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review 2019-02-26 19:15
Man-Eaters, Vol. 1 by Chelsea Cain, Lia Miternique, and Kate Niemczyk
Man-Eaters, Vol. 1 - Chelsea Cain,Kate Niemczyk,Lia Miternique

Some years ago, young women started turning into cats. Big cats. It took awhile for the authorities to figure it out and a lot of people were killed. but now we know. Due to a mutation of toxoplasmosis - one of the most common diseases and carried by housecats - menstruating women, particularly adolescents and twenty-somethings, are at risk of spontaneously transforming into giant, man-eating cats. Hormones have been put into the drinking water to stop menstruation and aggressive measures are in place to identify women who still menstruate and protect men and boys from them.


'Man-Eaters' is set in that world. These issues follow 12-year-old pussy-hat-wearing Maude living with her detective father. Her parents have split up but still socialize to keep her from getting screwed up, something she is very aware of. Her father works in homicide and her mother is a part of one of the highly funded task forces that hunt down the killer cats. At the end of the first issue we see that things are going to get pretty complicated for Maude.


This book is laugh-out-loud funny and inappropriate and in any other political climate over-the-top dystopian. The level of misogyny that is normalized in this world is stunning, but in the four issues collected here its easy to see how it happened and why it was embraced. There are posters listing the signs of an impending cat attack that include a woman being moody or pushy, there's a scene of a sex-ed class where boys are given a pamphlet on what to expect and girls are given a book about how their bodies are going to betray them and "can I stop it?". It's funny. It's ridiculous. It's also the world we live in.

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review 2017-02-22 03:19
Mockingbird Volume 2: My Feminist Agenda
Mockingbird Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda - Kate Niemczyk,Chelsea Cain

As with the last volume, this was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it also carried through the same problems as the last one too.

This series had been advertised as feminist, which I am obviously a big fan of,  but again, this is a clear example of white feminism and not the all-inclusive kind I'd rather see or be a part of. The feminism itself wasn't as in your face on this one as the last, though. Not that I see in your face feminism as a bad thing, but again it was a bit of the execution.

The plot of this volume takes place at a convention that is meant to celebrate Hawkeye, and having been to some conventions in different parts of the country, it's completely possible to end up at one that just is predominantly white. I had started the series with some erroneous preconceived notions about Mockingbird and Hunter from the Agents of SHIELD tv show, which I watch regularly. I had mostly dealt with them in the first volume, but they persist as a distraction here. The idea of Mockingbird as Hawkeye's ex-wife is a little odd, given the recent MCU revelation of Hawkeye's family in addition to that Mockingbird had been married to Hunter previously in the show. It's distracting that the comic versions are so different. I'm over it, but I feel like that needed to be pointed out for the sake of this review.

The story itself was fun. This is the Civil War II tie in for Mockingbird and it takes place after the events of the Civil War II volume. If you recall that volume ends the conflict but this one picks up some of the aftermath, what with Hawkeye being in prison still and all. Like Spider-Woman, Mockingbird was trying to escape the hoopla, given her own close ties to those central to the conflict. She also gets roped in anyway, this time by someone claiming to have evidence that might exonerate Hawkeye.

Things go awry and it's interesting to see Mockingbird do her thing and to see the way Hunter is portrayed in the series. I enjoyed the way it ended and figuring out who the villain was. Since I hadn't read much of anything with her in it before the series, it was a real surprise.

It's also great to see her continue to be used as a SHIELD agent in a capacity that is similar to that which she was on the tv show. She had been an Avenger at one point and the volume shows that too, just not in the main storyline. The series itself was cancelled before they could really have a full second volume, only having published 3 issues for it. They added the two New Avengers issues that contained the story of her transformation from a regular agent who could hang with the supers to an enhanced person by way of the super-serum/infinity-serum combo. She mentions in the first volume that this is what transformed her. Still, she had managed to be an Avenger before that.....

I love the image of Mockingbird with her "Ask me about my feminist agenda" t-shirt that had been the cover of the last issue. It was a lot of fun. I don't know whether or how much feminism or white feminism contributed to the cancellation of this series, but this volume is also the last of it. There's even a note in the Mockingbird #8 that points out that they knew it was going to be the end when it was written, so maybe that influenced some infuence on the way they ended it as well.

Altogether, it was a fun issue. The problem that I have with the make up of the series, despite it's short run, is that if we were going to have a full on feminist character headlining her own series and pointing out feminist issues, I'd want it to showcase the intersections that feminism has as well as women working together. This does neither of those. It gave us a loner who treats men like they're disposable, a female character who "acts liks a man" in almost every way.

