Women of Color in Marvel Live Action Properties is an essay series that will look closely at the portrayals of female characters of color by actresses of color in Marvel’s various franchises. I was inspired by the fact that a lot of these female characters don’t get anywhere as much love as white female characters in similar roles and that we’re not as likely to see fandom analyze why they’re empowering. They don’t get meta-fandom or essays unless it’s about placing them in relation to white characters. I want to celebrate the women of color that inhabit the same worlds as our favorite superheroes while looking at how and why they’re important to fans like me.
Alexandra Reid: Her name was Elektra Natchios. You are not her. You are much more than she ever was. There was a man. They call him the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. And in this other life, he let Elektra die.
Defenders Season 1, Episode 6 “Ashes, Ashes”
Elektra Natchios deserves better than Daredevil – the show and the character.
Introduced in Daredevil’s second season episode “Kinbaku”, Elektra is an old flame come back to burn Matt Murdoch, appearing in his apartment under the pretense of asking for a favor from the man she once cared about. Elektra is a morally grey character, a complex figure who disrupts Matt’s life just by existing.
She’s also a survivor of childhood abuse that includes neglect, manipulation, and violence from a parental figure, something that she has not been allowed to cope with. Elektra’s mistreatment by Stick, a man who serves as an abusive pseudo father figure for both her and Matt, is a significant element in the latter half of Elektra’s appearances in Daredevil and yet his abuse’s effect on her relationship and mental health are largely glossed over.
Her complexities as a character who has survived horrible mistreatment and who has been shaped into and used as a tool by two different sides in a war largely wind up not getting their fair share of attention in plots dominated first by Matt Murdoch alone and then the entire crew of the Defenders.
For this essay, I’m going to talk about Elektra as a complex anti-hero, one whose status as a survivor shapes her characterization and her approach to relationships.Read More »