Sara Pezzini. Underwood just feels more real to me. But what really makes me excited is the future of this comic. Ingranata and Kittredge have promised to give a fresh perspective on this character, both by giving us a cool look to the classic armor that will be less sexualized and also by giving us a story about a female superhero that is created by women.
I don’t think I mentioned on here before, but my first experience seeing the Wonder Woman movie was so bizarre, because I was seeing her do these things that male superheroes always got to do: busting into buildings, beating up bad guys in droves, taking charge of a situation. And while watching it I realized that I had never seen this kind of scene with a female superhero done this way. It felt like I was seeing something totally new, which is rare in a world where it feels like everything in film has been done and redone half a dozen times. I’m absolutely convinced that Wonder Woman wouldn’t have felt that way if it hadn’t been directed by Patty Jenkins, and I’m seeing the seeds of something very similar with the new Witchblade comic. Please check it out!
One thing I’m curious about with the new Witchblade, what’s Alex Underwood’s personality like? I definitely buy into the importance of flawed characters and the like, though I think it’s often the particular mix of flaws and virtues that intrigues me in a character.