It's fun, yes, but not the personification of what feminism really is. For that, I'd refer a reader over to Spider-Woman who does things to help other women (and men. She's a leader of heroes, you might say) in her series and she regularly interacts with other heroes in positive ways. She's got agency. She decides for herself when she's going to have life-changing events and while she knows she doesn't necessarily need a romantic partner to help out with those changes, she isn't too afraid to ask for help or give it when needed to those around her. I also find it exciting to have a hero who is a mom too. Because of her loner ways, Mockingbird only showcased one way to be a woman with agency and spends much of her time comparing it to the way that men do it instead of finding her own way. She's the kind of character that has been a point of a concern for many of the feminist blogs and websites that I've seen take on the "strong female character" trope, of which this is pretty much the personification.

None of this makes Mockingbird a bad hero or superhero, I love her appearances in Silk. Her series itself is just not the best example of feminism in comics, which is what it was touted as before I read it. If you're into those who would easily fall into the "strong female character" then this will be as fun for you as it was for me. If you'd like to see superhero comics with headlining women that include dealing with issues of race, ethnicities, religion, and accepting the lifestyles of others (I haven't read an LGBT hero yet but there are LGBT characters that show up in other series, like Silk's besties are a lesbian couple), then I'd refer you to Invincible Iron Man (Ironheart), Ms. Marvel, Silk, or Spider-Woman.


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text 2016-12-29 19:59
Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain, Art by Kate Niemczyk (#1-4), Ibrahim Moustafa (#5) and Colour by Rachelle Rosenberg: Mini Review
Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain - Kate Niemczyk,Chelsea Cain

This was a super fun read! The art is fantastic - gorgeous colours, detailed panels, loving characterizations! It was just really visually compelling. And Bobbi! She is so well rendered. It's really hard not to fall in love with her and her dry sarcasm, science loving, butt kicking, corgi loving, zombie stomping adventures. The story isn't without it's flaws. It's occasionally disjointed, and leaves quiet a bit to be desired in the overall diversity of it's characters. It's a real shame we won't get more because I would have loved to see a more intersectional follow up. As it stands, this is a heck of a fun ride and I have a brand new appreciation for Bobbi Morse. Four stars! (if I ever manage to figure out how to access the rating system...what the heck is wrong with this stupid system?!!)

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review 2016-12-04 23:47
Mockingbird helps a young girl with power
Mockingbird (2016-) #3 - Kate Niemczyk,Joëlle Jones,Chelsea Cain

Although I have a feeling the girl won't be that well off when she gets home: she unintentionally put her friends at risk.   At best, she'll be known as a freak to the other sixth graders, and at worst she'll be taken in and charged.   None of this is Bobbi's fault, however.   The girl was on TV and in this situation before Bobbi got there, after all.   


There were some very small and clever moments about what it means to be a girl.   The thread of text on the news made mention of being able to talk about tampons.   There are parts of a girl's life that are off limits, though, and how do people - men especially - be expected to talk to young girls when something looming and important in their life is taboo?   This question is presented in multiple ways.   Literally, through the text on the TV, through other issues of inequality women face. 


And yet, it wasn't the full story.   The full story was about this girl and the issues of inequality were about how this girl interacted with the world and how it interacted with her. It was an element and never overtook the story to scream message at me.   It was also an important enough element that, yes, it was ever present.   


Clever, sympathetic, and lovely.   And yet I still want this to be a more coherent story arc.   I expected it would be in issue one.   It sure seemed to be set up to be that, and I'm still miffed that it's not.   The story is good enough that it deserves all four stars, and if the story hadn't lived up to my expectations, I would have knocked down the star rating.   No more issues on MU and I will definitely wait to read this on MU.

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review 2016-12-04 22:37
Liked it but not sure how it tied into the first book
Mockingbird (2016-) #2 - Kate Niemczyk,Joëlle Jones,Chelsea Cain

And it looks like these might be one-shot issues, instead of story arcs.   I was just under the impression that it wouldn't be that way?   I'm glad I didn't buy this: as wonderful as it is, I tend to prefer story arcs in comics. 


I'm also not willing to give Cain my money directly after her pouting about one of her books not making lists.   She didn't tap into the fads she thought she had, people just didn't pick it up, whatever, but it didn't work out as she'd planned.   


And while she wasn't directly projecting at us, her implication was she'd done everything right, so who else was at fault?   The only reason I'm reading this is that it's on MU.   


It's Bobbi and Lance Hunter in the Hellfire club.   What's gonna happen and will they get out with a brain that is intact instead of filleted?  


It was fun and funny and showed Bobbi outperforming Lance.   I liked a lot about it, but would still prefer a story arc. 

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