What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Ares » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:25 pm

Okay, I hate only posting in this thread when I have stuff to gripe about, so let me start off by saying a few positive things.

I loved DC's Future Quest, the overall re-imagining of the Hanna-Barbera action heroes of the 50s, 60s and 70s in the modern day. To me it was basically a perfect example of how to update characters while keeping their core concepts and spirits strong. Marvel and DC should both take a page from this book in how to update new heroes, introduce legacy characters, alter costumes and otherwise modernize old heroes. It was more or less everything I wanted from a crossover involving these heroes.

The Marvel Star Wars stuff has been pretty solid. There was a recent issue where a character named Dr. Aphra was annoyed with Luke Skywalker. Aphra is generally a sarcastic, annoying, bratty and generally unpleasant scientist, but who is also intelligent, resourceful and capable, and occasionally shows genuine moments of empathy. And Luke had been exceptionally patient with her, standing up for her, trying his best to be her friend, but ultimately her own actions and terrible nature force Luke to push her away, because he realizes she's a threat to his actual friends.

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And I know I make EVERYTHING about Captain Marvel, but on a meta level, that's what it feels like if you had a crossover between classic Billy Batson and the Nu-52 Billy Batson. Nu-Billy would be annoyed with his classic counterpart, and someone else would basically say word for word what we got there.

On the downside, I think that America Chavez and Riri Williams may be the two worst characters Marvel has created or pushed in the last 5 years. Chavez I understand was a character from a previous book that was apparently fairly popular, but they've turned her into a thoroughly unlikable character.

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Now, in the book Peggy tries to explain why just punching people like that doesn't help, but America just blows her off, and Peggy spends the rest of her time going on about how awesome America is. Its like the autbor knows on some level the whole "Nazi Punching" thing is wrong, but screw it, girl power!

I mean, just read one of the intro pages to her first solo series:

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The REAL Hawkeye? Hah, yeah no. And Young Avengers? One of the first comics with a legit long lasting gay superhero couple? Apparently you were mistaken, America was the real hero. From what I've seen of the issues she's appeared in, she's a selfish, sarcastic, mean-spirited, fight happy idiot who talks down to everyone, basically everything I disliked about Nu-Shazam, but with the added bonus of condescending identity politics added into the mix.

Likewise, Riri Williams is coming off as . . . well, as someone on Youtube said, she seems more like she should be a supervillain rather than a hero. She's incredibly narcissistic and selfish, she stole her technology and resources from other people (people who were trying to HELP HER, mind you), and she receives constant validation from everyone talking about how great she is, etc. And then we find out her origin:

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This is why she wants to be a super-genius/superhero. Because she wanted to be oppressed, and the first time she tried to be oppressed in order to have something to fight back against, her teacher had nothing but encouragement and support for her. So she essentially demands to be oppressed until the teacher just gives in and says something off the top of her head so that Riri will sit down and stop acting like a psycho.

That was probably suppose to be funny, and it was, but for all the wrong reasons. Because to me, Bendis unintentionally tapped into the mindset of the last 5 years worth of Professional Victims and Outrage Culture from the perspective of the outrage culture. Riri wanted to be a victim, and would not be happy til she was a victim of something, rather than just embracing the freedom she had to do whatever she wanted. You could argue that she was just looking for some direction in her life, and it's likely that's what was intended. But I honestly can't read that and not see a little black Anita Sarkeesian.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Ares » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:14 pm

Which is not to say DC is perfect right now. While Marvel has become a hot mess of identity politics, writers hired to fill race/gender/sexuality quotas, and similar nonsense, DC has become more of a company of Hit or Miss. Sometimes you'll get really solid stuff, other times you get really terrible stuff. Though that's preferable to Marvel.

Poor Donna Troy tho. I had heard DC was bringing back Wonder Woman's classic origin of being molded from clay and given life by the gods, an origin I vastly prefer to her just being another bastard offspring of Zeus. Instead, we find out that this is now Donna Troy's origin, that she was some way to prevent Diana from suffering some terrible fate, so they made a child out of clay, magically gave it life, and then gave her false memories. And on revealing this to Donna, proceed to treat her like she's a robot. At one point they chop off her arm and she doesn"t bleed, she just puts it back on because she's a literal golem. Now she needs to figure out who she really is.

