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Saturday, January 14, 2017 

More about the 3rd issue of Champions, Love is Love, Supergirl and even Civil War 2

Since we were previously on the topic of the recent series Marvel's publishing called Champions, Bleeding Cool's got more details, panels scanned from the issue, and the following picture that I'm posting here is just one making clear there's nothing particularly impressive about this self-defeating story of the group taking on Islamic fundamentalists oppressing women in a fictionalized regime in a story that won't even admit the villains are just following their indoctrination:
So getting help from Americans is considered a bad thing in this fictional country? Wow, some show of gratitude, I'll say. Just another clue to how self-defeating the story was. And the artwork in the panels is pretty weak too. (Side note: so Cyclops is back? Has he been exonerated of killing Prof. Xavier yet, and has the latter been resurrected? If not, then I'm not sure it'll be easy to overlook how this story pans out.)

In fact, cartoonist Bosch Fawstin said in the comments section:
I wrote this on Facebook: Three years after she debuted, Marvel's “Muslim superhero”, as part of a team, goes to Pakistan to fight “extremists” who are dismissed as “heretics” by actual heretics, and I'm supposed to be pleased with that for some reason. BS. The Muslim writer and Muslim editor of the comic book hasn't taken on the “extremists” at all in the character's main comic book. They left that to a leftist, but he only did so in a half-assed way, and mainly in order to play up the “girl power” in Pakistan, those who want an education. And one of these girls tell the “extremists” through a bullhorn: “How dare you be so frightened of young women learning.” Mohammad was frightened of that, something that the writer wouldn't dare touch. Oh, and there's no mention of Islam or Muslims or Jihadists or Sharia Law by name at all in the issue. So Marvel “took it on” in a way that they can deny ever really taking it on. In other words, if you want to see a comic book t ake on Islam and its Jihad in as thorough and honest a way as possible, there's still only my Pigman comic book for that. [link]
Simply put, if the writers/editors publishers aren't willing to take it up meat-and-potatoes style and acknowledge the koran's contents, then they haven't accomplished anything, period.

And, since we were also on DC/IDW's superficial "tribute" to the victims of the jihadist in Orlando, the AV Club's got another an article about that, and about a few other books worth pondering as well. First comes the pointless sequel to Civil War, which they come close to describing as a "so bad it's good" type of work, yet I can't help feel they still want to like it so much because of its politics:
Bad comics used to be fun. The first Civil War, 10 years in hindsight, had charm—a well-made piece of hokum that falls apart the moment one looks away. It was a fun book to flip through and pick out weird or awful or (occasionally) interesting sequences. It doesn’t hold up, not proportionate to the weight Marvel places on the fun potential of heroes splintering into violent schisms because of ideological differences. It poses a question answered by a majority of superhero stories published since roughly 1987: Who is cooler than who?

