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Because of Her

June 15, 2010

As a part of the Women of Marvel initiative, another leading lady, also coincidentally a female counterpart/love interest to a major Marvel character, gets her own story.  Rescue #1 takes place at the end of World’s Most Wanted, just after Pepper Potts successfully escaped from the clutches of Norman Osborn.  Pepper goes down into the school basement to clean up a bit and get her mind off of everything that’s happened, and she ends up picking up a pair of old boxing gloves.  Then, she starts hallucinating that Happy Hogan, her deceased husband, is there, though even Happy himself admits that he isn’t real.  He gets her to practice some boxing, and in the midst of it, Pepper says how she thinks that she’s been trying to turn herself into something she’s not.  She remembers an incident on the way to Broxton, Oklahoma, when a car almost crashed into a truck.  She saved the car, but the truck crashed into a convenience store.  Ultimately, she saves all the people stuck in the store, though the truck driver was killed in the crash.  H.A.M.M.E.R. authorities showed up just as she finished, so she had to hightail it out of there.  But Pepper blamed herself for failing to prevent the crash, but hallucinatory Happy deduces that she’s really still bent up about his death.  He tells her that there was nothing she could have done to save him, and that by rescuing the other people, she created some wonderful possibilities for the future of those people.  So she’s still a hero.

I actually found this to be a more successful story than Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Sif one-shot.  Why?  Mostly because of the character work.  I thought that what this means for Pepper as an individual was very significant, and it helps bridge the gap between her losing the suit in Stark Disassembled and the current arc, when she tells Tony Stark that she wants to be Rescue again.  Obviously, we really had to suspend belief with the hallucination, since Happy was actually interacting with real objects and making them move.  But I liked the fundamental message, since it had a very uplifting quality, and it helped make it seem like Pepper could be a superhero in her own right, as opposed to just Iron Man’s female counterpart.  Pepper is as old a character as Tony, after all.  I still felt a bit like she was being subordinated, since she was comparing her success to Tony’s, and Tony is a guy.  So that was in common with Sif.  But it wasn’t as strong a feeling, since Pepper wasn’t also suffering from PTSD from experiences caused by a guy.  Andrea Mutti’s art was rather nice, even if the thing that he struggled with most was the Rescue armor itself.  I just thought it looked even more awkward than it already was.  I’m glad it’s getting a redesign soon.  Anyway, this was a nice one-shot.  Not anything groundbreaking or shocking, but it was heartwarming, and it helped strengthen Pepper’s recent character arc.  But again, it’s too bad that the Women of Marvel one-shots aren’t targeting bigger female characters, like the Invisible Woman, or Storm, or Emma Frost, etc.

Plot: 8.1      Art: 8.2      Dialogue: 8.2      Overall: 8.1

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