#metoo comes to DC Comics with a bang and Apokolips will never be the same. You’ll scream Oh My (Granny) Goodness after reading your Major Spoilers review of Female Furies #2!
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Art: Adriana Melo
Letterer: Carlos Mangual
Editor: Jamie Rich
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: March 6th, 2019
Previously in Female Furies: Granny Goodness assembles a crack team of orphaned females in her efforts to climb the slippery ladder of the Apokolips power structure. At every turn, the men who make up that structure stymie her efforts, belittle her charges, and impose their masculine desires on them. When the leader of her team, Aurelie, kills Steppenwolf’s bastard son, Rublon, it seems that all her efforts are for naught…
Your reviewer is a child of the 70s. I dimly remember a time when women were still basically housewives, where female teachers/nurses had to leave the profession when they married (hey, Australia, pretty backwards, yeah) and where husbands legally couldn’t be found guilty of raping their wives (despicable). In the forty years since, I’ve witnessed changes that no one then thought would happen – more female representatives in politics (and a woman leading my country), women leading major companies and a greater effort to understand and educate the population about the evils of domestic abuse.
And yet with the #metoo movement, we see that things haven’t shifted as much as they should, that men still treat women as if they were chattel, where opportunities in the workplace are still denied to women, and where women continue to earn less than men for working the same job. It’s against this background that Female Furies #2 rises like an avenging angel to smite the reader about the head.
BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA
There’s nothing subtle about Female Furies #2. The plight of the leader of the Furies, Aurelie, is not depicted in subtle strokes. Right on the page you see Willik pawing at her like she’s a doll, treating her as a possession to be used and abused, and not an individual with agency of her own. Her female colleagues constantly demean her, unsubtly stating she’s putting out for Willik’s affections, despite her vehement and emotional denials. There’s no support for her from her fellow team members, who are content to lash out at her instead of seeking to support her. This might be Apokolips, but even bad girls need support and love.
There’s a demoralizing double page where Aurelie, recovering after the Willik’s ‘tender’ ministrations, is shown to be not coping at all with effects of his sexual assault of her. While her team go about proving themselves, Aurelie is shown lying in a fetal position, vomiting and then tearfully showering to wash away the memory of the attack. For a superhero comic, this is really very powerful, confronting stuff.
HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE
There’s no denying the blunt script that writer Cecil Castellucci has written. It left your reviewer depressed and exhausted. Yes, it exaggerates, but the basis of the exaggerations is very much real. Walk down the street and you can see men staring at attractive women – you can tell just by the look in their eyes they don’t see a person, but a collection of body parts to be admired. The insinuations of the men and women of Apokolips who Aurelie encounters is much the same – devalued by the men because she is a woman, and condemned by the other female member because she is being ‘favored’ by the men because she is perceived as being easy.
The only problem I had with Female Furies #2 is the Adriana Mello’s depiction of the female characters, which seems to run counter to the themes of the book. Most of the Furies are depicted as long-legged, curvy, heavy breasted, desirable women. It seems to me that drawing characters like that to appeal to a teenage male audience, tends to undermine the writer’s efforts. That said, the artwork is overall effective, and matches Castellucci broad storytelling.
BOTTOM LINE – EXHAUSTING
Reading Female Furies #2 feels like being beaten about the head by a length of wood. Every single trope about the terrible treatment of women in our world is poured onto the page, backed by a primal scream of outrage that can only leave readers exhausted. But if it makes you think for just a minute what it must be like for a woman to have to navigate the power structures put in place long ago by an endless phalanx of men, then your exhaustion is nothing to the total enervation and sense of helplessness that many women must feel.
Female Furies #2
Female Furies #2 is an ordeal by fire, a broadside against how men treat women, cast against the pulpy Technicolor of a modern superhero comic.