What the Hell, DC? How is this going to do anything but piss off the fans of Donna and Diana's old origin? Making it out that Donna is less human, when Diana's original origin never questioned her humanity for decades? Remember when Donna was a mortal girl? Why not go back to that? Lose this convoluted disrespect and go classic.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Jabroniville » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:58 am

I haven't read ANYTHING involving Riri somehow, just that she's part of the current "Mess O' Minority Replacements" that's become so controversial. I liked those pages, though- it kind of indicates that she's an arrogant smart-ass who just NEEDS something to fight against. Not really POSITIVE character traits... but look at Tony Stark & Reed Richards. In particular, that's TOTALLY something Tony would do. It doesn't make her a great person, but it at least makes her an INTERESTING one (a key problem with "minority replacement" characters is making them too perfect or likable).

Now, that said... there needs to be SOMEONE who can call out this kind of behavior. Reed Richards always had his family puncturing his stuffed shirt. Tony had Rhodey & Jarvis to humanize him. The whole "You have SO MUCH POTENTIAL!" thing is something I see used quite often in the otherwise-great Ms. Marvel, and it's very clumsy writing- the author basically shilling their own character, using the words of other characters.

The America Chavez thing just seems weird. I've read her on The Infinites, and while she's probably the least-interesting, least-developed person there (she appears to be there literally for her Star-Port powers and the fact that she's a minority on a team full of them), she never came off as arrogant or any of that. This character comes off as VERY immature- which could also be fun (though I want to kidney-punch anyone who goes "BYEEEEEEEEEEEEE" like that).

What's funny is that Marvel has added a half-dozen female characters just like this over the past few years. Not in an attempt at "Batgirling" (Barbara wasn't snarky or rude), but just... like they think that's what girls want to read, I think. Smart-assed teen girls who insult everyone with a snarky-ass tone and then run off impulsively because they have all this boundless energy. Kate Bishop is an example of this done right in Fraction/Aja's Hawkeye. Particularly because she's fallible and gets punked frequently. But it seems like Riri, America and the new Wasp are all cut from this same cloth. The Wasp in particular is weird because (like I pointed out in Kreuz's thread) she seems 100% normal aside from her "I don't get pop culture because I was raised by Evil Commies" background... and the fact that she seems to be copying DANNY CHASE of all friggin' people, in that she's chosen to get into a one-sided feud with Spider-Man. So in Waid's Avengers, she's just snarking on him all the time. And while it's funny to see Pete humiliated thanks to "That Parker Luck"... she's coming off as Danny Chase. And that's NEVER a good comparison to make.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Ares » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:57 am

I think my issue with Riri in those images is just . . . well, everything. It's possible I wouldn't have a problem if it wasn't for the modern outrage culture / snowflake / safespace / professional victim / entitlement culture we have on college campuses and online, but everything about that made me cringe. It wouldn't be so bad if the teacher had called her out on her behavior, if ANYONE had pointed out what kind of a spoiled little kid she was being, the idiocy of needing to be oppressed to succeed, or the fact that she actually stole her technology from people. But instead she receives nothing but emotional validation and praise for everything she's done.

I mean, lets examine what happens: Riri stands up in class. The teacher informs her that it's quiet time, but Riri announces that she knows what she wants to be when she grows up. The teacher patiently lets Riri talk, saying how she was inspired by the first black female astronaut, which is actually something positive in and of itself. And the teacher congratulates her for it and encourages her. Riri then acts surprised that a teacher would encourage her choice and questions why she isn't being oppressed. The teacher points out times have changed and because of the actions of great women like the astronaut (who Riri doesn't even bother to name), Riri can do whatever she want. Riri then asks to be oppressed. The teacher refuses. Riri then just stands in class looking at her teacher, until the woman finally just gives in and pulls Tony Stark's name out of thin air. Riri then spends her life trying to one-up Tony Stark.

That teacher, IMO, had the patience of a saint, and if anything was VERY soft on Riri. The teacher let Riri talk during "quiet time", she put up with Riri's little speech, and politely informed Riri that she wasn't oppressed and could do whatever she wanted. When Riri kept standing there, what the teacher SHOULD have done is tell Riri to sit back down and use her quiet time constructively. And then if Riri continued to stand there and stare at her like one of the Children of the Corn, send Riri to the principal. But of course, we can't punish Riri for anything.

