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Friday, December 01, 2017 

An article fawning over Marvel's second string stupidity

Here's a ridiculous article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer from a few months ago, sugarcoating some steps Marvel took replacing the characters which, while not SJW-pandering in the way a gay Iceman and a female Thor were, for example, are still very dreary all the same. One part is about Volstagg taking over Thor's role:
...In "The Mighty Thor" No. 20, (Marvel, $3.99) where a character who has been a buffoon and a blustering laughing stock for decades proves himself. Volstagg picks up the hammer of the Thor from another dimension and is found worthy. He is transformed into a better version of himself and christened "War Thor."
Let's see, so they're saying Volstagg was nothing more than a one-dimensional colossus of a guy whose comedy relief status was worthless? Sigh.
The hammer once belonged to the Thor of the Ultimate Universe, which was destroyed a few years ago. The hammer survived, waiting for one who was worthy to pick it up. Volstagg joins the new Thor (Jane Foster, the former girlfriend of the original Thor, who has become the new Thor); the original Thor who now calls himself Odinson since he was deemed unworthy to wield the hammer, to fight the mysterious power behind the "Ultimate Judgment" coming to raze the universe.
Yep, at the time this was published, Marvel was still emphasizing Jane Foster as a female Thor, but what's also quite telling here is the laughable use of the Ultimate universe, which wore out its welcome, as something to build on for a dumb sounding tale where Volstagg, in a manner of speaking, gets to be something like an overweight Thor, as Foster gets to be a female take on Thor, yet the real Thor's relegated to the status of Odin's son and little else. And all without any objective view or comment on the idiocy of the SJW pandering, let alone how Nick Fury lead to this at the time by whispering something like unworthiness in Thor's ear.
In a story written by Jason Aaron, Volstagg is trying to save a group of elf children when their home is destroyed. For years, Volstagg was portrayed as a braggart who invented stories about conquering Asgard's foes either alone or with Thor and his two best friends, Hogun "the Grim" and Fandral "the Dashing."
Whenever I see assertions like these, they keep coming off sounding awfully negative about the past, not showing any genuine gratitude to yesteryear's writers, not to Stan Lee, not to any of the better writers from better days. Volstagg was meant to be a humorous figure with a heart of gold, like just about any adventure tale whose developers believed could provide charm and comic relief when needed, and how do these trendy propagandists thank them? By putting them down as some kind of impediment to a direction not clearly defined in their "opinionating".

And then, look what they say about She-Hulk, something I wasn't fully aware of a few months ago:
HULK No. 7 (Marvel, $3.99) is not really Bruce Banner, the Hulk we know and love, but Banner's cousin, Jennifer Walters who is also known as She-Hulk.

She was badly injured during the "Secret Wars" saga, where Banner was killed (don't worry, he's on his way back from the dead). Since then, her powers have been erratic. Since Banner is dead, she dropped the "She" and calls herself "Hulk."
If you think that sounds very similar to how Jane's been turned into a female Thor, it does, doesn't it? Now that I think of it, if Jason Aaron had thought of labeling Foster "She-Thor", at least that would've provided better distictions, but of course, they just had to go the PC route, and it ultimately went nowhere fast. Surprisingly, the paper at least admits:
Yeah, it's confusing and annoying. She's not alone. The "Totally Awesome Hulk," features a young Korean kid as an intelligent Hulk; there are at least two Red Hulks that work for the military and various other Hulk-like characters skulking around. This kind of kills the uniqueness of the character.
Well gee, wasn't that the case with Jane too? Again, if they'd at least called her She-Thor or something, maybe detractors wouldn't have been so bothered. But again, trolling the audience with leftist messaging was more important to Alonso's Marvel than serious efforts to entertain. And the article waters down the impact further by sugarcoating the diversity-pandering that came with the Asian Hulk and the almost stereotypical description.
I always thought She-Hulk was just too happy with her condition and acts more like a wrestler with GLOW. While Banner could barely control himself when he Hulked out, Jennifer rarely lost control and seemed to enjoy being green. She was even more sexually active as She-Hulk than her alter-ego, an attorney, and maintained her intelligence.

Writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Georges Duarte have a beautiful feel for the character that just rings true. She-Hulk is now someone to care about.
Wait a minute. Is that saying Jennifer Walters wasn't worth the care before?!? Oh, do tell us about it. The second solo volume for She-Hulk from 1989-93 was very good, and made splendid use of breaking the 4th wall jokes, something today's comics have either botched, or moved away from altogether. Again, here's a sad example of somebody who can't seem to appreciate better examples of storytelling from times when political correctness wasn't so extreme, and that's sad.

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I'll address the She-Hulk tangent only. I am a Shulkie fan, but admittedly, my favorite volume is the very first volume in the 70's, when she was basically a standard distaff version of the Hulk. Felt right to my personal sensibilities, and I personally don't care for the 90's direction Byrne went with her, but I fully understand/respect why people liked that, Avi included, and why it endures as much or as long as it has. I'm very much in the minority on that, but that's fine.

However, the original premise of this new series I could get behind, as it reminds me of Volume 1 or has that potential feel, except Mariko Tamaki can't write or pace worth a damn. A lot of reviews, APIT and others, noted how She-Hulk never really appeara in the first four-five issues of the new series alone, which is beyond counterproductive for a superhero comic. In fairness, Tamaki's weak writing isn't new, as she wrote a IDW Ninja Turtles mini-series, Casey and April, a few years back. I'm a hardcore Turtle fan, but it's very easily the worst set of TMNT comics IDW ever produced, IMO. The premise was fine for a different change of pace: focus entirely on the Casey/April relationship, the return of the Rat King and it has a completely different feel from most of IDW's TMNT output. And Tamaki couldn't make any of that interesting. I don't blame the material, I blame Tamaki.

Maybe better luck, next series. The Peter David run in the late 2000's isn't too bad, so if you need a more recent Shulkie fix, there's that.

Tamaki is an excellent writer, but the decision to turn her into a female version of Bruce rather than the distinctly different version of the Hulk she used to be is uninteresting.

John Byrne's fourth wall jokes were clever but not funny, and got lame real quick; he relied on them too much, But Steve Gerber's run on the book was good, and Dan Slott did a good job on her later on.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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