Avengers Academy #26’s Letter Column

By now it is very clear to me that I have a favorite writer at Marvel Comics – Peter David. His work on X-Factor has been absolutely amazing. Not only has he really explored the character of Jamie “Multiple Man” Madrox, but he brutally brought up and answered the question of what would happen if one of Madrox’ dupes were to impregnate someone. He was willing to go somewhere no one else would have and concluded it beautifully. The baby was essentially a duplicate, and Madrox immediately absorbed it like any other dupe. This was within a hour of the kid’s birth. No one else does that.

David has also outed a couple of the members of X-Factor Investigations. Shatterstar and Rictor have been revealed to be lovers, but their simply being gay is not the whole story. What is being explored is the relationship of one man who recently realized that he prefers only men after several years of believing himself to be bi (Rictor) and another man who is not only openly bisexual but also seems to push in the direction of polyamory (Shatterstar). This is a layered relationship that unfortunately gets glossed over as just a frou-frou gay couple in superhero comics. Never mind how mindfully it is written.

From Avengers Academy #23

A year or so following this reveal, the revelation that two of the teens in the Avengers Academy book are not straight was not very shocking. In fact, it was quite mindfully done itself. Striker, a guy who repeatedly threw himself at women for 22 issues, opened up to Lightspeed, a girl still trying to figure out her sexual identity, it really meant quite a bit. It added depth to Striker and really laid out who his character was from the beginning. Meanwhile, Lightspeed is also being approached realistically, in that she knows how she feels and really would prefer to not be forced into choosing anything. She likes people, not genders. Continue reading “Avengers Academy #26’s Letter Column”

Buffy pushes boundaries

It’s starting to seem like Joss Whedon and company are going for shock value with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. Last year they revealed that the big villain of Season Eight was Angel, somewhat possessed by an entity humorously called Twilight. Or not. It’s still kind of unclear, and it’s not at all clear how it fits into the Angel: After the Fall comic. Then there was flying super sex between Buffy and Angel. Then there was the head turning death of Giles. Ultimately we came unto the end of all magic. Continue reading “Buffy pushes boundaries”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Adding History

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a story that has been retold more times than it ought to have over the past 30 years. Most versions begin with a premise derivative of the original Eastman and Laird comic, and the few differences have to do with whether or not Splinter was a originally a rat and who/what Shredder is. The tales spin out from there, each going in a different, pretty much meaningless, direction once the story reaches beyond the Splinter/Shredder revenge story.

The new comic by IDW alters the premise in such a way that it seems to provide a greater emotional depth to the central conflict between Splinter and Shredder. This one involves the turtles themselves. Continue reading “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Adding History”

ANARCHY | Frank Miller Ink

ANARCHY | Frank Miller Ink.

For the past couple of years, people have been asking what has happened to Frank Miller. The Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns scribe met disappointment with his take on a young Batman and Robin in All-Star Batman and Robin. He followed that with the recently released critical failure (and utter piece of trash in this blogger’s opinion) Holy Terror. The man is completely entitled to his opinion, but he may have definitely put a final nail into the coffin containing a sizable amount of his fandom with talk of the immaturity and aimlessness of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Well, that and he peppered his commentary with more of the bigoted xenophobia found in Holy Terror.

The truth is Frank Miller has had some good story ideas (like the concept behind Batman: Year One and the whole approach to dealing with Silver Age Green Lantern in ASBAR), but he has never been a great writer and has always been insane. My primary issue with Miller’s writing is that it always falls back on “might makes right”. I’m not familiar with his CV, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include a run writing for any Spider-Man book or Fantastic Four. But how about a book with Batman laying the smackdown on Superman? How about kicking a dude down a pit? How about shooting off a man’s mutated testicles? He’s good at that sort of thing. That’s solid, immediately gratifying entertainment. That’s the kind of mind we’re dealing with here.

And as much as I don’t care for much of what Frank Miller has done, I’ll pay to see Sin City 2 as soon as it comes out in the theater because I like the style. I’m not buying his books, and I’m not even remotely agreeing with his stand on anything. The guy’s kind of crazy, so you should expect his work to be uneven and his opinions to be unpleasant.

