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Wednesday, November 27, 2019 

Entertainment Weekly gushes over the decade's most overrated

As could be only expected from such a pretentious showbiz magazine, Entertainment Weekly fawned over some of the worst propaganda of this past decade, proving yet again they're not fit to do comics coverage. For example, this take on Batman:
In this decade, DC gave us two contrasting yet very personal takes on the Dark Knight. During the disappointing New 52 experiment, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo harvested their fears about life’s dangers and parenthood to deliver a story that focused on Batman’s place in Gotham City. Yes, it’s easy to make fun of how often the series asked, “What is Gotham?” but that question fueled the entire run and introduced new and daring concepts to Batman’s mythos. On the flip side, certified wife guy Tom King, working with a killer roster of artists (including Mikel Janin, Joëlle Jones, Clay Mann, and more), used his marriage as inspiration for a poignant tale that looked inward at Bruce and explored how the mere idea of happiness could challenge him. There were some rough patches in the run to be sure, but the highs (“Rooftops,” “War of Jokes and Riddles,” “Double Date,” Batman Annual #2) are so heartbreakingly beautiful that they make it easy to ignore the lows. Batman is an 80-year-old character, and yet both teams managed to make him their own. In conclusion: Kite Man, hell yeah! —Chancellor Agard
Predictably, they gloss over the negative reaction to the quick scuttling of any marriage between Bat and Cat. It really was a lazy direction, made worse of recent when King jettisoned Alfred Pennyworth, and another writer, Peter Tomasi, previously did the same with Leslie Thompkins. They don't even dwell on just how downbeat King's vision is, following the DiDio formula that superheroes shouldn't have happy lives. If the couples in question aren't going to get married at all, there's little point to bothering about such a plot in the first place, and they certainly shouldn't be promoting it like there's a real deal in store. At worst, it reflects the entertainment industry's aversion to marriage, something that's almost become a staple in past decades.

That's pretty surprising they admit New 52 was a failure, though. But I highly doubt they would've admitted it 8 years ago, when it was originally set up.

Let's also look at what they say about a Fantastic Four story on the list here:
The biggest movies of the 2010s looked like the comic books of 30 years ago, clashing infinite crossovers into the darkest of nights. Which, if I’m doing the math correctly, means the mainstream pop culture of 2040s will resemble the comic books of right now. And something about this short-lived Fantastic Four spin-off, relaunched for a 16-issue run amid the Marvel Now! initiative, still feels like the future. This is the spinniest of spin-offs, colliding multiple strands of Four lore into a tie-in team featuring familiar icons (She-Hulk! Ant-Man!) and minor characters renewed with personality to spare (Artie, Leech, and the Moloids!). Fraction’s cosmic farce blends self-aware cleverness with goofy-sweet humanity, and Allred’s trademark art-pop illustrations set the stage for his spaced-out work on the acclaimed Silver Surfer. —Darren Franich
More like the movies of now will resemble the comics of the past several years. I've figured the turn to social justice themes Marvel's movie division are planning hinged on Stan Lee's no longer being around, even though he was unlikely to disagree publicly with what they have in store. I'll have to admit though, it's amazing they were able to keep the movie machine going as successfully as they did, because early signs of political correctness turned up in the Thor movie with Heimdall changed, to name but one example.

There's also the take on Jonathan Hickman's X-Men:
Screw recency bias. Jonathan Hickman’s return to superhero comics with these parallel X-Men books took the industry by storm. It’s hard to remember the last time it felt like everyone on social media was feverishly reading the same comic every Wednesday and on pins and needles waiting for the next issue. Beyond their zeitgeist-seizing power, these two books — which chronicled mutantkind’s proactive attempts to insure their survival in a world that was literally trying to extinguish them — also revitalized Marvel’s X-Men line, infusing it with thrilling and powerful ideas (those data pages!) that will surely (or hopefully) generate fantastic stories for years to come. —C.A.
Interesting they talk about bias. Because I suspect that plays into much of the positive reception by "critics", and the books, their top ranking on the charts notwithstanding, still sell laughably. Not a word about Moira MacTaggart either.

Here's also their comment on a comic called Lumberjanes:
Friendship to the max! As good as it is to have art that looks unflinchingly at the dark sides of human existence, it’s also important to enjoy warm, fuzzy stories that show you things you never even knew you needed. Lumberjanes was originally only supposed to be a four-issue series from writers Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters and artist Brooklyn Allen. But the adventures of Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley (the titular Lumberjanes, a.k.a Girl Scouts who punch monsters and solve ancient mysteries) proved so addictive that the comic has now published more than 60 issues. Here, feminist icons were name-dropped like legendary heroes (“Holy Mae Jemison!”) and same-sex love was portrayed with an easy warmth that would carry over into both Ellis’ subsequent comic Moonstruck and Stevenson’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot. There were mysteries to solve (why are there so many monsters around this summer camp, anyway?), but at the end of the day nothing was more important than reveling in the beautiful friendship of these bright young characters. —C.H.
Well that's certainly a clue to how the indie scene can be rife with political correctness, and sadly is. It's already been apparent what the remake of She-Ra was intended for, and this apparently serves the same agenda. "Friendship" indeed!

