Agents of SHEILD: How Bobbi Morse Made Me Feel Bad Wonder Woman Tanked

Super spies, am I right?

Tuesday’s episode of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD titled “A Hen In The Wolfhouse” introduced fans to a classic Marvel character Bobbi Morse, codename Mockingbird, as a double agent working for Hydra. Clad in what can best be described as the most stylish long coat with way too many buttons, perfect hair and permanent death glare, Bobbi is brought in to suss out the mole in Hydra’s office cubicles.

Popped collars are so badass

Not to point out anything the teaser hasn’t shown, everyone know’s it’s Agent Simmons.

In the last act, Bobbi stages a daring Black Widow in IronMan 2 hallway beatdown before…well, I’m not giving everything away.

Actress Adrianne Palicki is Bobbi (just Bobbi because we’re friends now) seems to have been building herself up for this part and for good reason; back in 2011 she had been cast as Diana Prince in the cringeworthy David E. Kelley produced Wonder Woman pilot. At that point, she seemed wrong for the part, awkward even, lacking the poise and potential to be the iconic Amazon despite serious training, working the hell out of whatever that outfit was and being all around dorktacular. After scathing reviews the pilot was passed on by NBC. The pilot has since surfaced online and if you can endure the commentary, is up for your viewing curiosity.

After the dust settled, it turned out that everything you could do wrong for a character was done to TV Diana.

I mean she needs the leather jacket but other than that I’m sold.

Following the pilot, Palicki was appeared in the Red Dawn (featuring Thor himself Chris Helmsworth) reboot and cast as Lady Jayne in G.I Joe: Retaliation holding her own alongside The Rock, Bruce Willis and other dudes who were dudes in the movie. She’s also in the upcoming Keanu Reeves movie John Wick as attractive leather jacket wearing woman with a sneer and a gun (I have a type).

 In the time it took for Palicki to recover from the Wonder Woman misstep, DC has since rolled out a new Wonder Woman in Gal Gadot as well as announced a hold date for her stand alone movie in 2017, effectively pretending that none of that ever happened. Watching her tonight as Bobbi made me think about how big a missed opportunity is was with the Wonder Woman TV series, especially considering her overall look now versus a few years ago. Perhaps it was the roles that followed that really groomed Adrianne and that’s why she looks and feels so right as Mockingbird; much like her character she had to get her ass kicked around a bit to really become the superhero she was meant to be. While this is the first in a few episodes for Bobbi, she already feels right with the team and that’s a miss for the DC camp because it means that Adrianne could very well appear in any one of the Marvel film franchises from Avengers 3, Captain America 3 or give Scarlett Johannson a playmate in a Black Widow film estimated for 2016. Essentially, DC bungled their chance to beat Marvel with their TV format with  Wonder Woman by treating it as a novelty rather than a launching point for an iconic character.

Rather than making Diana the CEO of some cosmetics company, the series would’ve worked as a spy thriller in the same vein as Agents of Shield. Wonder Woman as a series should’ve been approached the way I always imagined the Black Widow movie; have something that needs to be taken care of quietly and efficiently? Send in the demigod Diana. Cloak and dagger, paranormal and up to the hilt with Greek mythology Diana is the only now who can handle all of that and still somehow maintain her luxurious hair. Think The X-Files meets Buffy with a little bit of Lost Girl thrown in for flavoring. Everyone she works with knows she’s lethal, they just don’t talk about it. She’s got a messy, will take seasons to figure out it’s so messy backstory (mother Hippolyta, father Zeus, Christmas is a nightmare) and a loyal bestie in Wonder Girl. See!? IT WORKS. You’d watch it.

The mistake was in NBC’s approach and with DC’s ambivalence. Seeing Adrianne as Bobbi in AoS, confident with the how and why  she’s important to the storytelling, made all the difference in the world when it comes to her casting. She comes off likable, snarky, charming and believable as any one of the other characters on the show (I like her more than Skye but that’s because I see too much of myself in Skye) You can’t really judge a show by it’s pilot but it’s usually the measuring stick by which you decide how you’re going to spend your energy watching a show. Wonder Woman’s pilot was designed to fail from the get go and many of the write ups (which are googleable) pointed the finger of blame on Adrianne not looking the part; I contend she just felt wrong because the character, the plot, the pacing, the everything felt wrong. She wasn’t comfortable with what was eventually going to go down. Watching her now, she’s come into her own and seeing that made me ache for what could’ve been had she been given the right tools to be the Wonder Woman we wanted her to be, hell, for all we know, that show would’ve probably crushed AoS in ratings.

