Western Comic: Strong Female Protagonist, Volume 2 (English)

November 13th, 2017

In 2015, Molly Ostertag and Brennan Lee Mulligan successfully crowdfunded the first volume of their webcomic, Strong Female Protagonist. I positively gushed about it in my review, because it provided me with all the nuance and adult thought I had ever craved in a comic. And this year, Molly and Brennan concluded a second successful Kickstarter for Volume 2. 

Strong Female Protagonist, Volume 2 is an amazing, thoughtful, densely-written, nuanced superhero comic.

Volume 1 was pretty intense, so, one has to ask, where does the series go in Volume 2? I’m not going to lie to you, it goes in a very dark direction…but one that makes perfect sense and is wholly consistent with the idea of “super-powered people in the real world.”

While Allison is attempting to have what approaches a normal life at school, she is 1) developing new powers and 2) still struggling with the collateral damage caused by her work as a “hero.” She’s trying to date, and finding herself encountering serious social problems, including an increasing need for inclusiveness and understanding and a rejection of privilege…all to a backdrop of a government which wants to register all biodynamics.  And, on top of all of this, Alison thinks that one of her former teammates may be behind a rash of murders. It’s a lot to handle for Alison…and the reader.

There are a few bright spots, even in the middle of this. Significantly, Feral’s story is given an almost miraculous handwave, which allows her to use her biodynamic body to help people and live a more normal life. And so, we are treated to Feral and Alison going out to a lesbian bar and Feral naturally picking up a few women. Who wouldn’t love her? 

Ratings:

Art – 8 Clear, strong art
Story – 10 All the nuance. ALL OF IT.
Characters – 9
LGBTQ – 3 Feral, ftw!

Overall – 9

Strong Female Protagonist, Volume 2 is not yet available in retail, but if you have ever asked yourself, “No, seriously, what would it be like to have superheroes in the real world?” this should go on your holiday wish-list when it becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to hop over to the Strong Female Protagonist website for the heads up when it goes on sale.

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2 Responses

  1. Louis says:

    We really need to have a discussion either on a podcast or offline about this comic because while I also love Strong Female Protagonist and agree with all of your praise about it I can’t shake this feeling that because of how nuanced Strong Female Protagonist is it should try to deliver some kind of genuine personal philosophy to the questions it brings up when instead it seems content to wallow in the same moral nihilism of the superhero comics it seems to want to reply to. Treating the difficulty of finding a genuinely positive solution to difficult questions with the same fetishism that a soap opera handles family conflict and angst.

    I am almost sure I am wrong but I really need someone else to explain to me how I am wrong.

    • I don’t think you’re wrong. Alison doesn’t *know* what that philosophy ought to be, and neither, honestly, can we. As a species we haven’t figured out more than the basic questions, much less the answers

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