There's also - surprise, surprise - their sugary comment on King's Mr. Miracle mini:
With this 12-issue limited series, writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads grounded and found intimacy in the cosmic and bombastic mythology of Jack Kirby’s New Gods by funneling the central intergalactic war through Scott Free and Big Barda’s struggles with parenthood. Furthermore, Scott’s inability to distinguish what was real and what wasn’t, confrontation with the absurd and dark nature of the world, and subsequent resolution to persevere anyway made Mister Miracle one of the most relatable comics of the past few bonkers and incomprehensible years. —C.A.
So they think it's great when heroes are depicted as though they're stupid, mentally frail and can't make distinctions? Oh, do tell us about it. Scott Free's become another victim of new generations of writers who can't accept a wholesome hero who, if he/she was written with flaws, aren't depicted with such extremity as King depicts the characters in his stories with. Come to think of it, so too has Big Barda. And the "critics" slobbering all over this new stuff don't sound like genuine fans of Kirby either.

And then, most predictably of all, they gush over the Muslim Ms. Marvel:
Kamala Khan is the best new superhero of the decade. As created by G. Willow Wilson, Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, and Adrian Alphona, she is the first Muslim character to headline their own solo Marvel title. But though she carries Carol Danvers’ old mantle, Kamala has already created her own legend. She is an icon not just for Muslims and Pakistani-Americans so often denied pop culture representation, but also for 21st-century kids struggling to balance school responsibilities with their jobs and personal lives, and for people young and old trying to master control of their goofy bodies. Creating a teenage superhero and giving her the ability to make her body parts ridiculously large or hilariously small is, simply put, a creative masterstroke. —C.H.
Umm, didn't Elasti-Girl of the Doom Patrol in the Silver Age and Big Bertha in West Coast Avengers in the Iron Age have somewhat similar powers? And seriously, what's really galling is their inability to distinguish between religion and race. Make a Pakistani character a star of the show, fine. But whitewashing a bad religion rife with evils, and claiming it must be given positive representation far less afforded to other religions like Judeo-Christianity today, is repellent in the extreme; another example of the lugubrious liberal "inclusivity" narrative that makes no distinctions between what's good or bad in ideologies. Would they say Armenians are largely denied representation? I doubt it.

Then, there's their take on Young Avengers, which has a "woke" moment:
The big two superhero publishers spent this decade trying one publishing initiative after another, but only Marvel Now! earned multiple slots on this list. One reason for that is the brilliant synergy of the creative lineups. Case in point: Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie were the perfect choices to take the Young Avengers into the 2010s. Kid Loki predated Baby Yoda by several years and successfully synthesized the Machiavellian mastermind Loki of Marvel comics with the angsty heartthrob Loki of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. America Chavez broke the glass ceiling and kicked holes in the walls of the multiverse to prove an all-powerful superhero didn’t have to be a straight white man. Above all, there were Billy and Teddy, the world-breaking wizard and the orphaned prince from outer space, whose love was powerful enough to save us all.

Gillen and McKelvie collaborated on other comics this decade, such as their creator-owned The Wicked + the Divine for Image, and the latter designed the now-famous Captain Marvel costume since worn by Brie Larson, but this was their most tightly told story. Young Avengers successfully illustrated the connective tissue between superheroes and this decade’s youth culture while leaving fans hungry for more. —C.H.
Oh, there's homosexuality agendas here too, eh? Along with the forced diversity pandering represented in Chavez, of course. Note the howler of a line claiming heroes don't have to be "straight white men", even though there have been black/Asian/mixed figures in comicdom before who, with talented writing, could prove just as effective as their white counterparts (Black Panther and Luke Cage, anyone?). It's even been proven in the Milestone line during 1990s. If you know where to look, there could be dozens more examples in independent comics. This attempt to claim white heroes are far too many got tired millions of years ago. One of the reader comments said:
And this is where EW gets it's current reputation for obsessed with woke social justice whatever.

Spoiler alert, EW: Marvel has had characters like that for decades already. Haven't you been paying attention?
More like they're deliberately obscuring them, the recent Black Panther movie notwithstanding. They know there's significant examples in existence, yet omit them at their convenience, no matter how unintentionally comedic they come off sounding, and no matter how insulting it is to Stan Lee, after all the hard work he did. Say, does "all-powerful" mean they're too powerful, to the point the characters in question are written as Mary Sues? That was basically what the Captain Marvel movie with Larson amounted to. And that costume design "famous"? My foot. It's got to be one of the ugliest, dullest I've ever seen.

It's clear EW is way past its prime, since they're not going to be objective about these stories, and won't recommend anything from a conservative-leaning writer either. All concerned would be well advised to save their money and not order a subscription from them. What they fawned over here are some of the most wretched examples of the decade, proving just what went wrong in recent times.

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" But whitewashing a bad religion rife with evils, and claiming it must be given positive representation far less afforded to other religions like Judeo-Christianity today, is repellent in the extreme"

Americans began talking about the Judeo-Christian ethic in the 1940s. It was a way of saying that even though the Abrahamic religions worshipped in different houses, we all shared a common book and a set of common moral principles and worshipped the same god. But it is a stretch to call a religion. Believers in Jesus thought of themselves as Jews for maybe the first century after his death, but they have become a different religion since then. Outside of Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish sects, there is no Judeo-Christianity.

Judaism and Christianity get positive representation in comics these days, though. Ben Grimm and Alicia got married in a Jewish ceremony with lots of comic book tie-ins and publicity recently, and some minor characters in Squirrel Girl did the same thing a bit before. And there are a lot of Christian comic book characters.

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