Glory In Excelsis

I was discussing the first issue of New Avengers with a Bleeding Cool reader, Peter Grant Lloyd. He rather objected to the male-female violence depicted between Black Panther and White Swan in the comic. I didn’t share his point of view and asked if he’s read the rather violent female-warrior comic Glory, and asked if he had the same opinion about that book.

He hadn’t read it. But then he went away and did. And this is what he wrote. I thought it was worth a cut and paste.

I’ve read issues 23 -31 of Glory but I feel I must say from the off these are my first ever Glory comics. Apart from the 90’s over stacked anorexic images of the character I have no memory of her. Also I read Supreme when Alan Moore wrote him in the late 90s I believe but if she crossed over into that run, I don’t remember.

Loved the art straight off the bat, total opposite of the horrible 90s Pamela Anderson representation of female characters. She looked like a warrior, and the way they moved Glory away from that 90s image via flashback to the current was sweet. Also they retain her status as a sexual woman, demonstrated by the brief fling with her old lover.

The addressing of the male stereotype superhero through the conversation with Supreme (#23) was really well addressed by Keatinge, in that he used Alan Moore’s model of Supreme as the out of date in attitude hero to convey a out dated view of women as second class citizens  and to stay out of the way of man’s work. Glory’s retort of “you amused me” was equally patronising back to him (she has been led to believe she’s a god after all) and right on the nose. This dialogue was sprayed with an undercurrent of threat and violence from Supreme which, with a lesser writer, could have been very ugly and maybe resulted in genuine violence between the two of them.

The violence that did happen between the pair was Riley’s dream, in which he mangled her arm and she removed his. If this is a future vision, it’s the moment she cracks under the pressure and kicks back but doesn’t let the writer off the hook completely.

Now the violence against Glory… this, to me, appeared to come from all angles  – mental, physical, broken in the real sense, parental abuse and sibling abuse. Keatinge has put the character through the wringer  to progress the story. The violence against her in the physical sense has been monster-of-the-week to a large degree in a comic book battle set up. The most physical violence, one to one, was with her sister and that was the fight for which many issues were building up and it damaged both characters to the point where no one really won. An Old Skool call back to the first time our heroes meet,a fight to a standstill, that put aside their differences for the greater good, but still hate each other, which thankfully Keatinge delivered a very different resolution too then the norm.

The violence she suffers at the hands of Supreme and Dad is mental cruelty. Supreme, in the devaluing of her role and abilities, and Dad in the pure mental torture of a horrible childhood and allowing her to believe mum is dead. This is more damaging in the long run and while it makes for fertile story material (the story tellers job), it has been cancelled out in part by the use of her barbaric nature from Dad coming through more and more. It also represents the repressed anger coming to the surface (which are demonstrated in #31).

So dragging it back to New Avengers #1, the act that Black Panther commited against a female is still leaving a bad taste in my mouth because it felt exploitative in a ugly cheap way, especially using a strong black character to perform the act of violence. In Glory, I feel Keatinge has dodged the cheap potential pitfalls of the female lead and created something a bit special… but most important of all SHE IS NOT A VICTIM and I feel Black Panther created one.

It is an interesting point, but I did find it hard to have issues with a genocidal threat being stopped by any means necessary. But what do you think?

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