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

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Ares
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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 3:32 am

As for the America Chavez book, for my money it really is a terrible book. That isn't to say that Chavez herself is a terrible character, from what I understand she was actually something of a fan favorite before her solo book. It's just that the writer is . . . well, she was a diversity hire. She wrote one young adult novel (admittedly, that's one more than I've written) and was hired because she was a lesbian Latina. She clearly doesn't really have a grasp of this whole "comic writing" thing, I'm not sure she really knows all that much about superheroes in general, and . . . well, she seems to believe some odd things.

For instance, when Moon Girl appears in the book, she talks about how rules are just a form of oppression meant to keep her down. She wonders why school days are a the length they are and why, despite allegedly being one of the smartest people on Earth, she isn't allowed to vote. And rather than this be an instance to explain why Moon Girl is wrong, everyone agrees with her in a way that suggests we're suppose to as well. Despite, you know, a simple Google search showing why those things are the way they are and that Moon Girl is demonstrating WHY 10 year olds are not allowed to vote regardless of their intelligence: because intelligence does not equal maturity. Likewise, when fighting an energy monster composed of pure white energy, Chavez says, "Well, pure white just means the absence of color…so let me give her a little of this brown fist!" For one thing, no, white is not the absence of color, it's the amalgam of all colors. And two . . . there's some weird connotations with that line.

The book also seems to fluctuate from a degree of self-awareness to a complete lack of one. For instance, when Chavez punches Hitler (totally not to upstage Capt. America), Peggy Carter points out that punching Nazis isn't actually the most effective way to deal with them. You need to take out their leadership, dismantle their organization, expose their villainy, etc. And good on her, since members of the extremes on both sides seem to enjoy labeling anyone they don't like a Nazi and advocate punching them (*cough*NICKSPENCER*cough*). But at the same time, you'll get things where America complains about saving some white kids (who admittedly were acting like complete tools) and complains about having to save "Some privileged white dorks". Just as a reminder, America is a Thing-class flying brick who can open portals between dimensions, who came from a place literally called "The Utopian Parallel", who has been welcomed by everyone who has met her and who, by all accounts, has never had to work a job or even really pay for anything. No mention is even really made of how she's paying for college. And yet she is going to bring up "white privilege". Though that's not surprising, Gabby apparently believes in the patriarchy as well.

America herself is . . . not a very likable character. She's shown as being short-tempered, petulant, aggressive, violent and judgemental . . . which means if she were over 6'1" she'd basically be Jab's ideal Amazon. And the book occasionally seems to remember that, with Peggy calling her out, her being unable to mediate under Storm's training, and even getting called out for being a "fraud". That latter part is weird, tho, because while the complaint is real (America had metaphorically turned off her hero-cellphone and ignored calls for help from these people), the way it's worded is more of a condemnation on superheroes in general: that they show up to deal with a problem, but when things "get real"(?) they leave. But apart from that, America is basically given tons upon tons of undeserved praise and emotional validation. The very first page of her comic is a bunch of established characters (some who had never interacted with her) talking about awesome America is. Peggy and Storm do the same. Rather than doing anything to endear the character to us, we're just told by other people that we should like her.

The other characters aren't really anymore likable. Probably the most likable character was America's girlfriend, which is a shame because we barely see her and she's broken up with immediately. Everyone else . . . well, lets see. The sorority that "befriends" America look like a bunch of idiots, talk like a bunch of idiots, act like a bunch of utterly unlikable idiots . . . and are America's more reliable allies in the series. The Chavez Gorillas from the Utopian Parallel are . . . well, exactly like the sorority. Kate Bishop is written with some of the most terrible dialogue I've ever read, enough to make Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison's exposition-speak sound natural. There is no one to root for in this book.

