Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Publisher: DC Comics
The main draw of the Bulleteer series of the Seven Soldiers event has been less about the actual character – about whom I feel we still know very little – and more about Morrison’s commentary on themes and staples of the superhero genre. The core concept of Bulleteer has been a woman disfigured (sort of) as a result of the sexual obsessions of a man. Issue four really delves into these issues of the sexism of superheroes.
Alix Harrower, the Bulleteer, gets into an issue-long fist fight with Sally Sonic, the super-powered woman responsible for Alix’s origin and the death of her husband. However, Sally’s had years of misery and manipulation at the whims of the men in her life and isn’t reluctant to spill her tale in the midst of their brawl.
It says a lot that these two females characters are fighting for no real purpose besides having been scorned or pressured by the men in their lives, and their battle is less about their own wills than the petty desires that dragged them into each other’s paths. The shallow rationale behind the battle is all the more pronounced with Alix’s final line to Sally. It’s not that the tone of the story is sexist, but it provides a logical place of blame for all the shameless cheesecake pin-ups and revealing costumes over the years. As my ex used to say, only men could have conceived of lingerie.
The tongue never strays far from the cheek with any of the Seven Soldiers series, and thankfully Bulleteer is no exception. How else is one supposed to digest the line, “Even the Teddy Bear King has to die . . .”? And though some DC historian is going to tell me later how this was a real golden age character, I love the idea of the Vitamin and his Vitamin X powers.
If you’re going to lambaste the sexual exploitation of female superheroes, I suppose you might as well hire a master of cheesecake as the penciller, and Paquette certainly knows where all the curves go. I’m not one to drool over illustrated women, but I certainly can’t recommend a bustier book for those who do.
All in all, not the most satisfying of the Seven Soldiers mini series, but Morrison definitely flexes his range in genres and themes, and that provides for interesting and engaging content throughout. I can’t imagine any other series or situation in which this kind of story could have been told the way it was.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!