Women in comics have a long history of being exploited as plot devices and hand-drawn eye candy, so when Marvel—which is generally considered to be one of the more socially conscious voices in the industry—announced the debut of its all-female Avengers spin-off called A-Force, there was zero chance of it avoiding controversy. Now, just a day after the reveal, there seem to be two very vocal camps forming, and there’s very little middle ground to be had.
A-Force, which is set to launch in May, includes a long list of heroes including She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, and Nico Minoru, each complete with their own personal histories and, of course, kick-ass super powers. What makes this roster unique, at least in terms of Avengers lore, is that there isn’t a single male hero to be found. That seems like a welcome change from a history of “damsels in distress,” and indeed the initial response was overwhelmingly positive.
Marvel is making a female Avengers team. Heck yes.
— f o x m u l d e r (@a_shrbkv) February 7, 2015
AND ALL FEMALE AVENGERS TEAM????
CAN I GET A HELL YEAH???????/
— Shaelyn Kelly (@thnksfrthmrms) February 7, 2015
But from the name “A-Force” to the comic’s art, there seems to be a growing number of both male and female comic fans who aren’t entirely on board.
Calling an all-female team The A-Force rather than Avengers seems sexist. Are they not good enough to be The Avengers? #Marvel
— Greg Kerekes (@SekerekGerg) February 6, 2015
— Harriette Reece (@TheReeceyBoy) February 6, 2015
It’s also interesting to note that the all-female cast is also overwhelmingly white, which is souring the message of female empowerment for some fans.
— Dann (@MadeByDann) February 7, 2015
Any comic plot line where women aren’t simply objects to be rescued, or borderline pornographic pieces of art to be leered at, is certainly a step forward, but it may not be a big enough step for a large number of readers who have been put off by the industry’s missteps in the past.
Photo via Marvel