I wanted the Wonder Woman show to fly (invisible jet optional) the way that AoS does but at the same time, I can see how she  wasn’t ready, the time wasn’t right and the idea wasn’t fully realized. It also has to do with the respect level given to the character. There was no respect for Wonder Woman in a serial format and even less interest in making her someone with a dynamic background. As we get to know AoS Bobbi, I promise there will be nuanced layers and character building that makes you wonder if someone like her can be trusted, after all, she spent WAY too much time comfortably prowling the halls of Hydra HQ.

Marvel, as long as DC continues to drop the ball, will rectify their mistakes and see how they’ve got to stop alienating female fans and will continue to introduce characters into their standing media properties with rabid fangirl fan bases (I’m looking at you Kate Bishop and Carol Danvers….)

I see you bae

Katee Sackoff better be ready

While DC struggles to separate their much better handled TV properties (The Flash is that same knee slapping fun that Smallville started with)  from their shitshow film properties (Batman vs Superman vs Wallet), Marvel is quietly gobbling up all the potential actors and locking them into projects. Losing The Rock and Jason Mamoa to DC sucks but I am interested to see what they do with Black Adam and Aquaman but like anything, only time will tell how smart a move that was.

At 5’11, she would’ve made a fantastic Batwoman (yes because I want to see her with a cape, no because she could be kissing Renee Montoya) and now that she’s permanently out of DC’s wheelhouse (appeared in Smallville and the aborted Aquaman pilot) that’s not going to happen. Now that I’ve seen her as Bobbi, I don’t want her for anything else. I want her and Clint Barton to go and do cool spy shit together making Natasha snark all the way in the Heliojet about how they’re both punkasses even though everyone knows Nat isn’t a fan of heights. I want her to be just as tough as Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) because I need more women who smirk while hitting someone on my television. I need her to get her respect because the kid really did get knocked around after Wonder Woman failed and she’s in turn gotten stronger from it. Isn’t that how we want all our heroes to be?

Does a T Shirt Make A Fan?

The above photo was Tweeted out earlier this week when a Aimée Morrison (@digiwoonk) while shopping in Target Canada shopper found this delightfully idiotic baby pj set. Morrison is an asspciate Profressor working in digital humanities and new project media design and theory. Which sounds super badass.

In any case, Aimée shared her disappointment with the pj options as they appeared to encourage gender conformity in BABIES, particularly that girls were only going to date superheroes while the boys would grow up to be the heroes the girls would eventually date because yay adult behavior in INFANTS. First of all, the color scheme for the girls pj set is hideous; whoever approved that slate heather gray and bright pink obviously hates babies and decent color pallets. It doesn’t stop there, Wal-Mart’s junior section boasts a particularly disheartening t shirt on their website as well as in stores:

Alfred will have something to say about that

So what you’re telling me is that as a woman I’m only as good as the idiot boyfriend I snag in spandex?

Besides fueling obviously dated and tired tropes about where women land in the hero spectrum, it again pairs HIDEOUS pink and gray tones as if to say, hey ladies, you like them dudes doing dude things and you also like pink because we’re guessing that’s what you ladies like.

C’mon.

Maybe if you had that on a black tee with yellow lettering like classic Batman colors, or even the vintage blue and gold coloring I’d be sold on it because then it would match the pairs of converse your average nerdy lady owns and that  is really the fashion that matters. (not really, Batman is pretty much over for me)

Does a t-shirt really make the fan? What is the message that DC is sending to female readers? Marvel isn’t exempt.

It’s not gray and pink but I don’t need a hero.

boys get to be heroes and adorable color combinations

In the long list of things DC keeps failing at, t-shirts seems to be the next notch against them. The Batman’s wife in training shirt is an Officially Licensed product, meaning that someone in their merchandise and branding department had to approve this message before sending it into production, the same with the Marvel shirts. Essentially, the top brass approved it thinking nothing of it and we, the internet denizens were appalled and rightfully so. These major corporations, whether they want to really be responsible for it or not, do shape some of the basic understanding that young boys and girls have when it comes to gender equality. By green lighting these shirts, DC and Marvel effectively say, yeah, girls and women know who these guys are but we’re pretty sure they don’t really want to BE them. They’re throwing women a fashion bone by even thinking of them. When kids get a new shirt to show off, you know they’re comparing their designs and the boys are really buying the slogans on the girls shirts while the girls are staring longingly at a Thor shirt that comes with a cape. They slowly accept the burden of being the lesser because a cartoon character on 100% cotton said so; the company responsible reminded them that this is a boys world and you’ll never really get to have all of it. Is it really the case? Hopefully not but those lessons come from parents who are ideally teaching them that everyone is equal and we’re all capable of extraordinary things. The shirts are exterior expressions of their internal values and in essence, who they are as people. If you tell a girl she’s only as good as the boy she snags, she won’t want anything else.

