Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Retrovirus

Image Comics | Dec 4, 2012 | 64 pages
Source: Provided by Netgalley
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

When Zoe, a brilliant young scientist who specializes in identifying extinct viruses, is offered a job at a remote research facility in Antarctica, she soon discovers her employer has unearthed a perfectly preserved Neanderthal. That is only one of the many dark secrets lurking at the facility as Zoe races against time to stop a global pandemic. In the vein of Andromeda Strain, Altered States, and Jurassic Park, Retrovirus seamlessly blends human drama, action, science fiction, and horror into a 64-page graphic novel written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray (Queen Crab, Jonah Hex, Creator-Owned Heroes) and illustrated by Norberto Fernandez (The Tattered Man).

Retrovirus was a well-drawn science fiction story with a lot of potential. It started out with a clever story line and intriguing dialogue.  

Unfortunately, the story lost my interest, and my respect, when the "brilliant young scientist" was demoted to the all-too-common role of sex object. 

I often find it easy to overlook the sexual undertones and barely-there clothing that many comic book protagonists are subjected to, but something about its use in this story just rubbed me the wrong way.

Zoe is first presented as an intelligent professor with a backbone. But instead of actually delivering what is expected, a strong female character with a clever mind, we're given a chick with a nice rack who eventually needs to be rescued because she's on the verge of being raped by the big scary monster. 

Young lady, I know what evolution is.
Good, because here in the twenty-first century, I expect a pair of sexist, middle-aged neanderthals to at least pretend they've evolved. 
You've clearly overestimated them, Zoe.

Aside from the poor development of Zoe's character and the overall feeling that this graphic novel was designed exclusively for men, the story had a great concept, a great amount of gory violence, and  I enjoyed the art by Norberto Fernandez. If there would have been more focus on Professor Zoe's intellect and less on her cup size, then this would have easily been a 4 or 5 star read for me. 


Hellen said...

I find it annoying when what's supposed to be a strong female character (the summary and cover suggest a strong character) is demoted to sex object. Nice review!

Addicted2Heroines said...

Thanks, Hellen! Yes, it's very annoying. She was even assertive within the first few pages, so I don't understand why they would decide to change that.

Post a Comment

Due to an increase in spam, all comments are moderated. Even if you do not see an "awaiting approval" message, please only submit your comment once. Sorry for the inconvenience.