White Tiger by author Tamora Pierce, Illustrations Phillipe Briones
White Tiger is what happens when a company decides that they need more diversity but not more characters. As is the case with way too many comic book franchises, Marvel decided to turn an existing hero into a lady hero for no real reason except for as an attempt to get a new market.
I was drawn to it because she appears in some Daredevil runs and I thought she might be cool. I am always looking for new lady characters to stand behind. Also I am a sucker for David Mack covers.
Enter Angela. She’s the niece of the previous White Tiger and has received her uncle’s power giving amulet from an unknown source in the mail. Now she can be White Tiger. And she will, cause when you get magic amulets you use them.
She’s relieved of her job at the FBI and is now able to focus on being White Tiger full time. But she needs an income so she takes a private security job. Between her former life at the FBI and her uncle’s previous status as the former White Tiger she apparently knows everyone with powers on a first name basis and has a lot of networking she can use.
Way too many cameos take place in this book. It’s another side-effect of attempting to bring a new audience to an existing market. They attempted to get people interested with any hero they could conceivably place in New York City but it reads as a parade of awkward encounters.
Also there is a reveal about a relationship she has with a masked hero that really doesn’t make sense time-line wise. How could (name redacted due to spoilers) be her babysitter when she was a kid when they’re like the same age?
It doesn’t make sense for her to know most of these people! Why would an FBI agent be good friends with Black Widow, a former KGB spy? Why would she be friends with vigilantes operating outside of the law? Why does she have no non-super friends?
Well, Angela doesn’t have a lot of personality on her own so they let her be adjacent to more well known characters in order to make her interesting.
She is also frequently objectified as a sexy lady throughout this entire book. Black Widow says she should use it to her advantage but we never see that actually occur. I’m fine with sexy being a trait but not if it’s just there for the sole reason of selling books to hormone driven young buyers.
Let’s detour for one moment to talk about the panel above. I’ve seen this panel in many different comic books with many different characters but the outcome is always the same. The men are talking and out of a group of all male super heroes there is one woman present and the image is zoomed in on her butt.
Let’s stop this please. Either show all the butts or nobody’s butt. After dragging White Tiger’s appearance into the commentary of every single issue you don’t also need to draw this exploitation. It does nothing to enhance her character and does nothing to make me want to read this further.
The story of this book is… fine. It’s average and has a couple okay fight scenes and conflicts but it’s largely forgettable. It also requires you to be pretty familiar with some side events to Civil War, especially Daredevil’s plot within that time frame.
Overall the book is maybe interesting as a companion to Civil War but it’s mostly disposable. It seems like a testing ground for how to use a female character and whether or not people would buy it.
Here’s a tip. If you want to sell a female character, write one. Don’t convert an existing character and don’t just sexy up some side character. Write an awesome, badass, strong, complicated, interesting, female character. From the ground up. Do the work and you’ll be rewarded. Don’t do the work and you’ll end up with this kind of throwaway run.
2/5 tigers 🐅🐅
For a better attempt at diversity in Marvel comics check out Ms Marvel.
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Buy it here: White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion