Posts Tagged ‘captain america

17
Jul
14

Female Thunder Gods, Black Avengers and Other Things That Seem to Scare Comic Fans

We’re about to get super-comic-book-geeky here so, you may want to grab onto something and hold on.

I’m not 100 percent certain, but the world might be ending.

image via BleedingCool.com

First, Marvel Comics announced that Thor, god of Thunder, will be a woman.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough for one week, they announced that Captain America will now be…..black. Yes, Sam Wilson aka The Falcon aka just about the coolest part of Captain America: Winter Soldier will be taking up the mantle after Steve Rogers somehow got really old and is more concerned with his Depends than what the Red Skull is doing.

OH DEAR GOD PLEASE STAY OFF THE INTERNET AS IT EXPLODES.

Listen, I’m no fan of change for the sake of change or PR stunts. I’m not bothering to buy the “How Wolverine Dies Until The Next Movie” series going on right now. And honestly, they can talk about how neither of these things are stunts, but we all know things will go back to normal when the new Thor, Captain America or Avengers movies come out. Just like Wolverine will come back from the dead the moment Wolverine 3: Even More Wolveriney or X-Men: Seriously It’s Only About Logan comes out down the road.

But I don’t get the knee jerk and, frankly, ridiculous reaction to either of the above changes.

Let’s assume for a moment they are both well written. I know, that can be dicey in comics, but indulge me. Isn’t story the ultimate determination as to whether something is worthwhile?

We all knew Cap was coming back when he was shot and killed in the comics because it was before the first movie. But writer Ed Brubaker did such an extraordinary job making Bucky (Cap’s former partner) transition into Captain America that when Bucky left the role (died, sort of) it was actually a bummer.

When it was announced that Barbara Gordon was returning to her role as Batgirl, we weren’t sold. She had been defined by the events of The Killing Joke and been in a wheelchair for so long it was who she was to fans. In fact, in many ways her struggle to overcome her disability and the wheelchair were an excellent thing for kids to see.

But Gail Simone came along and absolutely nailed Babs in her return to crime-fighting and (more importantly) walking that we forgot about our misgivings.

What is it about change in comics which makes us upset?

In the recent instances, it’s hard not to see the push-back in purely racial and gender terms and it seems as if a lot of the issues people have with it is that they immediately assume it’s the “PC-police” forcing a change.

I actually understand that thought as once upon a time, I thought it too. When Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) was brutally killed and replaced by Jaime Reyes, I wondered if it was driven solely by political correctness. I wondered the same thing when The Question died of cancer and was replaced by Renee Montoya.

image via Wikipedia

I’m not proud of my gut reaction, but I want to be honest about it to make a point.

Something about it seemed unfair. I can’t tell you what it was, only that it happened. In so far as The Question, that was likely in part to my love for what we did when I worked on the Justice League animated series. Seeing him replaced bugged me and that might be why.

But I ask myself why I disliked the idea of Beetle or Question or even Firestorm (who died in the dumbest way possible) being replaced and I don’t have a rational answer. I didn’t love any of the characters save Question (and again, for personal reasons) and none of them were comics or characters who drew big numbers on the sales racks.

And I have no rational reason because, if I’m honest about that time in my life, the reason wasn’t rational. I think I was upset on some level because I was watching three traditionally white, male characters get the brush off in favor of a different gender or color.

Again, I’m not proud of that, but I think looking back on it that it’s true.

And I can’t help but wonder if that’s true of many people reacting to Falcon-Cap and Fem-Thor.

image via ABCnews.com

Certainly if you read the comments (never do that) it’s there in subtext if nothing else.

Why is that?

I mean, not to get even more geeky here but Norse gods have always been mutable (hell, gods in general – Zeus anyone?) so Thor being a woman isn’t insane from the mythology. And honestly, if Captain America is the representation of the US as it stands, it makes sense to me that he isn’t a blond-haired, blue eyed white dude.

And who better than Wilson, his long-time partner (now that Bucky/Winter Soldier isn’t a choice)?