Some women in comics only serve to advance the hero’s journey and have a short lifespan.

Sorry Gwen, you always deserved more.

Other women in comics advance it to the point where you want more from them they you do the male protagonists like Natasha Romanov and Laura Kinney better known as Black Widow and X-23.

Luck be a pair of bad bad ladies

Today Thor # 1 launched and people are lining up to pick up the comic despite mantle of Thor going to a woman Expect the numbers for such a title to be massive, given the controversy behind the entire thing to begin with. How is it possible that we are still living in a world where even our t-shirts are dictated by tropes and dated concepts? A solid majority of passing comic book movie watchers, delighted that they’ll have something cute to wear with something, will no doubt buy it not realizing they’re continuing to fuel a disparity between the sexes when it comes to t-shirts and fandoms. Someone is fueling the demand for idiotic shirts with poor slogans and we, the people aware of the entire thing will be standing in the streets asking why.

A t shirt does not make a fan, a slogan does not define the wearer but they do make statements about who you are and the values that you have. If you don’t like something, do something about it. You should protest it, make a scene about it, make other people aware of what it is that bothers you so much about the object in question. In fact, it’s encouraged. Voice your opinion on why this is wrong and like the old saying goes, money talks. Don’t spend your money on it. Force the brands and companies at large that you are not interested in this type of message and instead voice that there are other ways to tell a comic book shirt than by relying on the same old thing. Yes, there are some girls who just want to be the girlfriend to the tough guy super hero (or super villain). There are even BOYS who want to be the bad girl’s boyfriend but they are always told that no woman is out of their reach while girls are told there are types for them; a lid for every pot as it were. It’s sad that Target and WalMart will continue accepting these shirts, lunch boxes, outfits, toys and other questionable things from Marvel and DC, despite their approval; a buyer from each respective retailer has final say on the things that eventually adorn the shelves. It’s worse because it seems that the majors don’t care about the FAN; they’re still stuck in data that dissects gender, age and income rather than whether it’s a good product to begin with. I’m still super pissed off that there aren’t any Gamora toys in the BOYS or GIRLS toy section and that Black Widow is part of a Legends series that has more Winter Soldiers and more variant Captain Americas than it does BW or Falcon. It’s upsetting to think that you feel like the tangible things that make you a fan aren’t aimed towards you as a consumer because the entities involved don’t consider you to be important enough to be listened to.

The sexism in comics at large isn’t shocking, it’s the fact that the companies themselves continue to feed into the stereotype as though women in the space are tainting and destroying their sacred area with their lady essence. If anything, women in comics have made things so much better, ushering in a new wave of diversity, new ways of telling the same old stories and bringing some of the most talented artists to the medium front and center. So many men seem upset that women are even in shops and if they are, there’s a massive test that they need to pass in order to be taken seriously. Dude. You barely speak english correctly, who the hell are you to quiz me on who’s stronger Thanos or Galactus ? (Answer: Brainiac, watch them keel over in sheer horror) You can ask me where the latest book is and I’ll point your mouth breathing self in that direction, don’t assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about and if I don’t, please believe I will educate myself, I don’t need you.

BRONIES TOOK MY LITTLE PONY FROM LITTLE GIRLS AND TURNED IT INTO THIS GROSS ICKY THING.

While I am a Marvel fan with passing interest in DC, I’ve come to adore the work coming out of Dark Horse and Image, especially when it comes to how female centric their titles and creative teams are. They are interested in storytelling, the hell with who’s at the focus of them. As New York Comic Con fast approaches, it will be interesting to see how things play out when I’m elbow to elbow with some of the shitbrains who are more and more frequently being called out on their shitbrainness.

This is bigger than t-shirts and what they say. This is about being treated fairly and equally because you also like a thing. This is about being able to buy a Thor t-shirt with a detachable cape knowing full fucking well that you shouldn’t be wearing them but dammit if it isn’t good looking! 

