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Thursday, December 11, 2014 

The AV Club's pretentious picks for the year

The AV Club's listed some of their alleged choices for 2014's "best" books, but only succeeded in producing another biased gush for mainstream. Let's begin with their comment on Action Comics:
Superman may be the character gracing the covers of this series, but writer Greg Pak and artist Aaron Kuder’s run owes its success to a different character: Lana Lang. The creative team has turned Clark Kent’s childhood friend into an intelligent, independent action heroine, and her presence has brought an invaluable human perspective to the superhero action. [...]
At one time, I'd view that as a flattering, admirable step. But this is the New 52, and it's all been done at Lois Lane's expense, so their step only stumbles. Why must Lana be the independent action heroine here, but not Lois? Such editorial mandates overshadow everything. Why isn't Lois invaluable? Next, their take on Moon Knight:
Moon Knight has had a rough few years. He’s one of those characters seemingly everyone thinks should be bigger than he is, but the trail of canceled series in his wake tells a different story. There was no reason to think the Marvel NOW incarnation would be any different, except, magically, it was. After a few years laying back in the cut, Warren Ellis returned with artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire to revive the Lunar Avenger’s sagging fortunes with a six-issue run that could serve as a new template for how to revive a lapsed character. It’s so simple it’s brilliant: Moon Knight was never broken to begin with, so attempts to fix him were fundamentally misguided. All that was needed was a return to the character’s roots [...]
Under Alonso and Buckley's management? Alas, that simply isn't possible. At one time, ultra-leftist Ellis might've been respectable with mainstream properties, but under today's editors, I wouldn't trust him, and besides, I cannot and will not support these kind of staffers and their modern output.

However, they do hint at one of the biggest mistakes mainstream publishers make: they're always launching these books as ongoing series, and never miniseries, which make a better path in the modern age. The site's take on the Muslim Ms. Marvel series is even more revealing of their leftist leanings:
A Pakistani American teenage girl caught between her strict Muslim upbringing and the pressures of adolescence, Kamala Khan is at the forefront of the movement for more diverse heroes, and it’s easy to see why. Writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona have made Ms. Marvel one of the most delightful ongoing series by creating a multi-dimensional, extremely likable lead character carved from the traditional Marvel mold, but whose background gives her stories a decidedly different flavor. It’s a rare superhero comic that makes religion a major part of the narrative, and Wilson’s nuanced handling of Kamala’s relationship with Islam enlightens readers to a culture that is often misrepresented in media. Whether Kamala is fighting junkyard robots or getting counseling at her mosque, Alphona’s artwork brings loads of energy and style to the proceedings, and his huge range of character expressions makes him a perfect fit for Wilson’s emotional story.
"Misrepresented"?!? But that's exactly what the AV Club is doing! All without a single reference to the Koran's content. Truly hilarious how they're willing to insult the mainstream segment they're part of. And since when wasn't religion ever part of mainstream narratives? Frank Miller gave some attention to Catholicism in Daredevil, and Chris Claremont gave some to Nightcrawler in X-Men. Even the Huntress got some of that in the Batman books. They act like this is new, but truly, it's not. Multiversity comes next:
Grant Morrison’s writing can get heavy-handed with the metatextual elements, but he’s still one of the sharpest conceptual thinkers in superhero comics, as evidenced by this limited series of one-shots set on different Earths in DC’s Multiverse. [...]
Please, do keep up the laughs. Morrison is no sharp thinker, and he's hardly doing any of this for wider audiences, a major problem with today's writers. Next is Saga:
It’s amazing what a time jump can do. Just when it starts to look like writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples are settling into a groove with their sci-fi domestic drama, the story jumps forward in time with its fourth arc for a new status quo that makes the situation grimmer than ever before for parents Marko and Alana. Drug abuse, domestic violence, and adultery all come into play for Saga’s saddest story yet, and doing major damage to Marko and Alana’s relationship has energized the book’s forward momentum. The relationship drama forces Staples to push herself with character expression, and the introduction of a hallucinogenic drug takes her art into dazzlingly psychedelic territory. Saga is truly a title where anything and everything is possible, which does great things for the story, but makes for an emotionally taxing read when things go wrong.
This sounds as bad as anything Morrison could concoct. Things are already going wrong, and indeed, they have.

And that sums up how laughable the AV Club can be with their focus.

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How many of those "'pretentious' picks" have you read?

I await the AV Club's praise for a series about a Southern Baptist superhero from Alabama which makes religion the center of the story.

Yeah, I won't hold my breath waiting for that series from the Big However Many or for favorable reviews from ideologues.

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