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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Woman of the Month: Misty Knight and Colleen Wing

Misty Knight and Colleen Wing from Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders
I have only very rarely featured two women together on my Woman of the Month posts, and looking back it's mainly because their relationship with each other is such an intrinsic part of their characterization that I couldn't possibly separate them (Asami and Korra from The Legend of Korra and Joy and Sadness from Inside Out).
In this case, Misty and Colleen are not quite as inextricable as past duos, but after seeing the promotional pictures for the second season of Iron Fist, how could I not include both of them?
I'm not much of a comic book reader, so I'm not hugely familiar with either character outside their roles in Luke Cage and Iron Fist, though the term Daughters of the Dragon is used frequently in relation to them. Wikipedia tells me it's not quite as significant as the internet would have you believe, with the two of them (under that moniker) usually relegated to supporting roles.
So for the purposes of this entry, I'll focus on their Netflix incarnations.
Misty Knight is an NYPD cop who constantly walks the line between her commitment to justice and a temptation to take shortcuts with people she knows are guilty (as did her corrupt partner Scarfe). As jaded as she can get, she still believes in the job she's doing, and so her tentative relationship with Luke is never a truly comfortable one – at which point does law and order end and vigilante justice begin?
It's a line she skirts frequently in season two, which also sees her dealing with the loss of her arm and the subsequent shattering of her confidence. Unfortunately, this particular plotline isn't dealt with very well – her depression is treated more as something she has to hurry up and get over, instead of the natural consequence to a horrific injury and irreversible change in the way she must live her life. There's very little time given to her getting used to her new bionic arm; she just puts it on and away she goes.
But her severed arm has another outcome: a bond forged with Colleen Wing, the young woman in whose defence she lost it in the first place. As many pointed out at the time Iron Fist first dropped, Colleen was in many ways the more natural lead of the show, with a more compelling and less clich├ęd story than Danny Rand's. Here was a lonely young person teaching martial arts to impoverished street kids in the hopes of giving them a better life, only to learn that the organization she was a part of – and the man she trusted as her mentor and friend – were an undercover crime syndicate.
Her entire worldview is shattered; her purpose in life revealed to be in service to evil ends. As with Misty's lost arm, the show doesn't give her nearly enough room to process this trauma, instead she almost immediately switches gears and allies herself permanently to Danny.
And yet Netflix did grant us an entire episode of Misty and Colleen hanging out together: talking, sparring, drinking, and defending themselves against an uninvited sleazebag. It seems to be in anticipation of a proper team-up in the forthcoming second season of Iron Fist, and it makes sense that these women would find a natural ally in each other despite the difference in age and background: both are women with strict moral codes they believe in, but struggle to live up to.
It's not long to wait...

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