New Thor, New Captain America, and a Sinister Six Movie: Marvel and “Worthiness”

I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to the new Thor and Cap, but I have something to say about it. Both are about worthiness, and I think it’s something that needs to be explored. The Sinister Six movie, is about worthiness as well, but it a different manner. The idea of “worthiness” intrigues me, and it’s a theme I explore in Song of Simon, as well as other blog posts.

Thtop Being Thor About Thor

I’m sorry, I can’t stop using that Thor joke. It comes from a joke in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and I’m a big dumb animal that repeats everything he hears.

A lot of what I hear from the haters is that Thor can’t be a woman because he’s a man. The truth is that he’s not a man, he’s a god. Donald Blake (the traditional Thor) is merely a vessel that the god inhabits. When Blake touched Mjolnir, the hammer deemed him worthy and the essence of the god inhabited him. This is not to say that Blake is completely repressed, a la a D & D Magic Jar spell. Blake’s humanity tempers Thor’s arrogance and impulsiveness.

The Joker agrees.

It’s this counterweight that means that the vessel has to be worthy. It doesn’t have to be a man. It doesn’t have to be a human. It only has to be a moral mortal. There is no reason that a woman can’t be the vessel for Thor.

It makes me a little sad that people were more accepting of a frog Thor than a woman Thor. Verily.

The Falcon as the New Captain America

Right now, Steve Rogers (Cap) had the super serum sucked out of him. He aged 60 years in a few moments. Obviously, he’s not fit to fight in that manner, and someone else has to take up the shield.

I know a few people that might be worthy of it. Hawkeye comes to mind. He was trained by Rogers, and as an Avenger, understands the responsibility of the costume and shield. The cons are that he has his own series, and that he doesn’t have the moral stance to stand up to Iron Man’s and Thor’s crushing egos, not to mention an unhinged Hulk.

They could give it back to Bucky, but Bucky’s involved in some shady stuff right now.

They could give it to Spider-Man, but Spidey has a dozen of his own imprints.

When it comes down to it, there’s no better choice than Sam Wilson, The Falcon. Sam also trained under Rogers and is one of Rogers’ true confidantes and partners. He’s been Cap in the past for a short while. He has the moral background to be the counterpoint to Iron Man and Thor. He currently has no imprint, so he’s free from a writer’s standpoint.

Get ready for “Falcon Shield Punch” memes

Plus, how cool will a flying Captain America be?

It makes no difference that he’s black, enough that I almost forgot to put that in. He’s a symbol of the best America has to offer. That’s the only requirement to be Captain America.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of racists (and sexists regarding Thor) that’ll flip out the way that they did when Peter Parker died and was replaced with Miles Morales. Their opinion doesn’t, and shouldn’t matter. Comics are about good and evil, and if you think that gender or race renders you ineligible, you don’t get comics or America.

The Sinister Six Movie: Redemption and Worthiness

Marvel just announced a Sinister Six movie. It’s due in November of 2016, and is supposed to be a redemption story of a sort. There’s no news beyond that, but I expect it to star guys like Doc Ock, Vulture, Rhino, and Mysterio. I’d rather not see Green Goblin in it, as there’s no redemption for him. Some other options are The Scorpion, Shocker, Kraven, and Sandman.

There are always villains that can be redeemed. Doc Ock has already been Spider-Man in the comics. Rhino is just a thug. Mysterio could easily turn his skills to do good. Vulture’s powers are kinda creepy, so I don’t know how they’d change him. Kraven lives for the hunt, which could make him a great hero.

Sinister, for now.

Spidey’s villains almost always have some sort of humanity within them. They aren’t a lost cause. I don’t mean that they’d be worthy of Mjolnir or Cap’s Shield, but not everyone can be a paladin.

I’m looking forward to these moves by Marvel. I think it’ll be an interesting few years ahead.

