Rating: 3.5/5 – Mature Humor; Not for Kids or the Overly Sensitive
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow
My name is Al Sparrow and I love super-heroines. There, I’ve said it. I feel like there should be a twelve-step recovery program – call it Heroine Addicts if you must, but I’m sure someone’s already made that joke – for people like me, but I’ve stopped apologizing for it years ago. Let’s be honest, there’s something really cool about a supermodel-level beauty kicking ass on the bad guys in an outfit that defies several laws of physics. I grew up reading my older sisters’ copies of Supergirl, Batgirl, and other female heroes so I’ve been born into the reality that women can be (and are) powerhouses in their own right. As I moved into puberty, of course, I was reading many of their adventures for wholly different reasons (I blame the pencilwork of George Perez for most of my teenage daydreams). As an adult, I still enjoy reading stories about women kicking bad guys’ collective butts, even if their outfits tend to be a bit more realistic these days (I leave it to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing), and we’re getting heroines who don’t necessarily need to adhere to a particular body type.
So when I heard about Don’t Meddle With My Daughter, I was in before I had to see a single panel. It’s a manga about super-heroines, and that’s all I had to hear. Twenty years after she disappeared, the super-heroine Eighth Wonder has re-emerged on the scene, looking pretty much exactly how she looked when she vanished. That’s because the person in the costume is the daughter of the original Eighth Wonder. She has the same powers, same basic look, and same desire to do good. What she lacks is experience. Clara, the aforementioned daughter, is a well intentioned but naïve girl, so it’s up to Athena, the aforementioned mother, to work behind the scenes to keep her child safe from harm without revealing who she really is. Clara, for her part, seems to be a bit clueless to the obvious. Her friends and schoolmates have all pretty much figured out who her mother is, or was, but to Clara, her mom is just an annoying parent stifling her burgeoning superhero career.
Sounds like a cool story, right? And it is. Great artwork, like you’d expect from Dance in the Vampire Bund creator Nozomu Tamaki, and the story itself does a decent job balancing humor with drama. However, there’s also a “mature” label on the back of the book, and given the subject matter and the fact that this is a manga, I think you know what to expect: Bring on the Tentacles. And yes…there are tentacles. Heck, there’s a villain named “Mr. Tentacle”, and while this book doesn’t go into full-on hentai mode, there’s enough nudity, fanservice, ecchi (softcore porn), and oppai (boob humor) to go around.
Some examples: The real “wonder” of the Eighth Wonder is how Clara keeps that outfit on – just take a gander at that cover! And it’s even worse for her mother, who has added about twenty pounds of matronly weight to her frame. There’s number of jokes involving her trying to fit into the outfit she wore in a more petite body some twenty years prior. One of Athena’s jobs, in addition to secretly protecting her daughter, is destroying the cameras of paparazzi trying to get unsavory pictures or videos of her for the obvious money it’d bring in. The clandestine hero-based organization the Eighth Wonder works for is named N.U.D.E. (Next Ultimate Defense Experts) while the clandestine villain-based organization is called BLOWJOB (no acronym), so if you had any thoughts about the book trying to be subtle, let’s just quash those right now. The villains, whether female or male, also seem bent on undressing or potentially defiling the heroines in any number of ways, and it’s the underlying threat of where that “defilement” might go – one villain threatens to “contaminate” both of them – that makes this title skirt dangerously close to an area many readers might be – justifiably – uncomfortable reading.
Look, you get the general idea. Is your child really enjoying the Supergirl show on the CW? Would they like to read about other super-heroines? Don’t pick this book up for them. Did you enjoy Bomb Queen? Do you want a darker, less satirical version of Empowered? Here’s your book.
Will this tone be off-putting for other super-heroine fans? Perhaps. Perhaps not. To its credit, it doesn’t make any apologies about what it’s trying to be. In the afterword, Tamaki talks about this book being an exploration of the super-heroine fetish with “the belief that there are other comrades out there who share my interests.” As an avowed fan of super-heroines, I’m probably in that camp, but I’m also relieved to find out this series is only three volumes in length, as I think that’s about as far as a story like this can be taken. There’s a definite audience for this book, but it threatens to go places even that audience many not be prepared to follow.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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