America also never faces any real challenges. Virtually every enemy she faces, she defeats with a single punch, or by pulling a Deus Ex Machina. She's never really challenged. The closest thing we get to a challenge is a boxing match with one of her ex-girlfriendes (who by all accounts is a normal human) and America just lets herself get beaten. When she gets swarmed by a bunch of Mindless Ones (who aren't written as mindless) and supervillains (including the Wrecking Crew), she basically takes them apart. There is no struggle in this book.

In addition to unlikable characters and unnatural dialogue, the plotting is all over the place. It takes until issue 3 and 4 to find out things like America's backstory, that the college she goes to is in another dimension, and the "time travel to get advice from different heroes" includes all of TWO heroes, when that seems to be much more of a long-term character growth arc, where there should have been many more heroes to get lessons from. And the main villain of the first arc is given no motivation, no reason for doing what it does, and it's beaten via time travel shenanigans due to powers Gabby just gave America out of nowhere.

The art is passable, ranging from decent to outright ugly at times, but then it becomes downright hideous when the second artist takes over.

So yeah, America is overall a very poorly put together book. Issue #1 was just the tip of the iceberg, and it only gets worse from there. And that's without bringing up all of the other weird things. For instance, America was bi-sexual originally, and one of the only (if not the only) bi-sexual heroes in Marvel. But Gabby made her gay because . . . well, Gabby was hired because she was gay and Latina, so she made the Latina looking alien gay instead of bi-sexual.

For another, the college that trains superhumans in the use of their powers. Not only is it in an other-dimensional "safe space" (their words), it's named after Sonia Maria Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court. Which isn't a bad thing in and of itself, if it were a regular college on Earth (and if she was dead, they usually don't dedicate schools to the living), but why is a college that exists in another dimension that teaches superheroes how to use their powers named after a Supreme Court Judge?

There's just a lot of bad and stupid in this book, and more than a little to cringe at.

The one funny thing I can say is that 4chan actually trolled the comic, sending in a letter mocklingly comparing the book to "The Room". Hilariously, the creative team took all of the sarcasm at face value, seeing it as genuine praise and not realizing they'd been mocked. I'm not someone who visits 4chan, but I have to admit, that's pretty funny.

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

Post by Jabroniville » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:48 am

I just read The Ultimates #100, which culminates in The Maker (Ultimate Reed) sending the Ultimate Universe "Ultimates" against this book's Ultimates (shockingly, though the Ultimate Universe ones are treated like the douches they are, it doesn't just crap all over them, and they get to help in the end), while Galactus attempts to fight The First Firmament (the being before beings existed). Very mind-screwy, fun book overall, and it caps off the whole Ultimates thing Ewing has been doing for a couple of years now.

The book's had a couple of issues. The sheer size and scope of it left some characters with little to say or do- the Black Panther & Captain Marvel haven't really done much. Monica Rambeau has her usual problem, even under Ewing (who LOVES the character, and has said so)- she's supposedly super-awesome, but she never really does or says anything that makes her out to be a big deal- she's just kind of "there". Why does even a fan of her write her as wallpaper? Adam "Blue Marvel" Brashear and America "Ares's Favorite Character" Chavez were a bit more fun.

The "New Universe" guys, introduced to much aplomb and giving all of their power-sets and origin stories in detail, end up not mattering in the end (even as Galactus summons his party of bad-asses, including Ego-With-A-Body and the Psi-Hawk). Seriously, they're not even named in the final issue- they just kinda hang around behind Galactus.

Surprisingly, it's not entirely Back To Basics, though Galactus kinda sets things down right. He's still gold, though (Ewing admits he was gonna change him back in the end, but enjoyed the gold one too much).

All in all, it was one of the better books Marvel was publishing, at least on an "artistic" level. Everything felt sufficiently "big", the Cosmic Beings weren't treated like lamebrain idiots (a recurring problem with Marvel), and it could be funny and fun despite being all epic and nonsensical.

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

Post by Ares » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:52 am

So Dan Slott apparently just admitted to cyber-harassing someone online to give them a taste of what he goes through every day.

