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Monday, June 18, 2018 

Weak column about Marvel's "fresh" start glosses over Mark Waid's felony

Here's a fluff-coated article in the Fort Smith Times Record about what looks more like a stale start for Marvel at this point. Some of the drivel inside includes the following:
Strangely for a first issue, “Avengers” No. 1 requires some prior reading. Fortunately, I’m here to summarize that for you.

First, the “Marvel Legacy” one-shot of last year introduced a team of heroes that Marvel is labeling the “Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C.” or “the prehistoric Avengers.” What they called themselves we don’t know. Anyway, it was a group of characters whose legacies stretch to the present, including a young Odin (Thor wasn’t born yet), Ghost Rider (riding a flaming mammoth), Iron Fist (perhaps the first, a woman), the Phoenix Force (manifesting as a human who looks very much like the X-Men’s Jean Grey), Starbrand (a cosmic-powered protector, in the form of a Hulk-like Neanderthal man), a Black Panther (again, perhaps the first) and the other-dimensional mystical entity Agamotto (See: Dr. Strange, Eye of Agamotto, Owner of).

These seven protectors of Earth battled and killed a mad Celestial — one of a group of gigantic, mysterious and incredibly powerful armored aliens from the dawn of the universe — which they buried under what is today South Africa. (Odin wanted to nail it to the Moon as a warning, but the others talked him out of it. Don’t judge, he is “Odin Glad-of-War” after all.) That story has repercussions in the new “Avengers.”
Which I'm sure won't be very exciting, let alone interesting, to read about. So according to the "Legacy" yarn, the first Iron Fist was a woman? It honestly sounds like stealth social justice idiocy. A better idea would've been early precursors to the Daughters of the Dragon, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, but then again, what they're doing here is just a waste of time that diminishes the uniqueness of the modern superheroes, not unlike how J. Michael Straczynski's Spider-Man stories pulled a similar silliness with the guy named Ezekiel. Say, do I detect a hint the writer's putting down Odin as a pointless warmonger?

They also note the following about the "No Surrender" nonsense:
It’s significant to note here that while “No Surrender” seemed to have every Avenger this side of the grave (and one green one from the other side), it did not include Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Thor Odinson. When “No Surrender” began, Sam “Falcon” Wilson was carrying the shield, a teen girl named Riri Williams was in the Iron Man armor (Stark was in a coma) and Jane Foster was the only Thor deemed worthy by Mjolnir.

Why? Long story. And it doesn’t matter. Because by the time “Free Comic Book Day 2018: Avengers/Captain America” was given away May 5, Rogers, Stark and Thor had reclaimed their mantles. (Although Mjolnir has been destroyed, like in the movies.) Thor and Cap decide to re-launch the Avengers, and give Stark a call. At the same time, Loki has brought Celestials to Asgard to beat up on an old Odin Not-So-Glad-Of-War-Anymore.
Umm, it does matter, if politicized leftist social justice is the reason these weak stories were brewed up. I guess the part about Odin getting assaulted by Celestials is another hint this is some kind of anti-war propaganda, right?

They turn to Doctor Strange next, and say:
In 2015, an extra-dimensional group called the Empirikul destroyed all of Earth’s magic. Strange had to learn to fight physically to beat them. (And, frankly, looks pretty awesome with a battle axe.) In 2017, Strange lost the “Sorcerer Supreme” title to Loki in a tournament. And got it back when it turned out Loki lied about the whole thing. (Oh, Loki. Such a scamp!)

But while Earth’s magic is slowly recovering, Strange is not. As established in “Dr. Strange” No. 1, the good doctor has lost his connection to all things magical on our planet. The solution comes via Tony Stark: Go to other planets and connect to their magic. And he gives him a tiny space ship.