I have no explanation as to why changing a race or gender riles comic fans up. It doesn’t do that to me anymore (especially once I read the rebooted characters). I’m not sure why it ever did.

But I think it’s time to get over it. I think it’s time for readers – particularly white, male readers who have been the bulk of readership for a long time and get pandered too far more than we should – to let go of it.

If the story is good, the story is good. What does it matter if  Thor a woman? Or Ms. Marvel is a Muslim or Superman of Earth-2 is black?

The stories are either good or they aren’t.

And speaking of stories, let’s applaud comics for trying anything new. After all, there’s no new story to tell, just different ways to tell them. How can you make the same superhero nonsense fresh? Shake things up.

Too often that mean rebooting the universe *coughcoughDCcoughcough* and changing little or reverting things to status quo regardless of past stories *coughcoughMarvelcoughcough*.

image via Marvel Comics

So Thor is a woman? He’s also been an alien and a frog,  used to turn into a crippled mortal with a cane and at one point was a construction worker.  Cap’s been replaced at least three times I can think of in his own comic, and according to Marvel mythology, was several different people in the 50s and 60s.

Who cares if we change up who is holding Mjolnir or the shield? This could be a good jumping off point for stories as it was for Batgirl, Bucky-Cap and Ultimate Spiderman (currently Miles Morales).

That’s what will matter .

The stories are either good or they aren’t.

Hopefully these stories will open up opportunities for creators to put together more original female and minority characters like the aforementioned Ms. Marvel (on of my favorite books right now).

Meanwhile, maybe this is a chance for some new takes on old stories.

And if you don’t like it, oh well. As you can say about the weather in some states: wait five minutes and it’ll change.

Meanwhile enjoy the ride and stop bitching for once. We have two new heroes to follow. Let’s see where they take us.

Advertisements
14
Apr
14

One Week Late Movie Reviews: Captain America—Winter Soldier

Welcome to another edition of One Week Late Movie Reviews at DMR.

As always we’re here for those of you who don’t get out to see movies during the opening few weeks. Because once you’re a dad (or mom), how the heck do you have time?

Captain America: Winter Soldier is the type of movie you might see with your kids, depending on age and how they handle violence.

And there is plenty of violence, as is the case with most superhero movies. There’s some blood and some gunshots and whereas it is fine for my 12 and 8 year olds, it might not be for yours. As I always say—don’t assume because there are superheroes that the movie is appropriate for every kid.

Before we get into this—you’ve almost all seen Marvel movies at this point. Why are you leaving the theater before the credits end?

Don’t do that.

Stuff always happens during and after the credits. The same is true for this offering.

And of course, the requisite warning.

seriously kids don't open that door if you don't want them

seriously kids don’t open that door if you don’t want them

First of all, if you’ve read the comic version of the Winter Soldier story, you should be very happy. The team behind this movie captured the feel of Ed Brubaker’s tale perfectly, even if the content had to be shifted here and there.

Cap aka Steve Rogers aka Popsicle Man has always been a tough character. For much of my comic-reading life (and it’s vast) he hasn’t really grabbed my attention. Most of it has been the way he’s written—people tend to not know what to do with him. There have been very good storylines in the past, but he seemed most interesting pummeling Nazis.

Enter writer Ed Brubaker in 2005. Perhaps somewhat influenced by The Ultimates in 2002, Brubaker took Cap in a slightly more serious direction. While supervillians were still in evidence, everything was muted, more serious from a tone standpoint.

image via Forbes

Working with SHIELD, Cap was one part spy, one part living legend and superhero. While he would still do big superhero things, he also worked “behind the scenes” fighting threats who were bent on controlling the world through more subtle means as much as through the normal tropes of comics—you know, big, bad killer robots and evil satellites.

But here was a Cap who made sense to me—not just some guy who was wearing a flag but a guy desperate to keep his country safe while wearing it.

