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.
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”
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.
I remember reading classic political satire in my high school English classes. We discussed the value of the satirical approach in bringing to light important issues, as well as the subversive nature of the humor sometimes involved. (To be fair, some people fail at it.) The masses receive the satire these days on television. The most popular forms are The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Some people confuse these shows for real news shows, which is disappointing. They are opinionated and they are quite pointed. More importantly, they point out the flaws, hypocrisies, and stupidity of the people in our political world. I see value in that.
I also see value in Stephen Colbert stepping up the satire and delivering his message in person before Congress. People say that takes chutzpa, but it is easy to have bravado when you have money and supporters behind you. Still, he had a message to deliver and he did so in a memorable way. Whether or not he was taken seriously while he was sitting there, he remained in their heads afterward. Now it is up to them to do something about it.