Female Furies #1 // Review
Granny Goodness and her Female Furies have more to deal with than the forces of New Genesis in Female Duties #1, by writer Cecil Castellucci, artist Adriana Memo, colors by Hi-Do, and lettered Carlos M Mangual. This comic shows a different side of the forces of Apokolips than readers have seen before and it's one that shouldn't be as much of a surprise as it seems.
Granny Goodness hypes up the Female Furies for training, thinking of how she killed Heggra for Darkseid. Later, in a meeting of Darkseid's inner council, Granny puts forward a plan to take down the Forever People but is laughed down by the rest of Darkseid's cronies. This leads to another flashback of Darkseid's head lieutenants mocking Granny and then Darkseid using his position of power to take advantage of Granny sexually. In the present, Granny shows Darkseid and his council the combat skills of the Duties, but they can't help but critique the women's appearance and figure out a demeaning competition to see if the Furies are worthy of joining the main forces of Apokolips. Willik, one of Darkseid's lieutenants, proposes personal training with the Fury Aurelie that is basically just a groping session. Later, Big Barda and Aurelie are dispatched to retrieve an escapee from Granny's orphanage. Rublon, Steppenwolf's illegitimate son, shows up and begins to abuse the girl and Aurelie responds, starting a series of events that could spell doom for the Furies.
Cecil Castellucci doesn't pull any punches about the sexism of Apokolips in this one. There's nothing at all subtle about it. Darkseid's lieutenants are dismissive of Granny and the Furies because of their gender. Darkseid uses his position and power to pressure a young Granny Goodness into sex. William gropes Aurelie in a pathetic training session. At first, it's a bit surprising that this sort of thing goes on, but when one thinks about it, it makes perfect sense. Apokolips is a world that represents the worst about the universe and the power is held exclusively by men. On this world, it makes perfect sense that the people in power would abuse their underlings, especially the female ones. It happens in the real world, so it makes complete sense that it would happen on Apokolips, a place created by Kirby to represent the darkness in all souls.
The only real problem with the book is that it has a very high learning curve for a new reader and this could hurt the book in the long run. It feels Castellucci is trying to make this into a “message” book and so far, it's working very well, but without a wide knowledge of the characters of the Fourth World, a new reader who picks up this book will be lost. Granny gets the most character development and page time, but the other Furies barely get any. Hopefully in future issues this will change and it definitely seems like Aurelie and Barda will play big roles going forward, but for now this book will be very hard for casual readers to get into and that's a shame, because Castellucci does great work illustrating the sexism of Apokolips.
Adriana Memo's art is great. Her detail never lessens, her line work is strong, and her character acting is expressive. There's a very nice spread of Aurelie taking out the rest of the Duties. She does a great job of capturing emotion, perfectly complimenting Castellucci's script.
Female Furies #1 gives readers a different look at Apokolips, but it's one that makes perfect sense. The only thing holding the book back is the steep learning curve, but Castellucci proved on Shade The Changing Girl and Shade The Changing Woman that she can take difficult, esoteric concepts and make them accessible. Adriana Melo's art is perfect for this book. The ending is a good hook to keep readers coming back, but beyond that the hope that Furies will get comeuppance against their oppressors should be enough for most readers.