Captain Marvel and the Skrulls – The Borders of a Hero’s Courage

When Captain Marvel opened on 8 March 2019 it was kind of a big deal.  After a decade of dragging their feet, Marvel Studios was finally putting the solo spotlight on one of their female superheroes.  Brie Larson was bringing Earth’s mightiest hero – Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel – to life!  This film would also mark the entrance of the Skrulls into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The Skrulls, a shapeshifting alien race, have plagued the (comic) Marvel Universe since the ‘60s.  As happened with Black Panther/Avengers: Infinity War the year before, it was a shame Avengers: Endgame came out so soon after Captain Marvel.  Attention from this brilliant film was quickly redirected first to speculation about, then reaction to, and finally analysis of Avengers: Endgame.  But there is so much in Captain Marvel that warrants a closer look, one point in particular being the Skrulls themselves. Continue reading

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Too Much Like Movie Stars: Gerry Duggan’s All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy

I started this li’l series a while ago, when I finally read Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy run, the comics that inspired James Gunn’s films.  I had so much fun writing about my experience of meeting the Guardians in that way, as I continued my journey through their comics, I did another post about Brian Michael Bendis’s time writing the title.  Naturally, next up is Gerry Duggan.  I feel enough time has passed (now that we’re seven months into the Donny Cates run) that I can thoughtfully reflect on Duggan’s vision of the team.  For me, this ended up being a shocking-yet-classic example of the truth of being careful what you wish for… Continue reading

NATALIE PORTMAN IS COMING BACK!!! JANE FOSTER IS BECOMING THOR IN THE MCU!!!

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH PEOPLE!!!!  I’m never one to get crazy excited about the San Diego Comic Con announcements (or any con for that matter).  I read about ’em, sure.  I get excited about what’s revealed, of course.  But I’m not one to follow everything live on Twitter or YouTube or anything.  I certainly don’t normally write about reveals and things like that.  But Natalie Portman is returning and Jane Foster is becoming The Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder and this is a real thing that’s really happening.  And I was just too darn excited so I had to write something!  It is time to celebrate good times, c’mon!  WOOO HOOO!!! Continue reading

Spider-Man and The Spider Family: A Look At What Might Have Been…

This is the latest installment in my series exploring romantic archetypes in literature and in life through Spider-Man comics.  So far I’ve used Peter’s relationship with the Black Cat as a lens to examine our relationships with the people we can’t stop flirting with even though we know it’ll be trouble yet we passionately jump in anyway.  Then I used Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane to consider the idea of a Soul Mate as well as the experience of finding and losing “the one.”  This time I’m looking at the alternate reality comic series The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows as a way to contemplate the romantic idea of the “What if…?” person (or people) we all have in our lives. Continue reading

Spider-Man: Life Story – An Evocative Argument for Letting Superheroes Age

I’m not trying to be hyperbolic when I say, Spider-Man: Life Story is the future of the comic book industry.  Now I don’t mean to imply the comics industry as a whole is going to follow Chip Zdarsky’s elegant lead with every comic.  I’m just saying I think they should.  In Spider-Man: Life Story, Zdarsky (accompanied by my all-time favorite Spidey artist Mark Bagley (yay!)) explores what Peter Parker’s life could have been like had he aged naturally, with each issue of this six issue miniseries touching on one decade in Peter’s life.  For example issue #1 is set in 1966, four years after Peter was bitten by the radioactive spider (as Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spidey in 1962 (see how that works?)).  Issue #2 looks at the ‘70s and so on as Peter ages in real time.  He isn’t perpetually stuck in his late 20’s or early 30’s.  Four issues in, I’ll confidently say this will stand as one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told.  It’s the most interested I’ve been in Peter Parker’s adventures as Spider-Man in almost twenty years too.  In allowing Peter to age, Zdarsky has illustrated the hidden potential of the comic book genre. Continue reading

How To Top Thanos Vol. 1 – Annihilus

The first generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – now officially “The Infinity Saga”[1] – has come to a close with Avengers: Endgame.  While I’m only beginning to process all the film had to offer, I still can’t help imagining what will come next.  More Black Panther!  More Captain Marvel!  More Dr. Strange!  Plus we know there are movies in the works for new characters like the Eternals and Shang-Chi.[2]  But, as the name “Infinity Saga” implies, it’s not all about the heroes.  The name points towards the reality that the past eleven years and twenty-two films all led to our heroes’ iconic encounter with the Mad Titan Thanos, in an attempt to stop his destruction of half of all life with the Infinity Stones.  So, thinking of the future of the MCU naturally begs the question…what villain comes next?  Who can possibly follow Thanos??  My (first) guess?  Annihilus – the Living Death that Walks.  BOOM. Continue reading

#DontSpoilTheEndgame – What Compels Us to Spoil Things?

In the weeks leading up to Avengers: Endgame, I did what any conscientious fan has to do now – I got off social media, stopped reading any and all articles online, and stopped viewing video clips and interviews with the cast and the Russos.  I didn’t want the conclusion of a story I’ve watched unfold for a decade inadvertently spoiled for me.  In the days leading up to the film and the days following its release, the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame began to trend as the stars of the film and the Marvel Studios/Disney marketing machine urged people not to ruin anything for the fans who hadn’t seen it yet.  Of course people still did.  Then Marvel Studios/Disney did.  Apparently the whole “don’t spoil it” thing’s cutoff is two weekends.  Then the spoilers came fast and they were BIG.  It leaves me asking, what is wrong with people??  Why must we publicly discuss twists/the end at all? Continue reading