Dr. Strange in spaaaaaaaaace! It’s by veterans Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz. Do you really need to know any more?
As a matter of fact, yes: why doesn't the propagandist who wrote this fluff mention Waid's crippled his career by inciting against graphic novelist Richard C. Meyer, and apparently paid a price by erasing his social media, possibly because his EIC, C.B. Cebulski, ordered him to if it kept him out of trouble? Not to mention Waid's been largely absent from promotion of his own work, possibly because of the PR embarrassment he's become. If this is to be his last work in comics writing, I'd say it's for the best, because, no matter the quality of his current offerings, his potential legal offense is bound to stick for a long time on his reputation. Also, Meyer's since filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, so the case could end up going to court.

And turning Strange into a non-powered fighter with a battle axe is just lame, ditto the notion he'd have to travel manually to other planets to replenish himself. It's just laughable.

The column goes on to describe how the Hulk's turned into a horror-genre title, vaguely similar to the Swamp Thing:
The Hulk was dead.

In 2016, Bruce Banner was shot in the head by Hawkeye with an arrow the scientist had designed himself to end his miserable existence as the Jade Giant’s alter ego. Suicide by Superhero. Boom! There was a funeral and everything.

But during “No Surrender,” something huge, green and very, very angry climbed out of Banner’s grave. Yep, it turns out the Hulk can’t die. And it doesn’t matter how many times you kill Banner, the Hulk will just come back when the sun goes down. And every time he returns he is angrier, meaner, larger and just plain more terrifying.

“Immortal Hulk” is a straight-up horror book. In the first issue, Hulk avenges the death of a 12-year-old girl. He is perfectly articulate. His brain is totally normal. But he wipes out a crew of drug-dealers in horrific ways. And — this is what’s unexpected — he really, really enjoys it. He takes down this group one by one, from the dark, like in a slasher movie.
Wow, sounds like an absurd excuse to depict the Hulk as a big green-skinned Punisher! But the additional problem is that they take a path similar to what they took with Wolverine as far back as the late 2000s when Civil War came about, depicting Logan as immortal, in sharp contrast to his portrayal in Days of Future Past from 1981. And to make matters worse, it sounds like Bruce Banner's mindset is being made to look psycho, the same approach used by some leftist writers who didn't like the Punisher (or even Wolverine), because they must've considered him "right-wing". So now we've got a "Hulkisher", and while I don't think the idea behind the Punisher is bad in itself, it certainly is if they're made to look like what a leftist thinks they are.
This “horror” interpretation of the Green Goliath isn’t totally new — in fact, it’s really, really old. In the first few issues of “Incredible Hulk” in 1962, the character was indeed a mish-mash of horror concepts. He was a powerful monster born of science, like in “Frankenstein.” He was a mean monster who hid within a decent man, like in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” And he was a nocturnal monster who emerged at night, like a werewolf or vampire.

Most of those elements were dropped pretty quickly, as creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby kicked the idea around until it worked best. That turned out to be the Hulk most of us are familiar with, the childlike one who just wants to be left alone, and only emerges when Bruce Banner gets excited or scared.
Umm, in the Bronze Age, they started returning to the idea of Hulk being at least half-intelligent, with Peter David making most interesting use of this approach during some of his 1987-98 run on the book. After all, around 1991, they went with the premise that Banner's brain would function in the Hulk's body, for a time. So I'm not sure why we're being told here that the version with the semi-primitive dialect is literally the one we're most familiar with. Best answer would probably be because the reporter considers it trivial.

And to call the early Silver Age origins horror concepts in every sense of the word is misleading too - he may have grown out of the monster-thriller genre, but hardly out of the horror genre. Even the Swamp Thing counts more in that regard. The article also fails to consider that in the 4th Hulk story, with a little aid from Rick Jones manning the devices he built, Banner managed to merge his mind into the Hulk form at least partially, and as a result, the Hulk didn't exactly act like a savage in all instances. Why, it's not like the Hulk was even portrayed as deadly per se when he began, even though death did occur in comics at the time when the CCA was in use. So this article does little more than serve as a source of confusion.

And that's one more reason why this is just a worthless sugarcoating of modern Marvel's most pretentious output.

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Nice part with the hulk.

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