Today I Read…Rogue Touch

Rogue TouchToday I read Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward, a nom de plume for Nina de Gramont.

Anna Marie will never forget her first kiss. It put her best friend Cody in the hospital with a coma, and sent her running to somewhere else–anywhere else–where she could pretend not to be a freak. A dangerous freak. So she covers every inch of her skin that she can and tries to live her life avoiding other people as much as possible, to protect them as well as herself.

But then she meets this guy, and he’s different. No, really, he’s different. Touch is on the run for his own reasons, and they decide to run together for a while, but there are people after both of them. Together, Touch and the newly rechristened “Rogue” try to run somewhere they can be together, but can two such different people really find a place where they both belong?


This came out at the same time as The She-Hulk Diaries, which I really enjoyed, so I had high hopes for this one as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. The She-Hulk Diaries was very much placed in the Marvel universe and we met other superheroes and supervillains and characters from the Marvel-verse. Rogue Touch is a prequel of sorts, set after Rogue has run away from home but before she has discovered anything about mutants or much about her abilities. It’s barely connected to Marvel mythology, and other than Rogue’s power she could have easily been replaced with an original character. The running away storyline is repetitive–they keep stealing more money and supplies and losing them, and then stealing more supplies and losing them, and again. Rogue and Touch’s relationship is definitely not a good one–she falls for the first older (kinda), married man she talks to even slightly, even though neither of them tell the truth about who they are and why they’re running. There’s no sense that Touch has feelings for Rogue–it’s more that he’s using her to complete his objective. Touch is a user, and Rogue is so naïve she’ almost a little stupid. She dreams more than making solid, practical plans. She may be only a teenager, but honestly I expect more from someone who grows up to be an X-Man.

It’s not necessarily a bad book, but there’s no reason for it to be a Marvel book. This is not a good representation of a superhero book, and will not encourage girls to read more Marvel. If you’re looking for a generic teen girl runaway story, it’s okay. If you want to read a fun, female-oriented superhero story, go read The She-Hulk Diaries. There should be another addition to the girl-friendly YA Marvel books with Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl, due out in October. I still hold hopes for that one (though I still want my Black Widow movie dammit!).

Today I Read…The She-Hulk Diaries

PrintToday I read The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta.

Jennifer Walters is taking control of her life. She’s had some problems recently, in large part thanks to her big, green and sexy alter-ego She-Hulk, but she is ready to overcome all that and get what she wants out of life. Not by making New Years Resolutions–people never stick to those. No, she’s going to be totally sensible about this–she’s gong to make a list of goals to achieve before Valentine’s Day–ok, April 1st. No point in making unrealistic deadlines, right?

Things seem to be going pretty well–Jennifer’s made a new friend, joined a new LARP group, got a new job at a prestigious law firm, met a potential friend-with-benefits, and met a potential dropdeadsexy! boyfriend. Oh, and she’s reconnected with Ellis Tesla, the scientific rock god who got away and the hottest one night stand she’s ever had. Except he’s her new boss’ son, is engaged to the witch of the office, and is best friends with the man she’s trying to sue. And he never called her! So what’s a smart, sensible, ambitious lawyer-and-occasional-secret-superhero to do?

Why, save the day, of course!

I admit, when I first saw this book I pretty much thought it was Marvel trying to move into superhero chicklit. And it is, but it’s really good, smart superhero chicklit. In a way, it’s almost subversive of the chicklit genre. Jennifer wants a boyfriend, yes, but that’s only one of her goals, and she wants everything on her list. She wants her life to be well-rounded, to have a great career and great friends and be culturally aware and to be madly in love with someone who is her equal. She doesn’t want to stop doing anything she enjoys, she wants to add to it. While Jennifer has her issues with She-Hulk, she doesn’t even really want Shulky to change, just to change the way that Shulky is affecting her, Jennifer’s, life. Shulky is big and loud and confident and scantily clad and a party-girl and sexually aggressive–everything that Jennifer doesn’t think she is, except that she is when she wants to be. Ellis Tesla loved ‘Gin’ years before Shulky was created. Jennifer Walters is one of the most respected lawyers in New York–her employment difficulties tend to be more connected to her secret superhero identity than her actual job performance. She is universally acknowledged to be a powerhouse in the courtroom. Jennifer wants balance in her life, and she wants to have it all, and she is determined to find a way to get it.

Another thing that struck me was how sex-positive the book was, particularly in light of David Goyer’s recent appalling (and stupid) comments about She-Hulk. Shulky is never slut-shamed for her sexual appetite, she is not predatory or aggressive. She is confident in her sexuality and goes after what–or who–she wants, and while Jennifer wishes Shulky would stop letting her wake up in strange places she never looks down on Shulky for her actions. Jennifer herself has a healthy sex drive–she considers a coworker’s friends-with-benefits proposal to see if they would be good together and if it will work with her goals for her life. She enjoys sex, and she thinks sex with him would be fun, but is it what she really wants?

I haven’t read too much about She-Hulk before this book. Marta Acosta’s take on her is a smart, savvy, sexy woman, green or not, and I think I need to read more. This is a great introduction to the character, and non-comics-reading-female-friendly, while never descending into the worst of the stereotyped chicklit depths.



I, Jennifer Susan Walters, being of sound mindand body bodieswhateverdo promise to try to achieve the following life-improving objectives beginning February 14:

1. Stop hanging around the loft playing online games (take sabbatical from Skyrim, BF3, Massive Threat, etc.) and get a new job as myself: apply to my five top dream legal firms. Update CV. Replenish business wardrobe with clothes that can survive hulking out.

2. Meet an actual human man and establish an actual relationship. He should: (a) be employed, (b) have a sense of humor, (c) like me no matter how I look that day, (d) not be attempting to rule the galaxy, and (e) be considerate (e.g., remember to put the toilet seat down). Cancel account with because they match me with smorons.Stop Severely restrict Moderate cyberstalking and crank calling exes.

3. Have arealdate on Valentine’s Day: flowers, lingerie, the whole deal. Going out for burgers with my cousin again DOES NOT COUNT.

4. Seek balance in work environment and social life. Have funandlearn how to speak up for myself without doing anything that will get me fired. Participate in more activities and get more culture: buy membership to Met, go to opera, ballet, and theater. Join a book club?

5. Stretch outside my comfort zone. Don’t automatically reject opportunities to do something new and different especially if there’s a chance to meet friends/boyfriend.

I’m totally psyched to take control of my life and I’m determined that my new year will be the best one yet!