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Thursday, January 01, 2015 

USA Today loves Tony Stark as a villain

In one of USA Today's predictably sugary roundups of the year, their resident propagandist actually thinks Tony Stark makes a great criminal. First, there's this:
Best writer: Scott Snyder. Gotham City's main man again impressed with his tales of the Dark Knight, launching the weekly Batman Eternal — one of DC Comics' top titles — while also shocking everybody with the return of the Joker in Batman. That's not all, though: He also brought back the fangtastic American Vampire, finished up the epic miniseries The Wake with Sean Gordon Murphy and Superman Unchained with Jim Lee, and premiered Wytches, one of the scariest books on shelves right now. Snyder may create nightmares, but you can expect a dream book every time his name's on the cover. Honorable mention: Jason Aaron. Next year, he's going to hit a whole new level of mainstream heading up Marvel's new flagship Star Wars series. But Aaron also had an excellent 2014 with the massive murder mystery Original Sin, his family crime drama Men of Wrath, a relaunched Thor with a female Goddess of Thor and, best of all, the debut of the violent masterpiece Southern Bastards with Jason Latour. Pass the sweet tea because that's a whole feast of awesome.
Yeah, shocking us all with the idea the Joker now has his face cut up and wears the skin like a mask across it. And what's so excellent about a crossover who's main points are turning the Hulk against Tony Stark?
Best single issue:The Multiversity: Pax Americana. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely do their own meta-superhero, post-9/11 take on Watchmen with old Charlton Comics characters such as Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and The Question. They end up creating a phenomenal read with a gut punch of an ending.
Something I'm sure I won't want to see, or feel, because it's bound to be very excruciating. I'm too much of a Blue Beetle fan to approve of whatever Morrison's got in store.
Rookie of the year (character): Kamala Khan. The teenage Muslim main character of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona's Ms. Marvel added diversity to the Marvel Universe but also brought in a hero for everyone to root for, not just young girls.
Not if they force a bad religion down everyone's throats, I'm afraid. Victims of Islamofascism are the ones most likely to disagree with that claim.

Now, here's the real head-shaker about Tony Stark:
Best villain: Tony Stark. What's that, Iron Man as a baddie? Yep, Marvel's resident billionaire playboy genius inventor had his personality inverted in Axis, and it looks like his overly self-centered personality — which has always kinda been there — is sticking around and Tom Taylor is making the best of it in the pages of Superior Iron Man.
"Always"? The more I think about it, the more it reeks of a mindset not all that different from 9-11 Trutherism. That is, I think they want Tony to be a villain, and to view him that way from beginning to end. Or, they wish he'd been created as a villain per se back in the Silver Age. Some people sure know how disrespect classic creations.
Best event: Original Sin. Marvel had two big to-dos in 2014 but this was the highlight. Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato not only created a sense of paranoia among heroes in the aftermath of the Watcher's murder, but presented a landscape where they had to deal with their pasts, as well.
Because that's all we need now, and not decent battles against supervillains, or even plainclothes villains. Nor are they willing to give us any organic character drama with civilian co-stars. Interesting they didn't see fit to mention Nick Fury's also been turned bad in the new stories. Even at the time Bob Harras was writing for Marvel, they never treated him like worthless toilet paper as today's editors are.

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I can't imagine why I wouldn't want to read anything from Morrison titled "Pax Americana" that is self-described as applying the Watchmen narrative to post-9/11 US.

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