No one is cooler than anyone, Marvel. Not now. No one’s going to be cool again for a very long time
Not when you have somebody like Joe Quesada still pulling the marionette strings. Secret Wars ruined corporate owned superhero comics for years to come, and still is, with the approach of encouraging readers to root for one hero or group at the expense of another, instead of admiring all of them equally for who and what they are, and what they stand for. Or used to.
Marvel is in sad shape. These characters have no more weight on the page anymore. It’s possible to be distracted by individual successes like Ms. Marvel or Squirrel Girl or The Ultimates. But put all these heroes on one page—including many of the company’s flagship characters, stuck in the throes of uninspired costume redesigns—and there’s no friction. These characters inhabit a trivial world. Brian Michael Bendis’ diaphanous plot falls apart the moment one looks at it. The conflicts are so ill-defined that the Beast needs to spend two pages at the end explaining the series’ themes. There are so many endings. There’s the Beast haranguing Carol about the book’s plot, a deus ex machina so random it almost achieves the audacious, a pin-up spread advertising future Marvel Comics, and a final final ending that would have read quite differently had a different candidate won in November. None of it hangs together.
Sigh. They just can't bring themselves to admit Muslim Ms. Marvel is a failure in many ways, nor that Squirrel Girl surely isn't selling as much as they'd want it to. As for an ending that might read differently, maybe so, but it wouldn't read any more appealingly, that's for sure. So let's proceed to the category about Supergirl:
One of the strengths of the lineup at DC right now is that it isn’t trying to make every book exist within the same continuity. Given that some characters can appear in five titles at the same time, with five completely different creative teams, it’s a losing battle to try to convince readers that they’re all the same exact person and they have a Santa-like ability to be everywhere at once.
Now that's a laughable argument. Both DC and Marvel were once able to tell plenty of stand-alone stories set in the same universe without contradicting continuity severely. It was through the simple conceit of keeping a lot of stories stand-alone that they were able to tell their stories as well as they did. A character with his/her own solo book didn't have to have their developments there seriously emphasized or brought fully into discussion. That's why so many older stories worked far better than today's. As for this new take on Supergirl, here's what's eyebrow raising about its approach:
[...] Unlike the Kara on TV, she doesn’t know why she was sent to Earth, never met her famous cousin, and doesn’t remember Krypton at all. She’s not sure who she is or where she belongs, and those are the kind of questions every teenager has to cope with. Her struggle is just dialed up to a much higher degree.
Even if somewhere along the way, she does begin to recollect, this still looks an awful lot like a joke. And how could she end up on Earth without any superheroes finding out? Or, why separate her from Superman just like that, and not have any heroes discover her existence? Self-containment is certainly helpful, but omitting all connections to Superman sounds awkward at best.

Now, let's turn to the Love is Love anthology, which the entertainment site, like quite a few others, won't mention is supposedly a tribute to the victims of the jihadist in Orlando last year. For starters:
...there are some powerful tearjerkers and inspirational messages for the future, but there are also some uncomfortable, tone-deaf pieces that venture into some embarrassing territory.

Patty Jenkins, director of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, writes the introduction, and her experience exploring the life of Aileen Wuornos for her film Monster results in an introduction that is more about Wuornos and how she connects to the killer in the Pulse shooting. It’s an awkward way to begin an anthology honoring the victims, and while Jenkins is ultimately talking about empathy, that introduction should have gone to someone who would write about the victims, what Pulse meant to them, and what they meant to other people in their lives.
Reading this, I was reminded that Monster from 2003 was a potentially left-leaning type of movie (when Wuornos is convicted, she asks if they're going to terminate a rape victim, as if that clears her of the vile crimes she committed), and why do I start to wonder if Jenkins is talking liberal junk in that intro? It won't be shocking if she did, and that just demonstrates how some liberals don't want to learn from mistakes.

There's more:
...Marc Guggenheim and Brent Peeples’ two-pager with Batman investigating Pulse when it’s still filled with dead bodies is in very poor taste, with exploitative visuals and an extremely groan-worthy final line. Taran Killam is primarily known for his comedy work, and he contributes a laughably bad Deathstroke story that has the supervillain assassin dumping his arsenal of guns after hearing news of the Pulse shooting. It’s reminiscent of J. Michael Straczynski having Marvel supervillains mourning the 9/11 attacks in Amazing Spider-Man when they themselves have been responsible for similarly horrific deeds, and despite Killam’s good intentions, his concept is both ludicrous and lazy.
Now that's even more telling! The 9-11 issue in Amazing Spider-Man was one of the worst examples of leftist defeatism sinking in, and now, over 15 years later, another leftist falls back on the same garbage. And after reading the description of the Batman story, I think Guggenheim's just become a successor to Straczynski as a propagandist too. These recent books are definitely as bad as they sound, and look.

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"Side note: so Cyclops is back? Has he been exonerated of killing Prof. Xavier yet, and has the latter been resurrected? If not, then I'm not sure it'll be easy to overlook how this story pans out."

No and no. This is the time-displaced Cyke from All New X-Men, as the present-day one is still dead and Inhumans vs. X-Men is dealing with the aftermath of his death.

I'll comment about the rest of the post later (good post is good) when I have more time, but I wanted to get that addressed, first.

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