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Monday, August 13, 2018 

Superficial article about Marvel's "fresh" start

The Fort Smith Times-Record keeps up the fluff-coatings with the following sugar-drenched mishmash about Marvel's stale start, which, although Mary Jane Watson might be back in Spider-Man, still isn't looking good:
Marvel’s rolling “Fresh Start” initiative has reached many of its major titles in recent weeks, re-launching them with first issues and new set-ups. Some new elements are obviously inspired by the movies, but we can also see Marvel correcting what it sees as mistakes. With “Spoiler Warning” fully in effect, here we go:
Not all mistakes have been corrected. Last time I looked, they were still sticking by the Iceman-as-gay premise, and they're still employing some of the worst radical leftists like Ta-Nehisi Coates to write Captain America. Granted, they may have reined in most of the rabid leftists going wild on Twitter antagonizing fans, but some still remain negatively active there, and that's not good. Now, what does it say about the books in question:
Amazing Spider-Man No. 1

This is the third first issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” in four years (and sixth overall), so that isn’t cause for much excitement. But it does dump a lot of what has happened in recent years and races as fast as it can to the past.

New writer Nick Spencer is following an acclaimed, eight-year run by writer Dan Slott, whose tenure thrilled some and horrified others. Under Slott, Peter Parker became a wealthy mogul in the Tony Stark vein, the CEO of an international tech company. Part of that was due to Otto Octavius — you know, Dr. Octopus — taking over Parker’s body for several years as the “Superior Spider-Man.”

Slott erased much of that by the time he left the book. Octavius was ejected — he’s currently inhabiting a clone of Parker’s body — and Parker Industries crashed and burned. So he put most of the toys back in the box.
Wait a minute. Now Octavius is resurrected inside a clone of Parker's body? Granted, it may not be the real Peter's body, but I don't see why Doc Ock's own body has to be theoretically wiped out and his brainwaves stuck in another, regardless of whether he can control his tentacles there too. This is just pathetic, and only suggests they'll exploit that for the sake of a different kind of Clone Saga, if they haven't yet (next thing you know, that clone will turn out to be Ben Reilly!). They haven't dumped much of anything, except on the audience's intellect. The claim Slott's run was "acclaimed" is also insulting, but not unexpected, coming as it does from such media phonies. Similarly, the moral equivalence that Slott's writing both thrilled and horrified is very poor.
Spencer is finishing the job. In a story titled “Back to Basics” (naturally) Peter Parker is once again broke and forced to share an apartment with two other twentysomethings. (One is old pal Randy Robertson, the other is secretly the supervillain Boomerang.) And as surprise gift to long-suffering Peter-MJ shippers, the always effervescent Mary Jane has returned to the supporting cast — and for the first time since the Parker-Watson wedding was erased by the devil in 2007, once again a possible romantic interest.

On the other hand, some things cannot be un-done. Parker isn’t an anonymous schlub any more: He is actively hated by most of the planet for the failure of his Apple-like products. Also, his PhD was achieved by Doc Ock (while in Parker’s body), which sure looks like plagiarism to everyone else. That “fact” was revealed in this issue — a public humiliation so disturbing that this longtime Spider-reader had to close the book and read something else for a while.

The good news is that the worst should be over, and now Spencer can tell his old-fashioned Spider-Man stories the way he wants to without further agony. And new artist Ryan Ottley (“Invincible”) is well-suited for both Peter Parker scenes and Spider-action, despite my visceral dislike of how he draws teeth.
Uhh, what if more social justice propaganda finds its way into the book somewhere down the line? What so old-fashioned about that? If that's where they're headed next, the worst is not over, and the premise of Peter becoming a pariah over Doc Ock's actions is irritating. Though what happened in the past few years does prove, in a sense, that the phony Spider-fans never had a problem with the idea of Peter getting rich, through a fluke or not; it was all just Mary Jane posing a "problem", plain and simple, because she's seen as an obstacle to their twisted social justice beliefs. And the idea of sharing an apartment with Boomerang also sounds ludicrous.
Black Panther No. 1

“Black Panther” really isn’t one of Marvel’s major books — it’s never been a big seller, even with acclaimed writer Ta-Nahesi Coates writing the current series. But the movie has elevated T’Challa to A-list, so the comic book’s re-launch deserves some mention.

