Saturday, December 18, 2010

This may be the least subtle symbolism in the history of comics

...but really, who can not smile at a superheroine lifting a fridge off of her back after she's been clobbered with it and using it on the enemy? I mean, the only thing that would've made it more over-the-top is if her husband was literally in there at the time instead of just figuratively.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Phil Hester talks Wonder Woman


Nrama: How do you hope to approach Wonder Woman's character?

Hester: I see her as the personification of honor in a fallen world

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why I'm Pissed Off at Paul Levitz

I and others have seen a number of comments suggesting that the anger Paul Levitz's statement engendered was based solely on a misreading of his statement, and that by drawing attention to a couple of qualifiers any reasonable person will cease to be upset at the sentiment. On the contrary, I believe that these commenters are the ones who lack understanding in this case, but that may be because none of use have chosen to spell it out directly enough for them.

So, Levit'z statement:
I’m not sure that young women are as interested in reading about superheroes. The fundamental dynamic of the superhero story has historically been more appealing to boys than to girls.

For emphasis, let me repeat the part that has pissed people off:
The fundamental dynamic of the superhero story has historically been more appealing to boys than to girls.

Now, as many of you have noticed the words "no" and "never" do not appear in conjunction with "girls" or "appeal". I have noticed that too. That is because yes, I and most everyone else I've spoken to understands that he didn't say "Superheroes will never appeal to girls, and there are no girls who read superheroes." He merely implied that we were insignificant.

Either way, the words "no" or "never" are not the irritating parts of this quote. Nor is historically, though it is actually quite infuriating because there've been arguments that historically the genre had a lot of cross-appeal that has been squandered away in the past few decades. But that's not it either.

Allow me to present the rage-inducing part of this quote to you in bold:
The fundamental dynamic of the superhero story has historically been more appealing to boys than to girls.

We can argue back on forth on what precisely constitutes the fundamental dynamic of a superhero story, but the specifics such as costumes, secret identities, heroes, superpowers, villains, individualism and so on don't matter in this discussion. Only one aspect matters to this argument, and that is this: sexism.

There's a terrible strain of sexism coded into superhero fandom and industry culture: it's evident in the way women are drawn in comparison to how men are, how women are posed in comparison to how men are, the way women are dressed in comparison to how men are, the stories women get versus the ones men get, the prominence of female characters (well, lack thereof), how female characters are marketed, how male characters that appeal significantly more to women than to men are not valued either, how homosexuality and gender issues are (not) handled, how female characters are treated for the sake of male character's stories, how powerful female characters are cut down, how female characters are reduced to their sexual relationships and sex appeal to the straight male reader, how women are dismissed as a marketable demographic, how complaints of sexism are dismissed down to what artists are chosen to go with what characters.

And there's a philosophy in the female-dominated areas of fandom that states that this sexism is there, but is not in any way fundamental to the genre. It's excess fat that can be trimmed off without any loss of substance, that in fact trimming this unhealthy fat sexism will improve the quality of the product.

When someone like Paul Levitz suggests there's something fundamental in superhero stories that women find distasteful, he pisses a great deal of us off. Because what women find distasteful is the rampant sexism so obvious from the first moment a dramatic angle is sacrificed in order to highlight a superheroine's butt or bust, and that is in no way part of the fundamental dynamic of a superhero story.

I can only speak directly for myself, of course, but I can attest that a lot of the women who are annoyed about this also subscribe to the two part theory that "sexism is rampant in superhero comics, but sexism is unnecessary to superhero comics." Maybe, yes, there's a couple who didn't see the qualifiers and are backing off, but I'm pretty sure a few more have pointed out that they're pissed off at "fundamental" in there. There's probably even some who haven't quite realized exactly what bothers them about the statement, but know that they find it spectacularly offensive. Whatever it is exactly, I'll bet they're as unlikely to be pacified by an adverb as I am.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Highlights of this week's order.

I ordered my comics this morning. It'll be a week, maybe two with the holiday, until they come in but I'm looking forward to a few things:

1) Avengers Academy #7 by Christos Gage and Mike McKone -- I am devouring this book every month, I love it. I badly want more Pietro and Finesse (out of the students, so far I'm most impressed with Finesse and Reptil), but Hank's becoming a favorite right now so I'm happy to see an issue might focus on him. I will be a little sad, though, if Hank gives up the Wasp identity to take back the Giant-man one. I liked that he was stepping into Jan's shoes, very few legacy heroes are a male character taking on a female character's identity while there are tons of female derivatives and female successors to male characters. I'd much prefer to have Jan back as Giant-woman and Hank remain in the Wasp identity.