The more I read about the guy, the more it does sound like the reason he obsesses with Otto Octavius is that he relates to him more than Peter Parker. It's not helped when he pulls moral equivalency stuff like this:
Nrama: With Superior Spider-Man, you’re writing Doc Ock as a lead character for really the first time, and a more long-term Doc Ock story than has really been seen before. We’re seeing the character put in very different situations, interacting with totally different characters. What kind of task has that been — approaching his mindset and his attitude in the position of a lead character?

Slott: He’s trying his best to be a hero, but he’s doing it in a very Doc Ock way. And Doc Ock’s an egotistical, annoying sh*t. It makes him an interesting character. At his core, he’s someone we don’t really think of heroic. But is he any more annoying than [former villain] Hawkeye used to be?
Yes Dan, Dr. Octopus, a guy who has tried to take over the world, eradicate huge sections of mankind, and has murdered people for profit, for nearly 60 years, is more annoying than Hawkeye, who maybe a year of real time as a villain before becoming an Avenger. Otto is a lot worse than annoying. He's a monster.

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

Post by Ares » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:23 am

You know, if anything Marvel is lucky that the other comic companies are taking it so easy on them. Because the last two events would be amazingly easy to parody.

Civil War 2, the event designed to give us Hero vs Hero, once again tried to give us a moral quandary that would make both sides have some legitimacy. Instead it ran into the same problem Civil War 1 did where the writers felt one side was in the right, and in their minds they needed to legitimize the other side by making the "right" side do some cartoonishly evil things. Civil War 2 had Carol Danvers violate human rights, start a pointless war with heroes that got several of them killed, basically murdered Tony Stark, arrested people without due process, and was rewarded for it by being named Earth's most popular hero and given command of several superhero teams. And it killed off one of Marvel's oldest black heroes.

Secret Empire was just a mess, turning a main hero into a literal Nazi, claiming the Nazi version was the "real" version of the character, claiming the Cosmic Cube wouldn't be used to fix things, when it was totally used to fix things, and partially resolving the plot by having an Inhuman with the Deus Ex Machina ability to vomit up whatever he wants to literally barf up a chunk of the Cosmic Cube.

I mean, if I was DC I would be making fun of that for the next year. Some annoying character keeps proposing to use Pre-Crime to solve problems and the heroes just keep pointing out "no, this is wrong and immoral, and stupid".

Marvel Legacy is turning out to be a different kind of joke, basically having these crossovers between the current replacement heroes and the classic heroes to show that the current heroes are better than the originals. The Wolverine crossover is basically X-23 being shown to be vastly better than Wolverine at everything, the Thor specifically had Jane meet up with a pre-Mjolnir Thor who was unworthy to make her look good, Carol meets up with a Mar-Vel who doesn't know her (even though he should at that point) and she has to come to his rescue after he promises to look out for her, etc. The Iron Man crossover with Riri Williams is actually a complete lie, as instead of meeting with Tony in the classic armor, she goes to the future where Tony has basically become Sorcerer Supreme and taken over the planet, but it's treated as a good thing. And she goes there basically just to be told that she's going to be known as one of the greatest inventors in the galaxy, while not really doing anything in the issue.

The only issues that were kind of decent was the Hulk and Hawkeye books. The Hulk one was almost by accident, as it basically shows the struggle Bruce Banner went through while Amadeus is acting like a goon. Meanwhile the Hawkeye book actually had mutual respect between two heroes, with Clint actually being the old, competent Hawkeye and not the Matt Fraction/Occupy Avengers bumbling idiot.

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

Post by Ares » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:08 pm

I also came across this article from a little under two years ago: http://theralphretort.com/stan-lee-tell ... e-6025015/

Stan Lee: “I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way,” he said. “But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that.

I think the world has a place for gay superheroes, certainly,” he said. “But again, I don’t see any reason to change the sexual proclivities of a character once they’ve already been established. I have no problem with creating new, homosexual superheroes.”

It has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that,” he said. “Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss. I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to. Hell, I’ll do it myself.”

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