Motor Crush: So Close to That Finish Line

First, dear readers, a confession: I never read the Batgirl of Burnside comics, more out of a disinterest in Batgirl as a character and DC’s New 52 as a whole than out of any particular feeling for the aesthetic or storytelling. I bring this up because the creative team from that Batgirl comic (comprised of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr) has found a new home in Motor Crush, an indie comic with a cyberpunk feel that focuses on a motorcycle street racer with a strange problem and everything to lose. It’s my first outing with this particular trio of creators, and I’m mostly having a fun ride of it (that’s a pun, folks) so far.

Spoilers after the jump!

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Manifest Destiny: I Love You but I Know You’re Not Trying

There is a point early on in any promising relationship when your significant other gives you a gift that lets you know they really get you. In the case of my current relationship, that gift was the Volume 1 trade paperback of a comic series called Manifest Destiny. I’m a sucker for anything that falls under the weirdly specific category of “fantasy organic science”: stuff that delves into plausible-sounding pseudo-scientific minutiae as it pertains to biology that doesn’t actually exist. I’m pestered by questions like “If contact with iron burns faeries, what’s the oxidizing agent in faerie blood?” and “If drow live underground they must be obligate carnivores, so how can they digest vegetables?” Manifest Destiny is not only great fuel for my fantasy biology obsession, it’s an original, beautifully-illustrated and creatively written piece of historical fiction. The story follows Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous exploratory journey across the Louisiana Purchase, except in this version, mapping and documentation are just a cover for what they’re really doing: clearing the new territory of strange and terrible beasties to make it safe for human habitation.

While the concept and aesthetics are a delight, the writing does fail in some more-or-less predictably disappointing sexist and racist ways, which is especially frustrating since the series came out in 2014. Sacajawea, in spite of being well known and almost mythologized in popular culture, is woefully underdeveloped and more than a little caricatured. Although historically Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery encountered and had good rapport with many Native American communities, (establishing trade was, in fact, part of the mission) Sacajawea is the only Native American to appear in the first six issues of Manifest Destiny, and although she becomes directly involved in the narrative in issue three, she doesn’t even speak until issue six. It’s an irritating distraction from a series that has a lot going for it creatively.

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Was this not your first clue?

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Monstress #1 Is Beautiful and Brutal

Between the fact that my comic book shop is an hour from my house, and that I worked every Wednesday in November, I had a hell of a stack of comics waiting for me when I finally made it down there. On top of that, there were several comics that I’d heard good things about but hadn’t subscribed to, and I was hoping against hope that they’d still have some in stock. One of the latter was Monstress #1, from Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: A Deity Field Guide to The Wicked + The Divine Part 3

Greetings, Fantheon, it has been far too long since last we reconvened. Welcome to the third installment of The Wicked + The Divine Deity Field Guide, detailing brief profiles on the series’ deities and their cultural/historical roots. Though we still know virtually nothing about the elusive final goddess Tara, far too many divine goodies have been revealed to put off this installment any further. In that spirit, let’s dive right into the holy mess that we encountered in the last six issues. Please be mindful that the bio for Persephone contains a major spoiler for #11.

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Bitch Planet #1: Welcome to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost

We here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends are big fans of the feminist re-do, in which a creator takes a formerly problematic trope, character, or plot, and twists it in some way to make it subversive and progressive. It makes sense, then, that I absolutely adored the new comic Bitch Planet.

BITCH PLANET LOGO 1Bitch Planet is a feminist re-do of exploitation films set in women’s prisons: rather than we as an audience taking delight in watching these so-called non-compliant women’s humiliation, the story is framed so that we want each and every one of them to fuck someone up. Set in a dystopian sci-fi future where society is (still) ruled by patriarchal values, women who stand up are hammered right back down—and sent to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, an off-world prison world known colloquially as Bitch Planet. The first issue follows two storylines: that of the women who have just arrived on Bitch Planet, and that of one woman’s husband, who’s doing all he can to manipulate his wife’s place in the prison system.

Spoilers for the first issue below.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: A Deity Field Guide to The Wicked + The Divine

Last month Image Comics released a new title by the famous writer-artist team Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, best known for PHONOGRAM and Young Avengers. Their latest project, The Wicked + The Divine, tells the story of twelve gods who appear on earth in human form every ninety years, inspire the masses, and then die within just two years. In the 21st century “recurrence” these deities live out their time on earth as the most worshipped of all figures: pop idols.

The gods who appear in The Wicked + The Divine represent a wide range of different theistic traditions and mythology, some of which are familiar to the casual reader and some of which are more than a bit more obscure. In honor of the release of issue #2, I’ve created this brief field guide to six of the twelve gods of the pantheon. As the other six appear in the story I’ll update with a part two. Continue reading

Rat Queens: Sass, Sorcery, and Subpar Storytelling

RatQueensTopA couple weeks ago, while scrolling through Tumblr, I read about a comic called Rat Queens. The poster described it as a high fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons-esque story about an all-ladies mercenary group, the titular Rat Queens, that included diverse racial representation, queer characters, and realistic female characterization.

Needless to say, I was sold on the idea, and so I picked up Sass and Sorcery, the trade collection of issues #1–5, when it came out a week or two ago.

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