Guest Writer: Stonie Williams
This article was possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY, and rolling natural 20s.
“Look, this may come out wrong, but we’ve had bad luck with girls on the team.”
Marcy Madison has finished college. Her dream is to use her superpowers to join The New Sentrymen, the city’s premiere superhero group. A super-villain interrupts her graduation ceremony. Marcy takes a chance and saves the day, as well as innocent lives. She believes she might have a chance at joining the team… But The New Sentrymen reject her. Their foremost complaint is her gender.
Frustrated but undeterred, Marcy sets out to form her own team. An all-female team. Marcy takes to Craigslist with less than ideal results. Luckily for Marcy, she catches the attention of a former New Sentryman. Or rather, New Sentrywoman, as the case may be. The team Marcy builds is dynamic and interesting in ways you don’t usually get to see in the classic superhero team.
‘Heroines’ tackles the issues of inequality in gender, race, and class, with grace and humor. Some points are more delicate and subtle, while others are a literal punch in the face. But it’s done well, with tack and dignity.
Marcy deals with the issue of discrimination based on her gender rather than skill. But she still gets a lesson in recognizing her own privilege. The book even touches on mental health and trauma in ways that are poignant and substantial.
The story doesn’t dwell on triggering issues and acts as a love letter to the superhero genre. Naifeh weaves through themes and progresses the story well. There’s very little “down time” in the story and each page has you eager for the next. Marcy’s story starts in the middle of what one could see as The New Sentrymen’s story, but you don’t ever feel lost. Naifeh gives you enough backstory as you go along to keep things from getting confusing. But never bogs you down with an info-dump. His artwork has a cartoony quality that works well with the genre and style of the story. It’s minimalist in the sense that the details are there when they need to be. The New Sentrymen feel like they could’ve jumped right out The Justice League or The Avengers. Well, Justice League International or West-Coast Avengers, maybe. (I tease!) Naifeh’s colors have the cinematic feel like I love so much. Lighting that sets the mood for different settings. Colors that make this superhero feel of the book. Esposito’s letters kept with the feel of the artwork. Packing the punch when it’s needed, efficient and sharp even when it’s not.
‘Heroines’ proves that while The Big Two hold the monopoly on the superhero genre, they’re not the only place for it. I’d recommend this series to anyone 13 and up. There’s some violence without being gratuitous and minor, almost, not-quite nudity. Pasties don’t count, right? This is definitely a book I’ll be sharing with my teenage daughter. It’s got the exact kind of empowering message I want her exposed. Also reminding you that what you struggle with isn’t the only struggle out there. Until next time, happy reading!
Be sure to check out the ‘Heroines’ kickstarter at
‘Heroines’ publisher SpaceGoat Publishing
Ted Naifeh himself can be found at