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

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

…..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

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

New American Resistance – 26 June

I’m returning to form this week, after last week’s more personal and theological reflection on the Kingdom of God and how it affects my personal politics.  As always, it seems there’s a lot to cover.  Let’s see…ah, the GOP’s still trying to rob many of the fundamental human right of health care in the name of profit and power.  That being said, let’s get to it shall we?  This series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice.  We must be aware.  We must be vocal.  We must be active.  We must be loving.  This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world. Continue reading

New American Resistance – 14 March

Our health care is under attack.  Yes, the ACA is far from perfect.  But to repeal it and hastily replace it with the AHCA is dangerous.  People will lose coverage.  People won’t be able to afford treatment/medication.  People will die as a result of this action.  I am not being hyperbolic nor am I being histrionic.  This is the fact of the matter.  The GOP wants so badly to roll back everything that Obama accomplished they are willing to literally play with people’s lives.  WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN.  So we must unite.  We must cry out.  We must let our voices be heard.  This weekly series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice.  We must be aware.  We must be vocal.  We must be active.  We must be loving.  This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world. Continue reading

So…let’s all try to be Champions

The opening page of Champions #5 shows a mosque in flames.  As this angry, ignorant, intolerant hate crime burns, the Champions arrive in Daly County to help.  Sure, they’ve had traditional superhero skirmished before.  But their focus is on something larger.  They honestly believe they can make the world a better place.  Guided by that belief, the Champions are working to honor the vow they made in issue #1.  Ms. Marvel told Spider-Man and Nova, ” All the ‘grown-up’ heroes broke the world with this dumb war…and they don’t seem interested in putting it back together!  Somebody has to!”  That’s the Champions. Continue reading

Captain America and the Defense of the American Dream

What do we make of today?  With the inauguration of our 45th president we, the American people, are facing an unprecedented age.  It was a difficult, divisive election to be sure.  We looked deeply into our own darkness, leaving many wounds in need of healing.  Hostile foreign powers played with our politics and we, by and large, let them.  Republicans didn’t care because it helped them claim the power they so desperately coveted.  Democrats didn’t say much either, afraid that they’d appear to be using foreign affairs to play dirty partisan politics like their rivals.  Now we have a carnival huckster, a reality TV showman ascending to the highest elected office in our land – a man who seems to know little of, and care even less for, our Constitution.  It all feels unreal, like a dystopian novel.  What will the presidency of Donald Trump herald?  I have no idea.  What do we do?  For that, I have a clearer picture.  For that, we have Captain America to guide us. Continue reading