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

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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

Spider-Man: Worldwide – I’m Finally, Fully HOME

This is an important post for this site.  Well, it’s an important post for me I guess, that’s a better way to put it.  It doesn’t have a strong, driving social justice message.  It isn’t a call to action.  It isn’t a heavy analysis or anything like that.  But for the first time in almost twenty years, I’m finally reading The Amazing Spider-Man again every month.   For someone who’s always loved Spider-Man as much as I do, this is important.  It turns out, being back in the current life of Peter Parker means even more to me than I thought it would. 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

…..really?? – Marvel Legacy Edition

I enjoy writing impassioned pieces here.  There is a special sort of joy that comes from something born of your heart and soul taking shape in your writing.  I also like to pride myself on writing informed and researched pieces.  I’m not one to rant emotionally with nothing to base it on.  However, one of the early posts on this blog was titled “…..really?” and it dealt with my shock and frustration over the (now infamous) Hydra Cap reveal.  I’ve come to deeply respect what’s come of the story and I’ll openly admit I was wrong.  Buuuut sometimes you just need to rant so I’m taking the title of that piece – “…..really??” – and turning it into an occasional series where I react to an idea before I really have any idea what’s up :).  Today’s focus is Marvel Legacy! Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man : Confronting the Darkness Within

Of the many tropes to regularly wind their way through the Spider-Man comics over the years, the one that always wears on me is when some chain of events cause the “friendly neighborhood” attitude to drop from Spidey’s modus operandi and we see Peter become a dark, serious vigilante.  What can I say?  I like my Spider-Man to be a light, happy, inspiring character.  If I wanted glum and grim I’d read more Batman.  However, Dan Slott (who I’m learning more and more is nothing if not an inventive writer (who really loves Spider-Man)) upended this approach with The Superior Spider-Man.  One of the many things to happen to the web-head during the nineteen years I wasn’t reading his comics was Doctor Octopus stole his body and life for a time.  With Ock wearing the webs, we find our angrier Spider-Man but wrapped inside a tale of transformation and redemption. Continue reading