Marvel’s Champions – The Youth Shall Lead Us

Back in March, Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos ended their eighteen issue run on Champions, the team they introduced in 2016.  Consisting of Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Nova, Viv Vision, the Hulk, and Cyclops, these teens united with the very real belief they could make the world better.  While adult superheroes tend to spend all their time with things like supervillains, monsters, alien invasions, and stupid/senseless/pointless Civil Wars, these kids sought to tackle real issues, believing in their potential to fix things and inspire others to do the same in the process.  This run was one of the most important things Marvel’s produced of late, a story that speaks to their youthful readers while reminding us older ones what’s worth fighting for by showing us what real heroes do. Continue reading

Advertisements

Age Of Ultron: An Underrated Avengers Sequel

I’ve had two conversations recently, one with Jeff (of the Imperial Talker) and one with Rob (from My Side Of The Laundry Room).  Both centered around how Avengers: Age Of Ultron seems to be unfairly maligned by many when considering the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I would agree – the film is much better than it often gets credit for.  As I’ve been making my way through my Mega Marvel Movie Marathon in preparation for Avengers: Infinity War, I realized something else.  If I was to teach a film from the MCU in one of my classes, (with the exception of the Guardians Of The Galaxy films) Avengers: Age Of Ultron is the one which would fit the best and allow for the most philosophically-oriented discussions. Continue reading

Thor Odinson vs. Roxxon: You Can’t Serve Two Masters

In preparation for my paper on Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor at the ACA/PCA Conference on Popular Culture at the end of the month, I’ve finished reading his entire Thor: God Of Thunder series.  Following Gorr the God Butcher, Aaron introduces another villain who is equally rich in menace and theological significance.  Dario Agger, CEO of Roxxon Energy Corporation, will challenge first the Odinson and then Jane Foster when she becomes Thor.  In continuing his exploration of what makes a worthy god Aaron uses Agger as the personification of two of our most sinful and dangerous traits – the idolatrous worship of wealth and wanton environmental destruction.  These then are the forces a worthy god opposes.  Continue reading

Thor’s Battle with Gorr the God Butcher: A Question of Divine Implications

Jason Aaron began his run writing Thor: God Of Thunder by introducing the villainous Gorr the God Butcher.  For millennia Gorr travelled the cosmos, killing all immortal beings he encountered in the most macabre fashions he could imagine.  The story is obviously rich with theological implications, considering both the nature and purpose of our ideas of the divine as well as introducing the question that will form the core of Aaron’s run to date – what is a worthy god?  In preparation for a paper I’ll be presenting on Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor at the ACA/PCA Conference on Popular Culture next month, I’ve been reading all of Aaron’s work with Thor (both Odinson and Jane Foster).  My research also led me to many articles interpreting Aaron’s work as a sort of atheistic manifesto, something I felt warranted further discussion. Continue reading

Who is Rey?: An Avatar as a (Possible) Answer

As we inch ever closer to The Last Jedi, my excitement continues to mount.  No matter how much I tell myself not to get my expectations too high, I can’t help but speculate!  As I’ve said before, this random and excited speculating is part of the fun of Star Wars.  I remember the months leading up to The Force Awakens were filled with hours and hours of pondering and hypothesizing.  What will happen??  Who are these new characters??  How will the fit into the world of Star Wars?!?  Geeking out with other Star Wars fans is one of life’s great joys :).  And like many fans of the Saga, I’ve been spending a lot of time puzzling over who Rey really is and how she fits into the Force.  Somewhat unexpectedly, the answer I keep coming back to that makes the most sense comes care of Hinduism. Continue reading

Deadpool Does Secret Empire!

I’m about to write a line I never expected to write.  Are you ready?  Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne, and Matteo Lolli’s Deadpool is the best Secret Empire tie-in I’ve read.  By far.  Without question.  No contest.  Now, I love me some Deadpool!  But with Sam Wilson: Captain America and Steve Rogers: Captain America and Champions and all the one shots (Uprising, Underground, and United) being on my pull list, I never thought ol’ Wade Wilson’s tale would be the best.  But it is!  Deadpool presents the everyman’s tale inside this massive, emotionally-heavy crossover event.  It shows Secret Empire from the perspective of the “regular person” trapped within this system, struggling against the banality of evil growing around them while having no choice but to play their part in the new regime. Continue reading

The Mighty Thor and the Nature of God

Ever since Jane Foster picked up Mjölnir and became Thor, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been delivering the most exciting, original, and thoughtful stories – all gorgeously rendered – I’ve ever found in the pages of The Mighty Thor.  Sure, I loved Tom DeFalco’s Thunder God, my intro to the character.  I’ve enjoyed the other versions I’ve read too.  (And who doesn’t love Chris Hemsworth?)  But Jane Foster’s the mightiest Thor for me.  Their most recent arc, “The Asgard/Shi’ar War,” is a perfect example of why this has become my definitive take on Thor.  It features what all the best Thor stories do – a wild cosmic landscape, universe-spanning clashes between celestial beings and alien forces, layered/interesting characters – while also offering an elegant theological commentary on the ontological nature of both humanity and divinity. Continue reading