Are you looking forward to a new comic book but it’s impossible for you to wait for its release before you know what we thought about it? That’s why there’s DoomRocket’s Advanced Reviews—now we assess books you can’t even buy yet. This week: ‘Man-Eaters’ #1, out September 26 from Image Comics.
THIS ADVANCE REVIEW OF ‘MAN-EATERS’ #1 IS SPOILER-FREE.
by Sara Mitchell. Advice I wish my younger self understood: Your body cannot delegitimize you.
I have a playlist on Spotify called “Girl Power.” I have this playlist because one day when I was much younger than I am now, before Spotify even, I looked at every single one of my cherished creative role models and realized that not one of them was a woman. I would look at my face, my clothes, my hair, listen to my voice when I sang, and wonder why it all wasn’t more like Bob Dylan, or Elvis.
I never believed in girl power. I thought it was lame. Until I started listening to women. I realized for the first time that I could actually relate to them; that I had been following the wrong path for a very long time. Cut to today. I read Man-Eaters #1, and I haven’t even been able to write this review because I am lost in my Girl Power playlist again. I am reminded what it is like to listen to women. It feels. So. Good.
Man-Eaters is narrated by Maude. She introduces us to her father, he’s a homicide detective. She introduces us to the world in which she lives, where large cats are a public crisis. Big cats have devoured people across the nation and the maulings have led the government to establish the Strategic Cat Apprehension Team, or SCAT. Maude also introduces us to herself. She’s 12-years-old, she turns tampons into action figures to tell the tales of heroic Tampon Woman, she wears a pink Pussyhat, and she’s a threat to society. Well, any 12-year-old girl is a threat to society in this world, because while the entire population has been infected with Toxoplasmosis X, it presents adolescent girls in a unique way. The cats that have murdered entire families, they’re not just jaguars, leopards, tigers or lions. They’re girls.
“It’s funny how biology can make a subset of the population vulnerable… call it a quirk of nature.”
Girls turn into dangerous wild cats when the Toxoplasmosis X infection interacts with the hormones released at the onset of their first menstruation cycle. The infection has picked adolescent girls apart from the pack and turned them into fierce killing machines whenever they get their periods. The girls have no control, it just takes over their bodies. No one is safe. A lot of people have died and the government has, not surprisingly, taken drastic measures to eliminate the threat.
But when the threat is girls’ bodies, what is the course for elimination?
Man-Eaters is an extraordinarily exciting endeavor to embark on. Especially if you had any sort of reaction before when you read the words menstruation cycle. Especially since you’re still here after reading those words. There are commentators already who have scarcely glanced beyond the cover for fear of the subject matter. It’s not uncommon to cringe at periods. Or be disgusted. Turned off. Angered. For some, they’re hidden, compartmentalized and tucked away into the folder labeled “Things Not To Talk About.” What a lot people who cringe at this topic will need to reconcile with is this: they are afraid of women, and in this dystopian alternate world that Chelsea Cain has created, they should be.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Chelsea Cain left Twitter in 2016 following a slew of harassment and death threats after her Marvel comic Mockingbird featured an “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda” t-shirt on its cover. If you can’t handle looking at an illustration of a woman wearing a soft pink shirt with the words feminist agenda on it, then Man-Eaters will eat you alive and spit you out once it realizes how rotten you taste. There is period blood in this comic and no one is interested in protecting you from it.
So this isn’t for the ones who couldn’t meet Cain at the table. This one is for us. The ones who don’t use women’s bodies to delegitimize them. Periods = Power, and having a body that gets a period does not make you a subgenre. In this world, tampons are the resistance. This is for us. Whether you get a period or not. So, make a Girl Power playlist. Read Man-Eaters. And don’t apologize when a pad falls out of your purse.
Written by Chelsea Cain.
Art by Kate Niemczyk.
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg.
Letters by Joe Caramagna.
7 out of 10
‘Man-Eaters’ #1 hits stores September 26.