Female Furies #2 // Review
Aurelie snaps in Female Furies #2, by writer Cecil Castellucci, artist Adriana Melo, colors by HI-FI, and letterer Carlos M. Mangual. This comic continues Castellucci's look at gender politics and also serves to throw a few wrenches into the mix on Apokolips.
Barda and Aurelie talk about their last mission in a bar. Aurelie explains her actions, blaming Willik's sexual abuse for her actions, but Barda isn't having any of it, calling her weak. Back at the barracks, the other Furies berate Aurelie for a gift Willik sends her until Barda announces they have a mission. Aurelie begs off, claiming sickness and goes to Granny, revealing that she's pregnant with Willik's child. Granny has a use for the fetus, though, so she agrees to help her. Rublon's body crashes back to Apokolips and Aurelie is sent out on a mission to seek revenge against the New Gods blamed for his death. Willik accosts her, and she attacks in front of everyone. She's imprisoned, but Granny wins her clemency. Granny sends for Tigra and gives her what she made of Aurelie's baby, then sends the Furies to kidnap Beautiful Dreamer of the Forever People. Granny tries to use Dreamer's powers to fix everything but gets more than she bargained.
Castellucci uses a lot of this issue to highlight both victim shaming and victim blaming. Barda and the Furies continually belittle and blame Aurelie for what's going on with her, even when she explains herself. When Willik sends her a gift, the other Furies make comments about what she did to deserve the reward, with Bernadeth intimating that she wasn't pretty enough to be “tutored” by Willik. When Aurelie reveals her pregnancy to Granny, Granny blames her entirely for it, telling her that what happened to her is the price a woman pays on Apokolips pays for power, and she should have been safer. When Aurelie finally strikes back against her abuser, she gets punished. Castellucci is using this comic to show what happens to sexually abused women who have been sexually abused.
Beyond the book's message, there's a lot of exciting developments in this book. Readers get to see a pre-Mister Miracle Scott Free, the origin of Lump, and get a glimpse of what happened to Tigra, Darkseid's ex-wife and mother of Orion. Granny bringing in Beautiful Dreamer to “fix” things is both inspired on her part and a huge mistake. Unlike the Furies, she isn't cowed by Granny and has the power to make things very difficult. What comes next should be very interesting.
Adriana Melo's art is excellent. She's able to combine some Kirby-esque figure work with a style that's all her own. Her faces are more expressive than Kirby's, however. In Kirby's work, his faces swung between bombastic and icy calm, with very little in between, but Melo takes that and adds an extra dimension to it. Her looks are very expressive, and it helps to sell Castellucci's narrative of victimization and how an uncaring world treats victims.
Female Furies #2 adds to Castellucci's abuse narrative while also adding new wrinkles to the story. Adriana Melo's art continues to impress, bringing a level of emotion the story needs. The only problem this book has is that many readers aren't ready for the very frank discussion of misogyny and sexual abuse this comic puts forth and especially don't want to see it in the Fourth World. However, the art and writing are top notch, and that's all that matters.