Plus, it's the only good costume he's ever had.

2) Superman #706 by G Willow Wilson and (I believe) Eddy Barrows -- I think the walking storyline (like the WW storyline) had a good idea, but I hate the way JMS wrote Clark. I took this chance to order it and see if another writer can do a better job. Also, I've been hearing so many good things about Air but didn't find out until it was all gone. (Waiting on a trade now.) This'll be a chance to check out this writer.

3) Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars by Beau Smith and Enrique Villigran -- I've been waiting on a new Wynona Earp story since 2006, and finally one's arrived! I discovered this character through the Complete Wynonna Earp a few years ago and I absolutely adored it. I'm going to take the liberty of quoting my old review because I've already said what I'm looking forward to the most with this:
As a result, I actually got to read a book with a female main character who was never beated up in a sexualized manner (although yes, she was beaten up and captured a couple of times, it wasn't drawn out or handled in a worse manner than a similar situation in Warrior with Guy Gardner would be), or victimized, or made to seem the least bit weaker because she was female. I got to put aside feminist analysis of the story in favor of enjoying the action, the cheesy jokes, and yes, even the ridiculously over-the-top Nineties Art (my pet peeve about the posture was in full force for most of this trade, only the very first and very last stories -- by Luis Diaz and Manuel Vidal respectively -- had her posed like a proper fighter). It was like being a kid again.
I can't wait.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everyone knows why I'm reading Avengers Academy anyway.

Yesterday's Talking Comics With Tim was an interview with Avengers Academy writer Christos Gage. Of course I dove in hoping for information on one of my favorites, and I wasn't disappointed:
O’Shea: With Avengers Academy–while the students are the core of the series, it’s the instructors that offer almost as much interest for me. For example, I love your use of Quicksilver. Was it your idea to have him in the cast, or how did he get added? Are there certain eras of Quicksilver history that appeal to you and fuel your approach to the character?

Gage: I asked for Quicksilver because I thought he fit in perfectly with the theme of the instructors being Avengers who have flawed, checkered pasts. Avengers Academy is meant to be a place of redemption for student and teacher alike. Just as the best counselors for people trying to stay off drugs are recovered addicts, the Avengers Academy teachers are people who’ve been down some tough roads and come back. Quicksilver was a teen villain, then a teen hero. He was raised to be a terrorist and grew to be an Avenger. My favorite point in Quicksilver history is when he first joined the Avengers…he did this incredibly heroic thing in terms of breaking from Magneto, and putting himself out there in front of a world that hates and fears mutants…but the whole time he was constantly backseat driving and second-guessing Captain America, of all people! Now that’s what I call cojones. Quicksilver is so much fun to write because he gets to say all the snarky things I want to say to people who irritate me, but don’t want to get smacked in the mouth for.

Two things here, number one that yes, that point in history is absolutely one of the best things about Quicksilver. He'll give even Steve Rogers shit. The prototype for Horrible Boss in his life is none other than MAGNETO, a man he has worked for multiple times (a man who repeatedly showed a willingness to just leave him to die even after they found out they were related, a man who actually killed him once--long after they found out they were related), but that doesn't make him grateful just to be treated like a person. He'll let anyone no matter how good (or how bad, because he was always the guy standing up to Magneto in those Silver Age X-men) know when he thinks they're going in the wrong direction or just not acknowledging him enough. I believe it leads back to sincere trust issues, but even then it really takes some nerve, and I like to read people with some nerve.

The second is the one the part I think a lot of fangirls will take issue with:
Quicksilver was a teen villain, then a teen hero. He was raised to be a terrorist and grew to be an Avenger.
I remember a panel was being passed around on Tumblr a few months back where it states that he was trained by Magneto. Thing is, I absolutely love this idea because as I said yesterday about the children of supervillains, the harder it is to break free of the parent the more heroic it is. I actually like the idea he had a few years to indoctrinate the kids and the twins still sabotaged and then left him. It shows a great deal of strength to begin with that they left this incredibly terrifying person, but when you make it that they left him after several years of training because putting the stuff into practice was too horrible it seems like a feat of Herculean strength. Not only that, every time Pietro and Wanda stood up to him it wasn't because they were shocked by the new revelation of what sort of people they'd fallen in with, it was because they still managed to hold onto their values despite being trapped in the group and cut off from the support network that taught them those values.

