Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Sexuality of Artemis of Bana-Mighdall

I thought it was a good topic to discuss and was waiting until the end of her arc to post this. Then I heard people are fuming over the idea of her liking a man. Great timing huh? This deals with past canon and current.


Amazons have been depicted as being sexually attracted to other women or not liking being defined by labels. Some like men while others have shown no interest. There's been hints and mentions throughout my reading into the post-Crisis Wonder Woman issues. As for Artemis herself? Since she hasn't had much time in the spotlight there hasn't been that much. I'm still reading up on a lot of issues. Fans have speculated so this is what I've seen as the most blatant (so far) examples which have been in Artemis Requiem and later on some clues in RHATO.

After Artemis died Diana decided to see what became of her. Arriving in the underworld Diana was surprised to find Artemis among demons. Artemis doesn't seem too bothered by it as she takes Diana to a room to bathe. Men and women that are either barely dressed or apparently naked are there. Artemis mocks Diana's concern about saving her.

Artemis: If this is misery, well, let me be miserable ! And you know what they say...

(She gives a buff barely dressed man her bow and quiver. Then spreads her hands over the smiling man's chest.)

Artemis: ...Misery loves company.

I don't know how anyone can see this scene--with Benes art to boot--and not see sexual tension. I read this and saw Artemis as a bisexual. She's stating that she's not suffering and enjoys where's she's at while grabbing an attractive man. This isn't subtle and will get less subtle later on. She strips and asks Diana to join her in the bath which Diana declines.

I cropped this to keep the torture going on in other panels involving a demon Diana wants to save out. (It scanned weird.) But Artemis is very sexualized in the left panel. Benes' art has bubbles hiding her crotch so yeah, thus far this series is the only one I've read with her that's this sexual. I haven't read all of her appearances yet though I've heard that some see her with Diana. Other than this mini series I haven't seen any other hints of that yet. She's mostly business like when they meet so far. I recall Simone having Diana question if they were even friends though she's mentioned the pairing before when taking about a bisexual Diana.

I'm not sure if this is why some assume Artemis is a lesbian, if they just want her to be with Diana. Yes, she's been pretty short with some men in the past. If she likes a guy and he's respectful I don't think there will be a problem like some assume. The bathing scene isn't the only time she's been shown interest in a man.

Artemis thinks she can't afford to have a love life as she must always be vigilante (I don't really get it either.) She does have a sex dream of a man she's wants. It's her teammate Sureshot. (Yes it sounds like a porn name but it was the 90's. Be happy it doesn't sound gory otherwise yelling his name would be even more embarrassing.) 

So yes, Artemis did want a guy in canon. It wouldn't be coming out of no where if she dated one now.

In case you were wondering yes, Artemis was really getting into her dream to the point her roommate has to wake her up. Half to save herself the embarrassment of listening to that and half to embarrass Artemis over it. As any good friend would.


Honestly I think the writer Messner-Loebs (also her creator) named the man that just for the joke. But yeah, as I said it's blatant here that Artemis is attracted to men.

Now in Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 2 we have the story of Artemis and Akila. She tells Jason they were friends, probably because she didn't want to define the relationship beyond that. Just talking about it was painful enough. She only does so once Jason basically tells her bottling it up isn't good and could put the team at risk if she's not focused. Akila was chosen over Artemis to be the Shim'Tar, a role Artemis wanted for herself. Taking the Bow of Ra (which Artemis also desired) drove Akila mad and Artemis was forced to kill Akila. Something that still haunted her.

Only a dictator reactivated the Bow unintentionally bringing Akila back to life. The two meet again with Akila promising things will be better. Artemis seems to suspect Akila is lying to her about who is in control of the Bow that's destroying lives with it. While the two never kiss on panel I think it's fairly obvious they were a couple. This is the first time we've seen Artemis this vulnerable as she deals with her guilt. I don't think she could kiss Akila at this point since she previously killed her and can't fully trust her yet.

The body language is very intimate and Akila refers to Artemis as "my love" at least twice. Jason only sees the two together during their fight and he yells at Akila that Artemis loves her. The idea of Akila stuck in her grave distressed her greatly. While Artemis Requiem hinted she liked women too this to my knowledge is the only confirmation she's been with a woman.

Now comes the subject of Jason Todd and Artemis. Personally I didn't really want it before and think it's far too early for a romance. Scott Lobdell has stated in a podcast (it's on the Red Hood and the Outlaws Community Facebook page a little back) that he doesn't want the two together. He likes the dynamics of them giving each other crap. Well it's more Artemis giving Jason crap. Lobdell doesn't want to change that. Editors are pressuring him over it as they want the romance. So don't like it then don't blame the writer. Also as previously stated Artemis has shown interest in men in the past. That's not new.

Honestly we don't have many clues for a pairing yet. When Jason tries to get her to open up about Akila he attempts to follow her taking shots. It doesn't work out as he gets drunk and she doesn't. He says she has really green eyes and Artemis threatens to harm if he's hitting on her. I liked the line at the time as it relates back to a story where Bruce told Cassandra things Jason liked and green was his favorite color. As for Artemis well who wants to be hit on by someone who's drunk?

Jason might have a crush on her. Maybe. The wording he uses when he says he doesn't need to bother her with why he's going to the country is curious. But it's one of those lines that isn't clear. At the end of the "Who is Artemis?" arc Akila died again at Artemis' hands after the bow chose her as it's true master. Could this be a platonic scene? I guess, all depends on your POV right?

They don't kiss and in the context of the page Artemis is relieved the burden is finally off her shoulders. She realizes how dependable Jason and Bizarro are. They were there when she needed them especially Jason. It's development from the woman who dismissed him repeatedly in the first arc. But the art might be telling another story. Look at the panels of Aleka/Artemis facing each other then Jason/Artemis. Pretty similar huh?

Except Jason and Artemis are even closer (check the nose gap) and Akila was touching Artemis' chin. Akila was forgiving her (which Artemis thanked her for), talking about Ra bestowing his blessing on them, their people no longer hiding and not trying to help people without her.

Artemis is answering Jason's question if she's okay. Despite not being 100% she lists the positives. She's alive, she has the Bow (possibly the blessing of Ra) and their out of danger. Once again Artemis is vulnerable like she was with Akila finally confessing she has Jason and Bizarro. She thanks him and he bring up the fact she was there for him too. Her people can finally stop hiding and help people by letting the refugees live with them.

If it is a pairing in the making I trust Lobdell but I think it's far too early. Let the tension at least build up more in a will they or won't they way. And if Scott Lobdell ever brings up Sureshot in a joke? Well that would be amazing.

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