The heroes of Marvel Comics may have greats like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby to thank for The Avengers. But over time, the demand rose for superheroes who were a bit less important--but a whole lot nicer to look at. And now even Marvel is admitting it.
It's a difficult line for any publisher to walk, since a comic book story may be brilliant, enriching for the characters, and monumental in terms of action--but it still has to look good, too. In some cases, readers will even take a somewhat less refined--or if we're being honest, less important--story or character, provided they make it worthwhile for their eyeballs. Fans of Spider-Man were treated to the sex appeal of Black Cat, Avengers fans to the muscled green physique of She-Hulk and the latex of Black Widow... you get the idea. Those characters may have been developed over time, but not everyone in Marvel's Universe forgets the purpose they were created to serve.
Nobody is saying that superheroes shouldn't be downright sexy (since the physical demands of both comic book superheroes and comic book movies are famous for producing Olympian-level physiques). But when Gwenpool gathers together the heroes of the Marvel Universe in Gwenpool Strikes Back #3, she has no reservations about calling out the publisher's equivalent of "The Varsity Squad" heroes. And as for the rest...
As the most 'meta' superhero Marvel has in its roster--yes, even exceeding Deadpool's love for commenting on his own comic book or the larger Marvel Universe--Gwen knows which characters to slot into "The 'Invented To Be Eye Candy But Given Better Character Development Later' Crew." The silhouette of the group alone shows the standard, as these characters represent countless other deadly (but more importantly dainty) women. And of course Atlas, who brought an indecent amount of bulging biceps, rippling muscles, and an intensely pinched waist to Marvel's Thunderbolts.
Writer Leah Williams makes her intention of calling out the problems of the past clear, distinguishing each of these characters for the accomplished, and often complex characterizations they eventually received--a mission Williams appears to be taking to heart for Gwenpool, as well. And after making Atlas a standout in her War of The Realms: Giant-Man miniseries, it's nice to know we were still supposed to enjoy the well-developed squad (in terms of both character motivation and giant-sized physique) of scantily clad, shredded, imitation Frost Giants:
Of course, raising this issue also calls attention to the men and women conceived of and illustrated for less than complicated purposes, intending to give a more surface level, typically male-targeted depiction of the female form who don't receive intentional character development by later creative teams. The trend hasn't stopped yet, which means we'll take Gwenpool Strikes Back #3 as a case of those within the industry confirming they've taken notice as well.
Just another reason Gwenpool Strikes Back is proving to be a far more important figure than those NOT reading this series will ever realize. There are still two more issues for Gwenpool to achieve her mission to "make herself known in the Marvel Universe at all costs," but readers can find the full solicitation details and credits for this issue below, out October 9th, 2019:
- Gwenpool Strikes Back #3 (of 5)
- Release Date: October 9th, 2019
- Written by: Leah Williams
- Art by: David Baldeon
- Cover Art by: Terry Dodson
- When you’re setting out to piss off the most powerful heroes around, you might want to consider if you want to cross one who’s IMMORTAL. It’s ok---this issue: GWENPOOL DEFEATS THE HULK! Solicit text would not lie!
Gwenpool Strikes Back #3 arrives on Wednesday, October 9th in your local comic book shop, or direct from Marvel Comics.