I do get the feeling, though, that we're witnessing a slight retcon. I think they are slowly being retconned to join Magneto at a younger age than originally intended. I like this, again, because it emphasizes the character strength it took. I used to use they'd just simplify the Maximoff's origins and have them raised by Magneto all along, but I can't help but notice that losing their mother at birth and being passed from Bova to the Franks to the Maximoffs to the streets (or rather, hillsides) to the grip of Magneto finally to a decent life in the Avengers seems to fit their attitudes somehow. They kept getting bounced from place to place and only had each other. (I would like the Citadel of Science "stasis while waiting for a proper family to adopt" explanation traded for a retcon that their mother was a time-traveling mutant, which would nicely explain why neither twin has powers even approaching their father's and truly simplify their origins--but somehow I doubt Marvel will ever realize that there's a really easy way to explain those powers right under their fucking noses.)

I'm optimistic about Gage in a way I'm not about Heinberg. After how Maximoff twins have been handled since Disassembled I really appreciate that a writer thought about their history so he could concentrate on actually portraying the sort of person the character was originally created to be. I would a hundred times prefer that to an in-depth metastory that continues the cycle of weakness to explain how the cycle started. (You can do your explanations and excuses while you're portraying the character as actively heroic, thank you.) They've been pretty much destroyed from all sides in two consecutive crossovers, and ever since then the plots, flashbacks and expositionary dialogue has only served to underscore them as a woman who couldn't handle her powers or not having the family she wanted and a man who couldn't handle losing his powers or losing the family he had. Even now when the lie storyline presents Quicksilver as someone who couldn't own up to his own deeds and had to take the easy way out, Gage's emphasis on his past as a villain and how he broke free of that mitigates the impression and really makes me expect that his coming clean will be a major revelation that's used to advance the overall story arc in AA. And while I'm waiting for that, and for Wanda to finally get repaired, it's still a relief to see at least one of them handed to a writer who recognizes the strength of will that was present in the Silver Age over the plot-induced madness.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Oh yeah, two notable things. Kalinara and I started a thing this weekend, and WFA did a titanic update today.

If I am by some strange twist of fate still the first place you look for steady women in superheroics commentary, may I suggest DC Women Kicking Ass and Fantastic Fangirls? Let me to draw your attention in particular to the recent Silver Age Women post on FF, and the Lois Lane tag on DCWKA. (And another nudge for the Most Memorable Moments poll.)

And as long as I'm linking, I wish I had more reading time because I badly want to go through the entire archive of this blog. This guy contrasted All-Star Superman with JMS's Earth One to throw light on Superman and his supporting cast. Then he tore into Second Coming like nobody's business and righteously battled the problematic undertones of Kingdom Come. And that's just the stuff I've had a chance to read, that blog looks packed with persuasive and potent ponderings.

From Bond Girl to Bond Villain

Anyone who's paid too much attention to me might have realized that I adore when the children of supervillains become heroes. These characters, whether the sorts who were raised right and later found out the truth (the Maximoffs twins) or those who suffered from a dysfunctional, twisted upbringing (Cass Cain) have a particularly compelling story to them. These characters become heroes when they discovered a reservoir of moral strength that allowed them to make the most difficult decision any person in the world can make and break from their upbringing, their loved ones, and even at times their entire cultural makeup in order to make the right decision. These themes of discovering moral clarity, overcoming the fear of loneliness, and aspiration to be a better person can be repeated in some many different ways for the same character and still represent step-by-step self-improvement and true heroics. The character can be constantly moving forward without being stuck in a cycle. And while every subsequent attempt to make the right decision is just a little easier than that first break (allowing for the occasional slip-up, which lets them go through a moral crisis and find that internal strength again) they continually better themselves, their families and the planet with every step forward. These character exemplify the idea that it doesn't matter what your forebearers did, your life and your destiny is your own. They are paragons of independence, defying both nature and nurture to demonstrate that someone can calibrate their own moral compass and still have it point in the right direction. The children of supervillains can become the truest kind of heroes, agents of virtue and change and hope arising from the darkest of background and defending those ideals against the most ingrained personal interest--belonging to their own family. They have an incredibly inspirational concept.

