Carbon Grey volume 1 Sisters at War is a dazzling, gory, action-packed book with beautiful goddesses of a war-torn country as protagonists, so it must be empowering to women – well, a little. I was drawn in by wonderful cover art which was matched by the skill presented inside, especially noteworthy in the scenes of insane action. Many of the details are wonderfully original, parallelling a reality that is understandable to the reader, however it is a reality with extreme and imaginative variations that make it authentic.
The highlighted attributes of the women are either sword-slashing bad-assary, which could just as easily be actions taken by Conan as any other character, or the glorification of accentuated physical attributes idealized through extremism (large amounts of gushing flesh or tiny waifs). Even if they are dressed as naughty nuns and high-heeled in their action gear, the bulk of the book is about women and to some degree, if small, that is a step in the right direction. But I’d still like to have seen more from the book.
In this time of obligatory, often unnecessary reboots, I’d like to see this same book written/drawn by an all female creative team, to see how they would interpret it. I imagine that many of the details would be different, more from a woman’s perspective. I hope that it would be just as powerful but I worry that even with female creators, it would fall into the commercial pitfall of flesh-peddling for the sake of reaching out to the paying audience with 35 year old income and 12 year old fantasies. However, I hope that it would be much, much more.
And so, after reading Carbon Grey, I’m torn because there are incredible aspects to the book. Though I bought it and I read it, in the end Carbon Grey while technically magnificent and striking, is really just female empowerment through masculine fantasy.