I mean, the girl had a speech prepared which hinged on her assuming that her teachers and society were somehow going to oppress her. That could say something about the kind of home Riri comes from, but this basically shows that Riri has always been an entitled, self-centered, oppression Olympics participant. She's basically displaying the worst aspects of a teenager while still in elementary school. These traits are not endearing. Riri just standing there silently demanding what she wants until she gets her way isn't as disruptive as a temper tantrum, but it basically amounts to the same thing. She's getting included in a live action commercial for MIT, the people she literally stole from while attending on scholarship. And literally the only reason she wants to be a superhero is because she demanded that her teacher tell her someone she'd never be good as, and her teacher randomly picked a superhero.

I mean, at his absolute worst, Booster Gold wasn't this insufferable. This honestly feels closer to Syndrome's origin story from The Incredibles.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Voltron64 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:11 pm

Ares wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:57 am
I think my issue with Riri in those images is just . . . well, everything. It's possible I wouldn't have a problem if it wasn't for the modern outrage culture / snowflake / safespace / professional victim / entitlement culture we have on college campuses and online, but everything about that made me cringe. It wouldn't be so bad if the teacher had called her out on her behavior, if ANYONE had pointed out what kind of a spoiled little kid she was being, the idiocy of needing to be oppressed to succeed, or the fact that she actually stole her technology from people. But instead she receives nothing but emotional validation and praise for everything she's done.

I mean, lets examine what happens: Riri stands up in class. The teacher informs her that it's quiet time, but Riri announces that she knows what she wants to be when she grows up. The teacher patiently lets Riri talk, saying how she was inspired by the first black female astronaut, which is actually something positive in and of itself. And the teacher congratulates her for it and encourages her. Riri then acts surprised that a teacher would encourage her choice and questions why she isn't being oppressed. The teacher points out times have changed and because of the actions of great women like the astronaut (who Riri doesn't even bother to name), Riri can do whatever she want. Riri then asks to be oppressed. The teacher refuses. Riri then just stands in class looking at her teacher, until the woman finally just gives in and pulls Tony Stark's name out of thin air. Riri then spends her life trying to one-up Tony Stark.

That teacher, IMO, had the patience of a saint, and if anything was VERY soft on Riri. The teacher let Riri talk during "quiet time", she put up with Riri's little speech, and politely informed Riri that she wasn't oppressed and could do whatever she wanted. When Riri kept standing there, what the teacher SHOULD have done is tell Riri to sit back down and use her quiet time constructively. And then if Riri continued to stand there and stare at her like one of the Children of the Corn, send Riri to the principal. But of course, we can't punish Riri for anything.

I mean, the girl had a speech prepared which hinged on her assuming that her teachers and society were somehow going to oppress her. That could say something about the kind of home Riri comes from, but this basically shows that Riri has always been an entitled, self-centered, oppression Olympics participant. She's basically displaying the worst aspects of a teenager while still in elementary school. These traits are not endearing. Riri just standing there silently demanding what she wants until she gets her way isn't as disruptive as a temper tantrum, but it basically amounts to the same thing. She's getting included in a live action commercial for MIT, the people she literally stole from while attending on scholarship. And literally the only reason she wants to be a superhero is because she demanded that her teacher tell her someone she'd never be good as, and her teacher randomly picked a superhero.

I mean, at his absolute worst, Booster Gold wasn't this insufferable. This honestly feels closer to Syndrome's origin story from The Incredibles.
If I can be honest, when I first heard about Riri, I though she was gonna kind of like Tony's sidekick or something.

If anything, she should come across as an expy of Milestone's Rocket, with Iron Man in the role of Icon.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Davies » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:36 pm

Voltron64 wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:11 pm
If I can be honest, when I first heard about Riri, I though she was gonna kind of like Tony's sidekick or something.
Unfortunately, Tony is presently spending the year dead for tax purposes.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Ares » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:50 am

Okay, so Secret Empire is FINALLY over, thank God. But even the ending feels like a middle finger to fans, based on what I've watched on videos and seen online. I'd like someone to correct me if I'm mistaken, as this is all second-hand knowledge.

So apparently, the Steve that's in the Cosmic Cube is not actually the "real" Captain America, he's basically an amalgam of memories of what we consider the "classic" Steve, and that Hydra Cap is the "real" Captain America. That's annoying, but I expect it to last only so long as Nick Spencer is writing anything (which hopefully will not be long), as no one considers "Hydra Cap" to be anything but a fake.

