Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Okay, you know what? We're gonna talk about what I feel is the most insidious trope involving female characters in writing, and specifically in genre writing. Is it the act of "fridging," the death of a female character in order to torment and further develop the character of their male love interest? Well, that's pretty close, and something that Daredevil in particular is rife with. But that's a trope that's called out, often--so often, as a matter of fact, that it's amazing that writers still fall back on it.
No, I'm talking about the Mary Sue. Oh, you say, but Mary Sues are talked about all the time! Yeah, I'm not talking about female-written and/or created power fantasies. I'm talking about the male created Mary Sue, the sexual fantasy of their perfect woman.
And this brings me to Dakota North in this run of the comic. Yeah, her name is Dakota North. And you know what else? She's a former world famous runway supermodel turned tough talking New York P.I. who perfectly matches Matt's wit, and calls him out on his shit in the most awesome way ever!
And I just facepalmed writing that, let alone reading it in the comic. It's obnoxious, and as someone who always tries to see the absolute best in every female character, it's possibly the most alienating thing a writer can do. Because it's not for me. At all.
And it makes me feel worse to see Milla, a character who started out as independent and funny, sweet, interesting, and a match for Matt in the Bendis run, so obviously demeaned and discarded because the writer was in no way interested in sexually. And there's a whiff of ableism to the whole thing, to the entire Brubaker run, frankly, to make the blind woman without the superpowers helpless and whimpering, and then destroy her mentally because Brubaker just doesn't want her around.
Also, as awesome as it should have been to see Matt called out on his selfish behavior towards Milla, the characters all do it in a way that doesn't at all defend or benefit Milla, and that most contemptible of phrases is uttered, by your friend and mine Dakota, "Get over it."
Yeah, Matt needs to get over himself a little. But the writing is too weak to do it in any sort of satisfying way. I'm rereading Waid's run at the moment, and there's one moment in it where Matt seems more genuinely affected by Milla's situation than he ever does in Brubaker's entire run, during the storyline itself.