Captain Marvel and Revisionist History (link below)

I’ve mentioned the blog The Middle Spaces before as my go-to site for intelligent discourse about comics.  I’m sending you a link to a recent post about Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) which discusses feminist theory, revisionist history, and the little known WASPs of WWII.  I’m including the first few paragraphs below, and then a link.  You should read this.

As I mentioned in my post “Captain Marvel and More Black Iron Man,” in 2012 Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel (sometimes Warbird, once Binary) took up the name Captain Marvel in a new (but now discontinued) series by that name written by Kelly Sue DeConnick—one of the few women currently writing mainstream comics.  While I developed an appreciation of disappointment felt by some fans regarding Monica Rambeau’s loss of the “Captain Marvel” name, I still like the idea of Carol Danvers using the name and think it works in the scope of her military background and source of her powers.

msmarvelvol1no1Rereading the first major story arc in DeConnick’s series I also came to appreciate her attempt to write Ms./Captain Marvel into a revisionist feminist text. It struck me as a laudable attempt to make manifest the purported feminist subtext of the character.  The “Ms.” part of her former name alone suggests the kind of Gloria Steinem independence associated with the Second Wave of feminism of the era when the first Ms. Marvel title was published. Of course, being written and drawn by men has undermined this ostensible subtext many times over—starting with her halter-top, sometimes backless, sometime mid-riff showing  costume and reaching its height when she was kidnapped, mind controlled, raped, forced to give birth to her own attacker and then allowed to be carried off again “to be happy” in another dimension with her assailant.  Luckily, that was all undone (kind of).

It bears mentioning that when I use the words “revisionist” or “revisionism” in terms of history, I do not mean this pejoratively in the least bit. History requires revision, not only because of the various social and cultural forces that obscure the achievements of and the crimes against various people of different races, genders, classes, etc… but also to counteract the ridiculous notion that there is a such thing as a monolithic “history,” as opposed to competing stories comprised of the different ways knowledge is created through analysis, research and story-telling.  History needs continual revision because it is not only what is being told, but how it is being told.  Some of the historical events that DeConnick uses in this arc are not necessarily newly revealed (to many), but the way in which she uses them are new.

Read the full article here.

Good Ol’ Peter Parker

So it looks like Otto Octavius is ending his vacation inside of Peter Parker’s body and Pete’s gonna be back soon.  I haven’t been reading the series (I prefer to wait for trade paperbacks), but I’ve been intrigued by the whole idea.  From what I’ve heard from my fellow geekerlings, it’s been a great run.

Superior?

Otto’s always been a complex villain, and the idea of him taking over Spider-Man’s body to prove himself a “superior” hero is great.  He doesn’t have the emotional hangups that Peter does (he has a different set of hangups) and in many ways, that makes him better at fighting “evil.”

My friend Marc Buxton does a great analysis here, and if Marc says it (and it’s about comics) it’s probably true.

The thing about Otto is that he is a creature of cold logic, free of encumbering emotions.  This allows him to make the hard decisions, stuff that Peter could never do.  But in the end, he lacks Peter’s humanity, and that’s the spark that makes a true hero.

If you don’t read The Middle Spaces yet, you should.  It’s a great comic resource, and the author, Osvaldo, is one of my best friends.  He wrote an article some time back about how Marvel has embraced a gray area of justice, where heroes will do unheroic things, such as use torture villains or exile The Hulk to a far off planet.  Even Spider-Man beat a suspect to get information out of him at one point, which is completely out of character for him, and in my opinion makes him less heroic.

I think that establishing the contrast between Peter and Otto will return Pete to his previous state, though that depends on the writer.  They could have him go the other way and incorporate some of Otto’s methods, which I think is a terrible idea.

In the forthcoming novelized version of my serial, The Watchmage of Old New York (free with registration, blah blah blah), the main character suffers through a similar crisis of faith.  If you have near unlimited power, how do you avoid overusing it to mold the world in your image?  How do you punish evil without succumbing to it? The Superman comics have dealt with the same thing over the years, the latest example being the video game Injustice, which I enjoyed very much.

