Friday, November 04, 2005

Bulleteer #1

Jog provides an excellent overview of Bulleteer #1, as is his wont with all things Seven Soldiers. Brian Cronin also makes excellent points about it. Brian's right: it is a bit of a Cousin Larry. There is a shocking amount of T&A in this book. Yanick Paquette knows how to draw shapely women, and Grant Morrison is serving up a perfect script to showcase his strengths. The lead character is barely dressed until the last page, and often finds herself topless. Reading it, I kept thinking that I should work up some healthy indignation and offense.

I can't.

Maybe I'm just falling for the Cousin Larry Trick? Or maybe it's because I trust Grant Morrison? It occurs to me: how else can you do a story about sex and the fetishizing of superheroes without sex and fetishes? Is it possible to write about the interaction between porn and spandex and keep it all chaste? It's not like this is unexpected. The refrain echoes throughout the series-setting Seven Soldiers 0: "How do you know when you've become a superhero and not just a crazy fetish person with a death wish?"
Morrison is exploring a lot of superhero archetypes in Seven Soldiers, and here he's exploring "The Bombshell", both literally and figuratively. Alix Harrower is a sexbomb, and looks it ... including the armor piercing shell. Sexuality is inherent in the character - even her origin story is based on her husband's perversions and fetishes. Bulleteer takes the objectification that is subtext in so many female heroes, and makes it utterly overt. It is inescapable. It cannot be denied or shuffled away.

However, there's an interesting sexual journey here. And the T&A tells it, Cousin Larry or otherwise ...

The cover presents The Bulleteer in full pervert-suit regalia. She is "busting out all over". It's aggressively sexual, and announces from the get-go that this will not shy from sexuality. Opening the issue, though, we find the character even less dressed, ending up nude at the top of the second page. From there, a journey begins. She becomes progressively more clothed throughout the book, until she becomes fully clothed in the liquid metal that makes her a superhero. Her initial adventure, where she converts despair to heroics again undresses her. The final page of the book again shows her in the superhero costume we see on the cover, and it suddenly looks different. It's by far the most clothing she's worn in the book. She is dressed, both in cloth and purpose. The minutiae of her apparel is just an illustration of an exchange from late in the book where Alix discusses the changes she's been put through:

Alix: There must be a reason for all this, right?
Doctor: Even if there isn't, I know you can make one, Alix.

Morrison has played with sex throughout the Seven Soldiers: Zatanna, Gimmick, The Whip. Here, it's become the central theme. As is so often the case with Morrison, he's doing a serious examination of the underpinnings of superheroes ... while still writing the ripping yarns that got him (and many of us) hooked in the first place. If it works on both levels ... filled with sex and about sex ... I don't know I can blame him.


Or maybe it really is just a Cousin Larry Trick.



zilla said...

To be honest (not sure if it's my old age) but i'm not a huge fan of over-the-top T&A in comics... i mean i don't mind a rated-R shot here and there (even helps keep things "real") but i mean when the super-heroine's COSTUME itself is designed for teen-pleasure alone? weak.

zilla said...

let me add that my comment (above) has nothing to do w/ bulleteer really just an in general gripe :)

Mark Fossen said...

I completely agree, Zilla.

I have daughters and a wife, and don't like the idea that my hobby goes out of it's way to exclude them.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. I hate to say anything about this issue, because I was highly critical of almost all the #1's in Seven Soldiers so far, but I've been amazed with the way they've turned out, so Morrison should have earned my trust. But the only thing I keep coming to is how her flagrant sexuality completely undercuts his story. This guy is married to a porn star look alike, is planning on making them both superheros, but then the big reveal is he's going to run off with some other super hero porn star? It just doesn't make any sense. The point he's trying to make trumps the story he's trying to tell.

Brian Cronin said...

Anonymous, the point is that he wants a wife who looks like a porn star and will STAY that way.

Alix is aging, even though she is still obviously porn star looking. Lance mentions the lines on her face.

So he wants to be a with a woman who DOESN'T age. And that is what he wanted his wife to do, to get the smart skin and therefore never age. She refused, so he moved on to another woman.

And Mark, for the record, I, myself, do NOT think it is a Cousin Larry trick either. It is pretty damn close, but I think Morrison adequately explained it.

Mark Fossen said...

This guy is married to a porn star look alike, is planning on making them both superheros, but then the big reveal is he's going to run off with some other super hero porn star?
Well, the wife is reluctant to "super-up" .. and he's already acutely aware of her aging.

A. H. said...

As a woman, I take offense at her helmet, because it is ugly. Other than that, though, I get what Morrison was doing (and I thought it was interesting that she got more and more clothing as the issue went on), so I think the outrage over it is misplaced.

Not that I liked it, but it didn't bother me like a lot of other comic things do.

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