New Ultimate Spider-Man 4 – Great Power and Responsibility

To be honest, I really am into this All New Ultimate Spider-Man series. Right now there is a lack of action in order to establish this very much not Peter Parker character. This is extremely necessary because we do not need a complete retread of what we’re used to, lest we get what can be described as simply “the black Spider-Man.” No, this is Miles Morales. He has his own baggage. Continue reading “New Ultimate Spider-Man 4 – Great Power and Responsibility”

New Spider-Man – Same Cultural Stereotypes

I just read Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man issue #2, and I am pleased to say that so far Miles Morales appears to be a normal, level-headed kid living in post-Ultimatum Wave New York. He gets powers, he stumbles into figuring them out, and he worries about being a mutant because they get sent to concentration camps. He goes straight to his friend to confide his secret and figure out what to do. Fortunately, his friend assures him that he is no mutant. No, he may be Spider-Man. (An ultimate, all-new Spider-Man, for those of you who need a reminder.) Continue reading “New Spider-Man – Same Cultural Stereotypes”

Red Robin #26

I have to say that DC Comics is full of writers who don’t really know what they’re doing, which is why they remain the number two comic book company. Sure, the Batman movie franchise basically prints money, but what about everything else? The 52 initiative will have to be absolutely stunning considering some of the more recent output. Continue reading “Red Robin #26”

The New Ultimate Spider-Man! Someone’s listening!

Have you heard about the new Spider-Man featured in Marvel’s Ultimate line of comic books? If you haven’t yet, I’m impressed. It was reported by various news outlets before issue 4 of Ultimate Fallout hit the newsstands. In fact, that’s a bit unfair to readers who want to be surprised with each issue. It’s just continually interesting that the happenings of Marvel comics are regularly reported in the news. DC fanboys weep because Time Magazine will never report on the fact that Sinestro is now a member of the Green Lantern Corps. and Hal Jordan has been kicked-out for pushing his ring to attack and kill a rogue Guardian.

This isn’t about me bashing on DC, though. (I love their characters, I swear!) This is about my somehow continued coverage of the “Death of Spider-Man” and Ultimate Fallout storylines. I didn’t expect the new Spider-Man to be introduced so soon, although nothing has been revealed about him in the comics except for this: Continue reading “The New Ultimate Spider-Man! Someone’s listening!”

New Mutants – help is hard

New Mutants is quickly becoming my second favorite X-title, right behind X-Factor. It started a few issues back when Cyclops decided that the team should be used to tie up loose ends. Not only does this put the younger X team in a position for interesting stories that confront plot holes, but it also marked a stylistic shift toward more concise writing. You can’t have a book devoted to tightening things up that simultaneously makes such errors itself. I think the writing team knew that.

Issue 28 struck exactly the right chord with me. I’ve always wondered what a (somewhat) realistic therapist would make of characters in comics. In walks Gus Grim, a horribly named therapist described by Emma Frost as both a “cowboy and an Indian.” The narrative tone of the issue with definitely humorous, but that was stricken with some poignancy. Grim appears to use a variant form of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.I always thought the most concise summation of the practice was, “Get over yourself.” Grim would agree. Continue reading “New Mutants – help is hard”

Ultimate Fallout

“The Death of Spider-Man” storyline clearly irked me. This Ultimate Fallout book subtitled “Spider-Man No More” seems to be a clearly indulgent cash grab. Six issues of mourning for the alternate version of Marvel’s most celebrated character. I don’t need to mention again that Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, nor do I need to mention that I absolutely loved the Ultimate version up until the ultimatum wave hit. (Yeah, it was a weird thing that happened. Magneto reversed the magnetic poles of the Earth.) I’m definitely going to read about the funeral for this character, especially as it seems that despite the crap he received as a superhero, almost all of New York seems to be attending his funeral. It’s touching. Continue reading “Ultimate Fallout”