I don’t like to write negative reviews, I really don’t. Typically if I do not like something to the point that I cannot find something positive I will elect to just not review it. I know that some people think all press is good press, but I don’t like to tear people down especially since a number of the things I read for review are from small indie publishers..
That being said, I could not in good conscience not share my thoughts on the Free Comic Book Day issue of Steam Wars. I was so excited for this title, a parody of something that I LOVE (Star Wars) combined with something else that I love (Steampunk). I had really high hopes, sadly what I got was beyond disappointing.
For starters, I was unimpressed by the artwork, it wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t what I would consider good. I did enjoy the anime style art for the Princess Leia character, Duchess Imoen. Unfortunately, that’s where the good stops with the Duchess. The source character, Princess Leia is a strong, confident and capable woman. She has been one of my heroes since I was a child and what was done with her in this comic was beyond unacceptable.
Duchess Imoen is a classic, helpless “damsel in distress” who has to rely on Captain Hansel Lowe to save her time and time again. The two times that she picks up a weapon her skill is attributed to “beginner’s luck”. She is treated horribly by Hansel, and just takes it like the good little girl she is written to be. I wanted to scream.
The other character imitations included were Darth Vader, C3P0, Han Solo, Chewbacca & Luke. The aforementioned Hansel Lowe is a disgraceful and disrespectful imitation of Han Solo down to calling Imoen “Highness” and the like, but he treats her in a way that I could never envision Han treating Leia.
The Chewbacca character is a bear called Smokey who has these strange mechanical attachments on his arms that might be cool if used differently. The Darth Vader character is called Lord Baron, which I found to be the laziest character name I’ve come across in a long time.
Luke is never named. Instead of being a Jedi he is a Quantum Dragoon and has an electric sword called a Storm Foil. The artwork on him is pretty good as it is on Duchess Imoen.
The C3P0 character is somewhat odd, he’s a snarky, pipe smoking, wine drinking Victorian gentleman named CL-335, but he doesn’t add much to the story.
I could have looked past all the cheese of the other characters and been ok with the comic, perhaps even have liked it. However, the fact that they made the decision to take a strong, self saving princess and turn her into a simpering helpless girl is unforgivable to me. Princess Leia deserves to be treated so much better in any incarnation parody or not.
This treatment of a character based on Princess Leia is perfect example of the the larger issues facing women in comics. There is only one female character in the story and she is entirely reliant on the men around her to survive. The fact that she is based on such an amazingly strong and competent character just adds insult to injury. We need more strong females in comics, not more damsels in distress.