I did it again. I bought an issue based solely on the cover. It wasn't a series I was reading, or had heard about. It was actually the 3rd issue of a 6-issue miniseries. Silent War #3.
Like the last issue I bought just for the cover (the issue of New Avengers with the Scarlet Witch on the cover), it made me sad. I don't know why I'm such a big fan of Magneto's kids, but I always have been. I'm a sucker for any appearance they make. I scanned reprints of early Uncanny X-Men for them. I pick up random issues of Avengers when one of them is prominent on the cover (this is how I have the trade paperback of The Morgan Conquest). The first set of back issues I picked up when I was done with BMT and living on my own for the first time was the first two issues of the Amazing X-Men miniseries that tied into the Age of Apocalypse crossover. It was my favorite, because that was the one where Pietro was leading the X-Men. I have every issue PAD wrote of X-Factor and beyond that. Hell, I even own some of the 1997 Quicksilver series (I have the Heroes For Hire crossover).
So I've had issues with Marvel, or rather I've avoided buying issues from Marvel, since Wanda flipped out. It seems to have soured me on 98% of the Marvel universe and I dropped every Marvel book I read after Disassembled. It was such a wasteful stupid thing to do to a character.
Then I nosed around and picked up the first half of House of M, because I thought they might fix it. I dropped it when they revealed Pietro was the antagonist.
Then I picked up Son of M, just in case they fixed at least one twin. No such luck. Unlike the crossovers where Wanda was featured as insane, Son of M was a wonderful series. It was wonderful comic miniseries in the same way that The Last Sherlock Holmes Story is a wonderful book. Its skillful and engaging, and everything fits as they go through it. this somehow makes it more sickening than when the hero is completely mischaracterized, because the writer draws you into the story and its like a perfect horror picture. You empathize with the main character. That character is your hero. And you watch, helplessly, as they act completely within their nature and destroy their own sanity.
(If only Wanda's story could have been so good.)
Still, it was very depressing and I rationalized buying this because maybe, just maybe, it could get fixed.
But at least I still have this cover.
Isn't that beautiful? Crystal looks strong and protective and powerful here. Looking at the cover makes me forget a little bit about losing Wanda, mainly because I've never seen Wanda get to display such a presence. Not many female characters do. That's probably why I got out of my way for covers like this and like the Spirit #4. Its an image you can just look at and feel strong.
Last week, I saw a picture that looked much the same. It was on a T-Shirt in a souvenir shop and showed a classic poster of Luke and Leia for Star Wars. It was a little different from the ones I'd seen before, because rather than posing at his feet and holding a gun, Leia was wrapped around Luke's leg. It was the first time I'd seen that poster, but it didn't really make an impact on me. I thought at the time that it was the familiarity of the pose. Then I saw this cover.
I wonder if the artists understand what they convey when they do a role reversal like this. As a woman, I'm expected to empathize with the male characters as well as female characters (the whole "if boys will read it, girls will too; so make it for boys" mentality that the Entertainment industry displays) but that doesn't change the fact that when I see a man and a woman on a cover, I tend to identify with the female character.
So a picture of the traditional version, where the man is standing and radiating power while the woman is on her knees clinging to his leg can be offputting because at first glance my mind wants to identify with the female position. But the male character is the stronger in such a picture. He's the one we're meant to empathize with while the girl is the throwaway. So there's a little bit of distancing that has to happen. I have to ignore the gender difference to identify with the stronger character. Something is lost, and I see the art through a filter. I've seen tons of poses like this, with the woman wrapped around the man's leg, and they've never struck me as a good pose.
But looking at this cover the power hit me right away. There was no distance, there was no filter between me as a viewer and the stronger character. I got the full effect of the picture.
Its hard to describe, but when I saw it my heart felt a little lighter in my chest, my cheeks felt warmer and the corners of my mouth turned up in a smile. I think I may have stood a little taller in the store.
Now (because I know some poor soul who's cursed with apathy is misreading this feeling as a comment on the general state of my life) that's not to say that poses like this are as great as finding the cure for cancer, or my first taste of butter pecan ice cream, or that that's the most wonderful feeling I've ever had in my life. It was good enough to shell out the three bucks for a book that featured characters I liked. I've just lovingly detailed the experience so I can ask you all one thing:
Is that what it feels like for men when they see the typical pose?