And the ending has Steve return, beat the crap out of Hydra Cap, only to give his shield BACK to Sam and say that he (Steve) is unworthy of being Captain America. Cap isn't even part of the splash page at the end.

It's just so mind boggling. The whole series was a poorly timed mess, full of stupid deus ex machina like Barf, the Inhuman who can vomit whatever the plot needs, and stuff that just goes nowhere. There's also this weird moment where the comic seems to congratulate itself on having the heroes actually fighting villains instead of each other, fixing a problem that Marvel itself created ever since Civil War 1.

I'm just hoping that whatever comes next will be Marvel trying to course correct. The poor sales and fan backlash have to be getting through to someone.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Jabroniville » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:16 am

I watched the review of the first America issue and didn't find it as objectionable as the dude did. The art is pretty great at least. And I like the whole "impulsively punches Hitler" thing. And "Holy Menstruation" made me laugh. So sue me.

While I find myself not liking the character (I read all of Ultimates and she's easily the least-used character in it, too), I can see the positive here. And hooray for remembering a character from an old series that doesn't get used anymore (Prodigy)! Like, yeah, the book wears its politics on its sleeve, and that can be grating (and probably will be moreso later on), but I didn't see it as the end of the world or nothin'.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Scots Dragon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:26 pm

Jabroniville wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:16 am
I watched the review of the first America issue and didn't find it as objectionable as the dude did. The art is pretty great at least. And I like the whole "impulsively punches Hitler" thing. And "Holy Menstruation" made me laugh. So sue me.

While I find myself not liking the character (I read all of Ultimates and she's easily the least-used character in it, too), I can see the positive here. And hooray for remembering a character from an old series that doesn't get used anymore (Prodigy)! Like, yeah, the book wears its politics on its sleeve, and that can be grating (and probably will be moreso later on), but I didn't see it as the end of the world or nothin'.
Honestly if America has any problems as a book judging by the first few issues, it's a pretty severe set of pacing issues and a somewhat janky plot structure rather than anything related to the politics.

I have to admit that I view most of the 'zomg politics!' comics as being way overblown or perhaps outright misinterpreted as to which side of the political fence they're actually on. It's like all of the statements that Secret Empire and other comics from Nick Spencer are 'SJW Marvel' books is utterly laughable since, as someone who's in the social justice community, the universal opinion of those is that they're utterly fucking terrible and are if anything unwittingly providing propaganda for literal fascists. Which, given the Charlottesville march with a bunch of white nationalists chanting 'blood and soil', is rather pointedly something of a problem.

It's especially viewed as tonedeaf in light of the fact that Steve Rogers is a Jewish-created character who was invented as an explicit and lengthy repudiation of Nazi ideologies. Literally the exact character who should never, ever be reinterpreted as being a fascist, given that it's an insult to the memories of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Shock » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:51 pm

Scots Dragon wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:26 pm
It's especially viewed as tonedeaf in light of the fact that Steve Rogers is a Jewish-created character who was invented as an explicit and lengthy repudiation of Nazi ideologies. Literally the exact character who should never, ever be reinterpreted as being a fascist, given that it's an insult to the memories of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
Just to play devil's advocate, but lots of characters have evolved beyond what their creators' originally intended for them. If you think about it, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the Secret Empire story and Red Son, aside from differences in quality.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Scots Dragon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:23 pm

Shock wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:51 pm
Scots Dragon wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:26 pm
It's especially viewed as tonedeaf in light of the fact that Steve Rogers is a Jewish-created character who was invented as an explicit and lengthy repudiation of Nazi ideologies. Literally the exact character who should never, ever be reinterpreted as being a fascist, given that it's an insult to the memories of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
Just to play devil's advocate, but lots of characters have evolved beyond what their creators' originally intended for them. If you think about it, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the Secret Empire story and Red Son, aside from differences in quality.
There's actually a whole lot of difference even beyond quality. Red Son is explicitly in an alternate universe positing a 'What if baby Kal wound up in a Soviet farming collective rather than in Middle America?' scenario, and using that to contrast with the mainstream universe. It's not presented as any kind of retcon to the history of Clark Kent or anything that he personally stands for, but Steve Rogers being part of Hydra is presented as a retcon, the way he 'always was' and was always meant to be, and is explicitly part of the mainstream Marvel Comics universe.

