Posted tagged ‘Marvel’

“Suddenly, I miss ninjas.”

September 26, 2011

I’m helping kick off Christopher Higgs’ new comics criticism series at HTMLGIANT with a post about Marvel’s relaunced Daredevil title. Check it out at the link:

Shortly before the arrival of DC Comics’ New 52, DC’s competitor Marvel released the first issue of a new series starring its blind crimefighter Daredevil. In light of the timing, the new Daredevil serves as a parallel study in what makes a relaunch succeed or fail. And, if the first few issues are any indication, a master class.

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Make Mine Marvel, Malapropist: Fewer Winks, More Man-Thing – pt. 2

September 27, 2010

In which my friend (and EPA co-writer) Nathan and I continue our discussion of Marvel comics in 2010.

The Red Hulk

Greg: Interesting that you mention both the Red Hulk and the DC-ification of Marvel. I’ll reserve judgment about Red Hulk joining the Avengers till I have a sense of how [Brian Michael] Bendis writes the character. The addition of a morally ambiguous element to the team could make for a more entertaining dynamic, provided Red Hulk doesn’t suddenly start speaking in the same tone as everyone else in that book. But let’s take a step back: do we need a Red Hulk at all? Or for that matter, Skaar, son of the Hulk, or the like three She-Hulks that occasionally appear in Hulk books?

Maybe this sort of brand dilution–the move from one Hulk, to two (the first She-Hulk), to the Hulk family of today–was inevitable. If not for the Hulk, then perhaps for the more popular Wolverine, who now also has a son, Daken, and a female clone, X-23. I don’t know if you read Mark Waid‘s run on The Flash growing up, but in the ’90s, Waid got a lot of mileage (pun intended) out of surrounding the main Flash, Wally West, with a variety of other characters who had speed-based powers, such as Jay Garrick, Flash of the 1940s. This worked because for one thing, it felt like a naturally function of one Flash or another having been around, in print, for more than fifty years. The extended Flash family of Waid’s run was also relatively unique for its time. Sure, DC also had a Superboy and Supergirl to complement Superman (and I’m sure you could think of plenty more examples), but never before had a writer put together a cross-generational supporting cast, most of them variations on a core concept, quite like Waid did. (more…)

Make Mine Marvel, Malapropist: Fewer Winks, More Man-Thing

September 4, 2010

In which my friend (and EPA co-writer) Nathan and I resume our discussion of Marvel comics in 2010.

Greg: Nathan, it’s been months (can you believe it?) since we discussed Marvel’s theoretically status-quo-shattering event Siege and speculated about the shape of Marvel books to come. Now that the future is here, let’s talk about what’s new with Marvel comics–starting with Avengers, (debatably) the company’s flagship title.

As you know, we haven’t had a comic called plain old Avengers on the racks for several years now, but the series is back, with writer Brian Michael Bendis still at the helm. (And I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a movie’s on the way too.) There’s a weird clumsiness to the first few issues of the relaunch, with everything feeling vaguely miscalculated despite Bendis having written a series involving many of these characters for the last several years. Most Avengers speak with the same sort of glib quipiness–a criticism that has been leveled at Bendis before, and while I don’t think it’s true of his best work, in this case it sticks. (more…)

Iron Man Vs. The Uncanny Valley

June 20, 2010

The theory of the uncanny valley, which has its roots in robotics, posits that the more humanlike an (usually inorganic) entity appears, the more likely it is to provoke a positive reaction in a viewer–to a point. And after that point, something like revulsion. It’s a means of explaining why, for instance, many of us comfortably brought stuffed animals to bed each night for years, but would have ran to Mom and Dad’s room if asked to share a bed with a dead-eyed, four-foot-tall stuffed humanoid.

The uncanny valley comes up more often in regard to video games and computer animation than it does comics, but this may soon change. Many comics artists are more audacious when it comes to photo-referencing than their peers of fifteen or twenty years ago, enabled by advances in digital coloring and printing. Characters in books such as Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man now inhabit the valley along with those of Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf or Tracy Jordan’s adult video game. (more…)

Make Mine Marvel, Malapropist: How to Read Daredevil – pt. 1

June 5, 2010

I asked my friend (and EPA-co-writer) Nathan to join me for some back-and-forth about the status quo of Marvel’s maybe-most-put-upon hero, Daredevil.

Greg: A little under a year ago, in Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark‘s last Daredevil issue, Matt Murdock accepted an offer to lead the Hand, a clan of ninja assassins with whom he has long been enemies. From what I understand, current writer Andy Diggle‘s run has seen DD attempt to reform the Hand while perhaps overstepping his bounds as an urban vigilante.

Brubaker’s last issue ended with a hell of a cliffhanger, but Diggle’s first Daredevil comic didn’t make a good impression on me, and since then I’ve found no real incentive to check back in with the series.  That, and I’ve found everything else I’ve read by Diggle underwhelming—even before his tenure on DD began, he struck me as a less-capable writer than Brubaker, or for that matter Brian Michael Bendis. (more…)

Make Mine Marvel, Malapropist: Marvel’s SIEGE and Beyond – pt. 3

May 16, 2010

I asked my friend (and EPA-co-writer) Nathan to join me for a discussion about Marvel’s latest event comic, Siege, and the state of Marveldom in 2010.

PART ONE
PART TWO

Greg: Even with my carefully-controlled expectations, I thought the final issue of Marvel’s Siege was a letdown. By the time Siege #4 starts, Captain America, Thor and company have effectively shut down Norman Osborn’s attack on the kingdom of Asgard and exposed Osborn as the villain he has always been. Events throughout Marvel’s line of comics have been building toward Osborn’s downfall for months now, and he has been oppressing the superhero community for the last year or so. By the end of Siege #3, he’s appropriately been reduced to a state of impotent rage. (Points for the scene in #4 where he hits Captain America on the head with a rock and tries to sneak off.) But because Osborn was the only thing keeping the all-powerful Sentry from going off the deep end, the Avengers now have the Sentry’s evil alter-ego the Void. And this is where [writer Brian Michael] Bendis and [artist Olivier] Copiel lost me. (more…)

Make Mine Marvel, Malapropist: Marvel’s SIEGE and Beyond – pt. 2

May 12, 2010

I asked my friend (and EPA-co-writer) Nathan to join me for a discussion about Marvel’s latest event comic, Siege, and the state of Marveldom in 2010. Part one available here.

Man to Beat: The Sentry

Nathan: A few words on that Steve Rogers-as-Osborn plotline. I’m as wary of underdeveloped superhero deconstruction as anyone, but I don’t think this story would necessarily have anything to do with Rogers‘ incorruptibility. One facet of the character that [Ed] Brubaker hasn’t really bothered with is that this is still a man out of time–I don’t know when exactly when Cap was unfrozen on Marvel’s sliding continuity scale (the early 90s?), but he’s basically written these days as a thoroughly modernized individual who happened to grow up during the Great Depression. What this story would do, I think, is allow us to see how Steve Rogers deals with the vagaries of the Bush-era national security apparatus, and how his love for American exceptionalism and individuality reaches a head when he realizes that the only way to export it, and perhaps save the world, is to utilize the same Bush/Osborn tactics he once found reprehensible. I personally like stuff like that teabagger[s vs.] Cap storyline, and the way it offers a twist on real-world concerns, and no one does that as well as Marvel (or as badly–take that horrid [John Michael Straczynski] 9/11 Spider-Man issue, for instance, in which notorious mass murderers/terrorists Magneto and Dr. Doom are seen helping the NYPD look through the wreckage of ground zero).

(more…)