The Irreplaceable Brilliance of Black Widow

In 2010, Scarlett Johansson brought Natasha Romanoff – the Russian assassin turned S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy turned Avenger, the Black Widow – to life in Iron Man 2.  Since then, she’s appeared in seven different Marvel movies, more than any other Avenger save Iron Man (nine) and Captain America (eight (and the only reason Cap beats her is because he has cameos in TWO films)).  In addition to screen time, I would also argue the Black Widow is more important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, story-wise, than any other Avenger save Tony or Cap.  Despite that, we still have yet to see a Black Widow solo movie.  Yet, as one of the MCU’s richest creations, she’s worthy of serious acclaim.  This piece has been rolling around in my head for some time.  Given Avengers: Infinity War’s release this week has me looking back, getting nostalgic over, and celebrating the MCU, it seemed like the perfect time to finally write it. Continue reading

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The Great Chris Debate! Part 2: Chris Evans

Guest Post by Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2

This week, Michael of My Comic Relief, Kalie of Just Dread-full, Nancy, and I are going head to head – trying to decide which cinematic superhero Chris is best!!! Yesterday, Michael posted a pretty good case for Chris Pratt. However, read on to see my case for the obvious choice, Chris Evans ;D Continue reading

A Tale of Two Caps

In the wake of Secret Empire’s conclusion, Nick Spencer stepped away from Captain America, the title he shepherded for Marvel from October 2015 through September 2017.  During this time he handled the majority of Sam Wilson’s iconic turn as Cap as well as the (infamously controversial) Hydra corruption of Steve Rogers, resulting in Steve becoming a fanatical white supremacist.  Amidst the most soul-crushing, hopeless storyline I’ve ever read in a comic, Spencer orchestrated the resurrection of hope in a way so authentically powerful, I felt as though I’d been reborn along with Steve Rogers.  Now, in the Marvel Legacy era, Rodney Barnes has taken over writing the brand-new Falcon series while Mark Waid has taken over Captain America.  For me, the results have been mixed. Continue reading

Secret Empire’s Finale: Salvation in Hope

Nick Spencer’s Secret Empire came to a close on August 30th with Secret Empire #10.  As I read the final chapter, I knew I’d write something about it.  I’ve written about Secret Empire a few times and I’m pretty open about my love and respect for Sam Wilson: Captain America.  But I didn’t want to write something right away.  Secret Empire’s finale deserved more than my knee-jerk reaction.  I wanted to take time to really think about it before I tried to write anything.  It was an elegant story, equal parts epic superhero crossover and haunting allegory of our times.  But it didn’t stop there, daring to speak to one of our most intimate and eternal human struggles.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Thank you Nick Spencer for such a thoughtful, moving, important, and inspiring story.  And thank you Marvel for backing such courageous storytellingContinue reading

Reading Captain America #25 in the Wake of Charlottesville

Last week Nick Spencer delivered one of Secret Empire’s most important pieces yet in Captain America #25.  I knew when I read it, I’d be writing about it.  But I hadn’t expected to do so this quickly.  However, as I watched the news unfold on Saturday, I couldn’t get this issue out of my mind.  The comic, dropping “Sam Wilson” from the title with this issue, is simply Captain America once more.  The narrative juxtaposes the approach of two very different Captain Americas.  The allegory is clear.  Who do we choose?  Who are we?  It’s a question calling each reader to deep contemplation on a personal and national level, a question I ask myself daily. Continue reading

Captain America, Black Lives Matter, and the Systemic Sin of Racism

When it comes to Nick Spencer’s work we’re all currently focused on Secret Empire.  With good reason too!  The story’s proved as brilliant as it is important.  But in the wake of the June 16th verdict acquitting Office Jeronimo Yanez of the murder of Philando Castile, I think we need to return to Spencer’s final arc in Sam Wilson: Captain America before Secret Empire began.  In Sam Wilson: Captain America #17-21, Cap finds himself facing America’s oldest systemic sin – institutionalized racism.  The story is uncomfortable to read but when we look at the news with open eyes it makes us uncomfortable too.  The idea that we’ve somehow beaten racism in this country or that it’s not a major problem anymore or that we need to “get over it and move on” is an effect of this sin.  In having Captain America confront it, Nick Spencer proves once again why he’s one of my favorite comic writers.  Who better than Captain America to wrestle with this country’s systemic sins and raise important questions about our future? Continue reading

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