Thursday, August 2, 2012
The Hypernaturals #2: "Oh my Quant"
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artists: Brad Walker and Tom Derenick
August 1, 2012
My feelings about this comic are perfectly summed up by the characters' exclamation, "Oh my quant!" First reaction: cool; second reaction: wait, what?
I really liked this comic the first time I read it--each issue begins with a "Q-data link," or a little info-sheet about the world you're entering and what's happened in the story so far. The next page is a "We Want You" ad, except for the Hypernaturals instead of the army. It's in those ads that the reader finds out more about the main characters and about how the Hypernaturals become a team (they try out! Who knew?). Each issue also ends with an interview with one of the characters, which are really informative reads because they explain some things that the action in the comic doesn't have time to get to.
However, on my second read-through, there were a couple things that bugged me, in a "something's-just-a-little-off-here" way. First, we find out in this issue that the "secret" to Creena Hersh's super-speed/acceleration powers is "hyper-metabolism." What? Having a fast metabolism gives you super powers? So, Barbie should be slicing holes in aliens and beating up all of the Ken dolls, if that were a thing. How is this an empowering model for women? You stay skinny because you have special powers, unlike all of those other slow, heavy women? If you starve yourself by "accelerating" all the time, you won't age and you'll stay thin? She even admits that accelerating isn't good for her body--it could end up killing her if she isn't able to replace the energy by eating. Did I mention that Creena is also a fashion model? And their Media Relations Coordinator? It's like she's just there to look good.
On the other hand, her mask IS pretty cool, she eats bug guts, and she blows up aliens with sonic booms. Oh, but wait...she's divorced from an alcoholic husband, she's fooling around with a so-called boy-toy, and she STILL teases her ex-husband about their first meeting AFTER finding out that the boy-toy is PROBABLY DEAD. Something's just not adding up here.
The other character who feels off to me is Deedee Cadiz, aka "Halfshell." She is your stereotypical angry black woman. Oh, and she thinks she's too hot for the Slave-Leia-bikini-suit that is her uniform. In what universe do women think they're TOO hot to wear a bikini?
Halfshell gains points for being a hothead in battle (total bloodlust thing going on there) but loses them for telling the corporate heads that they cut her for being "too hot for [their] squeaky clean corporate profile." Huh? Why is the warrior woman putting so much emphasis on how she looks?
The world-building is cool in this comic though. Don't get me wrong, there are some really interesting, well-thought out, other-worldly devices, aliens, weapons, etc, in this comic. The writers' strong suits really lie in the world-building, not so much with female character-building.