There's another story pattern that can be incredibly compelling in this same vein, that of Reforming the Evil Love Interest. This one is compelling because not only does it have a person turn their back on their entire world, but they do it for the sake of a single other person. A lot of people love this story, and adore characters trapped in this story cycle because it ties the inspirational aspect of leaving everything you know and love for an ideal with romance because the ideal is love for another person. I find this pretty compelling too... when it's a single story and not a cycle that continually repeats itself. This brings me, of course, to a character think I should love but I very decidedly do not, Talia al Ghul.

As I said before, a lot of people like the Reforming the Evil Love Interest narrative because it's a compelling narrative, and they don't mind reading it over and over and over again. It carries with it the same courage and strength required to be a child of a supervillain who turns on their evil parent, and in many cases--such as with Talia--the two concepts are married and the inspiration to turn their back on their entire world comes from meeting one good person.

Except that Talia doesn't really DO that until what... five or six years ago? And she was created in the 70s? Her typical behavior pattern was that she'd act against her father to save Batman, but afterwards she'd return to the old man. Repeat over and over and over again. He's her father, he loved her, she loved him, and on some level she felt that his actions were to be excused. In fact, for loyalty to her father, she would commit any number of murders, thefts and even betrayals (short of directly causing his death) of her "beloved" Batman. As I've said, I really enjoy when a supervillain's kid turns on them, and it requires a tremendous amount of moral fortitude to do so, and proves to be the ultimate act of independence. But Talia never really turned on her father for the principle of it, she only occasionally got in his or his allies' way to prevent them from getting rid of Bruce. For it to be a true test of courage and strength, it pretty much has to be a one time thing. You go against your parent knowing you can't go back, you can't waiver between two people all the time. You are on your own from that point on, and what you just did is worth being on your own. You don't just save the life of the guy you wanna fuck and then go back to live comfortably with Daddy, performing atrocities in his name when they don't affect someone you personally care about. That doesn't make you a hero, or even an antihero. It just means you're a villain with the hots for the hero.

I don't like Talia. A long time ago (after a while of kind of liking her figuring eventually they'd lay this story cycle to rest) I realized she just wasn't a really admirable person. After I learned that, every time I saw her I knew exactly what the story was going to be and I simply didn't like the al Ghul family league of assassins/eco-terrorism/melodramatic love drama elements enough to sit through the same theme of potential reformation from what was actually a rather self-interested motive (she wanted Bruce, but didn't seem to give a shit about anyone else's life) followed by choosing the safe route of home and family to the unexplored and potentially difficult life of morality that I prefer my heroes adhere to. After so many times watching this, I really grew to hate the character on sight. Eventually she went against him, but not in a way that changed my assessment of her personality. It's telling that it wasn't until after her father tried to match her with a guy she didn't want that she got sick of his shit and tried to be a good guy for a while. Kudos for being her own woman there, but it's not really the heroic selflessness of a principled stand against the head of an organization that destroys lives every day--especially after you've spent years witnessing firsthand the misery he creates but kept bypassing the opportunity to tell him to fuck off and become a real hero. It's more the heroic selfishness of leaving a situation that's simply not good for you personally, having stayed in a situation that hurt other people until things went from comfortable to frightening. I think she's a very selfish person, in matters of love and ethics, and that's not a good thing for a hero or even an antihero.

And yes, I know there are those of you who say that every character can be redeemed, and every character has potential and with Talia... you're absolutely right.

Something happened in the last decade to this character. They killed off her father. The put her in charge of the family business. They introduced her son, and detailed the horrific lengths she went to to continue the family line with the man she'd personally chosen.

They broke the cycle.

They made her an official full villain.

I fucking love it, especially when Grant Morrison writes her because he doesn't mince the melodrama. He doesn't bother with the "I love you, but alas we are on other sides of the law" narrative that bores me to tears. This is a woman from a twisted family with a very twisted sense of what constitutes a family. She considers Batman her husband, and so will act to keep him alive and safe, but she is not a good guy at all. She will protect and nurture her son, and when he leaves her (as she NEVER left her father) she attempts to manipulate him back by threatening to disown and replace him. ("Why can't you just love me for me?" "It's not me" and it wasn't her father either. She's withholding her approval until he proves his loyalty just as he probably did to her and created the behavior pattern where she constantly returns to his side at the end of the story.) She will, in all likelihood, make him very miserable for the next few years trying to get him to return to her side of the family.

