In this last year, a lot has happened in the world of superheroes. There’s been good (Spiderman: Homecoming), bad (Justice League), and ugly (fan reaction to Hydra Captain America). Many major events that changed how we look at our heroes. In some cases, have changed the heroes themselves. It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me so, for your pleasure, I will let you know how I feel about a few of these.
After the new 52 experiment has run it’s course, DC execs realized that they need to fix their universe. It was an interesting idea though. Take what Marvel did with their Ultimate universe and re-package their entire roster for the new generation, then re-introduce them. But do it to the main universe. Marvel’s Ultimate Universe had quite a few successes but also many failures when it comes to their characters. But having them in a separate universe first allowed them to eventually bring the best of the Ultimate Universe into the main. DC, of course, ever the innovator, did the exact opposite. They merged the best of the original into the new. Honestly, I did like some of new 52. Cyborgs new motherbox based origin and how the League formed to face the armies of Apokolips were good stories.
This story, I feel, got a bad rap. The overall story arc was good and it took a character to places we would have never even suspected. Despite that it was met with disdain and vitriol. So now that I’m back, I’m gonna set the record straight by addressing some of the biggest complaints I’ve read (And I scoured the internet to find the most common complaints). “This is just an attention grabbing ploy to sell books and make headlines”. Duh!! Despite what you think, comic books is a business. The best way to sell more books sometimes is shock value. “A Nazi Captain America sends the wrong message”. What message? At what point did they portray undermining and betraying friends as a good thing. Other than revealing the propaganda used to brainwash him, his Hydra activities were shown only to be negative for the world. “Considering the current political climate, this is bad timing”. You’re right. We should wait til all of the world’s problems are solved before we tell any interesting stories. And Finally, “Think of the children!” Because kids are dumb and they’ll never figure out that Nazi Cap is bad. OR, they’re not stupid and will know this is a story and good will eventually triumph. Good Cap returns and all is well. Quit Griping and recognize it for what it is. A simple “Good guy goes bad for a while” trope that, as always, get undone in the end. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Or not. Whatever.
Marvel is definitely riding high on the hog with their movie franchise, right now. The comedic take on Thor: Ragnarok was very entertaining (though it did blunt the impact of what could have been some pretty dramatic scenes). The highlight, though, is Black Panther. One of the biggest issues with Marvel has been the villains. “Grrrrrr. I do bad things because evil. Bwah ha ha!” Black Panther actually gave us a relate-able villain. A guy that makes you think “You know, he kinda has a point”. Not since Loki did we have a villain we felt any sympathy for. I’m hoping they do Thanos justice. He’s one of my favorites in the comics but they can easily miss the mark in the movie. If they just use him as another “hate me cause I’m evil” kind of bad guy then it can be anticlimactic. If they give me some insight on why he’s doing what he’s doing, and it makes sense, then they can hit a home run. We know all the heroes involved now. Tell us Thanos’ story.
Sigh. Where do I start. They need so much help. Despite it’s flaws, BvS had potential. If they realized the mistakes they made, they could have fixed the follow up movies. Then Suicide Squad came out and it was a mess. But, when Wonder Woman came out I thought “Wow, they can do this. They might actually pull this off.” Then came Justice League. *smh This one hurt in so many ways. While it was better than Suicide Squad, that’s exactly setting the bar high. It’s made worse by the fact that this is the A Team. What should have been the flagship movie. Instead, it practically through continuity out the window, into the trash heap next to logic and common sense. It turns out that this was the movie that finally made DC & WB realize that Snyder’s vision for the DCEU was going in the wrong direction. A bit late but they eventually came around. We’ll see what they do from here.
That’s a few of the things happening in the world of comics that I wanted to comment on. We’re living in interesting times. Political & social sensitivity is at an all time high. When people get offended, their voices are loudly heard even if they are in the minority. While I believe those people should be free to express themselves, I don’t believe it should be at the expense of others doing the same. Particularly when it comes to artist and writers who are trying to tell an intriguing story. A really compelling story often times includes controversial topics. Unfortunately, I have noticed a recent trend where people are trying so hard to be socially correct that they are becoming less interesting. Things like comedians like Dave Chapelle coming under fire for jokes because someone doesn’t like the subject matter. If entertainers become hesitant to take risks, what happens to our entertainment. What happens when we stop being ourselves because we’re so caught up in what others may think of us.
Whew. That was heavy. Like the end of a Jerry Springer episode. On that note, I’ll leave you with this. Many comic book story lines and (in DC’s case) movies are changed mid story because of public pressure and end up going horribly wrong. How can these stories be fixed?
The answer, coming soon.