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Stronger and Sexier by the Dozen

I like my superheroes in teams, working together, crying together, eating shwarma. When I was young (primary and secondary school),  I loved the Legion of Superheroes.  Remember them?  Saturn Girl, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lad and his sister Light Lass, Braniac, Triplicate Girl, Chameleon Boy…heck, even Superboy traveled to the future to join thee group.  Doing it in a team always seemed more realistic. Yes, they had superpowers but they also had weaknesses. Often big ones.

My love for puppy piles of superheroes was strengthened and deepened by the X-Men. That group brought misfits, outsiders, the onlies and the lonelies together. And if being part of the squad did not make each one whole and healed, it did make things better for them. Because one thing we love to love about superheroes, is the isolation and loneliness that comes from having unworldly and often ill-understood powers. To be a superhero is often to stand alone. Its why so many of us struggle to be normal, because being great seems to come at the cost of being able to connect. So super groups seem to compensate for that cost.

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Which brings me to the last and final group–the Avengers. Kudos to Joss Whedon (again) who really showed the inherent challenges of moving egos, barely contained power, and scarred psyches in a single direction.

How about you? How do you like your superheroes?

Breaking the Rules with Flair: The Women of #Serenity (#Firefly)

By Vico at sv.wikipedia [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Hard times and hard knocks breed anti-heroes. Sometimes its an individual. And sometimes, when we’re really lucky, we get a whole crew of them.  For you browncoats out there, you know what’s coming–the crew of Serenity on the TV series Firefly. Misfits and rule breakers all with a streak of dark (yes even Kaylee, she picked up that gun awfully fast when Simon was the incentive). Thrown together into a makeshift dysfunctional family they steal, fight, kill, con and cheat, trying to survive as smugglers on the edges of civilization. And they are all wonderful, every scarred one of them.

The women offer a rich cornucopia of different types of anti-heroes, each one forces us to look at the strength and darkness of women through subtle (sometimes not so subtle) plays on traditional female stereotypes.  Joss Whedon, producer of Firefly, is a master of this while making each a complete, complex and nuanced individual.

Zoe Washburne is the warrior, the soldier, the rational thinker and the only married woman woman on the ship. In love with her husband yet has a deep and unwavering loyalty to the captain which provides both her dark and her moral edge (think about this and we can see how morality stretched and twisted becomes the heart of–not the shield from– darkness). Zoe follows his orders–no matter what–and she would kill for him.  She also never–I mean never–loses her cool.

River Tam–child genius, experimented on and manipulated, she is turned by the powers that be into the ultimate weapon-unpredictable, psychic, antisocial and potentially very violent.  Her brother Simon rescues her from the Alliance and they hide out on Serenity.  Much of the crew walks on eggs around her, never sure when she’s going to blow and yet most of her surprises are the insights of a woman who lost her childhood in the most brutal ways imaginable.

Inara Serra is our friendly, neighborhood courtesan, a respected profession in the Firefly verse. The irony is that she bestows legitimacy and social standing on this crew of smugglers.  If we dig deep into the weeds and whispers of the series, we can find hints of her skill at swordplay, archery and martial arts.  Courtesans apparently are also trained fighters.  Interesting edges she navigates.  She and Mal, the lovely Captain of the Serenity, fight clear feelings for each other, a tension that brings out the nasty in each and Inara is so very capable here.

Kaylee Frye–the instinctual mechanic, innately sweet, she is the moral center of the crew.  But as mechanic on a smuggler’s ship, she does learn how to live on those edges, and for Simon, she just might cross them.

For Firefly lovers, how have these woman surprised you?  What makes you love them?  For those who haven’t seen the show or the movie,  take a peek. Its unique.  Movie is fun if a little gory, but you get to see River turn weapon which is a sight to behold.


Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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