But there’s not a lot to say. “Black Panther” No. 1 opens with a huge mystery: A man who looks, acts and talks a lot like T’Challa, but has a different name, awakens as a slave for aliens in an off-world vibranium mine in the far future. Well, that’s what it looks like, anyway. Unraveling this mystery is the book’s point, and for now, any comment would be pure speculation.
Interesting the writer basically confirms the recent movie did nothing to boost BP's sales as a comics character, which may not have changed even now. And no surprise he'd sugarcoat an ultra-leftist like Coates either. There's plenty of other, far more talented black writers out there who'd make far better, less political choices than Coates, but none of that matters to these awful J. Jonah Jamesons serving as apologists for commie-like scribes with tasteless political views.
Captain America No. 1

Boy, did this book need help. New writer Ta-Nehisi Coates does his best in this first issue, but there’s a log of ugly to deal with.

First, previous writer Nick Spencer (see Spider-Man above) wrote one of the most hated “events” in Marvel history last summer, one in which history was subtly altered so that Steve Rogers has always been a Hydra sleeper agent, who comes out of the closet (so to speak) and takes over the world. A fascist Captain America infuriated a lot of readers, especially given current political trends, and while history was eventually returned to normal, nobody in either the Marvel Universe or our own has forgotten.

Prior to that fiasco, writer Rick Remender sent Captain America and Sharon Carter to another dimension for a while. While in “Dimension Z,” Carter was aged 20 years or so, which complicates her relationship with Steve Rogers and causes her a lot of personal anguish.

The easy thing would be to just ditch all this unpleasant history, but Coates has done his homework and tackles both of these elements head on.

For example, he deals with Carter’s pain by displaying Agent 13′s essential nature (as a fighter) rather than denigrating her (as a victim). He shows great skill in a conversation between Steve and Sharon on a dinner date, which is the best scene in the book.

He also addresses the Spencer mess. He shows that a lot of people don’t trust Captain America any more, which is a sad legacy of Captain Hydra. But he is dealing with it, and apparently in a fairly hopeful way (which a “Captain America” book should be). And rather than pretend that fascism in the comics doesn’t reflect the real world, at least on some level, he embraces the comparisons.
I'm sorry, but anybody who says the mess left by Spencer should be jettisoned and then proceeds to act as though addressing said mess in-story is not making a convincing case. The part about whether fascism in the comics reflects the real world - and is embraced by the scribe for a premise - is also disturbing, as is the claim Coates did his homework. If Mark Waid could handle it badly, so too can Coates; I'm not trusting him with this either.
Fortunately, not all of modern “Captain America” stories have been disasters. Ed Brubaker’s run on the book demonstrated how well it works as an espionage title, and masterminded the transformation of Bucky Barnes into the Winter Soldier. Brubaker established that Bucky has always been a stone killer, extrapolating back to World War II, where we learned that the “sidekick” was doing the dirty work while Captain America was on camera. Coates takes advantage of Brubaker’s espionage slant and Winter Soldier, the pragmatic ice man who calmly snipes bad guys.

Coates puts a lot of balls in the air in “Captain America,” some of which may not pay off for months. (That’s what he does in “Black Panther,” too.) Enjoying “Captain America” may take a commitment by the reader to stick around for a while, but it’s probably one worth making.
It won't pay off at all. It sure isn't paying off financially, and I don't see why we should put money into these phonies' pockets.
Thor No. 1

Thor Odinson has been MIA in his own book for several years, with Jane Foster wielding Mjolnir as a Thunder Goddess. (Also called Thor. Don’t think about it too hard.) That arrangement ended with the last iteration of the book, where Jane’s human self succumbed to cancer — but was given a second shot at beating the disease by All-Father Odin. She had to give up her hammer hobby, though, and ol’ Goldilocks is back with “Thor” No. 1.