So let me be the first to welcome Peter Parker back into his own body.  Otto’s good, but not “superior.”

Also, I got a new phone today and all the fancy shit on it is overwhelming me.  I’m not computer illiterate, but I compute on a 4th grade level.

Novel Updates and more Comic Book Questions

Hi everyone. I decided that I am going to update every Tuesday and Friday. I’ll try, anyway. Sometimes I get so caught up in other work, I forget to update here.

I just finished writing the first 5 chapters to the currently unnamed Watchmage novel, which is a retelling of the serial that I’ve been working on since november. I expect to have the first draft done by the end of the Summer, unless I get a life. My serial, on the other hand, is going strong. It recently moved into 8th Place. If you haven’t VOTED, you really should. We emerging artists need your help.

Song of Simon is still at the editors. I recently submitted all of my author info, including my dedication and acknowledgements. I dedicated it to my Mom and to Valerie. There are some people that might be surprised that they’re in my acknowledgements. If I leave anyone out, I apologize in advance.

My publisher would like me to make a video trailer for SoS. I know nothing about that kind of thing. Luckily I have several filmmaker friends, that I can arrange something with (hopefully). I might even be able to get original music. I like getting my friends involved, so they could get some credit and exposure too.

Now about comics: i was thinking about DC the other day. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam (Captain Marvel) all have connections to Greek Mythology. WW is an Amazon and the daughter of Zeus, AM is King of Atlantis, Shazam draws his power from several Gods/ heroes. So why hasn’t there been a WW, AM, and SZ crossover. As they all have connections to different gods (give AM to Neptune), it would be easy to turn a conflict between the gods into a conflict between their proxies. Both WW and AM, when they are at their best, are flawed heroes (as the best greek heroes are). Put them in a story with Shazam, who has always been portrayed as the purest of heart of all the DC heroes, and you are bound to find sparks.

I heard that the new Shazam isn’t quite as heroic as the one before the reboot. This really pisses me off. The whole appeal of Captain Marvel is his innocence and unshakable devotion to good. Sure, it makes it hard to carry a series like that, but as part of an emsemble, he’s fantastic. In fact, all three of these characters work best in an ensemble (IMHO). Put them together, see what happens.

Earth's Mightiest Mortal...I still think he can take Superman

Injustice: Gods Among Us

I just got back from GameStop (Stop Game! Stop!) and picked up Injustice. I’m a sucker for comic games, and fighting games are always fun when you have people over (which I never do, but want to. It’s a lonely life). I haven’t opened it yet, but from what I can gather, the story line is this:

The Joker blows up Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane (an obvious trope, and kinda infuriating). Superman goes full on fascist (as we all know that he was capable of…that any of us are capable of) and basically creates The Justice Lords. Batman leads a rebellion against it, which is kinda ironic since he is one of the biggest fascists in the DC Universe (more on this when some comic geek flames me for besmirching Batman).

It’s an interesting premise (though again, the “Women in Refrigerators” trope bothers me). It made me think about something: Has there ever been a crossover where Superman had to stop the Joker, and Batman had to stop Lex Luthor? I don’t think that Supes can stand up to the sheer madness of the Joker (and this video game agrees with me). I also don’t think that Batman can compete with Lex. Lex can very easily discern Batman’s identity with his money and tech (there must be a paper trail a mile long). From there, it would be easy to crush Wayne Tech and take away all of Batman’s toys. Batman without money is still potent, but not against Luthor and his inventions and connections.

I’m sure that this has been done before, but probably with the two heroes switching out. If anything, it shows how the hero and the villian in a comic are a matched pair, an opposite number.

On a side note, I bought the game with the gift card that Valerie gave me for my birthday. Fitting that the last gift that she gave me was something called “Injustice.”