And so many people say they despise Morrison's version of the character, that she's not even a character but I don't see that at all. She's not one-dimensional, she's just as complex especially when it comes to her interpersonal relationships--she's just free of all the bullshit that makes me hate her. He's completely broken the cycle on this character, and she's gone from Bond Girl to full-fledged Bond Villain. I'm actually happy for her, it's quite a promotion.

As for the real thorn in fandom's side, Batman's statement that he was drugged when Damien was conceived? In a genre where 95% of female characters but just maybe 2% of male characters have been sexually harassed, threatened or assaulted... the biggest macho fanboy fantasy character in history has a sexual assault in his backstory and it hasn't hurt his standing in the slightest. It's still the male hero way, like Starman and Green Arrow, without the same lurid graphic depiction of sexualized violence that accompanies flashbacks of female characters. I think the imbalance there makes this far less offensive to me than if we'd had Oracle drop this memory. Don't get me wrong, Batman's wistful reaction is beyond fucked up and one of the things that Morrison annoyed me with, but I don't feel Talia is the character who suffers from this. She's a Bad Guy, after all, and I've never found her someone to sympathize with. I understand it really pisses off those of you who feel she should be a sympathetic hero, but I don't feel this character works as a hero or even a protagonist. Her heroism works on whether one person (or two, now that Damian's around) is in direct danger or not. If he is, she'll be a good guy, if not she's just her father's daughter. I do love her as a cold, corrupt villainess, though. Like I said, she strikes me as a very selfish person and that's a good thing for a villain.

My feelings on Talia are particularly worrisome for two reasons, though:

1) She is a character type I can only think of seeing in women. She's the chief henchwoman who falls for the hero character type, most often associated with spy thrillers like James Bond. It's a bit hard to untangle such a judgment from innate feelings about gender, and I'm having trouble thinking of a male character who boils down to the same concept for the "gender swap test" of prejudiced attitudes.

2) She is one of very few Middle Eastern women in comics, and the family politics and her position as a good guy or a bad guy are tied up with how the Western World views Arabic women. (Man, it does not help that her father was a terrorist but he's not religiously motivated at least.) It may be better that she stayed to run the family business and didn't just leave being an accessory to her father to try and become an accessory to Batman, or it may simply be another example of the Dragon Lady of the East archetype, particularly with her villainy so wrapped up in her family. I'm not really sure on this part. Though please don't try to defend the character based on cultural pressure to stay loyal to her father and family, because cultural pressure is something that makes a moral decision to value life more difficult, and therefore makes choosing to save lives so heroic.

Anyway, here's the rundown:

Talia al Ghul
Also Known As: The Cause of Shirtless Batman Fighting
First Encountered (By Me): Batman: the Animated Series
Franchise: Batman
Core Concept: Evil Love Interest
Writer Responsible For My Distaste: Every writer that has ever tried to pass her off as "not really a villain, but a tragic woman torn between loyalties"
Character I Want To Read That She's Attached To: Batman (and I don't really like to see her Dad pop up either when I'm reading Batman)

Best Character Trait: Brave
Worst Character Trait: Selfish

Similar Characters That I Like: Like I said, I adore the children of supervillains who break away from their parents Cassandra Cain in particular showed a moral strength and an empathy for the rest of mankind that's unheard of in her life up to that point when she ran away from her father after her first kill. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff are recurring favorites of mine because of their constant struggle against their father--especially in the face of prejudice from the rest of the world. Damian Wayne is stuck-up little jerk, but he chose his father's more difficult path over the easy villainy of his mother and grandfather. But the thing is, these characters took the high road as soon as the exit presented itself, they didn't continue along Bad Guy Highway past exit after exit until they could actually SEE the dead end. These are characters marked early on to be heroes, and their family ties make them more compelling as a result.