This is about being able to wear a shirt that isn’t pink and adorned with some glitter that proclaims you as Batman’s Wife or Captain America’s Best Gal. This is about being able to wear a shirt that says You Kicked Creel’s Ass and All You Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt or I’m The One Coulson Calls. This is about being able to tell the world that while comic books are fairly geeky and cater to a strange and wonderful section of our population, you are someone who loves to live in the world where everyone looks good in spandex, kicks a little ass and works as a team.

It’s about being a hero even when you feel like you can’t go on, it’s about being able to wear something that says you’re more than the sum of your parts and as long as fashion continues to promote otherwise, it’s about fighting until we’re all allowed to wear a shirt that says Training to Be Batwoman.

Check out t-shirts from We Heart Fine because they’re user created and take the high road when it comes to flirting with gender as well as visiting Her Universe because it’s only fair that we support creators seeking to reach a consistently disenfranchised and marginalized group.

I’d rather be a hero than training to be their sidekick.

Thor is A Woman and That’s Fucking Fantastic

There is a major shake up happening in Marvel.

Starting in October, Thor, The Might Asgardian Norse god of Thunder would be…Thor, the Mighty Asgardian Norse goddess of Thunder.

The statement released on Marvel.com:

Marvel is excited to announce an all-new era for the God of Thunder in brand new series, THORwritten by Jason Aaron complimented with art from Russell Dauterman.

This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of the “big three” of Captain American, Iron Man and Thor. No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR.

More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/comics/2014/7/15/22875/marvel_proudly_presents_thor#ixzz37Z7NQyO0

Speculation is wild about the origins of the new wielder of Mjölnir, and the only hint that the lucky lady is someone who Thor himself saved. She’s built herself off of his mighty blondness and as of October, we’ll find out just who she is and how Thor lost his mojo.

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Throg

Beta Ray Bill

The hammer chooses the wielder, just like Hogwarts Sorting Hat decides that your weak ass is a Hufflepuff and worthy to wield the hammer. (I’m kidding, I don’t know if Hufflepuff is weak, I’ve always been sorted into Gryffindor) Everyone can be worthy to carry the hammer, which is the great appeal of the entire mythos behind the Cosmic Marvel universe.

In 1978, issue 10 of Thor, The Watcher speculated what would have happened if Jane Foster found the Hammer.

what if i did enough squats to git this outfit?

So it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the ownership to pass from Thor Odinson to someone else. It has happened before. Especially when you consider that Throg was an actual plot point.

Thor is a name, not a title.

Naturally, the nerd hordes had a temper tantrum regarding the sex change because nerd rage.

Essentially, comic book purists can accept Throg, vaguely recall The Watcher’s one shot story about Jane and Mjölnir but for her to actually happening during a current run is a problem. The statement includes (paraphrase) a nod to the neglected female comic book fan, which makes it seem like a bit of a cash grab but it also acknowledges that female fronted titles are in demand and Marvel suits aren’t stupid. Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers has been having an amazing run under Kelly Sue DeConnick which has spawned into a great Ms. Marvel title. X-Men founding member Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is getting her first lead title despite having been in comics for longer than the recently decreased Wolverine who’s had multiple runs as a lead character. Marvel has been leading the charge in comic book diversity where DC is struggling to keep up. Both companies have the luxury of celebrating 50 years in the business and Marvel seems to be the first out of the old guard to truly embrace that the world is in fact very different today than it was upon some of their classic titles first printing.

 

Yesterday it was announced that John Constantine in the upcoming NBC paranormal horror series Constantine would not be bisexual as is cannon with the comic book. That’s a whole other argument but the nerd rage was interesting. They were dismayed at having this part of the character be downplayed when it was essential to who he is. The show runners also discussed that he will not be smoking as much as he does in his Hellblazer title.

At the heart of the hero is still the heart of who they are.

What does it mean that Thor is being replaced by a woman?

Nothing.

What it means is that readers will be treated to a richer experience in storytelling because you have to make your character someone to care about. As a woman, you’re invested in a character that isn’t another run of the mill damsel in distress and as a male reader, you’re still reading a comic book with a ass kicking lead with a legacy. When Miles Morales, the famously biracial kid from Queens, became the new Spider-man, the world almost imploded. From the nerd purists to the racists, Miles becoming the new Spider-man was the prime example for why comics need to change, why diversity is important and why everyone should feel welcome and represented in the great big world of comics and fantasy. They are escape routes and lessons in being a better person packed into bright pages. People of color and women should be included in this world that essentially doesn’t know the same politics as this one does.

