The Power of Hope in Secret Empire

This is a piece I felt I had to write.  I’ve been open about my disdain for Marvel’s seemingly endless stream of major event crossovers.  I love their comics, their characters, and their creative talent…but I avoid these cash-grab events like a plague, often dropping heavy tie-in titles from my pull list.  Yet a few weeks back I wrote of my struggle with “Secret Empire.”  While I don’t like these events, I have great respect for/trust in Nick Spencer as an author so I wanted to give this one a shot.  Today, four issues in (counting the Free Comic Book Day offering), I have to say the series is worth every penny!  While Secret Empire is obviously Marvel’s big summer event it’s also a story with a point, purpose, and message and that makes all the difference in the world. Continue reading

Captain America and the Defense of the American Dream

What do we make of today?  With the inauguration of our 45th president we, the American people, are facing an unprecedented age.  It was a difficult, divisive election to be sure.  We looked deeply into our own darkness, leaving many wounds in need of healing.  Hostile foreign powers played with our politics and we, by and large, let them.  Republicans didn’t care because it helped them claim the power they so desperately coveted.  Democrats didn’t say much either, afraid that they’d appear to be using foreign affairs to play dirty partisan politics like their rivals.  Now we have a carnival huckster, a reality TV showman ascending to the highest elected office in our land – a man who seems to know little of, and care even less for, our Constitution.  It all feels unreal, like a dystopian novel.  What will the presidency of Donald Trump herald?  I have no idea.  What do we do?  For that, I have a clearer picture.  For that, we have Captain America to guide us. Continue reading

The Politics of Captain America

Since taking over the writing duties for Sam Wilson: Captain America in October of 2015, Nick Spencer has had a bit of a polarizing run.  There was already dissent (as there always is…sigh) over the fact that Sam Wilson had taken up Steve Rogers’ shield (with Steve’s blessing) as Captain America since he’d lost his Super Soldier Serum.  Far from shying away from the controversy though Spencer has embraced it.  In addition to the usual super villain set, Sam’s confronted polarizing political issues including immigration, racism, corporate greed, using fear to sell a political message, and police brutality.  This naturally begs the question – should a character like Captain America embrace a political message at all? Continue reading

Many Faces, One Symbol

On July 6th, Marvel announced that after the conclusion of Civil War II a young woman named Riri Williams will take over for Tony Stark as Iron Man.  Fandom reacted as it always does.  There was intrigue.  There was optimism.  There was excitement.  Annnd there were the usual (tired) cries of it being a p.c.-driven agenda or proof that Marvel is out of ideas, echoed in the familiar refrain of, “I don’t mind a female/minority/etc. superhero…but why can’t they have their own identity??”  But I’d like to argue if you think Spider-Man is simply Peter Parker, you’ve missed the entire point.  Spider-Man represents so much more than Peter Parker.  Spider-Man is a symbol, an ideal.  The more people we see picking up that mantle, the more people we see embodying that symbol, the better.  This is as true for Spider-Man as it is for Iron Man or any comic book superhero. Continue reading

…..really??

Before we begin, let me make two things clear.  First, this will be a TOTALLY spoiler-filled post about Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 which went on sale today.  So, if you don’t want it spoiled please, please, please don’t read this!  Second, this is my complete, emotional knee-jerk reaction to the comic.  It won’t be a long, thoughtful post.  This is a short discussion of my immediate reaction.  But I had to say it all the same.  Are you still with me?  Okay… Continue reading

Team Iron Man: A Treatise

It’s been a week and a half since Captain America: Civil War was released and excitedly exceeded all of our expectations.  And we learned once again that the best movies in the MCU are consistently the ones starring Captain America.  Captain America: The First Avenger was a moving period piece with an ending more sad and painful than anything I’d ever seen in a comic book film.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller that was equal parts escapist fun and social commentary.  Now Captain America: Civil War manages to be the darkest and most emotionally complex of the Marvel movies to date while also still being incredibly fun.  I’ve seen it four times now and it gets better with each viewing!  This blog didn’t exist for me to talk about all this opening weekend so I’m doing it now.  However, this might be the better approach anyway as there’s less chance of spoiling anything.  Regardless, this is your warning – SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.  Now, with that out of the way, let’s see why Iron Man is right…even if Cap’s name is in the title. Continue reading