OK, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend buying Marvel Divas #1 — because, as I flip through the pages of this four-part limited series’ debut issue, there’s stuff to like and stuff to hate.
First up, let’s talk about what I hate. For starters, the general concept is a little lame. I can almost hear the writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, pitching this comic: “It’s like ‘Sex & the City,’ but with super heroes.” Not sure if that’s how it went down … but it’s corny, right? You’ve got to be one heck of a salesperson to convince an editor that gathering some of Marvel’s most well-known female heroes — Monica Rambeau (formerly Captain Marvel and Photon), Black Cat, Firestar and Hellcat — and have them sit around, drink mojitos and talk about boys will be a hot comic. But the book’s central idea comes off a trifle stale on the printed page.
All that witty banter about bad dates leads to my other most-hated section of the comic: the ending. The cliffhanger we’re left with is pure soap opera melodrama and something you’d see in a Lifetime movie, not a Marvel comic.
Now, putting those wacker elements of the book aside for a second, let’s talk about what I actually liked about Marvel Divas. Yes, the comic depicted a ton of “girl talk” scenes, but it was nice to see superheroes having conversations — especially ones about emotions and relationships — instead of just punching or shooting. In a weird way, it reminded me of old Marvel Comic titles where characters’ personal lives were regular fodder for stories. Look past the mojitos, and you’ll see some cool character developments and some cool in-continuity moments (like a scene showing Marvel’s black super people cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina).
On top of that, the art — by Tonci Zonjic — is done in a cartoony style that’s light on lines but heavy on emotion. It kind of comes across like a less-manic version of Amanda Conner’s work.
So, see: things to like and things to hate.
At the end of the day it was fun. If you are a fan of any of the heroes featured in the comic (or a fan of Sex & the City — oh you know you watched it!), you’d get a kick out of Marvel Divas.
Carlton Hargro is Editor-In-Chief of Creative Loafing. You can read more of his writing at their website.