Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review: Marvel Divas #4

When Marvel first announced Marvel Divas a few months ago, I felt a many number of things. Okay, no, I felt two things. One? I felt excitement. I love Black Cat and Firestar. Hellcat is someone who I’ve recently discovered through the Patsy Walker: Hellcat mini and who I thoroughly adore. After the first few moments of excitement passed, though, I felt terror. Pure, vibrant terror. I mean, for one thing, the series was called Marvel Divas. Marvel. Divas. The title terrified me, and that terror only grew stronger when they announced that it was to be a Sex and the City parody.

Now, “parody” isn’t quite the word I would have used to describe the mini-series. I mean, from the first issue onwards, we were kind of hit over the head with the fact that this was a shallow attempt at remaking the sort of magic that Sex and the City had. The only problem with that is that these things work best when they’re homages, not paper-thin formulas used solely to attract a female audience, which is essentially what happened here.

The series started out with many of the characters – Angelica Jones especially – acting somewhat out of character. The ties of friendship between these women also felt extremely forced. I mean, speed-dating? Really? Why on Earth would women like Felicia Hardy and Patsy Walker need to go speed-dating? Or even want to?

The sad fact of the matter is that Marvel Divas was, from the get-go, ill-conceived and shallowly put together, and that brings us to the final issue of the series, which was unfortunately as fulfilling as a morsel of carrot cake. The slightest hint of a flavour, but not much else.


When we last left our, uh, “Divas”, Patsy had just agreed to go to Hell for one night with Daimon, on the promise that Daimon would save Angelica’s life for good, ridding her of the cancer that was eating away at her.

At the beginning of this issue, we’re treated to what was honestly one of the cuter moments in the miniseries. A little farfetched? Sure, but adorable nonetheless. We open up on a Saturday morning zen yoga class, led by none other than Danny Rand – Iron Fist. The class is filled with a multitude of Marvel’s super-women, from Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four to She-Hulk to Crystal of the Inhumans, amongst a bunch of others. Of course, Felicia “Black Cat” Hardy and Monica “Photon” Rambeau are there was well…without two of their besties – Angelica and Patsy.

Angelica – dressed in her Firestar costume – appears outside the large window and apologizes to Danny to for interrupting class, and then pulls both Monica and Felicia out of class to tell them what we already know – that Patsy’s been kidnapped. Patsy, the smart thinker that she is (and a far, FAR cry from her characterization in Patsy Walker: Hellcat, I might add) has written a note on her ever-present laptop (she’s been writing about Angelica’s ordeal for her, and since she’s the Carrie Bradshaw template of the group, she’s always writing anyway) that Daimon’s taking her to hell.

Segue to a scene where we see Patsy and Daimon cage-fighting, while Daimon tries to convince Patsy to give up. (Really? Cage-fighting? I mean, kudos for not trying to make Daimon some creepy rapist dude, and kudos for him not mind-controlling her…but cage-fighting? That was just…all kinds of bizarre.)

So of course, the girls rush off to rescue her, using the monkey’s paw that Monica helped get for her flame – the newly minted Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Voodoo.

From here on out…the issue just falls flat. The, er, Divas Three are transported to Hell, right outside Daimon’s hell-palace. As they plan to storm in on Daimon and Patsy, we find Patsy (who’s been tied up to a chair at the other end of a long, elegant dining table) having dinner with Daimon, while he taunts her and finally admits that he’s butthurt because Patsy barely mentioned him in her first book, Cat Outta Hell, which is why he’s going through all these extremes to harass her. Yeah…

The women bust in and Monica – former leader of the Avengers – starts spouting out orders, natch. Felicia gets Patsy out of her bondage scenario (the cats gotta stick together, y’know?) and we’re treated to a verbal show-off between the Son of Satan (or is he the Son of Satannish? I was never quite sure on that) and the (ugh) Marvel Divas. Patsy cuts a deal saying that, in the paperback reprint, she’ll add a chapter about how she’s still not over him, which Daimon bargains up to being two chapters. Patsy, desperate to get away from him, agrees. Daimon, trying to play his last hand, tells Patsy that they’re not done yet, and that if he does let them go, then Angelica goes back to playing the odds with her health and the cancer, which Angelica agrees to, preferring to battle the odds with her health instead of letting her friend suffer.

As a wrap-up, we find that Angelica’s tumor hasn’t spread, but she’ll have to hope that her cancer won’t recur for the next five years. Felicia makes a deal with the Kingpin to start Cat’s Eye Investigations and breaks it off for good with Puma. Monica breaks it off with Doctor Voodoo, and Patsy, close to completing her book, calls it “Super Vixens.”

The End.


This series, I think, had so much potential, but the story spread out through these four issues could easily have fit into two issues. I would have loved to see Felicia deal more with her internal conflict regarding whether or not she should go back to a life of crime. I would also have loved to see how/why she ends up going to Wilson Fisk of all people. Seeing Angelica deal with her illness would have been great, as would have an appearance or two from Vance Astrovik. With Monica…I’m honestly not sure how much of a point there was to having her in the story, other than trying to make her a Miranda Hobbes type. And Patsy…well, that story was just one hot, steaming mess.

On the bright side, the art by Tonci Zonic (and seriously, that might be one of my favourite names in comics) was really, really nice in some aspects. Fresh, a little toony, but nice. I’d like to see him do more – maybe an all-ages Marvel Adventures Dazzler series or something.

** out of five.

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