Displaced Paranormals Vs. Dead People
In 1986 Marvel created a line of comics called the New Universe. The best NU series was D.P. 7, about a group of ordinary people who mysteriously gain superpowers. Another good one was Psi-Force, which featured a group of teens who could summon a Native spirit called Psi-Hawk with their combined abilities.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the New Universe, Marvel published several "Untold Tales of the New Universe" this year. The D.P. 7 issue told of a tribe threatened by one of its own, who gains the power to raise the dead. Here's the lowdown on the comic.
- The story takes place on an actual reservation--the Menominee--in an actual place--Keshena, Wisconsin.
- The Indians live in simple wooden homes on the rez. There are no teepees or totem poles.
- The Indians' names--Keso, Seka, Tomah--sound more real than contrived.
- The Indians' clothing is slightly stereotypical. A couple of the men wear headbands and Seka dons a buckskin outfit when she goes bad.
- The Indians refer to their medicine man as a "shaman."
- Seka's ability to raise the dead is related to the stereotypical Indian spirits and burial grounds. It's almost de rigueur for Indians in comics to contact their relatives or ancestors.
- The reservation seems set in a time warp. There's no mention of the tribal government, the BIA, or law enforcement when Seka attacks. Most of the tribe simply flees, leaving a few Indians and the heroes to face her.
- Other than mentioning clans and elders, the comic doesn't address Menominee culture. What do the Menominee believe about the afterlife? Do they have a taboo about dead bodies or references to the dead? How do they feel about destroying the mortal remains of their kin?
In short, this untold tale was a poor homage to the original D.P. 7. Rob's rating: 3.0 of 10.
- The D.P. 7 smoke pipes, dress up in feathers and war paint, and hoist spears and tomahawks to battle Seka and her zombies. Hello? Why would non-Indians need or want these blatantly stereotypical accouterments? If their superpowers aren't enough to defeat some shambling corpses, how about trying guns? Or calling for reinforcements?
Comic books featuring Indians
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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
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