The truth is, Marvel should be working on creating a new female lead, fresh origins, fresh stories, fresh everything. They may still be a long way off considering the success of their legacy titles but the seeds are being planted now. They’ve started that with the introduction of Kamala Khan as the aforementioned Ms. Marvel but there are established rules with that power because of the years of the hero having been male. She still needs to be a hero with an old credo in a modern world that may not welcome her.  By introducing new faces in old roles however, you demonstrate that anyone can and will be worthy of the title of hero.

The rage comes from the boat of comfort being rocked and people who don’t like change being toss out of the boat. We don’t know who the new Thor is and won’t until the title rolls out in October. We don’t know the conditions to which Thor loses his ability just as we don’t know how long she’ll be Thor. For all we know, Sif is the new Mjölnir wielder and the ‘other woman’ is Loki in disguise. That’s what makes the speculation so exciting. Taking someone and putting them into an extraordinary circumstance, like becoming something more is a universal experience. It’s a journey that everyone will go through as they discover who they are. Why should an extraordinary experience like becoming a superhero, a guardian, a crusader be only limited to men, or white men? Why should we continue to tell the other that they will remain that way because comic books say so? We are at an age of discovery, where someone somewhere at every second will discover who they are, who they are meant to be and what greater allegory is there than the superhero comic book title? Image Comics, Top Cow and Dark Horse are fantastic when it comes to the idea of diversity in storytelling but they aren’t the MAJORS like DC and Marvel are, plus, their titles tend to lean more maturely than Marvel and DC do.

I get that people are upset that this is happening to their beloved character but it doesn’t change who that character is at the core of their principles. The wild thing is that when Loki has swapped genders, it’s so totally Loki that it’s accepted. Some of it is ridiculed because people are five and have problems with things that challenge their personal belief systems and that’s cool but their distaste is tainting a very simple thing. Sure, Loki is evil and evil people do lousy things but there was no real uproar once Loki went back to being a boy. Maybe women aren’t allowed to be evil? Even if they’re the god of mischief.

After Ragnarök, Loki returned in a female body working with Doctor Doom so Thor would unwittingly resurrect his Asgardian enemies[40] and manipulated Balder to make him the new successor to the throne of Asgard.[41] In reality, Loki retained his male form after Ragnarok but hid himself inside Thor’s reborn lover Sif. During this period, Hela and Loki used magic to send Loki to the past to cause the events that led to his younger self being adopted by Odin as a means to eliminate Bor, Thor’s grandfather.

You can deal with spectral cosmic forces, space and time travel but a chick in charge, burn down the world.

Bae material either gender

What will be interesting is if the new Thor sticks around, what threat does she pose when it comes to warrior woman iconography? Gender Swapped Starbuck was the space warrior of our dreams but that didn’t come with controversy. We’re years away from Xena who was years removed from Wonder Woman who grand mothered Buffy the Vampire Slayer.. Could the new Thor be the new power character we’ve been looking for in the comic book universe? Can she become the next mainstream hero to stand with Black Widow, Maria Hill, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Black Cat, Melinda May, She-Hulk and Elektra? Of course she can, the real question is, come October, will you be willing to go on that adventure?

Personally, I’m looking forward to covers that aren’t spandex and ass shots. I mean c’mon. I’m badass, but don’t pay attention to my ass, just watch yours while it’s getting kicked.

With San Diego Comic Con just around the corner, one can only speculate that Marvel has succeeded in dominating the show floor and panels with this announcement as well as the media tour for the upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy, which features the daughter of Thanos and master assassin Gamora. Details will probably start surfacing once the con kicks off and we may get an idea of what’s in store for Thor and the new wielder of Mjölnir, so everyone who is butthurt now will be placated later on. Odds are, the answer will be so decent, that whatever controversy that may arise will be quelled by just how stupid they had been in the first place.What we do know is that Marvel is continuing the trend of understanding that readers, good solid committed, readers will always seek, find and buy the titles that interest them because that’s the business they’ve gotten themselves into.

What we want to see is a character that gives new life to an old name, that makes you discover comic books for the first time or rediscover them all over again.

FOUND OUT WHO IT IS:

DC had better step it’s game up.