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Wednesday, January 08, 2020 

SyFy Wire's fluff-coated take on new items by overrated writers for 2020

SyFy Wire's written up a puff piece about what some pretentious scriptwriters have in store for the beginning of the 2020s. One of those is Thor, with a path that may have been trod before:
With his runs on Venom, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos, Donny Cates has proven during his time at Marvel that he doesn't do anything small and Thor #1 is no different. Following Jason Aaron's seven-year arc with the Asgardian, Cates said he's excited to start a new chapter with Thor. After the War of the Realms and an almost eternal struggle with Gorr, Thor has ascended as King of Asgard. But dark things lie ahead.

In an interview this week with SYFY WIRE, Thor scribe Donny Cates revealed that when he initially signed to Marvel in 2017, it was to eventually take over Thor after Aaron.

"Axel Alonso thought I'd be good for Thor and when he signed me to an exclusive contract it was so I would be here when Jason left Thor," Cates explained. "So I've known since then and it's been really great since Jason and I are friends and we've been in the planning room together. So, I've had the luxury of working on this story for three years before putting it out."
If memory serves, didn't Thor take over as king of Asgard from Odin towards the end of Dan Jurgens' run in the early 2000s? So this isn't new. But it sure is eyebrow raising to learn Cates was a special choice of the now departed Alonso. I'm sure that's not good news, even if he hasn't crossed the line like Dan Slott did over the years. Mostly because of what he thinks Thor should be:
In the description to artist Nic Klein, Cates said he wanted a Thor made of "pure energy, crackling with light."

"I also wanted Mjolnir to look like someone had poured a lightning bolt into a mold," Cates said. "I included a note about the Thurisaz rune and Nic included that in his incredible design. It's the closest Thor has ever had to having something like the Superman symbol across his chest."
It sounds reminiscent of the time Superman was turned into something like an energy being with an altered costume design in 1997. A step that wasn't very popular, even if it was only intended to last briefly. It also sounds too much like what Wonder Man became when he was revived in the mid-70s in the Avengers, as more of an energy-based life form. And above all, it doesn't sound very character-drama based. Since we're on the subject of pagan deities, next up is the 750th issue of Wonder Woman (apparently combining a few volumes since the Golden Age for the sake of boosting sales through milestones, and that'll likely be relaunched again in time), and its contributors include:
This historic, 96-page collection was written by several longtime favorites and a handpicked set of new voices, with stories penned by Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, and current Wonder Woman scribe Steve Orlando. In the main Wonder Woman story, Orlando is closing out the "Year of the Villain" arc as Diana and Cheetah battle in Boston.
I'm not sure who's a worse choice for writing WW stories, Simone or Rucka. Though I do know an event titled "Year of the Villain" is a very bad emphasis. And it gets worse with the following fishy statement:
One of the writers on #750, Vita Ayala told SYFY WIRE this week that Wonder Woman means compassion, empathy, and love. Their story, they said, is about "how Wonder Woman will always stand by her belief that everyone is worthy of being saved and rehabilitated, no matter what they have done."

"She, more than any other character, is the embodiment of the things she stands for. She is a protector of everyone, and believes in redemption and kindness — not always niceness, but true kindness," they said. "She believes in consequences and paying for your wrongs, but at the end of the day, she also believed in forgiveness and in love."
Boy, does this sound like the worst in liberal propaganda. Does the list of criminals worthy of rescue and rehabilitation include mass murderers, terrorists, rapists and child molestors? Let's be clear: forgiveness is a valid concept. So too is love. But to extend those traits to the worst offenders is seriously dangerous, and I don't recall past writers in better times going that far to depict Diana as believing in rehabilitation for criminals to the point they'd be allowed back on the streets for the worst violations. In real life, it's crucial to consider what the victims of said crimes would think if somebody believed in being that sloppy. This is also coming at a time when New York's "no bail no jail" law has been attacked by critics after it enabled violent antisemites and similar offenders to get out of the pen without proper consequence, and continue their horrific acts. I'm not sure many who've gone through these terrible experiences would be happy to know this Ayala's written up a story with potentially harmful politics driving it. Next is a Hawkeye book written by Matthew Rosenberg, and it notes:
In addition to sparring with The Hood and his goons in the first issue of Hawkeye: Freefall, Hawkeye must face off against the mysterious Ronin. According to Rosenberg, it's a sign of things to come as Clint must face down his history and the consequences of past decisions.
Wait a minute. Is that the villain Brian Bendis once featured in his Avengers run attacking Tigra? Using characters Bendis created is decidedly not appealing. Then, there's a book from Image called On The Stump, with a fishy-sounding political premise:
Set in an alternate universe in which candidates have to literally fight for the right to lead America, On The Stump is a timely, fascinating look into what would happen if violence were officially incorporated into politics. Written by Chuck Brown (Bitter Root), the hyper-violent and hyper-stylized series will make its debut in February.

In this alternate America, elections are now decided by "highly publicized hand-to-hand combat in arenas called Stumps," a tradition developed after a fight breaking out during a pivotal presidential debate in 1868. Set in modern times, with violence now the norm, On The Stump follows the story of Senator Jack Hammer and FBI Agent Anna Bell Lister as they team up against the villainous Thunder Bearer.

In an interview with SYFY WIRE, Brown called On The Stump "the rawest story" he's ever written and revealed he was hesitant about developing the idea at first.

