Black Widow: Forever Red – Some Thoughts on YA

A month or so ago Jeff alerted me to the exciting reality that Barnes & Noble (at least the one by him) had the hardcover editions of BOTH Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow novels – Black Widow: Forever Red and Black Widow: Red Vengeance – in their bargain section.  A hurried trip to and quick investigation of my local Barnes & Noble yielded the same prize!  I love Margaret Stohl’s work on the Captain Marvel seriesI love Black Widow as a character.  So, naturally, they both came home with me.  Given all the grading that comes with the end of the school year, I didn’t have the chance to read either until now.  I finished the first novel, Black Widow: Forever Red, the other day and I enjoyed a great deal of it…but it also highlighted one of the problems I find at times with YA novels in general.  And this, I felt, warranted a little reflection. Continue reading

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From Tony to Riri and Back Again: Considering Iron Man’s Return

This week’s New Comic Book Day brings two major Marvel milestones.  The first, Tony Stark returns to active duty as the Armored Avenger, shaking off the coma that’s sidelined him since the end of Civil War II.  The second, The Invincible Iron Man #600 marks Brian Michael Bendis’s final Marvel comic.  There’s lots to reflect on with Bendis’s move to DC, to be sure.  However, as someone who writes often of the vital importance of Legacy Characters on this site, I’d rather discuss something else.  What does it mean for Riri Williams – for Ironheart – to have Tony return? Continue reading

Jason Aaron’s Avengers #1 and Free Comic Book Day 2018

I’m not one for team books.  I used to be but, by and large, I just can’t get into them now (minus the incredible exceptions of Mark Waid’s Champions and Gerry Duggan’s Guardians Of The Galaxy).  I find them to be crossover hubs and often more action heavy then character focused.  However, like Lewis Black and candy corn, I can’t stop trying them.  This week, motivated by my love of his work on The Mighty Thor and knowing I’d see them in my Free Comic Book Day selections anyway, I decided to give Jason Aaron, Ed Mcguinness, and David Curiel’s new take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes a try…sadly, I wasn’t impressed.  Thankfully, I have higher hopes for my other Free Comic Book Day picks! Continue reading

Avengers: Infinity War – Expectations vs. Reality

I wasn’t planning on writing about Avengers: Infinity War for a while.  My post on Black Panther has only begun to form in my mind – there’s so much to explore; I wasn’t certain what I’d say.  However, there’s not as much in Avengers: Infinity War (or rather, there’s a lot of stuff in Avengers: Infinity War but not as much depth) as there is in Black Panther.  For whatever reason, an idea began to form after my first viewing.  Now, two showings in, I’m (surprisingly) ready to talk about it.  HOWEVER – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT – THIS PIECE WILL HAVE ALL SORTS OF SPOILERS SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM YOURSELF.  TRUST ME, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR DESERVES IT.  OKAY?  OKAY.  THANK YOU.  I HATE spoilers but I didn’t want to write a vague, superficial piece.  I think the film deserves more than that too.  So, when the idea came, I decided to run with it.  With that being said, let’s begin. Continue reading

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

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

“I Don’t Have Anyone But You”: Love in the MCU

There’s nothing quite as important to human existence as love.  Love should define the core of all our relationships – with our significant other, our families, our friends, our God, and (though we often disregard this) ourselves.  As such, love has always been a central feature – in message as well as in inspiration – of many of our artistic works.  Love fills our novels, our pop songs, our films (from rom coms like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days to deep, philosophical examinations like Her), our paintings, our plays, and even our comic books.  Being such a foundational part of our lives, we continue to seek and explore it, always and in all ways.  It should come as no surprise then that we find lots of looks at love in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  But, of all the relationships and flirtationships Marvel’s given us, there’s only one power couple – Pepper Potts and Tony Stark. Continue reading