Serious Spoilers under the cut!
moffat’s tendency to write lines calling female characters by titles rather than their names is really dehumanizing and gross
I might find this more troubling if most of the main male characters were not also known by titles and epithets in addition to or instead of their actual names. The Doctor, The Oncoming Storm, The Raggedy Man, The Master, the Last Centurion, The Boy Who Waited, The Great Intelligence, the Face of Boe, etc. We still don’t know who the oft-mentioned “Nightmare Child” was, and the only central character whose real name we will most certainly never know is The Doctor’s.
One of the most prominent themes of both Davies’ and Moffat’s work is people being transformed into stories, in which they are identified by ideas they represent instead of their names. Sort of like how in A Song of Ice and Fire Daenerys becomes a legend in her own lifetime and celebrates with a seemingly never-ending stream of epithets. It’s a riff on the Doctor’s choice of his name, albeit at this point it’s admittedly becoming a tired and recycled storyline. Clara’s story was awesome enough without yet another cosmic yarn being woven around her.
And the “Bad Wolf” aspect of Rose’s character was actually introduced and made central to Rose’s arc by Russell T. Davies, who brought Bad Wolf back multiple times and all but ensured it had to be featured in the 50th anniversary (And I’m not sure the Bad Wolf in Day of the Doctor is Rose, to tell you the truth.). Bad Wolf makes Rose one of the most powerful entities in the DW universe, perhaps only rivaled by the TARDIS herself.
The only epithet I find really uncomfortable in Moffat’s time has been “The Girl Who Waited.” Amy certainly did a lot more than wait, and has ended up being one of the most popular companions of all time. Millions of fans know her by name, but the nickname she got made her a passive figure instead of an active one.
Ultimately, I would say the overuse of epithets is a problem with Doctor Who in general and not a problem specific to women in the show.
I wanted to say that I really enjoyed Carol’s characterization in this issue. She was not a type like the love interest or token female; she was a well-rounded character whose heart and head were as important to the story as Kyle’s or the eponymous Guardians. It’s rare to see a woman in a male-centric comic in this way; usually the female superhero is relegated to the background and only shows up as a support or as an emotional crux. While plotwise it would seem like this is what happens (Carol is summoned to a [SPOILER] mysterious utopian planet by the Guardians to meet Kyle, who wants her to be his contact in the outside universe [END SPOILER].), Carol felt like another protagonist rather than a sidekick.
She is written as though her input is as important as Kyle’s, and I want to say she even has as many lines as he does. She is essentially written exactly the same as the male character, with equal respect and attention paid to her inner struggle and outward actions. No bells and whistles attached. It’s refreshing and a delight to see. Though it’s a tad sad that I get this excited about seeing that in a comic; it’s really not in evidence very much at all in the wider superheroing world.
No joke, I’m actually pretty positive this issue even passes the dreaded Bechdel test as well. Carol and the female Guardian Zalla speak about the future of the Corps and speculate about the nature of the [SPOILER] maguffin planet’s mysterious utopian society [END SPOILER].
If Carol is to be Kyle’s [SPOILER] contact with the outside universe [END SPOILER], I hope this means she’ll be appearing often in the series. I really, really liked her portrayal in this issue. I hope we get more of the same!
Other comics I love with awesome women include: Captain Marvel, the soon-to-be-canceled Fearless Defenders, Wonder Woman, the soon-to-end Young Avengers, Hawkeye (Kate rocks.), Avengers Arena, the now-canceled X-23, and Gail Simone’s Batgirl.