And always, always wondering where the line was. Cap also had a sort of weight to him often frequent in other characterizations. What does it mean to be Captain America in today’s world? What does it mean to be a guy who essentially took a six decade nap? How does that weigh on you? Where do you fit.

Like the Cap in comics, Chris Evans Cap in the movies is a guy trying to figure out all of the above.

Thrust into a world of spies and ulterior motives, grays instead of black and white (where WWII he lived in the first movie), Cap finds himself increasingly uncomfortable with the world we—and now he—lives in.

After having it out with SHIELD boss Nick Fury over a side mission and pondering whether he should call it quits (including a very sad scene with one of the few remaining links from his past), all Hell breaks lose. Fury shows up at his apartment, battered and bruised, tells him not to trust anyone and then is shot—seemingly to die, though let’s be honest, we all know that old SHIELD directors don’t die, they burn their eye-patch and fade away.

image via WednesdaysHeroes.com

What follows is an interesting thriller-style take on superhero shenanigans. HYDRA has subverted SHIELD (acronyms are fun!) for their own nefarious purposes, Cap and Black Widow are on the run (with Cap’s new BFF The Falcon who is AWESOME) and just when you think it can’t get more tangled, we find out that the Winter Soldier—a deadly assassin working for HYDRA—is actually Bucky Barnes, Cap’s lifelong friend who appeared to have died in WWII.

He survived, HYDRA brainwashed him and replaced his wounded left arm with a cybernetic attachment and have used him to cause chaos since.

In the end the good guys win—kind of. Because this is a Marvel movie and a “spy” movie, nobody totally wins.

Least of all Cap, who must confront his brainwashed friend in order to save the day. And even in this, the movie (like the comic) makes the situation anything but straightforward. Cap owes Bucky a ton and loves him like a brother—in the end when his friend might die, Cap saves him even though he knows the guy isn’t really the same person he knew. Even when Buck-Bot is pounding on him, Cap will not fight his friend.

image via ComicVine.com

There has been some interesting compare and contrast between this moment and the one at the end of last summer’s Man of Steel which I won’t rehash, though I agree with much of it, including this piece at ScreenCrush.com. While Cap works with people who will kill (and has done so himself), he is, at heart, someone who feels that there has to be an alternative.

The movie also has some fantastic subtext. The idea of a Government/Big Brother/SHIELD profiling people. The grey landscape of politics. Even the difficulty of our soldiers returning from combat and the problems they face fitting in.

There’s a lot going on here for the price of your ticket.

Whether you like watching guys in tights punch each other or are a fan of thrillers, this is a movie which delivers, but doesn’t settle for the basics. It’s a flick which is worth watching, and probably more than once.

image via DailyNews.com

Marvel is churning out movies I never expected to see in my life. If they can get a few strong female characters in solo flicks, they’ll have absolutely buried the vast majority of DC/Warner Bros superhero offerings.

Also, this film was given super-high marks by both Alpha Tween and The Professor who both loved it.

04
Jul
13

Happy 4th of July (even to the Redcoats among us)

Love seeing this every 4th.

Love seeing this every 4th.

Happy 4th of July ya’ll!

I assume that if anyone sees this, they are stuck inside because of rain, just came off a double shift and don’t know what day it is or perhaps are aliens visiting us for the first time.

Today is a day for Americans to celebrate and not just because we won our independence. It’s a day to celebrate our diversity, our strength of character and our dedication to be better people and a better country.

Some will argue that the US isn’t as good as it used to be. In some ways, perhaps that’s true.

But—and this is important because it is true for our own lives as parents —we keep trying.

Being a dad isn’t easy. Being home all the time has it’s challenges. I struggle.

I work hard to get better though.

In the last year we’ve seen strides forward in marriage equality, started to get back on our feet economically and managed to avoid any major wars breaking out.

The work isn’t done. America—just like each of us—has issues.

Together though, we can keep making this country and world a better place for everyone.

Happy 4th of July.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?




Follow me on Twitter

Enter your email for updates right to your inbox by magical email fairies named Ted and Sammy.

Join 214 other followers

What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages
Advertisements