There may be spoilers for those who haven't read through all the Marvel comics they were intending to this week. So bear this in mind.
But in this week's Fearless Defenders, the character of Dr Annabelle Riggs, an archeologist, a lesbian, and someone who had been teased as a something with romantic interest with Valkyrie, was the one to take a stand against possessed Valkyrie… andseriously, there's a lot of that going around this week…
…and she met her final fate.
But in doing so managed to snap Valkyrie of her Doom Maiden Possession and make everything better.
Not only that, but her actions managed to inspire Valkyrie to change the way she's bee operating and do things differently.
Not that everyone was quite on board this sudden change in attitude.
Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass writes;
In a the letter column in today's issue the editor writes "her death will prove necessary as well as noble."
So that makes killing off one of the few lesbian characters in Marvel comics dead okay?
And given that the character is only six issues, it feels like she was designed to be cannon fodder.
If it's permanent, it sucks. So tell me what redundancy you have Marvel?
And if you're saying "See I told you so!" or "GOTCHA" someone else who has little or no representation in comics is still today losing a character that is a rarity in your line.
Writer Cullen Bunn has talked about the many issues this all raises on his blog;
Annabelle died because in this story she was the only one who could die. She was the only person who could save Valkyrie from the danger she faced. Her feelings for Valkyrie… her faith in a fallen shieldmaiden… was the only thing that could pull her friend back from the brink. I'm a big believer that if you can take one character out of a scene and plug another character in without upsetting everything, you've created sparkplugs, not people.
Annabelle saves the day and she pays the ultimate price for it. She dies a good death.
And yes, in the letters page, editor Ellie Pyle is clearly braced for the worst;
But I'm wondering if this is, for all that it will be criticised, a turning point?
Women In Refrigerators specifically pointed out a preponderence of women being killed off to motivate their husband/boyfriend/romantic interest to action. It was noticed afterwards that this happened to a few men as well, and indeed no longer exclusively applies to romantic relationships.
But I don't know if it's ever happened to a lesbian relationship before. Moondragon had more of a heroic death in Annihilation and we don't really know what happened to Renee Montoya in the New 52. And this does involve Asgardians, a quite trip to Valhalla or Hades might sort things out.
But as of this week, lesbians can be fridged as well, just as much as straight women can. Isn't that… progress of sorts?