We return to the misogynistic world of comics Baltimore.
Things look less terrible this time, though!
Today’s girl is Tomboy. She does the fishing for her family and has a younger brother she’s in charge of.
…it’s all downhill from here, unfortunately, which is why I identified the woman last post as the best female character we’ll have.
We learn that they’re refugees from a village that’s been taken over by a mad scientist’s science vampires. His kid became a vampire, and, obsessed with a cure, he kept infecting people and trying to fix them then getting more when it didn’t work instead of continuing to work on the ones he had, so we have all sorts of vampirey monsters that look different and some can go about in the sunlight this time.
We learn that the scientist has known for some time the cure was impossible and is actually being forced into this by the monsters, so we’re repeating the vampire nuns thing but without the women. As such, it precedes with a lot less torture. The guy turns into a giant monster with the intent of killing all the other monsters. Baltimore is sure this is a bad idea because after he kills the others won’t he just keep killing people? I don’t know what makes him so sure suicide isn’t in the plan, and even then, killing one giant monster seems like it’s a better idea than killing a town’s worth of regular sized ones.
Back to the girl and her brother, the days of her knowing more than him just by virtue of being years older are past. He suggests going into town to see what’s happened to Baltimore, knows where they should hide out, and knows that not all the monsters are hurt by sunlight.
The kids discuss the nature of evil. Vampires are objectively evil because they burn in sunlight, but many of the monsters don’t burn in sunlight. Also, the monsters were mostly willing volunteers, which seems good. On the other hand, they don’t look pretty, which makes them evil. (But the fighting ones are the scientist trying to kill them all to stop their evil and then others willingly sacrificing themselves in an attempt to kill the scientist for the horrors he committed on them.) Therefore oh wait we weren’t actually going anywhere with this.
As you can see, she is very much not leading anything. The scientist-monster kills the rest, at which point she begs him to spare them, while her brother waves goodbye to him with a smile. Then he follows to save them from the giant monster crabs, dying in the process.
Naturally, the only one to get murdered on screen by said crabs is female.
All in all this is pretty forgettable. The only suspense is on how many minor characters will die to crabs before the hero saves them. The monsters that don’t want to be monsters was done last time and with slightly greater depth. The mad scientist who makes different monsters is a cliche, and and the different monsters being just slight modifications is a dull cliche. And it’s just annoying that the mad scientist gets so much power – the power to harm others, then the power to take control again and destroy his creations, then die a hero protecting the remaining people. The best the nuns could do was devour some guy and then burn up.
But at least it’s just kind of middling. Sure, it’s annoying how smoothly the girl gets sidelined, but it’s not particularly hateful like last time.
The next story, The Play, starts well, with people throwing the corpses into the river. Baltimore berates them, and they say there’s not enough people left to bury them and they’re worried burning is just spreading the plague. It’s great. Then we go back two weeks and the terrible begins.
It’s about the main actress of a play that Baltimore’s vampire is financing because he’s in love with her.
This story is about how sexy women are monsters who control men.
She’s not an ordinary woman, you see, she’s a muse. A two-timing muse. She’s only stringing this guy along because she wanted him to resurrect her preferred artist, Poe, and she’s stringing the vampire along just for fun.
She is supposedly doing all this for herself, except that all she wants is to be an object. This is easily the most disgusting of the series. It’s taking something men do to women, blaming the woman for making them men feel things, then saying they want (only want, even) to be stalked and obsessed over and it’s all their evil master plan.
The fact that men regularly kill women over stuff like this doesn’t register, even when violence against her is the “plot” of this story.
Because apparently she can’t even be hurt! But she makes him feel bad about hurting her anyway due to how super pretty she is, because she’s manipulative and power tripping. That’s definitely a great message.
Yes truly this is a much greater horror than the fact men assault and murder women all the time. She made them do it! And indeed, the vampire’s plan is to murder her in a desperate attempt to get revenge for what she’s done to him, but it turns out that was all her plan, to trick the men into killing each other while the hussy trots off into the sunset with her Poe head. (The vampire had previously warned the other guy that one of the many terrible things about muses is they’ll pick their artist by who’s best, because god, women choosing which man they belong to? What’s the world coming to? Next they’ll want the vote or something!)
I’m not absolutely certain it’s impossible to have a powerful muse character without it being terrible, but I sure haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary. You might be able to fanfic your way to her being sick of this bullshit and her whole plan was because muses need obsessive poets or they die and with a head in the jar she finally had someone who couldn’t slap her around, but that requires turning her into a victim which is only an improvement because what we have here is so, so terrible.