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Monday, January 21, 2008 

A terrible year for superheroes

Contrary to what the Cleveland Plain Dealer is telling, that villains and heroes had "a super year", it was not that way at all. Certainly not for the heroes. The columnist says:
Once more, let's hear it for 2007. The bad guys have gotten smarter. Heroes turned on one another, and shape-shifting aliens have infiltrated society. Iron Man did what all the villains couldn't do: forced many superheroes into seclusion.
Ugh! They just keep on gushing away with their fluff-coated dreck. Heroes turning against each other seemed to be the only thing they really did last year, with too little concern for what the villains were doing, if at all. If anything, that the heroes were forced to go underground or into hiding was throughly uncalled for.
Captain America is still dead! His assassination last summer led many to speculate that the death either was a trick or something that would be quickly reversed. While I'm not convinced that Steve Rogers is never coming back, I'm starting to think maybe Marvel did the unthinkable. Maybe.

His death was tempered by the return of his former sidekick from the 1940s, Bucky, who will take over as a new Cap, at least temporarily.
Sorry, but that doesn't excuse the mess that is Civil War, which this grew out of. And after I found out the synopsis of the 33rd issue, I can't help but wonder if it implies that Iron Man now takes the side of the left-wing rhetoric that Civil War was trying in one way or another to advocate, and if Bucky, if he's taking up Steve's role as Cap, is parroting the whole exaggerated notion that Captain America was supposedly just a government-controlled machine. Totally dumb.
In a clever juxtaposition of space and time, Marvel brought another captain out of the void of death: Captain Marvel. While not negating his tragic death from cancer decades ago, Marvel Comics decided there is some life in the old boy yet. The Captain Marvel who will be flying around the universe for the next few months came forward in time from the past, from a time shortly before he died. Eventually, he will return to our past (his future) and die of cancer.

Got that?
Nope. Because according to this earlier news, Mar-Vell regrets that he simply died of cancer, and would rather die in battle, when years ago, it doesn't sound to me like he was sad that he was simply dying a death from bad health. Also, Mar-Vell's death in 1982's The Death of Captain Marvel was one that, in sharp contrast to the deaths of recent years, was well done and didn't stem from the kind of biases that are destroying comics today, which is why to bring him back the way they have is actually rather embarrassing.
Over at DC, a Flash was killed and another Flash returned from oblivion. After a tepid reader reaction to Bart Allen as Flash, Bart was brutally murdered. Before the body was cold, Wally West (the former Flash) emerged from a mystery dimension called the Speed Force and resumed his old job.
The writer forgot to mention that while readers didn't find Bart appealing as an adult Flash, they didn't ask for him to be killed either.
Good news is that the new Flash is written by fan favorite Mark Waid. Bad news is Flash brought his two preteen kids to work with him, who have just about taken over the comic. A new coloring style is not helping.
Uh oh, do I detect disdain for the Wests becoming parents? Ugh, after the disdain that Joe Quesada showed for Spider-Man and Mary Jane Parker's being parents, this kind of unfavorable reaction is the last thing we need.
DC seemed intent on upgrading the B- and C-list characters this year.

Mary Marvel couldn't buy face time in the past 10 years, but now that she's turned evil, she's hot.
No, she's not. Just what the world needs, the foolish belief that only by turning evil will the goodies be interesting, is that it? Boo.
Green Arrow paired up with Black Canary in matrimony as well as crime-fighting.
Uh, if that's supposed to say that they married, as far as I know, not so. They were rudely interrupted by the new Injustice Gang, and so far, I don't think they got married at all.

Now, here's where the column really takes a nose dive at the end:
Lastly, in an excellent series overlooked by many, Namor the Sub-Mariner destroyed his underworld land of Atlantis and told a million Atlanteans to go live among humans. He took a group of soldiers and joined Dr. Doom in Latveria. That can't be good.
Then why say that the series is excellent? That's only destroying the Sub-Mariner and much of the characterization that other, better writers went to such pains to work on back in the 70s and 80s. IMO, it's good if this was overlooked.

Biggest problem with this Plain Dealer column is the sugary tone that permeats it, and that's simply not how to promote comics in the MSM.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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