You’ve already got people saying it’s “libellious” (against Remender) to say Remender wrote Sam as a statutory rapist because Jet says she’s 23, in convenient contradiction of everything else the comic said before the scene where she has sex with Sam.
Can we just look at the visual cues in this setup?
Let’s talk about the ramifications of having her be the aggressor in the line about her age. And the clothes–which–is she dressed as Lilu from the Fifth Element? So we’ve got all the victim-blaming visual cues in there, plus a reminder of her villainous upbringing (such a bad girl!), with Sam saying he’s had enough and her pushing more booze on him, claiming she’s older than the book has said in the past, though we have no other corroboration of that (and, since we’re out of Dimension Z, no way to ever tell for sure), and using that as an excuse for both of them to drink and “live” more.
At the same time, markers of Sam’s blackness are foregrounded in his homespace: “Crisis” Magazine (NAACP publication), a poster featuring an African-American Jazz musician, all the cues to say I am really really black here :D
And behind the slightly distorted glass, the bed.
I realize that the writer isn’t fully in control at all of this, but Jesus, tell me this is not incredibly charged in terms of racial and sexual politics. Tell me we shouldn’t be reading this and thinking hoooooooooooly shit, on behalf of both of these characters.
So last Wednesday Captain America 22 came out, and some crazy stuff went down. Some people are shouting THEY TURNED SAM WILSON INTO A RAPIST and some are shouting SAM WILSON WAS RAPED and still others are shouting SHE’S 23 YOU B****.
To be fair, I’m in the camp that wishes Remender was never asked to helm Cap. Or Uncanny Avengers, for that matter. I stuck with Uncanny Avengers longer than I did with Cap, but eventually I gave that up, too. I didn’t even buy Bitter March because I wanted to show Marvel that anything written by Remender would never receive my money again. I’m in the camp that’s so used to skeezy moves in Remender’s books that I was ready to attribute the worst meanings to the Sam/Jet hookup.
There was an article posted on “Graphic Policy” today that basically attributed this “sudden” rise in calls to fire Rick Remender to one blogger, and added a link to this woman’s tumblr, and gave out her name and location. All of this was done without her permission, and the only reason her location was removed was because she and others objected. She has received and rape threats and all kinds of horrible, horrible things. Is this what women in comics can expect if we raise our voices?
The main problem (and there are many) with this article, and the general attitude of Marvel in the whole #firerickremender firestorm, is the assumption that this tide of demands is sudden, and that cooler heads will prevail. I would love to talk about the email I sent to Marvel last year regarding why I was finally giving up on Uncanny Avengers, or the shock that the double death of Rogue and the Scarlet Witch caused in so many female fans. We discussed it as we picked up our comics the next week, and we wrote about it. It may take some digging back through tags on tumblr to find our posts and our despair, but it’s there. If you don’t want to look that far back, this article from last year sums it up pretty well.
The “Graphic Policy” article went through the laundry list of complaints fans have about Remender. The big ones, for me anyway, have to do with how he treats the women he writes- mainly how he fridged Sharon Carter, Rogue, and the Scarlet Witch.
Remender managed to turn all the female team members in Uncanny into little more than infighting sex objects who are mere accessories to Man Pain. Every guy on the team was still falling all over himself around Wanda, and even though she has histories with several team members, Remender’s emphasis on that one part of her story was excessive. If you went solely by his Uncanny run, you would think that all Wanda ever did was mercilessly go through lovers, and, oh, maybe she wiped the mutant race that one time.
It was not something I wanted to read.
So now you have Sam Wilson and Jet Black Zola and the Case of Dubious Consent. Of course it’s dubious. A hyper sexualized woman (girl?) with an extremely questionable timeline, and powers that actually require her to show as much skin as possible? It’s the kind of objectification Remender specializes in.
My feeling is that if they (Remender and his editors) felt the line about Jet’s age was necessary, then they probably knew that the continuity was a little sketchy. If a Jet/Sam relationship was something they really wanted to happen, then maybe they should have played it safe and made Jet’s aging process more explicit in previous issues.
There’s also a lot of talk about how Remender is a sexist/racist/homophobe/bigot. While I’m not prepared to use of any of those words right now, I will say that he shows a startling lack of empathy, something that I kind of view as essential when writing a book about a marginalized, oft-maligned group like mutants, and when writing Steve Rogers.
Marvel has done such a fantastic job with its pro-lady ongoings of late. Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Elektra, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, X-Men… They’re all fantastic. In this way, Marvel is doing a great job including women who, like the X-Men we love and obsess over, have too often been marginalized. However, when we shout that we want to feel safe and accepted in two of Marvel’s most iconic ongoing comics, the message we’re getting is a very clear “Captain America isn’t for you, honey.”
The last and youngest member of HYDRA’s inner circle is Jet Zola. The cybernetic result of decades of experimentation, Jet is a brilliant but awkward young woman. She looks up to Sin and wants to be cool and sexy like her, an ambition not diminished by her shy, nervous nature and total lack of social skills.
It’s easy for people to underestimate her, but that would be a deadly mistake. Jet’s mind works at twice the speed of anyone else, and her senses have been augmented to their peak. Although she appears human, underneath her skin she’s more machine than human.
Things I am really hoping: That’s not Jet. That’s a clone Jet and real Jet is the one in the background. I mean, she has this tachyon sense of battle awesome or something, right? So she would have definitely known she was about to get shot in the face. Though she doesn’t seem overly concerned.
Things that would be better than what they are right now: Jet knew this, Cap didn’t, Cap really went super nuts for a second but it’s okay bc it wasn’t the real Jet.
Things that would make this actually okay: Cap and Jet are working together to get Ian back because Jet has stopped trusting Zola and this is part of some sort of plan.
I’m just. I’m not cool with Cap just shooting her in the face.