There's quite a difference between what happens in the pages of What if...? or an Elseworlds story, and what happens in the pages of the actual main Captain America book.

If it were just mind control or a secret plot by the Red Skull using a clone Steve Rogers or the evil Commie-Smasher Cap from the '50s, that'd be fine, but Nick Spencer is repeatedly trying to claim both in and out of the books that this Captain America who's a Nazi is the real Steve Rogers. This is why it's viewed so strongly as an insult to the legacy of Kirby and Simon rather than just a throwaway alternate universe or bit of mind control, and why so many fans are reacting quite so badly to it even on principle.
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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Ares » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:32 am

Nick Spencer is one of those anomalies where he's given control of a mega storyline in the Marvel Universe and writing duties on one of its flagship characters, yet he doesn't seem to be all that good a writer, he doesn't seem to really like superhero comics, and he seems to actively loath the fanbase.

I mean, the idea that the Red Skull could use a cosmic cube to turn Captain America into the very thing he hates is one thing. The constant reality bending of the idea that Hydra Cap is the "real" Cap and the one we got at the end is the memory of the good character is just insulting, as is Cap hading the shield back to Sam and claiming that he isn't worthy of it.

And really, this could have been a decent story if handled a bit better, where Cap uses his contacts within the superhero community to set this up, but no hero in their right mind is going to follow a Captain America who declares himself leader of Hydra. The superhero community has seen people be subject to mind control and other things too often to just write off out of character behavior as nothing. What we should have seen is the real Cap claw his way out of the Cosmic Cube once it was restored, that the only reason the heroes survive is because Cap is inside the cube blunting all of Hydra Cap's actions, and then he literally claws his way out of the completed cosmic cube to save the day.

The ending of this story felt like . . . back when Superman died, we had a long stretch of time where Clark was not Superman. First he was dead and everyone was dealing with his absence, then we had four pretenders taking his name, and only after one of them (the one that was able to earn the most government and superhero support) killed an entire city did Clark return. Clark rallied the heroes, lead a counter offensive, defeated his double, and regained the mantle of Superman, with a powerful two-page spread proudly declaring his return.

What happened in Secret Empire would have been like if after Superman saved the day, he decided he was unworthy of the S-Shield and named Steel as his official replacement, wandering off while the other heroes struck a heroic pose.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Scots Dragon » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:21 pm

I'm not reading Marvel at all specifically because of this shit. More than anything I'm just curious as to what the connection is between people called Spencer and the modern glorification of Nazism, 'cause this isn't even the only example I can think of.
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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by Ares » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:10 am

I don't think Nick is glorifying Nazi culture. It's never in question that Nazi Cap is bad, that Hydra is evil and that the people resisting them are the real heroes. What Nick Spencer and several writers HAVE done is draw parallels between political sides they disagree with and Nazi/Hydra culture. They made MODOK resemble Donald Trump. They've tried to make the Red Skull and Nazi Cap make speeches analogous to Trump's politics. They've enacted politics they believe Republicans under Trump will enact (immigration, deportation, etc.). And they've commented about how a lot of people "gave up" and "went along" with Hydra or willingly sided with them, essentially wagging their finger at half the country that voted for Trump and implying that they're little better than Hydra sympathizers.

Basically, Nick smugly called half of the country Nazis and then happily mocked anyone complaining about politics in comics.

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Re: What's new with the big two: Marvel and DC Comics discussion thread.

Post by BriarThrone » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:53 am

Ares wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:10 am
I don't think Nick is glorifying Nazi culture. It's never in question that Nazi Cap is bad, that Hydra is evil and that the people resisting them are the real heroes. What Nick Spencer and several writers HAVE done is draw parallels between political sides they disagree with and Nazi/Hydra culture. They made MODOK resemble Donald Trump. They've tried to make the Red Skull and Nazi Cap make speeches analogous to Trump's politics. They've enacted politics they believe Republicans under Trump will enact (immigration, deportation, etc.). And they've commented about how a lot of people "gave up" and "went along" with Hydra or willingly sided with them, essentially wagging their finger at half the country that voted for Trump and implying that they're little better than Hydra sympathizers.

Basically, Nick smugly called half of the country Nazis and then happily mocked anyone complaining about politics in comics.
And did so in that passive-aggressive, "it's obvious to everybody what I'm doing, but I named no names, so when people call me out on it, I can deny it and call them paranoid and thin-skinned, too!" sort of way.

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