Like many, I had feelings when I read Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr.’s Amazing Spider-Man #26 Wednesday evening. The feelings were such that they generated a piece just a few days after the comic came out. However, I don’t think they were the feelings the creative team intended (though I have no way of knowing for sure). So I figured a li’l piece to unpack those feelings and explore what happened in this issue was in order. Billed as a “monumental story” which would be “the most shocking issue of Amazing Spider-Man in fifty years,” the death of someone close to Peter Parker/Spider-Man was teased. Fifty years after the death of Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121, it appeared another tragedy was on the horizon. This all came to a head as Spidey, Ms. Marvel, the Gold Goblin, and the Fantastic Four battled to protect Mary Jane, her partner Paul, and their two children, Owen and Stephanie, from Rabin, the mathematician-cum-zealot-cum-would-be vessel of the demonic deity Wayep.
As one would expect, SPOILERS for Amazing Spider-Man #26 follow.
Though this story has been widely reported already so maybe they aren’t SPOILERS? Still, you’ve been warned.
I try to guard myself against the “it’s newest so it’s the best EVER” reaction that often permeates fandoms. We can tend to live and breathe a movie or a show as soon as it premieres, reworking our rank lists to show how this is the best ever…until the next new movie or show in that universe comes out. I get the excitement. I often share it myself! But I’m always cautious about saying “best” when reflecting on a new movie or show. Yet it’s impossible to deny the sheer beauty and joy of Disney+’s Ms. Marvel show. Each episode fills my heart in a way nothing else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has. As far as I’m concerned, it is easily the most joyful entry in the MCU. I think it’s far and away the most important show Disney+ has done so far, too. And it may well be the best. We’ll see ;D. So I want to explore these emotions through the lens of how Kamala’s powers changed for the Disney+ show…in a way that’s far closer to her comic roots than I first realized.
A few years ago, when I was counting down to my hundredth post on this site, I profiled the four comic books I’d found since my return to reading comics which had become indispensable to my reading life. These were the comics that, even if I stopped collecting comics again, I couldn’t imagine putting down. They showcased, for me, the best of what a comic could offer while doing things I never imagined a comic book could. They were (in the order I wrote about them in my countdown), Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW’s Ghostbusters, and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Thinking of those titles now, I can still feel the burgeoning excitement and awe that accompanied my return to comic reading. They also make me think of impermanence. Continue reading →
When I was growing up, no one talked about comic books, not really. Sometimes teachers would disparage comics as books for kids who could not—or would not—read. Sometimes librarians would do the same. Even five years ago, I still knew teachers and librarians who did not believe reading comics counted as reading. Perhaps there were students in my classes who did read comics. But, in a culture where liking comics was equated with laziness and stupidity, I can see why no one would have dared to talk about them. Continue reading →
Do you know what super villains Ms. Marvel fought in her latest issue? She fought Gerrymandering and apathy. FOR REAL. I put the comic down as convinced as ever that G. Willow Wilson is one of the most important comic book writers of our modern age. I promise I’m not being hyperbolic. Rather, this issue is a perfect example of why we need her writing. I wanted to spotlight the four comics I could never cut from my pull list as I count down to my 100th post. I literally just finished Ms. Marvel #13 a moment ago (I know, I’m behind) and knew I had to start here. How could I ever stop reading a comic that leaves me so inspired?? Continue reading →
As I was re-reading some recent issues of Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel this afternoon I had an odd experience. Each comic left the Guns ‘n’ Roses song “Civil War” playing louder and louder on repeat in my mind. As I read (or re-read) Kamala and Miles’ solo adventures each month I find myself wondering where the story could be if it didn’t have to tie into a massive crossover. And as I let my thoughts wander I found myself continuously singing, “I don’t need your civil war…” Continue reading →
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 →
The Goodreads Top Five Wednesday post for this week was an interesting one. Essentially you’re to compile a list of five of your favorite posts. So basically I’m putting together my (still very young) blog’s Greatest Hits. Now I just have to hope that this list is like Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 Greatest Hits album where he went on to make (and continues to make!) some of the best music of his career after he released it and not something like Poison’s Greatest Hits 1986-1996 where it was an awesome album…but then not so much great new material afterwards. (Although, giving credit where credit is due, they did a wonderfully fun cover of “SexyBack” in 2007.) I’ve also included little (new) summaries of the posts and why they made the cut. So there’s new material here too. Anyway, let’s see which posts made the cut! Continue reading →
It should go without saying that Islam is a beautiful religion, deserving of reverence and respect. Sadly and disturbingly, we live in a world where this still needs to be said. So in this age of increasing (and terrifying) intolerance, we need Kamala Khan. In this young Muslim, first generation Pakistani-American teenager who becomes the new Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson has created the single most important hero of our age. This is the most overtly theological post I’ve done so far and, as such, it’s very personal. Exploring the intersection of the joy of comic books, living a life of faith, and teaching theology leads me to explore part of the very core of who I am. Continue reading →
There were two powerful and seductive forces that pulled me back into the world of comic book collecting. Those forces are named Jeff and Kalie. As I discussed in my first post, I stopped collecting comic books around the time I turned sixteen, as comic money turned into gas money. For seventeen years I was only peripherally aware of what was happening in the lives of my favorite comic characters. But those seventeen years would fall away (with surprisingly little resistance) last fall. And again, all the credit (and/or blame) for my return to this wonderfully addicting and captivating world can be laid at the feet of Jeff and Kalie. Continue reading →