But here’s an example where the movies have fed the comics, instead of the other way around. Writer Jason Aaron is obviously aware of what worked so spectacularly well in “Thor: Ragnarok,” as one can easily picture Chris Hemsworth voicing some of the dialogue in this story. Long gone is the stoic, Shakespearean Thor of old, replaced by one inclined to self-deprecating humor and sardonic observation on what fools these mortals be.
This doesn't sound appealing either. At its worst, it sounds like Aaron borrowed a page from Brian Bendis. I don't recall Thor of old looking down at the human race so negatively before. And if Jane's still bald from cancer, that's just simply disgusting. In fact, how can't we think about that SJW-pandering idiocy too hard, when it's just too laughable to take seriously, what with the male name put to use for a woman so deliberately and inorganically?
Also, Loki is as much supporting character as nemesis, and you can hear Tom Hiddleston in his dialogue — especially when he infuriates Thor by drinking his last beer. Another welcome supporting character is Thori, Thor’s adorably murderous puppy, a spawn of Garm, the giant canine who guards Hel in Norse mythology.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbow bridges, though. Thor is currently missing an arm, which is fellow Asgardian Tyr’s gig, and feels wrong for a guy whose physical strength has always been a major draw. And I’m not a fan of Mike Del Mundo’s art, which is a bit on the cartoony side.

But artist Christian Ward does a much better job on the back-up strip, starring the Thor of the far future. A feature Aaron established in previous runs of “Thor,” the ongoing adventures of cranky All-Father Thor and his three cheerfully disrespectful granddaughters is sneaky, snappy fun.
A canine cub who's lethal? What's so "adorable" about that? I don't like the sound of the future-era characterization either. And why should we be impressed when Thor's still missing his arm?
Tony Stark: Iron Man No. 1

Just like in “Thor,” the titular character has been absent in his own book for quite a while, replaced by a genius teen named Riri Williams, who goes by the nom du combat Ironheart. But Stark is back in the armor in this issue, and acting more like Robert Downey Jr. than ever.

And that’s all you need to know, if you enjoy the Marvel movies (and who doesn’t?). “Tony Stark: Iron Man” is full of big ideas and frantic, funny dialogue, both of which race by pell-mell. Stark is in full manic genius mode, which makes this book, by writer Dan Slott and artist Valerio Schiti, irresistible.
Sorry, but I wouldn't trust Slott with Shell-head any more than I would on Web-head. Naturally, you can't expect any criticism to turn up just how poor the characterization of Williams actually was in these puff pieces. Nor can you even expect any in depth focus on recent history and how better potentials have long been wasted on all this SJW-pandering. In the end, I don't think any of these books are worth it, or are going to be, with all these terrible hacks still assigned to work on them. It's otherwise just another failure of C.B. Cebulski to really show he can bring in better, more respectable talent whose politics are kept more to a minimum. This whole "fresh start" is mostly looking stale in the long run.

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"It was all just Mary Jane posing a "problem", plain and simple, because she's seen as an obstacle to their twisted social justice beliefs."

How is Mary Jane standing in the way of social justice beliefs? (And, since he was the one who brought her back, does this mean that Nick Spencer does not believe in social justice?)

"The part about whether fascism in the comics reflects the real world... is also disturbing"

Yes. Very.

"And if Jane's still bald from cancer, that's just simply disgusting."

A lot of people IRW have cancer, and have struggled through chemotherapy. It is tragic, painful, often hard to bear or look at - but not disgusting. Calling it disgusting is a really poor choice of words – an insult to every family that has had to live with a cancer diagnosis.

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