"I've always been fascinated and frustrated by American politics. Two sides bickering over policy, ideology, and theatrocracy. All the while, we the people stand by as spectators. Similarities between pro wrestling and politics just popped in my head, so I started building a world based on that idea," Brown said. "Although we touch on issues that exist in the real world there's a lot of fun and action in the book."

Initially, Brown said he was unsure of moving forward with the idea of On The Stump because he thought he wasn’t knowledgeable enough in political science to write it.

"I'm nowhere near an expert on the subject," he said. "Then I thought about how government affects the lives of everyday citizens like myself. I had something to say I wrote what I knew and researched what I didn’t. Over time the story morphed and elements like conspiracies and MMA mutants worked their way into the story."

It was only after Brown had the first arc in the can that he went looking for an artist. When an old friend, Italian artist Prenzy, randomly reached out to Brown, he knew he'd found his collaborator.

"Prenzy artwork has so much energy and he's perfect for the book," Brown said. "While we have a lot of fun in the book, I think the country needs this story. It's always needed this story, but we need it now more than ever. I want people to get lost in this insane world I've dreamed up. Then I want them to realize the insanity is a reflection of our society."
But which part of our society? Right or left? If this comes within even miles of pegging conservatives as the root cause of all evil, then it's plain blowing it. Then again, if Image is run by leftists, this shouldn't be too surprising they'd take charge of publication. Honestly, does the USA need such a story? I'd think it better if the writer would conceive a metaphor for the Clinton's relations with Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein. SyFy also says the following about the first Spider-Woman's history:
Created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin in 1977, Spider-Woman originally joined the Marvel ranks because Stan Lee was concerned about other comic companies trademarking a similar character. After her debut elicited a strong fan reaction, though, Marv Wolfman was tasked with writing a solo series. While the original run was a success, the character fell by the wayside for decades, only making cameos in other books until the early 2000s New Avengers run.
Wonder why they don't tell about Jessica Drew's near brush with death, after she was killed at the end of her original 1978-83 solo book, and was thankfully revived due to negative fan reception? A significant mistake made at the time Jim Shooter was EIC, that could've been avoided. Even after they rectified the error, Jessica was later replaced with Julia Carpenter for a time, and continued to make appearances in books like Wolverine's solo while out of costume. And bringing her back into the spotlight at a time when Bendis was at the helm was coming much too late, under the wrong writer. Now, here's a more troubling item, an Adam Strange book written by none other than Tom King:
Although the character was a hit in the '60s and '70s, Adam Strange mostly fell by the wayside during the Silver and Bronze age of comic books. While he enjoyed a brief revival in the 1990s via the likes of Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, and Mark Waid, Strange hasn't been seen much since DC's Rebirth (save a few panels in 2018's Heroes in Crisis.)

Strange Adventures aims to re-introduce the character to a wider audience and could be seen as the spiritual follow up to one of King's other projects, 2017's Mister Miracle. The book reunites King with artist Mitch Gerards, while also bringing in Doc Shaner along for the ride. According to a DC Comics release, in the 12-issue mini-series centers on the decisions, Adam made during battles on Rann, which come back to "haunt his family and threaten the entire DC Universe."

"Adam Strange is one of a long line of characters — like Tarzan and Flash Gordon, stolid men with dimpled chins who thrive in 'foreign lands' — who stand in as a metaphor for a 19th-century European dream of colonialism," said King in the statement. "Of course, colonialism was nothing like this dream, and it’s that contrast that interests me: the bloody gap between the myth and the reality."

During his time at DC, King has found success in taking a closer look at many of the line's biggest superheroes and villains. Digging into "the real-life" of a relatively unknown Golden Age character like Adam Strange promises to be just as fruitful for the writer, who wrote the book with a sort of 'dueling art' style baked in. As Adam bounces back and forth from a mission on Rann and time back on Earth, so does the panel art from Shaner and Gerards.

"It's a way to do something new and different and hopefully something cool and compelling," King said.
Not if he's writing it. It sounds eerily like a "white liberal guilt" project or something, which makes little sense if you consider planet Rann - which may have originally been depicted as only some distance from Silver Age Hawkman's Thanagar - was mainly populated by white humanoids and space aliens, and in the stories I read they usually were white. Even if King doesn't plan on making Alanna and daughter Aleea suffer the kind of fate the former did in the now reviled 1990 miniseries Adam Strange: Man of Two Worlds, I got feeling sensible people are really going to be repelled by this project, whose premise sounds like it could end up as a leftist "blame America" metaphor for September 11, 2001.

The article even clumsily asserts Adam Strange was a Golden Age creation rather than Silver Age, and while he did have enjoyable stories in the 60s, 70s and 80s, he did not have a solo book under his own name until the aforementioned 1990 miniseries, which really blew everything for the sake of a serious problem that's come to plague modern comics - forced darkness and pessimism, to say nothing of political correctness. He didn't exactly ever fall by the wayside either until years later. The premise Alanna died in the miniseries was later abandoned in the late 90s, thankfully.

So, it looks like what was bad last year will be doubly so this year, with more suspiciously political premises concocted in mainstream, and creator-owned stories from Image. Nothing to look forward to then.

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--- "She believes in consequences and paying for your wrongs, but at the end of the day, she also believed in forgiveness and in love."
Boy, does this sound like the worst in liberal propaganda.----

Actually, it sounds more like Christianity. There is a lot of overlap between liberalism and Christian values, but they are distinct belief systems.

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