Catwoman may be my favorite example of the "Reform the Evil Love Interest" thing, but it may be because she's not particularly evil or even selfish. She just doesn't feel confined to society's rules, whereas Talia's lawbreaking comes from conforming to her family.
I do recall another similarity, though, back in Devin Grayson's Catwoman run. Selina is approached during the story by a teenaged boy and an adult man. She spends much of the story thinking about family, and ends up arranging for both the man and the boy to be sent to prison (I forget which one she framed, or if it was both) and declaring that she wants a family, but on her terms. The issue ends with her peeking in on her new family in their prison cell. It was dark and humorous (and there was something in both the man and the boy's behavior that makes you side with Selina, but I forget exactly what it was), and it does remind me of Talia's possessiveness of both Bruce and Damian. She wants the family on her terms, so she's basically decided that Bruce is her husband.

Could I ever like Talia? Not as a good guy. She's aces as a psychopath, though.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Long Pants of Evil

"Hero goes evil storylines" are fairly common in comics. Everyone has one or two, and they're okay provided they don't seep into the collective consciousness of the potential creator's pool as genuine characterization. That's usually not a problem provided it's acknowledged in the narrative as strange behavior, confined to a single storyline in a single book and not spread out over two company-wide crossovers, five writers and eight years... *Ahem*. Not that I mean anybody specific or their twin brother.

Still, even if a writer keeps it in the series, wraps it up at the end and explains it away neatly as the plot of such-and-such-villain there's still some seriously irritating trends with "Hero goes evil storylines", and no small concern is the tendency of artists to take advantage of an excuse to "slut up" an otherwise sensibly dressed female character and dress her in a ridiculously sexualized skimpy and cutaway costume. Off the top of my head I can remember this shit happening to the Invisible Woman, Linda Danvers Supergirl (admittedly those vented jeans looked pretty stylish and I liked the jacket a lot), Kara Zor-el Supergirl (which took some doing in comparison to the outfit they'd had her in before), Mary Marvel, the female heroes in Final Crisis who'd been converted to Female Furies (I don't remember if Wonder Woman was attached to that or not, but I liked that her anti-life version was just her normal look with a really ugly beastmask), Jade, and Polaris (really, anyone who's been possessed by Malice).

Strangely, most (but not all) possessed men prefer adding armor, new capes and dark masks to discarding unnecessary articles of clothing. I'm sure there's some complex analysis in the way male and female sexuality are differently repressed, but I suspect that the high incidence in mind control/possession storylines on female characters dressing like strippers over male characters exploring deeply repressed homosexual urges invalidates it.

Anyway, there are a couple female heroes that get to put more clothes on whenever they get a "Suddenly a Bad Girl" plot and interestingly enough they're both from Silver Age X-Men. They go from minidresses and swimsuits to full body suits.

Of course, everyone's familiar with Jean Grey's iconic "Dark Phoenix" look. Only an idiot would mess with the sincere "oh shit" reaction characters get from seeing Jean (or any of the Xerox Jeans in the Marvel Universe) decked out in red and gold. Interestingly enough, of course, after the first sash and leggings costume she never went back to the minidress. That's the power of proper fashion.

Even by Silver Age standards (where she started as a villainess but not an Evil Villainess), Wanda Maximoff always dressed a little skimpy with some pink nylon at best. She's usually in a red one-piece with pink nylons, but she ran around in a loincloth and a halter top in the 90s. But when she goes bad, she pulls out the winterwear. Check out Darker than Scarlet's look. She's got full sleeves, a more covering cloak and long pants.

Avengers Disassembled: Draping her cloak around her.

Later on, when injured she appears to have changed from nylons to pants but that may just be her thigh-high boots. They caught her by surprise in this one, though.

House of M: A long baggy gown. (The Civil War mini also has her in a long gown, in drastic contrast to Lorna's dayclothes.)

Children's Crusade: Medieval Chic.

She's more well-meaning and misguided in House of M, and I suspect that's what Heinberg's going for with this Doom thing so maybe in addition to the Long Pants of Evil we have the Long Skirt of Delusion. Either way, if she's wearing more than the Nylons of Virtue we're in trouble.

The most interesting, though, is the Possessed by Elder God Chthon outfit from Nights of Wundagore:

This isn't interesting because it's unlike Wanda, in fact it probably sets the trend of off-the-shoulder cape, mild cleavage (especially compared to her good girl look) and of course the Long Pants of Evil that come with all of her bad girl outfits. What makes it really interesting is Chthon as an entity is not opposed to showing extra skin. How do we know? Check out Possessed By Chthon Quicksilver:

Granted, he is also wearing long pants. That might be the thing.