05-JULY-2011 Back in March, I proudly announced how I bribed my way into the FALLEN ANGEL comic book; now it’s out on the shelves and there I am in full color painted glory. The miniseries, RETURN OF THE SON has been getting plenty of love from the folks at Newsarama so I didn’t review it myself but I probably should have. While my only encounter with creator/writer PETER DAVID leaves me with the indelible mark of pathetic nerd girl, my relationship with artist J.K. WOODWARD has been nothing short of a miracle during a time of chaos.
Now, the trade paperback is available and there are some glorious extras! I’m kind of jealous that I got the floppies because there are a bunch of my friends who contributed to pin-ups for the tpb. Talented artists like Dave Wachter, Andy Jewett, and Steve Bryant among others share their visuals with James and Peter. I’m sure you’ll be able to order the trade through your local comic shop, like mine in Flemington, Comic Fusion.
BECAUSE TO A TENNIS PLAYER, LOVE IS NOTHING.
I’ve been told that I’m rather harsh on this issue and there are rumors of FALLEN ANGEL resurfacing next year. I couldn’t sugarcoat a review just because one of my loved ones was involved. If I were to step back and wear my objective journalist hat, I’d give a completely different post about how the characters showed real development inside subplots that converge to one meeting point at the end. Mainly I’d go on and on about the graceful art that has literally moved me to tears when I’ve looked at the expressions of people’s faces and witness the decimation of fictitious cities reminding me real life events. These watercolors have rained blood on pages then showed paradise on others. Without divulging spoilers, I will say that FALLEN ANGEL ends with an eerie and probably false sense of a fairy tale ending.
Liandra, the Fallen Angel and former magistrate of the city of Bete Noire had her own tower as all magistrates had throughout time. She was quite literally the being responsible for balance between Life and Death. Her power is beyond that of most superheroes in comic books. Peter David wrote her as a woman that was allowed to be a sexual being without confines of marriage; she had rules and she violated them and the price was paid. Women are always denied any ability to be sexual without repercussions and this case is no different. David may have refrained from “sensualizing” her and he proudly reiterates that he wanted to create a female character that was modestly dressed, powerful, smokes, drinks way too much and has the worst taste in men; but he still turned her into a cliché.
It seems to me that David doesn’t have much hope for women. He thinks the answer is a magic wand or potion or prayer that will give a woman a fairy tale ending. Wouldn’t that be nice? Sure. Most women I know admit that they want these things but every single one grounds herself with the reality that life is never as perfect as it ends in a comic, movie or TV series.
Enoch’s introduction during this four-part miniseries was a startling character development from a female reader’s standpoint. He’s implanted as the proverbial knight in shining armor – the knight of good – the keeper of the knowledge of god. He’s there to save Liandra and he does so with only the power of Love. Well, wouldn’t that be nice? Sure. I want to love the alleged end of FALLEN ANGEL but I can’t help but want to throttle Peter David for pretending that he created a strong female lead when he did exactly what WONDER WOMAN’S past writers have done; made her completely lay down her arms, give up her power and wait for Prince Fucking Charming to whisk her off into the sunset. Enoch, whose character design is smoking hot by the way, was exactly what the title did not need.
Whether it’s Steve Trevor, Superman or Enoch, when your Prince saves you, life will be sweet and golden with sunshine and happiness and then you’ll realize that you have lost your power. When you give up something like your identity and your name, you begin to walk the path of losing who you are. Yes, all of us evolve and change and become other beings when we share our lives but what women do to their “selves” and their identities is something to which men do not relate. Liandra sacrifices her core for the man she loves and then watches her ungrateful son replace her.
Do I think only female writers can write female characters? No way. I just think it takes a special kind of man to know what female comic book readers are going to see as an icon. She needs staying power. A legendary female character is not about hiding her body nor regretting every single decision she ever made nor defining herself around the love of her life. She needs to be fantastical. She needs to be above and beyond what we are.