Getting the obvious out of the way first, this panel appeals to me because it’s incredibly sexual in that messed-up superhero comics way, where the beautiful female face straining in pain and/or passion against the pouring rain is also equipped with green hair and a metal headdress. But what I really love about this panel is the way it can be read as a positive statement of female desire. Yes, it’s totally porn-y the way, even after her “limits” have been “exceeded,” Polaris is still hysterically pleading for more (“Don’t stop!”). But the context isn’t a porn film—it’s a superhero comic. So even as Polaris pleads to be infused with more energy, more power, she’s also using her own superpowers to save her teammates, and maybe the entire world. Polaris absorbs energy only in order to release it again, and in that sense she’s acting in the same moment that she’s acted upon (by another woman, no less, though it’s still a man who comes up with the plan).
For me, no amount of porn-y exploitation can truly negate the fact that Polaris is exulting in her own power, her own desire and abilities. And for a good cause to boot. Because isn’t that the real essence of superheroism? The ability to (literally!) get-off on saving the world…?
For this series of prints, I decided to use the Barbie-ist colours possible. I wanted to suggest that even slathered with the very girliest fuchsia and lavender, this image of Polaris remains gloriously, powerfully complicated.